Strutton, Bill


2 out of 5

(1 book)

Doctor Who And The Zarbi

An novelisation of a First Doctor (William Hartnell) adventure originally scripted by Strutton himself and featuring Ian, Barbara and Vicki.  When the TARDIS is foricbly pulled down onto the planet Vortis, the Doctor and his companions find themselves caught in an age-old conflict between the Zarbi and the Menoptera.

This story is very much of its time, with a desolate rocky planet and a war between ant-people and moth-people.  This sort of thing was the staple of science fiction TV and film in the 50s and 60s and you have to be onboard with that to enjoy this book at all.  Personally, I grew up watching old sci-fi B-movies, so I found all the familiar tropes here somewhat endearing.  Endearing, yes, but not hugely interesting or exciting.

This book also suffers from being such an early Who publication too.  This was among the first Who stories novelised and therefore both the TV series itself and the way it was adapted for prose had yet to mature into what you (and I) may be familiar with.  For me the biggest problem with all of this is that the Doctor is constantly referred to throughout as Doctor Who.  The uninitiated might say "So what?" but for me, I found myself cringing every time I read '...said Doctor Who' or 'Doctor Who turned around...'.  It was so irritating that I've actually marked the book down because of it (that and the fact that TARDIS is never treated as an acronym but rather as the ship's christened name: Tardis).

2 out of 5


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