Review: Doctor Who: Books: Nothing O’Clock (Puffin 11th Doctor)

Nothing O'ClockBy Neil Gaiman

Puffin, out now

The Doctor and Amy discover that the Earth is under new ownership…

I seem to recall that the idea of these Puffin short stories was to provide perspectives on Doctor Who from writers who hadn’t penned tales about the Time Lord before – and up to this final contribution, that’s been the case. Neil Gaiman, of course, is responsible for two scripts for the series: the highly-regarded The Doctor’s Wife, and the more controversial Nightmare in Silver. Nothing O’Clock is set before either of these – very early in the Doctor’s travels with Amy, after he’s only met Rory during the events of The Eleventh Hour – and based on this, it’s a shame Gaiman didn’t get to write for that first season, since he clearly understands the growing relationship between the Doctor and Pond.

Gaiman has the knack of writing stories for children which work on their level, but also have more to them for adults to glean. Nothing O’Clock starts off juxtaposing the normal and the unusual, as seen by a young girl, and progresses to get weirder. We’ve had a few Time Lord prisons before – notably of course Shada – and menaces which have to be hidden away, but Gaiman takes that one step further, considering the ramifications of the end of the Time Lords (and the John Hurt incarnation even gets a mention) and as with his recent Fortunately, The Milk…, Gaiman blithely introduces mind-bending ideas in a way that seems perfectly logical!

Verdict: A fine send-off for the line. 9/10

Paul Simpson

Click here to order Doctor Who: Nothing O’Clock from Amazon.co.uk

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