August 2013 gave us the Eighth Doctor short ebook story Spore by Alex Scarrow. The latest in the Puffin 50th anniversary celebration and written by an author more than familiar with the possibilities of time travel the omens were good. There is nothing on the author’s website to give any indication as the approach he took with this story so the easiest option is to just read it.
How did this story compare to others?
The Doctor lands in the Nevada Desert and briefly recalls being there for the Roswell Incident (I may need to re-watch the animation of Dreamland which is a Tenth Doctor and Martha story also set around the events of Roswell. I digress…). He approaches a nearby military encampment and finds that a dreadful plague has struck the local town. The Doctor sets off to explore and identifies a pathogen that once killed many thousands of Time Lords. He finds one soldier, Evelyn, surviving from a scouting party. Together they try to locate the central intelligence guiding the alien, flesh consuming spores before it is too late for life on Earth.
Needless to say all ends well.
Alex Scarrow avoids using any companion (he isn’t tied to Big Finish so probably can’t use Charley / Lucie) even from the Eighth Doctor Adventures novels. The soldier Evelyn fills the gap and allows him to explain the threat to the reader. The story is paced well and with its interest in DNA and genetic manipulation reminded me of many of the themes of the novels and I enjoyed reading this.
It avoided anything to do with time-travel, presumably so as not to confuse matters with regards the Time Riders series for which he is known.
So a decent enough short story and now we have to look forward to September when the series crosses over into the realm of nu-Who. See you there!