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3.9 out of 5 stars16
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 26 May 2013
Oh, this is gloriously brave. In the anniversary year of Doctor Who, the original chapbook in this series featuring the 5th Doctor... barely has the 5th Doctor in at all. And it works. This is a wonderful little book. Set in wartime Maine, we have the story of two outsiders (an African American girl and a German Jewish boy) who have formed an unlikely friendship. It's about discrimination and mindless hate, and also about the sort of humanity that can endure and prosper through it. When Doctor Who is good, it takes big and complex things (like the Second World War), cuts to their core, and presents them in microcosm. And this is very good indeed.

As for the Doctor himself, he turns up every now and again, but the children are the primary characters, sitting on the edge of one of his adventures. It's not in any way a workable model for the show - nobody would want the series to do this every week - but it's the sort of experiment that the format lends itself to every now and again. Charming and memorable, you should give this to your kids to read because it's about real things they'll recognise, then read it yourself straight after.
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VINE VOICEon 23 May 2013
I came to this with no knowledge of Patrick Ness and came away impressed. Being a US author this is set in a small town US community (milkshake shop, small town mentality)and it is World War II as well. Into all this come the truth tellers - strange aliens that tell others what you are thinking. As might be easily guessed this leads to a lot of tension and the Fifth Doctor comes into the mix to get rid of the truth tellers and put the world to rights.

I was impressed by the writing which was aimed at the upper end of the younger reader age group and this is my new favourite of this range.

Highly recommended
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on 23 May 2013
This story works reasonably well as a children's story focussed upon two school children who are outcasts amongst their peers. However, for a book that is supposed to be a celebration of the Fifth Doctor, the Doctor is unfortunately almost a non-entity in this story. All the attention is concentrated around the two children, Jonny and Nettie. The Doctor feels little more than a deus ex machina style inclusion, just present to pop up with a random solution to everybody's problems at the last minute. It isn't the best way to utilise the Doctor.

The lack of the Doctor's presence or active involvement in events makes it impossible to judge the author's characterisation of the fifth incarnation. The same can also be said for Nyssa. They appear more like a Sapphire and Steel combo, agents sent to investigate an incursion or anomaly, rather than the Doctor and his companion having adventures. That said, the Fifth Doctor was one of the least pro-active Doctor's with his more contemplative, patent personality. He is just too much in the background during this story.

It also seems an odd choice to opt for a Fifth Doctor and Nyssa dynamic to celebrate the Fifth Doctor's era whereas as the previous books in this series have selected very popular Doctor/companion combinations. Nyssa and the Doctor were a pairing not much seen in the program (only for parts of `Arc of Infinity' really). To choose to a relatively under represented pairing and then not explore it seems a wasted opportunity.

If anything the Dipthodat have less character than the Doctor and Nyssa. They are certainly not the most memorable aliens. The plot might have been able to create something atmospheric and eerie if given a larger word count. As things stand it is resolved far too quickly and effortlessly.

Jonny and Nettie are well realised characters that many younger readers might feel a connexion with. The story certainly has its good elements but as part of this series this should be a celebration of the Fifth Doctor and sadly the novella fails in this respect.
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on 4 December 2013
Call it a prejudice, but I prefer my Doctor Who stories to have the Doctor in them! This is a study of small-town American life, and then at the end the Doctor just turns up and explains everything. No tension, no drama.
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on 9 June 2013
These Dr Who short stories are starting to confuse me. The first one was okay. The second one showed promise. The third one was fun. Then came the fourth one came and you got to watch an icon of classic Brit TV sci fi fall flat on his face. I was hoping this one would pick things back up. Only the Dr is a background character here in a story that is a tangled knot of school book mortality, cheesy evil aliens and an almost pointless McGuffin. Although, now, I can see the point of these short stories. I've ended up buying a full novel for each of the Doctors to ease my frustration. All this time I thought I was reading short stories it turns out I was having mind games playing on me!
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on 23 May 2013
A combination of my least favourite doctor and an author whose works I've always enjoyed.
Set in wartime USA the story is centred around two young outsiders, a black girl and a jewish boy. It's a nicely structured and entertaining narrative. The Doctor (accompanied by Nyssa, his only companion at this time, so no Adric or Tegan) makes a quite late entrance and although central to events is something of a sideline to the actual story.
I thought it would fit as an idea quite nicely into the current incarnations of the Doctor, combining some ideas to get people thinking with a good bit of humour.
A good addition to the series, and if you like those, I'd recommend this.
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on 23 November 2013
The Fifth Doctor's short is very reminiscent of the Tenth Doctor episode 'Blink' in that he doesn't appear until late in the story which works well in this WWII tale of small town America.
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on 25 May 2013
Another interesting and enjoyable tale in this anniversary series though the Doctor and his companion have very little to do throughout most of the story.
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on 7 June 2013
I loved the gentle touch of this story. It felt like a celebration of the warmth of the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa characters. Thanks for this Mr Ness.
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on 11 June 2013
Another fantastic book from this 50th anniversary series.In fact my second favourite so far. Wanted to read more about this doctor.
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