Sunday, October 01, 2000

Doctor Who and the Masque of Mandragora

by Philip Hinchcliffe

Dr. Who was a children's television series on the BBC from the early 60's to the late 80's. Many of the episodes were novelised for the reading public. Around 1979, the mid-70's episodes started appearing on PBS here in the U.S. and quickly found a following. (Of course, I remember reading that the average age of the viewers here was 35, compared to 10 in the U.K.) Ten of the novelisations were republished by Pinnacle Books for the new Dr. Who fans. The Masque of Mandragora was among the former and I was among the latter, so I bought it. Now I'm getting rid of it. Don't get me wrong, I think Dr. Who is great. The series is quite entertaining and some stories are quite imaginative. But Masque no longer makes the cut for me. The tale is about The Doctor and his companion, Sarah Jane Smith, (wipe that smirk off your face. This is children's literature) as they battle the malevolent energy of the Mandragora Helix in 15th Century Italy. (The Doctor, in case you are wondering, travels through time and space.) There are plenty of plot twists, political intrigue and even a slight bit of romance, but in this particular tale, the Doctor is never sufficiently challenged by the bad guys. He's almost too much in control. But since it's Dr. Who, and has a few good lines, I'll rate it as good waiting room material.

LibraryThing link

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