Doctor Who and the Carnival of Monsters
By DJ Forrest
Written by Terrance Dicks
Published in 1977
Although we have already posted a review of Carnival of Monsters in a previous issue, back in 2015, I felt it is important to have varying opinions about novels. After all, we all view a story differently, don’t we?
As with previous Dicks’ novels, I’ve never found the story a drag, and have always been keen to find out what happens in the next chapter.
The story starts off with as usual the Doctor convincing his companion that he is where he says he is, but if you’ve travelled with the Doctor on any trip in the TARDIS, you know yourself, you’ll be anywhere but where you think you are. It may look like Earth but there’s a distinct feeling that you’re really not, just by the scene unfolding in front of you.
This time, the Doctor has parked his TARDIS on a ship, or so it looks like it, but there are strange happenings on this particular vessel, that’s heading to Bombay in 1926, with its minimal crew and passengers. When Jo and the Third Doctor appear on the deck, it throws a bit of confusion for the staff, but after a sea serpent is spotted rearing its ugly head over the vessel, a series of events prompt the Doctor and Jo, that they really have to get off the ship and back to the TARDIS, but that’s not as easy as it sounds.
I have to admit however that I got a little confused during the read. There are two stories that start off in Chapter One, the journey with the Doctor, and two new characters in another world that you must pay attention to. The Scope is also something you need to pay close attention to, and it’s the scope that I was a little unsure about. Not so much of what happened inside of it, but the dimensions of it – the actual size of the object.
Unlike a lot of the other novels, this one had no illustrations to help you along, this powered the imagination all on its own – except I would have liked to have seen the Scope, to have an idea of size. I may have to find the episode and watch it through.
It’s a short story, as were many of them in the Target Novels that I’ve read so far and reviewed. The writing is quite large and it’s a story that a child could read and not feel scared, although I’m sure the Drashigs are extremely terrifying in the series.
One of the interesting things I noticed about the sonic screwdriver in this story was that, it was unlike that of the 10th Doctor’s. ‘Of course it was.’ I hear you say. After all, every Doctor has to fashion their own screwdriver, yet I was always under the belief that the sonic screwdriver could open anything apart from a device with a deadlock seal. Ha well, maybe that was something the Time Lord had to upgrade after the 3rd. It certainly made more sense to.
Overall, I loved the story, and the chain of events that broke out around the chapters really kept you enthralled to the very last page. Terrance Dicks truly is a first class writer and I’m keen to look out his other novels, outside of his Who range.