Synopsis: The Doctor lands in Lannet in England on Earth in 2004, yet all is not well. The inhabitants are spooked by something, yet no one will dare attempt to fight back. It is the Shalka, a race that comes from beyond the stars, who use a sort of scream to 'speak', as well as a weapon. The Shalka seek new worlds, Earth is their target... And according to the Doctor, humanity has an hour left...
Review: I don't know why I bought Scream of the Shalka. At that point in time, the Animated Doctor seemed too brash, too angry, too cold, too bitter. However, as I watched more Doctor Who, I began to love the Animated Doctor. Indeed, Jon Pertwee's Third Doctor seems to be where Richard E. Grant (playing the Animated Doctor) starts! The cape, the gothic look, the harsh voice, the slightly curt, hostile attitude. But the Animated Doctor is more than that, he makes jokes under pressure, he's a lot more subtle, more emotional. He's like a showman, an entertainer (he even breaks into song!) who's definitely enjoying it.
That said, the novel of Scream of the Shalka captures perfectly the animated webcast and the Animated Doctor's personality. This is a nearly perfect novel as such, with the right mixture of tension, "Doctor Who-ness" and just plain good reading. What's surprising is that the characters are given so much depth, for this one-off outing, yet it's never rushed, nor abbreviated. The plot, the Shalka and the characters are all given a decent outing.
Scream of the Shalka is perhaps Doctor Who going back to simplicity. Simple characters (but complex after you get past the initial meeting), simple straightforward plot, simple monsters with a simple function and purpose. If you like the novel, go watch the webcast or vice versa!
Title: The Scream of the Shalka