Features the Eighth Doctor and Charley between The Sword of Orion and The Stones of Venice.
Author: Gary Russell
Continuity: Charley has only been travelling with the Doctor for a few days. She ran away from school in order to stow away on the R101 (Storm Warning). Her parents live in Hampshire. Her middle name is Elspeth and she was born on the day the RMS Titanic sank.
The people incarcerated in the airship by the Doctor include a old lady with bright red skin and horns who tried to patent atomic energy years before her people should have discovered it; a Centaur who used a time machine to cheat at games; Tianna (The Time Lord's Story); the ghost flower containing the spirit of the dead girl from The Ghost's Story; the Rag and Bone man (The Rag and Bone Man's Story); Professor Katsuodos (The Seismologist's Story); Jake Morgan (The Dead Man's Story); the Basprali Inquisitor (The Inquisitor's Story); the Lightning (The Gangster's Story); Lillian and Erin (The Bushranger's Story); Bobby Zierath (The Schoolboy's Story); the juror from The Juror's Story; Thomas Watson (The Farmer's Story); William Rokeby and his daughter Polly-Anne (The Republican's Story); Heathcliffe Bower (The Assassin's Story); and Ormsin Ives (The Diplomat's Story). He takes Nehra to fill the role of Steward, looking after the other passengers and collecting new ones from throughout history (The Steward's Story) and the tramp to assist him (The Tramp's Story.
The TARDIS contains a Louis XIV chair and a copy of Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the Stars. T'rss is a Martian spirit.
Links: There are references to the R101 and Ramsey the Vortisaur (Storm Warning), and Cybermen and the Garazone system (Sword of Orion). The red-haired bespectacled young man with a t-shirt that reads "I went to Agora and all I got was this lousy shirt" is possibly Grant Markham (Time of Your Life, Killing Ground); the young, blonde girl with a similar t-shirt reading "I went to Hyspero and all I got was this lousy shirt" is possibly Sam (The Scarlet Empress).
Location: An airship at the heart of the Space-Time Vortex.
Future History: Had the Doctor not removed the Rag and Bone Man from history, the capital that he made thanks to the Blessing Star would have allowed his son to develop a biological weapon that would have altered the time line (The Rag and Bone Man's Story).
At some point, humans go to war against the Hufko, causing many colonies to unite against the common foe. Because Ormsin Ives' diplomacy allows peace between the to species, the Doctor is forced to remove her from history to protect the web of time (The Diplomat's Story).
The Bottom Line: As a means of linking the stories within the anthology, this just about works, but the idea of the Doctor kidnapping people to preserve the web of time is rather hard to swallow.
The Time Lord's Story
Features the Eighth Doctor, Romana II, and K9 Mark II directly after the eighth Doctor version of Shada.
Authors: Iain McLaughlin and Claire Bartlett
Roots: There are references to Good King Wenceslas and Scooby Doo.
Continuity: The Doctor's pockets contain a yo-yo, a broken circuit from the TARDIS's navigation unit, the heating element from an electric kettle, and a bag of jelly babies.
K9 Mark II has been fitted with a water-tight inner seal.
The Capitol was built on top of the old city back in Rassilon's time. Cleanliness in the Capitol is maintained by cleaning 'bots. Gallifreyan flora includes hefzi moss. Tianna has been reading files on the Master and the Rani.
Links: This story is set directly after Shada, the Doctor returning Romana and K9 to Gallifrey. Tianna reads about the Master's unfortunate visit to Tersurus (The Deadly Assassin, Legacy of the Daleks). The Doctor calls Romana "Fred" (The Ribos Operation). Vansell first appeared in The Sirens of Time. There are references to Jamie, Victoria and Zoe. There is a reference to rovies (No Place Like Home). The aliens kept captive by the cultists include a Krynoid (The Seeds of Doom), which has transformed the body of an Outsider (The Invasion of Time). The cultists have been using a Timescoop to obtain specimens, and there is a reference to Borusa (The Five Doctors) [there is a yet another Timescoop in existence on Gallifrey - see Goth Opera, The Eight Doctors].
