SHORT TRIPS

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The quality of the stories here is variable, and there's more fanwank than we like, but overall we think this is very much a worthwhile read.

Model Train Set by Jonathan Blum

Very message-heavy, but wonderfully Doctorly. And the detail is just gorgeous. Thoroughly enjoyable.

Old Flames by Paul Magrs

Unmistakably Magrs, and not just because of the presence of Iris Wildthyme. In our book, that's a good thing. The SFy twist's a trifle obvious, but setting and character are nicely realised. And it's always a pleasure seeing Iris again.

War Crimes by Simon Bucher-Jones

Dull, dull, pretentious and dull.

The Last Days by Evan Pritchard

A very nice reimagining of the siege of Masada, with great characterisation of Ian and Barbara. While the First Doctor appears only briefly, it's a powerful evocation of his more serious side. Accomplished storytelling.

Stop The Pigeon by Robert Perry and Mike Tucker

A little cracker. An ingenious idea, a Master that's actually tolerable to read about and a superbly characterised new species in the form of the Virgoans. It's not often you come across a new lifeform that's just plain right, but here they are. And hilarious to boot.

Freedom by Steve Lyons

Fanwankarama, and he hammers home the freedom theme relentlessly, but it's nevertheless an entertaining and well-characterised Third Doctor story.

Glass by Tara Samms

A very well-controlled first-person narration. It's always fun to look at the Doctor through the eyes of a naive observer, and this not only does this convincingly but also reminds us that maybe things aren't always happy ever after once the TARDIS has dematerialised and the closing credits have run.

Mondas Passing by Paul Grice

Whatever happened to Ben and Polly? Nothing very interesting, according to this.

There Are Fairies At The Bottom Of The Garden by Sam Lester

We're not particularly interested in stories that are mainly about describing a setting, but if you are, you'll like this. As well as a beautifully detailed environment, there's a (rather too obvious) message about not judging by appearances and a well-characterised First Doctor.

Mother's Little Helper by Matthew Jones

Routine adolescent angst, evildoing and yer standard empath. If you already know that you have to deal with your own problems, you'll find this all just a bit tedious.

The Parliament Of Rats by Daniel O'Mahoney

Ehhhh… Personally we find this kind of overwrought, overwritten portentious stuff impossible to wade through, but given how many fans write just these kinds of stories, maybe somebody likes 'em. If that's you, good luck to you. We'll skip it.

Rights by Paul Grice

Supposedly a Fourth Doctor story, but unfortunately it sounds nothing like him. Add this to a yawnful debate about genetic engineering/scientific experimentation and it's pretty much of a snoozer.

Wish You Were Here by Guy Clapperton

Anything funny's going to get a big tick from us, and this is terrific. A lovely Sixth Doctor story with a great concept deftly executed. Nice.

Ace Of Hearts by Robert Perry and Mike Tucker

The Doctor apologises to baby Ace. Why? God knows.

The People's Temple by Paul Leonard

Somebody's been watching too many of those interminable docos reenacting the building of Stonehenge. Paganism by numbers, Sam being annoying and too many uses of the word "totem". Forgettable.

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