Doctor Who and the Cybermen Paperback – Jul 7 2011
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About the Author
Gerry Davis was an experienced television writer when he came to Doctor Who as Script Editor in 1966. Wanting to explore stories rooted more closely in real science, Davis contacted Dr Kit Pedler. The resulting collaboration resulted in several notable Doctor Who scripts, and in particular the creation of the Cybermen. After leaving Doctor Who, Gerry Davis continued to work with Kit Pedler, and together they created the groundbreaking and controversial BBC series Doomwatch. Gerry Davis returned to Doctor Who in 1975 and novelised several of his and Pedler's Doctor Who stories for Target books. Davis spent most of the 1980s working in the USA on film and television projects. He died in 1991.
Christopher ('Kit') Pedler was a medical researcher, and head of the Electron Microscopy Department at the University of London when he was recommended to Script Editor Gerry Davis as someone who might be useful as an adviser to Doctor Who. Davis presented Pedler with hypothetical, fictional problems and asked to extrapolate what would happen, the answer to which formed the basis of Doctor Who stories. Pedler told Davis that as a doctor his greatest phobia was a time when spare part surgery had reached the stage where it was commonplace. There would come a point where it was impossible to tell how much of the original human being remained... From this fear was created the Cybermen. Kit Pedler died in 1981.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Gerry Davis teamed up with Kit Pedlar and made many film legends, but it bears worth saying that the Cybermen are something special. They are what Kit ( a doctor) feared the most: a person who has de-humanized himself upon the replacement of a living body part with something made of metal and plastic. Why this is a problem was well treated in THE TENTH PLANET, but here, the Cyberman Sequel, we see the Cybermen are developing into newer, more frightening beings. Their original eerie, off-pattern voices are dry and cold; they recognize the Doctor much in the same way the Daleks recognize him in POWER OF THE DALEKS. And they see Earth not as a source of personal revenge, but a cold method of extermination that will caution the rest of the Universe to heed them lest they enjoy Earth's fate.
This is the novelization of the newly animated THE MOONBASE, and there are many small gems within the pages that enhance the episodes (animated or not). Gerry Davis did an excellent job with writing up in story form his old script, and threw in little treasures that you feel would have been in the filmed version had they only the screen time and expense to spare. For example, we often see Troughton's Doctor consulting his diary when troubled. Here Davis explains through Polly's eyes that he is not only consulting, he is creating and solving complicated mathematical problems in the pages; working them through helps him think when he's troubled--exactly one of the reasons why he plays a recorder. Like all of Troughton's companions, Polly is given plenty to do. She uses her brains to create a chemical bomb against the Cybermen, She chafes at women's roles but knows if she wears a miniskirt she can usefully distract men. Jamie may spend most of the story out of his head with a concussion, but his ravings give the Doctor the first clue, and it is his simple solution that inspires Polly to create her weapons. He is a tough, capable boy and we'll have to meet the Brig before we find someone as brave. Seen as "a little thick" Jamie merely shrugs and accepts the wonders around him, as opposed to the others who ask enough questions that they actually annoy the Cybermen.
Ben Jackson is old-school Navy, and Davis notes that Ben's trained ears (he works the radar on the HMS TEAZER), tells him when the TARDIS lands on the Moon. His eyes are also Navy-trained. Despite the future's high skills and technological wonders, it is Ben's trained eyes that verify the Cybermen are coming.
One of the crits with THE MOONBASE was the Cyberman's terribly slow walk across the surface of the Moon on their attack to the base. Davis explains here this is deliberate: the Cybermen scorn emotions, but they know it is a useful weapon against weaker species, so they purposely walk slowly to their attack in a method that reminds the Doctor of how the Zulu successfully slow-marched their way against their enemies. It's nice to get an explanation--and one that makes sense!
OCs are well-developed and easily fathomed with only a few lines. Men from all over the world are here, and generally they work together but this strange plague has them all terrified. You can believe in them--and admire them. The simple style of the book is beautifully done. You may not have seen any version of the MOONBASE, but you can see it well enough in your head when you read it. This is an era where a Hemmingway-simple style prevailed and the broadest possible range of readers, young and old, could read the simply style and not be insulted. I am frequently impressed at the craft that goes into these Classic novelizations.