BOOK REVIEW: Doctor Who: The Dalek Handbook

The Dalek Handbook

The Dalek Handbook

Author: Steve Tribe and James Goss
Publisher: BBC Books
RRP: £9.99

This 2011 book is “your complete guide to the Doctor’s greatest enemies … the ultimate celebration of all things Dalek.” How does the content measure up against previous Dalek guides?

This book offers more in the way of directly relevent content than it’s predecessor (The TARDIS Handbook) and is also a larger text – at 160 pages. Despite the cover (which features only 2005 and 2010 Daleks), the actual content spans thoroughly from 1963 through to Victory of the Daleks in 2010. As such, there is actually quite an emphasis on Classic Who here, which is a pleasant change from many recent reference works. The presentation is sound – good quality paper in a neat hardbound cover.

The book opens with a brief history of Skaro together with summaries of it’s main flora, fauna and intelligent species. Following this, the books is divided into sections based upon logical groupings of stories from the TV series. The pattern of the book follows the official history of the Daleks as presented on the BBC website – maintaining that the events of Genesis of the Daleks changed the Daleks history so that the previous stories formed one time line and subsequent a second, which replaced it. Personally, I think this logic is flawed on many levels, but adherence to the official line is to be expected and the conjecture does lead to a much easier to follow fictional-history for the race.

The book is interspersed with asides and sidebars detailing production information (such as the process by which the various designs were arrived at, the “Dalekmania” of the mid 1960s and a very brief look at Daleks in other media). These are a welcome addition and although they are dotted around throughout the text, they never seem out of place or too much of a distraction from the main flow of the content. Images, both production and shots from episodes are included on a regular basis without overwhelming the reader.

In my opinion, this book stands above many Doctor Who reference books, of both the new series and the Classic. It’s presentation is aimed perfectly at the younger audience for which it is intended, yet manages to remain interesting in tone for the older audience. While I found myself disagreeing (including, embarrassingly vocally once!) with the history presented, I thought the content was an excellent introduction to the Daleks.

Rate It: 3.5 / 5
Dry Slaps: 0
GS Reviewer: WedgeDoc

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