A Guide to Discontinuity

The original Discontinuity Guide classified each story according to a series of categories. If you are lucky enough to own a copy, this list is on pages 4-5. However, even if you do have a copy, many of these categories have had to be subtly altered to be appropriate to novels.

For stories set in the gaps between televised stories I have added information on where the story is set in the Doctor's timeline.

The original guide also included information on dates of original broadcast, writer and director. I have included month of publication, author and, where I know, the editor of the range at the time.

Roots: Doctor Who author Ben Aaronovitch once said that Talent borrows, genius steals, and Doctor Who authors get it wholesale off the back of a lorry. Though that may not be entirely true, this section mentions the texts that have, or might have, influenced a book - hopefully including several less obvious ones. The original Discontinuity Guide noted all the interesting quotations and derivative one-liners. The nature of novels, however, is that there are often so many minor quotes and derivative references that it would take an entire website to list them all (I have a page-by-page guide to references in The Hollow Men written by co-author Keith Topping. It totals 92 pages). I have, therefore restricted use of this section to the more important influences, and some notable quotes and references. The guides written (or co-written) by Paul Clarke list more of the minor references.

Fluffs: The original book, and the Audio guide record fluffed lines. This isn't appropriate for novels, as misprints just aren't funny, and any fluffs that occur are intentional. Misprints of any significnce are mentioned in the Goofs section.

Goofs: Accidental cock-ups, intentional aspects that just don't work, and (especially) gaping holes in the plot.

Technobabble: A term originally coined by Star Trek fans for science and technology that's just been made up, or even genuine science that sounds like it has been.

Dialogue Disasters: Dialogue, and narrative, that makes you want to crawl under a stone and die. Where this is dialogue, I have got rid of the surrounding narrative (it's bad enough without the he said's).

Dialogue Triumphs: Dialogue, and narrative, that makes your toes tingle. Where this is dialogue, I have got rid of the surrounding narrative unless it is vital to the awesomeness of the dialogue.

Continuity: All sorts of random facts revealed about the Doctor, his companions, other recurring characters, alien races, planets, and whatever else I (or Paul Clarke when he's writing them) think is worth noting. There are several important subsections.

Links: Direct references to other stories not mentioned elsewhere - including televised stories, audio adventures, and other novels. The DiscContinuity Guide has a further category of Intertextuality, which contains the links to stories that are not part of the TV series or audio series. However this site considers books and audios to be of roughly equal status, and references to comic strips and the like are few and far between, I don't see the need for the extra category. However, I have coloured references as follows (your browser may differ):

blue televised stories
red novels published by virgin books
purple novels published by BBC books
brown novellas published by Telos
yellow material published by Big Finish Productions

Because books can (and often do) contain a whole host of minor references to other stories, I have often just listed stories which are only referred to in throwaway lines, saying that there are minor references to these stories. Have fun finding these references. In most cases, this will be the Doctor and / or companion referring to their recent adventures. The links section also contains occasional references to fan in-jokes (such as the punchline to the infamous eyepatch joke).

Location: When and where the story is set, if it tells us. A best guess, if it doesn't.

Future History: Originally, the history of Earth after 1995 (the year of publication). I have arbitrarily decided to place the future as anything after the year 2000, it being the year the 1996 TV Movie is set. This definition of future means that I don't have to keep changing whether bits referring to the early 21st Century are in here or not.

Unrecorded Adventures: Originally 'untelevised adventures', I have extended the definition. This is used for references to adventures that had not been published (in whatever medium) by the time the book was published. However, when a book deliberately references or foreshadows books, audios, or even episodes of the new series published shortly after it, I have included this in the Links section on the grounds of authorial and editorial intent.

Q.v.: An aspect of this story is discussed in a boxed section elsewhere. There will be a link to the boxed section, and a note of which story contains the box.

The Bottom Line: Is the book any good? This section is my (and/or Paul's) subjective opinion on whether the book is an all-time classic (e.g. Human Nature), to be avoided at all costs (e.g. The Ghosts of N-Space), or something in between. Feel free to ignore this advice, as tastes differ. However, be warned - you may find that you actually agree with my / our opinion(s). Where both me and Paul have written a bottom line section, I have put our two sets of comments in seperate paragraphs. Have fun working out which of us wrote which paragraph.

[Bracketed sections] - anything written in square brackets is speculation rather than something actually said in the book. This tends to turn up in the goofs section [where it is an attempt to explain the goofs], the continuity section [where it is speculation based on what is revealed in the book - or explicitly stating what is only implied], and the location subsection [a best guess on when and where the story is set].


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