The First Doctor has a regenerating encounter with the Cybermen from The Tenth Planet; the Second faces The Ice Warriors; the Third travels to The Day of the Daleks, and is helped by his two former selves; and the Fourth travels to The Ark in Space and meets The Loch Ness Monster…
Following the release of six of the early Target novels last year, BBC Books have reprinted a further half dozen adventures, giving them the same top and tail treatment as the first batch. The introductions come from an assorted group: Rise of the Cybermen’s Tom MacRae talks about the novelisation of Battlefield (it does make sense); Mark Gatiss revels in nostalgia; Gary Russell recreates that wonderful feeling of finding a new Target book; Steven Moffat nails the reaction to discovering the identity of the writer of The Ark in Space novel, while the two novel writers – Alistair Reynolds and Michael Moorcock – are suitably serious.
Steve Tribe’s essays on the differences between the novels and their TV bases are as informative as ever, pointing out one obvious error in The Ice Warriors that I’d not spotted in nearly forty years of reading the book!
The books themselves all hail from that early period of the Target range, when it wasn’t the production line that it sometimes became. Gerry Davis’ Tenth Planet mucks about with continuity, but tells a gripping tale. Brian Hayles’ Ice Warriors presents their creator’s vision of their debut performance, with some subtle differences. Terrance Dicks allows his imagination to roam freer in The Day of the Daleks and The Three Doctors – products of his own era – than in The Loch Ness Monster, providing an upgraded version of those stories that still knocks spots off any CG alterations that can be made to the original episodes. And as for Ian Marter’s Ark in Space: it’s still one of my favourite Doctor Who novels (it was the first one that I got from W.H. Allen’s offices at 123 King Street in Hammersmith ahead of publication), a combination of a terrific core script and a noveliser keen to make his mark.
The Tenth Planet: 7/10
The Ice Warriors: 7/10
The Day of the Daleks: 8/10
The Ark in Space: 9/10
The Loch Ness Monster: 7/10