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Doctor Who Yearbook 1993

Book review by Jon Preddle

Like the 1992 Yearbook, this tome contains a mixture of comic strip and Brief Encounter type fiction, plus behind-the-scenes articles. However I was somewhat disappointed with the content this time round - it seems out of balance.

The first six Doctors are each represented by a Brief Encounter short story, four by New Adventures authors, one by an ex-Doctor and one fan submission. Of the six, Marc Platt's Fifth Doctor/Tegan/Mara tale is the best; Colin Baker's Sixth Doctor/Mel story is the worst. The best part of the Yearbook, Paul Cornell's 16-page comic strip story Metamorphosis, contains some brilliant and original ideas expanding upon already established Dalek history, and is somewhat gruesome in places with its concept of mutant babies. Great stuff.

Then there are the 'factual' articles. This volume concentrates on invasions, of both the physical and mental sense. It contains nothing new textually, and was only vaguely interesting due to the number of previously unseen photographs. The first paragraph of page 5 contains a glaring and inexcusable error.

JNT makes his customary 'appearance' with a commentary on how he was approached by BBC Video to produce and direct their range of Doctor Who specials. This is a very brief piece which would have been much better suited to an issue of DWM. Again, there's nothing new here.

Also out of place are the 'Monster Files'. Each of the eight focuses on one of Doctor Who's more famous foes. There are a few errors (the Axons' home planet is not Axos!), and the text is very childish. This sort of item was the worst feature of the old Doctor Who Weekly days.

David Howe continues his series on Doctor Who collectibles, this time concentrating on the sillier side of Who collecting. These three sections provide the only source of humour in the Yearbook - a nice touch indeed.

Once again we get the 'Anatomy of a Dalek' and Raymond Cusick's 'future Dalek' however this time we also get to see a dissected Yeti, as well as an examination of the Doctor's trusty sonic screwdriver. The screwdriver piece is the sort of item I'd like to see more of. [And indeed, I ended up writing an article about it for TSV myself!]

The final verdict? A nice try but as I said before, the mix of features is out of balance. If it weren't for Metamorphosis, I'd rate the Yearbook very lowly, but because of the strip, I'll give it 6/10.

This item appeared in TSV 31 (November 1992).