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|Judge the book, not the serial|
|By:||David Layton, Los Angeles, United States|
|Date:||Sunday 1 May 2005|
|Rating: || 7|
I don't know why this one is not rated more highly. My suspicion is that people are judging the TV version, not the novelization. The TV production was one of the weaker Davison stories, foiled principally by the inability of the production to match Steve Gallagher's script. The novel, by contrast, suffers from no such problems. John Lydecker is a pseudonym for Steve Gallagher, the scriptwriter. Gallagher, who had published several novels before writing for Doctor Who, puts his novelist's skills to good use. The book is not merely a reproduction of the script with a couple of short descriptions. Gallagher takes the time to enhance the descriptions, explain the motivations, and fill in missing details that help make the whole story more sensible. Gallagher has borrowed heavily from Norse legend and myth, but not in the heavy-handed fashion that "Underworld" relied on Greek legend. The result is a much richer and more satisfying experience than "Terminus" was on TV. There are still a couple of flaws. There is no particular need to heighten the sense of urgency by making the whole universe at stake; merely emphasizing the loss of several thousand Lazars and Vanirs would have done well enough. The segments involving Tegan and Turlough seem irrelevant, since the two get exactly nowhere for the whole story. Similarly, the appearance of Kari and Olvir seems mainly to cover the roles emptied by the wayward Tegan and Turlough, and most of the functions of these two characters could have been modified to fit Tegan and Turlough. For instance, Turlough's technological knowledge could have led him to stumble upon the fact that the ship contained victims of a deadly, contagious disease. It is well within Turlough's nature to have panicked at such knowledge in much the same way Olvir did. These complaints aside, I have to say that "Terminus" is one of the better-written Target novelizations.