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John Peel Returns to the Whoniverse with The Grandfather Infestation

Candy Jar Books has unveiled the cover art and blurb for the next Lethbridge-Stewart novel, The Grandfather Infestation – a book that sees the welcome return of author, John Peel!
Peel first came to prominence with Doctor Who fans when Terry Nation himself chose him to adapt a number of Dalek tales from the 1960s, including The Chase, The Daleks’ Master Plan, and The Power of the Daleks for the Target novelisations range; he went on to write the monumental reference work, The Gallifrey Chronicles and kicked off the Virgin New Adventures line with Timewrym: Genesys, the first original Doctor Who prose novel.
That was in 1991, and 25 years later, he’s back – this time for the Lethbridge-Stewart range. Peel says:

“There’s always been something rather special for me when I’m writing in the worlds of Doctor Who. When I wrote Timewyrm: Genesys 25 years ago, I was excited the entire time – I couldn’t wait to get to work on the story each morning. And here I am, a quarter of a century later, and the same excitement is still there… Being allowed to create a new adventure for that stalwart character, Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart was both an honour and a truly great pleasure. Even writing revisions didn’t seem too much of a chore!”

Indeed, this is – unbelievably – the first time John has written for the character!
The cover is by Colin Howard, who also painted the art for last year’s Beast of Fang Rock, and it might just remind you of John Wyndham’s most famous work. Simon Clark, who wrote the official sequel to The Day of the Triffids and provides the foreword for The Grandfather Infestation, says:

“Plants are on the march – at least in our imaginations, they are. Doctor Who embraced the theme in The Seeds of Death and The Seeds of Doom, and, no doubt, you can identify many more. And now John Peel gives us The Grandfather Infestation, a fantastically entertaining, and horrifying novel, which suggests that everything that’s green and grows from the earth might not be as harmless as we think.”

Range editor, Andy Frankham-Allen adds:

“I’ve always been a huge fan of Wyndham’s work, and I knew I wanted something in a similar vein. I asked John to give us something Triffid-esque and he did exactly that. He’s created a nice blend of genres, mixing the best elements of storytelling that you’d find in the works of Robert Banks Stewart and Wyndham, giving it Peel’s own distinctive twist. And John is no stranger to twisting tales, make no mistake. He’s been writing prose fiction beyond Doctor Who continuously for over twenty-five years, and you don’t do that without being good.”

Here’s the official blurb for The Grandfather Infestation:

The late 1960s and pirate radio is at its height.

Something stirs in the depths of the North Sea, and for Radio Crossbones that means bad news.

Lethbridge-Stewart and his newly assembled Fifth Operational Corps are called in to investigate after the pirate radio station is mysteriously taken off the air, and a nuclear submarine is lost with all hands.

Lethbridge-Stewart: The Grandfather Infestation is out at the end of this month, and can be pre-ordered for £8.99 now.

Philip Bates

Editor and co-founder of the Doctor Who Companion. When he’s not watching television, reading books ‘n’ Marvel comics, listening to The Killers, and obsessing over script ideas, Philip Bates pretends to be a freelance writer. He enjoys collecting everything.

7 thoughts on “John Peel Returns to the Whoniverse with The Grandfather Infestation

  1. And yet, Peel is also controversial for writing War of the Daleks, merely because he didn’t like Remembrance (which to me makes him a bit… I dunno, dim?).

    1. ‘because he didn’t like Remembrance’… Or rather, to be factual, because the Nation Estate asked him to re-address the weaker, in their opinion, 1980s Dalek stories. Which he did. 🙂

      1. Ha! I think Mr. Nation did protest too much. His “Dan Dare” writing style was old hat by the time he started writing for Doctor Who, and he never knew how to write a story that was any different to “action/adventure-capture-escape-chase-capture-rinse-repeat”. Yes, The Daleks serial was fundamental in securing the early success of the program, but Nation gets more credit than he deserves, as just as much (if not more) should go to Ray Cusick for his design of them. (It’s truly sad that more people outside Doctor Who know about Nation than Cusick, as I feel he’s only recognized and even remembered by those within fandom).
        The only great Dalek story that ever had Nation’s name on it was Genesis, whose quality has more to do with the cast and Robert Holmes than anything else.

        1. “The only great Dalek story that ever had Nation’s name on it was Genesis” – I’ll have to disagree with you there. The Daleks (1963) is pretty good too as are The Dalek Invasion Of Earth and The Daleks’ Master Plan. (I’m one of those who enjoyed The Keys Of Marinus though so make of that what you will.)

          1. The Dalek Invasion of Earth is important mainly in that it was the series’ first “invasion of Earth” story, so that is certainly a milestone.
            I would say on comparison, Power, Evil, and Remembrance of the Daleks are much stronger stories. It’s hard for me not to reference Philip Sandifer these days, but he considers David Whitaker (the writer of Power and Evil) to be the absolute key figure in the development of Doctor Who as a whole, with the alchemical themes of his stories, and being the first to (in Edge of Destruction) to describe the TARDIS as a sentient being. Compare this to Nation, who treated the TARDIS as nothing but a machine (I mean, it get’s it’s oxygen through the doors? Really?). I think Nation gets more credit since he was the sole Dalek writer until Troughton, and then did four more besides between Pertwee and Baker,

          2. I’d never call Nation a one trick pony, maybe two or three. But he gets a free pass for giving the world the Daleks, and later Davros. He did the job and produced passable stories at worst (Destiny being the exception) and all-time classics at best.
            Whitaker – I agree, he’s brilliant. I’d put him on the same tier as Robert Holmes, Steven Moffat and Mac Hulke.

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