Puffin Books, out now as a slipcase edition with each separately, or an omnibus
Twelve short stories, one per Doctor, from some of the top children’s writers.
If you didn’t want to invest a couple of quid a month to read these stories as they came out as ebooks during the anniversary year, and resisted the temptation to pick up the 11 Doctors collection, then now’s the chance to get this bumper collection of short tales.
It starts quite unusually with Eoin Colfer’s First Doctor tale, which is much closer to the TV Comic strip version of the Time Lord than what we saw on screen. Set before An Unearthly Child, it plays fast and loose with continuity, and might make you wonder if all the stories are effectively going to be “Unbound” versions, reimagining the series as the authors see fit.
That’s not the case. The other writers hue much closer to the established screen personas (in some cases, being allowed to tell stories set within their eras which might not work if they were tried nowadays) but the storytelling styles are markedly different – Richelle Mead tells her Sixth Doctor tale from Peri’s viewpoint while Alex Scarrow gives us an 8th Doctor horror tale. Some could be anywhere within the era described, while Charlie Higson quite specifically sets his tale in the middle of an episode of the 9th Doctor’s reign, Neil Gaiman’s 11th Doctor/Pond story is firm about its placement, and Holly Black’s 12th Doctor short story is likewise tied to events on screen.
There are alien worlds, alternate timelines, and historical adventures galore – and some which defy placement in that way. They may not all be to your taste, but, once again, they demonstrate the flexibility of the format.
Verdict: A very diverse assortment from across the Doctor’s many lives. 7/10
For more detailed reviews of the 12 stories click on the author names above