Thursday, 16 August 2012

Retro Books: Doctor Who - The Scales Of Injustice By Gary Russell

Doctor Who - The Missing Adventures: The Scales of Injustice (Virgin Publishing, 1996) is a bit of a record-breaker for me. Having read the first two chapters when I was regularly commuting on a train some 12 years ago I put it on ice with the intention of one day picking it up again and finishing it.

That one day came again the other week when selecting some holiday reading. Having recently enjoyed re-watching The Silurians, The Sea Devils and Warriors Of The Deep and listening to Geoffrey Beever's reading of Malcolm Hulke's novelisation of The Sea Devils, I thought I'd give The Scales of Injustice another spin as it features The Doctor's underwater foes and is set at the end of the first Jon Pertwee series.

The Return of The Silurians

Reading this book is a bit of a slow burner for me (despite a 12 year hiatus). Author Gary Russell evidently had fun cramming a lot of elements into the mix which is set at the end of Jon Pertwee's first earth-bound season as The Doctor.  A season that brought us Autons, Silurians, Ambassadors of Death, Project Inferno, UNIT and Liz Shaw. Here Russell extends many of the components of that series and adds political intrigue, kidnappings, assassinations, The Brigadier's marriage break-down, Liz Shaw's departure, Mike Yates arrival and ultimately the return of The Silurians.

Plenty to keep a reader amused you may think, perhaps, however I found the tale a little cluttered. The Doctor's second encounter with The Silurians is not too different from his televised encounter. They still seem bent on wiping out the humans who have invaded their planet while The Doctor still seems insistent the aliens can co-exist on the same planet. After spending half the book in captivity The Doctor decides a couple of instances of Venusian karate will get him and his fellow captor out of a fix.

The Scales Of Injustice - A Tribute To Classic Doctor Who

More interesting is the back story that C19 have a conspiracy to bring down UNIT and that a pale faced government official with cybernetic strength is in the process of collating as much information about previous earth invasions and The Doctor's adventures as possible.  Russell pulls the master-stroke here of referring to future adventures that haven’t occurred in The Doctor's time-line yet (even though they have occurred in earth's past). He also takes liberties of introducing The Sea Devils and The Myrka, admittedly giving the latter a much more ferocious presence than in Warriors of The Deep.

The author also has fun writing dialogue for UNIT characters particularly exchanges between Yates and Bentonand giving a bit more profile to the third nameless soldier on the left who usually gets bumped off in a UNIT episode without further consideration.

In conclusion The Scales of Injustice doesn’t really offer anything new to fans of The Silurians but is a fun tribute to classic Doctor Who as well as the classic series continuity as a whole.

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