Hayles, Brian

AVERAGE REVIEW SCORE:

3 out of 5

(2 books)

Doctor Who And The Curse Of Peladon

The novelisation of Hayles' own script for a Third Doctor (Jon Pertwee) adventure featuring Jo Grant.  The TARDIS arrives on the troubled planet Peladon and there the Doctor and Jo are mistaken as diplomatic delegates.  King Peladon has invited delegates from the Galactic Federation to his world as a prelude to joining, but there are those working to enact the ancient Curse of Peladon and keep the planet firmly planted in solitude and tradition.

This is a perennial favourite Who story, not least because it sees the return of the Ice Warriors, some of the Second Doctor's most iconic foes.  And it has to be said that this book doesn't go far wrong in its pacing, characterisation and general story ambiance.

However, throughout the whole thing I couldn't help feeling that it all seemed very familiar.  At first I realised that partially it was because of the similarity of the set-up to Justin Richards' Tenth Doctor adventure 'Martha In The Mirror', with its spooky old castle, peace conference and the Doctor and companion being mistaken for delegates.  Of course, writing forty years earlier, its not Hayles' fault that Richards borrowed elements, but having read the other book first definitely made this one feel less fresh.  This was further exascerbated by similarities in some of the characters, particularly the High Priest, to ones in John Lucarotti's First Doctor story 'The Aztecs'.  So maybe to someone who's not read as many Doctor Who books as I have it would seem more original, but there was a further realisation of why this all felt overly familiar.  Towards the end of the book I realised that you could swap out certain characters and you would basically have the plot of 90% of the old episodes of Scooby Doo, with a grumpy old man trying to scare away newcomers by faking attacks by a ghostly monster.

Once you've made the Scooby Doo connection, it becomes impossible to take this book entirely seriously.  The ridiculous character of Alpha Centauri doesn't help in that regard either.

So, its not a bad book, but its one that doesn't feel terribly original and which doesn't really have any major surprises along the way.  However, one thing of particular note and interest was seeing the Doctor show a little bit of prejudice against the Ice Warriors based on his past experiences and Jo having to reprimand him for it.

3 out of 5

 

Doctor Who And The Ice Warriors

Hayles' novelisation of his own script of a Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton) story featuring Jamie and Victoria.  Arriving in Earth's future, the Doctor, Jamie and Victoria discover the planet in the grip of a new ice age.  They encounter a team of scientists working to counteract the advance of the glaciers but the situation is further complicated when out of the ice alien beings emerge, frozen for millennia but now dedicated to conquest.

This story represents the first appearance of the now-iconic Ice Warriors; ruthless Martian conquerors with suits of green armour and powerful advanced weapons.  To be honest, besides the introduction of these important antagonists, there's not much to write home about here.  The conflicted politics of the rogue scientist Penley and his scavenger friend Storr were a nice subplot, but not one that really goes anywhere too surprising.

The puckish Second Doctor gets to indulge his scientific side, which I certainly enjoyed, but Jamie has very little to do except express worry about Victoria, who in turn has very little to do except get captured repeatedly.

Overall, this is a perfectly adequate Who adventure, but not really one that had anything groundbreaking to add beyond the titular antagonists.

3 out of 5

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