Power of the Daleks
Target novelisation
Doctor Who - The Power of the Daleks

Author John Peel Cover image
Published 1993
ISBN 0 426 20390 9
First Edition Cover Alistair Pearson

Back cover blurb: THE STRANGER DREW HIMSELF UP TO HIS FULL HEIGHT. 'I AM THE DOCTOR,' HE ANNOUNCED. Disoriented after his regeneration, the Doctor takes the TARDIS to the Earth Colony Vulcan. Ben and Polly are disturbed — the Doctor isn't the man he used to be. The Doctor too is worried. The colonists have found the remains of two Daleks — which they plan to revive. Once revived, the Daleks claim that they are content to serve humanity. Can it really be true? Or do they have their own, more sinister plans?


The Power of Troughton begins! by Andrew Feryok 26/6/14

"I am your servant!" There was a thunderstruck silence from all of the humans in the room. Then Lesterson turned to stare in rapture at his assailant [the Doctor]. "It spoke!" he said. "Janley, did you hear it? It can talk!" "It can do many things, Lesterson," the Doctor replied bitterly. "But the thing that it can do most efficiently is to exterminate human beings. It destroys them without mercy. Without conscience. Destroy them!" He glared at the scientist. "Do you understand me? It destroys them!" While the Doctor was speaking, the Dalek simply ignored him. It continued to intone mechanically: "I am your servant! I am your servant! I am your servant."
- The Doctor tries to explain the Daleks to the colony, The Power of the Daleks, Pages 107 and 108, Chapter 13

It took until almost three years after the show had come to an end and one year before the novelization series also came to an end before Target managed to put out a novelization of one of the most pivotal and memorable stories in all of Doctor Who: The Power of the Daleks. John Peel makes no bones about enjoying the process of novelizing this story in his author's notes section and it shows on every page! At 251 pages and 27 chapters, it is easily one of the longest Doctor Who books ever put out by Target and would have easily fit into the New Adventures book series running at the time. Peel recognizes the significance of this story and gets every ounce of drama he can from the story, making it slow-burning horror at first and then full blown terror as Bragen makes his move for power and the Daleks unleash their massacre on the colony!

Peel states that he consulted with the original writers of the story and one of the actresses who still had one of the earliest drafts of the story from which Peel drew a lot of the additional material that he added to the story. Its difficult to tell which of these it is, but the most obvious addition to the story is a character who was not in the original adventure: Dr. Thane, who is the colonies' medical officer and a member of the rebels. Whole new scenes are included for her, and her medical bay is made a much more active location in the story. In fact, it is Dr. Thane who keeps Polly prisoner during the later parts of the story and she wrestles with the fact that she is friends with Polly but also loyal to her cause.

However, some of the more interesting changes were clearly made by Peel himself and draw together the continuity of the wider classic series to give the Vulcan colony a sense of place in the continuity of the series. Peel opens the book with a re-enactment of the final moments of the First Doctor in the South Pole and it's stated that UNIT came in and cleaned up the mess from the invasion, and that it was from the remnants of the Cyber-technology that human beings created the first interstellar space drive, allowing them to travel beyond the solar system. Vulcan was one of maybe three or four colonies that were the first ever established by Earth. We also learn that the colony of Vulcan is a member of the IMC; if you have ever seen that forgotten Pertwee story, suddenly a lot of the motivations behind why the colony was founded, why the colonist act in such selfish ways and why they are operating with seemingly primitive technology suddenly makes a lot of sense. We also learn that this takes place before The Dalek Invasion of Earth because human beings do not yet have a knowledge of the Daleks and they have "moving walkway stations" throughout the colony which is a subtle reference to Terrance Dicks' vision of future Earth from Doctor Who and the Dalek Invasion of Earth.

The one thing I was disappointed with though was the regeneration again. I was really hoping that, after the clumsy mess Gerry Davis made of it in his horrible Doctor Who and the Tenth Planet that John Peel would finally get it right. Instead, Peel has the Doctor go to the main console, press some buttons, and lowers a device over his head which zaps him with a beam that causes him to regenerate. While this is certainly better than Gerry Davis' "magic cabinet", it still doesn't stay true to the fact that the regeneration we see in the original TV story was an organic one and not some power granted him by the TARDIS. Perhaps this was what the Whitaker and Davis had originally intended and had to change it due to restrictions in studio time as Peel said in his author's note?

Nevertheless, this is a must-read book for the novelizations. The story is already a classic, but John Peel makes it a classic book as well. And since the story no longer exists except for a few seconds worth of clips, an audio recording, and a photonovel, this may be the closest a reader will get to experiencing the classic story as a whole entity. Absolutely worth reading and definitely not to be missed.