Tiny Metal Minds (Revenge of the Cybermen)
|Some monsters appear and give an immediate sense of|
terror and awe. Other monsters appear and make you go
“Oh. It’s them.”
It’s April 19, 1975. The Bay City Rollers are at number one with “Bye Bye Baby,” which lasts for two weeks before Mud overtake them with “Oh Boy,” an a cappella cover of an old Buddy Holly song, which also lasts for two weeks. Peter Shelley, The Goodies, 10cc, and, in the highest concentration of Tammy’s ever seen in the top ten, Tammy Wynette and Tammy Jones all chart as well.
While in real news, the Red Army Faction takes over the West German embassy in Stockholm, then promptly inadvertently blow themselves up, leading to West Germany changing to a “we don’t negotiate with terrorists” policy. That’s about all that happens in these four weeks. Well, that and the Vietnam War ending. But that’s nothing, right?
While on television, we have Revenge of the Cybermen. On the surface, this is straightforward – a story commissioned under Letts and made under Hinchcliffe, written by Gerry Davis, a writer who was frankly rubbish even in his prime, and thus desperately rewritten by Robert Holmes in a not-entirely-successful effort to salvage it, it’s a lackluster story of the sort new production teams do in their first year. And that’s not a completely unfair reading of it. But for once, it’s instructive just how this story gets snared between the Letts and Hinchcliffe approaches, and in particular how it follows (and fails to follow) from the doors blasted open by Genesis of the Daleks.
Letts, for his part, had been trying to bring the Cybermen back for a while. This is not surprising – one of the ways in which Letts dramatically evolved the show was in how actively and savvily it manipulated and engaged with audiences and audience expectations. Occasionally this backfired, as with the dropping of the dinosaurs from the episode title for the first part of Invasion of the Dinosaurs, or the shoehorned Daleks in Day of the Daleks, but more often it led to tour de forces like the reveal of the Daleks in Frontier in Space. So of course he would have gone for bringing back the “other classic monster.” And Letts was savvy enough to have a good angle on how to do it as well – hire back one of the writers who had done that monster last who was also still a respectable television man (Davis was only three years out from Doomwatch here) to do it so that it feels nice and nostalgic.
But neither Hinchcliffe nor Holmes are particularly enamored with nostalgia and classic monsters. In fact, after this and the next story, they basically don’t use nostalgia as a major story appeal again until The Deadly Assassin, and there it’s one of the most stark breaks with the past of the relevant concept imaginable. So it’s not quite a surprise that the Hinchcliffe era balks at doing a straight nostalgia piece. But all the same, they don’t get nearly enough credit for resisting the temptation.
Because, honestly, think about it – you inherit the brief to bring back the Cybermen. You have a writer who is familiar with Troughton-style base under siege stories. You have a new Doctor that is easily described by lazy people as being funny again like Troughton was (never mind that this was never actually what was going on with Troughton’s Doctor, nor quite what’s going on with Baker’s). You have a shiny space station set you built for The Ark in Space and are reusing here. And the show hasn’t done a proper base under siege since The Seeds of Death six years ago. The gravity exerted by the idea of just doing a straight base under siege nostalgia piece is enormous here.
And given that, it’s genuinely impressive that Holmes had the good sense to forcibly rewrite this script into something else. And that rewrite is what creates the central difference between this and Planet of the Daleks. I said that Planet of the Daleks was the most postmodern story of the Pertwee era because it was in part a critique of its own genre. And it was, but that’s still a long shot from being openly postmodern. Planet of the Daleks was a Dalek story that happened to also demonstrate an idea about the direction of the show. This, on the other hand, is openly postmodern. It’s a story about the idea of nostalgia in the show that happens to use the Cybermen to make its point.
Because the thing Holmes’s rewrite on the script is firmly aware of is that the Cybermen are crap. Because, let’s all be honest here, they are. Yes, they were brilliant in The Tenth Planet as Qlippothic parodies of humanity. But it’s basically been all downhill ever since, due in no small part to Innes Lloyd and Gerry Davis deciding that the Cybermen would just get slotted in as “the new Daleks” when Terry Nation took the Daleks and went home. This was by far the worst thing ever to happen to the Cybermen, who were intriguing enough to have probably come back on their own otherwise. Because they were unambiguously replacement monsters. They weren’t the new Daleks. They were the half-assed replacements for the Daleks, and everybody knew it. This is what everybody who complains that the Cybermen are always poorly used misses – that’s been the case since 1967.
