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Doctor Who and the Daleks by David Whitaker
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This is the novelisation of the very first Dalek story and was the first such book, being published in November 1964 just under a year after its original broadcast. It differs considerably from the TV version, being intended as a self standing novel, so Ian and Barbara join at the beginning of this story (no An Unearthly Child story), and don't know each other beforehand, Barbara being Susan's private tutor and Ian an unemployed scientist. The story is told in the first person from Ian's point of view, so the narrative is correspondingly restructured around his actions, with other plot strands (e.g. the fact of the Doctor using mirrors to blind the city's detectors being told to Ian after the event). David Whitaker spends a lot of time exploring the Thals' pacifism, with Ian trying at great lengths to persuade them to fight for their own survival. The Daleks are quite uncharacteristically expansive in explaining their motives to the travellers. The story also contains a (short-lived) glass Dalek as their overall leader. Overall, while different in many details, this is essentially the same story and a good piece of writing. ( )
1 vote john257hopper | Nov 27, 2013 |
Until video cassette recorders became available to the masses, the only way to experience an older episode of Doctor Who was through novelizations and the rare rerun (the number of reruns allowed was heavily controlled by contracts - a factor which contributed to the junking of episodes). As with modern movie novelizations, the book, while being based on the screenplay, is often different from what makes it to the screen. This can be for various reasons: the book is based on an earlier draft of the screenplay, certain scenes were unable to be filmed as originally conceived, etc. This is also true of the Doctor Who novelizations. Where possible, the author of the original story was employed to do the novelization, and many times, they took advantage of the opportunity to flesh out the story more than they might have been able to in the screenplay or the aired episodes.

This is the first ever novelization of a Doctor Who story published. It is a novelization of the second ever serial: The Daleks. At that time, the individual episodes had names, but the serials didn't have official names. While this story is commonly known as The Daleks (or The Mutants - incidentally the title of a Third Doctor story), the novelization was originally published under the title of Doctor Who in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks in 1964 and was later reprinted by Target Books as Doctor Who and the Daleks in 1973. Last year, BBC Books started reprinting some of these older novelizations, both in paperback and e-book formats. They published 6 last year and 6 this year, so there are currently 12 out there for a new generation of readers.

In the BBC Books edition, there is an afterward that talks about how this novelization differs from the televised story and why. Since this novel was intended as a standalone book, the introduction of the main characters and how they come to be in the TARDIS varies significantly from the serial. The afterward also notes a few things that this book does first: such as a glass Dalek that wouldn't be seen on-screen until Revelation of the Daleks, a Sixth Doctor story. This book also was the first to use the word "Exterminate" which wouldn't be seen on screen until The Power of the Daleks (incidentally a chapter title in this book) shortly after this book was released. "Exterminate" actually didn't become a full blown mantra for the Daleks until later.

This particular story has been adapted to the screen twice: once for the original serial and once for a feature film Dr. Who and the Daleks starring Peter Cushing as "Dr. Who". These two screen versions and this novelization differ widely. It's been a while since I watched the original serial in its entirety, but I read the novelisation a couple of months before watching the feature film. I also went back to the original serial to compare a couple of scenes to see which did a better job: the serial, the film, or the book.

The scene where they cross the swamp near the lake and find a back way into the Dalek city was, to me, one of the big differences. In the book, it seemed much more perilous than in either the serial or the movie. I got the impression from the book that this was a large lake and the creatures in it were huge. The movie gave a slight sense of that when it shows them climbing the mountain with a matte painting of a lake vista behind them, in contrast, the serial didn't show them climbing at all. The lake creatures really weren't shown in the movie although the serials did some miniature work, which while done on a television budget, gives a better sense of danger than the movie. In the book, there is a scene where they injure one of the lake creatures and its fellows come and fight over the body of the fallen creature. This was missing from both screen versions.

I also got the impression from the book that the pipes they followed into the mountain were huge pipelines. In the movie, they were small when they sighted them underwater, and a little larger on the mountain. In the serial, they only showed a model shot of largish pipes running into the mountain (in a composited shot) and completely skipped the party climbing the mountain, jumping straight to them being in the caves. I also thought the scene in the serial where they jumped the chasm was more intense than the movie version.

