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Classic Novels; Doctor Who - Inferno

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Author Topic: Classic Novels; Doctor Who - Inferno  (Read 351 times)
Vampyros Adric
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« on: April 17, 2011, 10:40:10 pm »

My review this week is of a fans favourite and a hardy perennial in the glorious garden of Jon Pertwee's first season...


I shall let the blurb on the back of the box speak to you in ways I could only ever dream of...

Inferno is the name of a top-secret drilling project to penetrate the Earth's crust and release a major new energy source. A crisis develops when a noxious green liquid leaks out as drilling progresses - the green poison has a grotesquely debilitating effect on human beings. As the Earth's plight worsens, the Doctor is trapped in a parallel world, unable to rescue the planet and its inhabitants from the destructive force of Inferno...Caroline John, who played Liz Shaw in the original "Doctor Who" TV serial, reads Terrance Dicks' complete and unabridged novelisation, first published by Target Books in 1984

Let us make no mistake here my friends, when you start with such a brilliant story, you are working from a very strong base and the novelisation delivers every thrill and twist of the TV series. The novel is a fairly accurate replication of the Don Houghton teleplay and Terrance Dicks is such an accomplished story-teller that he gets full value out of all of the delicate contrasts between our universe and that of the parallel one. Perhaps because he was script editor or maybe simply because he is a very good Doctor Who novelist, Dicks actually sets the scene for the drilling project rather better than is done in the TV show - we get some exposition about the intense government pressure which in turn helps explain the pressure on Sir Keith and Stahlmann. Where the novel does surprise is that Dicks goes beyond his usual utilitarian approach and seems to revel in the characterisations. One really gets the sense of the main protagonists and the dilemmas that this story produces for each of them. You have a definitive mad scientist, you have a grizzled Oil Rigger, you have an Ice-Maiden assistant. In both universes these characters remain relatively constant. It is the characters we are familiar with that Dicks has most fun twisting and changing. Whereas Liz Shaw's parallel 'comes good' at the end, the Brigade Leader remains resolutely cowardly right to the end. Dicks has the 'voice' of the Third Doctor almost pitch perfect and this resounds throughout this wonderful tale. As with every great Doctor Who story, the Doctor is the hero and he is the glue that holds this together, but it is a Doctor that is beautifully drawn and realised by Dicks.

The production is of the usual high standard with some very good supporting music and sound effects to underpin Carrie John's excellent narration. Sometimes I find John a little harsh but in this she is excellent and manages to drop in a hint of accent to give a wonderful flavour of each of the characters.

This is an ideal companion to those long commutes or nights where you can't get to sleep. It is a beautifully written, beautifully read novelisation of one of the finest Doctor Who stories of all time. I guarantee your world will be ever so slightly better if you buy this audiobook.
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« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2011, 10:48:42 pm »

I absolutely LOVE Inferno so I would be more than happy to give this a listen. I rewatched the story not long ago and it doesnt get any less brilliant on later views. I've been gradually listening to more audios of late so I think I should add this one in
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« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2011, 11:27:04 pm »

I absolutely LOVE Inferno so I would be more than happy to give this a listen. I rewatched the story not long ago and it doesnt get any less brilliant on later views. I've been gradually listening to more audios of late so I think I should add this one in

Like every good classic novel, this one shines a little bit of new light through old windows. I cannot understate how amazing this novelisation is - and I think it is available for just under £8 on Amazon. If you liked the TV story, I think you will definitely like this novel Smiley
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« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2011, 09:28:47 am »

I remember watching Inferno on a blurry VHS as a child and I loved it. I think it may have been the first Pertwee that I saw and it really is a craxking story. Like Exterminate, I havent heard the audio but if it is even half as good as the televised story I wouldnt hessitate to pay out for it
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« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2011, 09:40:31 pm »

I'm afraid I am with the others on this. Love the televised story but not listened to the audio. I've not listened to many audios at all really, but I am working on rectifying that
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« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2011, 07:13:20 pm »

Well I beat you all, because I have actually listened Tongue

The first series of Pertwee is one of my favourites and this story is brilliant, perfectly complimented by this audio. If you like the story then there is no way you couldn't enjoy this. And Liz herself, Caroline John, is reading it (who pretty much steals the actual serial, imo).
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« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2011, 11:04:27 am »

I would like to add myself to the list of cool people who have listened to this. It was on my pregnancy pile and I got around to it about 10 days ago (so I am new to the club).

Caroline John  gives an excellent reading and the script is really stepped up a gear to compensate for what you can't see. Well worth a listen
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« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2011, 06:14:28 pm »

I would like to add myself to the list of cool people who have listened to this. It was on my pregnancy pile and I got around to it about 10 days ago (so I am new to the club).

Caroline John  gives an excellent reading and the script is really stepped up a gear to compensate for what you can't see. Well worth a listen

I too think it is the cool people who listen to these audios  Tongue
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