009 Doctor Who and the Cave Monsters
ISBN 0 426 11471 X
Reviewed by Simon Mallinson
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 the subterranean reptile men – SILURIANS – and a 40 ft. High Tyrannosaurus Rex, the biggest, most savage mammal which ever trod the earth!
Welcome to the October issue of Target Zone, for new readers, let me explain. In this article I will review an old Target novel, yes pre new era.
This month it’s the turn of the reptiles to come to the fore and the return of Unit. Yes its Doctor vs Silurian’s, not the sexy ones now on the screen but the original rubber men with flashing bulbs sticking out of their heads.
Now Malcolm Hulke and Terrance Dicks can be a great writing team, with interesting plots and quirky monsters and in this book dear Malcolm succeeds with room to spare.
Let this book transport you to the 70s, okay forget the raving sex maniacs and the weird fashion if you can, but look at the start, of the start of Who being Green and Hip. So have you ever noticed the most dangerous places in Who are always scientific centre’s, research stations and strangely enough power stations. It’s like the writer is trying to tell you look after the world and be open minded, but how many of us will be. Oh come on we all love cheap energy, no costs too much to keep the ever increasing consumption active. Well Malcolm gives us a good little story to the dangers of this, and what is it we can awake???
Now this story is set in the first season of Jon Pertwee, so the Doctor is like a cross between a naughty schoolboy and a lecturing schoolmaster. On the TV Jon plays this role with perfection, but he is a perfect professional, with the width and talent to do this. He is ably helped by a still wary Liz Shaw, ahh how a brainy sex symbol she was, specially played by Caroline John, a great loss to us all and the Brigadier now in his most interesting version, played by the ever great Nicholas Courtney.
Well the new series made the Silurians, yes I am using the old term, sexy and sleek and mostly female, and I have to say yes I LOVE YOU VASTRA, okay got it out of the system now. Many of the ideas of the new version have their base here. Ever wondered why they think of people as monkeys and men as apes, well look no further Malcolm will tell you. The plague that hit the bloke in new series, maybe this is where the idea sprung from.
Now it’s fair to say that the original attempts at Silurians are at best funny, and the worst, maybe lack of time and budget watered down the idea. So when you read this book, please use your imagination. If you do this, then the story certainly comes alive in a new and unexpected dimension, and this is what Who is supposed to do. What do you mean I hear you say? I am saying think, shut your eyes, err not right now and be transported back. See if this story doesn’t make you think.
Now here is a challenge for you, read this book and answer me this question. Who was right??? The Doctor? The Brigadier? Or the Silurian’s themselves. Do this with an open mind and be amazed to what you start to see.
Now there is no Big Finish Zone this month, this is because I have a special planned for the November issue and a report on Dimensions Convention, so keep your eyes peeled for November, you will not be disappointed.