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Reviews for Wonderland

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Wet summer

By:Phil Ince, Highbury
Date:Tuesday 17 February 2004
Rating:   6

On the publisher's website, entries from Mark Chadbourne's online diary are less than warm and distancing about the commission. Curiously and to its inevitable disadvantage, the least successful element is the main character, Summer; Chadbourne's creation and Wonderland's protagonist, Summer is a leaden, grudging, toneless bore.

The 2nd Doctor himself is usually watchful or distant (and often absent) but largely speechless; Where Troughton might have done a great deal to suggest a Doctor whose 'eyes are open but whose mouth is shut', it's difficult to gauge how accurate Chadbourne's characterisation is because there's not alot to go on. Polly and Ben seem to be caught just right; I can hear the actors speaking the lines and the cafe scenes can easily be visualized in ancient video.

The story is 3-parts 'X-Files' (secret government agency using alien and hallucinogenic drugs to undermine threat of youth culture) to 1-part Nancy Drew.

Recommended for some strong 'Who' sections which share territory if not talent with Philip K Dick, particularly 'A Scanner Darkly'; less so for the doom-laden, gloom-monger Summer.

Not Altogether Effective

By:David Layton, Los Angeles, United States
Date:Monday 19 March 2012
Rating:   6

"Wonderland" plonks the 2nd Doctor, Ben, and Polly in San Francisco a couple of days before the Summer of Love kicks off. Chadbourn is trying desperately to get the atmosphere right, without a great deal of success. Part of the problem is that the story is a first-person narrative. Chadbourn never really gets her voice right, and she just does not come across as a disillusioned young woman from Texas. Another problem is the alien that is the source of the trouble in the story. It is not really explained just what it is, what its powers are, or how it got where it got. There are some interesting touches involving bad LSD used to create killers. Yet, not much in the novel is really all that convincing.

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