A collection of short stories to aid Who writer Tommy Donbavand …
For those who don’t know, Beano, Scream Street and Doctor Who writer Tommy Donbavand is undergoing treatment for cancer, and, like the vast majority of us who are self-employed, if he’s not working, he’s not earning! Various fund raising schemes have been happening, and this one has brought together many luminaries from the worlds of both professional and fan fiction to produce a very diverse anthology, all overseen by Stuart Douglas and Paul Magrs.
Those who know Donbavand’s CV may get some of the in-jokes and references, but the stories are mostly unusual additions to the Doctor Who universe – from a tale in which the Doctor’s companions meet in the most unusual circumstances (and nobody knows what Turlough does) to the return of an old foe in a very odd guise. There are combinations you’d never have thought of and some thought-provoking pieces, including some very clear insight into Jo and Leela’s characters. All the Doctors (and that’s rather more than 13!) make an appearance, as well as a good proportion of the companions – with at least one BBC Books favourite making a return.
There’s plenty of playing with the format, from mirror writing to shuffled order of chapters, which makes perfect sense in context. There’s wit and humour, as well as plenty of parody (from Friends to Mapp & Lucia).
Inevitably not all the stories work as well as others, with at least a couple that more than outstay their welcome. But the great thing about this sort of collection is that you know there’s going to be something very different just around the corner – and this “fanthology” is certainly full of variety.
Verdict: A widely varied set of tales pulled together for a good cause. 8/10