Reviews | Written by Paul Mount 02/09/2020

MINDGAME

PUBLISHER: TELOS / FORMAT: OUT NOW

Back in the dark days when Doctor Who was distinctly persona non grata at the BBC, enterprising fans kept the flame alive by creating low budget straight-to-video productions featuring more readily-licensable supporting characters and monsters, the Doctor himself being understandably off-limits. Veteran fan David J. Howe has taken the bones of the scripts for the 1998 and 1999 productions Mindgame and Mindgame Trilogy and turned them into a slight but rather charming and pleasantly old-school space opera novel hugely evocative of the Target books (note the striking Andrew-Mark Thompson cover art and cheeky Telos ‘Target’ logo) written by the legendary Terrance Dicks (who wrote some of the original scripts) throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

Representatives of three alien species are brought together on a remote asteroid by mysterious aliens from another dimension. They set the three species against one another with the intention of then dominating the race of the survivor which they will then forge into an army to conquer the Galaxy. The three species are all familiar to long-time fans; Sarg is a warlike, glory-seeking Sontaran officer (long before the new series turned them into figures of fun), Eskor is a nobleman of the imperious Draconian race and Star is… well, quite obviously Ace from late 1980s Doctor Who, a sassy mercenary who, we’re told, once travelled through Space and Time with a mysterious alien called ‘The Professor’. The trio quickly bond into an efficient unit, working together to defeat their captors and find a way back to their own place in space.

Mindgame is a brisk and lively read - Howe has given his characters a more upbeat fate than Mindgame Trilogy - and the result is a bouncy and energetic romp set in one of the more remote corners of the Doctor Who Universe.