Earth and Beyond
Out of Darkness
BBC Books
More Short Trips
A Collection of Short Stories

Editor Steve Cole Cover image
ISBN 0 563 55565 3
Published 1999

Synopsis: A collection of stories from the BBC books range featuring the Doctor in all eight of his incarnations....


Competent, but dull by Robert Smith? 7/3/00

I have to wonder why they bother, really. Virgin never understood the Doctor Who short story format and Short Trips proves that the BBC don't either. More Short Trips doesn't make as many mistakes, but it still can't seem to get its head around the idea. A short story, especially one lumbered with the format that Doctor Who stories seem to impose needs to be handled carefully. Very carefully. It isn't something you dash off because your novel got rejected, nor should it be a condensed version of a twenty chapter plot.

Steve Cole's introduction is tired and cynical, which doesn't give much hope for the book. When the editor tells you how much he's looking forward to leaving in the first two pages of the volume, you've got to wonder. At least it avoids the goofiness of the last introduction, though. That's this collection in a nutshell: Avoiding the pitfalls of the past, but not replacing them with anything actually good.

More Short Trips appears to have been written to a theme. Awkward, slightly odd stories, that don't do anything terribly wrong, yet completely fail to engage the reader on any level seem to pervade the entire collection. Something is very odd when two of the best stories are by Gary Russell and David McIntee and the fictional highlight is the author bios at the end.

On the bright side, none of the stories are tediously long, there's nothing offensively awful, everyone seems to have written competently enough. The collection avoids all the major pitfalls that have plagued other short story collections and I really am grateful for that. On the dull side, it's just not very interesting. Alas.

A Review by Elsa Frohman 16/9/00

A Review by Alan Thomas 2/5/01

There you are. Another drab collection, nowhere near as bad as the first, just not very exciting.

A Review by Richard Radcliffe 20/2/04

Stephen Cole carries on the editing chores. A less impressive cover with only oldest and recent Doctor on (bit dark too) isn't quite as welcoming as the previous collection. Hopeful I was though after the decent first collection.

Totem by Tara Samms
The 8th Doctor acting like some repentant Bounty Hunter is at the heart of this story, as he works on the farm of a Mexican woman. It starts the collection off well, a different take on our favourite Time Lord. And doesn't the 8th Dr work so well on his own? 8/10

Scientific Adviser by Ian Atkins
The whole idea of making a film of fictional events in DW is naff. I couldn't really get past this stupid idea, and despite some decent 2nd Dr material, I found the Cyber plot dull and lifeless. 4/10

Missing, Part One: Business as Usual by Gary Russell
Filling the gaps after the TV and book Business Unusual, Mel returns home. It's short to the point, and relates to a book I never bothered to read. 6/10

Moon Graffiti by Dave Stone
Straight from the bizarre world of Dave Stone, this is a futuristic story about the Wibbly-Wee. 6th Dr and Peri are in it. The TARDIS gets fixed too, which is never a good idea in my opinion - I like the unpredictability of landing sites. Rubbish. 3/10

One Bad Apple by Simon A. Forward
The 4th Dr and Leela come across a group of Cyber-Humans - half converted. With its Garden of Eden metaphors this taps into mythology in a splendid way. An excellent story. 9/10

64 Carlysle Street by Gary Russell
The setting is wonderful, the supporting character Roztog excellent. Having an undercover Dodo helping out the 1st Doctor works well too. A fine tale all round by Mr Russell. 8/10

The Eternity Contract by Steve Lyons
The collection just seems to be getting stronger and stronger. A fabulous dark tale of death and gothic castles, with the 5th Dr and Nyssa. Lyons is a fabulous writer, and this remains one of the best short stories of DW I have ever read. 10/10

The Sow in Rut by Mike Tucker
This story, featuring Sarah-Jane and K9, goes along very well, until the computer game ending - which is terrible! Nonetheless Sarah-Jane provides an effective character on her own, especially in the fascinating British countryside. 7/10

