“Doctor Who: Prisoner of the Daleks” by Trevor Baxendale

Doctor Who: Prisoner of the Daleks (BBC Audio) My rating: 3 of 5 stars

During the days of the New Adventures and the Missing Adventures novel lines, it was interesting to watch various authors allude to “Doctor Who”‘s most popular villains without actually naming them or including them in the story. Thank to the copyrights on the Daleks, the novels couldn’t use the pepperpot monsters in the stories.

Eventually the BBC took over the original novels lines and the Daleks were negotiated back into the line. And then we found out something interesting–Daleks are great on-screen, not so much on the printed page.

Part of the iconic legend of the Daleks is their appearance and their voices–two things that just don’t translate well to the written page. In the same way various authors have had issues capturing the second Doctor in novel form, so it appears that authors have difficulty bringing the Daleks to life on the page.

“Prisoner of the Daleks” is no exception to the rule.

The Doctor arrives on a deserted world, becomes a prisoner and then waits to be rescued by a plucky crew, most of whom will be Dalek canon fodder by novel’s end. The crew is a Dalek hunting crew from the last days of the war between the Earth empire and the Daleks. Based on the rules of history, the Doctor shouldn’t even be there, but he’s stuck there, separated from the TARDIS and trying to get back and escape.

There’s a lot of running about corridors, scenery chewing with Daleks and shouting of “Exterminate!” but it never quite all adds up to the most satisfying of novels. Trevor Baxendale does a decent job of captures the tenth Doctor on the page, but the rest of the supporting cast are largely forgettable.

A nice try, but it comes up short.

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