Roots: The X-Men stories An Age Undreamed Of and Inferno. The works of H. P. Lovecraft. The reference to Quarks and their Giant Wasps is a reference to the TV Comic Doctor Who strip The Killer Wasps. The novel opens with quotations from Nietzsche's Jenseits von Gut und Bse, and Shakespeare's The Winters Tale.
There are references to IBM, Diophantes, the Booker Prize, the Michelin Guide, Egon Roney, Michael Winner, the Sunday Times, PC Week, Time magazine, Remy Martin, Benson and Hedges, Auld Lang Syne, Safeway, Noel Edmonds, 1935 Crozes Hermitage, and Guinness. Chapel drives a Jaguar. The Yeti on a toilet in Tooting Beck joke is a reference to Jon Pertwee's oft-quoted phrase. Doctor Strange from Marvel Comics and John Constantine from DC Comics appear in cameos.
Goofs: The British Space Programme in The Ambassadors of Death is dated to the nineteen eighties, which contradicts Who Killed Kennedy [and is inconsistent with many other stories that establish a 1970s dating for the UNIT stories].
If Mel helped the Doctor defeat the Master when they first met, why doesn't she recognise him in The Ultimate Foe? [This is later resolved in Business Unusual].
Dialogue Triumphs: 'You're playing with a fire so dangerous you could scorch eternity!'
Continuity: The origins of the Great Old Ones are elaborated upon (All-Consuming Fire); the universe that existed prior to this one had entirely different laws of physics, with green space and stars shaped like giant doughnuts. The equivalent of the Time Lords in that universe shunted themselves into a parallel dimension that collapsed seconds later than their universe, and from there entered our universe almost immediately after the Big Bang. Because this universe had different physical laws, these Time Lords discovered that they had god like powers. Other Great Old Ones mentioned here include Lloigor (a.k.a. the Animus - The Web Planet, Twilight of the Gods (MA)), and Shub-Niggurath, who conquered the planet Polymos and colonized it with her offspring, the Nestene Consciousness (Spearhead from Space). As with the body of Saraquazel, the body of a Great Old One might appear to the TARDIS sensors as a massive quantity of potential energy equivalent to twenty billion nuclear bombs.
Yog-Sothoth, a.k.a. the Great Intelligence, was the military strategist of those Time Lords and decided to see if various stratagems that he had considered would work, mounted millions of campaigns against inhabited planets, including Earth (The Abominable Snowmen, The Web of Fear, Downtime). Whereas he used robot Yeti as invasion tools on Earth, on the planet Hiskith he used the Hisk version of Koala Bears, and on Danos he used domestic animals equivalent to dogs. The Great Intelligence used Yeti for the invasion of London even though they were unsuited to their environment because he was under pressure from other Great Old Ones, who had conquered other planets. The Great Intelligence creates a small number of Yetis to defend itself whilst trapped in the Great Kingdom. Anne Travers banishes it to the edge of the universe, riding the blue shift outwards into infinity.
Following the defeat of the Great Intelligence in London, UNIT discovered a Yeti production plant in Wimbledon.
Saraquazel has powers similar to the Great Old Ones, but hails from the universe that exists after this one rather then the one that existed before it. Space in Saraquazel's universe is a pink void, inhabited by green mists of orbiting plankton and also mindless grazers, which have eyeclusters. In his original form, he had iridescent rudders and a tessellated mid-carapace. Other beings of his universe include void-drifters, which have (or travel inside) triple helices, and function-breeders, which nest in artificial constructs. Following the destruction of the Great Kingdom, Saraquazel sets off to find a way home to his own universe, taking the reluctant Ashley Chapel with him. Possible routes into Saraquazel's universe include wormholes, temporal rifts and pan-dimensional vacuum emboitments (see Full Circle, Logopolis).
Block transfer computation is the most powerful tool ever developed by the Time Lords. Quantum mnemonics is the equivalent of block transfer computation (Logopolis) discovered by the Great Old Ones in their universe. The pure form of the language of quantum mnemonics is one of the most closely guarded secrets of the Time Lords, which the Doctor only even knows of due his exposure to the Matrix during his tenure as President of the High Council (The Invasion of Time). Quantum mnemonics can be used to rewrite reality and create or destroy universes.
Chapel uses a form of quantum mnemonics to create the Millennium Codex, which is designed to create a new world of peace of harmony ruled by Saraquazel with Chapel as his servant. It also rewrites history. Due to Anne Travers accidentally summoning the Great Intelligence back to Earth, the Codex instead transforms London into the Great Kingdom due to the clash of three totally incompatible sets of physical laws. The Great Kingdom is divided into three realms; one ruled from the Ziggurat of Sciosophy by the Technomancer, one from the Tower of Abraxas by the Archimage, and one from the Labyrinth of Thaurmaturgy by the Hierophant. The Great Kingdom is isolated from the Wretched Wastes beyond its borders by a barrier.
