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Literature / Doctor Who: 11 Doctors 11 Stories

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Doctor Who: 11 Doctors 11 Stories is a collection of short stories from Puffin Books that were originally published as individual e-books in 2013 to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who. Each story features one Doctor, and established companions are optional. With a different author handling each story, the tone of each one varies greatly.

A twelfth story was added to the collection in 2014 to mark the formal debut of the Twelfth Doctor in the television series, and it was retitled 12 Doctors 12 Stories accordingly. It has been announced that it will be re-released in November 2018 as 13 Doctors 13 Stories with a Thirteenth Doctor story.


For the sake of editing, each story and its tropes has its own folder.


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    The First Doctor: A Big Hand For The Doctor 
Written by Eoin Colfer. In Edwardian London, the Doctor is recovering from an unseen adventure — and waiting on a new hand, having lost it in said adventure — while Susan is elsewhere by way of helping him investigate a string of mysterious child abductions in the city. Before his curious prosthetic substitute hand can be properly replaced by a specialist, he must spring into action when the space pirates responsible strike again, with both innocent human lives and his granddaughter's in the balance.
  • Hook Hand: The inner workings of the Doctor's prosthetic hand resemble this to one of the space pirates.
  • Invasion of the Baby Snatchers: The space pirates are abducting children to harvest their organs to sell on the black market.
  • Shout-Out: The First Doctor uses 'd'arvit' as a swear word.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: In an unconventional way — this story is one to Peter Pan, but the denouement reveals that the Doctor's exploits inspired that play and novel in-universe.

    The Second Doctor: The Nameless City 
Written by Michael Scott. On Earth, the Doctor is busy trying to repair the TARDIS; while scouting for supplies, Jamie encounters a desperate stranger who "gifts" him with an even stranger book. By the time the Doctor realizes what it is — the Necronomicon — its evil masters have already used it to shanghai the TARDIS to the titular city from which they hope to escape.

    The Third Doctor: The Spear of Destiny 
Written by Marcus Sedgwick. A powerful extraterrestrial weapon, once sacred to the Vikings, has turned up in a museum's collection in London in The '70s and is being guarded quite zealously from all interested parties — including UNIT. The Doctor and Jo's effort to swap it with a cunning forgery ends up taking them back to Viking days, where technology ahead of its time proves a sign of a cunning plot...
  • Giving Radio to the Romans: The Master is giving electricity to the Vikings.
  • The X of Y: The first of several stories in this anthology to use this title convention, in the great Doctor Who tradition.

    The Fourth Doctor: The Roots of Evil 
Written by Philip Reeve. The Doctor and Leela find themselves in a plant-based, planet-orbiting colony where he has been Public Enemy Number One for generations...wanted for the actions of a future incarnation. What will he do, how can he ensure he survives to do so — and why is the entire structure literally growing hostile to everyone within it?
  • I Was Quite a Fashion Victim: Or will be. The Doctor is miserable upon discovering that in the future, he'll think wearing a bowtie is cool!
  • Meaningful Name: The story takes place on a 'Heligan Structure', a plant-based Colony Ship. The Lost Gardens of Heligan, an estate garden neglected for decades and restored in the 1990s, are a well-known real-world tourist attraction in Cornwall.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Most of the children seem to have those. All of them refer to what they want to do to the Doctor!
  • Take That Me: The Doctor encounters a statue of his future self and does not agree with the notion that Bowties Are Cool.
  • The X of Y: The second story in this collection to use this trope.

