Monthly Archives: March 2012
Despite living fifteen miles from the place for eleven years, I’d never got round to exploring Banbury at all; it had been somewhere one drove through on the way to the M40. An hour late on a Saturday afternoon doesn’t do the place justice, though I appreciated the crumbling majesty of St Mary’s, and it’s a pity it has to have so many security signs around it.
The great discovery was Books and Ink in White Lion Walk, combining new books – some hardbacks benefiting from extra plastic dustjackets from the shop to add value – with a well-curated secondhand section. There was a sizeable science fiction section and several 1960s Pelicans on such topics as the monetary system and the failure of British industry to reform. Wary of adding too much to my ‘to read’ pile, I instead made off with the 1967 Dragon paperback of Doctor Who and the Crusaders by David Whitaker.
Of the three Doctor Who novelisations published in the 1960s by Frederick Muller, Doctor Who in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks was first paperbacked in 1966 by Armada, then the children’s imprint of May Fair Books; Doctor Who and the Zarbi had to wait until Target came along in 1973; Doctor Who and the Crusaders was paperbacked in 1967, Dragon being at the time the children’s imprint of Atlantic Book Publishing of 11 New Fetter Lane, an address I more recently associate with academic publisher Routledge before they were uprooted to Milton Park in Oxfordshire.
As an aside, both Armada and Dragon imprints were still around in the late 1970s and early 1980s when I was in their target audience, but Armada had become part of Collins while Dragon ended up with Granada; still later both would be subsumed into Collins Children’s Publishing. Both had been founded by entrepeneur and writer Gordon Landsborough, whose daughter Diana Cornwell has written his intriguing Wikipedia entry.
I’d seen this book before but never I think held it. Like the Armada edition of with the Daleks, the text was reset rather than reproduced from the Muller hardback as was Universal-Tandem/Target’s practice in 1973. Henry Fox’s illustrations from the hardback were also replaced, though the new artist, whose work owed a lot to Fox’s, was not credited. The front cover illustration wasn’t particularly enticing, and while I’ve seen it reproduced before I’d not realised that there was a back cover illustration as well, presumably showing Barbara being carried off to the mercies of El Akir. The great loser in this edition is Vicki, whose existence is forgotten by the blurb writer.
As with Armada before, there was no impetus to create a series of Doctor Who paperbacks from Dragon. No new books from Muller were forthcoming, and one wonders whether Terry Nation’s plans for the Dalek television series, which stopped Dalek stories from being sold abroad, also prohibited Dalek exploitation in book form when associated with Doctor Who; as David Whitaker had written two of the three Muller books, one wonders whether he might have proposed more, with The Power of the Daleks being the obvious next step. One for Nothing at the End of the Lane, perhaps.