Things are not going too well on board the spacecraft: a mysterious killer stalks the ship's infrastructure; a junior officer, whose body is four years older than his brain, commands its bridge; the craft's computer seems to be developing its own distinctive personality; and Slarn threatens to vent his vindictive anger on his crew.
Deviations from broadcast story
- The first 50 pages of the novel do not feature the Doctor or Peri and do not adapt the radio play; instead they provide backstory on the characters and circumstances encountered by the Doctor later.
- In the radio play, when the Doctor tells Peri he's about to recite his favourite sonnet, "Ode to a Flashist Mud Scavenger", Peri replies that this inspiring title "brings tears to my ears"! This is changed to "eyes" in the novelisation even though "ears" was correct given that Peri was hearing, not reading, the poem.
- The steward, named as Vesper, kills Slarn before he can release his virus, then incinerates both of them to destroy the infection.
- The computer's external personality orders the crew to evacuate the ship before sending it back in time.
Writing and publishing notes
to be added
Additional cover images
British publication history
to be added
- W.H.Allen & Co. Ltd. UK
- The Cloister Library: Slipback
- On Target a comprehensive guide to the Target novelisations by Tim Neal