Big Finish's 11th anthology of short Doctor Who fiction takes the form of a compendium of Christmas variety - with a content of 22 short stories, 4 poems, 4 recipes, and 2 games.
The short stories are mostly of a high quality, although the sheer mass of them (roughly double the amount of the average Short Trips anthology) mean they are generally rather short character pieces. Amazingly the authors manage to find enough ways to tackle Christmas, from the more subtle winter ghost stories to an outright meeting of the Doctor and Santa, with the stories being divided fairly evenly between light-hearted whimsy and more sombre tales. There are too many tales to go through individually, but some of the more interesting include a cautionary tale where time travel enables Doctor Who fandom to travel back in time and correct the series faults; the Doctor appearing on a Morecambe and Wise Xmas Special; a Dickensian Christmas theme planet under alien assault; and a trilogy of UNIT Christmas parties. Interestingly the stories are also arranged in a symmetrical fashion, so that the second half of the book is a sort of mirror image of the first. The poems are mostly slight but amusing, while I found the recipes and games largely a waste of space, in the context of Christmas fun these were appropriate enough.
Perhaps no real classic short stories, but a decent hit rate, and a book stuffed with enjoyable seasonal fare. Recommended.
on 27 December 2009
A Christmas Treasury is certainly an apt name for this collection which is a joy from start to finish with not a single bad story in sight. Theres just far too many stories contained in A Christmas Treasury to go through them individually so I will pick out a few of the highlights.
"Never Seen Cairo" is a beautiful story in which the 5th Doctor visits the First World War Christmas truce and befreinds a British Soldier. The soldier in question is killed in action the following year and the story ends with the 7th Doctor visiting the soldiers widow. "Every Day" is possibly one of the best Doctor Who short stories ever written, featuring the 1st Doctor, Ian, Barbara, and Vicki who appear to be trapped in a time loop where Christmas really is every day. The cause of the time loop is a very unique idea which I certainly didnt see coming and I wont spoil for you here. The final story in the collection, "Evergreen", is another great story this time featuring the amnesiac 8th Doctor during his Trapped On Earth arc from the BBC books. This time the Doctor is living in a village which is being terrorised by a spate of mysterious deaths which are revealed to be caused by a vampire. Whether or not the vampire is one of the vampire lords from State Of Decay isnt specified.
These are just a few of the highlights in this superb collection. As well as being crammed with excellent stories the collection also features a number of Doctor Who themed poems and recipes which really add to the festive feel. I really cant recommend A Christmas Treasury enough.