Com­pan­ion Piece

Not just yelps and twisted an­kles

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Rated / Books -

Re­lease Date: 7 April 272 pages | Pa­per­back/ ebook Ed­i­tors: LM Myles, Liz Barr Pub­lisher: Mad Nor­we­gian Press

In Doc­tor Who, the Doc­tor might be the star, but it’s through the com­pan­ions that we re­late to him. This col­lec­tion of 33 es­says aims to “cel­e­brate and cri­tique” our mad sci­en­tist’s friends.

It’s a neat con­cept, but medi­ocre in ex­e­cu­tion; there’s noth­ing here that de­mands to be read or quoted, noth­ing that will change your mind or make you re- eval­u­ate a sto­ry­line. And while in­di­vid­ual de­fences of char­ac­ters such as Adric or Mel are en­ter­tain­ing, other es­says that ex­am­ine spe­cific com­pan­ions re­peat them­selves. Yes they scream but that’s be­cause… Yes they ask ques­tions all the time but that’s be­cause… But th­ese traits are com­mon to most com­pan­ions – and yes they’re al­most al­ways jus­ti­fied, “be­cause”. In­di­vid­ual de­fences of­ten seem to re­ally be de­fend­ing the en­tire con­cept of the com­pan­ion to non- fans who de­ride it; yes they scream, yes they ask a lot of ques­tions, but those aren’t nec­es­sar­ily bad things, okay?

There are a few gems: Una McCor­mack ex­am­ines the role of the do­mes­tic in com­pan­ions’ lives, and Karen K Bur­rows takes a schol­arly look at the use of text by Amy, while Phoebe Tay­lor has writ­ten a com­pelling piece on the similarities be­tween Ro­mana and River. In ad­di­tion, there are many small but in­ter­est­ing points made. But this re­mains a col­lec­tion that makes for pleas­ant read­ing with­out ever com­ing close to es­sen­tial in­sight. Rhian Drinkwa­ter The all- fe­male line- up of writ­ers also in­cludes nov­el­ists such as Mary Robi­nette Kowal, Seanan McGuire and Karen Miller.

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