by Mark Chadbourn

Telos, 2003
While there's plenty of speculation about certain forthcoming Who releases, I have no doubts about who has been making the best Who so far this year: Telos. "Wonderland" is another successful novella, delivering a strong story against a backdrop of effective imagery. The pacing over the novella length and the prose are spot on.

"Wonderland" has a classic Who story structure—the Doctor and co. as strangers who come into the protagonist's life at a crisis point and help solve the problem—and Chadbourn juxtaposes that structure very well against his setting. Visits to the US remain rare in Who prose, but San Francisco in the summer of love comes alive. Although they work well, there's not a whole lot of room in a novella to explore Ben and Polly. However, we do get a striking picture of the 2nd Doctor: his views of the hippie culture around him are touching, while reminding us of his alien nature.

"Wonderland" is also a novella about symbolism and my one slight criticism would be that the symbolic use of elements of Who continuity seemed rather simplistic compared to the sophistication of the writing in other ways.

Henry Potts, 11 Jun 2003

Originally posted to the Jade Pagoda mailing list.

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