The Stealers of Dreams
By DJ Forrest
Written by Steve Lyons
For BBC Books 2005
Set on the Colony World 4378976 Delta-Four, the residents are a scared bunch of people who are not allowed to imagine anything. Not to dream. Certainly, not to use their brains to predict a possible scenario, that could have you sent to the Big White House!
I must say; I love the 9th Doctor stories that feature Captain Jack Harkness. This is a Captain who is yet to become immortal, and for that reason, he is a stronger character. He knows that life is precious, but he is also fiercely protective of Rose Tyler and of the people he feels sorry for in the story.
When Rose, the Doctor and Captain Jack Harkness arrive on the planet, they stay in a hotel where something piques the Doctor’s interest while Rose and Jack sleep. So much so, that when Rose awakes and finds the Doctor missing, has an adventure of her own when she learns of a young man hiding from the Police. He’s a creative artist, who isn’t allowed to use fiction in any capacity. And when he’s discovered doing just that, with a bunch of fiction geeks, the four lads go into hiding. Domnic is lucky in one sense. Rose Tyler finds him. Except, after discovering the channel Static, where secret messages are hidden in the white space, even Rose begins to change; begins to see things are not all that they seem.
In the first chapter, the imagination can conjure up all kinds of monsters, and throughout the story, I really wanted to know what happened to the young girl who had suffered frightening dreams, so horrendous that monsters did lurk beneath her bed at night.
In fact, whenever a ‘fantasy crazy’ as they’re called, began talking about fictional things, and imagining, and thinking of a worst case scenario, you half expected to see something monsterish charging towards them on the next page.
The police chase was interesting, and the Doctor was keen to get to the bottom of the mystery about who Hal Gryden was; the man who ran the Static channel, who nobody had seen.
When Rose and Jack were hoodwinked either by their own imagination or by someone claiming to be Hal Gryden, you feared for their fates in the Big White House, aka the lunatic asylum. Its description was very Victorian era, and if you’re from the UK, the Victorian building and archaic torture treatment to fix the ‘crazies’ is as barbaric in the novel as you remember reading in the history books.
The Big White House is run by Cal Tyko who I imagined to be Professor Gagan Rassmussen from the episode ‘Sleep No More’, so obviously, that just upped the creepiness of his treatment even more.
I’ve a few novels still to read of Steve’s, but if this is anything to go by. The ‘edge of the seat’ ride through the chapters. The ‘hang on a minute, did I just skip a page or two here, what just happened?’ are going to be frequent questions as I read on.
But they’re good questions, as I have to admit, picking up the final chapter I wondered if I’d missed a few pages somewhere. But it does round off the story well, and answers a few of the nagging questions I had reading through the novel.
If you’re a 9th Doctor fan as I am, then The Stealers of Dreams is a good read. You don’t have to have read any of the other novels first, I certainly didn’t, plus I never read them in order.
I love stories which feature the good old Captain, and it’s great to see him involved in the story as much as Rose or the Doctor, and it would be great to read more of his adventures with the Time Lord, more than the few I’ve discovered he’s in with the 9th.
If you’ve got the novel, read it. If you haven’t, buy it.