Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Doctor Who: Tales of Terror

Most days, I still can’t believe what a fan of Doctor Who I’ve become.  From those days of listening to my best friend talk about it (and me sitting there letting it go in one ear and out the other), to now, when I know all about the different incarnations of the character, the actors who have portrayed him, all his various companions, and the villainous creatures he has faced over the years.  It’s definitely surprising, but in a good way.

This newest anthology of stories, Doctor Who: Tales of Terror, I purchased for one reason and one reason only – it has a story where Donna Noble is the Doctor’s companion.  As soon as I saw her name on the pages of the 10th Doctor’s story, I knew I would be buying this book.  But, since I bought it, I was determined to read all twelve stories, not just the one about my all-time favorite companion.  And while the tales may have been written to terrify the readers, they did the exact opposite for me – they thoroughly entertained me.

From the 1st Doctor’s face-off with the Toymaker (with the help of Steven and Dodo), to the 2nd Doctor’s battle with a dark creature from the time vortex (alongside Ben, Polly, and his latest companion, Jamie), to the 3rd Doctor and Jo Grant’s encounter with one of the Doctor’s oldest enemies. Sarah Jane and Harry find themselves in danger that only the 4th Doctor can save them from, while Tegan and Turlough are saved from the Mara by the 5th Doctor’s genius nature.  The 6th Doctor finds himself haunted by his past, and the 7th Doctor and Ace confront a haunting in the past.  The 8th Doctor discovers that everyone is not who they seem onboard a pleasure cruise, and the 9th Doctor reveals where everyone that has disappeared from a travelling circus have really gone!

Then there’s the 10th Doctor and Donna Noble.  The story I was waiting for.  The sole reason I bought this book.  And author Richard Dungworth did not let me down.  The Doctor-Donna team play a deadly game with the ever-vicious Family of Blood, who have discovered they no longer need the Doctor to find immortality, but rather, his TARDIS.  Dungworth captures the clever dynamic that make the Doctor-Donna so enjoyable to watch and read, and I could almost hear Catherine Tate’s voice speaking the somewhat put-off, never one to be put-down lines of Donna every time she thinks the Doctor is getting the better of her.  And her snipes to the Family are spot-on!  Of course, it goes without saying that they outwit the Family and reunite them in a fitting punishment before the dynamic duo head off for their next adventure…

Leaving the 11th Doctor to dispel the purple haze that nearly places a family in mortal danger at the hands of the Weeping Angels, with the 12th Doctor rounding things out as he puts an end to Nestene’s attempt to raise an army of autons to take over the Earth!

Each story has a pen and ink illustration that highlights the “monster of the tale,” so to speak, and while some do include and Doctor and his companions, sadly, the Donna story does not – we simply get a taste of how innocent real horror can be when it wants to be!  Although I’ve finished these twelves tales of terror, I know it won’t be long until the newest Doctor hits the small screen (and if I can’t wait, well, I still have a few more Doctor Who books that I haven’t read yet to tide me over until then…)

RATING:  10 games of twenty questions out of 10 for reminding readers that no matter which Doctor you like, ultimately, there’s no villain too terrifying for the Doctor and his companions to defeat!

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