Relative Dementias

Roots: Old folks homes, Alzheimer's disease.

Goofs: Megan gets all her bingo calls utterly wrong - probably on purpose. 'Two fat ladies...number six' or 'on it's own...twenty-six' aren't exactly obscure ones.

Some of the residents are discussing the launch of Channel 4. However, we know that there are already 3 BBC Channels (from The Daemons), and almost certainly ITV was launched about when it was in the real world. Therefore, the new channel should really be named Channel 5.

Michael recalls a superior officer in UNIT called Brigadier Bennington. However, this would mean either that Bennington was the same rank as his commanding officer (if the Brigadier is still in command) or a higher rank (if it's after Colonel Crichton took over). [Perhaps this was a foreign branch of UNIT.]

Ace recalls events in the Orkneys as "the night before", although she's been back from there for a couple of days.

The scene where the Doctor and (future) Ace are in the console room whilst (present) Ace is outside don't agree with each other. The account on page 26 has a lot of dialogue that is missed from the account on page 266. Mind you, the bits that are the same are word-for-word identical.

The UNIT dating is definitely off. The Third Doctor's time at UNIT is said to be 'months ago' several times (even though it's 1982). However, if you think the novel is assuming a later date for the UNIT era, part of Miss Gallowglass's six months in her East End Portakabin is during 1976 - and after she has met the Doctor.

Fashion Victims: Countess Gallowglass's outfit reminds Ace of a Christmas tree and the Blue Peter advent crown.

Technobabble: Progeria (premature ageing) is a congenital neuroendoctrinological disorder.

Dialogue Disasters: There is a character called Mary Christmas.

Dialogue Triumphs: The future, she'd decided, wasn't what it used to be.

Ace: 'I didn't think we had any secrets from one another.'
The Doctor: 'Time Lords always have secrets, it's how we were brought up.'

The Doctor: 'There's no such word as impossible. Apart from in the dictionary, of course.'

The Doctor and Ace talking about something strange going on whilst Megan's massacring bingo calls.

Joyce: 'Where are we?'
Ace: 'You don't want to know.'
Joyce: 'If I didn't want to know, I wouldn't have asked.'

One of the Tweedies:: 'You know rather a lot for a human.'
The Doctor: 'I know rather a lot for anyone.'

Ace to the Doctor: 'Subtitles in English for the hard-of-thinking please.'

Alexander: 'You really are a nutter, aren't you?'
Ace: 'Probably.'

Continuity: Ace's first trip to London was to see a musical with her mother. Her room on the TARDIS is very messy. The Doctor gives her name as Dorothy McShane [not Gale], and Ace later invents a Mrs Gale as her neighbour. She is still under the legal drinking age. She claims to have tried smoking once, but she decided it didn't go with high explosives. She's not familiar with diving. She didn't see much of her Dad, and saw too much of her Mum. She has a pen in her rucksack, and has a middle name. [Gale?].

Miss/Countess Gallowglass runs a message forwarding service for aliens and time travellers. In the 70s, just after the Doctor's exile ended, it was run from a Portakabin in the East End. By 2012, it's from a well-hidden plushy building on or near Carnaby Street.

The TARDIS has at least one Arboretum.

The Doctor mentions "ten centuries of Time Travel". [He's talking about how long he's known the theory.] He is still a vegetarian. He has a paperback science fiction novel called The Cassandra Experience in his pocket, and doesn't believe a word of it. He notes a lot of its inaccuracies.

A Landine is a gene tailored guardform, genetically engineered, bred, and modified to be the ultimate loyal dog. Most of them are polymorphic (shape shifters). They are used by the Annarene, who look like big mobile twiglets, but orange.

Links: The Doctor mentions the end of his exile (The Three Doctors). There are several mentions of UNIT, and a couple of Liz Shaw. The Doctor says that he'd almost forgotten what it was like to have a granddaughter (Susan). The Doctor discovers a few bits of Fleshsmith technology (Prime Time). He mentions that the Brigadier occasionally took some persuasion about his regeneration (Spearhead from Space). The processor comes across a memory of Leela from Drift. The Doctor recalls Chesterton, Tegan, and Sarah when he is dying. Ace remembers Nan Dudman's (The Curse of Fenric) outside loo.

Michael mentions UNIT encounters with the Yeti (The Web of Fear), Cybermen (The Invasion), Daleks (Day of the Daleks), Autons (Spearhead from Space, Terror of the Autons), and the Waro (The Devil Goblins from Neptune).

Location: Muirbridge, Dumfries, Scotland April 1982; The North Sea near the Orkneys in the same timezone; London, 2012

Future History: By 2012, fashions include long coats in billowing, shiny parachute-like fabric and short hair cropped into whorls and circles. At some point in the future, humanity will develop a cure for Alzhiemer's disease.

Unrecorded Adventures: The last time Joyce saw the Doctor was during a lovely, blowy day at Cromer. They had scones at a teashop and went back to UNIT HQ in Bessie. He gave her the address of a PO Box (Miss Gallowglass's) in London to contact him. He first met Miss Gallowglass soon after The Three Doctors, when one of her customers got annoyed that a parcel from a distant planet had got lost en route. This alien decided to declare war on Earth, and stole one of the crown Jewels. The Doctor managed to replace it with a fake.

The Doctor [jokes] that he's had to persuade at least three different alien races not to invade Earth on the grounds of Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft. He remembers the time Puccini had a terrible cold (c.f. The TV Movie).

A "memory" uncovered by the processor whilst it's in the Doctor's mind involves a single grey eye peering out at him from a broken window, which shimmers orange, brown, and yellow. There's a smell of bonfire smoke, and a rich sardonic voice asking him if he'd forgotten him already (p133).

Michael mentions UNIT legends about the Doctor defeating the Brotherhood of Beltane, and an adventure where big blobby aliens called the Talichre try to invade the Earth. The Doctor refused to hand over a device that he'd stolen, and one of the Talichre's human allies killed a UNIT trooper called Andy as an example.

The Bottom Line: 'If you knew what was going to happen to you - say you got a peek just 24 hours into your own future - what would you do?' A well-crafted tale with Ace and the Doctor both well characterised, and some very good concepts. Relative Dementias wouldn't be out of place in the New Adventures, tackling a lot of themes about the human consequences of the seventh Doctor's manipulations and the sub-plot about Ace stalking herself is very well done. It's worth a second read just to see how well everything you discover later is skilfully built up, let alone just reading it again for fun.

Discontinuity Guide by Stephen Gray

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