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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Welcome Return...
This book sees the return of Paul Cornells creation, Professor Bernice Suprise Summerfield, or as she prefers to be called Benny. Created as a companion for the Doctor in Virgin's "New Adventures" series in the early nineties, she appeared to have seen her last outing in the final book in that series "Twilight Of The Gods." But now she's back, and...
Published on 20 Sep 2000 by themarquisdecarabas

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dead men tell no tales
A middling collection of short stories, featuring Doctor Who spin-off companion; archaeologist Bernice 'Benny' Summerfield. Now featuring in a new series of audio CDs from Big Finish; Benny is a spunky and likeable character, but the stories here don't always do her justice. And, am I the only Doctor Who fan who doesn't get on with Kate Orman's writing style?
Published on 26 May 2009 by Captain Pugwash


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dead men tell no tales, 26 May 2009
This review is from: The Dead Men Diaries: A Short Story Collection (Professor Bernice Summerfield) (Paperback)
A middling collection of short stories, featuring Doctor Who spin-off companion; archaeologist Bernice 'Benny' Summerfield. Now featuring in a new series of audio CDs from Big Finish; Benny is a spunky and likeable character, but the stories here don't always do her justice. And, am I the only Doctor Who fan who doesn't get on with Kate Orman's writing style?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Welcome Return..., 20 Sep 2000
This review is from: The Dead Men Diaries: A Short Story Collection (Professor Bernice Summerfield) (Paperback)
This book sees the return of Paul Cornells creation, Professor Bernice Suprise Summerfield, or as she prefers to be called Benny. Created as a companion for the Doctor in Virgin's "New Adventures" series in the early nineties, she appeared to have seen her last outing in the final book in that series "Twilight Of The Gods." But now she's back, and she's in pretty good form.
Benny is now working as "Archeologist in Residence" at the Braxtiel Collection - a collection of just about everything worth collecting - located on an asteroid. This novel is really to re-introduce the character of Benny through a series of short stories featuring her exploits.
The problem with an anthology of short stories written by different authors is that inevitably some will be much better than the others, and that each of them will be short. The best of ten stories on offer here is Kate Orman's "Steal From The World" which sees Benny returing to a planet that she searched for an ancient race on before and a planet on which she suffered a horific accident. Orman is a wonderful writer who has the ability to capture Benny perfectly as she has done on several occasions in the New Adventures. Her story, which mixes Benny's past visit with the current one, weaves towards a rewarding and unexpected conclusion. It's a pity that this was chosen as the second story in the series, as none of the subsequent stories match it's brilliance.
That is not to say that they are not good though. Eddie Robson's "The Light That Never Dies" is very good with something mysterious cropping up in the Collection's film library. Matt Jones' "Step Back In Time" and Dave Stone's "The Door Into Bedlam" are also highlights, the latter opens the possibility of Benny's rogue of an ex husband Jason Kane to return.
There are no stories that are really bad in this collection, it's just that some of them aren't really that interesting and fail to capture the essence of what makes Benny work.
Overall there are enough good stories in this to satisfy a longtime Benny fan, and interest new readers alike. It's main problem is that the short stories give it a stop-start approach and just as the reader is really getting into the story it ends before it has had a chance to develop fully. My only other criticism would be the fact that it is a very short volume, but with more books forthcoming, and these being novels, it looks like Professor Bernice Summerfield And The Dead Men Diaries will mark the start of a new chapter in the future's most famous archelogist.
Welcome back Benny. We've missed you.
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3.0 out of 5 stars "She's Back! And It's About Time!", 7 Feb 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Dead Men Diaries: A Short Story Collection (Professor Bernice Summerfield) (Paperback)
Bernice Summerfield, twenty-sixth century archaeologist (and one-time companion to that mysterious Time Lord known as the Doctor) returns in a new series of novels and audio adventures after being unceremoniously put out to pasture by Virgin publishing.
I can't quite find it in me to say that this anthology is anything special, but I found myself entertained nonetheless. The majority of the ten short stories in this book are worth reading - the only story I wasn't particularly impressed with was Dave Stone's 'The Door into Bedlam', which is odd as he's normally one of my favourite 'Doctor Who'/'Bernice' authors.
If you're someone who's never read a Bernice Summerfield novel before and you've got a few quid to spend and a few hours to spare, I'd say this was a decent enough introduction to the lady and her adventures. Go for it.
Oh, and welcome back Bernice - have I ever told you how much I disliked calling you Benny?
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4.0 out of 5 stars Short stories return, hopefully for a long stay, 30 Sep 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: The Dead Men Diaries: A Short Story Collection (Professor Bernice Summerfield) (Paperback)
A very fond 'Welcome back!' to Professor Bernice Summerfield!
Back when Virgin Publishing had the license to produce new Doctor Who fiction, they introduced a new travelling companion, a professor of archaeology named Bernice Summerfield. Eventually she got married and stopped travelling with the Doctor, and then the BBC decided they would start producing their own Doctor Who books, not renewing Virgin's Licence. Virgin started their own series of Bernice adventures, which ran for 23 books.
During that run, a company called Big Finish produced 5 audio versions of Bernice's adventures. These, too, stopped - because Big Finish started to produce audio adventures of Doctor Who. But they said they'd bring Benny back...
"The Dead Men Diaries" is the re-launch of Professor Summerfield. Big Finish will be publishing her adventures, some as books others as audio plays. As a jumping on point for those unaware of the good Professor's previous adventures, it is excellent.
As you'd expect from a collection of short stories from diverse hands, the quality is not consistent, but happily is generally quite high - in my view, no dud stories were included in this collection.
I particularly enjoyed Kate Orman's "Steal from the World" (Kate usually produces very good stories and novels, with or without her husband Jonathon Blum, and I don't say that just because she is also an Australian!); Eddie Robson's "The Light That Never Dies"; and Kathryn Sullivan's "The Monster and the Archaeologists". The collection contains both light and serious pieces.
If you are someone who likes to read science fiction that isn't too heavy on the science and doesn't always take itself too seriously (without trying to be an all out comedy), then this and the forthcoming continuing adventures of Professor Bernice Summerfield may very well be for you. And if you really like it, then there are some 70-odd books with Benny you can go back to while you wait!
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