Doctor Who: THE TARGET STORYBOOK Journey Out Of Terror Review - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Doctor Who: THE TARGET STORYBOOK Journey Out Of Terror Review

Christopher Morley starts at the beginning...

An old friend takes on a new face once more, sort of, as we welcome Target back onto the bookshelves! In its Seventies heyday it gave us novelisations of then-current television stories as well as dipping back into the past to offer a tantalising glimpse of what had gone before in a way the BBC itself just couldn't, at least in part due to a rather in retrospect short-sighted policy of wiping the tapes of broadcast episodes.

If for whatever reason you'd missed The Daleks, The Crusade or The Web Planet first time around & had the patience to wait a whole ten years from the launch of Doctor Who itself, you could at least content yourself with the next best thing in the form of copies of Doctor Who And The Daleks, Doctor Who And The Crusaders & Doctor Who And The Zarbi - nestled between Chris Achilleos's brand spanking new illustrated covers.

Something of that spirit remains now that the range has undergone a regeneration of its own & started telling original stories alongside the old favourites, Mike Collins taking up illustration duties by way of introduction to this newest batch.

Fittingly enough we also start, much like the original Target, at the beginning! The First Doctor's Journey Out Of Terror finds author Simon Guerrier revisiting The Chase as Vicki is left behind in the rush to escape both the Daleks & that haunted house.
“This house is exactly what you would expect in a nightmare. Yes, we're in a world of dreams. Creaking doors, thunder and lightning, monsters and all the things that go bumpety bumpety in the night.”
After the initial relief at getting back to the ship comes the awful realisation that he, Chesterton & Barbara are a woman down...........

Can they even be sure that they were in normal space? They have, after all, pegged it from the likes of Frankenstein's monster & Dracula before making it through the TARDIS doors as Miss Wright recounts. And as the Doctor observes, we humans do have a habit of conjuring all manner of such creatures in those oh so interesting brains of ours & giving them a sort of power of their own in the process of doing so!

He of course is not to know that much further down his personal timeline not one but two such manifestations will dog him. It's to the second of those such trips into his own subconscious that we can turn by way of a point of comparison.....

Welcome then to a sort of Amy's Choice, circa 1963! Only this time the dreamspace isn't quite as fraught. Julia, the young girl they will encounter during this extended dream sequence of sorts, isn't even half as nasty as the Dream Lord.
Vicki: What are you reading? Is it good?
Ian: Yes. A bit far-fetched.
She is but a vessel of the combined wills of the man the little fellow almost mockingly kitted out in matching tweed jacket & bow tie will taunt later on from within the pages of Monsters From Outer Space & his companions to find their fellow traveller safe & well, having more in common with the many citizens of the Land of Fiction the Time Lord will visit following his momentous first renewal & indeed chance to try a dickie-bow for size.
“Me? Worried? No. No. It's only the unknown that worries me.” he'll later tell Zoe.

It would seem that Guerrier has indeed also borrowed from another Simon, Nye, in more ways than one. Dimmed lights & freezing cold are among the first indicators that the Doctor & his companions aren't in either the distant past or far future any more.

He has at least a glimmer of knowledge that lands of fiction may well exist & some idea of how best to travel through them, shades also of the bubble universe of The Doctor's Wife as he ponders the nature of their dilemma. Before he can even begin to contemplate eventually speaking to the machine he will later admit to dubbing Sexy, a first glimpse of her implied sentience occurring during The Edge Of Destruction, the daft young man who'll later become so much older who stole her in the first place must work out how to get the old girl & all who travel in her out of quite the pickle.

In but the latest sign that he can't shake off his grandfatherly responsibilities even after Susan's departure, he even considers offering young Julia the chance to become her latest successor at his side before another lesson in humanity from Barbara forces him to at least confront the fact it might just be a way to lessen his guilt at having lost the one who should be in that place.

A conversation with the youngster in turn forces her to consider the possibility that the Doctor really can't get she & Ian home to the London of the early Sixties. But of course, he does, having first confronted what must pass as a formless intelligence similar to House which is implied to have created this land of dreams before departing to return to normal space as part of an ambitious gambit to get Vicki back with the aid of a stolen Dalek time vessel.

Whether they're firmly rooted in consciousness or merely sleeping isn't made clear- & indeed it's never really established across any medium whether the TARDIS' thief ever makes genuine time for a nap barring a quick rest in the Zero Room in the aftermath of his regeneration into his Fifth incarnation & that trip into an incredibly personal land of nod in another similarly younger looking body.
“Blimey. Never dropped off like that before. Well, never, really. I'm getting on a bit, you see.”
No such chance of a quick 40 winks for us, though. Time to slide on into Season 6B territory for Save Yourself, the final contribution of prolific Target writer Terrance Dicks & a revisit to the Second Doctor's swansong!

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