It being November 5th I thought I would have a read of Remembrance of the Daleks. Many reasons: I enjoyed the recent Ben Aaronovitch novels (Rivers of London and Moon over Soho); vaguely remembered the story from the late 80s back when I was giving the show another chance (see here) and more importantly this is the story from which Big Finish are spinning off their latest expedition into the expanding universe(s) of Dr Who with Counter-Measures (see here).
So, how was it for me? Why not stay tuned after the break…
A return to Coal Hill school for the seventh Doctor and Ace in the midst of Dalek v. Dalek warfare. The TV show even went close the the fourth wall with a TV show being broadcast called Doc. And why not; the TV show was at this time hitting its 25th anniversary! We even got the levitating Daleks!
Meanwhile we have the Hand of Omega, Davros, soldies, explosions, the Special Weapons Dalek and the destruction of Skaro!
The book also goes beyond the TV show with back-story for the soldiers and the introduction of ‘The Other’ along with Rassilon and Omega. All important stuff!
As a story it is well paced with some betrayals, great battles and the Seventh Doctor at his most irritatingly superior.
The Bigger Story
At this time, or so I believe, there was a move to explain a bit more of the story of the Doctor (I will get to Lungbarrow at some point). To this end the character of The Other appears. We also like a bit of Coal Hill school and Totter’s Lane, some nods back to the first story and a decent bit of 60s recreation.
What I don’t like is the ‘why now’ of it all; we waited 25 years for this. It turns out all this time through many regenerations the Hand of Omega was lying around an undertakers in London. Given the Doctor has not met the Daleks until the second ever televised tale, how did this become instrumental in setting up a conflict between Dalek splinter groups? It was too Deus ex machina for my tastes.
Meanwhile I wonder – does the idea of Counter Measures work as a spin-off? Well yes I believe it does. We have characters clearly operating coherently before and after the story with a Forge / Torchwood style remit (and leading into UNIT in the future). The book implies some relationships and even a marriage that I wait to see integrated. Beyond that I must dig out the DVD and get myself fully ready for next year when the stories appear!