The Dimension Riders

Roots: Terminator 2 (Amanda is reminiscent of the T1000). There are quotations from Goethe, Conan Doyle's A Scandal in Bohemia, Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Yeats, Milton's Paradise Lost, Matthew Arnold's The Future, and James Elroy Flecker's Golden Journey to Samarkand. There are references to the Daily Telegraph, Tetris, C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Boadicea, Henry James' The Portrait of a Lady, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Picture of Dorian Gray, the Orb, Brian Eno, Rumpelstiltskin, Tiberius, Romulus and Remus, Robert Silverberg, Isaac Asimov, Mazdas, Ravel, Colin Dexter, Philip Larkin, Samuel Pepys, A. S. Byatt, Philip Larkin, Smale, and Bugs Bunny. Chapter 17 is titled "Come as You Are", possibly after the song of the same name by Nirvana. Ace refers to David Bowie's "Ground Control to Major Tom".

Dialogue Disasters: 'If you ask me, your first officer's a few bytes short of her full ROM.'

'What are you on, bonehead? The X-plan diet?'

Dialogue Triumphs: 'Why do you humans always expect that everything has to be within your comprehension? It's your most irksome trait.'

'You think this is where I tell you all the details of my plan, so that when you escape you know exactly how to defeat me.'

'This isn't my job. I don't get paid for it. I don't get any kind of reward. I've never asked for any. Sometimes there are some. The smile of a baby child. The first sunset on a soft and new-born world. The taste of the purest spring water, untouched by any pollution of Man's making... But it's not enough. I'm tired, Miss Vaiq. Do you understand me? No, of course you don't. A child of less than forty Earth summers. How could you possibly understand?'

'You know, I never trusted him, Bernice. Not since the day he served plonk in a 1967 Sauternes bottle at High Table.'

Continuity: According to The Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey, a Cardinal wrestled with the Garvond in the Matrix and it ate away his remaining lives, killing him without hope of regeneration. The book tells of the coming of the Garvond, a creature more powerful than time itself. The Doctor foresaw his own part in its creation when he entered the Matrix and erased his own print from the Panotropic Net to avert its creation; the Monk uses Artemis to change history so that the Doctor never did this, thus allowing the Garvond to come into existence (see No Future). It has several thousand names, including Garivont and Garavond, all of which are corruptions of the High Gallifreyan gjara'vont, meaning "of darkest thought". It has been trapped for millennia in the Matrix, imprisoned by the power of the minds in the Panotropic Net, but was able to feed of the very hate and fear that was keeping it captive. The Garvond resembles a human skeleton cloaked in darkness and sat upon a throne outlined in blazing fire. It intends to use the assassination of a Government minister by the President during a thousand year period of "crystallized time" to release a vast amount of energy, caused by time springing back into shape after the attempted disruption, feed on this, becoming unstoppable. It plans to "ravage time", apparently in order to feed and grow. The Time Soldiers were humanoid voyagers in time, including humans, Gallifreyans, and Tharils (Warriors' Gate). They appear to wear masks, although these are actually snouts. They also carry wide-barreled blasters, which are part of them. Because they travel through time, their senses are bombarded with so much information that they can't actually see humans. Hylerium reflects their weapons back against them.

The President was known at the Academy as Epsilon Delta. He rose to the rank of attendant to Gold Usher (The Deadly Assassin). He achieved a grade of double beta in cybernetics whilst at the Academy and in his spare time built Amanda and adapted a spare TARDIS to his palm and voiceprints, as well has reading various secret files in the Panopticon archives until he became an expert in weapons systems. Bored of life on Gallifrey, he fled in his stolen TARDIS, inspired and intrigued by stories of the Rani (The Mark of the Rani, Time and the Rani), the Master and especially the Doctor. He visited the gas sculptures of Remosica, the Leisure Hive on Argolis (The Leisure Hive), and the pyramids of Egypt. At some point, he ran into a group of belligerent Sontarans, forcing him to regenerate. In his current incarnation, Epsilon Delta is tubby and ageing and has a pudgy face and narrow eyes. He established various different roles for himself on different planets, including Dr. Styles, President of St. Matthews College, Oxford in 1993, the role he enjoys the most. Seeking revenge for the fact that Gallifreyan society failed to recognise his talents, he was contacted by the Garvond, which offered him power in return for his help, including the domination of Earth and Gallifrey.

Epsilon Delta's TARDIS is a Type 102. Type 102s have highly reliable chameleon circuits and a voice-activated lock. The console is shaped like an upturned cone with a flat top, with a spiralling central column and touch-sensitive controls. The decor is predominantly burgundy. His TARDIS carries a number of spare dimensions, including a stasis field in which the President traps Benny, Rafferty and Tom. It adopts the form of a black two-seater Porsche Turbo, a drinks machine, and a filing cabinet.

Amanda is an android built using cybergenetic technology. She has developed a personality, albeit one with the cool detachment and indifference of an android anyway. Alcohol has a corrosive effect on the interstitial nuclei of her anterior hypothalamus. The President also uses three less sophisticated black androids. Unwisely, he programs Amanda to assassinate a minor government minister on 21st November 1993, not anticipating that the minister in question is himself, in his assumed identity of Home Office Minister; when it no longer has any other use for him, the Garvond sends him to the relevant time and place and Amanda shoots him dead.

The Doctor carries a plastic strip of cards under his hat, including his UNIT pass, an Interplanetary Visa, a membership card for the Prydonian Chapter Debating Forum, and a membership card for the Oxford Union Society, of which he is a lifetime member. Towards the end of his Fourth incarnation, the Doctor contemplated retiring for an extended fishing holiday on Florana (Death to the Daleks). He carries a pack of cards and plays Pontoon with Terrin. He claims that he was warned at the Academy about talking to the dead, although he might be being facetious. It is again implied that his eyes change colour. He sends a distress call under the name Theta Sigma (The Armageddon Factor). He again uses the name John Smith, but admits that this is "only for convenience". He claims that he is fond of almond slices. During his first or second incarnation, the Doctor had a Rubix cube.

Ace dislikes mid-millennium music. She likes Carter USM.

Bernice dons a burgundy trouser suit and black boots when she accepts the dinner invitation from Professor Rafferty. The Doctor books a room for her at the Randolph Hotel in Oxford. She can read German a little. Whilst sightseeing in Oxford, she buys a Julian Barnes paperback and a copy of A. L. Rouse's Oxford in the History of the Nation. She also reads Barthes' Sur Racine, Don Quixote, 500 Exciting Recipes with Root Vegetables and A Brief History of Time.

The TARDIS library contains first edition Dickens, the First Folio of King Lear, diskettes containing the complete works of the 21st-century environmentalists, and tablets engraved with Linear B. Tools contained in the TARDIS include the artron meter and the vector gauge. The TARDIS has a rarely used function called the DITO (Defence Indefinite Timeloop Option), which means that it is always a millisecond in the future whenever anyone tries to locate it; the TARDIS automatically activates this here when it detects the Garvond's intrusion. This TARDIS from the alternate timeline distrusts the Doctor, but not Ace. The TARDIS contains a "Certificate of Dimensional Engineering" and a copy of a Viz Christmas Special. The library contains a copy of 200 Poems on the Transit System (Transit) and Communications Networks and Temporal Rectification by Prydonian Chancellor Parjtesa-Kalayethzor Rodan (The Invasion of Time). The Doctor sets the architectural configuration to randomize, in order to trap the Garvond in the TARDIS.

James Rafferty, Professor of Extra-Terrestrial Studies at Oxford College, is an old friend of the Doctor, and a friend and college of the Brigadier. Rafferty is also an old friend of Ian Chesterton's, and has consulted with Professor Travers on the Yeti control spheres (The Abominable Snowmen, The Web of Fear). The Brigadier has dined at High Table in St. Matthew's College three times in the last eighteen months, at Rafferty's invitation.

Bojihans are ferret-faced aliens. They have fourteen main languages, which depend on pronunciation, stress and inflexion, and several thousand different types of squeals and grunts, several hundred of which lie beyond the range of human hearing; as a result, no human has ever mastered the Bojihan languages, at least by the twenty-fourth century.

Berax spores travel faster than any other bacterial organism and wiped out the population of Rho Magnus. Catressium is a mild emetic that causes stomach cramps for ten minutes, followed by vomiting and finally a slight high.

Links: The Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey first appeared in Shada (TV), and the Doctor also mentions Skagra. The mysterious manipulator is revealed to be the Monk in No Future. Ace is still thinking about Manisha (Blood Heat). The Cloister Bell was first heard in Logopolis. The Doctor mentions Mastons and there is a reference to Voxnic (Slipback). Amanda mentions the Zygon Gambit (Terror of the Zygons), the Shoreditch incident (Remembrance of the Daleks), and Auderly House (Day of the Daleks). There are at least three Morestran dialects (Planet of Evil). The Doctor mentions the Blinovitch Limitation Effect (Day of the Daleks, Invasion of the Dinosaurs). Ace recalls Mike (Remembrance of the Daleks), Shreela (Survival), Jan (Love and War), and Gabriel Chase (Ghost Light).

Location: Space Station Q4 and the Icarus on the edge of the galaxy, 2381 [see Infinite Requiem]; Oxford, 18th to 21st November 1993.

Future History: The Cyberwars took place during the early twenty-fourth century (see Deceit). The Terran Survey Corp is an outfit that investigates situations that don't fall within the remit of the military or medical corps. They report to Lightbase and are trained at Moonbase Academy. Survey Corps technical operators are known as TechnOps. Distance in space is measured in traks and micro-traks by the twenty-fourth century. Terran Survey Corp weapons include Derenna-36s, which have symbiotic sighting. They also use Derenna-24s.

Circa 2380, the crew of Terran Survey Corp vessel Icarus investigated the disappearance of three palaeontologists on the colony of Ephros, eventually finding the surviving member, who had murdered the other two, in the Belvedere Cavern. The death sentence exists in the twenty-fourth century. It is implied that London is a forest by this time. On Earth, a Professor Xoster is conducting experiments in time travel using tachyons. There is an Institute of Interplanetary Linguistics and Non-Verbal Communications.

Aberna is an impoverished Earth colony where the colonists turned to cannibalism, eating family members when they died.

Romulous Terrin has heard legends of Time Lords, Gallifrey, and Guardians, but thinks that they are myths; nobody has ever proven their existence by 2381.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor has met Blaise Pascal and wonders if he remembers him. He has also met Samuel Pepys, Francis Kilvert, and Arthur Young.

The Bottom Line: Literate, gripping, and extremely well-written, The Dimension Riders is a fairly traditional Doctor Who story with an adult approach that makes it feel like a quintessential New Adventure. The characterisation is superb, and as a result the many deaths all carry weight, making this at times a highly effective horror story.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke
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