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The Cave-Monsters:  The Edwardian Cricketer Media Review

The Cave-Monsters: The Edwardian Cricketer Media Review

3rd Doctor, Liz Shaw, and Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart

Author: EdwardianCricketer/Thursday, July 27, 2017/Categories: Blog, Book Review

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Doctor Who and the Cave-Monsters, by Malcolm Hulke, Target, 1974.
Number 9 in the Doctor Who Library. 158 pages, paperback. Cover and illustrations by Chris Achilleos. Original script by Malcolm Hulke, BBC, 1970.

This adventure features the 3rd Doctor, Liz Shaw, and Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart.

The Doctor and Liz are summoned to a nuclear research facility where there have been mysterious power outages. Also, one of two pot-holers was killed while the other seems to be having a breakdown, drawing pictures of pre-historic creatures on the wall. The Doctor and Liz are introduced to Dr. Lawrence, the center director, Dr. Quinn, a chief scientist, and Major Baker, head of the facility’s security. They later meet Dr. Meredith, the center physician, and Dr. Miss Dawson, with whom Dr. Quinn is having a relationship.

Upon finding out that the facility is built near a system of caves, the Doctor explores them and is nearly killed by a dinosaur. It is called off by a fluting sound and the Doctor reports his findings to the Brigadier. They later can’t find the foot prints the Doctor found but Baker takes a shot at a figure in the dark. He is injured in an altercation.

A figure emerges outside and wanders off to a barn where a farm finds it. The creature kills the farmer and hides in the cellar, leaving the farmer’s wife injured.

The police inform the Brigadier about the farmer and he, with the Doctor and Liz, investigate. They leave Liz at the scene and visit the farmer’s wife in the hospital but she tell them the creature is still in the barn. They hurry back to find Liz injured but recovering. The creature has escaped.

Quinn visits the creatures in the cave and they give him a signaling device which he uses to capture the creature and takes it to his cottage. The Doctor visits him at home and notes how hot the cottage is. He returns to the center. Dawson visits Quinn. While she is there, the creature escapes capture and kills Quinn but knocks Dawson out. The Doctor returns to cottage to find Quinn dead. He finds and turns on the signaling device. The creature, a Silurian, comes out and the Doctor tries talking to it. A passing car frightens it and it runs out.

Baker escapes the infirmary to go back into the caves, trying to find saboteurs. He is captured. The Doctor and Liz go after him. They discover the Silurians are responsible for the power losses and return to the center. After a row with the Brigadier, Lawrence, and Mr. Masters, the undersecretary, the Doctor returns to the cave to allow himself to be captured.

UNIT goes into the caves but is cut off by a rock fall. The Doctor is talking to the Silurians about what happened to the world since their time in hibernation and how the moon came to be where it is. Baker thinks he’s a traitor.

There is a rift between the Old Silurian, Okdel, and the Young Silurian, Morka. Okdel is willing to accept the humans as equals but Morka wants to kill them all. Okdel released UNIT in a peace-keeping effort. Morka releases Baker, who is infected with a virus that could wipe out mankind. Baker is unaware as he comes back to the center. Okdel releases the Doctor with a canister of the virus to find an antidote. Morka sees this as betrayal and kills Okdel.

Baker is sent to a hospital but the Brigadier goes to retrieve him. Baker dies in the parking lot. Masters has been infected and is going back to London. Several people are infected and it starts to spread to other countries. The Doctor finds an antidote but is captured by the Silurians who tunnel from the caves into the center.

The Doctor informs Morka that the virus has been cured but Morka has a new plan to make the whole planet uninhabitable by humans by removing the van allen belt. The return to the center to force the technicians to connect their device, the destructor, to the cyclotron. The Doctor deliberately puts to reactor into overload and convinces the Silurians to return to the caves. The reactor is brought under control and the Doctor leaves with Liz, thinking he’s convinced the Brigadier to talk to the UN about admitting the Silurians and to begin peace talks. As they are leaving, there is a series of explosions as the Brigadier destroys the cave openings, trapping the Silurians in, presumably forever.

I like Malcolm Hulke’s writing style. He captures his own script in novel form very well. I think the novel rolls at a better pace than the televised story. Chris Achilleos’s illustrations are great and add to the feeling that this book was written for an older child to mid teen audience.

It seems like there’s a lot of running back and forth between locations. And it seems like there’s a lot of capture and escape or release. While cutting some of that back could have made for a shorter book, I think it might have dulled some of the character development. I’m not sure the lack of character development would have hurt the story, though, any more than trimming some of the exposition would have. It’s a good story and all the characterizations are spot on but it does tend to start and stop quite a bit. On a five star rating, I’d give it 3 out of 5.

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