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A Really Excellent Sampler

By:Graham Pilato, Washington D.C., United States
Date:Friday 11 October 2019
Rating:   9

I have to preface this short review with the information that I did not in fact read every other book before it. I don't know if I agree that these are indeed the best individual stories from every other collection before it. But I can say that these are daring, wonderfully written, and oh so good. This is a best of far more than it is a guide to leading one back through the other books. The whole point appears to be a celebration of the great Who short fiction represented by the series. But the thing is that each anthology was an intentionally themed set. Some were more successful than others. And some were just messes. But yes, I have only read about a third of the oh, so many Short Trips anthologies. When BBC Books and before them, Virgin, were putting out short Who fiction, the collections were just about annual. These Big Finish collections came out quarterly, I believe. And in the end, as far as I can tell, this collection is really the cream of the crop -- by definition -- but not by structure: the only theme is the reductionist approach of each editor picking their favorite story from their own collections. I appreciated each intro that they wrote for each story. But the thrill of A Universe of Terrors or the sentiment and anticipation of Farewells, just to name a couple, really make for a complete experience with those books. Even when one or two stories may disappoint, the anthologies as a whole tend to be lovely experiences. IS this the best ever Doctor Who short fiction anthology? Um... maybe. The BBC's Short Trips and Side Steps from 2000 was perhaps the best ever. Or the recent Twelve Angels Weeping -- also amazing. I have yet to know. But this collection is certainly drawing me back into Who short fiction after years away from it.

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