The Queen of Eros.

Books  This is more like it.  Part of the gonzo anthology Short Trips and Side Steps [2000] (which I really recommend to everyone), The Queen of Eros is a perfect little adventure filled with humour and heartbreak.  Through the usual imperfect navigation, the TARDIS lands in a Steve Jackson style fantasy kingdom.  The queen takes a shine to The Doctor, nabs the TARDIS key and tries to compel him to marry her using Sam as the bait.  She needs the marriage because under her custom no one can propigate the species unless the queen has married (dilemma).

It could be the closest I've seen Doctor Who get to Classic Star Trek, but one of those wierdo fantasy stories like The Cloud Minders or The Gamesters of Triskelion.  Queen Asheya is entirely the sort who would have buckled under Kirk's charms and wereas he might have seduced her into giving back the TARDIS key (or in his case his starship's communicators) The Doctor goes for the long game of stoicism (which isn't to say she doesn't kiss him once or twice).

At one point Sam is given a metal bikini and sent to a secret harem which is used to help propigate the species.  Although we don't find out what happens to her there I'm sure it's not the sort of thing Spock might have tollerated.  The story ends in a bare chested fight for the queen's hand between The Doctor and some royal advisor who also has the hots for her -- all very Amok Time.  You can almost hear that famous incidental music playing in the background.  Duh-duh-duh-duuum De-da Deda Duh-duh-duh-duuum.

Unlike the last couple of shorts this seems to fit the format perfectly.  Tiny number of distinctive characters with a linear plotline which offers some tension even with a realisable outcome.  The Doctor is a bit subdued restlessly searching the castle for his time machine, but he's basically letting things play themselves out, paying attention now and then when Sam's life's in jeopardy.  Sam's a bit cattier that usual and all the better for it -- there's a great exchange between her and the queen when the claws are out and it's very much about what isn't being said.  The queen herself is delicious character -- that hot mix of authority and passion.

I look forward to seeing what author Trevor Baxendale does with more pages, but that'll be in a few months.  I'm back on the novels tomorrow with The Bodysnatchers, which judging by the cover is going to be fun since I've never seen Terror of the Zygons (or anything with the Zygons in for that matter).

No comments: