Brendan Moody today posted a lengthy review of Short Trips: The Quality of Leadership, the Doctor Who anthology my story, “The Spindle of Necessity,” was published in last spring. Said Brendan of the anthology: “The Quality of Leadership aptly demonstrates the many forms a leader can take, but its biggest success is in assembling a dozen stories that demonstrate the many forms Doctor Who storytelling can take. With two classics, many memorable entries, and only one dud, The Quality of Leadership is recommended reading for any fan of Who fiction.”
While Brendan offers insight on each story, of particular interest to me was his thoughts on “Spindle”:
Insert your cliche about saving the best for last here: “The Spindle of Necessity” by Allyn Gibson is the highlight of the collection. To begin with, it’s told in an unusual format, which is something I love to see tie-in fiction experiment with: it presents the text of “Eudemus, or On the Soul,” a “lost” Aristotelian dialogue, complete with scholarly introduction. Cleverness of form can only get you so far, though, and it’s in telling a thoughtful sixth Doctor story that “The Spindle of Necessity” shines. It’s difficult to describe what makes the story work so well without giving it away: suffice it to say that the Doctor and Plato undertake an exploratory journey from which they both have something to learn. The final section, in which unexpected truths are revealed, is ideally suited to the dialogue format, and downright unsettling in its mastery of the numinous. “The Spindle of Necessity” is almost worth the cost of the book by itself.
Fortunately for readers everywhere, Big Finish is offering a sale on The Quality of Leadership right now as part of their Short Trips liquidation sale; customers can purchase the hardcover directly from them for approximately eleven dollars.
The story is also being reprinted in Short Trips: Re:Collections, the “best of” anthology of the previous twenty-eight Short Trips volumes, coming a little later this month.
As an aside, Aristotle really did write a dialogue, now lost, entitled “Eudemus, or On the Soul.” I now worry that historians someday will discover a copy of this lost manuscript in a musty library somewhere. I don’t worry that what I wrote will be invalidated by the true manuscript. No, I worry that what I wrote was exact in every particular.