And the brilliance of Revenge of the Cybermen is that it admits it, writing a story in which rubbish b-list villains are a necessity. The characters openly talk about how they thought the Cybermen had died out years ago – which, in point of fact, they had, having not appeared since 1969. The Doctor calls them a bunch of pathetic tin soldiers. But, perhaps more importantly, the story does nothing to undermine the Doctor. The Cybermen show up with a ludicrously dumb scheme and the Doctor foils it without ever seeming to take the Cybermen even remotely seriously. None of this would work with any other monster, but because the Cybermen always carry a vague whiff of disappointment and of settling for the second choice, they’re perfect for this.
The result is a story that largely seems to be mocking the very idea of doing a Cybermen story in 1975, and attacking the idea of living in the series’ past. This is why it’s postmodern and a continuation of the themes raised in Genesis of the Daleks. Here the Doctor really is confronting an idea first and a monster second. The story doesn’t reduce into an allegory about politics or a practical moral lesson. It reduces to a story about stories, memory, and nostalgia. And this is interesting in several ways.
First of all, it’s the first time the series has been this brazen in telling fans of its history to sod off. Planet of the Daleks was a demonstration of how the show had moved on, yes, but it was still playing fair and trying to do a classic Dalek story with all the production values of its time. But really, it’s not since The Highlanders that the series has this actively done a story that is designed primarily to mock its own history. And this alone explains some of the flak this story gets. It certainly makes it a terribly inappropriate choice for an initial video release. (Supposedly it was chosen by a fan poll. Nobody actually believes this, with theories ranging from the actual winner of the poll being Tomb of the Cybermen, which was missing, to the probably more credible theory that the Cybermen featured heavily in The Five Doctors, which debuted a month after the VHS of this came out, so they wanted a Cybermen story. Frankly, I suspect it was process of elimination – they wanted to release a Baker story, and they wanted a classic monster. Genesis is too long for one tape, Destiny was too recent, and that basically leaves Revenge of the Cybermen.)
But a series wrapping up its twelfth season and airing its 397th-400th episode in total frankly has to decisively break with its past sometimes. Being beholden to nostalgia when there’s that much history to wax nostalgic about is a disaster. And before successful mining of the series past – including, let’s be honest, the Cybermen’s next appearance – can happen, the series first has to firmly show that it’s brave enough not to cling to its past. One way of doing that is to just break with the past and do new things, and after the stories filmed for Season Twelve, that’s basically what the series does for the next seven seasons, over which it revisits its past very, very rarely. And frankly, the abandonment of that practice is arguably the thing that ultimately dooms the show.
But there’s something to be said for the decisive and definitive break as well. Especially with a story like this, which begs to be dragged backwards into nostalgia. Left to their own devices, this isn’t a story that would appear in the Hinchcliffe era. Stuck with it, however, Hinchcliffe and Holmes take the other route – doing a story that shows why the by this point obviously happening ditching of UNIT doesn’t mean going back to the show as it was before UNIT came along. Which, after five straight years in which at least two stories a season were UNIT-based, is actually probably a good idea. Hedging against straight Troughton nostalgia makes a lot of sense.
The other thing to note is that while Holmes’s rewrite obviously declines to take the Cybermen seriously, that doesn’t mean he treats them unfairly. Actually, part of the cheeky thrill of this story comes from the fact that Voga is unrepentantly a wandering planet that has the same relationship with Mondas that Mondas has with Earth. Even the choice of gold for the substance that is fundamentally lethal to the Cybermen feels like an homage to their original alchemical roots. (Though the attempt to pretend that there’s a reason for this involving breathing is unfortunate, given that it is obviously actually the case that it’s unrepentant alchemy involving the solar power represented by gold to contrast the qlippothic silver of the Cybermen.) The story also consciously invokes both Tomb of the Cybermen (via the Cybermats) and the Moonbase (via the Cybermen plague). It’s unapologetically a greatest hits compilation of past Cybermen stories. Which only turns up the volume on the story’s steadfast refusal to treat the Cybermen seriously. It’s as if every idea of the Cybermen has been dug up, put on display, and found wanting.
