doctor who and the revenge of the cybermenTerrance Dicks
Target Books / Pinnacle Books
1978 / 1989

One by one, their limbs became diseased—they were replaced by plastic and steel! Little by little, their brains tired—computers worked just as well! Locked in a battle once again with these dreadful Cybermen, the Doctor is caught between desperate Vogans, determined to save their planet. Voga, and the Cybermen, determined to destroy it. But the Doctor has one last trick up his sleeve: it is a poison—powerful, plentiful, and deadly. And it is the only weapon humans have against the Cybermen, and the only reason the Cybermen must destroy Voga—the planet of Gold.

This is one of those novelizations of a serial from the classic Doctor Who run, this one being the 12th season four part story Revenge of the Cybermen. The 12th season was the inaugural season for Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor, and “Revenge of the Cybermen” takes place right on the heels of one of the more classic Dalek stories: Genesis of the Daleks. As a matter of fact, we come in right after the events from “Genesis of the Daleks”, finding The Doctor and companions Harry and Sarah Jane appearing on the deep space Becon station Nerva, apparently a bit earlier than the arrival of the TARDIS (long story, involving Time Lords and stuff). That doesn’t necessarily concern them as much as all of the dead bodies of what is presumed to be the crew of the Nerva Becon littering the corridors from what appears to be some kind of space plague. Seems there are only four survivors on the station, not counting the Doctor and his companions, the only ones to warn other ships from approaching the mysterious asteroid that appeared orbiting Jupiter. Turns out, that’s all that remains of the planet Voga, a planet of gold that was instrumental in the battle against the dreaded Cybermen (gold being the Cybermen’s kryptonite, if I may mix my geek medias, here). Turns out the Cybermen aren’t as extinct as everyone presumed, especially when the Doctor spots and deactivates a Cybermat, the source of the “plague” everyone was dying from in the first place. It also turns out that one of the crew members was acting as something of a double agent between the Cybermen and the Vogans, hoping to pick up some of that sweet, sweet gold for himself. Of course, wackiness ensues when they discover that the Vogans are what you would call distrustful of any other kind of alien being, and the Cybermen decide to put their own plan into motion of blowing up the rest of Vogan.

My particular copy of Doctor Who and the Revenge of the Cybermen is the 1989 reprint that Pinnacle Books released here in America, from the original Target Books in the UK. Hence the odd cover and logo style, as I like to use the artwork of the copy that I own/have read. As to the adaptation of the story, I found it to be a rather nifty tale of the Doctor outwitting the Cybermen in classic fashion. I haven’t seen the actual serial that this is based on—yet—but as a Doctor Who story, this one’s a classic. And at only 139 pages, it’s a quick shot of sci-fi goodness. My only real beef is the fact that the back cover blurb refers to the Doctor as “Doctor Who”; I don’t know if this was the decision of clueless American publishers, as I don’t have access to the Target book itself, but I took the liberty of fixing that little faux pas when reproducing that blurb for the purpose of this review. I mean, otherwise I would have been all kinds of fanboy twitchy, here.

You’re welcome. Four out of five TARDISes.