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Audio Book Review


Doctor Who
The Dalek Generation


Author: Nicholas Briggs
Read by: Nicholas Briggs
Publisher: AudioGO
RRP: £15.99, US $29.95
ISBN: 978 1 4713 2984 5
Release Date: 03 June 2013

The Sunlight Worlds offer you a life of comfort and plenty. Apply now at the Dalek Foundation.” Sunlight 349 is one of countless Dalek Foundation worlds, planets created to house billions suffering from economic hardship. The Doctor arrives at Sunlight 349, suspicious of any world where the Daleks are apparently a force for good – and determined to find out the truth. The Doctor knows they have a far more sinister plan – but how can he convince those who have lived under the benevolence of the Daleks for a generation? But convince them he must, and soon. For on another Foundation planet, archaeologists have unearthed the most dangerous technology in the universe...

The Daleks have got up to some pretty strange stuff over the years: pretending to be servants in The Power of the Daleks, playing trains in The Evil of the Daleks, becoming communists in Brotherhood of the Daleks, serving tea in Victory of the Daleks... Nevertheless, writer / reader Nicholas Briggs manages to do something different with his favourite monsters in The Dalek Generation. Here they are supposed benefactors, the saviours of the utopian Sunlight Worlds, and their ranks include a Dalek Litigator who audaciously accuses the Doctor of hate crimes!

The narrative kicks off with a diverse array of apparently unconnected threads. A reporter covers a train crash on Sunlight 349. The Doctor observes a funeral on the desert planet of Gethria. Elsewhere, a little girl held captive by the Daleks comforts herself with memories of her favourite sweets, Jelly Blobs. The Doctor responds to a distress call in space, but arrives too late to save the two researchers who sent the message. Quite how all these plotlines fit together takes some time to become clear...

The inclusion of a trio of sibling children, whose lives are adversely affected by the Daleks, gives a very personal and compassionate angle to the Daleks’ evil scheme, and helps to justify the Doctor’s intense hatred for the creatures. As a result, you hardly notice that the Daleks’ actual appearances in the story are relatively few and far between.

In common with The Evil of the Daleks, the creatures’ plan is absurdly complicated, involving a time span of several decades – literally a lifetime for some of the characters. I would have thought (without giving too much away) that the Daleks could have got similar results more quickly if their scheme had been less convoluted. Still, I suppose they might have used their time-travel technology to nip forward and need not have got bored waiting!

This book is available in a number of formats, including hardback, ebook and unabridged audio book. I would say that the latter is the best format in which to enjoy this tale, because that way you get to hear Briggs doing his excellent Dalek voices. These include the chillingly unhinged Time Controller, a character previously heard in several Big Finish audio dramas (though they haven’t happened yet from the Time Controller’s point of view, thus neatly sidestepping the issue of Oswin Oswald erasing Dalek records of the Doctor in Asylum of the Daleks, which obviously hasn’t happened yet either).

We are used to having Briggs provide the monster voices for Doctor Who audio books, but here he voices all of the characters, from little Ollus Blakely to the Doctor himself. Owing to Briggs’ vocal qualities, his Doctor occasionally sounds more like David Tennant than Matt Smith.

The ending is something of a disappointment. It bears comparison to the climax of The Daleks’ Master Plan, only with a much more sugary coating, in line with recent trends on the television series. Or perhaps that should be a Jelly Blobby coating. Apart from the saccharine aftertaste, The Dalek Generation is a very enjoyable adventure, generating plenty of excitement and emotion.


Richard McGinlay

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