Sunshine on Sunlight 349 – The Dalek Generation reviewed

As part of a new range of Doctor Who titles for 2013 Nick Briggs has written The Dalek Generation a story for the Eleventh Doctor. Published in April this story gives Nick Briggs a chance to explore yet another possibility within the Dalek – Doctor relationship.

Nick has, of course, produced a lot of material over the years which relates to the Daleks and it will be interesting to find out whether or not the new angle taken here is effective. There will of course be some spoilers!

The Plot

The Sunlight Worlds Offer You A Life of Comfort and Plenty. Apply now at the Dalek Foundation.

Sunlight 349 is one of countless Dalek Foundation worlds, planets created to house billions suffering from economic hardship. The Doctor arrives at Sunlight 349, suspicious of any world where the Daleks are apparently a force for good – and determined to find out the truth. The Doctor knows they have a far more sinister plan – but how can he convince those who have lived under the benevolence of the Daleks for a generation?

But convince them he must, and soon. For on another Foundation planet, archaeologists have unearthed the most dangerous technology in the universe…

The Doctor rescues three children from an apparently abandoned spaceship and realises that the Daleks are to blame; he also finds that the TARDIS is being subjected to manipulation within the Vortex and being steered from location to location like a snooker ball. He arrives in the Dalek Foundation Worlds and is appalled that the Daleks are treated as saviours and appear to be benefactors of humanity. The Doctor tries to turn people against them but as a result is put on trial for sedition.

Via a sequence of escapes and encounters the Doctor loses the children and is all but defeated by the Daleks as the action culminates in a stand-off beside an alien artefact capable of reshaping worlds! We learn that the Dalek plan is to convert billions of people into Daleks and recreate Skaro a thousand-fold! We also learn that at the heart of the plans is the Dalek Time Controller, a Big Finish concept now writ into canon!

The Storytelling

At first Nick’s style appears relaxed to the point of being casual but we are quickly absorbed by the action of which there is plenty. The concept that the Daleks are the good guys isn’t played as heavily as it was in Dark Eyes- for example we very early on see Dalek exterminations viewed by a friendly reporter.

What does work well in this story is the sense of overwhelming manipulation by the Time Controller and a feeling that the Doctor only wins by fortune than by design.

I really liked the way the plot stripped away the Doctor’s assumptions and confidence as one by one the children he was trying to rescue ended up victims of the Daleks. Nick also dropped in a few surprise twists as well.

Thoughts

If I want to be fussy, and purely as the reviewer’s charter says you must always find a fault, I did think the ending was a little bit too Disney / Spielberg / happy ever after. In actuality this is a decent romp accessible to fans both long-standing and recent. Nick can clearly now add novelist to his growing list of talents and I look forward to future novels

What did you think? Am I over generous or spot on?

 

Let me know!

Tony, April 2013

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