Dead Romance

Roots: There are references to Tales From the Crypt, The Outer Limits, Brian Aldiss, Oscar Wilde, Captain Marvel, Adam Adamant Lives!, Shakespeare, the BBC, the Beatles, Ted Heath, Harold Wilson, Blue Peter, Z Cars, NME, Bob Dylan, the Dalai Lama, the Daily Mirror, Dragnet, Rosemary's Baby, The News of the World, Sons and Lovers, 2001, Dial M For Murder, Jimi Hendrix, Woolworths, Alice In Wonderland, Charles Atlas, The Sky At Night, MC Escher, Bill Grundy, The People, Pogle's Wood, Fate magazine, A Matter of Life and Death, Mary Poppins, WH Smiths, Women In Love, Tomorrow's World, Not Only...But Also, Thirty-Minute Theatre, Errol Flynn, Stranger In a Strange Land, Today magazine, 'American Gothic', Quatermass and the Pit, Thunderbirds, Laurence Olivier, Dad's Army, Wheel Of Fortune, Watch Out!, and Gunsmoke. "No, not the rectal probe" may be a South Park joke.

Chris' ritual murder of the other Christine Summerfields is compared to the crimes of Charles Manson, who went on trial in 1970.

Memorable Moments: The Time Lord invasion of Earth.

Continuity: [Note - Dead Romance on one level is a metaphor for how Lawrence Miles sees the Virgin and BBC Doctor Who novel ranges, which he does not consider to be in the same universe. It is implied in the text that the Gods are Time Lords from the BBC books, fleeing from the Enemy; i.e. the Virgin novels take place in IM Foreman's bottle universe. The bottle leaking is an explanation for why references to the New and Missing Adventures occur throughout the BBC books. Nevertheless, given the number of sequels to Virgin novels in the BBC range, many others clearly disagree with him, so I have treated Dead Romance as part of the overall continuity].

The Time Lords are trying to gain access to the bottle universe from Interference as a hiding place from the Gods, whom they fear [they will later keep it for use as a bolt-hole to hide from the Enemy - see The Ancestor Cell]. They are unsure of the Gods' origin; although they hypothesise that they have existed since the dawn of time and have been sleeping [this is not the case - see Twilight of the Gods (NA)]. They are convinced that the Gods can easily defeat them if war breaks out. They use 'copycat tissue' implants to replace lost tissue. They are capable of giving their non-Time Lord agents regenerative cycles and the ability to time travel more easily, apparently by injecting them with nanites [which may give the recipient symbiotic nuclei]. This usually destroys the reproductive system following the first regeneration. When these agents regenerate, their bodies are radically changed to fit their needs; thus, Khiste has a massive armoured body with steel-like skin. The Time Lords use many agents as weapons, including ones wired into spherical flying fighting machines - when they regenerate, the pilots bodies fill up the spaces in the machinery.

In addition, the threat of the Gods is considered so serious that the Matrix sends a signal to Shada, which releases all the prisoners; they are then immediately operated on, transforming them into living weapons to fight for the Time Lords (the Time Lords could have done this "centuries ago", but considered it inhumane) The process makes time travel easier by rewiring the nervous system to allow the brain to think in four dimensions; consequently, many of the "rules" of time travel are genetic. They can clone fully-grown humanoids and can provide them with complete sets of memories. They bargain with the Sphinxes, offering them time travel in exchange for access to the bottle, and due to the genetic aspect of their time travel technology they provide them with cloned agents to dissect. They use warships shaped like golden spires, capable of sterilising entire planets. The Time Lords use chemicals that break down memory acids in order to remove memories (see The War Games). Much of their equipment is made of gold [possibly explaining why the Seal of Rassilon decorates the halls on Voga in 'Revenge of the Cybermen', since it may have been a Time Lord colony at some point]. They are learning to master the Sphinxes rituals, which seem to be based on Block Transfer Computation (Chris is able to reprogram one of the sphinxes by chanting).

Gallifrey's sun is a supernova (Remembrance of the Daleks). Once they gain full-scale access to the bottle, they invade Earth en mass, using block transfer computations to transform it into a replica of Gallifrey. The humans already there are ignored, although some volunteer to be transformed into Time Lord soldiers. The Time Lords plan on turning the bottle Earth's sun into a Black Hole (using the Hand of Omega). Following the invasion, Christine visits Gallifrey, to find it evacuated and stripped bare [this is one of the nine Gallifreys referred to in The Ancestor Cell and subsequently erased from history by Faction Paradox. I hypothesise that the Time Lords that invade the bottle as a bolt-hole are in fact the CIA, especially given their threatened involvement in Twilight of the Gods (NA)].

