One of the most memorable first Doctor stories gets a fairly standard adaption for the printed page. Part of that is the fact that this six part William Harntell story has some stunning visuals of Daleks gliding through the streets of a deserted, invaded future London. And part of that is that Terrance Dicks struggles trying to compress a six part story in to the 128-page count mandated by Target novels at the time it was published.
This re-telling of the story combines elements from the television and movie version. This was one of the Hartnell stories adapted in what I call the middle period of the Target novels, when they didn’t so much as enhance or deepen what we saw on screen but merely compressed the events onto the printed page without any flourishes or additions. Dicks does manage to make the Slither a lot more sinister than it appears on screen, but the rest of the novel is, unfortunately, rather a bland experience.
So why pick up the audio adaptation, you may ask. For one thing, it’s read by William Russell, who’s done a superlative job on his previous entries for the Harntell era stories. This alone makes listening to “The Dalek Invasion of Earth” worth the price of admission. The other is that while it’s not a great adaptation, the story is still interesting and familiar enough to me that it serves as just enough of a distraction while jogging to allow me to work a bit harder but not so much that I’m not aware of what’s going on around me (traffic, animals, etc.) or that I miss a critical detail of the plot that could be important later.