Heart of TARDIS

Roots: There are many, many references to The Simpsons, with Lychburg largely based on Springfield. Science fiction B-movies. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Occultism, Mouse icons. There are references to Noel Coward, Plato, Buck Rogers and the Mole Men and Buster Crabbe, Karl Marx, the Three Stooges, Coogan's Bluff, The Addams Family, "Dixie", Ali Bongo, Sanya, Horse and Hound magazine, Silly Putty, Zippo lighters, Bloomingdales, GAP, Hard Rock Café, Heinekin, Sclitz, Budweiser, Jack the Ripper, and Kerplunk.

The Fitzroy Tavern is the real-life meeting place of Doctor Who fans and novel writers. The comic strip that Delbane finds in the Doctor's lab at UNIT HQ is the last page of the TV Comic Doctor Who strip, The Night Walkers.

Goofs: The dating of this story is rather inconsistent. Benton and the Brigadier recognise the fourth Doctor, but Benton is still a Sergeant (rather than a RSM), and Yates is still part of UNIT. Besides, UNIT has been around for rather a long time - it's after the Falklands war, and UNIT is said to date back at least to the Heath and the Labour administrations. Oh, and it appears to still be in the UNIT era.

The Second Doctor is able to give out indefinitely large amounts of blood. However, in The Eight Doctors, the Fourth Doctor was dangerously drained drained of blood and the Eighth only had a limited amount that he could give him before being affected himself.

The narrative claims that Tolkien wrote reams of semi-coherent fiction under the orders of the Allied command to counter the Nazi worldview. Apart from the obvious fact that The Lord of the Rings is very well written and doesn't really achieve this kind of aim, none of it was published until 1954.

On page 260, it says that Dr Sohn "quite simply, stopped dead". On page 262, it says what happened to stop it.

The Doctor and Romana don't seem to care about the quest for the Key to Time, yet in Tomb of Valdemars, the Doctor seemed to think it was so important that nothing should get in its way.

Not strictly a goof as such, but the Collectors are so similar to Sloathes that it isn't clear why Stone gives them a different name.

Technobabble: Gravmetric forces; Piezoelectromagnetically-based autonomic macroconstructs. Romana's paragraph-long explanation of how the TARDIS works on page 215. Quantum-based dynamically self-referential pattern matrix.

Dialogue Disasters: It is slightly harder than otherwise to feel fear in a situation in which someone is comfortable enough to eat a cheese sandwich.

Several of the chapter titles

Dialogue Triumphs: Romana to Delbane: 'I have little to no experience at all with this so-called technology of yours.'

Romana: 'A little outing with the aboriginals. How perfectly lovely.'

The Second Doctor: 'Surely I must have said something about murders when I ...'
Victoria: 'Doctor, perhaps it would be simpler if we all pretended that you had told us, but we've forgotten, so you'll have to tell us all over again.'

After a paragraph of narrative describing advanced technology, Romana thinks that 'the helicopter looked quaintly baroque and archaic.'

The fourth Doctor: 'Have you ever thought of seeing a specialist about that needlessly self-important and messianic tone?'

The fourth Doctor 'I never met you back then - or at least I haven't yet'

The Doctor: 'You people pick up things faster than almost everybody else in the known universe - concepts and processes for which others strive for millennia before they so much as begin to grasp them - and then you just bang them together until they go boom.'

The Brigadier to McCrae: 'You've been given an order by a superior officer, which by my reckoning, from the shape of you, means any officer at all.'

"I shudder to think of the state to which the Fitzroy Tavern might be reduced in another fifty years. Radiophonic actors and pulp-periodical writers, I have no doubt..."

Jamie: "Yon lads had it in their minds to try a bit of monkey business, but they thought better of it when I showed 'em my dirk."#
Victoria: "You did say dirk, didn't you?"

Continuity: Victoria's father once had a nineteen-guinea pen, which she was forbidden to go near. She has been keeping a journal of her adventures, which is partly fictionalised. She has never before encountered an escalator and is afraid of both rats and spiders. The Doctor gives her a Chinese lacquer pen. She has a William Morris bathrobe in her room on board the TARDIS. She dons a brightly coloured dress of synthetic material here, which apparently comes from the TARDIS wardrobe. She dons some calf-length patent leather boots: the heel snaps off of one of them, causing her to sprain her ankle. Victoria once discovered a periodical called The Pearl in her father's dresser drawer, but found it puzzling [for anyone wondering, it was a collection of erotic tales published between 1879 and 1880, until it was shut down by the authorities for publishing rude and obscene literature...]. Victoria had an aunt, twice removed, who lived in Boston.

Jamie can write in English, albeit not very well.

Crowley has the Brigadier abducted. The Brigadier meets Romana I here.