    The Fifth Doctor: Tip of the Tongue 
Written by Patrick Ness, who went on to write the televised Doctor Who spinoff Class (2016). In a small New England town in 1945 the latest must-have trendy item among the local teenagers, popularized by Rich Bitch Annabelle Acklin, is a "Truth Teller". It's a furry creature one wears like a necktie and hooks up to their tongue, whereupon the creature will speaks whatever truths lie in the person's mind and heart. The resultant revelations are causing strife, bullying, and angst among the teens — and the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa are in town to investigate.
  • Big Fancy House: The wealthy Acklin family lives in one — which stands out even more than it normally would in a time of rationing for Americans.
  • Brutal Honesty: Truth Tellers can make anyone speak only in this manner, no matter how much it hurts themselves or others. The Doctor reveals that in fact they only reveal what the wearer believes to be true, not what is objectively true. Big difference.
  • Gingerbread House: Discussed by Nyssa; Dipthodat houses may have inspired the trope in Earth stories due to their unique construction.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Justified; although his prejudice against Jonny (Jewish) and Nettie (black) isn't out of place in 1940s America, wealthy Mr. Acklin's cruel and condescending attitude towards the lower-class kids marks him out as just as bad as his daughter. As it turns out, he and other Dipthodats have this attitude towards anyone who isn't their kind!
  • Refusal of the Call: Jonny and Nettie are offered a chance to be companions, but turn it down.
  • Rich Bitch: Annabelle Acklin is this to a T.
  • Teens Are Monsters: The Truth Teller craze is encouraging this behavior in the local teens under the guise of mere Brutal Honesty. And Annabelle turns out to be an actual monster!
  • World War II: The temporal setting.

    The Sixth Doctor: Something Borrowed 
Written by Richelle Mead. The Doctor and Peri Brown (the latter of whom narrates) are on the gaudy planet of Koturia for a royal wedding — but why have they arrived to find miniaturized pterodactyls hassling the locals? And does the foreign bride-to-be have an ulterior motive for her rush to the altar?
  • First-Person Perspective: Peri Brown.
  • Planet of Hats: Koturia has romance as its hat. Its culture is inspired by the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas, Nevada — a city famous for the sheer number of weddings that take place there.
  • The Power of Love: Koturians shapeshift into their final, locked form through this power, which is focused via a special stone used in the marriage ceremony. If the love between a couple does not prove true, the change won't happen.

    The Seventh Doctor: The Ripple Effect 
Written by Malorie Blackman, who subsequently co-wrote the Thirteenth Doctor episode "Rosa" with Chris Chibnall. A narrow escape from becoming trapped in the wilds of the space-time continuum sees the Doctor and Ace emerge into a universe where the Daleks are a peaceful, noble race that has become a shining example for all other sentient lifeforms. The doubtful Doctor eventually must accept that it is no trick — but is it meant to be?
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: The Doctor realizes, to his sadness, that he has to figure out how to restore the original timeline that their escape disrupted — the ideal universe they are now in simply cannot hold.

    The Eighth Doctor: Spore 
Written by Alex Scarrow. A small Nevada town has fallen to an alien lifeform that is consuming all organic life, both animal and vegetable, in search of an answer to a question — if it can be answered, the lives not yet consumed will be spared. But humanity is not yet ready to answer this question, so it's up to the Doctor, traveling solo, to turn back the menace if he can.

    The Ninth Doctor: The Beast of Babylon 
Written by Charlie Higson. Again traveling solo, the Doctor manages to temporarily defeat an Eldritch Abomination on a faraway planet in the future, but now must chase it to Earth and into the past to destroy it for good. Along with Ali, whose family picnic was interrupted by his first confrontation, he ends up in ancient Babylon, where he's believed to be a harbinger of an impending catastrophe and sentenced to be executed...
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Starman.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: It is revealed Ali's species is this!
  • Meaningful Name: An obvious-in-hindsight example with Ali, who is genuinely alien.
  • Sherlock Scan: Ali works out that the Doctor is a Time Lord from the fact he is chasing someone. The Doctor even calls her "Sherlock Holmes".
  • Tomato Surprise: The Doctor's new companion Ali isn't human.
  • The X of Y: Third story in this collection to use this trope.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: It is revealed this story takes place during the ending of "Rose". After he first dematerialises, the Doctor has further adventures before returning for Rose a few seconds later from her perspective.

