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 – with links to my reviews (and yeah, I’m behind…):
- 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)
In a small town in Maine in 1945, things are happening. People starts telling each other the truth, no matter what it is – and that’s just not the way to make friends. Leading this charge of truth is the Acklin family who owns the local store and who are always first with the new things. Their daughter is organizing Truth Parties which just add a bit more nastiness to the whole teenage experience. And of course to participate in a Truth Party, you first have to buy a Truth Teller at the Acklin store. It’s always nice when families work together, right?
Not quite popular enough to be allowed in to these parties, are the two friends, Nettie and Jonny. The only mixed-race child and the only Jewish child in town, the two were destined to be friends when they met as five-years-old. Now, nine year later, Jonny has fallen in love with one of the popular girls in town and to have a chance with her, he buys a Truth Teller from Nettie. A Truth Teller, which immediately let her know, that he likes her only as a friend.
But of course a Truth Teller is not something that’s supposed to be in Maine in the 40s. So of course the Doctor shows up. A very elegant doctor in a white suit – with a celery in the lapel! And when a female companion wearing pants, the two are sure to attract attention.
What I really liked about this story was, that it wasn’t told from the point of view of the Doctor and his companion. I liked that it was told from Nettie and Jonny’s viewpoint. Normally we are with the Doctor and sees things from his side but I like to see it from the side of those who experience the Doctor waltzing in and doing something strange and – for them – unexplainable.
I also really liked how Patrick Ness used these small alien Truth Tellers to identify the Doctor. And that got me thinking, that I don’t think any of the novels have had a ‘Doctor Who’ moment, you know ‘I’m the Doctor.’ ‘Doctor Who?’ – and I kind of miss that. Of course they can’t put every trope in these short stories but I would like one of these moments in one of them.
Basically, I liked the whole idea of this story and it-s dealing with friendship, racism, bullying and how the rich and powerful can do whatever they want. I thought Patrick Ness manages to do a lot in a short amount of pages but I didn’t feel like I got a very good impression of this, the Fifth Doctor. So one of the strengths of the story becomes also one of it’s weaknesses. So a great short story, but maybe not a good Doctor Who story. But I still liked it …
First line: ‘Is it broken?’ Jonny asked, frowning.
- Title: Tip of the Tongue
- Author: Patrick Ness
- Publisher: Puffin Books
- Year: 2013
- Pages: 38 pages
- Source: Own collection – Kindle
- Stars: 3 stars out of 5
I read this as part of the year-long celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who.