Synopsis: The Doctor and Sarah land on the planet Karn, which is home to a secret Sisterhood, a mad scientist – and a brain in a jar. The brain belonged to an evil Time Lord called Morbius and Solon wants to bring him back to life. Just like he wanted to do in the original novelisation.
Identical to the original novel
- 1. A Graveyard of Spaceships
- 2. The Keepers of the Flame
- 3. The Horror Behind the Curtain
- 4. Captive of the Flame
- 5. Sarah to the Rescue
- 6. The Horror in the Crypt
- 7. Solon’s Trap
- 8. The Doctor Makes a Bargain
- 9. The Monster Walks
- 10. Monster on the Rampage
- 11. Deathlock!
- 12. A Time Lord Spell
Background: Terrance Dicks once again rewrites his earlier adaptation of the story he originally wrote (ish) for TV – this time for a younger readership.
Notes: The murder of the alien Kriz by Condo is excised, with the book beginning instead with the arrival of the TARDIS. Solon’s first scene is also cut, jumping straight to the introduction of the Sisterhood. Maren’s sacrifice is both excised and glossed over, with Maren presenting the Doctor with the last drops of the elixir before he gives the soot-clearing firework to Ohica.
Cover & Illustrations: Harry Hants gives us a much better cover for this than we got for the fuller version; even though it’s a very similar basic idea (the Doctor’s face huge in the background as Solon wrestles with the monster), it’s beautifully painted. Peter Edwards provides 35 wonderful illustrations and the gothic setting really suits his style. His Morbius monster has huge taloned feet like those of a bird of prey and pretty much every picture of blind Sarah is unnervingly creepy, but especially the one where she enters the room containing Morbius’ brain in a tank. Best illustrations so far.
Final Analysis: Confession time – this was the version of the story I had as a kid and I didn’t read the full novel prior to this project. It’s a great introduction for children to the genre of horror, enhanced greatly by Peter Edwards’ gritty illustrations, which truly are the stuff of nightmares. It’s a shame this was the last of these experimental junior editions and I wonder how a version for younger readers of The Android Invasion (the Fourth Doctor story with the lowest death count) might have looked.