Book Review: Made of Steel by Terrance Dicks
Terrance Dicks is often criticized for the rather pedestrian efforts he made in the dozens and dozens of Target novelizations he did, but he’s still one of the most important writers in the show’s history, having helmed the Third Doctor’s entire era as script editor, and contributed to some classic stories like “The War Games.” Made of Steel is the third original Doctor Who novel I have read of his, and I have enjoyed each of them.
Made of Steel is essentially a sequel to the Series Two finale, with a handful of Cybermen being left behind on our Earth due to the fact that they were created after entering this dimension, and thus were not sucked back through the Void when it closed. Pretty clever premise. Unfortunately, due to the required brevity of the quick read series, Dicks didn’t have a lot of time to work out an epic story, but this still ended up being an enjoyable romp.
Dicks has a remarkably strong grasp of the Tenth Doctor. He has to be one of the few people to write for every Doctor from Second on to Tenth (except the Ninth) and has done a good job of writing the Doctor in all of these incarnations. I think overall Made of Steel is a better written story than The Sontaran Games, the other Quick Read I’ve reviewed, and the character building is more substantial, despite the story’s length. The Sontaran Games was more generally engaging and intense, but Made of Steel was equally enjoyable, despite being a bit lighter.
It’s hardly an awe-inspiring book. That being said, it is really cool to see Uncle Terry still contributing to the Doctor Who canon (Yes, canon until proven otherwise) after all these years. I’d love to see the BBC Wales series bring him back to write a new television episode, but being that this is unlikely, I’m glad he’s still doing it in written form.