Aaronovitch, Ben


3 out of 5

(1 book)

Doctor Who: Remembrance Of The Daleks

A novelisation of a story featuring the Seventh Doctor (as played by Sylvester McCoy) and his companion Ace.  Returning to Coal Hill School in 1963, where his adventures began, the Doctor and Ace find themselves caught amid a war between two rival factions of Daleks.  However, as the Daleks vie for control of the mysterious Hand of Omega, it becomes clear that the Doctor is up to more than he's letting on.

In the retrospective introduction in my edition of this book, Aaronovitch himself refers to this, his first book, as 'a bit rushed, a bit earnest - and occasionally up itself unto its third knuckle', which he puts down to his own youth at the time of writing.  I have to say that, particularly with the third thing, I couldn't have described it better myself.  This book reads as if it's trying to be something grand and yet somehow comes out of it feeling shallow.  The prose, whilst more descriptive than much of that seen in other Doctor Who novelisations, feels forced and never really flows well.

Where this book redeems itself is in the additional information which the author provides which does exactly what a prose novelisation should do; expands the story in a way that only a book can.  Here we get short flashbacks revealing the activities of the ancient Time Lords Omega, Rassilon and The Other as well as being shown the inner thought processes of the Supreme Dalek and his opposite number, the Dalek Emperor.  I also particularly enjoyed learning a bit more about the Abomination AKA the Special Weapons Dalek and how he viewed his own identity and his place within the xenophobic Dalek culture.

Some longtime fans may find the Doctor in this story to be a little unfamiliar.  Here he fully embraces the secretive, manipulative and ruthless side of his character, moving friend and foe alike about like pieces on a chessboard.  It has to be said that he makes for a less compelling protagonist when his ruthlessness isn't tempered by his joie de vivre.

Overall, not a terribly well-written book, but one with some interesting perspectives and tidbits that elevate the quality of the story as a whole.

3 out of 5


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