Tomb of Valdemar

Roots: H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulu mythos. There are quotations from Sir James George Frazer's The Golden Bough and Shakespeare's The Tempest. The Doctor quotes Faustus. There is a reference to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

Dialogue Triumphs: "The first thing you should know about me is that I'm never more focused than when I appear distracted."

"Impossible is just another word for "I don't understand"."

Continuity: Almost nothing is known of the higher dimensions, except that they co-exist with reality and, according to the Doctor, are actually a greater reality. He also describes them as the primal stuff of the universe. If the higher dimensions are breached, they will cause reality to change. Exposure to the higher dimensions causes organs in the human brain that have been dormant for centuries to start to grow, resulting in mental and physical effects. Certain individual organisms, including the Old Ones, are better adapted than others to perceive the higher dimensions.

Ashkellia has an atmosphere of liquid sulphuric acid clouds, and a mean surface temperature above six hundred degrees Celsius. The planet is the location of the legendary Tomb of Valdemar. According to legend, Valdemar was a black mass of life created or released by the Old Ones when they penetrated the higher dimensions, which swept across the universe like a stain and destroyed most of the Old Ones. The survivors killed it and buried it on Ashkellia. Legends of Valdemar survived on numerous worlds, including Gallifrey. According to Romana, the riddle of Valdemar and the Old Ones is number six on the list of the great ten mysteries of the universe. Most legends of Valdemar describe it as a force that needs life to contain its essence; the Centauri call it "Stoodlhoo", the Xanir "Prah-Tah-Cah", and the Ogrons "The Getting Into". In fact, Valdemar was the result of an experiment by the Old Ones to penetrate the higher dimensions: Ashkellia is a massive particle accelerator for which the Palace of the Old Ones, which floats in the atmosphere of Ashkellia and is self-maintaining and self-regenerating with low power status, is the control centre. The Tomb of Valdemar is thus actually a gateway to the higher dimensions. The Old Ones visited Earth and dissected some humans, discovering the dormant organ that is receptive to the higher dimensions in the hyperthalamus. The Old One that had acted as the vessel for the higher dimensions, realised that it was destroying the universe, and changed itself, holding the higher dimensions back; this Old One, is, essentially, Valdemar. Assuming it retains its original form, the Old Ones were vast fibrous green beings, with veiny purple stalks growing out of one end and a bluish head shaped like a globe. It has tentacles, and is possibly a mix of animal, vegetable and mineral matter. Huvan, the psychic human vessel for the higher dimensions, agrees to follow its example and absorb and stem the higher dimensions, remaining in the tomb and effectively becoming the new Valdemar [the Old Ones are not related to the Great Old Ones, and appear to be native to this universe - see All-Consuming Fire, Millennial Rites, Divided Loyalties, SynthespiansTM].

Animals hunted for fur on the planet include Narbeagles, ur-mink, ice-whales, and furred rattlers. There are ponies on the planet. Ur-dogs are rare and valuable tracking animals with long snouts and two stringy legs.

The Dimensional Ethics Committee on Gallifrey forbade any research into the higher dimensions. Time Lord brains contain dormant organs receptive to the higher dimensions. The Time Lords describe the creation of the universe from a singularity as the Kinetic Dance. Other races personify the force of the universe's creation and give it names including Eru and Azathoth.

The Doctor attempts to sing Ppiffer's Second Ode to the Cepholan Whale, largely unsuccessfully since the Cepholans have three larynxes. The Doctor claims that his doctorate is "purely honorary". He interrupts his search for the second segment of the Key to Time when he realises that the higher dimensions are being unleashed, as he considers it to be a more pressing threat to the universe. The Doctor takes a chemical that he finds in the library of the Old Ones designed to counteract the shock of growing new receptors in the brain that are sensitive to the higher dimensions by stopping them from growing.

Most of Romana's spare time at the Academy was spent developing mental and physical skills, studying traditional waltzes (nicknamed "The Foxtrots of Rassilon"), and swimming. Romana was not near enough to the events of the Sontaran invasion of Gallifrey to be affected (The Invasion of Time). She has read files on the Doctor relating to the Master affair (The Deadly Assassin), Omega's return (The Three Doctors), and his mission to Skaro (Genesis of the Daleks). The old woman on the unnamed planet who recounts the events here in flashback is a future incarnation of Romana; she regenerates during the telling of the story into a young and beautiful body with dark eyes and ebony skin. Her TARDIS disguises itself as the inn the Janua Foris.

K9 is affected by the higher dimensions and left in the TARDIS.

The monitor for the dimensional stabiliser indicates that the TARDIS is about to suffer a trans-dimensional breach.

Miranda Pelham is the author of The Tomb of the Dark God. She first heard of Valdemar on Proxima 2, the first of "the settled worlds", after a massacre at Proxima City. Lifeforms found on Proxima 2 included humans, nu-apes, the lithe Kordszz, and a Centauri (see The Curse of Peladon). Tenniel Stanislaus is heir to the Canus system. The Pan-Arlington system is also mentioned. The symbolic importance of the vessel of Valdemar's need for a consort is reflected in the legends of the witch-bride of the Centauri, the duo-consort of Binarii, and the Nagwife fairy tales of the Ogrons.

Baylock's palsy is a disease that causes premature ageing; victims never live a year beyond puberty.

Links: There are references to the Doctor's first visit to Skaro (The Daleks), the Yeti in the underground (The Web of Fear), Peladon (The Curse of Peladon, The Monster of Peladon), the city of the Exxilons (Death to the Daleks), Daleks, Centauri (The Curse of Peladon, The Monster of Peladon), Ogrons (Day of the Daleks, Frontier in Space), and Sutekh (Pyramids of Mars). The Doctor briefly recalls the events of The Daemons.

Location: Ashkellia [Lance Parkin's AHistory dates this story to c. 16,000AD].

Future History: According to the Doctor, the principles of atmospheric floatation are discovered six hundred years after the events seen here. The New Protectorate, apparently an Earth-based organisation, controls this area of space. The Doctor describes it as a "strange, rather anachronistic period in Terra's history. The rigours of Puritanism applied to a purely materialistic philosophy." The Chief Prosecutor to the New Protectorate is second only to the Virgin Lady High Protector. The Elite is a supremacist movement.

Neville's parents' home was a recreation of Alton Towers. Neville became Magus of the cult of Valdemar ten years before the events described here.

Unrecorded Adventures: Whilst at the Academy, the Doctor and the Master travelled back in time into Gallifreyan and universal history, in search of Valdemar. They found nothing of the Old Ones surviving except for warnings. The Master was fascinated by the power that Valdemar represented, the Doctor horrified.

Q.v. The Doctor's Doctorate, The Moonbase. (This essay can be found in the original Discontinuity Guide)

The Bottom Line: Valdemar isn't a god, it's an experiment that went horribly wrong." Despite its reputation, and an interesting twist on the ancient evil from the dawn of time plot, Tomb of Valdemar is very dull. It drags interminably in the middle, features a host of psychotic characters so teeth-gnashingly evil as to be unbelievable, and the prose still is interminably pompous.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke

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