Puffin, out now
A rather different sort of fairytale collection…
Justin Richards is certainly having to think laterally for his recent books. In addition to the highly enjoyable Time Lord Letters, he has also penned this collection of 15 stories for Puffin. Although they are promoted as stories that are being told on Gallifrey, in reality these are Doctor Who universe tales told in a very particular way. A number of them – but by no means all – feature the Doctor himself, very occasionally by name, but more usually fulfilling the role of the trope in that tale.
All of them play with the fairy tale concept to a greater or lesser extent. There are some very neat re-writings of familiar stories to incorporate a Doctor Who monster – you can work out quite easily which one the troll is going to be! Some of them are sci-fi retellings of those familiar stories; others are pure fairytales into which the Doctor or the monster are dropped.
Richards is always conscious of the age range and maturity of his target audience for the stories, and as with the best of such volumes, there is plenty for adults as well as children. Parents – and all those who don’t have kids but will buy this anyway – will often give a wry smile at certain turns of events.
Appropriately, each story has a beautiful stylized illustration from David Wardle, and an initial “illuminated” drop capital from Adam Linley, making the book into something of a work of art.
Verdict: Great fun, and a highly unusual way to tell stories in the Doctor Who universe. 9/10