The Doctor and his companions have spanned both time and space.
Now, in the new short story anthology from Big Finish, Doctor
Who Short Trips: The History of Christmas, fans can witness
the Doctor's shenanigans over twenty-four different Christmases...
I've said before, Big Finish has done a grand job in keeping
Doctor Who alive during its long hiatus. Let's hope
that new fans embrace this body of work as a way of discovering
a little about the previous Doctors. Thankfully, the book
has both a picture of each of the eight featured Doctors as
well as a mini biography for our newer recruits to the world
of Who appreciation. Though Peter Cushing's Doctor
is still noticeable by his absence - poor man exorcised from
the Doctor Who canon. Edited by Simon Guerrier, the
anthology has contributions from some of the best Who
storytellers. That's not to say that all the stories are equally
short stories it is often the exploration of a single idea,
skilfully done, with a surprise ending, that makes for the
most satisfactory experience. Rather than plough through every
single story, suffice it to say all are set around the Christmas
period, regardless of the historical time and place. A lot
involve various Christmas themes: present giving, strange
stars in the sky, that sort of thing.
of the things that nobody should do is write a historical
story without getting the facts right. Rome by Marcus
Flavin (though I suspect that this is a pseudonym) was spoiled
by just such historical inaccuracy. Flavin describes Octavian,
later known as Augustus Caesar, as "...one of Caesar's junior
cronies..." As anyone who had been alive at the time, or who
has read any history on the subject, would know... he was
actually a relative. Caesar was his mother's uncle and later
adopted Octavian into his own family. Don't believe me, read
Suetonius. Plus, while I'm in a nit-picking mood, no
Roman would have drunk his wine straight without the addition
the most part the stories are all well written, but special
mention must be made for The Thousand Years of Christmas
by Simon Bucher-Jones. This is not just a good Who
story, but a also a great piece of science fiction writing.
And, at only five pages long, still stands out from the crowd
as the perfect piece of short story writing. Presence by
Peter Anghelides also deserves a mention as another good read.
Orman, Marc Platt and Simon Guerrier also provide yarns worthy
of your time. Most of the authors have also written full length
Who novels, so if you like their short story style
you might want to check out some of their earlier work. Don't
know if they are all in print, it's been some years since
I read my first Orman book.
I guess, in the end, it will come down to who your favourite
Doctor is. In this anthology, there is something for everybody.
The text is small, so you're getting a lot of story for your
money. Given the time of year it might just make the perfect
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