JeriWho Season 7

(1) Night Terrors (Doctor Who)

By Jeri Massi
Reviewed by Kathryn A on 19th May 2002 (1)
Tags: Novel

Jeri Massi is an unabashed 3rd Doctor fan. Her Doctor Who fiction page has plastered across the top: "Always the Third Doctor, because the rest were either forerunners or imposters!" Fear not, though, because even though the 3rd Doctor is not my favourite Doctor, I have enjoyed her stories, because she writes him so well, she makes me appreciate him more. I came across her stories a few years ago, and then again more recently, where I noticed that she said that she had determined to write as many stories as there were episodes, and double the number of adventures of the 3rd Doctor, and that she had recently completed her task. So I decided to read them (again) in chronological order, and this one is the first.

The summary says "Set after Spearhead From Space. After their first adventure, Liz is still getting to know the Doctor. They set out alone together to explore the causes of multiple suicides and catastrophes at a distant village far from UNIT. Science, folklore, and a tragedy from the Doctor's own distant past are about to converge."

This was really interesting in the way that it did manage to make science, folklore and the Doctor's past converge, and without the usual path of the role of science being to debunk the myth. Instead, it managed to retain the mythic feel of it all with the science merely bringing greater understanding, and then the twist when it gets personal in regard to the Doctor. I did feel that the reaction of Liz to Johnny was off, well, especially a particular decision she made, which I simply couldn't believe.

(2) The Fighting Dead (Doctor Who)

By Jeri Massi
Reviewed by Kathryn A on 19th May 2002 (2)
Tags: Novella

This is the first of the "Fighting Dead" trilogy. The summary says: "A single Chinese talisman, four ritualized murders, and a bank robbery are the only leads that the Brigadier has when Scotland Yard asks for assistance. Liz and the Doctor seek to find a rationale behind a mysterious cult called The Fighting Dead. When one of the cult members is killed at UNIT HQ, his peers seek to avenge themselves. Liz and the Doctor are on the short list to be the next victims but find themselves allied with a Catholic priest as well as an unusual martial arts master who also practices "The Way of Being Dead.""

The "unusual martial arts master" was a very intriguing character. Like all this trilogy, the emphasis here is more on Liz than on the Doctor, but I liked that; it was nice to see Liz in more depth. I also liked the allusions and deeper thoughts about Life that came up in this story, makes you think, and that's definitely a plus.

(3) Lab Mice (Doctor Who)

By Jeri Massi
Reviewed by Kathryn A on 17th November 2001 (2)
Tags: Novelette

This is a story of mice... and men. (Sorry, couldn't resist.) This is an early 3rd Doctor story, set after the episode "The Silurians". The summary says: "Sgt. Benton is in hospital, suffering some terrible after-effect of the Silurian attack. The Doctor and Liz frantically attempt to track down the source of his deadly illness. Four groups of lab mice must be sacrificed to find the knowledge. But other observers are at work as well, carrying out their own investigation, unknown to the UNIT team." I really liked this; on the one hand, it looks at the difference between knowledge and knowing, of objectivity and compassion; and on the other hand, there is a touch of -- the ridiculous? -- in some of the events, which stops it from being ponderous and overly solemn.

(4) Faint Glimmerings of Light (Doctor Who)

By Jeri Massi
Reviewed by Kathryn A on 19th May 2002 (3)
Tags: Novel

This is the second in the "Fighting Dead" trilogy. The summary says: "The shining faces of dead men and unusual feats of strength in the boxing arena capture UNIT's attention. When the Doctor is soundly beaten and left for dead, Liz seeks out Anne Thomson again. It seems that the Fighting Dead have returned. But are these superior skills the result of training and mental discipline, or are there other forces at work?"

This had a rather interesting title -- I like titles with double meanings. It can refer to the bodies found at the start, or the glimmerings of light and love which are bringing one of the characters out of darkness. It was really good to see the character development here, and the way that Liz was doing more than one might expect of her, something greater than herself, in a way -- in a personal relationship sort of sense. (Yes, and how cryptic can I get in the goal of not giving spoilers, huh?)

(5) Christmas With Friends (Doctor Who)

By Jeri Massi
Reviewed by Kathryn A on 19th May 2002 (4)
Tags: Novelette

This one is a short story set between "Ambassadors of Death" and "Inferno". The summary says: " When the Brigadier orders Liz to run a testing sequence on the Pleaides satellite system on Christmas day, and the Doctor disappears for the holidays, Liz Shaw is set for a bleak and unhappy Christmas. She may be right, but it certainly will not be boring. Enemy agents, a mysterious dark figure wandering the lonely hillside, and a few grains of potassium make for one explosive Christmas."

This had a lot of good Liz and the Brigadier interaction. It showed a side of the Brig that we don't always see -- a good side, indeed!

(6) The Dead Go Searching (Doctor Who)

By Jeri Massi
Reviewed by Kathryn A on 19th May 2002 (5)
Tags: Novella

This is the third in the "Fighting Dead" trilogy, set after "Inferno". The summary says: " A horrible discovery at a distant morgue nearly severs the partnership between Liz and the Doctor. Overcome with grief from the death of a friend, Liz becomes obsessed with finding the killer. Heedless of the Doctor's warnings and the Brigadier's orders, she plunges over the edge of the barricade between life and death as she searches for the truth."

I didn't initially twig to the meaning of the title, but just now I have! It's another one of those double meanings I like. And there's certainly plenty of other things that are pregnant with meaning too, especially the dreams that Liz has, which end up being terribly symbolic at the end, considering what happens. But never fear, there's enough SciFi and villainy in here (as well as a mixture of supporting characters) -- I don't mean to give the impression that this is a soap opera, I'm just noting that I do like the good character stuff.