The problem with this reading is that, ultimately, not even Robert Holmes can quite find a way to polish Gerry Davis’s writing into something that’s remotely acceptable. Even if he manages to slant the story to be an extremely bitter joke about how rubbish the Cybermen are, he runs smack into the problem that he can’t get Voga to work. Admittedly, Voga was as much Holmes’s idea as Davis’s, but it’s still shambolic. All of Holmes’s best aspects – his ability to paint interesting regular characters – desert him here, and he’s left with Vorus and Tyrum, who are just the same pair of interventionist/warlike and isolationist/pacifist aliens that apparently govern every planet in the universe and have since The Sensorites.
(The Silence wandered by again, so if this next paragraph seems different from how you remember it, that’s surely why, and not because I changed it after I posted this because some people helpfully clarified some details of British accents for me)
And this is a real problem. Skewering the Cybermen only works if you can present a credible alternative. In practice, the show does this with the stories on either side of it (though the next story is a “shaking off the past” story in its own right), but there’s not actually a credible alternative within this story. The only thing more rubbish than the Cybermen turns out to be the Vogans. The saving grace is Kevin Stoney as Tyrum. Stoney, having previously impressed as Mavic Chen and Tobias Vaughan, here gets his one shot at a good guy, and is as impressive with his face completely obscured by a prosthetic as he is without it. In particular, his decision to give Tyrum an accent that signals his age and experience. This is an obvious trait of the character, but the decision to communicate it via a detail of British culture, accent, as opposed to the more obvious choice of just playing the character as aloof and imperious, is a delightful one. It’s a rare case of using a non-received pronunciation accent for a character who is more powerful, as opposed to less.
But Stoney is about the only good thing that can be said of the Voga cast. And that’s still one more good thing than can be said of the Nerva Beacon crew. And with those elements gone on walkabout, the decision to turn on the Cybermen comes off not as a triumphant rejection of nostalgia that continues the thread from Genesis of the Daleks, but rather as yet another disappointing element of the story. It’s only when you look closely that you realize that the Cybermen are actually supposed to be rubbish – it’s just that everyone forgot to make sure that was a meaningful contrast with everything else in this story.
But even still, we’re faced with a story with its heart in the right place, and a show that’s trying very hard to find a way to simultaneously return to its past glory and avoid being a remake of a late 60s sci-fi show starring Patrick Troughton. And, of course, when considered in production order, it all makes much more sense – this story makes a lot of sense as the setup for Genesis of the Daleks. Having shown that it can turn its back on the past with this, moving into Genesis’s epic invocation of the past as a means to plow into a new future seems like the logical next step. Inverted, this is a bit of a damp squib – a lower key version of the explosive change ushered in last time. This is a story that establishes clearly that the show is on its way to something impressive. Unfortunately, that something impressive arrived before its herald.
October 10, 2011 @ 12:23 am
Couldn't agree more about the Cybermen. On the podcast I co-present (http://thetimevault.wordpress.com) we've been watching DW in order and we're just reaching the end of the Troughton era. The Cybermen are dreadful monsters. They work well as a threat of what we could become and, in The Invasion, work pretty well as a threat in the shadows. But that's about it.
October 10, 2011 @ 1:34 am
"It's only when you look closely that you realize that the Cybermen are actually supposed to be rubbish – it's just that everyone forgot to make sure that was a meaningful contrast with everything else in this story."
A lovely conceit – and you haven't even mentioned the visual effects. Even as a 5-year-old, my lasting memory of this story was the bizarre use of extremely obvious stock footage from a Saturn V rocket launch.
October 10, 2011 @ 4:55 am
The more you talk about Cybermen as bad monsters, the more I think about the recent explosion of zombies as a trendy concept that's absolutely oversaturated. Obviously we're not at that point with Cybermen in pop culture (and only the Daleks ever came close), but in the context of the show, you can make the same point-they're scary when used well, but they're very limp and lifeless on their own.
I actually think the most recent season of the relaunch had a good example of this. "A Good Man Goes To War" had the idea of a whole Cyberfleet-which gets blown up in about 10 seconds, then they never appear in the episode again. Then in "Closing Time," they're a threat on a very personal level, and it makes them a lot more effective (comparatively) than having a giant horde of Cybermen running around. Obviously, it's a little different now that the show can have more than 5 Cybermen on screen at one time.
October 10, 2011 @ 5:08 am
I love the Cybermen. My first DW story featured them and I've loved them ever since. This story, alongside "Silver Nemesis", I actually love.
However, I do know how crap they are.
Even in the well-loved "Earthshock" they're crap, but nobody dares say it. Two have a chat in the corridor, they walk around hands-on-hip (though less noticeably than in this story), they have emotion, and they just happen to be in a bloody great story.
