Join the Doctor as he visits a Christmas truce in the trenches,
gets caught up in an alien plot concerning the recording of
Do They Know It's Christmas?, runs into another yuletide
television institution, has a serious chat with Santa Claus,
and even manages some last-minute shopping in Oxford street...
to a combination of this book's release date, the Christmas
post and Sci-fi Online's seasonal break, I ended up reading
this book in January rather than December. Oh well, at least
I managed to finish it before Candlemas, which, as Stephen
Cole's Evergreen story tell us, is regarded by some
as the traditional end to the Christmas season.
this collection did manage to enthuse me with a degree of
Christmas spirit. Not all of the tales were to my liking,
though: I never really got into the first one, Simon Guerrier's
Last Christmas, and both Darren Sellars' Never Seen
Cairo and Martin Day's It's a Lovely Day Tomorrow
seem more like anecdotes than stories. However, there are
so many of them - more than 20 in all - and they are all so
relatively short that, like sketches in The Fast Show,
if you don't like one then you can rest assured that another
will be along in no time at all.
favourite stories are the amusing yet poignant The Little
Things, by Paul Beardsley, The Clanging Chimes of Doom,
by Jonathan Morris, both of which feature characteristically
witty banter between the Fourth Doctor and the Second Romana;
and Steve Lyons' All Our Christmases, which steps outside
the box to tell the peculiar story of a magazine editor who
alters history by "fixing" some of the deficiencies in his
favourite television show.
you would expect, many of the tales have a humorous and/or
celebratory flavour. However, Christmas can also be a sad
time, and accordingly some stories have a more tragic tinge
to them. Last Christmas, Never Seen Cairo and
It's a Lovely Day Tomorrow all deal with war, while
Peter Adamson's Water's Edge concerns a train crash,
J. Shaun Lyon's Goodwill Toward Men tackles homelessness
and Evergreen takes place on the anniversary of a husband's
addition to short stories, the collection also includes four
poems, four recipes and even instructions to two Who-themed
games! The instructions for Lawrence Miles' board-based The
Game of Rassilon are far more complex than those of Jim
Sangster's action-based Animus, Zarbi, Menoptra, though
it is instilled with instances of sly humour, such as the
fact that the characters are compatible with the old Weetabix
Doctor Who pop-out figures. By contrast, the very basic
rules of Sangster's game don't even work properly: is the
Animus stronger than the Menoptra or vice versa?
recipes, all by Paul Condon and affectionately written in
the style of Gary Downie's Doctor Who Cookbook, are
similarly inconsistent, in this instance in terms of their
ingredient lists. Condon cannot seem to decide whether to
place the metric measurements before the imperial ones, or,
in the case of his 50g of caster sugar in Beep the Meep's
Grundian Egg Nog, whether to include an imperial measurement
at all. He explains to American readers that caster sugar
is known to them as superfine sugar, but fails to explain
that unsalted butter is also known as sweet butter or that
a vanilla pod is the same thing as a vanilla bean. You can
tell I've proofread more than a few cookbooks, can't you?
four poems are witty and entertaining, though my two favourites
are the equally irreverent In the TARDIS: Christmas Day,
by Val Douglas, and The Feast of Seven... Eight (and Nine),
by Vanessa Bishop. Both lampoon their chosen characters to
perfection. Douglas picks on the Season 19 TARDIS team, complete
with bad-tempered Tegan and greedy Adric. Bishop highlights
some well-known aspects of the various Doctors' on- and off-screen
personas, as a fluffing First Doctor hosts a seasonal dinner
party for his mischievous second, lisping third, boozy fourth,
bland fifth, gluttonous sixth, "r"-rrrrrolling seventh and
kissy eighth incarnations.
Never mind that it's no longer Christmas. Get down to the
supermarket, buy some cut-price Chrimbo cake or mince pies,
and curl up on the sofa with this anthology. With A Christmas
Treasury it can be Christmas every day.
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