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Decent Novelization

By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Sunday 24 March 2019
Rating:   6

"Vengeance on Varos" may be the best of the season of Colin Baker's first full outing as The Doctor. It has the very interesting premise of a former prison planet that has modeled its society along the prison rules, with the officers and guards becoming the elite governing class and the prisoners becoming the oppressed labor class. Martin has introduced an added twist in that the punishment system has been turned into mass entertainment. There is some strong social commentary about addiction to television. Martin has added some elements in his novelization that make the setup more sensible. These may have been in the original script, but probably could not have been done given budget constraints for television. These include having the guards' squad cars run on a monorail rather than being glorified golf carts. The size of the Varos colony is increased, with separate domes and access ways. Martin explains why the colonists live in domes rather than on the surface. There are several limitations in the novelized version still. These include a requirement to keep it short, to write to a youngish (early teens) audience, and to keep most of the original TV story intact. As interesting as the background is, Martin's storytelling technique is less thought out. The plot is mostly a long series of "evade and capture" events. Martin goes with the A.E. van Vogt method that every so often one must introduce a plot twist no matter what the logic of that might be.

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