Title: Doctor Who and an Unearthly Child
Author: Terrance Dicks
Length: 128 pages
Genre: Science Fiction, TV Tie-in
Why I read it: It’s Doctor Who.
What it’s About: This is the Novelization of the very first Doctor Who Serial. It goes from the first story arc from the first episode “the Unearthly Child” to episode 4 “the firemaker” It starts with teachers Ian and Barbra discussing how peculiar their student Susan behaves sometimes. Stating historical dates and events that have never happened, and using scientific formulas that don’t exist. In a state of concern, Ian and Barbra decide to follow her home and talk with her Grandfather, who she lives with. Upon meeting her grandfather, they are swept away in the TARDIS and taken on an adventure to the past where they are captured by cavemen and forced to make fire for the tribe or face death.
The Good: Having watched the first episode before reading the book, it was easier to follow what was happening, and as with the first episode, I loved the build up to the first meeting of The Doctor. I love that the first Doctor is a somewhat pompous person who is also childish and stubborn. He’s everything you expect him to be. A know-it-all who has a short temper and expects to get his way, but you can’t help but follow him, admire him, and trust him. As for Susan, she can be just as mysterious as The Doctor, but she can also be quite naive. At this point Not much is known about either He or The Doctor, except they seem to be protective of each other. I love Ian and Barbra. They are not afraid to challenge The Doctor, and I think it’s something he needs from time to time. I also like that they seem to take time traveling in stride.
The Bad: I know that in the 60’s the “men have to protect the women” mentality was quite normal, but I seriously doubt Susan and Barbra were as helpless and weak as the men believed. I also don’t like that Barbra and Ian seemed to trust The Doctor to carry them away in his little blue box, but not trust that he could get them home. They seemed reluctant to just let the adventure happen. At the same time though, I disliked that The Doctor didn’t seem to value Barbra and Ian’s opinions or trust that their ideas in a dangerous situation would work. I think Barbra and Ian tend to forget that although The Doctor looks human, he isn’t and that is where the arguments start.
Final Thoughts: I think for me the Episode and the boo were both a bit…..lacking. I get it, I grew up in a time where tv and books a more fast paced. And I did enjoy both the book and the episode, but they, for me, were too slow. I think if you like Doctor Who, and you can’t find the episodes, this is a great alternative, and despite the slow pace, they are quick reads and highly entertaining.