23 March 2011

Doctor Who - Short Trips & Side Steps

This book is a collection of Doctor Who short stories published in 2000.  It is really a mixed bag of stories; some good, some not so much.  I'll be brief in the descriptions of each story and try not to leave too many spoilers.  I haven't read any other Doctor Who novels so I don't have anything other similar writings to compare them with.

A Town Called Eternity: (by Lance Parkin & Mark Clapham) The sixth doctor and Peri travel to an old west town called Eternity.  The Fountain of Youth is reviving dinosaurs and the Master is running around causing trouble.  Overall about average.... maybe a little better since it involved the Master and dinosaurs.

Special Occasions: (by Gareth Roberts, Clayton Hickman, Norman Ashby, David Agnew, and Steve Buford) Some holiday themes short stories.  The only one I cared for involved the Doctor leaving a present for the Brigadier on Christmas Eve.

Nothing at the End of the Lane: (by Daniel O'Mahony) A story involving Barbara Wright and parallels the first Dr. Who episode.  Not bad, but I'm not sure exactly what the author was going for.

Countdown to TV Action: (by Gary Russell) I couldn't stand this one.  The Doctor was constantly referred to as Doctor Who and he even called himself that on one or two occasions.  I think this one was my least favorite of the bunch.

The Queen of Eros: (by Trevor Baxendale) The Doctor is captured by an evil queen who wants to force him to marry her.  Not a bad story as the Doctor tries to use his growing influence with the queen to try to change the society of her world.

The Android Maker of Calderon IV: (by Miche Doherty) I thought this was one of the better ones.  On the short side but a great story.  Written from the point of view of the villain. Not only was this one of my favorites from the bunch, but Mr. Doherty was kind enough to leave a comment below explaining some of cultural references I didn't get in some of these stories. Be sure to go down into the the comments after reading this post for more details.

Revenants: (by Peter Anghelides) This was a good one.  The Doctor and his companion have to deal with a scientist who is experimenting in things that could damage the timestream.  Some interesting things happen as they caught in a time loop that isn't quite a time loop.

Please Shut the Gate: (by Stephen Lock) The Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe on Mars.  My favorite cast from the show and I could picture them acting out this story.  Well done.

Turnabout is Fair Play: (by Graeme Burk) The Doctor and Peri are separated and have their bodies switched.  Peri has to try to act like the Doctor and defeat the bad guy when the Doctor in her lovely body is nowhere to be found.  A little above average.

The House on Oldark Moor: (by Justin Richards) Another one where the Doctor is referred to as Doctor Who, just not as often or as annoyingly as in Countdown to TV Action.  The story was about average and involves the first Doctor along with Barbara, Susan, and Ian.  A bit of a mystery and a little action to top it off.

Gone Too Soon: (by Christopher M. Wadley) The sixth Doctor has had a vision of the future and realizes he will be regenerating soon.  He uses his remaining time traveling though time and doing things he always wanted to do and interacting with historical figures he always wanted to.  He even travels to the dawn of time and carves 'The Doctor was here' on a rock.

Reunion: (by Jason Loborik) Written from the point of view of a Earth native.  He happens to be one of a number of humans that carry part of a fragment of some alien entity that wants to be reborn.  This poor fellow is pulled into a series of bizarre and horrifying events that he can barely comprehend.  Luckily the Doctor shows up to save the day.

Planet of the Bunnoids: (by Harriet Green) A planet with robot rabbits?  Almost skipped this one.  It actually turned out to be rather good.  The First Doctor along with Vicky and Stephen arrive on a planet where they encounter some strange robotic rabbits.  There is also a strange incorporeal alien who feeds off emotions.  He plans to kill Vicky and/or Stephen to feed off their fear by the Doctor tires to tell the alien that love is a more powerful emotion and would feed it better.  In the end guilt ends up being the strongest emotion of them all.

Monsters: (by Tara Samms) The Seventh Doctor and Ace in AD 2000 London tracking down a monster.  Meanwhile there are a couple of kids getting into trouble and crossing paths with the Doctor.  In the end the alien is destroyed but it seems that one little girl's mother is a monster in her own way.

Face Value: (by Steve Lyons) Aliens with no individual personalities can only gain their own sense of self by stealing the appearance and personalities of others.  They do this on a resort that happens to be on a living planet and things start to get dangerous.  While this wasn't one of my favorites it did have the feel of a Doctor Who episode.  Some bonus points for that.

Storm in a Tikka: (by Mike Tucker and Robert Perry) The Seventh Doctor and Ace get caught up in some sort of battle between some deities/powerful aliens.

Vrs: (by Lawrence Miles) I liked this one.  Creative and the shortest one in the book.  It was also a product of its time given what things were like in the year 2000.


  1. Hi. Thanks for your kind words about my story (yes, I was egosurfing - blush). A couple of points about the context for some of the other stories in the anthology:

    Countdown (later called TV Action) was a children's comic that regularly featured a Dr Who strip. It must have been written by people with scant knowledge of the show: the lead character was called Doctor Who and his car was called Betsy rather than Bessie. Gary Russell's story is a parody of those strips. Not being very familiar with them, I didn't get the point of this story. People more familiar with the comic strips enjoyed it.

    The House on Oldark Moor features the characters from the film Doctor Who and the Daleks. It's Peter Cushing's Doctor rather than William Hartnell's: the character was called Dr Who in the film. I think Justin Richards' portrayal of Ian (the Roy Castle version, constantly grinning and tripping over) is lovely.

    I think Storm in a Tikka has something to do with Eastenders. I can't be sure because it's a long time since I read it. Eastenders is a BBC soap set in a fictional place called Walford, and there was a charity telethon special episode of Dr Who in which the Tardis materialised there.

    As I say, it's a long time since I read this book. The stories I remember fondly are those by Mark Clapham & Lance Parkin, Peter Anghelides, Justin Richards, Stephen Lock, and – my favourite – Graeme Burk. His story had a great premise and terrific execution, and he caught the voices of Peri and the sixth Doctor perfectly.

  2. Wow, thanks for taking the time to comment Miche. And thanks for the explanations on some of those stories. So there was a reason the Doctor was referring to himself in Countdown to TV Action, glad I didn't call Gary Russell and idiot or anything, he knew what he was doing.

    I'm going to make a quick edit to my original post to make sure everyone else reads your additions.

    The internet is just an amazing place you never know who you'll bump into next.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...