Head Games

Roots: The TV Comic Dr Who comic strip; Dr Who and his grandchildren John and Gillian first appeared in The Klepton Parasites. The Trods first appeared in The Trodos Tyranny. Dr Who left John and Gillian at Zebadee University in Invasion of the Quarks!

In obvious homage to Terrance Dicks' Target Doctor Who novelisations, chapter eleven is entitled "Escape to Danger". Chapter fifteen is entitled "Dr Who in an Exciting Adventure With..." as a nod to David Whitaker's Dr Who in an Exciting Adventure With the Daleks. Chapter twenty-four is entitled "The Day God Went Mad", which is the working title of The Face of Evil. The Doctor's fictional battle with the Daleks in Earth's major cities is a nod to the computer game Dr Who - Dalek Attack. The term "Ka Faraq Gatri" was first used in Ben Aaronovitch's novelisation of Remembrance of the Daleks.

There are references to Def Leppard, Frank Sidebottom, Sherlock Holmes, Freud, Dr Doom, Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, The Land That Time Forgot, McDonalds, the Evening Standard, Karl Marx, and Rubik's cubes. Ace reads the Independent.

Goofs: It is stated that Chris is born nine hundred and fifty three years after 2001, which would mean that he was born in 2954AD. Since Original Sin is set in 2957, that would make him three years old...

Dialogue Disasters: Benny's stab at a Yorkshire accent: "By 'eck lass, tha's got a whippet in tha tripe bowl, bah gum."

Dialogue Triumphs: Chris was beginning to feel like a character in a bad sci-fi anthology series."

"Leave me then. Go your own ways, like all of those before you. I'm only trying to save your universe!"

"You killed me! You were so desperate to exist yourself that you ended my life. I accuse you, "Doctor", of murder. Of suicide in the first degree!"

Mel's damning goodbye to the Doctor: "You're not the Doctor I knew. You're a liar and a user and quite possibly a murderer. I don't wish to know you any more!"

Continuity: The new Master of the Land of Fiction in Conundrum was named Jason. Following the events of Conundrum, the Time Lords dismantled the Land as requested by the Doctor and returned Jason to earth in 1993. Eight years later in 2001, a transdimensional rift opened between the real universe and a fictional sub-dimension due to the damage caused by Kadiatu's time machine (Set Piece), creating its own protective barrier in the form of the Miracle on Detrios in the far future. Jason is able to act as a conduit for these forces because of his previous experience of wielding it, thus giving him enormous power. The Miracle is formed entirely of fictional energy and is thus immune to analysis and most forms of attack. Any intelligent mind can sculpt its raw materials into an infinite variety of forms. Jason creates Dr Who, a duplicate of the Doctor (who here looks like the Seventh Doctor) out of spite and travels with him in his TARDIS. Dr Who and Jason fail to prevent the Trods from destroying Arcalis [the Trods are almost certainly fictional creations of Jason's], wiping out the singing plants of Arcalis in the process. Dr Who's TARDIS has external weaponry fitted and contains a healing machine.

Detrios lost its sun centuries ago, and the inhabitants moved below the ground, constructing power grids to maintain their lives. The Detrians are reptilian with razor-like teeth and prehensile tails [the humanoid inhabitants are presumably descended from human colonists]. The Miracle, a giant hovering crystal the size of a moon in the atmosphere of Detrios, brought heat and light to the planet, ending the Great Darkness and allowing the Detrians to leave their shelters. The ACME LIZARD-MONSTER ERADICATION DEVICE created by Jason using fictional energy wipes out most of the Detrians.

The Doctor implies that Time Lord telepathic abilities can translate other languages [via the TARDIS?]. The number of regenerations is limited to twelve because a Time Lord's past selves continue to exist within their subconscious; their minds can't handle the multiplicity of psyches. The Doctor reveals that his unborn Seventh persona influenced his Sixth, causing him to regenerate by bumping his head on the console so that he could become Time's Champion (Time and the Rani). He believes that his Sixth incarnation was halfway to becoming the Valeyard after he failed to avoid meeting Mel and destroying the Vervoids (Trial of a Time Lord), and especially after the events at Canary Wharf in 1999 (Millennial Rites); it is implied that the resentment of the Sixth persona in his mind will ultimately lead to the creation of the Valeyard after all. When the Doctor realised that Fenric (The Curse of Fenric) had sent Ace to meet him, he decided that he couldn't avoid his responsibilities any more and influenced Mel's mind, prompting her unlikely decision to leave him and stay with Glitz. The fictional energies of the Miracle give form to the embittered Sixth Doctor, who tries to kill the Seventh; the Doctor is forced to murder the manifestation of his past self. He wipes Jason's memory once the Miracle is destroyed and returns him to Earth. He kept tabs on Mel via the TARDIS, hoping that she would settle down on Avalone. Having been rejected by Mel, he is relieved to find that Ace, Benny, Roz and Chris still trust him.

