THIS STORY TAKES
place BETWEEN THE
TV STORY "THE POWER
OF THE DALEKS" AND
THE NOVEL "THE MURDER
PAPERBACK (ISBN 0-426
-20440-9) RELEASED IN
Earth has been
FIRST by a race
searching for a new
power source, More
recently by THE Cat-
People, who intend to
continue the work
done by the earlier
Like the author of this book, I am a big lover of cats. Unfortunately though, I am no big lover of Invasion of the Cat-People – a horrendously complicated tale that I am sure, if one took the time to study the scientific concepts housed therein, would be a wonderful example of highbrow science-fiction. Sadly, I doubt that many people – myself included – have either the time or the inclination to read each and every page twice.
However, I did enjoy reading about the regular characters. I have a real soft spot for the Patrick Troughton era – particularly the superb fourth season – and I rate both Ben and Polly very highly indeed, particularly when compared to many of the other 1960s’ companions. Russell dwells mostly on Polly in this novel – Polly ‘Wright’, it seems – and reveals a side to her character that the television series never touched upon. We learn about her life back in 1966, her ex-boyfriend, her friends – it certainly gives her a new depth. What really worked for me is that when she finds herself in 1994, she is not immediately swept-up in some massive adventure (or at least, she is not aware that she has been swept up in some massive adventure), and so for the first time since she met the Doctor, she finds herself with the chance to stop and take stock of her life.
“The old me! If you ever get home, look up Ian and Barbara…
ask them about the caveman…
Don’t presume to place your pathetic human morals,
ideology and nuances upon me, Benjamin Jackson!”
Similarly, Russell puts a slightly different spin on the second Doctor – or at least, he expands on certain traits that we only fleetingly glimpsed on television. With the quote above, for example, I could clearly picture Troughton manically jumping up and down, spouting out his lines, but it is what he is saying that is important. The season four portrayal of Troughton’s cosmic hobo-Doctor had a very dark vein running through it, and I really like how the author brings that to the surface here.
The highest praise I can bestow upon this novel though is that I could quite easily imagine it as a 1966 six-parter. With a bit of red pen from Gerry Davis; a couple of furry masks from
the costume department; and some very suspicious model work, I could really see this one playing out before me in glorious monochrome.
Sadly though, this is not a serial that you can make yourself sit though, dutifully, the way you might with the likes of, say, The Dominators. It’s a novel, and you really have to concentrate. That is why when faced with the Euterpians, the Felinetta (related to the Cheetah people,
you know), about twenty other ‘main’ characters, and a plot that requires consultation of several thick scientific tomes to even be understood, I think that I could be forgiven for saying that Invasion of the Cat-People is a far cry from being the lightweight read that I had both expected and desired – and, to be vicious like a killer cat, it is not worth the effort.
Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2006
E.G. Wolverson has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
This novel’s blurb places it between the television serials The Power of the Daleks and The Highlanders. Within this gap, we have placed it prior to the novel The Murder Game, which was released later.
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