What makes a Target novel special

The Target novel range has expanded, with four new stories adapted from the television series - two Fourth Doctor adventures, and one from the Tenth Doctor and the Twelfth Doctor. These four new novelisations of Doctor Who stories are great adventures to lose yourself in space and time, expand or even start your very own Target novel collection. 

For Doctor Who fans, the range of novelisations published by Target Books in the 1970s and 1980s hold a special place. There was a novel published for almost every Doctor Who serial between 1963 and 1989, with a very few notable exceptions. Since 2012, BBC Books has been successfully reissuing these classic paperbacks and expanding the Target range to include all-new novelisations of Doctor Who episodes.

Doctor Who Target novels 2022

To celebrate the latest releases in the Target range, James Moran, writer of The Fires of Pompeii and the new novelised version told us what makes these books have such a special place in Doctor Who fans' hearts (one or two of them!).

"I grew up watching Doctor Who, and simultaneously working my way through as many Target books as I could find. Libraries and second-hand shops were my hunting grounds, as brand-new books were out of my budget. I devoured every page, every word, and learned a lot from them too – the word “capacious” was a particular favourite, and I took to stuffing my pockets with as much useful stuff as I could fit, to try and mimic the Doctor’s capacious pockets. I soon learned that there were only so many screwdrivers you could fit into one pocket...

"They were a window into adventures I couldn’t see, and would never see, long since wiped stories I could only imagine. Examining the cover artwork in detail, wishing I could make them move by sheer force of will. And then, the joy of reading an adaptation of a recent story I had actually seen! The differences, the expansions, the tangents, the insights into things only hinted at on screen! They were a lifeline. My mum despaired of me reading “rubbish”, but never stopped me – as long as I was reading, that was the important thing.

"When I got the chance to adapt my own episode, it was a dream come true. The books all have different styles, so I was free to take any approach that worked. But there was only ever one way I could do this. I was writing for the 8-year-old me, the excitable kid who had just come across a scuffed, battered copy of one that I’d been trying to find for ages. I wanted to recreate the style and tone of those early books, mixed in with my own voice, which has always been heavily influenced by Douglas Adams as well as the Target feel. It wasn’t always easy. I find prose much harder than scripts, there’s nowhere to hide your bad writing habits. It’s terrifying to think that everyone will see the words right there on the page, exposed! But it was so much fun jumping back into Donna’s head, expanding sequences, running off on tangents, and cramming in as many jokes as possible.

"One day, many years from now, some future kid is going to find this book, maybe a well-thumbed copy in a library, or a tattered version falling to pieces in a charity shop, and they’ll hopefully feel that same excitement I did. At the very least, they’ll learn the word “capacious”, if they don’t already know it. I couldn’t resist passing that one forwards..."

The Fires of Pompeii and all of the Target novels are available now - You can find where to order them below: 
The Stones of Blood
The Androids of Tara
The Fires of Pompeii
The Eaters of Light

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