The Dalek Generation by Nicholas Briggs

I’ve been looking forward to this book hugely since its announcement. Russell T Davies has recently spoken of his regret at not asking Nick Briggs to write an episode during his reign. Given the high quality of his Big Finish work, it is a tantalising possibility that I’m sure many of us have considered. Here he does get to write for the Eleventh Doctor, with his usual ear for each incarnation providing another faithful characterisation. What’s even better is the man who voices the Daleks for the TV and Big Finish stories, and has written epic tales for them in the main range and the Dalek Empire stories, getting to craft an adventure in prose.

As has been said many times, the Daleks are at their best as calculating and manipulative, rather than screaming psychos. Here they have come up with a brilliantly difficult plan for the Doctor to crack. By having them as the apparent benefactors to billions of humans, its very difficult to organise an effective rebellion, or even find out what their true plan is. These are like the seemingly-reformed Daleks we see in Victory of the Daleks and especially the Tangled Web segment of Dark Eyes writ on a huge scale. Briggs imports his Dalek Time Controller from Dark Eyes, Lucie Miller/To The Death and Patient Zero, a nemesis who is rapidly becoming a Davros-subsitute that we can eagerly look forward to re-matches with.

Like all good science fiction, The Dalek Generation has something to say about the world we live in, with references to a huge recession, a state begrudgingly providing welfare, that is unfeeling towards the individual people and their circumstances; the importance of the press also caring enough to take the right action on behalf of the people; and the banality of reality television.

Although the cover illustration shows the Doctor in his ‘7B’ clothes, this story presumably takes place in that two hundred year gap between The God Complex and Closing Time, or between adventures in series 7A. The Doctor is described as wearing his tweed jacket, and the TARDIS console is the pre-Snowmen version. The Doctor is companion-less, but neither mourning the Ponds nor searching for Clara.

The substitute companions for this story are the three recently-orphaned Blakely children: Sabel, Jenibeth and Ollus. Orphaned children are a staple of sci-fi and fantasy; Harry Potter, Lemony Snicket and to some extent Star Wars have all worked with this. Doctor Who has long been an escape for kids from a difficult childhood, and so the Doctor is here for the Blakelys. It’s very sensitively written, and their grief is not shied away from at all. As we’ve seen many times on television, Matt Smith’s Doctor is excellent with children. There’s a nice comment here on the Doctor’s personality here too: he’d clearly rather not be around the bereaved, and is far more comfortable rescuing the children from danger than comforting them. At one point he physically tries to block them out. This reminds me of the Fourth Doctor in Logopolis when he drapes an avuncular arm around Nyssa, walks so far with her, then turns around and blows the air out of his cheeks like he’s just avoided something unpleasant. Like his insistence to Amy in The God Complex – he is just a madman in a box, and his childlike nature ‘always running towards the next thing’ leaves him ill-equipped to deal with human emotional consequences.

Hopefully this is the first of many such novels from Mr Briggs, a writer with a seemingly-endless imagination for excellent Dalek stories.

Not read The Dalek Generation yet? Buy now from Amazon:

The Dalek Generation (Doctor Who) (Dr Who)

On Kindle:

Doctor Who: The Dalek Generation (Dr Who)

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One thought on “The Dalek Generation by Nicholas Briggs

  1. I just finished reading “The Dalek Generation” written by Nicholas Briggs. It was my the first Doctor Who book I’ve ever read. It was wonderful!

    From start to finish, I was totally mesmerized! I felt the emotions of the people in the story. I was happy, sad, and angry–sometimes all at the same time! I felt like I was on an emotional rollercoaster ride the whole time I was reading it!

    I love it when I can get totally immersed in a book! I could actually hear Matt Smith’s voice as the Doctor! I could picture in my mind, him performing the scenes from the book! And as always, I could hear the fantastic vocal stylings of Nicholas Briggs as the voice of the Daleks!

    “The Dalek Generation” is a wonderful story beautifully written! I highly recommend this book to anyone who is a Whovian and to any future Whovians as well! Bravo and Thank you to Mr Briggs! May he write many more in the years to come!

    ASL

    June 29, 2013

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