    The Tenth Doctor: The Mystery of the Haunted Cottage 
Written by Derek Landy. The Doctor and Martha Jones find themselves in a world that's almost literally out of the pages of a book — specifically an entry in The Troubleseekers series of children's novels about a group of Kid Detectives. But the real mystery has nothing to do with smuggled loot and everything to do with whatever conjured up this world...
  • Call-Back: The Doctor is reminded of his journey in the Land of Fiction when he first realizes that this world is based on a book Martha read, and thinks back on this while trying to figure out how to stop this different threat. Rapunzel turns up in both worlds as it happens.
  • Continuity Nod: The Dracula the Doctor and Martha encounter here is not the only one he's met — he notes that one of the others was Vlad the Impaler.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The Doctor is not impressed when he learns that the overweight kid who follows the Troublemakers around is picked on by everybody, even his relatives, and correctly guesses that he is only known by the name "Fatty". Martha points out that the books were written in a less sensitive time.
  • Expy: The Troubleseekers are this to The Famous Five and similar kidlit characters, and are explicitly described as a rip-off of such in-story. Avoided with the other stories and books that turn up later.
  • Trapped in TV Land: The main premise. In the climactic stretch, they wind up traveling through several lands extrapolated from Martha's memories:
    • Martha comments to Rapunzel, while stuck on her tower, that she loves her story — and via time-travel she's seen the movie too. (Martha is from 2008 Earth; said movie wasn't released until 2011.)
    • Dracula gets punched by the Doctor! Bonus points for being book-accurate (bearded, for one thing).
    • Miss Havisham gets chewed out by Martha, who struggled through her story as School Study Media. Martha wonders if she can't give Estella what for, too...
    • The Doctor and Martha narrowly escape being zapped by wizards in Hogwarts. Doubles as a Continuity Nod to "The Shakespeare Code".
    • An encounter with "a nervous girl" and a sparkly boy in the woods forces Martha to ask the Doctor not to judge her...(also a Take That!).
  • The X of Y: The fourth and last story in this collection to use this trope. Moreover, the title of the story is also the title of the novel the Doctor and Martha end up in in-universe.

    The Eleventh Doctor: Nothing O'Clock 
Written by Neil Gaiman. In The '80s, animal mask-wearing strangers who always ask people to ask them what time it is are buying up all the houses in a small English town for ridiculous amounts of money. In The New '10s, the Doctor and Amy are puzzled upon returning to Earth to discover humanity has vanished...This story also appears in Trigger Warning, a 2015 collection of Gaiman short stories.
  • And I Must Scream: The final fate of The Kin.
  • Apocalypse How: The Kin briefly causes a Planetary Version with an eventual Universal version implied as the consequences of The Kin's modus operandi.
  • Batman Gambit: The Kin comes up with one in order to manipulate The Doctor into taking it to the dawn of time so that it can basically rule the whole of the Universe. Needless to say, the Kin is outmaneuvered handily.
  • Berserk Button: Don't harm children and let the Doctor find out about it. It won't end well for you.
  • Beyond the Impossible: The Doctor takes the TARDIS, and The Kin, to the moment before the Big Bang, meaning that there is no time in that area. The Doctor outright states that he couldn't do it without the "squiggly whatsit" plugged into the console, and the trip burns out the unit, meaning it can't be done again.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: The Doctor's final fate for The Kin.
  • The Faceless: The Kin, unless it's wearing a mask.
  • Glamour Failure: Once you realize that it's The Kin you're dealing with, the image that the mask is supposed to convey is lost, and all you see is a cheap mask over the Kin's "face".
  • Me's a Crowd: The true danger of The Kin. The Kin isn't a race, it's a temporal collective of one individual entity moving back and forth in time so frequently that it has a multitude of itself — with the consequence being a time stream so riddled with holes that time in the local area will eventually collapse.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Justified. The Time Lords went to the trouble of devising an elaborate prison for the Kin, rather than executing the ones endangering the timestream...because there is no such thing as "the ones endangering the timestream", just one. An execution would be genocide, which the Time Lords refused to do.

