Evolution of The Daleks

 

It’s a familiar story. Mad scientists conduct morally dodgy experiment and succeed, only to have the results of that experiment turn on them in way that suggests a morality tale. The most famous such story, perhaps the first example of science fiction, is Frankenstein, or to give it it’s full title, Frankenstein: or The Modern Prometheus first published in 1818.  The neat twist on this idea in Evolution of The Daleks is that the mad scientists are the evil Daleks and the monsters they create are versions of themselves that have imagination and a willingness to question the assumption of any order. There can be very little more frightening for a Dalek commander than to hear a subordinate say "Why?"

The first occasion this happened in a Doctor Who story was in The Evil of The Daleks where the (2nd) Doctor succeeded in installing the ‘human factor’ into the drone class Daleks on Skaro. It was a delight, as a youngster constantly being ordered around by adults, to watch a scene where a Black Dalek gives an order only to hear an anonymous Dalek voice say "Why?" The Black Dalek became both apoplectic with rage and frantic with incomprehension and fear.

This was an excellent story that left me feeling (not for the first time) that Daleks are their own worst enemies, in more senses than one.



11 comments


    theagingfanboy

    April 29, 2007

    I remember that “Why”. Excellent stuff. They truly are Nazis at heart, which hampers their ability to cope in a changing universe.
    I hope that they tell us about the Time War now.

    Frank Sable

    April 29, 2007

    The way the Daleks keep getting killed off only to return in ever more ingenious ways makes me wonder if, one day, we??????ll see an episode where a Dalek named Bobby takes a shower and realises that the ??????Time War?????? was nothing but a dream!

    Ian McNicholas

    April 29, 2007

    Dalek Sec is dead. Long Live Dalek Caan !

    Smock

    April 29, 2007

    I don’t know. But the bar just closed 🙁

    Smock

    April 29, 2007

    oooh! there’s still 5 minutes!

    denis

    April 29, 2007

    here’s a few extracts from a book by BBC journalist Paul Parsons called The Science of Dr Who where I provided some of the input – naturally I recommend it to all Who-o-philes!!

    (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Science-Doctor-Who-Dr/dp/1840467371)

    Chapter 12, The Daleks

    ??????The Daleks were a society,?????? says Murphy. ??????And as such they would need to work together and trust each other.?????? Even in battle, there is a place for compassion (eg, dealing with the injured) and camaraderie (eg, looking out for your comrades). These qualities didn??????t emerge as nature??????s way of being nice. A soldier may think he??????s showing kindness when he helps an injured comrade but that??????s just nature??????s way of making sure he??????s not standing alone come the next battle. Similarly he covers the backs of his fellow soldiers in battle in the hope that they will do the same for him.

    The emotions that drive us to these actions have evolved because they confer a survival advantage (indirect as it may be) ??????? and genetically selecting them out might not be such a smart idea after all.

    But let??????s assume Davros got it right, and succeeded in creating a race that really is superior, and which he then unleashes upon the Galaxy. What should be the advice for the inhabitants of any planet getting in the way of his invading Dalek army? ??????Get out of the way!?????? might seem like the first instinct. But just because the Daleks have superior abilities doesn??????t guarantee them victory. There are many examples in nature where the underdog has won out ??????? and not just through luck.

    ??????You sometimes get more intelligent organisms which are out-competed by rats and bacteria,?????? says Murphy. It sometimes comes down to numbers, but it can often be a consequence of the ??????superior?????? species fighting in an alien environment that it??????s not adapted to ??????? exactly the situation that would face an invader from another world.

    So a wily Davros might do well to make his Daleks generalists, able to perform well in a wide range of conditions and environments. Humans are a prime example of a generalist lifeform. We??????re good with technology yet we can also live without it; we can live anywhere from tropical jungles to frozen polar wastes; we can eat meat or we can eat plants. ??????Cows eat grass and lions eat antelope ??????? they can??????t do vice versa. But we can do almost anything,?????? says Murphy. This degree of versatility isn??????t found anywhere else in the animal kingdom, and must explain to a large degree humans?????? rise to dominance on Earth.

    denis

    April 29, 2007

    why are the dates on this blog one day ahead of reality?

    – have our e-messages morphed into a time warp and reappeared in the future??

    if so, how can I follow them, so I can avoid my meetings for the rest of today???

    Smock

    April 29, 2007

    Weird! my messages keep appearing out of order!

    petegrehan

    April 29, 2007

    The book sounds interesting denis, so much so that I have ordered myself a copy. Thanks for the tip!

    Dai

    April 29, 2007

    In the early stages of WWII one of the reasons the Germans prospered was the very flexibility and empowerment that their junior officers had through their strategy, training and experience.

    theagingfanboy

    April 29, 2007

    I suppose that the Daleks also destroy anything they don’t find useful. Rather like some empires in the ancient world, raid, take what you want, then kill everyone and destroy teh land. More recent ideas of conquest are to take over and exploit what you aquire.
    The Daleks may be a bit more like the Borg than the Klingons.

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