Across time and space one man stands against the seemingly
endless tide of evil and injustice, whether fighting on a
galactic scale or dealing with a personal tragedy, the Doctor
is always in the thick of it...
Who: Short Trips: The Solar System is a new collection
of short stories based on the ever popular, and now newly
revived, show. Published by Big Finish and edited by Gary
Russell, here is another great collection of tales. The linking
theme in this anthology is that all the stories are set on
planets in our own solar system. This means that rather have
the stories in chronological order for the Doctor, the stories
are arranged starting with Mercury and making our way to the
furthest planet so far discovered, Sedna. For purists and
anally retentive fans Mondas is not included, though I'm not
really sure why as a Cyberman story is always well received.
There's no story for Peter Cushing's Doctor either, poor man
even got to be resurrected for Revenge of the Sith
but never seems to get a nod from the Doctor Who fraternity.
Mercury, by Eddie Robson, showcases the Doctor's second
incarnation accompanied by Jamie and Zoe. A remote outpost
is menaced by an alien with an unknown agenda. This is a nice
little story with an unexpected twist in its tail.
by Stuart Manning, has the eighth, and latest for the anthology,
Doctor. In this tale he's accompanied by Charlotte Pollard.
Materialising on an apparently alien landscape, things are
not what they seem. When The Doctor and Charlotte find out
the truth it leads to a conflict between the two, a conflict
which highlights the Doctors compassionate nature.
by John Mortimore, is an adventure with the ever popular fourth
Doctor. In this case he has a companion whose name is not
revealed until the end of the story, so I'm not going to do
it here either. This is an Earth of the far flung future,
where apocalyptic desolation seems to be the order of the
day and has been since H.G. Well's time machine first popped
by Trevor Baxendale, has Vicki, Steven and the first Doctor
involved in a fairly straightforward rescue mission, though
to be honest this is really a Steven story, with the Doctor
doing little until the last minute. Mars and no Ice Warriors?
by Andy Russell, features a Big Finish companion in the form
of Evelyn Smythe, a character who didn't appear in the original
television show, but whose inclusion, is an understandable
tribute to the importance of Big Finish in keeping Doctor
Who alive through its BBC wilderness years. With the Sixth
Doctor, it's a story of ghosts and co-operate shenanigans
in the turbulent clouds of the solar systems most beautiful
gas giant. It also includes homage to the first Alien
film in the characters of Leonello and Hendryk, two engineers
who live in the bowls of the ship worrying about their pay
and feeling unappreciated by the flight crew.
Saturn, the Doctors considerable age, normally a great
source of wisdom, turns out to be a decidedly thorny subject,
in what appears to be an ideal society - shades of Logan's
Run me thinks. Alison Lawson's critique, of the way that
the elderly are viewed, may not be an original idea but she
executes it well. Nyssa appears as the companion and true
to the character's use in the television show; her importance
to the plot appears to be almost inconsequential. Happily
this state of affairs is not what it seems.
(no laughing at the back) by Craig Hinton, sports the seventh
Doctor with Mel and was my favourite story in the collection.
Mel and the Doctor arrive to witness a famous impact into
the heart of the gas giant, but others have ideas of their
own. Soon things start to go horribly wrong and the Doctor
has to intervene. Uranus could have been just another
rescue mission, but Hinton envisions something more magical
than that. Here is the Doctor as the master manipulator standing
at the centre of the action and often being the cause as well.
Neptune, by Richard Dinnick, throws the third Doctor
and the ever popular Sarah Jane Smith, a kind of spunky Lois
Lane figure for you younger readers. On a floating city the
spider-like Siccati are under attack from the planet Sedna.
Can the Doctor repair the defences in time to save this race
by Dale Smith, is a story of terraforming on the outer edges
of the system. The second Doctor, Ben and Polly arrive on
Charon only to find an unknown corpse and a mystery hidden
in the ice.
Last in the anthology is Sedna by Andy Frankham. The
third Doctor and Jeremy Fitzoliver arrive to discover the
originators of the attacks on the Siccati settlement on Neptune.
The Doctor quickly discovers that the attackers are themselves
So there you have it another worthy themed anthology, ready
to grace anyone's Doctor Who collection. The quality
of the stories rarely drops below good, with a few transcending
the restrictions of their characters to become good science
fiction. Hard-core fans may have a few problems with the exclusion
of a number of elements which appeared in the original show,
but I presume that their exclusion means that they and their
planets are floundering in that obscurity that is copyright
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