edited by Jacqueline Rayner
Take a TARDIS trip through the constellations, as the Doctor travels to twelve thrilling tales inspired by the mystical zodiac.
Telepathic fish, miniature lions and twin planets are the least of his problems, as the Doctor all eight of him faces the Capricorn Killer, endures a mindswap with the Machiavellian Master, and dances with Death herself.
And that's not the half of it as the two K9s can attest.
This collection features twelve exclusive short- stories from well-known names in Doctor Who fiction including acclaimed novelist and Booker nominee Paul Magrs, alongside Simon A Forward, Mark Michalowski, Paul Leonard and Joseph Lidster as well as fresh new voices.
'The True and Indiputable Facts in the Matter of the Ram's Skull'
by Mark Michalowski
Invited to a social gathering by Mr. R--- at his house one evening, Edgar Allen Poe and his two friends, Parsons and Wolffson, meet their fellow guests Colonel Caine, Miss Allardyce, her young companion Abigail, an old man called the Doctor, and his two associates Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright. After they are shown into a back room furnished with a circular table, on which lies the skull of a ram, its forehead inscribed with a pentagram, a séance begins in which Abigail acts as medium. However, things rapidly go out of control as an ancient evil attempts to manifest itself by leeching off the energy from the young girl; as the skull begins to grow flesh and return itself to monstrous life, the guests are held motionless in the grip a powerful force. Realising the nature of the evil, the Doctor struggles against the force, managing to throw the Colonel’s glass of cognac over the skull, and when Poe is then able to thrust a candle across the table, the liquid ignites, causing both the apparition and Abigail to be consumed by the flames. The menace thwarted, the Doctor and his friends leave, but when Poe later commits the events to paper, he finds himself feeling ill at ease, as if the menace were still out there, ready to appear once again...
*Featuring the First Doctor, Ian and Barbara
by Paul Leonard
On the Lunar Station, eighty-seven-year-old engineer Sewa Singh lives with his nineteen-year-old lover, Bernadette Faraddin. For the last four months Singh has been awaiting the arrival of the authorities, fearing repercussions he knows he will face following the destruction of an artificial world named Kuppam, newly built by the Yamoyata Company and situated high in Earth orbit; this world contained thousands of people, all of whom were killed when a series of bearings failed - bearings that Singh had been responsible for. Learning that two U.N. Peace Corp representatives have arrived, Singh leaves his companion to entertain them while he goes for a walk. But shortly after Bernadette has greeted Dr. John Smith and Fitz Kreiner and served them some food she realises that they are not the real authorities - and that Singh has taken an environment suit with a limited supply of air and gone out onto the Moon’s surface. Smith sadly reveals that Singh had implored him to stall Bernadette long enough for him to end his life peacefully, rather than return to Earth in custody to live out his days in prison...
*Featuring the Eighth Doctor and Fitz
*Time placing: this is a tricky one, as the Doctor and Fitz have so far not travelled alone together; it seems quite likely that both Sam and Anji would tag along with them, so I'm placing this during their time spent with Compassion, most likely after she has become a TARDIS, and so more aloof and less likely to accompany them on every excursion.
by Tony Keetch
Having helped good King Gavin XXIII defeat his evil brother Conrad, and so free his people from tyranny, the Doctor and Jamie are hailed as heroes. After a night of revelry - in which the Doctor enjoyed the company of the king, and Jamie that of his two daughters - the two departing time-travellers are given a victory parade en route to the TARDIS. Declaring his gratitude to the Doctor and Jamie, King Gavin promises his subjects a time of peace and prosperity now that his brother has been safely locked away in the Tower of Judgement. Hearing this, his loyal and happy subjects decide to build a statue in his honour. But just after the Doctor and Jamie bid their farewells and leave in the ship, they arrive once more in the kingdom, but ten years in the future. Meeting their friends Ernst and Geffre, the travellers learn that the population is indeed happy and prosperous; however, for some reason Conrad is king, while Gavin is hailed as the evil sibling, and it is Conrad’s statue that watches over the land. Puzzling over events, the Doctor and Jamie realise that they are in fact on a doppelgänger world - identical to the other in almost every detail except a difference in which king is which. The Doctor uses the TARDIS’s ‘fast return’ switch to confirm his theory, but when he then tries to unite both worlds’ ‘good’ kings, his plan doesn’t go as well as he had hoped…
*Featuring the Second Doctor and Jamie
*Time placing: seeing as how 'The Faceless Ones' - when Ben and Polly left the Doctor - leads straight into 'The Evil of the Daleks', it is probable that this story occurs after Victoria leaves and Zoe joins.
by Ian Potter
During the Project Inferno incident the Doctor’s experiments on the TARDIS console accidentally transported him to a parallel world ruled by a fascist military dictatorship; however, the Doctor was unaware that Corporal Helen Martin, on patrol behind the work hut housing his laboratory, was also sent sideways through time. Forced to drift through countless quantum realities, each slightly different from the last, Helen has had to come to terms with the fact that she may never be able to return home. But after drifting through the multiple versions of London’s Maida Vale for five years, she suddenly encounters her counterpart - a young soldier named Mark, also travelling through the realities after being caught up in the effects of the TARDIS console as the Doctor’s returned home from the parallel world. Helen and Mark realise that they still have five years' more drifting before they will each finally stabilise in the other's reality...