The Second Doctor claims that the Time Lords put failsafes in a TARDIS to prevent a thief from travelling where he wants. [he's probably lying as a means of defending his inability to pilot it.] He plays a penny whistle. He also has the ability to give ridiculous amounts of blood.

Romana has at least 27 different senses. There was a new traditionalist faction that appeared on Gallifrey not long before Romana left. The Doctor knows for a fact that Rassilon came upon "the great and glorious secrets of Time" by stealing a translation belt from the species who attacked the Time Lords in the Time Wars. The [fourth] Doctor can construct a machine to track someone's recent movements.

The Fourth Doctor keeps leaving K9 behind in various places, forcing him to retrieve him later and repair him as required; he retrieves him from the Big Huge and Educational Collection of Old Galactic Stuff here, and has previously rescued him from a young man's birthday party in Manchester [a reference to his appearance in Queer as Folk]. The Doctor describes the sonic screwdriver as "Gallifreyan technology". The Doctor often plays card games using a pack of tarot cards blessed by several magi adept in the physical manipulations of reality, or to put it another way, magic; as a result, Romana refuses to play cards with him. The Doctor claims to have witnessed the Time Wars [which would explain why he knows so much about the Charon - see Sky Pirates!].

Delbane unwittingly activates the space-time telegraph that the Doctor gave to the Brigadier for use in emergencies, thus leading him to Earth (see Terror of the Zygons). The Doctor has recently developed an audacious and ingenious method for escaping when the Time Lords trap the TARDIS in null time, but suspects that having used it to get away from Wblk, they'll now know about it and stop him from using it again. Wblk later claims that the Time Lords knew about that particular form of escape but didn't think anyone would be foolhardy enough to try it. According to Delbane, there are no verified photographs of Doctor John Smith anywhere on record. The Doctor and Romana, escaping from the Jarakabeth, spend fifteen years passing through sub-dimensions, during which they encounter soma-monsters, soul-catcher bombs with which the Sontarans have mined the nether regions, and the Solstice Squid. They re-emerge inside the Lychburg Discontinuity on board the Second Doctor's TARDIS and adjust the controls; the Doctor remembers this happening, but wasn't aware of his future self and Romana's involvement, since they hide underneath the console until the Second Doctor, Jamie and Victoria leave the control room.

Time Lord legends state that Rassilon wrestled with the Great Beast and struck off its head, from which to take the branching golden tree of its metathalamus, wherein lay the First Secret of Chrononambulatory Egress. The Doctor points out that Rassilon actually came upon the secrets of time travel by stealing the translation belt of a species that attacked Gallifrey during the Time Wars [a reference to Alan Moore's Doctor Who Magazine back-up strip Star Death]. High Councilman Wblk is a member of a Time Lord traditionalist faction. The Doctor claims that convention dictates that a Time Lord's name grows in length in recognition of his stature, reputation and deeds of note, but he's possibly just insulting Wblk. The Gallifreyan chronosphere is littered with pre-Type One TARDIS prototypes abandoned by Rassilon. One of these impacts on a previously stable singularity, trapping itself within the physical and temporal atmosphere of Earth and knocking it out of dimensional alignment. The anomaly in question is further disrupted by the materialisation inside it of the Second Doctor's TARDIS. The prototype TARDIS is piloted by the last Gallifreyan woprat in existence, which Jamie kills. Woprats were medium-dog sized rat-like creatures with fifteen elongated, partially furred, and multi-jointed legs. The death of the woprat, which is controlling the prototype TARDIS and thus the Discontinuity, coupled with the Fourth Doctor's interference with the controls of the Second Doctor's TARDIS, destroys the Discontinuity, restoring Lychberg to its previous location.

The Collectors are an alien race once known as a hideous galactic scourge. Their invention of the hyperwobble-drive and use of psychonomic shielding on their swarms of ships making their progress so erratic that neither organic nor artificial minds could cope enough to stop as they cause mental breakdown of planetary defence systems. The only way to escape from them was to run away or hide: even the Daleks once faked the destruction of their home planet through ridiculously overcomplicated means to hide it from the Collectors and only reveal that it still existed once they had gone. They are rabidly acquisitive and will steal and horde literally anything; eventually, their consequent exposure to other cultures changed them, and they became less obsessed with collecting, eventually establishing a museum called the Big Huge and Educational Collection of Old Galactic Stuff tens of thousands of years after the twentieth century. The Collectors are metamorphic, partly due to their complex internal skeletal structure and potential organs and appendages that can be grown on demand [are they Sloathes at a different stage in their history? See Sky Pirates!].

There is some kind of magick. It involves "minor Signs of Power", shapes which can shut down the higher centres of the brain.