    The Twelfth Doctor: Lights Out 
Written by Holly Black. 78351, the narrator, is a spaceship pilot employed by the fabled Planet of the Coffee Shops, delivering coffee bean shipments to other worlds. Preparing for another long haul, he stops at a cafe to pick up some coffee; right ahead of him in the line is the Doctor, who's out to prove he's the fetching type after all. Suddenly, the coffee supply runs out — then the lights go out for a moment — and when they come up, a solider standing behind 78351 has been murdered. As panic spreads over both the murder and the coffee crisis and the killer strikes again, the Doctor and the reluctant, anxious "Fifty-One" investigate...
  • Alien Catnip: Many alien races Must Have Caffeine. Not all of them have the same reaction to it as humans.
  • Busman's Holiday: The Doctor's just trying to fetch coffee, and this happens! Or so it seems. He's using the excuse of fetching Clara coffee to continue his investigation of the killings on Choris.
  • Continuity Nod
    • This is set on the Planet of the Coffee Shops (aka Choris), which the Doctor briefly mentioned in "The Girl Who Waited".
    • This takes place while the Doctor is picking up coffee for Clara — possibly between the end of "Deep Breath" and him turning up in "Into the Dalek" three weeks later. (Black said in an interview that she was given the first four Twelfth Doctor scripts to reference in writing this story, and those episodes are the first two.)
    • The Doctor regards the wares of this planet as the third-best coffee in the universe. His old UNIT colleague Sergeant Benton made the second best, and Elisabeth Pepys the absolute best.
    • Apparently quite a few Whoniverse species frequent Choris; background characters here include a Terileptil, a Silurian, a Graske, and a Vinvocci. See also Heinz Hybrid below.
    • The Doctor explains to 78351 that sometimes a person wants to tell themselves something important, but does not do it directly — they might do it by way of a different face, for example, one they don't like...
  • Creepy Good: The Twelfth Doctor's embodiment of this trope is played up in this story. 78351 is almost as frightened of him as of the dark and whatever it is that's killing people.
  • Everyone Is a Suspect: But especially the Doctor and 78351, seeing as the victims were standing near them at the time and the killer has to strike very quickly...
  • Evilutionary Biologist: 78351 and his two friends were prisoners — and the only survivors — of a group of these trying to come up with an Ultimate Life Form with which to colonize/conquer the universe until the Doctor freed them. And one of them appears to be around on the Planet of the Coffee Shops, right near 78351 in the line...
  • Face Your Fears: 78351 is terrified by the situation he and the Doctor are in, as it punches all of his Primal Fear buttons — and then some when The Reveal is made. The compassionate Doctor tells him that, often, admitting to one's self that they are afraid can be the hardest thing in the world, but it must be done if those fears are to be faced and conquered...and 78351 rises to those challenges in the end.
  • First-Person Perspective: Told from 78351's point-of-view.
  • Fun with Acronyms: A serious, subtle example that turns out to be Foreshadowing. The Intergalactic Coffee Roasting Station is known as ICRS for short, pronounced "Icarus". Icarus flew too close to the sun on wings of feathers and wax and ended up drowning in the sea below him. 78351 pilots his ship in the direction of a sun to obtain the energy he needs for his final transformation, even though the act may kill him. As he changes, he sprouts wings.
  • Gentle Giant: 78351 is a hulking, hunched-over humanoid with grey skin and a bare pate, almost as tall as the Doctor, kind, and extremely timid.
  • Have We Met Yet?: Another incarnation of the Doctor saved 78351 and his fellow prisoners/subjects from the sadistic experiments years before. 78351 remembers the name and recognizes a similar enthusiasm, but Twelve, who is forgetful even by Doctor standards, initially doesn't remember this and it's left unclear which Doctor was the rescuer.
  • Heinz Hybrid: 78351 is "a pinch of Axon, a bit of Ogron, and a dash of Pyrovile."
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Possibly, given that the story has No Ending, the fate of poor, poor 78351, who points out that the Doctor himself was ready to do this in his efforts to stop the killer.
  • Incredibly Obvious Bomb: The killer planted one of these in the room where the lighting and coffee dispensing systems are operated from to cause the blackouts; the disruption of the coffee supply may or may not have been intentional. The past tense is important — this was a time bomb, and to make sure it wasn't deactivated before it went off, the two technicians who were in the control room were killed...which means there are now four victims of the murderer.