I enjoyed reading this and I hope BBC Books will continue to reprint these Target novelizations. I'm buying them as ebooks and will buy every one they publish. :) ( )
  hwlester | Sep 15, 2012 |
This is an adaptation of the second "Doctor Who" serial from 1963-4, which introduced the famous Daleks. The book is adapted by the original script editor, David Whitaker, who turns his own little flair for Victorianized science fantasy up to about eleven. He seems to have a great time writing a brand new introduction for the characters (basically, making this their first adventure), and he chooses to present it all as a first-person novel for the character of Ian Chesterton, one of the original companions, and ostensibly the "lead" of the show for about the first year. Great stuff; highly recommended for the '60s Who fan.

In more recent years, William Russell (the actor who played Ian Chesterton) has recorded this as an unabridged audiobook. 40 years on, Russell - who always had a strong, steady voice - has certainly aged; he's a little wavery and at times slightly frail, but he can still pull off the Ian characterization marvelously. Better still, he's the perfect age to enact the Doctor, too. Highly recommended as a great way to either re-experience the novel or enjoy it for the first time. ( )
  saroz | Feb 18, 2010 |
Somewhat different than the story on screen, But a brilliant and fun novel on its own. It's written in first person from Ian Chesterton's point of view, and completely changes the origin story of how the original 4 member TARDIS crew came together, along with some other details.
Still a cracking good story. I also recommend the audio book read by William Russell himself :) ( )
  moz800 | Jul 13, 2008 |
There was a time when this was literally the only Doctor Who book in existence (under its excellent original 1964 title of Doctor Who in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks); indeed it was the only commercially available representation of any Doctor Who story, in those days long before video-recorders (let alone DVDs). So we have Whitaker taking much greater liberty with Terry Nation's TV script than almost any other novelisation (John Lucarotti's treatment of The Massacre differs even more from the story as broadcast, but he was reverting back to his own original script).

And the result is quite possibly the best of the novelisations, judged as a novel. The opening of the story is comprehensively rewritten, Ian being an unemployed research scientist who accidentally encounters Barbara, who has been tutoring the mysterious Susan, and gets involved with the Doctor and his Tardis. So much time is invested - wisely - in setting the scene that we are a third of the way through the book before we reach the equivalent point to the end of the TV story's first episode (out of seven).

The biggest novelty, for those of us who have read almost any of the subsequent hundreds of Who books, is that the whole story is told in the first person, from Ian's point of view. (It's not unknown in later Who literature, but it is very unusual.) This does require a certain amount of narrative juggling, but Whitaker gets away with it better than I remembered from when I first read this, three decades ago.

Today's generation of fans will squee at the pronounced sexual tension in the Ian/Barbara relationship here - the TV story has Barbara close to flirting with Ganatus, one of the Thals, but he barely gets to look at her on the printed page. Poor Susan rather fades into the background as well after she has done her mercy run to the forest. The characterisation of the Doctor is much more harsh and edgy than Hartnell's depiction; since Whitaker was the story editor, perhaps this was what he had originally in mind? (A possibility supported by the surviving first cut of the first ever episode.)

And the Daleks themselves are pretty memorable here, though Whitaker seems a bit confused about their size - three feet high at one point, four foot six at another, though the illustrations are of our 'normal' sized pepperpots. However, this confusion is compensated for by the glorious description of the mutants within the metal casings, and their glass-enclosed leader. The TV show has never managed such memorable presentations of the creatures inside, though it has occasionally tried. (The versions encountered by the Ninth Doctor come closest.)
Anyway, this is an excellent read, well worth hunting down. ( )
  nwhyte | Mar 19, 2008 |
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
David Whitakerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Achilleos, ChrisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Archer, PeterIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gaiman, NeilIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schwartzman, ArnoldIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tribe, SteveNotessecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Doctor Who and his granddaughter Susan are joined with the unwilling adventurers Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright in an epic struggle for survival on an alien planet ...

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