Special Weapons by Paul Leonard
Nazis in an English village, a solar radiation alien. Decent effort with the 7th Dr and Mel - and another effective use of the English Village. 7/10

Honest Living by Jason Loborik
This clever joining of Day of Daleks time travel is a fascinating read. The danger of the 3rd Dr and Jo meeting themselves drives the plot, and I was hooked completely. 9/10

Dead Time by Andrew Miller
One I listened to rather than read. McGann effectively conveys the mystery of the whole thing, and I really enjoyed it. 8th Dr and Sam aren't the best team DW has ever seen, but this is as good as Sam ever got. 9/10

Romans Cutaway by David A. McIntee
Filling in the gaps again as we find out what happened in the month of The Romans episode 1. Nice to see Ian show his true feelings. Pleasant little interlude. 7/10

Return of the Spiders by Gareth Roberts
A homely spin on the giant spider threat from Metebelis 3. I loved the interplay between the 4th Dr and 2nd Romana - Roberts has this off magnificently. Enjoyable sequel, with just the right amount of humour. 8/10

Hot Ice by Christopher Bulis
Mistaken for burglars by alien Priests the 5th Dr and Peri, get caught in a cat and mouse game with the actual burglar. Not too keen on this one, the first disappointing story for ages. 5/10

uPVC by Paul Farnsworth
A quaint connection between 2nd and 7th Doctors, with a time travelling Window Salesman. Well from left-field, imaginations working overtime. 6/10

Good Companions by Peter Anghelides
I hate this story. An elderly Tegan resenting her time with the Doctor, even blocking it out. It's a disservice to her character and an era I really like. Sad and serious - not at all what I want to read. 2/10

Missing, Part Two: Message in a Bottle by Mike Tucker
Short interlude featuring Mel and a note for the Doctor. Nice little break. 7/10

Femme Fatale by Paul Magrs
A bizarre tale featuring Iris, the 8th Dr and Sam. Andy Warhol is in there too, but I quickly grew bored of the whole thing. 5/10

This collection is well diverse, especially in standard. Stories veer wildly between brilliantly well told, to utter drivel. It's definitely worth buying for the better stories (all around the middle of the book), which really are excellent. I'll be buying the next one, because when these things are good, they are really good. 6/10

A Review by Andrew Feryok 10/4/08

I'll keep this introduction short, as the individual reviews below will speak for themselves on how I felt about the stories in this volume. Overall, the collection was not too bad. The quality is low in the beginning and end, but the book soars in the middle. My favorite stories of the volume were definitely Moon Graffiti, The Eternity Contract and Dead Time, while my least favorites were 64 Carlyse Street, Good Companions and Femme Fatale. It is interesting to revisit the short story collections now since the advent of the new series and the 45-minute format. When the short stories were first commissioned, fans everywhere seemed to hate them (at least from the reviews I read) feeling that they either tried to cram too much into a small space, or did not have enough to fill that space. But looking at them now, I could actually picture several of these working as 45-minute episodes in the new series. Try it the next time you read one of these short story volumes. And without further ado, the stories:


It took me three tries, but I think I finally got a handle on this story. I still don't believe this was a good choice for the first story in the book. It is difficult to get one's mind around the actual plot and characters. However, having watched the more character-driven episodes of the New Series, I now find this story interesting. It is a wonderful character analysis of the Doctor. At first you think that he is trying to help the woman, but in fact it is she who is unwittingly helping him! Much of the story is way too shrouded in mystery, but it becomes apparent that the Doctor is recovering from his regeneration and also confronting his past. The sequence where he appears to argue with someone who sounds like his previous incarnation is very telling and appropriate for this Doctor. The character of the Se'ora is very well crafted and she goes through a very emotional journey and it is quite sad (and sudden) that she passes away at the end of the story. You can tell that she is falling in love with the Doctor which I think is not so strange as the first few times I read this story. On the whole, not a bad character story that uses the short format well. I just don't think this was a good way to start the volume. 7/10

