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Classic Novels: DOCTOR WHO AND THE CAVE MONSTERS

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Author Topic: Classic Novels: DOCTOR WHO AND THE CAVE MONSTERS  (Read 266 times)
Vampyros Adric
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« on: January 06, 2011, 12:49:37 am »


Here is the blurb from the back of the box...

All is not well at the Wenley Moor underground atomic research station: there are unaccountable losses of power-output; nervous breakdowns amongst the staff; and then - a death! UNIT is called in, and the Brigadier is soon joined by Doctor Who and Liz Shaw in a tense and exciting adventure with subterranean reptile men - Silurians - and a 40 ft. high Tyrannosaurus rex, the biggest, most savage mammal which ever trod the Earth! Caroline John, who played Liz Shaw in the original TV serial "Doctor Who and the Silurians", reads Malcolm Hulke's complete and unabridged novelisation, first published by Target Books in 1974.

Those of us who are familiar with the Target Novelisations generally encountered two distinct styles of interpretation. First, there was the carbon copies of the TV show which, although providing a faithful reproduction, it was my experience that these generally fell a little flat. When I got really excited was when we got something a little different, a novel that diverged from the story sufficiently to add something what was already on the screen. This wonderful novelisation of 'The Silurians' manages to deliver just that. Right from the start, the grittier tone is evident and there is a wonderful prologue which provides a wonderfully detailed description of how the Silurians went into hibernation. The result of that introduction seeps throughtout the story providing a much more sympathetic, rounded and character-driven portrayal of the Silurians. There is, however, light and shade in all of the characterisations throughout and the motivations of all the protagonists become more readily understandable.

The author, Malcolm Hulke was friend and mentor to script editor Terrance Dicks and their styles are not dissimilar. However, the grittier tone of the writing betrays Hulke's communist sympathies. The mistrust of authority comes through and the Doctor is positioned squarely as an agitator, challenging the staid military instincts of UNIT and the security personnel within the complex. Perhaps as this chimes with my own ideas, I instinctively warmed to the writing and found a new affection for the story (I thought the TV series went on an episode too long; a view shared by Terrance Dicks and Barry Letts).

The actual presentation of the Audiobook is worthy of mention. The internal illustrations of the original edition are reprinted on the CD sleeve, together with mini biographies of both the author (Malcolm Hulke) and the narrator (Caroline John).

This is an excellent audiobook, stemming from a beautifully written novel. If you are a fan of The Silurians then I would heartily recommend purchasing this as an excellent example of a novel which compliments and augments the Classic Serial.
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Oh-Wise-One
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« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2011, 01:07:37 am »

I really do love this section of the forum with all the audio reviews.

Despite being a big fan of the television story this stems from and a fan of audio books and adventures also, this is one that I have never got around to for whatever reason. I haven't read the novelisation either for that matter, but this certainly sounds like one that I could get my teeth into and will definately be seeking it out.

Out of curiosity, is there any particular reason behind the name change?
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Vampyros Adric
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« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2011, 01:25:09 am »

I really do love this section of the forum with all the audio reviews.

Despite being a big fan of the television story this stems from and a fan of audio books and adventures also, this is one that I have never got around to for whatever reason. I haven't read the novelisation either for that matter, but this certainly sounds like one that I could get my teeth into and will definately be seeking it out.

Out of curiosity, is there any particular reason behind the name change?

First, I'm really glad you like the reviews Smiley I have a 2 hour round trip to work so I get through a lot of audio material and have a lot more to share if people enjoy them Smiley

The name change was a bit of a trend in the early novelisations (A few of the novels were renamed - most notable was Spearhead from Space which became The Auton Invasion). Largely it was a stylistic decision to make them distinct from the TV shows. It might (and I stress this is mere guess work on my behalf) also be because the production team, shortly after transmission, discovered that there is no way these reptiles could have come from the Silurian period and should more properly be referred to as Eocenes. Throughout the book Hulke refers to 'reptile men and women' instead of Silurian so this may be a pointer as well.

As a parenthetic point, when this novel was reissued for the final time in 1992 the name was changed back to Doctor Who and the Silurians.
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« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2011, 01:31:38 am »

I was aware of some of the changes, though I didnt know of one for this particular story. The Silurian/Eocene theory is probably right. I've seen that spark arguments in fandom up to as recently as their return in series 5 so I wouldnt be surprised if they decided against having it on the title of a wider release.

And yes, do carry on with the reviews. Though I have heard a lot of the audios that you and Peri-Peri discuss, I always enjoy other perspectives and you both make me want to listen to the ones I have no experience with, so I always make a point of checking in with this area of the forum Smiley
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« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2011, 06:18:35 pm »

I've not heard this but I absolutely love the televised story so may well give it a look, especially if it expands upon and is even better than what I have already seen
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Vampyros Adric
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« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2011, 07:20:20 pm »

I've not heard this but I absolutely love the televised story so may well give it a look, especially if it expands upon and is even better than what I have already seen

I would totally recommend it. A certain online retailer (that rhymes with Fanazon) is knocking loads of these classic novels out for £4.98!
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