Professional Dreamer

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Title: Professional Dreamer
Publisher: Unrepressed Press
Author(s): Pamela Rose
Cover Artist(s): KOZ
Illustrator(s): KOZ
Date(s): 1992
Medium: print
Fandom: Professionals
Language: English
External Links:
cover by KOZ
flyer printed in What If...
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Professional Dreamer is a 107-page long Professionals novel by Pamela Rose. It is loosely based on the movie American Dreamer. Art by KOZ. This zine won a 1992 FanQ and sometimes appears on fan's Desert Island lists.[1]

The zine has since been published on the net, and is available here on the Professionals Circuit Archive. Art has been included on Fanlore with the publisher's permission.


"(Inspired by the movie American Dreamer). Ray Dibble is a mousy librarian who lives in his fantasy world fuelled by W. Philip Andrew's potboiler novels about fictional characters B&D. Dibble is mistakenly involved in a botched CIA plot, resulting in half of the secret services after him -- since Dibble hit his head, he thinks he is D and he goes to Andrew, believing him B, for help. They are on the run together, and Andrew moves from humoring the madman to falling in love with him. They both have emotional-life problems (Andrew retired from the SAS in turmoil) and somehow hiding from "real" life (if there is such a thing) - so when all gets resolved and Dibble is moreless himself again, they almost NOT get together -- ultimately, however, they take the plunge and end up happily together and writing more Professionals novels in tandem."[2]


Raymond closed the book with a sigh and tucked it back in his briefcase.

He had fallen upon "The Professionals" series by accident, sorting through the discarded paperbacks from his library, caught immediately by the passion and electricity of the characters. Being a librarian, he had little trouble tracking down the others in the series. While he had no qualms in admitting that W. Philip Andrew's writing was in no danger of winning any literary awards, he was still entranced. The first dozen or so were wonderful--oh, perhaps the style was basic and less than subtle, but the author had a gift for making his characters live and breathe, and his plots were always exciting, if more than a bit implausible.

Raymond was well and truly hooked before he came to the last few of the series and the quality began to drop. The characters of Bodie and Doyle were still sharp and well-defined, but there was a weariness about them, and the plots were becoming slightly more predictable, as if the author himself was bored.

It was the first time Raymond had ever thought of the author as a person in his own right, someone who created these very real and urgent characters. For some insane reason he had felt an overpowering need to write to the author, to tell him where he was going wrong, where he was missing the perfect track and losing the momentum of the novel. He still found it hard to believe he had actually written the publisher in hopes of contact with this mysterious W. Philip Andrew, because he had no idea what he would say to the man if he ever did meet him. It all seemed very childish now. He wasn't some silly, giddy fan looking for an autograph.

He leaned his head back and closed his eyes, indulging his favorite pastime--mentally writing the unwritten scenes. Despite the problems with the plot, this gave him a lot of interesting holes to fill up with his fantasies. Those terrorists for instance. They never found out for certain who they were working for or what their real agenda was. They weren't IRA or Iranian or Palestinian. But he felt there was someone else, someone higher directing their motives, using their fanatical disgust of government and the bomb to promote their own cause. The Russians? The Chinese? It left it very open. Perhaps Andrew planned to continue it in the next book. But that was months away. Raymond wanted answers now.