Scientific Adviser

The second story of the volume does improve a small amount from the first, but not by much. This is particularly disappointing since Troughton is my favorite Doctor. Fortunately, Ian Atkins does capture the Doctor wonderfully. He particularly captures the innocence and mischievousness of this incarnation extremely well, although his childish nature is literally referenced by his befriending a young girl. I have two major gripes with this story. The first is that the story itself is too clever. It's trying to get both the imaginary world of Doctor Who and the real-life television aspect of it all in one story. I read a similar story for Star Trek in The New Voyages in which Shatner, Nimoy, and Kelly were "beamed" aboard the real Enterprise while making a television episode. In both that story and this it becomes difficult to reconcile the two realities. Is Doctor Who a made-up television show or a real universe in which we can lose ourselves in? The story can't make up its mind and after the initial joke it just runs stale. The story is also highly repetitive in its format, to the point where I could predict where it was going early on and was flipping ahead to see how much was left to go, something that should never happen in a short story. The structure essentially goes: the Doctor makes a suggestion to the director about changing some aspect of the production, an alien computer somewhere takes the Doctor's suggestion and plugs it into its invasion plan and raises the success percentage, and then we get these weird sequences of some unknown person experiencing an alien's memory, and then the cycle repeats again and again. The ending of the story, which finally brings the real Cybermen into the picture (I was afraid the author wasn't going to go there) is nice, but it can't save this story from being rather drab. 5/10

Missing, Part 1: Business As Usual

This is short even for the short stories in this volume! Mel has never been one of my favorite companions and so setting an entire story around her does not bode well for me. After completing this little passage, I had feelings of being almost betrayed. Mel is bitter about her travels with the Doctor? She regrets ever setting foot on the ship with him? She's cut her hair short and is now mature and somber? From her attitude, she sounds like the Doctor has somehow deeply scarred her. When did this happen? This can't be the same chirpy, happy, exercise freak who seemed to be enjoying every moment of her travels with both the sixth and seventh incarnations? This would have made much more sense if it had been Tegan since she was clearly traumatized by her travels, but not Mel. Of course, this is one of many short stories about companions which depict them as being traumatized by their time with him. Personally, I just don't buy it. How can they call themselves the Doctor's friend and why did they stick around so long to begin with if they really hated it this much? Perhaps if I read Business Unusual or Head Games it might make more sense. Oh well. 3/10

Moon Graffiti

This is much more like it! For the first time so far, the short stories have impressed me. It's hard to believe that this was written in the time just before the Sixth Doctor became popular again in Big Finish audio, since the story not only captures him and Peri extremely well, but makes them charming and puts them in an exciting scenario. The story is longer than the previous ones, but it is still far shorter than a novella and has the feeling of a more traditional Doctor Who adventure, while still tackling some novel new ideas. The "Line" and the story of Kimo Ani are something that would have fit into the more gruesome and graphic season 22, but also remains unique within the series. Also, the idea of the moon being graffiti-ed by a race of intergalactic parasites who have reduced the planet to a junk heap is an interesting and different setting from what we have seen before. The story balances atmosphere, humor and wonderful characters, and does not outstay its welcome too long. I certainly wasn't flipping ahead to look at the page count like I was in Scientific Adviser. The humor in particular is welcome and feels very natural. This story is pretty much what you would get if you set the Sixth Doctor down in the middle of the Graham Williams era! A wonderful short story and one that I would nominate for being made a single episode starring David Tennant in the new series. It would really work, with the humor fitting his Doctor very well, and would look fabulous with the new series' special effects. Truly a story ahead of its time. 10/10

