(2018) Cavan Scott, Jac Rayner, Paul Magrs, James Goss, Peter Anghelides and Richard Dinnick,
BBC Books, £9.99, hrdbk, 218pp, ISBN 978-1-785-94323-2
Ah Missy! How you have divided and – well – infuriated a lot of fans. Not me. I was one of those who thought the gender switch could bring something new to series, and I stand by that. The only problem was that I’m old enough to remember Roger Delgado, who played the part more like Mocata from The Devil Rides Out. I needed some backstory on the new character. Something that would imbed this nanny from hell in my memories. And would it hurt to see what happens to planets when the Doctor isn’t around to save them?
The Missy Chronicles does a fair job of doing that. This is a collection of stories and like so much in life, it’s not even. Some truly catch the bone deep evil of the character (who would, “delay an execution to pull the wings off a fly” as the Doctor tells us.) ‘Lords and Masters’ nails it. ‘Teddy Sparkles Must Die’ plays on the similarities between Missy and that other terrifying child care specialist, Mary Poppins. They are not all great stories and one in particular is far too closely linked to the series for comfort. But that is the joy of short fiction. Didn’t like it? You’ve lost fifteen minutes of your life in a noble cause. Now try the next.
So overall, The Missy Chronicles is a fun read, not always light, sometimes almost challenging. Just don’t give it to a humourless friend who thinks that Time Lords are bound never to change gender. I don’t think they’ll get it. Especially not ‘Girl Power!’
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