October 10, 2011 @ 5:09 am
What really disappointed me about "Revenge" is that with all Holmes' interest in possessions and transformations, that aspect of the Cybermen never seems to have entered anybody's head as an effective plot/character point for them. Very sad.
October 10, 2011 @ 5:11 am
Also, the Cybermen only work when the actors take them seriously.
Davros is a man in a rubber mask with a Dalek skirt. But Tom Baker's serious acting of shock, fear, surprise… it really sells Davros' threat. Here, however, he mocks the Cybermen along with everyone else. They're at the end of their rope and even the Cybermen don't seem to have a clue what they're doing.
Had this been a production taken seriously, maybe it could've turned out a little bit better.
Oh, and had "Terror of the Zygons" actually been the S12 finale, I feel this story wouldn't get as much flak. It'd simply be the weak link. But as it stands, it's now known as the weak link and the terrible end to S12.
October 10, 2011 @ 10:36 am
This is the first Tom Baker story that I don't remember at all from original broadcast. Given the time of year I couldn't have been on holiday for all four weeks, but even watching it again on DVD sparked no memories. This is actually quite impressive! I remember at least something of every other story between Spearhead From Space and The Invisible Enemy (when I stopped watching regularly) except for The Face of Evil – and I haven't seen that one since 1977, so a second viewing might bring something to light.
Meanwhile, I am as ever enjoying your analysis. Thank you for keeping going!
October 10, 2011 @ 4:57 pm
This was another one of the first Tom Baker stories I was exposed to, and was I think the second one I watched when I first started to rewatch the series grown up. I thought it was an OK serial at first, but it's another one that just hasn't aged especially well for me and yeah I'll second the frustration at "Terror of the Zygons" not being the Season 12 finale: Seems like that would've tied up the story arc much cleaner and that's always sort of irritated me.
Your analysis, however, is bang-on and you've perfectly articulated what for me is the entire heart of the Tom Baker era: A postmodern deconstruction of the entire series and its mythos that has managed to achieve legendary status over time. It's cool to think of "Revenge…" in those terms: I don't think it's the definitive stance on the matter, not by a long shot, but it's a fine enough early effort from the era's first creative team in their first year and shows how even the lamest ideas can be salvaged for some good given appropriate time and effort.
I mentioned this back on the "Ark in Space" entry, but I'm a huge fan of the Cybermen, and I echo your reading here 100%. I loved, LOVED the Qlippothic, Kenneth Grant Cybermen Star Monks of "The Tenth Planet" and for that brief moment they had the potential to be one of the series premier narrative devices. The keyword here, of course, is "potential", because as soon as they come back in "The Moonbase", as you said, they're totally wasted, squandered and rendered hideously boring and trite. And it's a real shame, because they were possibly one of the series very best ideas.
Despite that though, even though every single time they showed up after "The Tenth Planet" they were complete crap (and I'm counting the New Series too here. Sorry NuWho fans) I still love the idea behind them and hold out some desperate, fragile hope someone will come along and do right by them someday. I love it so much in my spare time, among other things, I actually play around at crafting a couple Qlippothic Cybermen stories of my own.
As others have said, thanks so much for keeping going with this blog. It's one of the most fascinating and stimulating projects I've come across in a very long time and I find it incredibly refreshing every time I visit. We're indebted to your loyalty and hard work and it's an honour for me at least to follow along and join the discussion every once in awhile.
October 11, 2011 @ 1:50 am
One of the main problems with the Cybermen is that they lumber. They walk very slowly towards you in a stiff-legged and menacing kind of way (yes, the zombie analogy is a good one). Admittedly that is scary if you're younger than 9 (which is probably why they were designed that way), but here we are in the 21st century and the new Cybermen still walk like 1930s robots.
I always thought that a redesign of the Cybermen should see them far more agile and dangerous, something like a cross between a Ridley Scott Alien and the Raston Warrior Robot from "5 Doctors". Something relentless and quick, with infra-red vision that can crawl up walls to get you. Having said that, in a series aimed squarely at children such a concept might be a bit too much.
This story does indeed address the fact that the Cybermen as a species are rather rubbish, however the logical conclusion of that is that they should have died off thousands of years before, since any species worth it's salt should be capable of easily out-running out-fighting and out-thinking them.
October 11, 2011 @ 3:18 am
I was going to say that they don't lumber anymore, but that's not really true. They've just traded in the quiet lumber for an ostentatious one, with all the hydraulics and pounding as they approach. They might move a little faster, but it's much easier to tell something's coming.