The Technomancer, Melaphyre, is a version of Mel; the Hierophant, Anastasia, a version of Anne Travers; and the Archimage a version of Ashley Chapel. The Technomancer is served by the cybrids, the Archimage by the auriks, and the Hierophant by the thaumaturgs. The Great Kingdom is believed to have been created by the Three Gods of Past, Present and Future, which are actually the Yog-Sothoth, Lady Tardis and Saraquazel, respectively, who dwell in the Tabernacle. As the Lady Tardis, the TARDIS retains its usual shape; Saraquazel manifests as a golden humanoid with the head of an antelope and Yog-Sothoth as an emerald-green tetrahedron. Thaurmaturgs are emaciated seven-foot tall humanoids with grey skin, silver hair usually tied back in floor-length ponytails, and silver-grey bulbous eyes. In a killing frenzy, a thaurmaturg can rip the heart from a cybrid. Auriks are six foot tall with golden armour like skin incorporating a carapace with curved spikes at each joint; their faces are carved masks with blank black eye-slits, a dark gash for a mouth, and ram-like horns curling from their temples.
Ashley Chapel was Tobias Vaughn's personal assistant for five years (The Invasion). Chapel now owns the patent on the micro-monolithic circuit, which still exists in virtually every piece of electronic household equipment. He is the head of Ashley Chapel Logistics (ACL).
The cybrids are five feet tall with blue-black skin tattooed with gold and silver tracery that resembles circuitry. Their arms and legs end in vicious clawed talons and their faces have slitted eyes, a discreet nose, and two small curved horns. The transmogrification of human into cybrid was first discovered by the ancient Hyperboreans, but the name they gave the creatures is virtually unpronounceable, hence Chapel's decision to coin the name cybrid. Their bodies contain silicon bound together by Quantum Mnemonics.
The Doctor keeps various journals in the TARDIS, including Abstract Meanderings in Theoretical Physics (The Crystal Bucephalus) and Wormhole Monthly. He kept a Yeti control sphere that he removed from a deactivated Yeti at Goodge Street station as a souvenir (The Web of Fear). At Mel's suggestion, he carries a mobile phone. He dons a dinner suit whilst visiting Anne Travers. He drinks wine. The Doctor states that chess was his Fourth incarnation's strong point. He implies that his real name is difficult to pronounce.
Once London becomes the Great Kingdom, the Doctor starts to transform into the Dark One, a.k.a. He Whose Name Dare Not Be Mentioned, i.e. the Valeyard (Trial of a Time Lord). This is not the actual Valeyard from his future, but his fears of becoming the Valeyard made manifest by the effects of the Millennium Codex. The Valeyard briefly manages to couple the unique physical properties of the Great Kingdom with the Doctor's own regenerative abilities to physically transform his body into that of Valeyard as seen in Trial of a Time Lord. The Valeyard activates the isomorphic subroutines in the TARDIS, thus forcing the Doctor to accept the transformation into his other self in order to activate the controls; however, he manages to banish the Valeyard into the dark corners of his mind. The Valeyard hints that the Doctor will become Time's Champion and that this will begin his journey towards becoming the Valeyard proper. He claims that the Sixth Doctor is the incarnation most likely to succumb to his dark side due to his innate hubris.
Mel studied computer science at the University of West London. Former classmates include her old friend Chantal Edwards, who is having an affair with a married man, Julia Prince, and Leonor Pridge. Mel has an IQ of one hundred and sixty-two. She was offered a job at I2, but turned it down (System Shock). She was on the verge of accepting a position as junior programmer at ACL when she first began travelling with the Doctor. At her insistence, the Doctor has taught her the fundamentals of operating the TARDIS. She realized the importance of a healthy body at the age of thirteen, becoming vegetarian to her parents' chagrin and refusing to drink tea and coffee. She once bumped into a Mrs. Finch whilst coming out of the corner shop in Pease Pottage, and was subsequently embarrassed when she looked into her pram, saw that her baby had Down's syndrome and didn't know how to react. Bertrand Russell is one of her favourite authors.
The TARDIS library contains a leather bound copy of Kafka's Metamorphosis in the original German and an Agatha Christie novel. It provides the book that Mel requires when she thinks of the title, materializing it on the shelf in front of her. The HADS still works (The Krotons). The quantum mnemonics unleashed by the Millennium Codex temporarily transform the TARDIS interior into a substance that resembles blue marble.
Anne Travers is now Dame Anne Travers OBE (The Web of Fear). She is fifty years old and a widow. Following the events of The Web of Fear, she became a civil servant, eventually replacing Rachel Jensen (Remembrance of the Daleks) as chief scientific advisor to the Cabinet and has held the position for eighteen years. She oversaw the Inferno project (Inferno) and the British Space Programme (The Ambassadors of Death). She ensured that the UK branch of UNIT was well funded during her tenure, partly due to her paranoia about the Great Intelligence. She sacrifices her life to unravel the Great Kingdom and restore reality.
