Synthesis of the Daleks: A Formula for 55 Years of Fear

September 5, 2019

Synthesis of the Daleks: A Formula for 55 Years of Fear
by Christopher Horrocks



“I thought you’d run out of ways to make me sick. But hello again.”

— The Doctor, “Asylum of the Daleks”, Doctor Who


     Few elements in a work of fiction can escape incorporating influences that a writer has consumed in print or other media, as well as themes and concerns of special interest. When something tangible like a character can be woven from absorbed, compelling ideas it can take on a life of its own and even become a cultural touchstone. The Daleks, the fictional extraterrestrial species that regularly threaten the cosmos on the long-running BBC television program Doctor Who, are a prime example of an interesting character incorporating elements and themes from different sources to create a greater whole. Daleks are — when examined closely — a redress of the Martians from The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells, garbed by their creator, Terry Nation, in a new costume made from post-World War II fears of war and fascism.


      More recent writers for Doctor Who have used the Daleks in wa