THIS NOVELLA TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE TV
EPISODE "TOOTH AND
CLAW" AND THE NOVEL
OFFICIAL BBC 'QUICK
RELEASED IN MAY 2006.
dig has turned up a
Roman mosaic, circa
AD 70, depicting
grapes - and a Dalek.
A few days later a
young woman, rushing
for work, is knocked
over and killed by a
bus, then comes back
It's not long before
all hell breaks loose,
and the Doctor and
Rose must use all
their courage and
cunning against an
alien enemy intent
on destroying THE
If you want to get children reading, then this is certainly the way to go about it.
Gareth Roberts’ lovely little novella, I am a Dalek, is perhaps the best tie-in book for the
new series to date. Whilst the standard of the new series’ full length novels has been high, they have not gone down too well with fans used to the much more adult Virgin and BBC books, but, let’s face it, that’s not the target audience anymore - it’s the kids. Even so, a
lot of the children in my family have picked up the beautiful, glossy hardbacks only to put them down after a few chapters. Sadly even with a (relatively) low page count, with all the trappings of modern life it is hard to get a kid sat down reading for any length of time.
That is the problem.
I am a Dalek is the remedy.
Fourteen chapters. 104 pages. This one has all the energy and pace of a forty-five minute television episode; it is literally just all action. Each and every one of the other tie-in books have managed to superbly capture the characters and the spirit of the new series, but they have all been bona fide novels, taking time to dwell on character and background. I am a Dalek does not. It is just like the new series in every way – the characters are each superbly written and very, very real, but save for the odd paragraph spent introducing Kate Yates and Frank Openshaw (the two main supporting characters) the reader has nothing to contend with but action.
Nevertheless, it’s remarkable that Roberts managed to imbue his characters with so much life in so few words. I felt like I knew Kate inside-out after reading just a page. Credit cards. Rubbish job. Dalek factor… This little novelette carries with it that wonderful, pseudo-cynical view of the modern world that is present throughout the revived series. Some of the things in there may be above the head of a ten-year old, but I think Roberts must have suspected that the odd grown-up would be embarrassingly spending an hour or two on a Sunday evening lost in the pages of his Target-style adventure.
The plot itself is absorbing; worthy of a television episode. It’s nice to
see the tenth Doctor come face to face with a Dalek; and a Dalek at
its best, no less. Like in Rob Shearman’s highly acclaimed episode
Dalek, the pepperpot is at its most lethal here. The story also touches
on The Evil of the Daleks in quite a charming way that long-standing fans will appreciate,
the notorious “Dalek Factor” from that story making its return after forty years.
And so, in summary, if you’re willing to have the missus laugh at you for reading an out-and-out children’s book, then you are in for a real treat.
Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2006
E.G. Wolverson has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
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