Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Doctor Who Short Trips: Zodiac - ed. Jacqueline Raynor

The Doctor Who Short Trips: Zodiac short story anthology is edited by Jacqueline Raynor. This was the first short stories volume published by Big Finish in the Short Trips series. Each story has a special, astrological introduction by Jim Sangster and it features 12 stories (as you might expect), each one of which relates to one of the signs of the Zodiac, as follows:

Aries: "The True and Indisputable Facts in the Case of the Ram’s Skull" by Mark Michalowski features the first Doctor, Ian and Barbara
Taurus: "Growing Higher" by Paul Leonard features the eighth Doctor and Fitz
Gemini: "Twin Piques" by Tony Keetch features the second Doctor and Jamie
Cancer: "Still Lives" by Ian Potter features the third Doctor, Liz and Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart
Leo: "Constant Companion" by Simon A. Forward features the second Doctor, Jamie and Zoe
Virgo: "Virgin Lands" by Sarah Groenewegen features the seventh Doctor, Ace and Bernice Summerfield
Libra: "The Switching" features Simon Guerrier, the third Doctor, Jo and UNIT
Scorpio: "Jealous, Possessive" by Paul Magrs features K-9 Marks I and II (but no Doctor)
Sagittarius: "Five Card Draw" by Todd Green features the fifth Doctor and Peri (plus some of his other "selves")
Capricorn: "I Was A Monster!!!" by Joseph Lidster features the fourth Doctor and Romana II (Romana is a Time Lady and regenerated once during the original Doctor Who series, "Romana II" refers to her second self)
Aquarius: "The Invertebrates of Doom" by Andrew Collins features the seventh Doctor and Mel
Pisces: "The Stabber" by Alison Lawson features the sixth Doctor and Peri

I particularly enjoyed "The True and Indisputable Facts in the Case of the Ram’s Skull" which features author and poet Edgar Allen Poe; "Constant Companion" which features a tantalising cat-like creature which amplified telepathic abilities; and my favourite was "Five Card Draw" in which the Fifth Doctor responds to a telepathic summons and materialises inside a mediaeval castle where he find his first, second, and third selves. Then a future self, dressed in a loud, colourful coat arrives, and the first Doctor suggests a game of Poker whilst explaining that he has called on his future selves for assistance, all except his manipulative seventh self. The fourth decided not to come, and the confused eighth self did not respond. The first Doctor explains that whilst Ben and Polly were visiting a friend, he came to this castle to do some target practice with a golden bow he has acquired from Gallutia. However, none of his future selves can remember quite what happened on Gallutia. When he lands, he sees a young lady being attacked by bandits, who flee in panic when the TARDIS materialises in their midst. The Doctor rescued her, pulling her into the TARDIS, but when he emerges to see if the coast is clear he is surrounded by a group of angry and frightened knights who accuse him of kidnapping Lady Mary through sorcery. The Doctor flees into the castle and raises the drawbridge, but the knights lay siege to the castle so that he is unable to return to the TARDIS. Hence he summons his future selves to his assistance. This story particularly interested me because it features this meeting between various incarnations of the Doctor. I know that the TV series has done something similar on more than one occasion in order to celebrate an anniversary, but this is the first time I've seen it in a print story.

I confess that the title of the Aquarius story made me laugh - it sounds very Terry Pratchettesque, and the story is quite humorous.

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Talking of Doctor Who, I've just received The Stone Rose Audiobook and The Feast of the Drowned Audiobook both read by David Tennant. Now if you're a regular reader, you'll know I don't "do" audiobooks as a rule - I find them too slow. BUT, these are read by David Tennant and I've already read (and own) the books. So I'm going to try listening to the audiobooks whilst reading along with David to stop me trying to do anything else whilst listening, which would result in me "tuning out" the audiobook ! I'll let you know if it works !

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