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Published on June 12th, 2010 | by Patrick Riley

Short Stories are Not Fish From Space…

… because the Saturnynians were rendered extinct in The Vampires of Venice, remember?

Doctor Who writer Neil GaimanAn interview conducted by BBC News primarily designed to promote Stories (a soon-to-be-available compilation of short stories by various authors that was co-edited by Stardust, Coraline, and Season-32-Episode-3 (?) writer Neil Gaiman) addressed the issue of whether short stories are dead by comparing them to the same species of blood-sucking coffin campers as the ones that were not to be seen in the aforementioned Doctor Who episode.

“Like some kind of particularly tenacious vampire the short story refuses to die, and seems at this point in time to be a wonderful length for our generation. It’s a perfect length to read on an iPad, your Kindle or your phone.

“I think the short story is a very underrated art form. We know that novels deserve respect. The short story is still like the novel’s wayward younger brother, we know that it’s not respectable – but I think that can also add to the glory of it.”

It’s funny how Gaiman’s point-of-view is able to perfectly correspond with Doctor Who.  Many of the longer, looked-forward-to, and more story-arc-driven tales in the Whoniverse, such as Time and the Rani, Planet of the Dead, and almost the whole of Season 28 (Series 2), are often regarded as sub-par at best, while some of the shorter, more low key installments including Blink, Midnight, Vincent and the Doctor, and The Edge of Destruction were each received as fantastic by their audiences and destined to be classics.  And who can forget the Grand Moff’s especially-length-lacking Time Crash?

The point?  We’ve often overlooked the standalone gems in each season because we’ve been too concerned with speculating about how the Daleks might fare in 1930s New York, why the Master is suddenly so hungry around Christmas, and what is causing the existence-wiping cracks in time.  All of these are wonderful concepts, but they simply won’t be remembered quite as vividly as our initial outing with the Weeping Angels or the time we “Geronimoed!” out of a star whale’s mouth.

Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but hopefully Gaiman’s words are intended to subtly add to the anticipation for his first foray into Who-ology and assure us that the next great achievement in the Platinum Age is just around the corner.

If you’re in the mood for some non-Doctor-Who reading, Stories is out this Tuesday, which, incidentally, also happens to be the Macintosh release date of City of the Daleks.

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About the Author

Patrick is a temporal hitchhiker who spends most of his time in the future. His favourite Doctor is the Fourteenth. If you're especially lucky, you might even hear him tweet to all you merry folk in the past @10PatrickRiley.




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