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The Seeds of Doom:  The Edwardian Cricketer Media Review

The Seeds of Doom: The Edwardian Cricketer Media Review

4th Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith

Author: EdwardianCricketer/Wednesday, June 28, 2017/Categories: Blog, Book Review

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Doctor Who and the Seeds of Doom, by Philip Hinchcliffe, Target, 1977.
Number 55 in the Doctor Who Library. 128 pages, paperback. Cover artist unknown.
Original script by Robert Banks Stewart, BBC, 1976.
Reprinted by Pinnacle Books, sixth printing 1989. 199 pages, paperback. Cover art by David Mann.

This adventure features the 4th Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith.

In the frozen wasteland of Antarctica, a team of scientists (Stevenson, Winlett, and Moberly) discover what looks like a gourd buried in the snow. They bring it back to their base and their research suggests it is a plant seed of about 20,000 years old. They contact the World Ecology Bureau. Sir Colin Thackeray, head of WEB, has his deputy, Richard Dunbar, contact UNIT and the Doctor. No one believes the Doctor’s theory of what the pod might be so he and Sarah take a helicopter to Antarctica to confirm.

In the meantime, the pod, left under ultraviolet light, opens and a tendril shoots out to attach itself to Winlett, leaving him infected. Also, Dunbar makes a visit to Harrison Chase, wealthy, self-proclaimed protector of plant life on Earth and gives him information about the pod for money. Chase sends a thug, Scorby, and a scientist, Keeler to retrieve the pod.

The Doctor and Sarah arrive in Antarctica to find Winlett in a state of change. The Doctor has Stevenson take him to where they found the pod and finds another one. Viewing a sample of Winlett’s blood confirms the Doctor’s theory that the pod of a Krynoid, an alien plant life form that can ravage planets.

An aircraft lands at the base and Scorby and Keeler, claiming to be lost, get inside the base. The Doctor plans to have Moberly amputate Winlett’s arm to try to save him and prevent a full conversion. As people prepare, Winlett leaves his bed and kills Moberly and escapes to the outside.

The Doctor, Sarah, and Stevenson discover the incident and leave to try to find Winlett only to return empty-handed. Scorby takes them hostage and Stevenson accidentally tells him about the second pod. Scorby ties up the Doctor and Stevenson but takes Sarah to the power unit and sets a time bomb.

The Doctor and Stevenson get free. The Doctor goes after Sarah but Stevenson is killed by the Krynoid, that has returned to the base. Scorby and Keeler leave with the pod as the Doctor frees Sarah. They are almost killed by the Krynoid but get away as the bomb explodes, destroying the Krynoid and the base. They are rescued and return to London.

The Doctor and Sarah encounter Chase who has them taken captive. The Doctor escapes being pulverized and rescues Sarah from becoming the second Krynoid. Keeler is infected instead. The Doctor and Sarah escape as Chase plans to cultivate the Krynoid that Keeler is becoming. The Krynoid escapes and begins growing.

The Doctor contacts the army who plans an air strike. Chase falls victim to his own pulverizer after a confrontation with the Doctor. The Doctor and Sarah escape the house as the army jets fire missiles at the Krynoid, destroying it and the house. The Doctor and Sarah set off for new adventures.

This is set in my favorite period of Doctor Who production:  the gothic Hinchcliffe/Holmes era. Producer Philip Hinchcliffe and script editor Robert Holmes headed what, to me, was one of the most brilliant eras in Doctor Who history. Hinchcliffe brilliantly brings to The Seeds of Doom in novel form what Stewart did for on screen. The Seeds of Doom is a dark, atmospheric peace with a psychopathic villain who is not interested in mankind at all, to the point of not even considering himself human. Chase is a fantastic adversary for the Doctor in this story. He’s utterly mad but so reasonable about it. What he’s doing just makes sense to him. But poor Keeler is truly a pathetic figure, a victim of circumstance. Chase’s crusher is a blood-chilling concept. For Chase to fall victim to it is both awful and great, for him and the audience. He gets what he deserves but, more or less, becomes what he wanted:  to be one with his plants.

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