The Bottom Line: Bit old hat really; with Time Lords, vampires, and the Timescoop, this revisits the same territory as Blood Harvest, Goth Opera and The Eight Doctors and as such feels highly derivative. It's well written, but as a start to the anthology it's far too unoriginal to grab the attention.
The Ghost's Story
Features the Seventh Doctor and Ace
Author: Trevor Baxendale
Roots: The Doctor plays "My Old Man's a Dustman" and "Rock Around the Clock" on the spoons.
Continuity: The unnamed planet has a blue sun and two moons. The lichen's spores allow its memories to live on and manifest themselves as ghosts, including the memories of those it has devoured. It is possible that it is the TARDIS that permits a physical manifestation of these memories.
Ace wears Doc Martens.
Location: An unnamed planet, date unknown [the future].
Future History: The planet is an Earth colony. The lichen killed the colonists and their crops.
The Bottom Line: Another short yet chilling horror story from Baxendale, who seems far better suited to this sort of thing than full length novels and audios.
The Rag & Bone Mans Story
Features the First Doctor and Susan
Author: Colin Brake
Roots: There are references to the Jules Rimet Trophy, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters.
Continuity: The Blessing Star is an alien crystal containing a microscopic creature. The creature is an empath, responding to desires and creating a field of positivity to whoever holds the crystal (and thus, in effect, acting as a good luck charm). The Doctor claims that it manipulates multi-dimensional mathematics and later reality. Susan accidentally left the Blessing Star behind in the junkyard when they hurriedly left with Ian and Barbara (100,000 BC).
The TARDIS disguised itself as a large tree on the world of the Tacunda People. The Doctor's attempt to use the Blessing Star to steer the TARDIS causes the damage to the chameleon circuit amongst other things and forces the Doctor to remain on Earth until he has repaired his ship. Following Susan's departure, the Doctor has spent many hours in the Zero Room contemplating his decision to leave her behind (Castrovalva). Following the defeat of WOTAN (The War Machines) the Doctor checked to see if the Hand of Omega had been buried as he had arranged and discovered that it had gone (Remembrance of the Daleks).
Susan's maths teacher at Coal Hill School is called Mr. Cooper. One of her fellow pupils is named Christopher. When Ian and Barbara were on board the TARDIS, she slept in a communal room in order to be sociable (The Edge of Destruction).
The owner of the junkyard at Totter's Lane is named Hawkins (100,000 BC). The Doctor rented it under the alias Doctor John Smith and remained there for nine months. By 1966, building work is underway at the yard [this is presumably abandoned at some point - see Attack of the Cybermen].
Links: 100,000 BC, The War Machines. The Doctor mentions Logopolis. There are references to Steven staying with the Elders and the Savages (The Savages), Susan remaining behind at the end of The Dalek Invasion of Earth, Ian and Barbara, and Katarina.
Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor and Susan visited the Tacunda People, from whose altar the Doctor stole the Blessing Star. The Doctor has met Arthur C. Clarke (see also Cold Fusion).
Location: London, December 1962 to 1966.
The Bottom Line: Quite entertaining. Brake nicely ties his story into the Doctor's return to London in The War Machines, and the sections written in first person narrative are engagingly written.
The Seismologist's Story
Features the Third Doctor and Jo Grant
Author: Peter Anghelides
Dialogue Disasters: "Nikos, I could listen to you talk about persistent minor seismicity all day!"
Continuity: Odobenidans have grey skin, a powerful curved mandible, and tiny eyes located high on the sides of their heads.
The Master uses the alias Senator Szef. He apparently made a deal with the Odobenidans to help them invade Earth, but accidentally trapped both them and himself in a time loop whilst undertaking some temporal mechanics on their behalf. He has been trapped in the time loop beneath Greece for months, although as a Time Lord he is at least able to move around inside it without repeating his actions over and over again. The Doctor claims that Katsuodas would be free of the Master's hypnotic control within the neutral time of a TARDIS.
