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The Ice Warriors
Target novelisation
Doctor Who and the Ice Warriors

Author Brian Hayles Cover image
Published 1974
ISBN 0 426 10866 3
First Edition Cover Chris Achilleos

Back cover blurb: The world is held in the grip of a second Ice Age, and faces total destruction from the rapidly advancing glaciers. DOCTOR WHO, with Victoria and Jamie, lands at a top scientific base in England, where they have just unearthed an ancient ICE WARRIOR. Aliens from Mars, preserved in the ice for centuries and now revitalised, the Ice Warriors feel ready to take over... Can the Doctor overcome these warlike Martians and halt the relentless approach of the ice glaciers...?


Reviews

Not as good as Hayles' first novelisation... by Tim Roll-Pickering 12/1/04

Brian Hayles returns to Target for his second and final novelisation. Like Gerry Davis, Hayles brings to life a 1960s story written by him that might otherwise have gone unnovelised for many years. Hayles had already delivered a strong effort in Doctor Who and the Curse of Peladon, but here he is novelising a television story which was stretched from its natural four parts to six and settles into the "base-under-siege" format all too quickly.

Fortunately the novelisation works better. The story feels more naturally paced, almost as though Hayles has structured it as he would have intended rather then elongating it to fit the requirements of the story length available. For much of the book Hayles seemingly follows the course of events onscreen, adding in little details such as giving the computer a name - ECCO. However he never explains what this stands for, whilst elsewhere there are some noticeable lapses. The scene where Clent quizzes the Doctor on how to tackle the glaciers with the equipment available now becomes absurd as the Doctor has only just witnessed the Ioniser in action and so the solution to Clent's puzzle is all too obvious. Hayles also fails to take the opportunity to flesh out the backstory more, though the explanation for the collapse in carbon dioxide levels that caused the Ice Age now makes a lot more sense than it did onscreen.

Whilst the book feels well paced, all too often it feels like a straightforward rendition of the transmitted story with opportunities to expand upon the events and concepts being ignored. No attempt is made to date the story, though it feels like it is set in the near future, whilst the computer's logical dilemma is not expounded upon as much as possible, with the result that when it is given the additional information about the Martians' spaceship reactor it suddenly crashes even though this makes little difference to the course of (in)action it has already been proposing. The ideological divide between Clent and Penley was a major element onscreen, even being the key focus of the original trailers, but here it is not really built up leaving only the odd moment of confrontation between the two and the moment at the end where it is clear that Clent now respects Penley to show the strong character struggle.

The characters feel a little crude, as though Hayles has not attempted to bring their performances to life. In particular Troughton's Doctor does not spring to life in the same way that Terrance Dicks and Gerry Davis achieved in the earlier novelisations, Doctor Who and the Abominable Snowmen, Doctor Who and the Cybermen and Doctor Who - The Three Doctors. Here is perhaps the earliest indication of how some prose authors can find this incarnation difficult to write for. Jamie and Victoria are also weak and the book is missing the wonderful scene where the former starts fantasising about how the latter will look in a short skirt. Hayles' descriptions of the charecters are limited, making them harder to envisage and little details such as Clent's walking stick are now lost. He is also inconsistent in referring to Jan Garrett as variously "Jan" or "Miss Garrett", making her difficult to keep track of at times.

Although there is much to fault this novelisation for, the plot does nevertheless remain strong, with a real sense of danger throughout. However Brian Hayles' first novelisation was a very strong effort and living up to it was always going to be hard. Sadly his second and final novelisation is a much weaker book that does not serve either his memory or the original story well. 6/10