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Revelation of the Daleks

By Jon Preddle (TSV Books)

Book review by Christopher Owen

The task of novelising someone else's story seems to be an essentially difficult one - especially with a story as recent as Revelation of the Daleks. As with any novelisation, the writer faces the dilemma of whether to provide a true and accurate record of the story, or to diverge and add in extra material.

Jon Preddle seems to have taken the first option, and in doing so he has created a very readable, functional novelisation. To be honest, I didn't like the story when it was first screened in the Silver Jubilee week (I preferred Silver Nemesis, and even though this will probably get me criticized from Auckland to Invercargill). I think I still do; on television at any rate. Jon Preddle's novelisation leaves Kevin Clarke's for dead. I think I actually prefer reading the novelisation to watching the televised version.

Jon's book actually compares favourably with the majority of Target novelisations, and would probably be receiving high praise had Doctor Who writing not suddenly taken a quantum leap forward in the past two years.

My main disappointment is the very fact that Jon stuck so closely to the script. Though he included a few 'Aaronovitch-isms' such as the by now legendary bonded polycarbide armour, I felt that opportunities for character development and new material were missed. Maybe using Dalek perspectives would be too clichéd, but surely Tasambeker's infatuation with Jobel was a topic ripe for expansion. Or just how Takis came in contact with the Supreme Dalek in the first place.

Revelation of the Daleks is not poetry - if you expect to find a new Marc Platt or Ian Briggs you'll probably be disappointed; but that is to take nothing away from Jon Preddle's achievement in just finishing the thing. I know how long it takes to write novel- length fan fiction. I'd recommend buying this simply out of compassion for Jon Preddle - and for fan writers everywhere for sacrificing years of their life producing material that's rubbished for not being up to the standard of professional writers. Even if you're like me and loathed Revelation of the Daleks on television, you may be pleasantly surprised.

This item appeared in TSV 30 (September 1992).

Index nodes: Revelation of the Daleks