That's the main reason I made the zombie comparison. Yes, Cybermen are intelligent, and more dangerous individually than most zombie versions. But they still only work well as a threat as an army. If you throw a single Dalek into a situation, you expect it to go south, and feel cheated if it doesn't. A single Cybermen can be made into a threat, but you would also believe it if someone tripped him and left him there to solve the problem.
October 11, 2011 @ 8:47 am
Yeah, I was pretty disappointed when the new series went in the direction it did with the Cybermen. They're pretty and art deco now, but it's lost almost any sense of them as partially organic. I'd love it if they did a story set on Mondas prior to The Tenth Planet with some groteque variation on that serial's Cybermen. (Bring back the singsong voices!)
October 11, 2011 @ 10:08 am
@ Steve Hogan
Big Finish actually did do that story with Peter Davison's Doctor and Nyssa in the very excellently regarded story "Spare Parts". It deals with the origins of the Cybermen on Mondas and gives an astrophysical explanation for why Mondas left the solar system. It also tries to re-create "Genesis of the Daleks" by giving The Doctor the option to destroy the Cybermen in their infancy and having him face the same ethical dilemma with Nyssa as his morality chain.
It's a decent enough story, but I don't get the sense they truly played up the Qlippothic nature of the Cybermen here and used it to really get at what to me is the real philosophical quandary they embody: The deconstruction of enlightenment and the contrast between the different forms it can take. That being said it's a good techno thriller with some great acting by Peter Davison, Sarah Sutton and the guest cast, some expected throwbacks to "Earthshock" and the welcome return of singsongy Cybermen. If you're looking for a decent Cybermen story and don't mind it being essentially a "Genesis" redux, I'd say check it out.
October 11, 2011 @ 10:14 am
Broadly speaking, I'd also point out that the reason the Cybermen are rubbish has little to do with their being clanking generic robots. Rather, it's something in the nature of the idea of "the returning monster."
The first returning monster – the Daleks – just got to be the Daleks. They are justified not because of continuity or anything like that, but because they are the Daleks, and the Doctor in some sense needs them.
The third returning monster – the Yeti – just got to be a returning monster, because Doctor Who recycles its villains. And so did every subsequent returning monster.
It's the second returning monster that has the problem. The Cybermen didn't return in The Moonbase as "another monster good enough to bring back," because that category didn't exist yet. The category was just "the Daleks" at the time. And so the Cybermen never got to just be returning monsters. They always had to be "the things you got because Terry Nation took the Daleks away."
It has nothing to do with how good an idea they were. Even if they'd come back as abstract Qlippothic horrors, they'd still run into the problem that they were just the second choice Daleks. And that problem would have hit any monster that became the second monster to reappear.
October 11, 2011 @ 10:53 am
Right, that's a very deft clarification. What I meant when I said that when the Cybermen return in "The Moonbase" they stopped being a clever idea was a more general claim that was intended to cover your point as well: Yes, of course a huge part of what happened to the Cybermen is due to the fact Innes Lloyd wanted the Daleks and didn't think he could hold on to them. Therefore, the Cybermen get reconceptualized as Dalek ripoffs. But, in making the Cybermen also-ran Daleks, that inevitably forces them to abandon whatever it was that was essential to their character beforehand. Ergo, it's a shame the Cybermen turned out the way they did because they were such a good idea to begin with.
My second point, that I find generic monolithic evil space conquerers boring in general, is a related, but separate matter. The Daleks work because they embody something more than just that and extermination happens to be their MO. The post-"Moonbase" Cybermen never really got the chance to reach that level of narrative sophistication. It's just a recurring pet peeve of mine I have across all forms of fantasy fiction, and why I can come across as so hard on Doctor Who at times. I don't like monsters for the sake of monsters.
You raise an interesting point about the Problem of the Second Choice Returning Monster and I'd like to follow up on that a little if I can. I think we're saying the same thing, or related things, just using different language to describe it. What you seem to be saying is that there is an intrinsic problem with the second returning Doctor Who monster, and I'm saying there was a unique mistake in bringing the Cybermen back at all with no effort made to preserve their narrative function.
