Destiny of the Daleks
Target novelisation
Doctor Who and the Destiny of the Daleks

Author Terrance Dicks Cover image
Published 1979
ISBN 0 426 20096 9
First Edition Cover Alister Skilleter

Back cover blurb: Landing on an apparently devastated planet, the Doctor and Romana make a horrifying discovery. The planet is Skaro, home-world of the Daleks. The Daleks are excavating in order to find and revive Davros, the mad, crippled, scientific genius who first created them. They hope that he will give them the scientific superiority to break the deadlock with their Movellan enemies. Faced once more with the deadly and seemingly indestructible Daleks, the Doctor's wits and strength are stretched to their very limits...


A very quick effort by Tim Roll-Pickering 12/1/06

A novelisation of only 104 narrative pages of large print, coming out barely two months after the story was first transmitted. A determination to get a story from the most recent season onto the shelves is admirable (indeed it even beat Season 16, with Doctor Who and the Ribos Operation not coming out until the following month) but such a rush job never bodes well. Reading through the book it is clear that both Dicks and Skilleter had no visual material available to them and so there are many details missing, most obviously Romana's costume, whilst the cover just shows the Doctor and some Daleks - hardly an indication of what makes this particular Dalek story distinctive.

Also lacking is any attempt to date the story substantially. On television the dialogue suggests it has only been centuries since the death of Davros, yet the limited state of decay and cobwebs suggests a period of at best fifty years - in complete contrast to the Daleks having by now become a massive force in the universe engaged in a substantial intergalactic war. That discrepancy is carried over into the book, which also makes no attempt to reconcile the way that Davros has been relocated to the Kaled city (do I sense a book or Big Finish audio looming that will seek to rectify this?).

What we're left with is a book that is incredibly easy to read, straightforwardly telling us the same story as on television. Without visuals we're spared some of the more embaressing moments, such as the way the Movellans collapse when their belt computers are removed or the Doctor stopping them with a dog whistle. However also missing is any decent exposition of any of the characters other than Tyssan, who is revealed to have been an engineer who is now haunted by his belief he will die on Skaro. We learn nothing further about the Movellans or the Daleks' slaves, whilst Davros' intentions to challenge the Supreme Dalek for the leadership of the Daleks, or how the ordinary Daleks on Skaro feel about this, are not elaborated upon in anyway. Were this novelisation written after the Saward Dalek stories had been transmitted then this would almost certainly have been rectified, though at the time it probably passed as a minor issue altogether.

The book is exceptionally short and there is very little substance to it. The contemporary Target practice of merely trying to get novelisations of the most recent stories onto the shelves as quickly as possible to make money may have been a good commercial move, but from an artistic point of view it produces books with little real substance, representing the nadir of the novelisations. This is a very quick effort and the result is poor. 3/10