*Featuring the Third Doctor, Liz and the Brigadier
by Simon A. Forward
Landing on a strange, grassy planet, the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe find an unusual cat sitting on the TARDIS doorstep. They decide to bring the creature aboard the ship, and give it the name of Marmaduke. But the furry feline soon begins a reign of destruction aboard the time machine, breaking ornaments and scratching walls, and then the Doctor discovers that he is now able to hear the thoughts of his two concerned companions. The three time-travellers attempt to take the moggy menace back to the world where they found it, but are puzzled to find that the planet is no longer there. Further attempts to leave the feline on other worlds prove fruitless, as no matter where they leave it, the cat comes back each time. The Doctor eventually hits on a plan and returns the TARDIS the the grassy planet centuries in the future. Here he meets an aging Sorceress, who takes back the cat, her apprentice. The old woman created the 'Id-Cat' to stop her being lonely, but because she is telepathic, she could not stand to hear everyone's voices inside her head, and so when the Doctor, Jamie and Zoe arrived, she placed the desire to take the cat in their minds; when they later returned, she masked the planet with her powers, but now her abilities are waning, and she was unable to stop the travellers from finding her. The Doctor and his friends depart, but a short time later, the Time Lord finds himself missing his latest companion...
*Featuring the Second Doctor, Jamie and Zoe
by Sarah Groenewegen
The Doctor, Ace and Benny arrive in Sydney, Australia, apparently to investigate legends of a haunted house. While the Doctor and Ace attend a party held in the sumptuously-decorated home of the beautiful LaMort, Benny sneaks in the back way. The Doctor confronts LaMort in the bathroom in an attempt to stop her from committing suicide; downstairs, Ace and Benny meet up and realise that whereas Ace can see the party in full swing, along with all its attendant guests, Benny can only see is an empty, decaying, old house. The two of them join the Doctor upstairs, where they learn that LaMort is really the personification of Death...
*Featuring the Seventh Doctor, Ace and Benny
by Simon Guerrier
The Doctor comes to after an experiment backfires, only to discover that he is now in a prison cell. Looking in a mirror he is shocked to find that he now inhabits the Master's body - somehow the renegade Time Lord has caused them both to swap bodies! While the Doctor tries unsuccessfully to escape his cell, the Master attempts to leave in the Doctor's TARDIS, but finds the time-ship in a state of disarray, dismantled components lying scattered everywhere following the Doctor's attempts to get the vessel working again. Realising that he will be unable to leave Earth, the Master instead irreversibly changes the internal décor to a style that will irritate the Doctor. He then arranges for the Master to be transferred to a better prison, cuts the Doctor's hair, and gives Mike Yates 'his' permission to date Jo. His mischief completed, the Master then restores himself and the Doctor to their correct bodies - safe in the knowledge that his actions will utterly infuriate the Doctor!
*Featuring the Third Doctor, Jo, the Brigadier and Mike Yates
by Paul Magrs
K-9 Mk I sends K-9 Mk II a birthday letter; the resulting exchange of letters between the two automatons quickly turns into a game of one-upmanship - proving that the two robot dogs can also be quite catty!
*Featuring K-9 Mk I and K-9 Mk II
*Time placing: K-9 Mk I notes that Leela has just given birth to her son, so this occurs after 'Lungbarrow'
'Five Card Draw'
by Todd Green
The Fifth Doctor is summoned to an ancient castle by an unknown voice he hears inside his mind. Leaving Peri aboard the TARDIS, the Doctor investigates and meets his First, Second, Third and Sixth incarnations. As the five of them settle down to a game of poker, the First Doctor reveals that he was responsible for drawing them there; a little while ago he arrived on the planet to attend an archery competition, hoping to use a gold, jewel-encrusted bow given to him by the third emperor of the Cressup dynasty of Guttia - something that none of the other Doctors are able to recall. After seeing some bandits about to attack a young woman, he managed to get her safely aboard the TARDIS, and the time-ship frightened the villains away; however, when the Doctor then tried to leave the ship, he was captured by a group of knights who had been pursuing the bandits. The men were about to execute the Doctor as a sorcerer, but escaped and sought refuge in the castle; realising that he needed help to retrieve his TARDIS, the Doctor called on his other selves - although he chose not to contact his Seventh incarnation, and the Fourth. Deciding that the lowest hand of poker will be the one to face the knights, the Fifth Doctor is chosen. Heading outside, the Fifth Doctor is also captured by the knights, but is able to stay his execution by giving their leader the bejewelled bow. He releases Mary from the TARDIS and then takes the time-ship back to the castle, but then sees the Peri travelling with his Sixth persona. The Doctors go their separate ways, although the Fifth Doctor realises that he has not long left in his current incarnation...