The Time Lords send the TARDIS to Greece so that the Doctor will deal with the time loop. The Doctor has reprogrammed the TARDIS so that it won't materialize on the edge of cliffs, following the events of The Curse of Peladon. In certain dangerous situations the TARDIS is programmed to dematerialize as soon as the pilot steps aboard. The Doctor carries a box of matches.
Jo likes ouzo. She tries to pass the Doctor off as her uncle.
Links: The Doctor notes that the Brigadier was serving as a Second Lieutenant in Greece just after the Second World War (Deadly Reunion).
Location: Greece, the 1950s.
Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor has met Sir Walter Raleigh.
The Bottom Line: Very poor. The increasingly tiresome tendency for the Master to turn up in short stories featuring the Third Doctor makes his appearance very predictable and the plot is firmly in World Distributors territory.
The Dead Man's Story
Features the third Doctor and Jeremy Fitzoliver.
Author: Andy Frankham
Roots: There are references to Pepsi and Marcel Theroux.
Continuity: Jeremy's interference in the TARDIS releases a beam of temporal energy that traps passer-by Jake Morgan in a dimensional bubble, making him invisible and intangible. The Doctor is unable to "burst" the bubble and restore him, although he does manage to build small silver devices worn in the ear that allow the wearer to see the reality bubble.
Links: Jeremy appeared in The Paradise of Death and The Ghosts of N-Space.
Location: Hammersmith, London [c2004].
The Bottom Line: An impressive published debut from Frankham, who has been writing fan fiction for the internet for some time. The story veers dangerously close to soap opera, but is handled so poignantly that it works.
The Inquisitor's Story
Features the Sixth Doctor
Author: J. Shaun Lyon
Dialogue Triumphs: "I did what I did because it was the right thing to do. Because at that moment, that child wasn't a killer, or a murdering mass dictator foisting terrible war and ethnic cleansing upon your people. He was only a boy."
Continuity: Some Basprali women possess the gift and future insight and join the Seers Union.
The Doctor is given drugs whilst under interrogation that react with his metabolism and send him into shock (see The Mind of Evil).
Location: Baspral [the reference to the Earth Alliance and the Daleks suggests that this story takes place during the 2500s].
Future History: On his previous visit to Baspral, the Doctor prevented a Seer from drowning a young boy; the boy grew up to be a ruthless dictator, responsible for the Great Cleansing in which millions of people died. After the wars were over, Basprali joined the Earth Alliance in fighting the Daleks, the military prowess that they had developed under the dictator contributing to the Dalek defeat.
Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor has visited Baspral twice before, once with a companion to visit the famous Gardens of Baspral.
The Bottom Line: An excellent debut from Lyon, and a story that perfectly sums up the themes of the anthology.
The Gangster's Story
Features the Fifth Doctor, Peri, and Erimem.
Author: Jon de Burgh Miller
Roots: Various gangster stories.
Continuity: The "lightning" is a sentient alien material that was a gangster on its homeworld. It crash-landed on Earth hundreds of years earlier, and became separated from its travel capsule. Whenever it was used to attack somebody, contact with a human increased its sentience, allowing it to gain awareness of where the capsule might be.
Location: London, the late twentieth century.
Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor first encountered the alien material in India, but lost track of it.
The Bottom Line: Oh dear. This isn't really very good; the characterisation is poor, both of the Doctor and the gangsters, and the slight plot hinges upon a contrived technobabble revelation about the nature of the Lightning. It doesn't really fit into the theme of the anthology very well either.
The Bushranger's Story
Features the Fourth Doctor and Leela.
Author: Sarah Groenewegen
Roots: There is a reference to Hannibal.
Continuity: The Doctor is trying to take Leela to see the Fiji Mermaid at P. T. Barnum's Circus. He carries a telescope and a form of medicine containing nanotechnology.
The Wolf-People are a dying race belonging to a mythical time of faeries and unicorns. There are symbiotic creatures consisting of a wolf and a person living together as one being. The Doctor's interference inadvertently gives them a chance for survival, forcing him to remove Lillian and Erin from history.
Location: New South Wales, near Bathurst Town, Australia, 1876.
The Bottom Line: Workmanlike, but dull. The plight of the Wolf-People, and the Doctor's intervention, makes for a fairly predictable moral dilemma.
