Sub-titled Epic Tales from Alien Worlds, Richard Dinnick’s (not credited on the dust jacket) Doctor Who: Myths and Legends is a collection of fourteen short stories all set in the wider universe of the TV show. There’s a unifying theme, all stories also echo various pieces of mythology, from the Homer’s Odyssey, and a range of other classical sources. This gives the set a pleasing unity and works well as a device.
Richard Dinnick has written a range of books, TV and comics, including Thunderbirds. His books include Sherlock Holmes, Doctor Who and Stargate, and he is currently writing for Titan Books on their Doctor Who range. His stories are all to the point, and cover a range of alien races from the more obvious (the Sontarans, the topical Mondasian Cybermen) to the more obscure (the Macra for example).
Despite the Doctor Who setting, the Doctor only makes occasional appearances, and is directly named. It’s an odd choice, and perhaps the Doctor should have been present in most stories, or none.
We do get a range of other characters, and there’s plenty of coverage of many aspects of the show’s history, and wide coverage of its mythology (just as well given the title), including the legendary war with the vampires. It’s not all big sweeping battles, sometimes it’s just a chance to visit a key moment in Time Lord history. Sometimes the stories finish just in time to set up a storyline already seen on TV, giving an extra layer for the reader to enjoy.
The choice of a single author adds to the coherence of the set, but it may have been more interesting had it been the product of a range of authors, rather than just one. This is not to suggest any flaw in Richard’s writing, but these collections tend to be more interesting when they have many contributors.
If you’re in the mood for a new set of Doctor Who themed short stories, Myths and Legends may just be what you’re looking for. If not, you won’t miss anything by skipping it.
DOCTOR WHO: MYTHS AND LEGENDS / AUTHOR: RICHARD DINNICK / PUBLISHER: BBC BOOKS / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW