A third volume of stories centring on the erstwhile Sergeant Benton is coming soon from Candy Jar Books
Candy Jar Books have announced a third volume in UNIT: The Benton Files series of books, featuring two more reminiscences from the world of Doctor Who’s now aged John Benton. Each tells tales of his exploits from yesteryear and in The Benton Files 3, the stories focus his time as a second-hand car dealer, running JB Motors. It features two authors new to the range but not new to Candy Jar.
The first story is Wickard’s World by Andrew Allen. Allen has previously contributed short stories and the novel The Haunting of Gabriel Chase to the Lethbridge-Stewart range. Allen explains his inspiration. “The Benton Files would have worked very well as an ITC television show in the style of The Protectors or Man in a Suitcase,” he says, “and it was this spy-fi, slightly outlandish (but told in sixty minutes or less) vibe that I wanted to incorporate into my story. I also enjoyed cartoons that had robots turning into cars and, with this, the other elements of my story fell into place.”
The new book provides grand adventures on a small scale
Second story A Right Old Run Around is by Philip Bates, author of the popular book 100 Objects of Dr Who. “I’ve been following the Lethbridge-Stewart range since The Forgotten Son,” says Bates, “and have been itching to get involved somehow; when I heard that Candy Jar’s next phase would be licensed UNIT stories, this felt like an ideal opportunity to repeatedly badger Shaun and Tim to give me a shot!”
“Tim came back with a great idea for me to work on,” continues Allen, “It seemed inspired by some of the Marvel comics I love, and this felt like a perfect fit. I tried to channel a bit of Ant-Man, a bit of [Stan Lee/Steve Dikto story] The Terror of Tim Boo Ba, a bit of The Dæmons, and fully embrace the sometimes ridiculous side of Doctor Who. Saying that, while it was important for me to give Benton and readers a fun little romp, there’s a real responsibility and weight to writing this much-loved character, adding to his story and ultimately the story of UNIT. A Right Old Runaround might be a tiny footnote in this incredible sprawling narrative, but I’m very excited and proud that I could tell this grand adventure on a small scale.”
Benton’s Doctor Who past won’t let him retire quietly in two stories which mix banter, engaging storytelling, and closely guarded secrets
Meanwhile the range’s editor Tim Gambrell describes what makes The Benton Files format unique among Whoniverse fiction. “What we have in The Benton Files 3 is a pair of slightly outlandish stories which show that, even in civilian life, Benton’s past endeavours won’t let him rest quietly,” he explains, “and, as we would expect, he’s more than up for such adventures and perfectly capable of handling things by himself. Because The Benton Files stories are told in the first person, the real challenge for the writers is judging how much Benton can get away with revealing about his past without compromising the story he’s telling. It’s a balancing exercise between rambling banter, engaging storytelling and the Official Secrets Act.
“Andrew and I rolled a few ideas around before we settled on his story. I was originally pushing things along a much darker avenue, but that would have clashed uncomfortably with Philip’s story and its more humorous tone. As it turned out, what Andrew delivered was pretty much perfect.”
UNIT: The Benton Files 3
Join retired Sergeant Major John Benton, as he recounts two more tales of his exploits from yesteryear. Life proves to be no less quiet and retiring for Benton after his time with UNIT, when he’s running JB Motors in Wiltshire.
In Wickard’s World by Andrew Allen, Benton is offered an unusual used car to sell on by a friend, only to discover that the car has many hidden secrets.
In Philip Bates’ A Right Old Run Around, Benton tries to assist three fugitive aliens. The only problem is, they are only about 5mm tall. It turns out size is the least of Benton’s worries when their persecutors arrive.
Will Benton ever escape the legacy of his time with UNIT? Will JB Motors survive with its stock intact?
Read these two hair-raising adventures to find out…
You can pre order UNIT: The Benton Files 3 now. Note that it’s also free with UNIT: Fall-Out so do not buy if you have already bought that short story collection, unless you want a second copy.