One Bad Apple

I am split over this story. On the one hand, the Doctor and Leela are very well captured by the author and the story is filled with interesting ideas. On the other hand, this is clearly a recreation of the Doctor and Leela from season 15, when Tom Baker's hatred of Leela was very much apparent on screen. Unfortunately, this is not an aspect of the Doctor I wanted recreated and his constant belittling and bullying of Leela gets tiresome and very un-Doctor-like. The Doctor in general seems very grouchy throughout the story but still remains close to the character I know. He just seems to generally lack the charm he normally had and his rapport with the fanatical Joshua is also, sadly, very poorly done and lacks any of the Doctor's usual wit. The setting itself is also initially cliched. The Doctor and Leela in a hostile jungle with space soldiers hunting them down was covered quite thoroughly already in Chris Boucher's Last Man Running. To have it wheeled out again feels unoriginal. However, what saves this from being totally awful are the surprisingly good concepts on hand. The Mithran Fusiliers are a fascinating creation and I only wished that we could get a full book about them to really explore their unique place in the history of the Cybermen and their war with humanity. They are almost like a mixture of the renegade Borg led by Hugh in Star Trek: The Next Generation, crossed with the worst kind of religious cult. The P'tarr are also rather interesting since they at first seem to be nothing more than ordinary animals and present one of the few funny moments in the entire story when they turn out to be intelligent and are simply ignoring everyone. The technology of the apples is also sci-fi at its best, mixing religion and science fantasy to create something both metaphorical and scientifically interesting. On the whole, not a bad story. I just wish it wasn't the Doctor in his Season 15 mode. 8/10

64 Carlysle Street

Some people may enjoy this story for its unconventional story structure, but personally this was not my cup of tea. Okay, there are times when an unconventional structure can be fun, such as Festival of Death, in which the Doctor encounters a typical adventure backwards in time. But the structure chosen here just doesn't work for me. The fact that the story is not only told in the third person, but through a written approximation of an interview of a third person who saw the story, removes any real ability for the reader to empathize with any one character or even get to know the regulars or even the aliens. The story jumps around from statement to statement and you never have any real time to enjoy one person's point of view before you are leaping off to the next. The household itself is also a blatant rip-off of Upstairs, Downstairs (in fact the Bellamy family is mentioned in passing during the story). Okay, I can understand setting the story in a similar setting to Upstairs, Downstairs, but some the characters are out and out stolen with just their names changed. Lord Greystone is a father struggling to raise a rebellious daughter who married into his money, the daughter is a political radical for the period, and they even have a scullery maid named Emily! The TARDIS crew themselves are difficult to get a hold of. You get a vague sense of their character, but not enough to truly get to know them. And despite even this, Dodo still manages to come across as annoying. Why do Dodo and Steven bother trying to pretend they don't know each other? Dodo is too stupid to pull such a thing off, and given the shortness of the story, there isn't really any point to it since it doesn't go anywhere as a plot thread. On the whole, this was not a good first Doctor story. I just hope his other one is better. 3/10

The Eternity Contract

This story reminds me of those games fans sometimes play where they put different Doctors in another Doctor's adventure and imagine how they would handle it differently. The Eternity Contract feels like: "What if Peter Davison were in Ghost Light?" It's got loads of spooky atmosphere and weird, creepy household inhabitants doing mysterious and sometimes inexplicable things. The story is about as long as Moon Graffiti and benefits enormously from its extra size to really give the atmosphere room to breath. The adventure unfolds with some great imagery and mysteries that immediately draw you in and keep you hooked to the bitter end. The idea of Death in this story is rather original and unexpected, and Lord Carnon makes for a suitably creepy villain. The characters all come across extremely well, especially Patricia, whose journey from overconfident and arrogant London business woman to a more humbled and loving individual is sweet and gives the story a nice happy ending as well as an appropriate emotional journey. The Doctor and Nyssa come across well. I've never been all that enamored with Nyssa, whom I find bland and underused, but she is written very well and her trauma over the Master in The Keeper of Traken and Logopolis are hinted, at which serve her nicely. The Doctor is spot on, mixing the frenetic energy and frustration of his young side with the calm and calculating manner of his old side, creating a nice mixture of character. The Doctor is really put through the wringer in this story and his desperation and frustration at not being able to get to the bottom of the mystery is very engaging. My only problem with the story is that its resolution is rather abrupt and fails to explain anything that happened within the house. It is almost as if the author wrote himself into a corner and decided the only way out was to pull one of those "it was just a dream" endings and smoothing over all the loose ends by having their memory conveniently fading as they get away from the influence of the house. But, all in all, this was an excellent story that I would also nominate as a possible candidate for remake as a single episode of the New Series! 10/10

