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Doctor Who and the Terror of the Autons was a novelisation of the 1971 television serial Terror of the Autons.

Publisher's summary[]

1975 Target Books edition[]

The evil Master leered at the Doctor, and triumphantly pointed out of the cabin window. The many-tentacled Nestene monster – spearhead of the second Auton invasion of the Earth – crouched beside the radio tower!

Part crab, part spider, part octopus, its single huge eye blazed with alien intelligence and deadly hatred...

Can the Doctor outwit his rival Time lord, the Master, and save the Earth from the Nestene horror?

Chapter titles[]

  1. The Terror Begins
  2. Sabotage at the Space Probe
  3. The Master Takes Over
  4. Death at the Plastics Factory
  5. The Killer Doll
  6. In the Hands of the Autons
  7. The Battle of the Forest
  8. The Killer Doll Attacks
  9. The Deadly Daffodils
  10. Prisoners of the Master
  11. The Final Assault
  12. The End of Round One

Deviations from televised story[]

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  • The Third Doctor's talk with the Time Lord messenger is longer and more detailed:
    • It is mentioned that the messenger was one of the three Time Lords who officiated at the Second Doctor's trial;
    • The messenger initially refers to the Master by his lengthy, "mellifluous" true Gallifreyan name (which the reader is never told), before he tells the Doctor that he has begun calling himself the Master.
    • The Doctor is aware that the Time Lords nearly caught the Master at some point, but when he questions the messenger about it, he learns that the Master managed to get away before the Time Lords could de-energise his TARDIS.
    • It is explained that the Time Lords had picked up the signal of the Master's TARDIS just before he landed on Earth, and were tracking him from their homeworld, but lost the signal due to the "interference" of the Nestene Consciousness's beacons.
  • Mrs. Farrel is given the first name of Mary.
  • The civil servant Brownrose is omitted entirely.
  • The telephone flex remains active after being pulled from the wall, and continues to audibly thrash around inside a "big metal canister" after the Doctor and Brigadier succeed in forcing it inside. Only then does the Brig make his legendary "cut off your connection" joke.
  • Rather than simply slamming the steel safe door on the Auton found inside, the Brigadier throws a grenade inside. As the Doctor slams the door, the Auton's arm is trapped in it, and falls to the floor as the grenade explodes. It then starts "lashing about the floor like a wounded snake, spitting out energy bolts" until the Doctor overturns the "massive mahogany topped desk" and squashes the arm beneath it.
  • The Nestene creature is much more vividly described (and illustrated) than the blob of white light seen on TV. The CGI Enhanced version available on the 2021 Season 8 Blu-ray is clearly inspired by this description (though does not adhere to it strictly).

Writing and publishing notes[]

Additional cover images[]

British publication history[]

First publication:

  • Hardback
W.H. Allen & Co. Ltd. UK
  • Paperback


60p (UK)
1979 Target Books with a new cover by Alun Hood priced 60p (UK)

Editions published outside Britain[]

  • This book was to have also been published in the USA by Pinnacle Books in 1980 as a paperback edition, however when Lyle Stuart Inc secured the rights to distribute the Target Books in America the plan was shelved.[1]


This Target Book was released as an audiobook on 8 July 2010 complete and unabridged by BBC Audio and read by Geoffrey Beevers.

The cover blurb and thumbnail illustrations were retained in the accompanying booklet with sleevenotes by David J. Howe. Music and sound effects by Simon Power.

The audiobook was reissued on 5 April 2018 as part of The UNIT Collection.