Doctor Who and the Republication of the Targets
Followers of the Doctor Who books range have been pleasantly surprised by listings on Amazon which indicate that seven more novelisations of Doctor Who stories first published between 1965 and 1988 are to be reissued by BBC
Books as mass market paperbacks in April 2016. The titles listed are Doctor Who and the Zarbi, Doctor Who and the Web of Fear, Doctor Who and the Dinosaur Invasion, Doctor Who and the Genesis of the Daleks, Doctor Who and the Visitation, Doctor Who – Vengeance on Varos and Doctor Who – Battlefield. It also appears that Doctor Who and the Zarbi will appear in hardback, along with the other two novelisations published by Frederick Muller Ltd in the mid-1960s, Doctor Who and the Daleks and Doctor Who and the Crusaders, perhaps as a belated celebration of fifty years of Doctor Who books.
There is no news on whether the format followed by the reissues of 2011 and 2012 will be revived, with covers based on the design of the Target paperbacks (Target being the imprint which published Doctor Who novelisations for twenty years from 1973) and introductions by prominent writers associated either with televised Doctor Who or the contemporary books range. Given the four-year-gap between the second and third set this would seem unlikely, as the last three titles don’t come from either of the two series of covers by Chris Achilleos. Indeed, the inclusion of 1980s titles broadens the appeal of the range away from the 1970s nostalgia mined by the first two; this third set draws from the first seven Doctors and each has an obvious hook to sell the titles anew to the audience of 2016.
We have perhaps the most inhuman enviroment encountered by the Doctor; the subversion of the London Underground, a touchstone of metropolitan and perhaps English and British identity too, in a story which became part of Doctor Who‘s refoundation myths; a memorable allegory of middle-class protest turned authoritarian fantasy, with dinosaurs; the Dalek story I expected to be part of the second set; the serial which arguably moved the pseudo-historical genre from fan cr
itical theory into part of the series’ fabric, with alien monsters influencing the course of two famous historical events; a biting satire of reality television possibly even more relevant today than it was in the 1980s; and a story which promises (but doesn’t deliver in a conventional fashion) the meeting of the Doctor and his fellow British myth, King Arthur. If Amazon’s early listing is correct, this looks like a strongly commercial set.