September 23: Remembering Psycho writer Robert Bloch

1994: Robert Bloch (born 5 April 1917), American fiction writer primarily of crime, horror, fantasy andCelebrity-04-05-1917 science fiction, died of cancer, aged 77. Best known as the writer of Psycho, the basis for the film of the same name by Alfred Hitchcock he had a fondness for puns as evidenced in the titles of his story collections such as Tales in a Jugular Vein, Such Stuff as Screams Are Made Of and Out of the Mouths of Graves.

Bloch wrote hundreds of short stories and over 30 novels. H. P. Lovecraft was Bloch’s mentor and one of the first to seriously encourage his talent. However, while Bloch started his career by emulating Lovecraft and his brand of “cosmic horror”, he later specialized in crime and horror stories dealing with a more psychological approach.

He won the Hugo Award (for his story “That Hell-Bound Train“), the Bram Stoker Award, and the World Fantasy Award.

His favorites among his own novels were The Kidnapper, The Star Stalker, Psycho, Night-World, and Strange Eons. His work has been extensively adapted for the movies and television, comics and audio books.

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September 16, 1965: Second Doctor Who novelisations published

 

“DOCTOR WHO lands his space-time machine Tardis on the cold, craggy planet of Vortis. The Doctor and his companions, Ian and Vicki, are soon captured by the ZARBI, huge ant-like creatures with metallic bodies and pincer claws; meanwhile Barbara falls into the hands of the friendly MENOPTERA who have come to rid Vortis of the malevolent power of the ZARBI…” [tardis.wikia.com]

Doctor_Who_and_the_Zarbi (1965)The Web Planet was the second serial was the second to be novelised by the publisher Frederick Muller. It was written by Bill Strutton under the title Doctor Who and the Zarbi in 1965. In 1973 Target Books acquired the rights to the novelisation and reprinted it as one of the first in their long-running series of Doctor Who novelisations, although when the imprint began numbering the books in the series, The Zarbi was listed as Number 73 in the series. [Wikipedia]

 

July 26, 1979 in Doctor Who: “The Image Of Fendahl” novelisation published

“`The Fendahl is death,’ said the the Doctor. `How do you kill death itself?’

The ultra-modern technology of the Time Scanner combines with the ancient evil of Fetch Wood, and brings to life a terror that has lain hidden for twelve million years.

The Doctor and Leela fight to destroy the Fendahl, a recreated menace that threatens to devour all life in the galaxy.”

Doctor Who and the Image of the Fendahl was a novelisation based on the 1977 television serial Image of the Fendahl, written by Terrance Dicks, and published by Target Books in July 1979. The book’s cover (painted by John Geary) was once voted as the worst in the series by readers of Dreamwatch magazine. [Wikipedia]

July 22, 1982 in Doctor Who: “The Leisure Hive” novelisation published

“The Leisure Hive on the planet Argolis is an entertainment centre for galactic travellers. At the heart of the Hive is the Tachyon Recreation Generator, a machine with a most extraordinary performance capability and vital to the continued existence of the Argolin after their devastating war with the reptilian Foamasi …

While visiting the Hive, the Fourth Doctor and Romana are sucked into a whirlpool of treachery and deceit, and are eventually arrested on suspicion of murder …”

Doctor Who and the Leisure Hive was a novelisation based on the 1980 television serial The Leisure Hive, written by David Fisher, was published by Target Books in July 1982 and re-published in 1993. The novelisation retains many elements of the original script that was intended as a spoof on the Mafia. The original name of Argolis is given as Xbrrrm. [Wikipedia] [tardis.wikia.com]

July 22, 1976 in Doctor Who: “Genesis Of The Daleks” novelisation published

“The place: Skaro

Time: The Birth of the Daleks

After a thousand years of futile war against the Thals, DAVROS has perfected the physical form that will carry his race into eternity – the dreaded DALEK. Without feeling, conscience or pity, the Dalek is programmed to EXTERMINATE. At the command of the Time Lords, DOCTOR WHO travels back through time in an effort to totally destroy this terrible menace of the future.

But even the Doctor cannot always win …”

Doctor Who and the Genesis of the Daleks was a Target Books novelisation based on the 1975 television serial Genesis of the Daleks, written by Terrance Dicks, and published by Tandem in 1976. This novelisation has the largest print run of any of the original series, selling over 100,000 copies. It was re-published in 1991 and 2016. [Wikipedia] [tardis.wikia.com]

July 21, 1983 in Doctor Who: “Four To Doomsday” novelisation published

“When the TARDIS happens to materialise on an alien space craft, the commander of the ship, the reptilian Monarch, invites the Doctor and his companions to continue their journey to Earth in his company.

