The Stone Rose is set in the past but begins in the present at the British Museum. You can’t have Rose without Jackie or Mickey, so they feature. It is actually Mickey, in his voluntary role at the museum, who discovers amongst various stone statues is a replica of Rose. Cue the Doctor and Rose taking the TARDIS on a spin into the time vortex to ancient Rome. Where they soon become tangled up in events. Rome feels like a location that has been done often in the show, so I always fear there are different doctors and companions that are going to run into one another at some stage. Wouldn't that be fun?
But although that was the future, it was her past. And right now she should be concentrating on her present. What was happening to her?THE STONE ROSE BY JACQUELINE RAYNER
The Stone Rose was an easy going read, although I did feel uncomfortable in the chapter where Rose is drugged because, of course, it isn't as simple as she’s going to pose for someone and be immortalised in stone. There is foul play here.
The Doctor did not have a great deal to do. There's a chapter where he finds himself inside an arena and having to escape from hungry wild animals. That felt like a throwaway part to the story. Then there's the part where the Doctor whizzes back to the present to break the news to Mickey about that statue in the museum being the real Rose. Mickey is upset because he believes Rose is dead, until the Doctor chooses to enlighten him that he can bring Rose back. The two are worried because the Rose statue has some chips and a hand missing. She is a very old statue now after all. I wasn't sure why that would be a primary concern over saving Rose’s life.
The introduction of GENIE* lifted the story. GENIE is wish granter tech from the far future, the 24th century, along with our other main character Vanessa. I liked Vanessa, as a complete innocent who becomes trapped in the past after inadvertently wishing that she could live in Ancient Rome. The GENIE was created by the human need for convenience. Wish it and you get it.
This particular GENIE in Rose’s company continues to wreak havoc, with amusing consequences. Try taking a GENIE to a party, naively thinking ‘oh, nobody will say the words ‘I wish’.’
‘Oh, yes,’ She was told. ‘Elves, pixies, gnomes – the Moomins, Chorlton and The Wheelies, Spongebob Squarepants – they all tried to invade you at some point. There was a galactic inquiry when Robocop came out. And as for the five famous justices of the future who disguised themselves as four children and a dog (although I think the dog was a mistake) in order to wipe out the crimes of kidnapping and smuggling for all eternity – well, I think they are still trapped in a time loop somewhere with nothing but ginger beer and potted-meat sandwiches to sustain them. Not to mention Miss Marple – Miss Martian, more like. Used her truth ray to get all those confessions until the Time Police tracked her down. Zapped her and the whole of St Mary Mead out of existence. Which is a shame, because there was a lovely little café in the high street where they did brilliant custard tarts.’
‘Is that true?’ Vanessa gasped.
‘No,’ said Rose. ‘You learn to ignore about one word in five he says. I mean, he was pretending to be Poirot earlier. He’s in that sort of mood.’THE STONE ROSE BY JACQUELINE RAYNER
* GENIE A Genetically Engineered Neural Imagination Engine
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