Destination TARGET:
Granto.

Books Let's begin. An Unearthly Child is an excellent example of how the (I can't believe I'm about to use this word) late Terrance Dicks was able to take even the most incoherent of Doctor Who television stories and make it lucid on the page.

His first key decision is to allow the whole of the first episode to encompass half of the book, cramming the final three, apparently far less interesting episodes into the latter half, emphasising, let's be honest, the best bit of the whole story.

But it's also much clearer that Barbara is the prime mover in forcing Ian and especially the Doctor to taking a humanitarian approach to the injured Za.  While both of them want to run away back to the TARDIS and leave him to his fate, Barbara is very clear about the moral choice they have to make.

Not only that but it also reveals that what would become storytelling staples later started here.  The TARDIS team are captured almost as soon as they arrive and have to find ingenious ways to escape, only really succeeding when they work together.

We also enjoy our first regime change, even if its not the most altruistic reasons.  In proving Kal to be a murderous liar, the Doctor effectively replacing him with someone they assume will be more pliable in their fate.  That Za's also impossible to reason with just shows he needs practice.

There is one other copy editing oddity which I hadn't heard about before picking up the book.  On the page it reads like literary deja vu and took a couple of readings to spot it.





Here's a transcript in case you're having difficulty with my dodgy scan:
"Za moved cautiously into the clearing, heading straight for the bushes where Ian and his companions were hiding. From somewhere behind him, there came a low growl.

Za swung round. It was the voice of the tiger, the long-toothed on, the old enemy of the people.

Granto the clearing, heading straight for the bushes where Ian and his companions were hiding. From somewhere behind him, there came a low growl.

Za swung round. It was the voice of the tiger, the long-toothed on, the old enemy of the people"
Which is either an error from the original transcript which was copied during typesetting (this is from the first edition), or simply a snafu at the printers.  I wonder if it was caught and corrected in later editions or it stuck.

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