09 March 2006

Who in Review

I'm a little baffled by the mention given to my short story "The Long Midwinter" in the latest Doctor Who Magazine's review of Short Trips: The History of Christmas.

Matt Michael obviously feels under pressure to mention every story in the collection, which given 24 stories and a 500-word review is naturally a bit of a challenge. Under such circumstances, it would be understandable if he chose to skip most of them, instead concentrating on a paragraph or so about the four or five that have obviously fired his imagination.

Rather gamely, though, he tries to cram them all in, with the result that some of his comments are somewhat... elliptical. The sentence which mentions "The Long Midwinter" does so in the context of it being one of four stories which, like Richard Salter's "Callahuanca", employs "the theme of the Doctor fulfilling a promise".

I'm certainly not offended or annoyed by this -- just puzzled. Because the Doctor keeping a promise isn't a theme in "The Long Midwinter". As far as I can recall, it isn't even an event in "The Long Midwinter". The Doctor does some people a favour -- which is the sort of thing he tends to do anyway -- but there are no promises involved. I'd love to know what Matt had in mind here.

He's kind enough, though, to say that there "aren't any stinkers" in the collection, which is pleasing. And it's good that he finds the space to praise Jonathan Clement's lovely story "Ode to Joy", which fully deserves it.

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