Doctor Who: Resurrection Of The Daleks by Eric Saward (book review).

September 11, 2019 | By | Reply More

The long awaited novelisation of a classic ‘Doctor Who’ story ‘Resurrection Of The Daleks’ is to be welcomed in the drought of no Doctor in 2019. This is written by Eric Saward from his own original screenplay which starred the fifth Doctor with companions Tegan and Turlough. It wasn’t commissioned during the original run as terms could not be agreed. For completists, the next novel will be ‘Revelation Of The Daleks’.

These days, with everything practically on stream, the novels are probably not seen as crucial but, back in the day, they were the only option before the VHS became standard.

I can tell it’s a fifth Doctor story as there is the lady of the perpetual-whining the as-ever sorely misused Tegan (see women characters everywhere) and the ever depressed and Marvin-like Turlough. We are missing the ballet-skirted Nyssa for a full house. The TARDIS is not so crowded this time around.

This is a fast-paced and exciting story with lots going on to keep all the characters involved. There is frankly, a huge loss of life (see ‘Doctor Who’ survival rate in direct proportion to his claims of being able to save everybody). We are introduced to lots of new people and get all their back stories in the manner of a 1970s disaster movie.

We invest in their lives and ponder the outcome whilst knowing pretty much all of them won’t make it to the credits. It’s a great book that invests in the humanity, empathy and various human traits like cowardice and self-interest but it’s not just the deserving that die here. For a family show, there are many body bags.

Of course, what all this emphasises is the traits of the Daleks who, apart from the occasional sarcasm, are pretty much dead from the neck up. I see your point about the neck.

Davros is back and the three-way split between humans, the Daleks and their creator makes for some interesting developments especially when, once again, the Doctor has to decide if he can stomach killing Davros to prevent him making more Daleks.

The idea of cloning or facsimile humans is also used here to great effect. The series certainly reflected scientific concerns of the time and here we are in the future with people cloning their pets. What a world we live in.

I loved the dialogue which moves the action forward. It’s sharp and often snappy with humour running through even in some if the darkest moments. For me, the secret of drama is this thread of humanity and the shock of sudden death also retains its bite.

‘Resurrection Of The Daleks’ is now part of history. Written more recently, the author must be acutely aware of time passing. The settings in the old warehouses of the Shad Thames are shops, restaurants and places where ‘Masterchef’ is filmed, nothing lasts forever, except the Daleks. The spaceships of the future are equally thrilling with a sense of place and now of nostalgia. Even the future is long past now but we continue to eat up the crumbs from the banquet of classic ‘Doctor Who’ and are grateful for them.

Sue Davies

September 2019

(pub: BBC Books/Ebury Publishing/Random House, 2019. 189 page small hardback. Price: £12.99 (UK), $16.99 (US), $27.99 (CAN). ISBN: 978-1-78594-433-6)

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Category: Books, Doctor Who

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