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Pepperpot prime mover profiled

Release Date: 25 May
323 pages * £20.00
Author: Alwyn W Turner
Publisher: Aurum Press

There are few British SF scriptwriters more deserving of appraisal than Terry Nation, the man behind not only Doctor Who ’s deadliest foes but also Survivors and Blake’s 7 . So it’s pleasing that accomplished author Alwyn W Turner has taken up the task.

The clue to the book’s content is in the subtitle, The Strange Worlds Of Terry Nation – this is about the Dalek creator’s writing; you’ll hardly learn a thing about the man himself. Disappointingly there are no revelations that he had a pathological hatred of Cybermen, for instance.

It’s a book SFX readers should love. After discussing Nation’s early career writing comedy, Turner goes into detail about Skaro’s infamous residents. Then there are in-depth dissections of Survivors and Blake’s 7 , along with chapters on The Avengers , which he also had a big part in.

Nation was a curious writer in many ways, and part of the fun of reading this is trying to establish exactly how good he actually was. His scripts had the habit of repeating themselves and usually involved a ticking bomb – but he also crafted some cracking yarns, spun some iconic dialogue and built mythologies that may last for centuries.

His move to America in the ’80s never really worked out, but Hollywood wasn’t a bad place for a boy from Llandaff to end up. And those Daleks will ensure he’s never forgotten, as this compulsive biography proves. Russell Lewin

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