The Doctor gives Benny and Chris powerful mindblocking drugs to take at critical points in their attempt to breach the Miracle and plug the gateway into the fictional sub-dimension; he warns them that it would be very dangerous to take more than one pill each. His pockets contain stray paper clips, rubber bands, an apple core, a child's yo-yo with a tiger face on it, and a screwdriver. He also carries a small green cube with a flat screen display, which he built; in conjunction with two other units, it generates a force field.

Following the events of Dragonfire, Mel spent six months travelling with Glitz, before setting out in search of Earth, dreaming of rebuilding the planet. She ended up working for Avalonian Resorts Inc. for two years in a bleak holiday camp on the planet Avalone, on which she gets stuck. She hacks into the Galactic Banking Conglomerate's computer system and leaves a message for Glitz, hoping that he will come and rescue her. Whilst still travelling with him, she designed a Dragon cypher program for him, which he uses to break into the same computer system and monitor any transactions of interest. She reluctantly writes a subroutine into the same program whilst on Avalone to ensure that her bed and board is free. Dr Who and Jason pick her up in their TARDIS and imprison her in the fictional Galactic Prison with the real Doctor. Disgusted by what the Doctor has become, she leaves the TARDIS swearing that she never wants to see him again; Ace gives her a lift back to 1990s Earth using the hopper.

Ace visits the café in Glebe for the first time since she left the Doctor (Set Piece). She manages to get the hopper to jump to 30th November 2002. She knocks the Doctor out by punching the sensitive nerve cluster under his shoulder (Set Piece). She has killed four hundred and twenty-three people. Insects are amongst her least favourite monsters.

By kicking a drinks can in London in 2001, Benny inadvertently causes a chain of events that alter history so that the war between Earth and Draconia (Frontier in Space) starts an hour early and dozens more soldiers on both sides die. The Doctor gives her a temporary UNIT pass that used to belong to Jeremy Fitzoliver (The Paradise of Death, The Ghost of N-Space). Jason unleashes a fireball that kills her, the Doctor, Roz, Chris, Ace and Mel, but he is able to use the fictional energy at his command to restore them.

Whilst reluctantly acting the part of hero of Detrios, Chris facetiously claims to be from the planet Wolsey.

The fictional energies wielded by Jason transform Wolsey into the costumed talking Power Puss.

The TARDIS has several wardrobe rooms, one of which contains a rack of Edwardian dinner jackets, a bulky space suit, and a collection of fur-hooded anoraks.

Bambera is still a Brigadier and CO of UNIT UK by 2001. She commandeers an experimental Merlin T-22 Vertical Take-Off and Landing aircraft to travel to London. She and Ancelyn have now got twins.

Hovering security robots are used on Avalone. The unnamed planet on which the Doctor and Mel find themselves is inhabited by primitive tribal humanoids, whose language is so undeveloped that the Doctor cannot translate it. Blinovitch's first name is Aaron (Day of the Daleks, Invasion of the Dinosaurs).

The more the Doctor interferes in Earth's time stream, the more fixed it becomes; thus, it is implied, the Dalek invasion of Earth was only a possible future until the Doctor materialized in the middle of it (The Dalek Invasion of Earth).

