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Earthshock was a novelisation based on the 1982 television serial Earthshock. In common with the show's advance publicity, the cover and publisher's summary omit any explicit mention to the Cybermen.

Publisher's summary

1983 edition

A group of palaeontologists have been savagely attacked while carrying out a study of a fossilised cave system on twenty-fifth-century Earth.

A party of troopers and Professor Kyle, the only survivor of the attack, are investigating the death of her colleagues when they discover the Fifth Doctor and his companions at the site of the massacre. The time-travellers are immediately suspected.

In trying to establish their innocence and find out who-or what-was responsible for the killings, the Doctor is confronted by an old enemy...

Chapter titles

  1. Shadows
  2. Labyrinth of Death
  3. Uneasy Allies
  4. A Crisis Defused
  5. Stowaways
  6. Monstrous Awakenings
  7. A Siege
  8. War of Nerves
  9. Accidents Happen
  10. Triumph and Tragedy

Deviations from televised story

  • The entranceway to the caverns is described as a gigantic human skull with the dark openings of caves gaping like empty eye-sockets and nostrils.
  • It's said that should the Earthshock bomb be planted at a key focal point where several geological fault lines overlap (such as at Professor Kyle's archaeological site), it would be powerful enough to split the Earth apart.
  • The sudden and unexplained reactivation of the Cyber-Leader's secondary garrison is explained away in the novelisation as an accidental side-effect of the secret passageway to the Cybermen's makeshift control centre slamming shut. The tremors set the delicate instrumentation of their equipment into action and reviving the warriors.
  • The Cyberleader is assisted by an argumentative and insubordinate Cyber Deputy rather than by a Cyber-Lieutenant as seen in the televised version of the story.
  • Several mentions are made of a Galactic Congress hosting the interstellar conference on Earth.
  • The Cybermen aboard the freighter prove to be far more resilient to weapons fire than their televisual counterparts, surviving numerous impacts and requiring concentrated blasts to their ventilator units to be bested in combat.
  • The Leader emits a "desperate choking sound [as] sticky black bubbles [start] frothing out of the grille," as the gold from Adric's badge clogs his ventilator unit during his final confrontation with the Doctor. Rather than being shredded, a portion of Adric's badge is impaled in the Cyberleader's chest unit.

Writing and publishing notes

  • to be added

Additional cover images

to be added

British publication history

First publication:

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


This Target Book was released complete and unabridged by BBC Audio and read by Peter Davison.

The audio set of four CDs was released in February 2012 priced £13.99 (UK)

External links