Costume Drama

Received in the mail yesterday: MythMakers 13, the Doctor Who fiction fanzine of the Doctor Who Information Network, a Canadian fan group. While I own a number of charity fanthologies, I own very few fanzines, among them Jean Airey’s “The Doctor and the Enterprise” and James Bow’s Trenchcoat series.

One of the points of interest to this issue of MythMakers is Lance Parkin’s unused entry for The Book of the War, telling the tale of Mister Saldaamir, a character who turns up in, I believe, Trading Futures, the eighth Doctor novel released last year. The final story in the collection, Graeme Burk’s “Costume Drama,” is simply superb. What could have been a recipe for disaster–the first Doctor meets John Merrick, the Elephant Man–instead springboards into an examination of nature versus nurture in the person of Mohl, a Sontaran warrior stranded on Earth. Two people, considered by society to be freaks of nature, attempt to live normal lives, but could Victorian society really accept people outside the norms of nature and appearance as being normal and not treat them as a part of a freakshow? The short tale moves more on the strength of mood and style than on plot, but the whole thing feels authentic, and the ending is quite touching.

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