Monday, May 27, 2013

Book Review #27

The Dalek Generation, by Nicholas Briggs. Paperback.

The Doctor (in his 11th incarnation, as portrayed by Matt Smith on TV) stumbles across a small spaceship that is under Dalek attack. Although he cannot save the married couple on board, he does save their three children. When he takes the children to their home planet and makes his claims about a Dalek attack, he is swiftly arrested.

He finds himself in what must be the only section of the Galaxy where the Daleks are considered the good guys. They administer the Sunlight worlds with justice and kindness, and have brought the inhabitants prosperity and peace. But the Doctor knows that something is going on, that the Daleks must be "up to something." What they are up to, in fact, is what archeologists have found on another Dalek Foundation planet -- technology that may be the most dangerous weapon in the universe. 

There is some wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey aspects to the conclusion of the novel, but fans of time travel in general and the Doctor in particular can forgive that. The character beats at the ending seemed natural, and flowed properly from the rest of the novel.

Nick Briggs has been involved in the world of Doctor Who for more than twenty years, mostly through his role as executive producer with Big Finish, who produces original audio adventures featuring various incarnations of the Doctor. Since the TV show's return in 2005, Briggs has also voiced many of the monsters on the show, most notably the Daleks. Despite this being his first published novel, Briggs captures the spirit of the show very well , and his characterization of the 11th Doctor is spot on.

This story takes place during a period of the Doctor's life when he travels alone. But the necessary roles of companions are filled by the children, and also by Lillian Belle. Like many other companions in the long history of the Doctor, she is a journalist, and is suspicious of the Daleks. The Doctor's presence on the planet stirs the Daleks to action against him, and an underground rebellion movement attempts to arise.

There are interesting commentaries in this book, although they are not terribly subtle. For example, there is a scene where the Doctor announces on live TV to everyone on the planet that the Daleks are evil and need to be resisted. The vast majority of the populace responds by mocking him, ignoring him, and then by changing the channel to a reality-style game show. The language of "hate crimes" is also a topic right out of our modern society.

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