It is the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who on the 23rd November. To commemorate this auspicious event throughout the year Puffin has been publishing short stories by some of the biggest names in YA fiction.
There has been some comment online about the paucity of female writers in the collection but the authors involved have crafted amazing stories!
I have met seven of the authors in the collection over the years at various author and publishing events but the only one I have heard speak about the Doctor in person is Malorie Blackman, I even spoke to hear briefly about Daleks (it was something about the Cult of Skaro but I was so in awe at speaking to her I think I waffled a bit). Anyway… Neil Gaiman may have written two of the best television episodes in the modern canon of the Doctor, but Malorie who spoke so passionately of her love for the Doctor and Daleks is forever burned into my mind as ‘my’ Doctor Who author.
I never had a Doctor when I was growing up – unlike most fans and followers of The Doctor my first encounter with the Time Lord and his companions was not from behind the couch watching TV.
The international sanctions against the Apartheid state in South Africa were barriers that even the TARDIS could not breach.
It was during a wander round a flea market that I found two novels: Doctor Who and the Space War and Doctor Who and the Stones of Blood. Up until that time I had never heard of the Doctor but being a lad that loved science fiction I snapped them up. I read both books that weekend and the Doctor was for-evermore imprinted on my consciousness.
I felt a return to the science-fiction excitement of my youth when I started reading the 50th Anniversary Collection.
The stories run the spectrum between amazingly brilliant and insane. Even if you are not a fan of the Doctor the stories will take you across time and space!
The joy in short story collections as I have been rediscovering of late is that you can gorge yourself on the tales contained within or pick out the ones you want to read first and then go back for the rest. Not being tied to a specific incarnation I did not jump automatically to one story first but instead read my way through in order, from Colfer to Gaiman.
Even now I cannot choose a favourite story, I may one day but at the moment I love them all and am ready to pick the book up again and reread the stories with as much enjoyment as I had when I read them for the first time!