Between the events of The Web of Fear and Downtime, Professor Travers gained a ticket to the Library of Saint John the Beheaded (All-Consuming Fire, The Empire of Glass), which contains the original scrolls of the first Lama of Det Sen (The Abominable Snowmen). He was discredited following the Yeti invasion of London, which some people suggested was his fault.
Forbidden texts held in the Library of Saint John the Beheaded include Plutarch's On the Cessation of Oracles, The Gnostic Apocrypha of Nostradamus, Joachim of Fiore's Liber Inducens in Evangelium Aeternum, the Eltdown Shards, the Pnakotic Manuscripts, the Book of Eibon, Count Alexei Mussomov's The Many Eyes, Lies and Lives of Yog-Sothoth, the Black Scrolls of Cardinal Leofrique DeSable, and writings from the time of Atlantis. During the nineteen sixties, mods and rockers were responsible for the security of the Library, by 1999 rival gangs of Yardies and crack-dealers have taken over (see All-Consuming Fire).
Links: This story takes place after Business Unusual and before The Quantum Archangel.
The Doctor recalls Angela and Grant Markham (Time of Your Life, Killing Ground). He bemoans the Terileptils' destruction of his sonic screwdriver (The Visitation). The Doctor and Mel haven't encountered the Vervoids yet, but the Doctor keeps forgetting and mentioning them (Terror of the Vervoids). Chapel has recordings of Yetis in the Underground (The Web of Fear), Cybermen in London (The Invasion), and Daleks attacking a country house (Day of the Daleks).
There are references to Lionel Stabfield and I2 (System Shock), the Auton invasions (Spearhead from Space, Terror of the Autons), the Axons (The Claws of Axos), the Zygons and the Skarasen (Terror of the Zygons), Brigadier Bambera (Battlefield), the Great Intelligence's third attempt to invade Earth (Downtime), the Doctor's trial in The War Games, the Master, the Terrible Zodin (The Five Doctors), Omega (The Three Doctors, Arc of Infinity), Fortean flickers (The Highest Science), Castrovalva (Castrovalva), the deaths of Katarina and Sara Kingdom (The Daleks' Master Plan), the death of Adric (Earthshock), the death of Kamelion (Planet of Fire), and the Black Guardian (The Armageddon Factor, Mawdryn Undead, Terminus, Enlightenment).
The TARDIS console room contains a red velvet chaise longue from the variant Roman Empire of State of Change. The Doctor recalls various defences that he has installed in the TARDIS during the past including the twenty-two tumbler lock (The Daleks), the metabolism sensor (Spearhead from Space), and the isomorphic controls (Pyramids of Mars).
Location: London, December 30th 1999 to January 1st 2000.
Future History: By 1999, ACL has solved Fermat's Last Theorem algebraically, but hasn't published it. Ashley Chapel Logistics' head office is located on the top floor of Canary Wharf Tower. Chapel bought out I2's patents following the collapse of the company, but announces that it will cease trading as part of the Ashley Chapel Holding Corporation as of Thursday 30th December 1999 due to poor sales. FantasyLab Limited is a smaller offshoot of the Ashley Chapel Holding Corporation, as is the Ashley Chapel Lottery Consortium. Paradigm is the only piece of the software that Chapel successfully marketed, and is an operating system that has superseded Microsoft Windows and OS/2. Stringfellows nightclub is closed by 1999.
The European Union has had a detrimental affect on Britain by 1999, and rising pollution levels have resulted in a steep rise in deaths and abnormal births, including Trainer-Simpsons Malaise. Various religious cults and new philosophies have appeared in anticipation of the new Millennium. The Government builds the Millennium Hall, a four hundred foot high ziggurat, on the site of Battersea Power Station to celebrate the occasion, which Ashley Chapel buys; following the restoration of reality after the destruction of the Great Kingdom, the Power Station is restored (see The Dalek Invasion of Earth).
The Head Librarian of the Library of Saint John the Beheaded in 1999 is named Jeraboam Atoz. Chapel owns the Library by this time.
Cybercrime: An Analysis of Hacking by Demeter Glauss is written in the early twenty-first century and is the seminal work on breaking and entering computer systems. Glauss is born in 2025AD.
Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor has fought the self-styled Queens of the Satanic Winding Sheet. He and Mel have defeated the Herecletes and the Stalagtrons, which had inhuman plans for mankind, as well as the Quarks (The Dominators) and their Giant Wasps. The Doctor has had several companions since Grant left him. He first met Mel whilst the Master was attempting to undermine Earths stock markets in partnership with his allies, the Usurians (The Sun Makers). This adventure is later related in Business Unusual. Lord Nelson was an old friend of the Doctor's.
The Bottom Line: A far more focused work than Hinton's previous The Crystal Bucephalus, Millennial Rites has aged well and arguably marks the beginning of the Sixth Doctor's renaissance. Hinton's decision to address the issue of the Valeyard works well, the Doctor confronting his dark side in the fantastical world of the Great Kingdom to considerable effect. Oh, and Mel works brilliantly here, exhibiting all of the character's assets without being anywhere near as irritating as she could be on screen.