Doctor Who Target Book Club Podcast discussion

Doctor Who and the Loch Ness Monster

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message 1: by Tony (new)

Tony Whitt (goodreadscomemperordalek) | 94 comments Mod
Here we are discussing Terrance Dicks' novelization of THE LOCH NESS MONSTER! If you want to hear your review of or comments on this book read on the air, or you have a specific question about the book, please post it here by no later than 5pm CST on Friday, October 23!

message 2: by Dave (last edited Sep 27, 2020 10:41AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Dave  Davis | 49 comments It may be that listening to the podcast has improved my critical ability, but this book is a confusion of good and bad that I probably would have missed a few months ago.
Firstly, the Loch Ness monster on the cover is a huge improvement on the boggle-eyed glove puppet we saw onscreen, even if we ignore the dodgy CSO which, by this time, seems to be getting worse, with the pioneering work by Barry Letts largely forgotten.
I have been accused, quite unfairly, of overusing commas, but the amount of Shatnerizing punctuation I saw in parts of this book shocked even me. I was reading the pdf version though, so maybe it was due to faulty OCR.
I can't find an example of excess punctuation now I come to write my review but, ironically, I can find one where more commas would have been useful. The Zygon that had taken the form of Sister Lamont "had been forced to leave the form of Sister
Lamont in order to attack Angus—a Zygon can use its power to ‘sting’ only when in its proper form." That last part would flow better as a clause, rather than a footnote transplanted into the body of the text.
The Loch Ness monster is, of course, far better on the page than onscreen. The scenes surrounding it, particularly when it was chasing the Doctor on the moor, couldn't really be improved, but they only served to highlight how bad the monster was anyway.
There's an addition, or rather a replacement, of a scene at the beginning, where the Tardis arrives. Onscreen, we join the Tardis crew as they're already marching across the moor, and there's a change here too. It's a shame that, while the Doctor still wears tartan versions of his trademark hat and scarf, his normal attire isn't being worn by Sarah and Harry, as it is in the TV version. It's a trivial but charming sequence which wouldn't have had the same effect on the page. Besides, it was meant to reinforce the idea that we were in Scotland, which is easily established in prose.
The book isn't entirely bad, far from it, and there's lots of POV and thought process exposition, most of which makes sense. There are exceptions, such as Sarah musing "Soon the old stories would be true at last. There really would be a monster in Loch Ness" as the Skarasen begins its journey back to Scotland. It's the same creature that's been there for centuries, but Sarah's thoughts would suggest it's going to Loch Ness for the first time. Errors like this, and a slightly disjointed narrative flow, make this book feel unfinished, as if it's an early draft sent to the printer in error. Which is a shame, as the characters are very strong, particularly Harry, who is back on track after the backward step last time, just in time to leave as a series regular! There wasn't a moment where I felt like I was reading a third Doctor story, and even Sarah has scarcely a quivering lip, refreshing for a Terrance Dicks book.

Michael (bigorangemichael) | 49 comments When I first started watching "Doctor Who," my PBS station (bless them!) aired a single installment each weeknight and a full story (in episode format, thank heavens!) each Saturday night. And so it was that my first jump into the world of Tom Baker as the Doctor was "Terror of the Zygons."

My new-found enthusiasm for the show led me to my local library, which had a collection of the Pinnacle versions of the stories. So, I had picked up a copy of "The Loch Ness Monster" days before I recorded "Zygons" and started watching. As a young fan, it felt like it was meant to be for me to see this story and have the novel right there to read as well.

Years later, "Zygons" is still one of my favorite Tom Baker stories, despite the dodgy effects when it comes to the titular monster of the book. And yet, the novel has a few things going for it. Dicks adds back in a few things, including the Zygons having a sting that just didn't work on-screen. We have the infamous scene of the TARDIS being invisible upon materialization (thankfully included on the DVD) and a few other minor moments. But beyond that, I can't recall this one being necessarily all that memorable. I will give it a re-read next year when the audiobook is released (though there are pirated copies of an earlier audiobook floating around out there if you know where to look) and see how it fares then. I recall it as being fairly close to the source material and not necessarily a terrible read, just one that was pretty adequate. (As I think is the case with a lot of the Tom Baker era novels).

Damon Habbin | 30 comments A good read sadly it's the last of my favourite TARDIS team 3.5 ⭐

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