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Disappointing Conversion

By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Tuesday 17 May 2005
Rating:   4

"Kinda" is one of the top Doctor Who stories in its TV version, an intriguing concoction of comparative religion and critique of English colonialism. In this respect, it is like Doctor Who does Roger Zelazny. Therefore, it would have been very interesting to have read a novelisation by the original scriptwriter, Christopher Bailey. Instead, Terrance Dicks does his usual bare bones writing here. I have said elsewhere that Dicks is a better scriptwriter than novelist, and this one proves that beyond doubt. Dicks provides simple descriptions in primer sentences, but principally just transcribes dialogue. One can hardly call this writing. Most frustrating is his verb choice. No part of speech can make writing come alive better than a well-chosen verb. Dicks, however, sticks to neutral and general-purpose verbs, such as "was" and "looked" and "found." Additionally, he adds little descriptive detail and few phrases or adjectives that would enhance one's mental picture of events. It all makes a lively story go flat.

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