The Time Lords are sufficiently frightened by the threat of the Gods to change the conditions of the treaty with the People of the Worldsphere and allow them to develop time travel, in exchange for not siding with the Gods during the potential war. They also send Chris to Skaro to make an alliance with the Daleks. It is revealed that they previously made an undisclosed deal with the Daleks to allow them to develop time travel technology (it is unclear what they gained in return, but their attempt to wipe out the Daleks in Genesis of the Daleks shows them reneging on the deal). They also agreed not to Time Scoop the Daleks for use in the Game of Rassilon (The Five Doctors). It is revealed that Gallifreyan timepieces are designed to adjust to whatever time period the owner is in, changing the numbers on their faces if necessary. They are also sensitive to time warps, hence the Doctor's clock melting in The Edge of Destruction.

Since his last appearance, Chris has started working for the Time Lords, who have altered his memories of his time with the Doctor - he now believes that the Doctor was called the Evil Renegade and abducted him and Roz. They have also given him a regenerative cycle, although he has not yet regenerated (the process has made him infertile). The rulers of at least one planet, following a mission for the Time Lords, have declared him a war criminal. In order to open the bottle and allow the large-scale invasion, the Time Lords send Chris into the bottle to perform a ritual that involves murdering three people at certain times and places within the bottle London. Unable to kill the intelligent inhabitants of the bottle Earth, Chris takes a cloning tank into the bottle and creates Christine Summerfield (he names the clone after himself and Benny). Since the sacrifices have to be real people, he provides a full memory pattern, which he adapts from the template to make Christine an individual. He kills the first two Christines before they become fully aware, but the third escapes from him and becomes a fully rounded individual; he is unable to kill her and this Christine's notebooks recount the events described here, initially unaware of her fake origins. He then creates a fourth Christine and kills her as planned, thus opening the bottle fully. Chris again wears Daffy Duck underpants (The Room with no Doors).

Following the Time Lord invasion, Christine Summerfield leaves the bottle (and Chris, with whom she has a relationship prior to learning the truth, and travels the galaxy, visiting Ordifica (Interference), Criptostophon, Gardener's World, Hai Dow Seven, Lubellin, Shatner's Climax, Ultra Caprisis and [a] Gallifrey.

Simia KK98 is a Gallifreyan colony, said to be one of only a few [including Dronid]. It was colonised to use as a hiding place if anything ever befell Gallifrey. Its psychedelic sky and landscape cause most humanoids to hallucinate. The planet is uninhabited, although supports basic fungal life. The Time Lords have built numerous rocky fortresses on its surface, plus one huge central city. There is a six-armed statue of Rassilon outside the fortress, which houses the entrance to the bottle.

The Time Lords initially believe that the Sphinxes are supposedly constructs created by a rogue group of Gods, but the Sphinxes deny this [which makes sense, as the true nature of the Gods is revealed in Twilight of the Gods (NA)]. They can warp reality, allowing them to trap dematerialising TARDISes, apparently by using block transfer computations. Sphinx space is twisted beyond the ability of most beings to enter it, although Chris implies that the Doctor has visited it [however this may be one of his false memories planted by the Time Lords]. It is rumoured to have a planet at its centre, with a vast sphinx sat on either hemisphere. These two sphinxes make the rules that govern sphinx society and are known as the Kings of Space. One is black, the other white [they may be connected to the Black and White Guardians]. The Sphinxes feed on stuff from outside time [the Lux Aeterna (The Quantum Archangel)].

The bottle universe is much simpler than the real universe, lacking both high-tech civilisations and of course the Gods. The sphinxes claim to have created it [which contradicts IM Foreman's claim in Interference - possibly, IM Foreman stole it from the sphinxes, or collaborated with them on it, or used their technology in its creation].

Beings that are lost in the Time Vortex cannot die - their bodies are torn apart, but their minds survive and are exposed to the full emptiness of the Vortex, becoming ghosts of horror and spite. These are able to enter the bottle when Chris enters, and infiltrate its operating system. They become a gestalt entity referred to as the Horror. The Horror contains humanoids [including Salamander and Ruath], and a supercomputer dropped into the Vortex by the Doctor during the twenty-fifth century [possibly Pool from Deceit]. It also includes Father Kreiner (Interference). The Horror plans on killing everyone inside the bottle, but is convinced by Christine to adopt human form, suppress its knowledge of its true memories, and live as a human for thirty years to decide whether or not it really wants to kill. Its human form may have been destroyed when the Time Lords invaded, or later transformed into one of their servants [since faction Paradox have rescued Father Kreiner from the Vortex in The Ancestor Cell, it may have survived only to have Kreiner removed from it by the Faction].