Some Art by KOZ

Reactions and Reviews


Pamela Rose is a writer who has never disappointed me, from the earlier days of ST and through various fandoms since. I didn't expect to be disappointed this time, either, but as I started reading, I feared the premise was simply too inconceivable to carry off. I mean, if a figment of your imagination dropped into your life insisting you weren't you, but your own fictional character, and you lived in this fictional world, especially if the notion promised to get you killed in short order, how long would it take you to call for someone to wrap him in a straitjacket and take him away (or take you away)? But every time I thought, "Here comes the fumble, she's gonna lose it," Ms. Rose pulled through, made me believe, and at the end left me thinking my doubts were only indicative of the limits of my imagination.... Bodie and Doyle are handled as masterfully as ever by Ms. Rose, and various secondary characters from the show are worked into the story with clever twists. The temptation is to tell you, but I'd be preempting the writer and the amusement she'll give you with the ways she's incorporated them. The newly-created characters are cliched, and they should be to fit this framework. And when you find out what that microfilm really holds.... There's one point in the story where I know the fans are going to let out a yelp of frustration when they see three little words in parentheses, indicating a scene that's left to their imagination. But, hey, folks, it's cute when you think about it, and we can't kill the writer; we want to keep reading her. As a perfect topper for a delicious offering, Koz is the artist. I couldn't have thought of a better artist, or one whose style could've meshed so seamlessly with the chords the novel strikes. Wonderful color cover and gorgeous interior illos. If you don't let out a heartfelt sigh (that's known as the "Aaawww" Reaction in fandom) when you see the one facing page 70, you don't have a heart. And Koz, I'm a Vulcanoid shade with envy; how the hell did you manage to make Doyle and Dibble so distinct from each other when you were working with the same face and form? Alchemy? Burning candles to a god I haven't heard of? It'd be so easy for your fellow artists to hate you, you know. The layout is clean, crisp and clear. It does not need embellishment. I'm giving Professional Dreamer all the trees I can. Ms. Rose and KOZ have never wasted them. [3]


My issues with writing the Pros as sweet and lovey-dovey is that I don't believe that they could survive in their jobs if they were that nice. Killing people regularly doesn't really work that way, IMHO. In alternate universes, I have different opinions. For instance, Pam Rose wrote a novel called "Professional Dreamer" in which Bodie was a writer and Doyle (well, Dibble) was a librarian. They got mixed up in a spy plot by mistake... I thought it was darling. [4]
Pam Rose has some good long stuff in many styles: Professional Dreamer is wonderfully silly. [5]


I cheerfully admit that I, a non-slash and non-Professionals reader, purchased Professional Dreamer based on the review recommendation from WBAF #2. And I liked it. The writing was exceptional and the premise just so spaced out that I bought into it hook, line, and sinker. A bit too much angst in places for my taste, but you know my taste is drier than most. As a writer, I appreciated all the little insights and in-jokes about writing and writers. The mental processes were PERFECT! And when l hit that "insert sex scene here," l must have laughed for a good twenty minutes. [6]
Pamela Rose has a delightfully twisted mind! I recently received a copy of her zine. Professional Dreamer, (ye Ed most kindly brought it back for me from MediaWest along with lots of others and said "You should get a giggle out of this one.") and I've just had my arm twisted (ouch, ouch!) to re-read it.

It is A/U - with a vengeance! Bodie and Doyle are characters in a series of books about 'The Professionals' written by one W. Philip Andrew, while Raymond Dibble is a head librarian with a vivid imagination who is addicted to reading these books. Dibble is a short-sighted, weedy type, pushed into fugue by Ann Holly, his fiancee of the past five years. In fact, he is pushed so far that he goes over the edge and believes he is Raymond Doyle of CI5 on an Operation Susie, and seeks the help of his partner, Bodie. Mind you. Dibble's fall out of the real world into W. Philip Andrew's fantasy one is assisted by the application of a gun butt to the side of his head by a heavy-handed CIA agent - the scenes with these agents discussing their double/triple/quadruple crosses with their superior are delightfully cynical and made me chuckle constantly.

So now Dibble is on the run, with not only the CIA after him to recover a microchip of secrets he has inadvertently been given (without his knowledge, naturally), but he is also being hotly pursued by the KGB, BOSS, Israelis, Arabs and East Germans. He sees a sign saying Crimson Ink publishing ltd, #5, and it seems to his confused mind that this is CI5 headquarters. He persuades the temporary receptionist (whose name is Irene, not Betty) to give him W. Philip Andrew's address, believing this is Bodie's cover and the address is that of a safehouse.

