This year we celebrate Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary. One of the ways we do this, is by getting eleven short stories written about eleven authors. Each story is based on one of the eleven doctors, of course. A range of different authors of children’s fiction get to play with a doctor each and each month, on the 23rd, a new short story will be released.
Here’s the schedule – with links to my reviews (and yeah, I’m behind…):
- January – First Doctor, William Hartnell (1963-1966)
- February – Second Doctor, Patrick Troughton (1966-1969)
- March – Third Doctor, Jon Pertwee (1970-1974)
- April – Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker (1974-1981)
- May – Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison (1981-1984)
- June – Sixth Doctor, Colin Baker (1984-1986)
- July – Seventh Doctor, Sylvester McCoy (1987-1996)
- August – Eighth Doctor, Paul McGann (1996)
- September – Ninth Doctor, Christopher Eccleston (2005)
- October – Tenth Doctor, David Tennant (2005-2010)
- November – Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith (2010-present)
One of the things I’ve learned in this 50th Anniversary Year is that I love getting to know more about the history of Doctor Who. Growing up, I had never heard of Doctor Who but discovered it by chance when on maternity leave with my first daughter. My first doctor was David Tennant and one of the first episodes I remember watching, is School Reunion. But because of this 50th Anniversary coming up so very soon, I’ve been inspired to dive into the history of Doctor Who, not just by reading these short stories by various authors but also by watching some of the old episodes. I haven’t had as much time as I had hoped so I’ve only finished watching the existing episodes with the First Doctor and a lot of the Second Doctor episodes – and I just love watching how some themes and villains have survived all through the series.
The Fourth Doctor with his jelly babies and colorful scarf is one Doctor, I’m really looking forward to watching but for now, I’m happy to settle for reading this short story.
First of, I absolutely loved the setting – a giant tree floating in space. This is the home of a people who seem to not only have met the Doctor before but to have rather strong feelings about him. And it quickly becomes clear that these feelings are not positive in any way. Rather, this people have been carrying a grudge for 900 years and to remember this, they all have names like Vengeance-Will-Be-Ours-When-The-Docor-Dies-A-Thousand-Agonizing-Deaths. So it’s not exactly a friendly welcome, the Doctor and Leela receives when they go there to satisfy Leela’s need to see some trees.
But of course things quickly spiral somewhat out of control and the Doctor and Leela both have to figure out why the Doctor is so hated and what to do now when both the population of the tree and they themselves are under heavy attack.
My favorite thing about this novel was the setting and the humor. I haven’t watched the Fourth Doctor but he seems to be a humorous Doctor and that definitely showed through in this short story. He had a great reaction to finding out that all the inhabitants had anti-Doctor names and I love both the references to the 11th Doctor and how one person’s past is another person’s future.
So an enjoyable read – just too darn short!
‘I can just about accept that I might, one day, in a moment of weakness, wear a bow tie, but there is no way I will ever take up arms against anyone unless they thoroughly deserve it.’
First line: Above the dead surface of a nameless world, far out among the Autumn Stars, the Heligan Structure hangs alone in the hard, cold light of space.
- Title: The Roots of Evil
- Author: Philip Reeve
- Publisher: Puffin Books
- Year: 2013
- Pages: 40 pages
- Source: Own collection – Kindle
- Stars: 3 stars out of 5
I read this as part of the year-long celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who.