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Doctor Who and the Talons of Weng Chiang: 02/14/10
I watched Doctor Who and the Talons of Weng Chiang before I read the novelization by Terrance Dicks. The Doctor and Leela go to Victorian London and discover a plot involving a secret Chinese cult and a sewer full of giant genetic abominations.
To be honest I don't really like the story in either form. As it's set on Earth and not that long ago the period piece of it doesn't feel genuine. Now in the television series some of that problem stems from their low budget. The book though doesn't expand on Victorian England to make it seem any more plausible or lived in than the series does. I realize that the books are constrained by a fixed number of pages but the other novelizations I've read have done a better job of bringing the episodes to life.
The other thing that irks me is the depiction of the Chinese in the series. I realize they're a cult and their leader is a typical Doctor Who monster but they aren't very convincing Chinese. Concurrent series, The Avengers, for instance, did much better jobs of depicting Chinese and Japanese characters. Again, the book fails to improve upon the characterizations of the Chinese, making them just as two dimensional as they are in the television series.
Of all the Doctor Who novelizations from this era I've read, Doctor Who and the Talons of Weng Chiang was the most difficult and frustrating to read.