Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Magrs Method of Book Reporting: "Doctor Who: Prisoner of The Daleks" by Trevor Baxendale

Encapsulate the book in one sentence?

The Tenth Doctor deduces that the Daleks are planning to use time travel to destroy the human race and teams up with a group of bounty hunters to stop them.

When did I buy it?

Last year - in a comic shop.

What year or edition?

First edition, 2009. These were those curious "mini-hardcover" editions: paperback-sized, but with a hard a children's book. 249 pages.

What's your verdict?

Fantastic - it has a fast pace, a simple plot, lots of twists and turns,  with the Doctor and Daleks in top form. This adventure is very hard-boiled; the kind of story arc Robert Holmes wrote for the old series, but with a Terrence Dicks-esque structure with the beginning, middle & end, combined with Holmes' penchant for building everything up to a particular moment, add to that Russell T. Davies flair for dialogue when writing showdowns/standoffs between the Doctor and the villain.

Why is it something you stashed away?

It was a decorative prop in previous blog posts and instagram photos I had taken in the past; it was a matter of just finally reading it. I had brought it last year because those editions aren't easy to find in great shape often...and I usually preferred the books in the Quick Reads range.

Did you finish it?

Yes. It worked better than I imagined it would.

What surprises did it hold for you - if any?

This whole adventure feels like canon...something that must have happened - the strongest of the original Doctor Who novels work that way...there are times where the Doctor can seem awfully thin in print - Baxendale gets the characterization right, but it's fueled by echoes of David Tennant's performance delivery.  He does fare better than other incarnations of the Doctor in print, though. Other Doctors that survived the transition from film to novel would be Jon Pertwee's Doctor in Verdigris and Tom Blake's Doctor in Heart of Tardis and Gareth Roberts' Shada novelization.

The Dalek Inquisitor General - aka "Dalek X", is an excellent character who drives the final third of the book. He's in good company with other unique Daleks introduced in the shows last few years (Dalek Sec, Dalek Khan, Dalek Clara) and will probably appear along with the Gold Emperor Dalek on fan petitions for an appearance on the show in the future. His showdown with the Doctor did remind me of Fenton Crackshell's battle of wits with MEL the malevolent alien supercomputer in the Ducktales episode "Money to Burn", but maybe that's just my frame of reference butting in and not something Baxendale is familiar with.

What will you do with this copy now?

It's a keeper.

Is it available today?

The book is available on Kindle in a new edition that includes a new cover and introduction by the author. It also appears in a trade paperback as part of the Doctor Who: The Monster Collection reprints of Doctor Who novels released last year.

Give me a good quote.

Sure - check out the gallery below. :)

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