How do you rate novelizations?

I think that it is hard to rate novels that follow the source closely. For example Wild Blue Wonder. The story is good but that is mainly because of the good source material. It does not add anything new. If I only rate the written story it is probably a 4/5 but my enjoyment is lower because of the reason I added above. How do you rate books like this?


That’s an interesting question. Should the novels add to the existing episodes? Or should they just be novelisations of episodes, thus faithful to the source material?

I think just rate it based on how much you enjoyed it, not based on what you thought it should have been?


I think similarly, I prefer it when a novelisation add something to the story, but overall I don’t think I do take how much I enjoy an episode into account that much, because if I don’t like a book, I’m not going to like it even if I like the TV story


While it’s great when novelizations add to the story, you have to remember that the bulk where written before the advent of the home video market. So when having a faithful retelling of the TV story was a major selling point, that’s what you got.


I also prefer it when novelizations add new material or flesh out characters or storylines from the episode. But if the source is well-written and has a strong story (e.g., Wild Blue Yonder), I generally don’t mind if the novelization is very similar. It’s also down to the writing style of the author, whether it appeals to me or not. The basic question I ask myself is: would I rather read the novel than watch the episode again, or do I find the novelization to be a great alternative way to experience the story? If the answer is yes, then the novelization is successful, but if the answer is no, then it’s not a good novelization for me (even if it might be a good book!).

The 60th novelizations are interesting because Wild Blue Yonder is pretty much exactly like the TV episode, while The Star Beast adds some small things, and The Giggle is a very different experience. I find Wild Blue Yonder the weakest of these, even if I love the episode itself. But it’s still a great novel because it’s based on such a great story. It’s just not as effective without the visuals and the sound.


My favorite novelizations are the ones that expand upon the original story or make up for something that was lacking in the original version because it allows me to experience something familiar in a new way. Though I do understand the opposite perspective, that the purpose of “Doctor Who” novelizations is to be 1:1 with its TV counterpart because at one point they were the only way of revisiting previous stories, I live in a day and age where it isn’t the only way and so the ones that expand upon the source material usually rank more highly in my book. I haven’t read the Wild Blue Yonder novelization, but based on the description from Tian I have to wonder what the point of even publishing the thing was (financial gain aside) if it wasn’t going to expand upon what was already in the source material, especially in a day and age where you can just go back and watch the story instead of having to read an entire book.

I suppose this is a roundabout way of saying, if a novelization doesn’t expand upon the original story it fails in what I perceive to be its modern purpose and as a result just feels like a complete waste of time.


I think that they should remain 100% faithful to the televised story in terms of events and dialogue, but flesh it out by adding background to the locations & characters, perhaps with additional scenes, and exploring their motivations especially where the writer’s original intentions may not have come through onscreen.


If done well I also think that new novelisations should add context and background to the original ideas of the author. If it is done like the “Dalek” novelisation I would much rather have a word-by-word retelling, half of that book is totally unnecessary backstory for inconsequential characters.

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