Between these covers you will find seven tales of vice, exploring
the dark places at the edge of the universe. The Doctor tries
to take a stand against the tide, to bring even a chink of
light, of hope, but what good is that when he cannot even
save himself from the seven deadly sins...?
Doctor, guilty of sin? What is the world coming to? Well,
I suppose we could quite easily accuse the Sixth Doctor of
gluttony, the Eighth of lust (for snogging Grace in the TV
movie) and the Ninth of wrath (for killing several of his
foes in anger). However, they are not the sins that these
particular Doctors are associated with in this book. Indeed,
Eccleston's Doctor has yet to appear in a Short Trips anthology
- when is that going to happen, Big Finish?
At least the Third Doctor is associated with an appropriate
sin, that of envy. He was frequently and vocally resentful
of his exile to 20th-century Earth, and he envied the Master
his fully operational TARDIS. He therefore empathises with
Marion, a bedridden hospital patient in Angel by Tara
Samms. This is, in my opinion, the strongest story in this
book, as Samms once again well and truly gets into the head
of her character, in this case the very bitter and twisted
Marion. Angel is only slightly marred by a resemblance
to the X-Files episode The Walk.
second favourite is Suitors, Inc. by Paul Magrs. Representing
the sin of lust, this tale features the Fourth Doctor, the
Second Romana, K-9 and (surprise, surprise) the amorous Time
Lady Iris Wildthyme. It brings some welcome comic relief to
what is a predominantly sombre anthology. In addition to Iris'
already well-documented "pash" for the Doctor, we also see
evidence of Romana and K-9 subconsciously seeking the Time
Lord's approval, despite their overt protestations about his
frivolous attitude. Rather annoyingly, however, the narrative
ends with a kind of spoof cliffhanger that I doubt will ever
third favourite story is actually the linking material, written
by Jacqueline Rayner, that binds the other stories together.
There are a few comical moments here, too, included within
the whole gamut of emotional responses that are elicited from
the reader as a showman (can you guess who? The clue's on
the cover) confronts and attempts of expunge the various vices
of seven sinful individuals.
Levene's Too Rich for My Blood is also very enjoyable,
interweaving three very intriguing plotlines shared between
the Seventh Doctor, Bernice Summerfield and Chris Cwej. The
sin represented here is gluttony, although, since the story
is set in a Las Vegas casino, more than a little avarice comes
into play as well. In fact, I wonder whether this entry was
originally intended for the avarice slot but had to be moved
when the intended gluttony tale fell through. The elected
avarice story in this collection, David Bailey's Telling
Tales, only really touches upon that sin in passing.
Telling Tales and the three remaining stories - Gareth
Wigmore's The Duke's Folly, Mark Wright's That Which
Went Away and John Binns' The 57th - failed to
elicit much of a response from me while I was reading them.
It's not that I can't be bothered to write any more, because
that would be the deadly sin of sloth!
should therefore not feel excessively proud of this book (in
any case, pride is also a sin), but it has plenty of good
points, so he needn't come after me seeking revenge (wrath,
you see). Seven Deadly Sins is worth a look, provided
you're not too slothful or avaricious to get off your butt
and buy it.
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