Interference: Book One (Shock Tactic)

Roots: The Seven Faces of Doctor Lao (I. M. Foreman). The novel opens with references to J. G. Ballard, Marshal McLuhan, and James Stewart in Harvey. There are references to The Lord of the Rings, The Arabian Nights' Entertainments, BBC2 and Seeing Eye, Cruft's, Paddington Bear, The Exorcist, Nicole Kidman, Wesley Snipes, Tic-Tacs, Private Eye, ET, The Rock 'n' Roll Years, Volkswagen, The X-Files, Question Time, Alice in Wonderland, Weetos, Brian Blessed, A. A. Milne, Gilbert and Sullivan, and Bacardi. The Doctor lists twentieth century American presidents and British Prime Ministers.

Dialogue Triumphs: Coldicott describes the Eighth Doctor as "the Young Edwardian version". When he asks the Doctor why, if all the Doctors are the same person the UN has to print new ID cards for him, the Doctor replies, "I'm deliberately sabotaging the bureaucratic process. That's the whole point of regeneration."

"I don't know why the Earth should be different. I don't know why I don't sort out the troubles in Ireland. I don't know why I don't disarm Iraq. I don't know why I don't stop the genocide in Malaysia. Perhaps you're right. Perhaps I've become so attached to Earth, I'm scared to interfere too much. And yes, I know there's no difference between what happens on Earth and what happens on Terra Alpha, or Varos, or Proxima Two. But I can't change things. I've made a decision. I've drawn a line in the sand. And if I cross that line I'll end up just like the Master. Meddling for my own purposes."

Continuity: Dust is covered in deserts made of dust, with cacti that exhale poisonous fumes. There are insects and carrion birds on the planet. The Earth colonists who discovered it built cities on the planet, but they were buried by the desert leaving only small settlements behind.

I. M. Foreman is a Gallifreyan and is currently female. She can see biofields around people. She has created a universe-in-a-bottle, which itself contains another universe-in-a-bottle. The universe-in-a-bottle also contains a version of the [Seventh] Doctor. The High Council have recently tried to buy the bottle off her, apparently to use as an escape route from the coming War. Her previous incarnation was a blind man. I. M. Foreman's travelling show contains the members: Melmoth, the Map of Scars; Mr Zarathustra, the Walking Brain; Mould, the Worm-Boy; O'Salamander, the Dragon-King; John Salt, the Missing Link; The Goofus, the Living Armoury; Ezekiel, Master Aerialist; Queen Nitocris, Mistress of Serpents; the If; Aka, the Metamorph; and Mohandas, the Geek.

Faction Paradox use death masks because the Time Lords make a big thing about immortality. The started interfering in history for similar reasons, since the Time Lords consider time to be sacred. They originally found a home world after leaving Gallifrey, which the Time Lords wiped out to stop them peddling time travel technology to other cultures. The survivors fled and established colonies all over space-time, continuing to sell time travel technology to other species, but more quietly. They set up cults and secret societies including the Order of the Rectangle, the Cult of the Black Sun [see the Doctor Who Magazine comic strips Star Death, 4-D War, and Black Sun Rising], and the Luminus (Tragedy Day). One of the planets they colonised was Earth colony Ordifica in 2594, which is so obsessed with the media that its entire culture is based around one vast medianet and creates celebrities out of nothing, who effectively fulfil the same role as loa in Voodoo. The Faction secretly infiltrated the colony, which included Augustine City and Jumpstart Island, but the Time Lords noticed and obliterated the planet: the survivors were moved to Anathema by the Faction and were largely abandoned, becoming the Remote. Faction members named here include Mother Mathara. Faction Paradox are based in the Eleven-Day Empire, a version of London during the eleven days missing from September 1752, due to the switch over to the Gregorian calendar. The Faction's seat of power is the Houses of Parliament. The only living things in the Empire apart from the Faction members are the ravens from the Tower of London. The Faction currently has six surviving warships.

The Remote are living receivers, their bodies implanted with devices that can pick up any transmissions. Their systems were originally provided by the Faction and use block-transfer formulae (Logopolis). The Remote haven't been able to time travel for two hundred years. The Remote use Ogrons (Day of the Daleks, Frontier in Space), which were sold to them as slaves. The Remote on Dust c3796 create a settlement that they name Anathema II, after the original Anathema. The Oldest of the Remote on Dust has a collection spanning two thousand years in the Remote ship, which includes the heads of various Time Lords, including the Master and the Rani, although at least one of those is from a clone made by the High Council.

The Remote believe that the Cold may be an "anti-thing" unleashed into the universe at the same time as the Vampires, by the Time Lords detonating a star (State of Decay, The Deadly Assassin, The Pit) [but see Interference: Book Two].

Ogrons consider it rude to attack somebody in their home. Ogrons aren't as unintelligent as is widely believed; much of their language doesn't translate into other languages.

The Rassilon Imprimature (The Two Doctors) maps a Time Lord's biodata onto the vortex via sheer mathematics; it is possible for a Time Lord to manipulate the formulae to put himself in a different time state, the principle behind transmigration of object (The Ambassadors of Death). The Doctor uses his own blood to draw a series of symbols and equations in his cell to use this principle to bring himself and Sarah Jane into a special emergency area of the TARDIS designed to catch objects that fall out of time in the vicinity of the TARDIS until they can be put back.