  • Lights Off, Somebody Dies: The nature of the killings. The Doctor must figure out how they're being pulled off — why are the lights going on and off, and how can the killer strike so quickly?
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The Doctor regards himself as having done this by rescuing and freeing 78351, not realizing what he would become upon maturing. He also clearly regrets inspiring him to make a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • No Ending: The story closes with 78351 in his burning-up ship, having sent the Doctor away. With the ship and its coffee bean shipment vaporized, the resultant energy surge allows him to make a final, permanent transformation. Whether he dies or not, his threat is stopped and he is no longer scared...
  • Planet of Hats: The Planet of the Coffee Shops! The original reference in-series could have been the Eleventh Doctor sardonically describing a tourist trap with a lot of coffee shops on it, but it turns out that it really is a planet dedicated to coffee shops, and that's what it's called.
  • Playing with Syringes: The scientists who tormented 78351 and his fellow prisoners did a lot of this, and he has a fear of needles as a result. Finding out that the murder victims have puncture wounds that could have been caused by needles does nothing for his nerves.
  • Primal Fear: 78351 is desperate to stay awake as much as is possible due to a paralyzing fear of the dark. This fear stems from the sadistic things the scientists did to him and his fellow prisoners in the dark, claiming that whatever was done then didn't matter.... He also is deathly afraid of needles.
  • Puberty Superpower: What 78351 and his fellow prisoners originally were is never specified, but it's strongly implied they were human or at least humanoid. They were operated upon from birth, were freed by the Doctor, and have all effectively hit puberty by the time this story begins; a female he's attracted to just had her antennae grow in. He came out a bit differently and actually has this trope going for him: His unconscious efforts to complete the process of becoming a winged beast have turned him into a killer in a deconstruction of this trope.
  • Red Herring: The masked scientist 78351 notices, fears, and suspects is not the murderer, but rather a hallucination that he, the REAL killer, is having by way of denying his darker self.
  • The Reveal: The mysterious killer who strikes in the dark is 78351. He takes on a monstrous, energy-hungry form in darkness, and denies its existence. The Doctor realizes that he is simply scared and needs to accept and transform into his adult form. Related tropes include Anti-Villain, Energy Absorption, Halluncinations (single character — the scientist), Jekyll And Hyde, The Killer In Me (Amnesiac), Power Gives You Wings, Reluctant Monster, Super-Powered Evil Side (reconstructed), Sympathetic Murder Backstory, Tomato In The Mirror.
  • Save the Villain: The Doctor has a great deal of compassion for the killer once he realizes who and what it is, and tries not only to stop them, but save them if he can.
  • Serious Business: Coffee for those who come to Choris — when it's first announced that the coffee's suddenly run out in the cafe, it causes a panic that's only intensified by the blackout and murder that follows. For some of the patrons, their need for coffee remains more of a concern than the fact that there's a killer on the loose!
  • Single-Biome Planet: Choris, which is dedicated to growing coffee.
  • 30-Second Blackout: A near-literal application of this trope, twice over at that, as the Doctor and co. are waiting in line for their coffee — and those seconds are all that the killer needs to strike and go undetected.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In-universe, 78351 wonders what became of the scientists after the Doctor rescued him and his friends from them. As it happens, there is a scientist in a respirator mask in line with them as the killings begin...
  • Would Hurt a Child: The scientists began operating on 78351 and other innocents as soon as they were born.
  • You Are Number 6: 78351, nicknamed "Fifty-One" by the Doctor, who was raised in a laboratory where all the "subjects" had numbers rather than names.
  • Younger than They Look: 78351 is a Gentle Giant (about the Doctor's height and much bulkier), but he and his friends are still in the process of becoming full-fledged adults physically; effectively, they're teenagers.

    The Thirteenth Doctor: Time Lapse 
Written by Naomi Alderman.