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Recap / Eighth Doctor Adventures War Of The Daleks

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"Well...if you thought you'd vaporised a planet, it must be a shock to discover it's still alive and well."
— Sam Jones

The Doctor is repairing the TARDIS when it is drawn into the engines space ship which has picked up a pod. Thals are attracted by the pod, opening it to reveal Davros. However this sets off a homing beacon which draws the Daleks to the ship. They take Davros and the others back to Skaro, where the Daleks have yet another civil war.

This is one of the most disliked Doctor Who novels due to the attempt to retcon all the Post-Genesis of the Daleks stories including the destruction of Skaro. Undergoes a lot of Fanon Discontinuity, but later stories (starting with "City of the Daleks") reveal that Skaro did survive, one way or another. On another note, the story was originally pitched to Andrew Cartmel, and may have been produced (probably in a somewhat different form) for Season 28 of the series.

Tropes present in War of the Daleks include:

  • Actually a Doombot: When the Dalek Prime is destroyed by a Dalek loyal to Davros, it is revealed to be a robot.
  • Call-Forward: A subtle one. The Doctor referring to the Dalek Prime's Daleks as Imperial Daleks - something used in the show to refer exclusively to Davros' faction in Remembrance - makes more sense when you consider than in his timeline he's seen the Daleks ruled by an Emperor in Evil, which is usually considered to be much later in the Dalek timeline than the Davros stories.
  • Complexity Addiction:
    • The main criticism of the plot is the absurd lengths the Dalek Prime goes to to fool time. Most notably, finding Davros, moving him to a replica of the Kaled bunker on Antalin, then mounting a fake rescue mission and waking him so he (and everyone else involved) believes they're on Skaro, then letting the Dalek Civil War happen (including mostly losing) so Davros will eventually destroy faux-Skaro.
    • Partially justified, in that the Dalek Prime tells the Doctor the Daleks' time travel abilities were too primitive at that point to just go back and change things, so they elected to let Davros' already recorded timeline play out, but without actually letting him blow up Skaro.
    • Davros himself actually lampshades this at one point, saying that there's no way that the Daleks could have carried out such a ridiculously convoluted plan, and that a simpler and more likely explanation is that they've terraformed another planet and are trying to pretend it's actually Skaro. The book never confirms it one way or the other, but strongly infers that the Dalek Prime's account (retcons and all) is the truthful one.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: This was one of the first Doctor Who books to set out a defined hierarchy for the Daleks, based on their colour schemes, bringing together concepts from across the Who expanded universe. Sam even calls it a colour-coded society. This included;
    • Grey Daleks, as seen in Resurrection, Revelation and Remembrance, as foot soldiers.
    • Blue Daleks, something occasionally seen in the Doctor Who movies, as the equivalent of corporals and sergeants.
    • Red Daleks, a TV21 Dalek Chronicles staple, as the equivalent of lieutenants and captains.
    • Black Daleks, as seen in Invasion, Master Plan, Resurrection and Remembrance, as the main frontline generals and commanders.
    • Gold Daleks, as seen in Day of the Daleks, as the highest-ranked and most intelligent Daleks below the Dalek Prime.
    • The Dalek Prime, visually based on the Golden TV21 Emperor - the supreme leader of the Daleks, and last survivor of the first batch of Daleks seen in Genesis.
  • Crazy-Prepared:
    • Davros has a back-up plan for survival via a Double Agent Spider Dalek.
    • The Dalek Prime likewise has a back-up plan to have the Doctor get rid of Davros if he wins, as well as hiding a factory ship inside the Thal ship as a hidden way to ensure the race's survival - and both a bomb and an infiltrator to kill the Doctor when he's no longer needed.
  • Enemy Civil War: The whole plot revolves around a final civil war between Dalek factions loyal to the Dalek Prime and Davros to see who leads them into the future.
  • Evil vs. Evil: The novel is essentially a mental battle between two equally evil genocidal sociopaths - the Dalek Prime and Davros - for command of the Dalek race. The Dalek Prime comes off only ever so slightly better by not being irrationally insane like Davros.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Sam notes that instead of the homicidal maniac she was expecting, the Dalek Prime is calm, controlled, thoughtful and even more human-sounding than its underlings. It's still the leader of the Daleks though, and it's barely pages later when it reveals it wiped out the inhabitants of Antalin just to make its radiation levels match Skaro to fool Davros.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard: Davros insists his followers identify themselves via an electronic signal so he knows who they are. Then the Dalek Prime's troops identify the signal, making it pathetically easy to track down Davros' forces and exterminate them.
  • It's All About Me: Davros' testimony at his trial is basically his telling the Daleks he should be in charge solely by dint of creating him, refusing to recognise any of their authority whatsoever and telling them to put him in charge. The Doctor and Sam even point out it's basically Davros' God-complex talking after hearing it.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The description of the Dalek Prime lines up perfectly with the Golden Emperor from the TV21 Dalek Chronicles.
    • It's strongly implied the factory ship the Doctor dumps in the Time Vortex at the end is the one his earlier self defeats in The Power of the Daleks.
    • The Mechanoids and the Draconians both appear in interludes as other opponents of the Daleks.
    • The Doctor convinces the Thal leader he is who he says by quoting directly from his introduction to the Thals in The Daleks.
  • Retcon: War of the Daleks infamously tried to assert that everything relating to Davros after his first story was a labyrinthine plan of epic proportions by the Dalek Prime to save their home planet, Skaro.
    • Skaro wasn't destroyed in Remembrance of the Daleks, with the Daleks moving Davros to a decoy world prior to his awakening in Destiny of the Daleks, with this world being the one the Hand of Omega eventually destroyed.
    • The Movellan War seen in Destiny and the devastating defeat recounted in Resurrection of the Daleks was faked for Davros' benefit, so he'd seek out the Hand of Omega.
    • The civil war seen in Remembrance was real, but with the Dalek Prime's forces essentially moving Davros into position to destroy the faux-Skaro, ensuring Davros' timeline played out without destroying the real Skaro.
  • Stable Time Loop: Much of the book revolves around the Dalek attempts to escape this. They discover during their invasion of Earth that records exist of Davros destroying Skaro in their future (but Earth's past). They try and alter history to avert this future taking place, but it fails. So, the labyrinthine plot described above evolves to fool Davros, the Doctor and everyone else witnessing it that Skaro had indeed been destroyed - preserving the historical events recorded - without actually having to watch their homeworld destroyed.
  • Taking You with Me: Both Thals and Draconians fighting the Daleks do this at different points in the story, by crashing their ships into Dalek ones.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The Thals are here shown to have become a race of militaristic warriors in order to stop the Daleks, something the Doctor is horrified by.
  • Tricked Out Time: To prevent Skaro being destroyed after they discovered records of its destruction during their invasion of Earth, the planet Antalin was terraformed to look like Skaro and Davros, thinking this was Skaro, accidentally destroyed it.
  • Uncertain Doom: At the end Davros is apparently executed via matter dispersal by a Spider Dalek. It is left unclear whether it was loyal to him and actually transmatted him.
  • You Killed My Father: Loran tries to get revenge on the Thals for this.