The Sotheby's Folio Update.

Commerce    Back in June I wrote about seeing a Shakespeare First Folio in London ahead of its sale in New York.  As The Guardian reports, the book's been sold:
"An original copy of William Shakespeare’s first collected book of plays has been sold for more than £2m at Sotheby’s auction house in New York."
Hopefully whoever bought it will enjoy having it and perhaps loan it out once in a while.  A lot of the copies in private hands are sat in vaults in Tokyo.

This also means that the Folio was the most valuable item in the room that day.

Illumination (Short Trips: Christmas Around the World)

Prose  Izzy!  Of all the eras dipped into by other media, the Doctor Who comics is the rarest.  Other than the Izzy's Story audio, Miss Sinclair only appears in two Short Trips, Syntax from Life Sciences (which I'm still yet to catch up on) and Illumination from Christmas Around The World.  David Bailey writes both and here at least he captures the comics companion's voice perfectly from the enthusiasm to the 90s references.  He also takes time to knit this into comics continuity with a mention for Faye/Feyde/Fey (or however its spelt).  

As befits a Christmas story, this has lots and lots of snow as the Doctor takes Izzy to Lapland only to find himself kidnapped by Norse warriors and bumping into Adam of Bremen, the medieval historian (so this is a celebrity historical of sorts).  They observe the locals being even more bloodthirsty than usual in scenes which certainly wouldn't have been in the comic and set out to discover what's effecting their behaviour and attempting to convince Adam not to spread misinformation about the Vikings in a bid to promote Christianity.

In the opening few paragraphs, there's a conversation I'm not sure I've seen elsewhere in which Izzy badgers the Doctor to explain his attire which he admits is fancy dress.  Across media up until this point its generally assumed that the Doctor's wearing the same clothes he nabbed from a locker in San Francisco which means unless he stopped off every now and then to get them dry cleaned, they must be getting a bit ratty now.  Also the Eighth Doctor doesn't wear socks.  I don't think I've ever noticed that before.

Placement:  After TV Action.  It's one of the few clean breaks in the comics.

Transmission Ends (Short Trips: Transmissions)

Prose As the title suggests this is the final story in the Transmissions anthology and like the Decalogs of old ties all of the stories together, in this instance by utilises fragments of them as metaphors in a telepathic conversation between the Doctor and the alien threat.  

Despite only having read the Eighth Doctor related stories in Transmissions, the author senses this might be the case and gives enough information through the Time Lord's recognition to navigate the sense of what's being communicated by this entity which has become ensnared in the terraforming satellites of a colony world.  

These flashbacks make this a sort of cross between TNG's Darmok and also TNG's Shades of Grey, what a Doctor Who clip show might look like in prose form.  But they're cleverly refocused in the first person from the Doctor's POV which gives the whole story a more substantial, novelistic feeling.

The relationship between Eighth and the young boy who's helping him, Alex, is incredibly poignant, the poor boy having been the original target for the alien's attempts at communication.  It's another story about how the Doctor sometimes isn't able to save everyone, even the most courageous.  

Placement:  Huh.  The since the alien's using the Doctor's own memories for the communication it has to be set after all of the other stories.  So I'm arbitrarily going to put it before Situation Vacant, as though it's one of the reasons he's decided he needs to find someone new to travel with.

Lonely (Short Trips: Transmissions)

Prose  Written in 2008 when Twitter was still a friendly place and Facebook had only recently opened themselves up to anyone rather than students, Lonely is structured around an old fashioned IRC chatroom, with the story developing amongst the various members of a forum designed for lonely people (bit close, as they say, to home there love).  It nicely captures the element of random strangers getting to know one another from across the world, along with the bozo who turns up having completely misunderstood the point of that particular chatroom and does something pr0ny.  <jsmith8> inevitably shows up to sort out the problem which develops, although despite its vintage, he comes across more like the socially less aware 12th Doctor with a touch of the Seventh Doctor's genocidal nature, unless that's just how his online persona manifests itself.  Few of us are same in real life as we are online.

Placement: Absolutely no hints but given the Doctor's slightly brusque manner it's probably between The Girl Who Never Was and Blood of the Daleks.

War in a Time of Peace (Short Trips: Destination Prague)

Prose The twist at the end of this is similar to the reveal at the close of the Eighth Doctor's other story from this anthology, Lady of the Snows.  The Doctor decides to show Charley the titular city one Christmas Eve in the future when Earth is thriving thanks to the countries on various continents having joined together to create super states and eradicating war.  Except they discover a Prague shielded by a huge protective dome and a populace fearful for their lives due to the war which is ranging outside.  The rest of the story is about the Doctor biding his time until he's in a position to prove them wrong.  

There's much fun to be had.  Most of the story takes place in a prison cell with Charley becoming increasingly frustrated with the Doctor's apparent apathy but knowing deep down that he probably has a plan but he's not telling her.  The main supporting character Ilsa, a local police officer, is also particularly well drawn as she decides to help the TARDIS team against her better judgement.  There are some real gems hidden in these collectors items and its surprising that Big Finish haven't found some way of re-releasing them in another form, perhaps as audio books.

Placement: Between Embrace the Darkness and Time of the Daleks.  They seem very comfortable with one another.

The Long Midwinter (Short Trips: The History of Christmas)

Prose  The problem with reading festive stories out of season is you can be a bit slow on the uptake when it comes to the more obvious details.  The Doctor, Samson and Gemma visit a Pandora like planet in which a group of humans in the far future have been genetically modified to exist in a cold atmosphere by becoming branches of a tree essentially, but not until the end of the story did I realise why there even was a great tree in this particular short story.  His companions come across as being slightly less mature than in their other adventures, Samson in particular giving us some mild islamophobia.  But there's some nice poetry in here and it's one of those kinds of stories in which the Doctor can't really do much but inspire those he's trying to help to take the next step.  But that may be enough.

Placement:  Between Mary and Charley.

Not in My Back Yard (Short Trips: The History of Christmas)

Prose  Fucking hell this is good.  Eddie Robson delivers a love letter to the NAs, EDAs and DWM comics just as attention was shifting elsewhere in 2005.  The Eighth Doctor and a new bespoke travelling companion he's just bust out of prison pitch up in the Seventh Doctor's favourite village of Cheldon Bonniface at Christmas in a future time so that he can hide her in what was once a friendly UK immigration service for aliens.  Sadly there's now a government in place which is taking much the same approach as the one we have in 2022 with tabloids creating a similar level of fear.  As the detention centre awaits closure the Doctor decides to take everyone into the village for a final Christmas bash and there are hijinks.  Many, many hijinks.

He can correct me on this, but I think this was Robson's first full Eighth Doctor story and he just nails it.  The tone is humorous and a bit daft but with a thematically serious core.  There are moments of physical and verbal comedy which leap off the page and look ahead to the broader edges of the TV revival.  This might be seventeen years ago but it feels totally fresh right down the huge event which happened about 5/6ths of the way through and then another 8/10ths after that.  Eddie's mainly written audio adventures since and he began writing was just a bit too late for the novels and it's a real shame we didn't see an EDA from him.

Placement:  For spoilery reasons there are some continuity references and a conversation right at the end which put it after The Gallifrey Chronicles but before Endgame.