Cygni 8.6 is a 'planetette' almost entirely covered with market stalls. It is near to Dellah, and on the edge of the Earth Empire. Its poor light made it popular with traders hoping to sell second-rate merchandise. Amongst the items on sale are "liquid cats", artificial cats made out of liquid computers.

Bernice does not appear, but her family tree is revealed, and can be traced back to the 1930s. Jonah Summerfield was born 1930 and died in an industrial accident in 1975; Jonah Jr was born in 1948 and fathered Valentine Summerfield, born 1970. Benedict Summerfield was born in 1990 and gained an impressive criminal record - he illegitimately fathered Jason Summerfield in 2007, and Jason had a son named Jubilation Constantine Summerfield, born 2039, who died in 2106. Jubilation's son Benedict Summerfield II was born 2076 and murdered sixty-three people by the age of 25 - he became known as "The Hyena". He was also found to have tampered with his ID records, casting doubt on the existence of the previous Summerfields. He had two children, including a son Marshal, who in turn fathered Dylan Summerfield in 2165. His girlfriend Candice had a son with another man, who she made change his name to Summerfield; their son, Benedict Summerfield III, was born in 2214 and became a policeman on Vandor Secunda. He committed suicide in before his thirtieth birthday, but left a son behind. Marshal Summerfield II.

Marshall became head of the Caprisi Military Academy. His son, whom he named Marshall Summerfield II, and his Grandson Marshall Summerfield III, followed in his footsteps, and together they founded a right-wing clique called the Wayfinder Order. Marshall III had a son, Marshall IV, born 2318. He had a daughter named Cathy or a daughter named Cathal Summerfield in 2344. He died in 2362. Cathy/Cathal became an androgyne and sold his/her body to science. In 2365, his/her son Benedict Summerfield IV was born and she/he died. Part of a super-fertility programme, Benedict fathered a child at the age of two, and then died. Isaac Summerfield in turn had a child in 2389, which he named Marshal V. In 2455 his son Dylan's children were taken away from him after he was found guilty of sleeping with non-humans. Dylan's son Jonah was called up for national service and had a distinguished career. His son Isaac Summerfield II became an Admiral and was Benny's father. Despite being reported dead in 2543 (Return of the Living Dad), he was recorded as still being in active service in 2595, suggesting he returned to his own time.

Links: There is a reference to the Vampire War, first mentioned in State of Decay. Christine refers to Chris at one point as the "Cwej of Destruction". Chris tells Christine that in the real universe, the pyramids where built by aliens [Pyramids of Mars], there is life on Mars [The Ice Warriors and others], and that there are lost planets within the solar system [possibly a reference to Planet V (Image of the Fendahl and The Taking of Planet 5)]. He also knows who jack the Ripper was [The Pit, Matrix]. Chris mentions the Grel (Oh No It Isn't!). The letters on the ouija board include the words Dust and Interference (Interference), and Christine On a Rational Planet and The Watchmakers (Christmas on a Rational Planet).

Page 156 contains a [rather scathing] critique of Walking to Babylon.

Location: The Earth within the bottle universe, subjective time 27th to 30th October 1970; Simia KK98, mid-late 2596.

Future History: By 2455, sleeping with non-humans is illegal. On 22nd January 2591, Professor Begarius of Loughborough University warns of unseen consequences of Earth's imperial policy. Sea serpents are spotted on Tyler's Folly on 18th November 2593 (see Down). Earth finally admits that Dellah is off-limits on 30th March 2596.

Unrecorded Adventures: Chris has visited a planet run by intelligent numbers, all between seventeen and eighteen.

The Bottom Line: Arguably Miles' best novel to date, Dead Romance keeps the reader guessing right up until the end and delivers human tragedy of painful proportions. Chris's fall from grace is expertly handed, keeping him a sympathetic figure even when the full horror of his actions is revealed. The novel works on numerous levels, not least of which is as a metaphor for Lawrence's opinion of the relationship between the Virgin and BBC novels. The Time Lord invasion of the Bottle Earth is a truly epic moment.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke

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