Saturday, December 10, 2011

Terry Nation's Blakes 7, novelization by Trevor Hoyle.

Terry Nation's Blakes 7, novelization by Trevor Hoyle.  Hardcover book published by Arthur Barker Limited 1977.

I’m a very late convert to Blakes 7 which was a British Sci-Fi TV series that screened from 1978 till 1981.  It was written by Terry Nation who was the guy who created the Daleks in Doctor Who.  It’s not everyone whose claim to fame is that they created one of the most feared alien races in TV history.  I viewed Blakes 7 on a friends recommendation and here we are many years later and a galaxy away and Blakes 7 has stuck with me.

The story revolves around a group of people travelling through space on a “found” spaceship who are plotting and fighting against the Federation… which I guess was the government.  In other words, they were terrorists.  Now before all you Blake 7 fans start foaming at the mouth and start sending me nasty messages re this terrorist comparison, this quote from our friends at Wikipedia:
“The word "terrorism" is politically and emotionally charged, and this greatly compounds the difficulty of providing a precise definition.”
I guess I’m using the word terrorism in a VERY broad sense.  In Blakes 7 there was a government and some rebels were fighting against it… These rebels are of course, good rebels fighting against a bad government a bit like… ummm… well…ummm… somebody… Maybe like Mahatma Gandhi… or Nelson Mandela… but with spaceships and more blowing up of things.

Blakes 7 had the appearance and production values of contemporary episodes of Doctor Who.  If I had to define the main difference and avoid the concept of Terrorism, I would describe it as being more adult oriented and less panto. Now that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t panto (it was), it was just less panto than Doctor Who.

This book was written by the Science Fiction author Trevor Hoyle and was published before the TV series was first broadcast.  I find this interesting as here we have a book written by a Sci-fi writer based around the story of another Sci-fi writer.  The difference is that Terry wrote for the telly and Trevor wrote books… and this book is a book and is not on the telly and Terry’s scripts were not books are were on the telly.

So I was out and about patrolling the galaxy on my quest for more books to sell.  I had my crew with me at the time and we were all frantically searching for those elusive power titles to little avail.  All of a sudden, one of my fellow intergalactic travellers walks over to me and hands me this book, knowing that I am a fan of the TV series.  So I look at it and ummm and ahhh and seriously consider putting the book back when all of a sudden and inexplicably, I decide to make the purchase.  In retrospect the fact that I only had 2 other books in my hand made me think that I needed to walk away with something… anything.  I pretty much immediately regretted my purchase, thinking to myself that I would be better off spending my money on books that I can actually sell.

Back at mission control, I check this title out on the interwebs and…. WOW (if your keen on checking it try this and type in “Blakes 7” “Hoyle” and “Barker” in the appropriate fields).  How wrong was I?  But you know, I still have the book and maybe… just maybe… I might have been “better off spending my money on books that I can actually sell”.  Still, it’s all part of the adventure… and it is another episode in the story of Huc & Gabet... but without Daleks.

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