What’s up, Doc? ‘Regenerations’ reviewed

❉ Twisted tales of the Time War, reviewed by Stephen Brennan.

“The Time Lord formerly known as the Doctor has been fighting the Time War for as long as he can recall. His previous lives — all those triumphs and tragedies — have been boxed up and filed away, too painful to revisit.

That is until something — or someone — begins tugging at the thread of the Doctor’s past. As familiar stories twist and shift, threatening the stability of the universe itself, the reluctant Warrior finds himself with only one option.

He has to save the Doctor.”

Regenerations is an interesting anthology. This latest entry in the Seasons of War series explores the concept of alternative, or Unbound as it were, interpretations of a story from each of the Doctor’s lives. An interesting idea to be sure, and one with a lot of potential, which l’m glad to say it certainly does attain for the most part.

The “main” story follows the War Doctor, dealing with the after-effects of his timeline being rewritten by Celestial Intervention Agency agents Jelsillon and Dyliss, who were sent on a mission to avert the Doctor ever visiting Skaro by attempting to trap him on Earth in 1963, which as you can imagine also makes up the first mini-story, Kenton Hall’s An Untrustworthy Child.

Now, I for one love things like this, taking the base frame of something and recontextualising it, but understandably some might be sceptical. There’s a bit of a split with the “Unbound” stories, some take the original stories and retell them in a new way (An Untrustworthy Child for instance re-frames Ian and Barbara’s curiosity about Susan as being a bit more serious, worrying that she or her Grandfather are spies), but some just kind of… Throw elements at a wall and see what sticks. The most egregious example being Revelation, which involves the sixth Doctor and Adric visiting Necros, where the Rani has her own personal squad of Daleks. No, I am not making that up. I enjoyed most of the stories very much, even the really ridiculous ones, but if this sort of thing bothers you then it’s worth bearing in mind if you’re thinking of getting this.

I enjoyed most of the stories in this anthology, but I feel obliged to mention my favourite by a country mile was Alan Ronald’s Terminus of the Daleks (NOT the Daleks battling against the Garm, though you would be mistaken for thinking otherwise), but instead a beautiful story based on Genesis of the Daleks, about discovering who the Doctor is. I shan’t say any more than that, as it’s worth experiencing for yourself. Terminus of the Daleks is genuinely one of the greatest pieces of Doctor Who prose I’ve read in a long time. Although with that being said, l heartily enjoyed most of the other stories. The biggest compliment l can give them is that, for a lot of them, l really wish they had been longer.

To Kenton Hall, Chinbeard Books, and everyone who contributed, you did an absolutely wonderful job putting together Seasons of War: Regeneration. I can’t wait to see to you have in store for the future!

❉ Edited by Kenton Hall, ‘Regenerations’ is published by Chinbeard Books, raising money for Invest In ME; RRP £6.99 (eBook). Writers include: Simon A Brett, Dan Barratt, Barnaby Eaton-Jones, Christine Grit, Kenton Hall, Steven Horry, Andrew Lawston, Nick Mellish, Lee Rawlings and Alan Ronald. Cover Art by Steven Horry, with colour by Chiara Lowe Bonacini. The Limited Edition print run has sold out.

❉ Stephen Brennan has been writing for fanzines and charity anthologies for some time. A writer by day, a game developer by night, they can be a bit of a grump, but with a mischievous twinkle in their eye that lets you know they aren’t all bad.

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