The Sow in Rut

What a bizarre title! At first I found it a rather offensive title for a Sarah Jane adventure, but after learning that "The Sow in Rut" was the old name for the cottage she was staying in and ties in with the pig history, I can now see why the title was chosen. I had only seen the beginning of K9 and Company before and didn't much like it, so I went into this Sarah and K9 adventure with some trepidation. But my fears were soon allayed. The atmosphere is spooky and appropriate and both Sarah Jane and K9 are wonderfully written and recreated. The haunted history behind the old cottage was very effectively created as well. However, there were some shortcomings in the story. While the pig entity is intriguing, it is never adequately explained. I realize that this is supposed to be a ghost story, and the supernatural really don't have much of a rational explanation. But the story hints at there being a rational explanation, but maddeningly never tells us the full facts. Its plan is also very unclear and even after re-reading the section where it is explaining its purpose, I was still not clear what it was trying to do. Perhaps if they had allowed the story to be a bit longer, they could have fleshed this out. Also, the story is a little too self-conscious about the ghost-story cliches it is using, even having Sarah grinning and thinking that this is all out of a Hammer horror story. And the Spice Girls reference is heavily dated. I didn't like them when they were at the height of their popularity and I doubt very few people today will remember them except for the few scandals they were involved in. But, on the whole, this is a simple and effective ghost story. Not as good as The Eternity Contract, but still a lot of fun. 8/10

Special Weapons

Gee, another adventure of the seventh Doctor in World War II. How exciting. Not! Just how many times are authors going to wheel out the "what if the Nazis won" scenario, particularly with the Seventh Doctor? We've already seen him in The Curse of Fenric, Timewyrm: Exodus, Just War and Colditz, to name a few. Perhaps the memory of The Curse of Fenric has lent fans to continually set him in this time period. Despite being heavily cliched, Paul Leonard does a very nice job with the Nazis in this story. He actually gets inside their heads and mentality, and shows that not all of them are one-dimensional killers, and the Doctor's confrontations with them in the interrogation is the Seventh Doctor at his absolute best! The monster is also quite nice, although the Exclusion Generator does come pretty close to plagiarizing Fenric. However, this story has some pretty bad inconsistencies. This is supposed to be Season 24? It feels like it is out of Season 26! A dark manipulative Doctor who knows that enemies' plans in advance? That is definitely not him at this point in his development. Actually, the only thing that grounds this in Season 24 is the presence of Mel. I realize that Leonard wanted to use a companion other than Ace (which is really hard to do with this Doctor), but Mel feels all wrong for this story, and she completely does not fit in. She is totally unnecessary to the story, goes on a pointless sub-plot, and her use of explosives at the end is much more in line with Ace's character than hers. What on Earth was he thinking? However, despite continuity and companion problems, this is a very well written story that will not fail to entertain. It is just a shame that Leonard messed up the continuity so badly. 7/10

Honest Living

I don't normally like the Third Doctor that much, unless I am really in the mood for him. But his short story Honest Living is definitely up there with Moon Graffiti and The Eternity Contract as one of the best stories in the entire volume. Normally, the idea of writing a direct sequel to a previous story is dangerous territory to cross, since you risk not saying anything original or end up simply retelling the old story. But Honest Living is different. It is more than just a sequel to The Day of the Daleks, but uses its themes of time travel and paradoxes to create a sequel not only worthy, but even exceeding in its ambition. The Doctor is marvelously characterized as is Jo, Tuala, and the desperate Krishan. Tuala and Krishan are frightening villains. It is clear that they are desperate and a little bit mad, but they are also totally sympathetic. The use of time is very well used so that as they travel back in time, we begin seeing things from totally new angles. The nature of time is used rather originally here. Time is described by the Doctor as almost a living thing (how that is possible I do not know) and the way in which Time tries to trap the Doctor and Jo in a horrible fate by continually changing the rules makes for a compelling and desperate ending. A fantastic little adventure that proves this format proud. 10/10

