Virgin Publishing
A Collection of Short Stories

Editors Mark Stammers and Stephen James Walker Cover image
ISBN 0 426 20411 5
Published 1994

Synopsis:Ten stories - seven Doctors - one enigma. Into the office of a private investigator walks a mysterious little man with no memory and pockets full of stories.


A Review by Tammy Potash 23/6/00

Here's what I thought, story by story:

If you see the original Decalog around, go ahead and pick it up. You won't regret it.

A Review by Richard Radcliffe 27/8/04

Published in 1994, edited by Stammers and Walker (of the Handbook fame), this is the first short story collection by Virgin Books. I had never read the fan fiction that gloried in this genre, therefore these short story collections sounded very good. It offered all (or at least most) Doctors in one book.

Short stories don't stay around too long. If you don't like it, you haven't wasted too much time, have you? Interestingly I have read reviews that state DW doesn't work as short fiction. So back I went to the beginning of this aspect of DW fiction - to see if this was really so. I couldn't remember a thing about it from first reading - maybe that should have set alarm bells ringing!

It's always interesting looking back at story collections and seeing which authors went on to become established writers, and alternatively which ones would be one-hit wonders. Most of these writers were already writing New and Missing Adventures. Looking down at the authors the list is impressive - but would they be collectively?

Playback by Stephen James Walker
Bookending the collection is the New Adventure Doctor - the 7th. He's lost his memory in 1950s LA, and is in need of help to restore it. His pockets are emptied, and each object tells a story. Linking short story collections is a common way of hooking the reader to read them all. This is a simple idea, liked beginning, not too keen on the end. 6/10

Fallen Angel by Andy Lane
Best character here is thief Lucas Seyton. Basically a rescue mission this showcases the 2nd Doctor. The two to be rescued are Jamie and Zoe. Nice idea, alien prison in 1920s and all that - not bad. 6/10

The Duke of Dominoes by Marc Platt
A Master story, with a funny appearance by the 4th Doctor and Sarah-Jane. As the Master plays at being a 1930s Chicago mobster, then becomes homeless, it's a new focus on a great character. 7/10

The Straw that Broke the Camel's Back by Vanessa Bishop
A lone alien invader story, that fits perfectly into the 3rd Doctor and UNIT era. It's nice to see the Doctor working away from UNIT, but they inevitably get drawn in after a while. Very reminiscent of the era it depicts. Safe and secure story-telling. 7/10

Scarab of Death by Mark Stammers
Egyptian cults, Eye of Horus - this is a sequel to Pyramids of Mars then. Same TARDIS team too - 4th Dr and Sarah-Jane. Nothing new, not as good as the original - using TV highlights not that well. 6/10

The Book of Shadows by Jim Mortimore
Another plunder from the past, this time with Barbara repeating her Aztec Queen role - but this time in Alexandria. Temporal baffles move the 1st Dr, Barbara and Ian around - but it all gets much too complicated. The old reset button is pressed anyway at the end. Poor. 4/10

Fascination by David J. Howe
DW rehashs its own past yet again as another character falls for Peri. Peri in turn is forced to fall for them - this medieval soothsayer. The 5th Dr and Elders resolve this matter. Not much to report. 5/10

The Golden Door by David Auger
The first appearance of Myklos - super shapeshifter - in this anthology. Very difficult to keep up with who's who, and what's what. By turns the 1st Doctor, 6th Doctor, Steven and Dodo get very mixed up altogether. Odd this one. 5/10

Prisoners of the Sun by Tim Robins
Future evil Liz Shaw dominates this. 3rd Doctor and Mike Yates pop along for the adventure too. Inferno-like presentation. Not too clever. 5/10

Lackaday Express by Paul Cornell
This Groundhog Day cyclotron for kindly Kate, is a bit of nightmare. Enter nice 5th Dr, Nyssa and Tegan to make things better. Better than most in the collection - still not too bright. 6/10

This collection started reasonably, but gradually degenerated. Even the setting up of the collection was proved to be false by the end. Pity the Doctor didn't wear his other jacket. Overall 5/10