Imaginary Friends: a 1960s stpry, by Jacqueline Rayner

Second paragraph of third chapter:

We went to Rome, which is from history and sometimes from Sunday School. There was a lion! I think I mite like lions even more than cheetahs. The Emperer chased Barbrar and the Doctor pretended to play a liar and made it sound silent. I wish Anne would play silent when she does piano practice. There was a lady and her job was to poison people! I thought the police would come and arrest her but they did not.

This is the first in a series of six YA Doctor Who novellas published to commemorate the recent anniversary. It’s a very good start. Young Gerry has dreams of the Doctor, his companions and their adventures together, in a world that is just the same as ours, except that there is no TV show called Doctor Who and strange things happen like the unsolved murder of a pesticide researcher, or the odd goings-on at the Post Office Tower…

Really this is lovely. Jacqueline Rayner on form is one of the best current Doctor Who prose writers, and she’s on form here. She brilliantly evokes the decaying industrial atmosphere of the mid 1960s and the need for escapism, and the changing dynamics of family relationships over the last sixty years, and the universal difficulty of growing up. I loved it. You can get it here.

Bechdel fail, I’m afraid, with tight third around the boy protagonist.

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