The scene where he bursts in on the writer raised another series of chuckles, and when someone - or several someones - start shooting at them, Andrew begins to realise this madman, who believes he is a character out of one of Andrew's own books, needs to be helped. They go on the run together, spending a lot of time in various back alleys, always in the rain and amidst rotting garbage, but their shared experiences begin to build up a rapport between them, and suddenly Andrew realises that this man, whoever he really is, is Raymond Doyle as he has imagined him.

There is a terrific bit where Andrew is picked up by the police after saving Aim Holly's life from a grenade attack in a jeweller's shop and Doyle springs him by posing as an MI6 agent named McCabe. They spend the night in the trains (a scene from one of Andrew's books) and then take refuge in the country with the writer's redoubtable Aunt Elizabeth (who spends her mornings practising shooting at the local gun club and is looking for husband No.6). there is a great, off-the-wall discussion between Andrew and his publisher, Cowley, by phone, and between Cowley and Mackiin (MI5 or M16 I suspect). And then, naturally, their pursuers catch up with them and they are on the run again, across country this time. There's even a scene in a haystack! Then everyone catches up with them at once - the East Germans, the police, the CIA... and Ann Holly. Doyle is faced with the reality of being Raymond EHbble, librarian, and it is all too much for him. He ends up in hospital, and Andrew visits him there. He knows he is fond of Ray, but... he tells him goodbye (noble self-sacrifice on his part).

Andrew manages to stay away from Dibble for two months, but then he visits the library. After some discussion they admit they need each other... and two men burst in waving guns.

We've been here before, and there are several hilarious twists in the final pages, but it all gets sorted out satisfactorily at the cud. Seriously, I loved it. It's completely tongue in check and cheerfully mixes up real life (as in The Professionals series) with plots fromAndrew's books. I've read lots of Pamela Rose's stories Wore this and enjoyed every one of them. They are well crafted, well plotted, well written. But in Professional Dreamer she has excelled herself, showing she has a wicked sense of humour and a marvellous feel for exactly the right turn of phrase. Please, write us a sequel! This one is MOST highly recommended. [7]


[I'd love to have a sequel]: For sheer self-indulgence, and only because I love it so much rather than because the story requires it, Professional Dreamer. I like that couple so much and would just like to see their continuing life together. That Doyle is going to drive that Bodie slowly crazy and I'd love to watch it happen. [8]


Bodie and Doyle exist as themselves – but only in the books of author W. Phillip Andrew, and the somewhat fevered imagination of one of his readers, librarian Raymond Dibble. Author and reader are, of course, destined to meet and the way Rose contrives this is brilliantly farcical, ironic and of course hugely funny. Ignore the faint Americanisms – it's easy to, really. Rose is another of my favourite authors. [9]


I'm new to "slash," and new to the Pros fandom, but in general, I hate AUs. The reason I LIKE Pros fanfic is because Bodie and Doyle are two tough, very masculine, edgy men who have a dangerous job as agents in a covert elite intelligence/law enforcement agency. Also, the setting is the late 1970s-early 1980s, and that's part of the fun of the story (although I can't ever stop thinking that if they're written as gay and fucking around, that's a very dangerous time, which is why I'm tolerant of the early "lets be monogamous" agreement that features in a lot of the fanfic. I'd rather read that than have every story dealing with the guys dying of AIDS). So, when the characters are taken out of that setting, I have far less interest in reading about them. If they aren't in CI5, then how are they Bodie and Doyle? The very few AUs that I have enjoyed either keep the guys in CI5 but change how and when they get there, or cleverly work canon into the AU. An example of the first would be the most excellent "Whisper of a Kill," [comments snipped]... An example of the latter is the witty "Professional Dreamer," where Phillip Bodie is a writer who writes novels about "The Professionals," Bodie and Ray Doyle, and Ray is a nerdy librarian who loves those novels. A hit on the head makes Ray think he's Ray Doyle and Phillip is Bodie, and that they are the characters in the book (ie, the characters on the show). It's clever and funny, and the characters are AU and yet they are still "in character." While they aren't in CI5, Phillip has a lot of Bodie's background, Ray is engaged to Ann Holly, and despite the AU setting, the plot contains espionage, life-threatening situations, dangerous bad guys, and chase scenes. It's one of the very few AUs that works for me, because even though the guys aren't in CI5, the writer captures the essence of Bodie and Doyle, and only someone who is familiar with the characters will appreicate all the tongue-in-cheek allusions to the show. Hard to do, much less do well.[10]
Yeah, I did read that, and I did find myself laughing aloud in places. It was very well done. Perhaps it went on a little too long, but I did enjoy that one very much... it was very clever and funny. And clever and funny is so much harder to pull off than angsty and heavy. Although comedy rarely gets the credit it deserves. [11]


