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)
So this Saturday saw the publication of the second of the 11 short stories celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who. This time around, we get to spend time with the Second Doctor as seen by Michael Scott, the author of the The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series. As was the case last month, I have not seen any episodes with the Second Doctor so I can only comment on the story itself and not whether it portrays this doctor correctly.
Right off the bat, I think this short story is very much a traditional Doctor Who story and very much in line with this project. Whereas the first story clearly was written now with references to modern culture, this one is set in 1968 and there’s no references to the Doctor knowing about our modern culture. The focus is on the story itself in a nice traditional way.
Told from the point of view of Jamie, the Doctor’s companion, we get the Doctor as he appears to his young Scottish companion – shabbily and unfashionably dressed, with a tendency to get in a lot of trouble and sometimes needing help to get out of it again.
This time, a badly damaged Tardis is stuck in London in the 60s. Jamie has been sent on an impossible errand by the Doctor and on his way, he helps an elderly gentleman who has been attacked by a big thug. As a thank you, he receives a small book. However, the gentleman is not exactly an innocent and neither is the book.
When Jamie gives the book to the Doctor, things quickly goes downhill – which isn’t all that strange, given that the book in question is the Necronomicon, the Book of the Dead.
So this dangerous and fabled book is inside the Tardis and causes the Tardis to go off on a mad hunt across the universe to The Nameless City, home of the Archons, a race beieved long dead.
Now of course the question is whether this is actually true – and how to get the still broken Tardis away from this planet.
While I enjoyed this story, it felt a bit light to me. I think it had enormous potential with the Doctor facing off against an old enemy claiming to be the originators of the Tardis technology, however, the scenes with the Archons were too brief and things were just a bit too easy. I did enjoy a Scottish piper wearing his kilt and using his bagpipe as a sort of weapon.
In conclusion, this was a bit too light fare for my taste but I love the idea so much of these different writers writing stories for their favorite doctor so I’m still very much looking forward to next month’s encounter with the Third Doctor.
- Title: The Nameless City
- Author: Michael Scott
- Publisher: Puffin Books
- Year: 2013
- Pages: pages
- Source: Own collection
- Stars: 3 stars out of 5