UNIT has arrangements to acquire industrial lasers, live marmosets, archaeolgical tools, rocketry components, Watsui tribal masks, and time on US college-campus particle accelerators. They recently requisitioned a third of the Bank of England's gold reserves and didn't replace them. [There was an unrecorded Cyberman invasion - with Cybermen from the future]. It has been around since the 70s. The Doctor's lab has not been touched since his last use of it [so UNIT hasn't moved HQ for a while]. UNIT has recently obtained several Apple Mac computers. They are currently having trouble with Silurian incursions [so at least one new shelter has been discovered since The Silurians, possibly that seen in The Scales of Injustice].

DISTO(P)IA, the DIvisional department of Special Tactical Operations (Provisional) with regard to Insurgent and subversive Activity is part of Special Branch. It exists to counter the forces of subversion [i.e. left-wing sympathies] wherever they appear. It is currently investigating UNIT. The Jarakabeth disguised as Aleister Crowley is currently the head of (DISTO(P)IA); he was recruited by Section Eight, a covert American organisation, to work on the Golgotha Project, which was intended to create a Magic bomb using the Arimathea artifact. The bomb was tested on the populated American town of Lychberg, which promptly disappeared. This is, in fact, all part of the anomaly that creates the Discontinuity.

TV Comic in the 1960s published some stories remarkably similar to the Doctor Who ones where Patrick Troughton was exiled to Earth before being turned into John Pertwee. [These are Professor X stories].

The Jarakabeth are demons. They dislike having the name of their species spoken aloud because it embarrasses them (much like the English surname Crapper). The Jarakabeth disguised as Crowley wants to use the Discontinuity to unleash chaos on the universe; another, more friendly Jarakabeth, stops it. Other species of demon include the Azrae and Raagnarokath.

Braxellian flies often get trapped in oogli-amber.

Links: In a glorious piss-take of the events of War of the Daleks on page 23, it is revealed that the Daleks once tried to pretend that their planet had been destroyed to avoid being attacked by the Collectors. Victoria recalls Tomb of the Cybermen. There are references to Skaro, Chelonians (The Highest Science, Zamper, The Well-Mannered War), and Jamie's first meeting with the Doctor in Culloden (The Highlanders). Queegvogel Duck Duck Duck Duck Duck Duck Seven is mentioned in an issue of Astonishing Stories of Unmitigated Science! (Burning Heart).

Location: The prologue happens in London, 1947; The Big Huge and Educational Collection of Old Galactic Stuff, in the far future; London and Baltimore in the UNIT era [possibly - the story flatly contradicts itself about where it happens within the UNIT era, and could be moved to the 1980s].

Unrecorded Adventures: The Second Doctor, Jamie and Victoria have just visited Madagascar, where they freed the people from the control of some kind of orb (although the way Victoria writes this suggests that she's substituting Madagascar for an alien place name). Several weeks earlier, they visited the NovaLon hypercities in the twenty-second century, where Victoria acquired a credit-chip. The Second Doctor claims to have met Sherlock Holmes [but is probably lying at this point in his life - see All-Consuming Fire]. Victoria recalls an adventure where people live in crystal bubbles beneath the sea. The Second Doctor used to be a subscriber and, occasionally, contributor (under the name Doctor John Smith) to Astonishing Stories of Unmitigated Science!, but believed it died out by the end of the 1950s.

The Fourth Doctor has just left K9 somewhere (Romana seems to think this happens a lot), and places he could have picked K9 up from include a 20th Century birthday party. The fourth Doctor was present as an eyewitness during the Time Wars. He also claims to have told Francis Bacon that "all will be well, and well, all manner of things shall be well" when Bacon was trying to stuff snow up a chicken. The Doctor knows for a fact that certain things will happen to the Brigadier (UNITed we Fall (Decalog 3)?).

The fourth Doctor claims first that he had never met Crowley, and then that he knew him for years ('lovely chap, if dreadfully misinterpreted, and a bit too fond of the old laudanum').

The Bottom Line (prosecution): "What have you gone and done to the basic fabric of space/time now?" HEART OF TARDIS contains lashings of silliness. The regular characters are almost entirely well written, and the plot's OK. Despite all this, the book falls flat. The Doctor and Romana abandoning the quest for the Key to Time on a whim seems out of character, and the contradictions about UNIT dating raise my nerdish hackles.

The Bottom Line (Defence): "The Continuity must be protected." The usual Dave Stone characteristics (silly alien names, weird other-dimensional entities, jokes), are mixed together with two separate Doctors to refreshing effect and the result is hilariously entertaining. The only real disappointment is that the two Doctors never meet, but Stone's near-perfect characterisation of both of them makes up for it.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke and Stephen Gray
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