Doctor Who: Now We Are Six Hundred: A Collection of Time Lord Verse (Dr Who) by James Goss and Russell T Davies
|Doctor Who: Now We Are Six Hundred: A Collection of Time Lord Verse (Dr Who) by James Goss and Russell T Davies|
|Category: Children's Rhymes and Verse|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: A more than decent gift book for Whovians, and for those who find themselves naturally drawn to Milne-mimickers.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 128||Date: September 2017|
|Publisher: BBC Books|
Consider the Doctor. Just how many birthday and Christmas gifts must he have to hand out each year, were he to keep in touch with even half of his companions? He would certainly need a few novelty gifts for some of them, say, for example, whimsical books of verse that pithily encapsulate the life of a Time Lord and that of some of his friends and enemies. As luck would have it, he has the space in his TARDIS to stock up in advance, so my advice to him – sorry, her – would be to pop along to his local Earth-based book emporium and get himself ready. And if you're working on a shorter timescale, with a shorter lifespan, and thinking perhaps just one gift season ahead, well my advice is pretty much the same.
This is definitely not the first book to riff on the classic AA Milne poems, and it won't be the last, but it will probably be the first and last to mention Drashigs and Sontarans, and to have a small creature called Figment catch a Gallifrump and have fond thoughts for a square, blue tree in the Thousand Year Wood. It's firmly wrapped up in the world of both Who and Milne, and treats both with due sincerity – while also using other poetic works as inspiration (River Song adapts Marvell's 'To His Coy Mistress' for her own purposes).
So we find several poems you know you know, but in very different forms. We meet the man halfway down the stairs who shouldn't be, we debate whether to step on the cracks or only on the tiles (and the conclusion here really wouldn't have let us survive The Five Doctors, which itself is a subject elsewhere here), and we see a multiverse of possibilities for our futures that we can divine from cherry stones. 'Jonathan Jo' also gets a trendy gender change, and becomes Jo Grant. In fact the Whovian will just have to admire this book for the wide range of characters and events mentioned, and all the copious references from the TV series. It doesn't just go for the obvious, for sure – one is about Adric, which I wouldn't have known apart from the visual clues, and the Mara, Rassilon and the Yetis all come onto these pages.
What also makes this book very cherishable for the Who fan is the return to the fold of Russell T Davies, who gives us the cartoonish illustrations. These are great – K9 lying atop a kennel like a certain other cartoon dog really made me smile, and he proves most adept at getting just the right nuance for all the characters across in a few simple lines. I found no instance of Justin Richards' name as being in command of the Doctor Who books, but this credit proves we're on firm ground, and the visuals are just as fun as the verse.
On the whole it's not an Earth-shaking, life-changing volume, but it is a very pleasant diversion for the right fan. Yes, it's trivial, and yes it's silly – converting Milne into Judoon-speak is worth a smirk for anyone in the know – but it shows the merits to be had in taking such levity seriously. Some sticklers would accuse the creators of forcing Milne to spin in his grave, but I think quite the opposite would happen. He'd be turning either himself or these pages over quite happily.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
Doctor Who: 365 Days of Memorable Moments and Impossible Things by Justin Richards is the Doctor Who yearbook all fans need.
You can read more book reviews or buy Doctor Who: Now We Are Six Hundred: A Collection of Time Lord Verse (Dr Who) by James Goss and Russell T Davies at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Doctor Who: Now We Are Six Hundred: A Collection of Time Lord Verse (Dr Who) by James Goss and Russell T Davies at Amazon.com.
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