Pam has been one of fandom's better writers for over three decades, and this charming, lighthearted AU adventure upholds that rep with a great deal of style. Koz’s art style perfectly complemented the story. [12]

Unknown Date

A lighthearted AU that has a mild-mannered Walter-Mitty-esque Ray Dibble getting coshed on the head and, upon waking with amnesia, morphing into his favorite fictional action hero, Ray Doyle. He then proceeds to track down his "partner," "Bodie," who's really the author of the "Professionals" novels, W. Philip Andrew. Hijinks ensue, especially when Doyle is dead certain that he and Bodie are lovers. (Can't imagine why. Heh.) A fun, tongue-in-cheek read. [13]
This was just adorable! An A/U where a mild-mannered librarian named Raymond Dribble loves to read 'The Professionals' novels by W. Philip Andrew. Chaos erupts when an accident and mistaken identity cause Mr. Dibble to belive he *is* Ray Doyle, and he goes out to find the elusive author who he mistakenly believes to be Bodie! A laugh riot! [14]
It's another AU how-they-met story, and I think I'm going to take a serious look at my buying habits in Pros fic. This story is a Pros flavored riff on the movie "American Dreamer." [15]
This is a wonderful Pros AU, one of my favorites. Doyle is a mild-mannered librarian named Raymond Dibble, who spends his days reading adventure novels written by one W. Philip Andrew about Ray Doyle and Bodie, and daydreaming about them. Then one day he gets hit in the head, and wakes up believing himself to be Doyle, and goes in search of his partner. Pam handles the premise perfectly, just tongue-in-cheek enough. If you haven't read this yet, go read it. [16]


  1. Close Quarters Desert Island Episode/Zine/Fic dated July 18, 2009; reference link.
  2. Cassie Ingaben's 2000 Professionals Story Database.
  3. from a much longer review in Psst... Hey Kid, Wanna Buy a Fanzine? #2. The reviewer, Suzan Lovett, gives it "5 trees." The reviewers in "Psst... Hey Kid, Wanna Buy a Fanzine?" rated zines on a 1-5 tree/star scale.
  4. from "Jenn's PROS PRIMER," a part of Two Pros Primers.
  5. from "The Professionals: A highly-biased primer," a part of Two Pros Primers.
  6. from an LoC in Psst... Hey Kid, Wanna Buy a Fanzine? #4
  7. from a fan in Short Circuit #15 (December 1993)
  8. from DIAL #14
  9. from rec50, posted June 2006
  10. comment by blkandwhtcat at You Are What You Do?; reference link, August 5, 2007
  11. comment by Josh Lanyon at You Are What You Do?; reference link, August 5, 2007
  12. comments by kslangley at What was your first fandom?, August 28, 2016
  13. from This is Katya
  14. from online review of the zine SoHo Cafe
  15. The Professionals Fanzines, Archived version
  16. Fic Recs, The Professionals, by Arduinna, 2005