It seems to me if the Cybermen came back with their original conception, they would not have been in a Dalek-like plot because you can't do a Dalek plot with "Tenth Planet"-era Cybermen. Ironically, if they were to come back properly, that story would not be what we think of as a Doctor Who monster story (and especially not a base-under-siege). It would by default have to be something different because the Mondas/Earth plot would already have been done. I'll grant I may be asking too much of the show at this point again, but to that I'd say it's another reason why I wish the Cybermen hadn't been brought back in the Troughton era at all.
Maybe there's some inevitable problem with the Second Returning Monster, but there's nothing inevitable about the Second Returning Monster having to be the Cybermen or even the Cybermen being used as what we think of as "returning monsters" at all. Even in 1966 it had to be possible to read narrative in terms of things other than "monsters" and "bases". I know why it wasn't on Doctor Who, but that was the result of a series of conscious decisions made by the production team at the time and I can easily see those choices having gone a different way. Even on Doctor Who by that point we'd already had the idea of "monsters" deconstructed in "The Edge of Destruction", "The Sensorites", "The Rescue" and "The Web Planet".
I guess what I'm trying to say in a nutshell is that I perfectly understand why things turned out the way they did, but I can also see how they could have turned out differently and wish they had.
October 12, 2011 @ 3:59 am
They probably were always doomed to being also rans compared to the Daleks, but there certainly were contrasts to be played up. While the Daleks were all rejecting ("You are not us, hence you must be destroyed.") the Cybermen were all embracing ("You are not us, hence you must become us.") so you've got one race that is bitterly xenophobic, and other that is aggressively inclusive. On a visual level the Daleks were extremely removed from humanoid appearance, while the original Cybermen were grotesque parodies of us.
Ultimately you'd wind up with a much creepier version of the Borg than just "Those guys who just keep showing up to cause trouble for the sake of it."
Henry R. Kujawa
April 1, 2012 @ 5:51 pm
I was waiting for somebody to mention The Borg…
"REVENGE…" was my 1st Cybermen story. So I had nothing to compare it against. Contrary to some opinions, I find this story IMMENSELY re-watchable. I just watched it again– and had a BLAST! (What else, with "the biggest bang in history"?) I get tired of stories that start with the heroes being suspected of murder the instant they show up, but here it was dispensed with like lightning. (The guy even hands Sarah an automatic weapon! That's going from suspicion to trust in a hurry.)
2 of the Nerva Beacon cast I'd seen already on THE NEW AVENGERS. Did anyone else notice Michael Wisher's voice sneaking in for a bit? Sarah's a bit less bitchy this time… until she spends time with Harry. Honestly, watching him again, I see him as really a terrific character (most of the time), and her incessant persecution of him shows he has the patience of a saint. Of course, he winds up a third wheel in the Doctor-Sarah friendship/romance.
The story is so TWISTED! Vorus wants to wipe out the last Cybermen, but to do it, he concocts a plan that involves the MURDER of 47 innocent Earthmen, plus several of his own people, and when it goes astray, a horde of Vogans as well. Tyrum is the rational one, and it was such a relief once Harry & Sarah got to talk with him.
Meanwhile, talk about contrast. I feel this story features some of the BEST and most UNIQUE use of location filming in the history of WHO– side-by-side with some of the TACKIEST miniature effects ever seen in any sci-fi TV show. But, me being me, I just enjoy the good and ignore the bad.
Baker's in top form. When he insults the Cybermen, I wasn't sure if he was more channelling Hartnell or Troughton (but somehow, NOT Pertwee). Later, when he rescues Sarah (for a moment anyway), it almost did seem like Pertwee (and Jo).
Thanks for giving me a new way to look at this one. Maybe I'll keep it in mind… NEXT time I watch it!
November 29, 2013 @ 1:23 pm
I remember that from first time around as a kid. "What's that doing there?"]
The monster I remembered most was the cybermat. "I smell a rat – a cybermat!" Though I thought he said "cyberrat" at first.
January 18, 2014 @ 8:50 am
The reason the Cybermen fail in this story is that they are shoehorned into the default setting villain image from this era – namely, the hands-on-hip ranting megalomaniac caped baddie. The Cybermen work well when they have an eerie stillness and detachment about them, eg when they are standing around coldly surveying the archeologists in TOMB.
December 15, 2022 @ 2:42 pm
I don’t know whether you’re much bothered about these older posts, and if you’re not than fair play, but the links in them all seem to redirect to a version of the blog that no longer exists.
December 15, 2022 @ 2:45 pm
Yeah. I’d have to fix them manually, and honestly, that’s an awful lot of support to provide for essays where I’d secretly rather people buy the book. 😂