The Schoolboy's Story
Features the First Doctor, Steven, and Vicki
Author: Trey Korte
Roots: There are references to Pokemon and Nostradamus. The Most High is Beep the Meep, from the Doctor Who Monthly comic strip, "Doctor Who and the Star Beast".
Continuity: Following his encounter with the Monk, the Doctor has installed a device in the TARDIS that can detect disturbances in history (The Time Meddler). He invites the young Bobby Zierath aboard the TARDIS and travels with him for some time, before returning him to the moment after they left his home; Bobby's tales of his travels lead people to believe that he has been abused and he is placed in care. Bobby's decision to use his foreknowledge of history to predict the future forces the Doctor to remove him from history.
Vicki has been reading about the history and culture of "Ancient America" in the TARDIS library. She tries a CaraMelocha Cha-Cha Chiller whilst in America. She studied time paradoxes at school.
Steven gives Hi-Fi to Bobby Zierath (The Chase).
Links: Vicki recalls visiting the Empire State Building (The Chase). The fast-return switch is mentioned (The Edge of Destruction). There is a reference to Susan's departure (The Dalek Invasion of Earth).
Location: Indiana, the late twentieth century and early twenty-first century.
Future History: Three years after the First Doctor, Steven and Vicki are reunited with the adult Bobby Zierath, the Troxleks invade Earth. Political tensions rock Asia thirty years later.
Unrecorded Adventures: Whilst Bobby is aboard the TARDIS, the Doctor, Steven and Vicki encounter robots that look like drills named Conidrons, the Zaksi, and a being called the Most High who kidnaps Vicki when she calls him a cuddly-wuddly.
The Bottom Line: The third impressive debut of the collection, and a story that deals with the ramifications of travelling with the Doctor in a new and refreshing way. The suspicions of child abuse are tastefully handled, and the whole story is rather moving.
The Juror's Story
Features the First, Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth Doctors and Susan Foreman
Author: Eddie Robson
Roots: There is a reference to the Beatles.
Continuity: At some point prior to 100,000 BC the First Doctor and Susan encounter a werewolf, which the Doctor kills using a silver bullet; he is placed on trial, but is found not guilty by the jury which consists partly of his future selves. The First uses the alias Foreman whilst on trial. The Fifth Doctor uses the alias Doctor Smith, the Third Doctor Noble, and the Fourth Doctor Bowman. "Doctor Bowman" claims to be a doctor of philosophy. The Third Doctor has a learnt a great deal about bullets from UNIT, despite not really wanting to. The Fifth Doctor wears an ill-fitting grey suit. The Second Doctor wears an equally shabby suit. The Second Doctor like cheesecake.
Links: The Second Doctor claims to have gained a PhD in psychiatry from Edinburgh (The Moonbase).
Location: London, 1963.
The Bottom Line: The central premise is an amusing conceit, but I'm getting heartily sick of the multi-Doctor stories that keep cropping up in these Short Trips anthologies. It's difficult to imagine the Doctor going to such lengths to make sure he's found not guilty, but at least the first person narrative is used to good effect.
The Farmer's Story
Features the Second Doctor, Jamie, and Victoria
Author: Todd Green
Location: East Ridge, Texas, the nineteenth century.
The Bottom Line: Pleasant, but inconsequential. Yet again, there is only a tenuous connection to the theme of the anthology.
The Republican's Story
Features the Fourth Doctor and Sarah-Jane Smith
Author: Andy Russell
Continuity: Sarah's time is dated to 1976 (it is said to be three hundred and ten years after 1666). She dresses here in mens clothing, wearing blue breeches and a waistcoat with puffed sleeves. She contracts the Black Death, but is cured by a tetracycline antibiotic that the Doctor keeps in the TARDIS.
Links: This story is set between Planet of Evil and Pyramids of Mars.
Location: London, 1666.
Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor met King Charles II before he became the monarch; Charles was on the run from the Roundheads and the Doctor helped him to hide in an oak tree. He may be a friend of Samuel Pepys.
