Not just yelps and twisted ankles
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.