Links: The Mind Robber, Conundrum, Dragonfire. Bambera first appeared in Battlefield and resents the suggestion that she should automatically call Lethbridge-Stewart whenever the Doctor shows up. The Doctor notes that he took steps to stop himself being tracked from media reports "in a century or so" (Transit). Benny recalls that he has been shot through the heart (Parasite), had his mind ripped open by mechanical insects (Set Piece) and that she once thought he had been decapitated (Legacy). Ace recalls seeing her mutated possible future self when the TARDIS turned inside out (Cat's Cradle: Time's Crucible). The Doctor suggests Florana (Death to the Daleks) and the Eye of Orion (The Five Doctors) as holiday destinations. The Doctor's future self gives Ace a message in December 2001 to give to his past self in Sheffield in November 2001 to do something about Kadiatu Lethbridge-Stewart; he realises that he has a responsibility to act, which leads into the events of The Also People.

There are references to The Dalek Invasion of Earth, Yeti (The Web of Fear), Cybermen (The Invasion), Autons (Spearhead from Space, Terror of the Autons), Axons (The Claws of Axos), Goth (The Deadly Assassin), the Zero Room (Castrovalva), Hedin (Arc of Infinity), the Master, Ruath (Goth Opera), Borusa's fate (The Five Doctors), Vervoids (Terror of the Vervoids), Mel's visit to London in 1999 (Millennial Rites), Terra Alpha (The Happiness Patrol), the Hand of Omega (Remembrance of the Daleks), Ace's death on the Moon (Timewyrm: Revelation), Robin Yeadon (Nightshade), Jan's death (Love and War), the Althosian System (The Pit), the Charrl (Birthright), the destruction of the Silurian Earth (Blood Heat), the Monk and the Vardans (No Future), the Artifact (Parasite), Gabriel and Tanith (Falls the Shadow), and Zamps (Zamper).

Location: London and Sheffield, England, 2001; London, 30th November 2002; Detrios, date unknown; an unnamed planet, date unknown; and Avalone, [c. 2,000,000].

Future History: Jason and Dr Who assassinate Queen Elizabeth II outside Ponds Forge Leisure Centre in Sheffield in 2001; Jason has second thoughts about it and using his powers allows her to live.

Far in the future, humanity colonizes Detrios, prompting civil unrest and rebellion from the indigenous Detrians. The non-elected Ruling Family rules Detrios.

There is a Galactic Federation c.2,000,000 AD, of which Avalone is a part.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor again notes that he studied with Houdini (Planet of the Spiders). He claims to have met Sheffield police chief Paul Condon.

The Doctor goes back in time at some point after this story and adjusts the train times so that he and Mel can get to Sheffield more easily. His future self meets Ace in December 2001. The Doctor has seen Kadiatu since she vanished into the Vortex at the end of Set Piece and is trying to decide what to do about her.

The Bottom Line: 'I am Time's Champion! And guilt is a luxury I can no longer afford!' On the surface a sequel to Conundrum and an excuse to play with the Dr Who of the TV Comic strip, Head Games is actually a blistering exploration of the manipulative Seventh Doctor of the New Adventures, and it works magnificently. The revelations about Mel's departure, and her horror at what her friend has become, have enormous impact, and Lyons explores the obvious possibility that the more ruthless and manipulative the Doctor becomes, the closer he gets to becoming the Valeyard. The scenes on Detrios are rather superfluous and dull, but ultimately they are just window dressing; Head Games is one of the key New Adventures and well worth reading.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke
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Comments

Just for the sake of completeness - one bit of continuity you haven't mentioned. When Mel left the Doctor so abruptly in Dragonfire, she also left possessions, including clothes, in the TARDIS. Having nothing with her after being picked up abruptly by Jason and Dr Who from Avalone, she expects to find her old stuff, including a change of clothes she desparately needs, still in the TARDIS. She doesn't, because this isn't the original TARDIS but rather the alternate reality 3rd Doctor's from Blood Heat which she has never been in. Benny explains this to Mel and helps her find some clothes from the TARDIS wardrobe rooms, but Mel clearly doesn't believe this and still accuses the Doctor of having thrown all her stuff away after getting rid of her in Dragonfire, leaving her with nothing.

(Interesting question: what does happen to companion's rooms, and the stuff in them, when they leave? Do new companions have to clean out and redecorate the rooms of old ones? Does the Doctor go in and pack the stuff away? Does he just use the architectural reconfiguration system to move old companions' rooms away and bring new, as yet unused rooms close for the new companions so all the old rooms and contents are still filed away far from the console room? In Zamper, the Doctor mentions to Benny that some of Ace's weapons were still lying about in the TARDIS at that point.)

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