Review: Lights Out (12 Doctors, 12 Stories #12)

Review: Lights Out (12 Doctors, 12 Stories #12)Lights Out by Holly Black
Series: 12 Doctors 12 Stories #12
Released by BBC Books on 23 October 2014
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 39
Format: Ebook
Source: Purchased

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A Doctor Who short story featuring the Twelfth Doctor. It follows in the tradition of the series of short stories published last year by Puffin featuring each Doctor.


Last year, Doctor Who celebrated its 50th birthday. And for that, eleven of authors were asked to write short stories the Doctor. I read all the eleven stories this year and reviewed them in this post. But a while ago, a twelfth story was released, featuring (of course) the Twelfth Doctor played by Peter Capaldi. This story was written by Holly Black who you all know from books such as The Coldest Girl in Coldtown and recently The Iron Trial (co-written with Cassandra Clare). These are the two books I’ve read of her, and while I enjoyed the first, I did not like the latter at all (mainly because of Clare, probably). But of course, this is a Doctor Who story, and I love Doctor Who!

First of all, I noticed that Lights Out was written in a first person narrative, something that never happens in a Doctor Who story (except for Something Borrowed the e-short that Richelle Mead wrote for this anniversary series). It was written from the point of view of a character nicknamed Fifty-One. Though I really prefer first person narrative in stories, I found it really weird in this one because I am used to having third person narrative – and multiple POVs – in Doctor Who books. But in the end I got used to it. And secretly I found it a bit of a shame that this story happened between episode one and two of season eight, meaning that Clara wasn’t there – I really like Clara and I would love to read more about her. Oh well, I suppose I just have to read a ‘proper’ DW book then.

I also personally found that Holly Black was trying to squeeze in a bit too many alien mentions. I mean, there was a Silurian and a Blowfish (“Excuse me, have you seen a blowfish driving a sportscar?”) and Vinvocci. Pyrovile(/Pyroviles?) were mentioned, and quite a handful of other aliens whose names I didn’t really remember. I mean sure, it’s good to show that this space station wasn’t just used by humans or humanoids but by aliens as well, but this just felt a little bit like boasting to me, like ‘oh look at how many aliens I can name in just forty-five pages!’. Imagine being new to Doctor Who and reading about all these different aliens and being like ‘what the hell?’ yeah, not really a good idea. (Okay, sure you can argue that people new to Doctor Who might not know that there are DW books and might not even know about this story, but still).

Other than that, I enjoyed the story, though it won’t be among my favourites of them all. I still think that the story with Ten and Martha was one of the best. But hey, I do really love new Doctor Who stories!

My opinion in one gif: