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Review: Doctor Who: Short Trips - Farewells 
6th-Dec-2011 12:56 pm
Short Trips: Farewells (Doctor Who Short Trips Anthology Series)Short Trips: Farewells by Jacqueline Rayner

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I found the stories in this anthology to be a pretty mixed bag. I particularly enjoyed two of the 1st Doctor stories: one in which the Doctor, Iain, Barbara, and Susan take a road trip on route 66 to retrieve the TARDIS after the Doctor has lost it in a card game; and one set on Gallifrey that is utterly fanwanky in the best possible way. I also enjoyed a 3rd Doctorn story that took an unusual look at the emotional side of the character, and a typically wacky Paul Magrs 8th Doctor story. (Although I kind of wish that Magrs hadn't chosen to name his alien menace "The Goomba".)

Most of the other stories didn't leave much of an impression, except that the 5th Doctor stories served to remind me why I didn't much care for Tegan or Peri back when I first encountered them on television. Reading this book almost made me want to embark on a gigantic project of looking at the way companions are portrayed in spin-off fiction over the years - the contrast between the way Tegan is written in these stories and the way she is written in some of the recent Big Finish audios seems striking to me, and it would be interesting to see if there are trends. It's certainly clear that different writers handle different companions (and Doctors) with greater or lesser degrees of sympathy and aptitude, but it also feels to me like the overall reputation of various characters in the fannish consciousness rises and falls over time. Alas, I'm not obsessive enough and don't have a large enough collection of the relevant spinoff fiction to do the subject justice. (That I, as someone who owns scores of Doctor Who books and hundreds of audio plays, can suggest that I'm deficient in obsessiveness is probably making the non-Who fans reading this blanch.)

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