I’ll be honest, I didn’t watch a lot of Doctor Who as a kid, but what I did do was voraciously read the “Choose Your Own Adventure” series. I’m no longer a kid, but Christopher Stone’s “Doctor Who and the Fescan Threat” provides exactly the kind of all-ages interactive reading experience my ten year old self would have adored, entertains me thirty years on, and is one I’ll come back to in the future.
Clocking in at 600 pages, and with 2000 choices, this tome allows readers to take part in a story exploring numerous combinations of adventure. You “play” as a companion to the 12th Doctor, who has just informed you of a galactic threat known as the “Fescans” – a race created for this book. Using “a rather dull looking headset” you can relive any of the first ten Doctor’s (minus the War Doctor) encounters with these planetary conquerors.
Like the 50+ year old show, this book is “family friendly” and from what I’ve read, plays out like a story from the TV series. Depending on your choices, there’s plenty of alien encounters, sneaking about, running through corridors, talking your way out of sticky situations, and timey-wimey-ness to make any Who fan happy.
In preparation for this review I ran through adventures as the 1st, 6th, and 10th Doctors to see how well I’d do as everyone’s favourite Time Lord…not well as it turns out. After 57 turns of much haughtiness and tut-tutt’ing I managed to get the 1st Doctor ignobly shot in the head; I spent much of my 87 turns as the 6th Doctor lost in the woods, tripping over rocks, and falling down hills, until I met my end—my consciousness absorbed by purple blobs; and I got the 10th Doctor killed in just 12 turns, exposed to the elements on a planet-wide desert.
There’s more to the adventure than simply choosing the next page. Stone has included an element of chance with “Attributes” that must be rolled before the adventure can begin…a very simple process, but a high “Persuasion” or “Technical Ability” score might affect a choice or the outcome of that choice. Better still, the stats change during the adventure.
Depending on your rolls and choices, a run through can last anywhere from 15-60 minutes, and because the outcomes can change based on which Doctor you’re playing, there’s plenty of adventure for any reader/Time Lord to discover in “Doctor Who and the Fescan Threat.”
Drew Meyer is a Children’s Librarian in North Carolina and co-hosts the podcast “Gallifrey Pirate Radio” (gallifreypirateradio.com)
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