Monarch’s hospitality even extends to a generous offer to liberate the time-travellers from the shortcomings of their bodies and replicate them as androids-so much more practical.

Although Adric finds this proposal extremely attractive, the Doctor has good reason to be suspicious of Monarch’s motives…”

Four to Doomsday was a novelisation based on the 1982 television serial Four to Doomsday. [tardis.wikia.com]

July 21, 1988 in Doctor Who: “The Underwater Menace” novelisation published

“When the TARDIS lands on a deserted volcanic island the Doctor and his companions find themselves kidnapped by primitive sea-people. Taken into the bowels of the earth they discover they are in the lost kingdom of Atlantis.

Offered as sacrifices to the fish-goddess, Amdo, the Doctor and his companions are rescued from the jaws of death by the famous scientist, Zaroff.

But they are still not safe and nor are the people of Atlantis. For Zaroff has a plan, a plan that will make him the greatest scientist of all time – he will raise Atlantis above the waves – even if it means destroying the world…”

The Underwater Menace was a novelisation based on the 1967 television serial The Underwater Menace. This title also marked the redesign of the covers. They now featured a new logo and the top third of the cover blocked off. [tardis.wikia.com]

July 20, 1978 in Doctor Who: “Death To The Daleks” novelisation published

“A mysterious power-loss strands the TARDIS on Exxilon, a sinister fog-shrouded alien planet. Forced to brave the dangers of the planet, the Doctor meets the survivors of a beleaguered expedition from Earth searching for a precious mineral that can save the galaxy from a terrible space-plague. Sarah finds a mysterious super-City and becomes a captive of the savage Exxilons, and, worst of all, the Doctor’s greatest enemies, the dreaded Daleks, arrive on a secret mission of their own.
What terrifying power makes captives of all who come to the planet? What is the secret of the mysterious deserted City with its great flashing beacon? And what sinister plan has brought the Daleks to Exxilon? The Doctor and Sarah must risk their lives time and again in a desperate attempt to foil the Daleks and save millions of humans from the horrific plague.”

Death to the Daleks was a novelisation based on the 1974 television serial Death to the Daleks.  The story was published again in 1991.

July 20, 1989 in Doctor Who: “The Chase” novelisation published

“Through a Space-Time Visualiser the First Doctor and his companions are horrified to see an execution squad of Daleks about to leave Skaro on a mission to find the TARDIS and exterminate the time travellers.

Eluding the Daleks on the barren planet Aridius the Doctor and his friends escape in the TARDIS. But this is only the beginning of an epic journey.

As they travel through space and time, they try to shake off their pursuers by making a series of random landings-but the Daleks don’t give up easily. This is a chase to the death…”

The Chase was a novelisation based on the 1965 television serial The Chase, written by John Peel, and published by Target Books in July 1989. It was the first of several Dalek story novelisations Peel would write after Target came to an agreement with Terry Nation’s agent.

Because many of the changes made to Nation’s original proposal were for timing and budgetary reasons, rather than artistic ones, Peel restored most of Nation’s original ideas in his novelisation. It was published again in 1991. [Wikipedia] [tardis.wikia.com]

July 19, 1990 in Doctor Who: untelevised “Mission To Magnus” novelisation published

“”Did I hear ‘Doctor’? Is it the Doctor I have drawn to me?” The laugh became more strident, forcing the Sixth Doctor to thrust his fingers into his ears in panic and close his eyes, as if here were a frightened child.

The TARDIS has been pulled off course and sent hurtling through space and time. When it finally stops, Peri is amazed to witness the Doctor’s transformation into a cringing coward.

The takeover of the TARDIS by the school bully from the class of the fourth millennium on Gallifrey is only the first of the Doctor’s problems. On the surface of the planet Magnus more of his old enemies are conspiring to trick the planet’s all-female rulers; the Doctor and Peri have to foil a plot to freeze the entire world and wipe out most of the population.” [tardis.wikia.com]

Mission to Magnus is a story originally written to be part of the unfilmed 1986 season of Doctor Who. It was novelised by its scriptwriter Philip Martin, who had previously written the television stories Vengeance on Varos and Mindwarp. The story is set after another unfilmed story, The Nightmare Fair. A novelisation of the story was published by Target Books in 1990 as the third volume of its Missing Episodes series.

The Sixth Doctor and Peri find themselves being threatened by Anzor, an old school bully from the Doctor’s time on Gallifrey, who locks the TARDIS in orbit above the planet of Magnus. On this planet, Anzor has been working with the female upper caste to his own ends, alongside the Doctor’s old enemy Sil. When the Doctor investigates further, he discovers that the polar icecaps of the planet hide an even darker foe — the Ice Warriors. [Wikipedia]