Dead Time

Many fans are not going to like this story since it features Gallifreyan history so prominently in the villains and features some flashbacks to his past towards the end. However, I have never had a problem with Gallifrey or its history and this short story remains one of my all time favorite 8th Doctor adventures in any medium and rivals Moon Graffiti for the best story of the volume. The story has a great atmosphere and is one of the few stories in this book to actually have the Doctor exploring instead of just stopping the latest megalomaniac. The dark void of this story is reminiscent of the white voids seen in several other stories, only it is much more sinister in nature. And it gets even better when the truth about what the void really is and what it is hiding is revealed! The revelations are worth the wait and the author strings the reader along with excruciating revelation after excruciating revelation. Sam doesn't really bother me in this story either. She just comes across as a generic companion without any real personality of her own. But considering the story is focusing almost completely on the Doctor, this is okay. The villains themselves are some of the most terrifying the Doctor has ever faced and the fact that the Doctor is virtually helpless against them for much of the story makes his triumph over them that much more satisfying. Definitely one of the must-read stories of the book! 10/10

Romans Cutaway

I may be a fan of '60s Doctor Who, but even I found this story to be an unnecessary bit of filler information. Few people remember The Romans and even fewer found it necessary to explain what happened between the cliffhanger to The Rescue and the opening scene in the villa. You pretty much assumed that they left the ship and acquired a villa and that is all we really needed to know. In many ways, this short story feels like a missing fifth episode to that story, but shares none of The Romans' wit or style. The story is somber, with Ian having nightmares of Barbara's death and the Doctor acquiring the villa from a dying man. In fact, if this had actually been a first episode, the resulting comedy afterwards would have been incredibly crass. But, on the positive side, the story does feel like it belongs in the Hartnell era, and the regulars are all captured very well, although Vicki has very little to do. Ian's fight with the lion is very well done and adds some excitement to an otherwise straightforward story. But the true highlight comes at the very end of the story when Ian and Barbara both separately come to the realization that they are in love with each other but don't have the courage to actually admit it to each other, which sets up their romance in The Romans very suitably. On the whole, a well written, but unnecessary bit of Hartnell continuity. 5/10

Return of the Spiders

Like Honest Living, this is a sequel to a previous Doctor Who story. In this case it is Planet of the Spiders, which was the Third Doctor's final story. The story here is much more entertaining than One Bad Apple. The Doctor is much more likeable and Roberts really gets you to root for the Doctor as he takes on the despicable spiders. It is also interesting that after reading The Feast of the Drowned, with the zany Tenth Doctor, Tom Baker's Doctor seems so mellow! In fact, the only overtly wacky thing he does is tie up the legs of the sleeping Queen Spider! The story does a nice job of presenting bizarre imagery that doesn't seem bizarre until you think about it! Spiders eating pizza? A giant Queen Spider on the roof of a suburban home? Romana and K9 are very well presented here as well. The Spiders make for a memorable villain for the Doctor to fight. They are utterly evil and totally uncompromising in their evil which makes them all the more terrifying. Their ability to control human beings both in body and mind makes them pretty scary and a nice juxtaposition to all the humor. A nice solid story for the Fourth Doctor! 9/10