*Featuring the First, Second, Third, Fifth and Sixth Doctors, and Peri(s)
*Time placing: the First Doctor is near to his regeneration, but still feels well enough to take part in an archery contest; he is also travelling with Ben and Polly, so putting it after Season 4's 'The Smugglers' seems as good a place as any. The Second Doctor does not mention any companions, so this could well occur in Season 6a, when he is working solo for the Time Lords. The Third Doctor mentions Sarah-Jane, so this should go at the end of Season 11. The Fifth Doctor has only just started travelling with Peri, which places it immediately after 'Superior Beings'. The Sixth Doctor seems to get on well with Peri, so probably occurs in the latter part of Season 22a.
'I Was a Monster!!!'
by Joseph Lidster
A young office clerk and his workmates go out for a night on the town in Dublin one night. Leaving a nightclub, the boy meets a beautiful red-haired girl, only to discover that she is a vampire; she bites him and turns him into a creature of the night. The boy slowly comes to terms with his new way of un-living, and begins feasting on the patrons of the city’s nightclubs. As the number of deaths escalates, the police mount an investigation into what the public have dubbed 'The Capricorn Killer', due to the killer’s goatee beard. The vampire enjoys his notoriety, and becomes obsessed with the quest for fame. However, after another night of killing he then meets a beautiful woman called Romana, who takes him through a doorway to meet a man dressed in red called the Doctor. The man apologies and then promptly stakes the vampire, releasing him from his undead existence...
*Featuring the Fourth Doctor and the Second Romana
'The Invertebrates of Doom'
by Andrew Collins
Exploring an underground cave system a group of university students find a strange, stone-like object, but are then attacked by an unknown creature. The TARDIS is drawn off course and the Doctor and Mel arrive at a scientific facility on Earth in 1978, where they detect anomalous concentrations of artron energy. They meet Doctor Leech and his assistant Ly, who are investigating the artefact, brought there after the injured potholers were taken to the centre's medical wing. When the object suddenly springs to life a huge alien spacecraft arrives overhead, and hoards of jellyfish fall from the sky. The Doctor realises that the device is an extraterrestrial probe sent out centuries ago as a means of instigating first contact. A holographic image of a giant jellyfish-like creature appears, which identifies itself as Commander Hydra Sowerbii of the imperial Cnidarian spaceship Water Carrier, and informs them that he and his troops - the jellyfish - will now take control of the planet and declare it theirs. The Doctor attempts to reason with the creature, but is taken aboard the ship by a giant metal tentacle. Meanwhile, masses of jellyfish fall into a lake, increase in size and attack a fisherman. As the army are called into deal with the invaders, Mel discovers that the potholers, and their leader, Ly, are under Hydra's influence and have now begun to grow tentacles. But when Mel accidentally spills a saline solution on Ly the salt water destroys the jellyfish's control; Mel informs the military, who use salt water to destroy the jellyfish troops. After the Doctor is brought before the gloating Hydra, Mel hacks into the alien device and tells the commander that Ly is about to join him on the ship. However, when Ly arrives, she tears open a box of table salt, and the poisoned water kills Hydra. Without their commander, the jellyfish leave Earth.
*Featuring the Seventh Doctor and Mel
by Alison Lawson
Tom Watson's job is to inject newly-caught fish with antibiotics, so that they will not become infected by disease prior to being sold at market. After Tom accidentally stabs himself with the injecting gun he finds himself feeling happier and healthier than ever before, and so decides to take more of the antibiotic. However, he then learns that he can hear the voices of the fish in his head, and they ask him for his help in stopping the cruel practice of fishing. They show Tom how to send out a mental cry for help, which is answered by a man calling himself the Doctor, and his companion, Peri. The Doctor is intrigued, and while Tom takes Peri home for dinner with his wife, he decides to investigate...
*Featuring the Sixth Doctor and Peri
*Published by Big Finish
*Each story has a special, astrological introduction by Jim Sangster