The Bottom Line: Enjoyable, if predictable. Rokeby's theft of an antibiotic is a fairly effective demonstration of the dangers of interfering in history, however well meaning.
The Assassin's Story
Features the Fifth Doctor, Tegan, and Turlough
Author: Andrew Collins
Roots: There are references to the Evening Standard, the Times, Jodie Foster, John Hinckley Jr.'s attempt to assassinate Ronald Reagan, Arthur Scargill, Norman Tebbit, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap, Ray Bradbury, Philip K. Dick, and Terry Wogan.
Continuity: Heathcliffe Bower has had roles in John Delaney's An Angry Taste Of Chips, the Nedwell/O'Sullivan sitcom Are We Nearly There Yet?, and The Lubricious Popinjay. He assassinates Margaret Thatcher in 1984 during the miners' strike. Bower snatches the Doctor's celery from his lapel and uses it to stir his Bloody Mary. The Doctor breaks the older Bower out of prison in the alternate timeline and takes him back in time to persuade his younger self not to assassinate Thatcher, thus causing a paradox.
Location: London, 1979, and 1984 in an alternate timeline.
The Bottom Line: Rather good. Paradoxes have become ten-a-penny since Big Finish gained their license, but this one feels refreshingly different due to the first person narrative and the characterisation of Bower.
The Diplomat's Story
Features the Sixth Doctor and Evelyn Smythe
Author: Kathryn Sullivan
Roots: There are references to Homer.
Continuity: The Hufko resemble antelope with two arms in addition to their four legs. They are strict vegetarians. Their society is matriarchal. They are possibly nomadic.
The Doctor builds a translator to allow the humans and Hufko to communicate.
Fee root beverage is the colony's alternative to coffee.
Location: Teuba, date unknown [the future].
Future History: The Earth colony on Teuba is nearly engulfed by war when the colonists mistake the Hufko colonists for game animals. Daginate Mining bids for rights to mine on Teuba but are refused; Obsidian Reaches, a company that builds leisure resorts, is given permission to build a ski resort in the mountains, with facilities for humans and Hufko.
The Bottom Line: Rather sweet actually. With the twist being that there isn't a twist, the story's happy ending is highly unexpected and very pleasant.
The Steward's Story
Features the Second and Third Doctors
Author: Mark Michalowski
Roots: The Arabian Nights' Entertainments.
Goofs: The Doctor is very lucky that Vishathra severs his own timeline before anyone else's.
Continuity: Vishathra is a demon, capable of severing timelines. He accidentally severs his own timeline, since he doesn't realize that he has traveled through time simply be existing within time.
Location: India, date unknown [the past].
Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor has met Einstein.
The Bottom Line: Highly amusing. The tongue-in-cheek feel is highly entertaining, as is Vishathra.
The Tramp's Story
Features the Eighth Doctor
Author: Joseph Lidster
Roots: There are references to Sainsbury's, The Big Issue, Challenger, John Lennon, Neighbours, the Oklahoma bombing, Jill Dando, EastEnders, Chris Rea's "Driving Home For Christmas", Smirnoff Ice, Strongbow, Jamie Bulger, Prince Andrew and Fergie.
Links: Death first appeared in Love and War. The Doctor reflects on bad memories here, including a boy and his parents dying on a burning world (Excelis Decays), a young soldier pushing him to safety as a building explodes (Project: Lazarus), and his oldest friend trapped in a thousand lifetimes of darkness (Master).
Location: England, c2004; Salzburg, [cMozart's birth]; the Great Auctor's planet, date unknown.
Unrecorded Adventures: Whilst the tramp is travelling with the Doctor, they defeat Mortimus' plan to take Salieri back in time and kill Mozart as a baby (No Future). They defeat a psychic creature called the Great Auctor, which resembles a giant foetus in a jar within a diamond-studded cave; the Auctor controls the minds of everyone on the planet.
The Bottom Line: As in Short Trips: Past Tense, Joseph Lidster steals the show by providing a breathtaking finale. The prose is great, the characterisation superb, and the Doctor's tragic friendship with the Doctor very moving.
|You visited the Whoniverse at 6:14 am GMT on Friday 16th December 2005