Hot Ice

This short story has a really cool title (no pun intended)! It is such a shame that the story doesn't live up to it. It isn't exactly a bad story, it just isn't a very exciting one. The story itself is set up rather well as the Doctor and Peri face execution by religious fanatics after being elaborately framed for the theft of a holy relic. But the resolution is a total waste. The Doctor and Peri have been lured into the middle of something that is reaching its conclusion and they spend most of the story either being manipulated into doing things, or unconscious on the floor. They merely observe what is going on as the story works itself out on its own. The characters are primarily made up of thieves stealing back and forth from each other; their deaths and the stealing of the object is never given any real emotion so that it ends up looking like some sort of football game. Peri ends up really annoying in this story, but the Doctor is well written, as is the thief Len who fits in perfectly with the 1980s Eric Sawardesque honorable thief of this period of the show. On the whole, entertaining and short, but not really significant in any way. 6/10


This very short story is actually more like two stories than one. The first one, involving the Second Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe is far, far better than the second featuring the Seventh Doctor and Ace. In fact I would even rank the Second Doctor segment as a 10/10! The story is funny, bizarre, surrealistic and original. A double-pane window salesman makes his way through the vortex to a surprised and disturbed Doctor and party who think he is a Phantom that is going to drag them to their doom! The salesman is hysterical and the chemistry between the regulars is great as well ("Jamie, hold onto something. No, not Zoe."). But then, just when I was starting to have an enormous amount of fun, the Seventh Doctor segment kicked in and it was like getting hit in the head with a shovel! Ace now seems to be timid and the Doctor is not only dark, but fiercely angry to the point that he nearly seems like he is going to kill her for breaking into a room she should not have! The segment might have worked on its own, but the sudden shift of tone is jarring and awful. The characterization of the Doctor is awful and I really can't swallow the reason why the Doctor goes to all this trouble of locking the room. Surely it contains a happy memory and not something he would want to lock away from himself? So individually: 10/10 for the Second Doctor segment, 1/10 for the Seventh Doctor and 8/10 overall.

Good Companions

I really didn't like this story. It's not that this it is a poorly written story, it just didn't appeal to me in any way. First of all, I've never liked the idea of authors creating "future" or "alternate" incarnations of the Doctor, but this one is pretty pointless. In costume and personality, he is almost exactly like the Seventh Doctor. So why didn't the author use him? Who knows? Anna's relationship with the Doctor is so volatile that you wonder why they even travel together. And, despite her anger towards the Doctor, Anna keeps Tegan in the dark and manipulates her just as much. Tegan is another poorly handled character. Most of the story is told from her perspective, but she doesn't really grow as a character and her plot doesn't really go anywhere. She spends most of the story zoned out from the events going on around her and laments about the death of her husband. The alien threat itself is incredibly slight. The villains are intriguing, but they are around for maybe 3 total pages and the rest of the story is Tegan and the Doctor angsting. The story goes on way too long and never seems to come to a point. Overall, a pretty poor book and not the best way to follow up the morbid Seventh Doctor segment in uPVC. 3/10

Missing, Part 2: Message in a Bottle

What is the point of this one page story? Really. I mean, you could rip it out of the book and it would make almost no difference whatsoever. In some ways, it continues the morbid thoughts about abandoned companions in Good Companions. But that was a story I was trying hard to forget. I've never liked the idea of companions having their lives ruined by their travels with the Doctor. It's like discovering Santa Claus is a mass murderer. It's totally unnecessary and utterly destroys the childhood wonder and happiness of their memory. Skip this one. You won't miss a thing. 1/10

Femme Fatale

What the heck was that!? I think my brain just exploded! This was my first exposure to Paul Magrs and I didn't enjoy it one bit. Some people like post-modern writing with its complex, non-traditional structure, stream of consciousness and surrealistic text. But personally, I'm an old fashioned reader and always will be. I like my stories to have a beginning, middle and end, in that order. Reading this short story was confusing. Events are out of order and reality itself seems to be unclear. What was up with the pseudo-UNIT storyline? I managed to pick out plot threads here and there, some of which were interesting, but because they were presented in such a schizophrenic manner, I really couldn't follow them. This is not the best way to finish a short story volume and I really don't know what to say about it. Was this even a story? Fans of this type of structure will love it to death. I personally hate it with a passion. 0/10