Citadel of Dreams

by Dave Stone

Telos, 2002

I was, I admit, cynical about the prospects of a Dave Stone novella. It's not as though we're short of Dave Stone fiction: he's written for just about every Doctor Who fiction line going. And it's not just that he's prolific, it's that he's regurgitated the same book most times! I'm more of a Stone fan than most people I know, but even I was getting tired of the Sgloomi-clone in "The Slow Empire" and Stone's ever-so-funny asides.

However, my faith in Telos has only grown because "Citadel of Dreams" is another great book, perhaps Stone's best ever. Telos's first three books are, I propose, the best first three books of any Who/Who-related range to date. So, anyway, "Citadel of Dreams"... what's it like? Well, it could be described as Dave Stone doing "Cat's Cradle: Time's Crucible". The story has something of a NA feel to it, but works very well in terms of fitting its novella length. Stone's prose style is unchanged, which I found distracting and a tad annoying at times, but it fits the story mostly and the shorter length stops him going off on too many of his familiar tangents.

Katy Manning's foreword in "Nightdreamers" was somewhat pointless, but the forewords by other writers, Cartmel here and Richards for "Time & Relative", have been good reviews of the books themselves. Cartmel is right in his description of how Stone uses Ace and the Doctor, keeping them in the background, but not making them impotent or irrelevant. What Cartmel doesn't mention is the hint of social commentary in "Citadel of Dreams" in a way more focused than past Stone works. "Citadel of Dreams" is fantastical, but one can read into it Stone's views on our real society.

Henry Potts, 23 Apr 2002

Originally posted to the Jade Pagoda mailing list.

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