The Doctor visits I. M. Foreman shortly after Sam leaves him. He provides Sam with a pair of fiftieth century binoculars from one of the TARDIS's wardrobes. Whilst he is kept prisoner in Saudi Arabia, his captors snap his right ulna. They also use shock batons on him. He is unable to escape from his cell because the prison has no routine to break, just pointless brutality. The Doctor has had fillings in his teeth since his second incarnation and believes that they regenerate with the rest of him. Cardinal Brabbajaggl was one of his lecturers at the Academy.

Faction Paradox causes the Eighth Doctor's temporal equation to make him appear to the Third Doctor, luring the Third Doctor to Dust as a result. The Third Doctor drinks coffee with Magdelana on Dust. He invented "Venusian Aikido" to impress people.

Sam is currently twenty-two years old. Sam marched in the ANL rallies when she was twelve years old. Mark Lessing was in the fifth year at her school when Sam was fifteen. Sam's parents apparently wouldn't let her drink Coke. Sam is on Amnesty International's mailing list.

Fitz is twenty-nine years old when the TARDIS brings him to London in 1996: he's trapped in the Cold for six hundred years. Faction Paradox rescues him from Jumpstart Island in 2594 on the condition that he becomes an initiate in the Faction.

Compassion is a female member of the Remote. She has freckles, hamster-like cheeks, and dresses in combat gear.

Sarah Jane adopts the alias Sarah Bland [probably a reference to the alias Robin Bland that The Brain of Morbius was broadcast under] and poses as an arms dealer to investigate COPEX. She has been bleaching her hair for the role, but decides to buy a less damaging blonde wig instead. She has the security clearance Netzach, as does Sam. Her memories of the events on Dust are hazy, due to the interference in the Doctor's time stream caused by the Faction. She bought a Land Rover four months ago, with the most sophisticated computer software, made by I2 (System Shock, Millennium Shock), partly to make transporting K9 easier. She drinks coffee white, with no sugar.

K9 can perform self-diagnostics and can detect Artron energy.

There is a room in the TARDIS with no walls or ceiling, containing a hill made out of rubbish, including a half-finished copy of the Venus de Milo, which has a red telephone on the summit. There is a telephone in the console room, which used to be the receiver for the space-time telegraph that he left on Earth (Robot, Terror of the Zygons).

Theoretical Monsters: A Credibility Test is a forerunner of The Eye-Spy Book of Alien Monsters (Alien Bodies) and includes an entry on the Xxxxxxxxxxxlanthian mind-chewers from the Fifth Universe, the Cybermen, the Gell Guards (The Three Doctors), and the Kalekani. The Kalekani supposedly use a terraforming virus that affects the minds of a planet's inhabitants, causing them to tear up their environment and replace it with flats and slopes of green: on Earth, this virus is known as "golf"... (the implication is that they are a fictional species invented for the credibility test, but then the Doctor mentions them independently later). UNISYC has recently been established (Alien Bodies).

Bill Gates and Microsoft are forced to take responsibility for the malfunctioning robots at the Festival of Ghana (The Chase).

Links: Alien Bodies, Unnatural History. An Unearthly Child (I. M. Foreman). For the Third Doctor, this story takes place between The Monster of Peladon and Robot, the Doctor having just left Quiescia, where he buried Laika (see Alien Bodies). The Doctor recalls what Fenric did to Ace's timeline (The Curse of Fenric). Fitz recalls being brainwashed by the Chinese (Revolution Man). The Doctor mentions Daleks, Selachians (The Murder Game, The Final Sanction), Mentors (Vengeance on Varos, Mindwarp) and Arcturans (The Curse of Peladon). He recalls being imprisoned on Ha'olam (Seeing I). There are references to C19 (Time-Flight, Who Killed Kennedy, The Scales of Injustice, Dominion), Mandrels (Nightmare of Eden), Bandrils (Timelash), Kursaal (Kursaal), Varos (Vengeance on Varos), Terra Alpha (The Happiness Patrol), Proxima Two (The Face-Eater), Krotons (Alien Bodies, The Krotons), z-bombs (The Tenth Planet), and Usurians (The Sun Makers). Sarah Jane recalls telling Thalia "there's nothing only about being a girl" (The Monster of Peladon).

Location: Dust, c3796; Foreman's World, date unknown but some time after 3796 [see Interference: Book Two]; London, Geneva, and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, August 1996; Anathema, August 1996; Augustine City, 2593 and 2596, and Jumpstart Island, 2594, Ordifica.

Future History: Following Bill Clinton's term as President, Dering and then Bruce Springsteen are elected.

The Earth Empire is referring to itself as such in 2593 for the first time in half a century. Earth Central runs the empire and is currently trying to control various human colony republics. Augustine City and Jumpstart Island are located on Ordifica.

Dust is an Earth colony on the "Dead Frontier", a region of space that mankind reached, but then withdrew from when it realised there was nowhere further worth going.

Unrecorded Adventures: Sam has seen Ogrons before. The First Doctor spent quite a lot of time in Britain during the nineteen nineties.

Prior to events here, the Doctor didn't hear about Faction Paradox until his Fourth incarnation.

The Third Doctor told Sarah that he knew Chairman Mao (see The Mind of Evil), and claimed to be the inspiration for the character of the Devil in Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita.

The Bottom Line: "I'm guessing this isn't how the story ends." As one might expect from Miles by this point, Interference is brimming with astonishing ideas (the Eleven-Day Empire stands out), plays intelligent games with continuity, and has sparkling, witty prose. However, it's a bit too unfocused and sprawling to be the instant classic that Alien Bodies was: the Eighth Doctor's incarceration for most of the book for example allows Miles to make interesting points about his effectiveness at intervening in real-life tyrannies, but does rather make things drag.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke

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