This year we celebrate Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary. One of the ways we do this, is by getting eleven short stories written about eleven authors. Each story is based on one of the eleven doctors, of course. A range of different authors of children’s fiction get to play with a doctor each and each month, on the 23rd, a new short story will be released.
Here’s the schedule:
- January – First Doctor, William Hartnell (1963-1966)
- February – Second Doctor, Patrick Troughton (1966-1969)
- March – Third Doctor, Jon Pertwee (1970-1974)
- April – Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker (1974-1981)
- May – Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison (1981-1984)
- June – Sixth Doctor, Colin Baker (1984-1986)
- July – Seventh Doctor, Sylvester McCoy (1987-1996)
- August – Eighth Doctor, Paul McGann (1996)
- September – Ninth Doctor, Christopher Eccleston (2005)
- October – Tenth Doctor, David Tennant (2005-2010)
- November – Eleventh Doctor, Matt Smith (2010-present)
The first story is written by Eoin Colfer of Artemis Fowl fame. It’s a short, fun romp and even though I have to admit that I have never watched the first Doctor, I got a clear impression of how different a doctor he was, than the 9th, 10th and 11th doctors who are my doctors.
Eoin Colfer lets the Doctor and his granddaughter Susan go up against the Soul Pirates, some nasty fellows who kidnap children and then chop them up for parts. The Doctor has already been up against them before – and that caused him a hand. Thus, we meet him in this novel shopping for a new hand. And of course, while he does so, Susan gets into trouble and so, it’s the Doctor to the rescue. But a rescue made somewhat trickier by the fact that the Soul Pirates beam their victims up in a way so the victims loose any idea of where they are and what’s going on but instead think they are in a kind of paradise.
I can’t judge whether Colfer nails the Doctor – I have no clue about that – but I liked that he felt different and distinctive compared to the Doctors I know. And I liked Colfer’s many nods to the Doctor’s time traveling ability and to culture, Hogwarts, Mr. Scrooge and others.
And I thoroughly loved the epilogue’s nod to Peter Pan! It’s kind of obvious and the story had incorporated Peter Pan elements earlier too and it was very nicely done, I thought.
Overall, I enjoyed myself. It was half an hour or so well spend. Nothing that blew my mind or anything but a nice way to spend some time while we wait for the new Doctor Who episodes in March.
- Title: A Big Hand for the Doctor
- Author: Eoin Colfer
- Publisher: Puffin Books
- Year: 2013
- Pages: 41 pages
- Source: Own collection
- Stars: 4 stars out of 5