World Game

Roots: Terminator II (the Raston Warrior Robot takes on the recuperative properties of the T1000 here). There are references to Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe novels, Scott Fitzgerald, Brigitte Bardot, Hitler, the Scarlet Pimpernel, Disraeli, Doctor Mesmer, Napoleon the Third, Manet, Monet, and Offenbach.

The Aliens from The War Games are referred to as the War Lords, which is the name given to them in Malcolm Hulke's novelisation of that story.

Goofs: The Doctor claims that he was once a member of the High Council, which flatly contradicts Lungbarrow; he's possibly just blustering to impress the guards, but later Sardon tells Serena that he was once a member of the High Council during the latter years of his first incarnation [which is possibly a cover story to gloss over the fact that he stole the Hand of Omega].

A badly constructed sentence gives the impression that Serena is unaware that TARDISes have telepathic links with their owners, which is unlikely to say the least [presumably, she's actually dismissing the Doctor's attachment to one particular TARDIS as "sentimental nonsense" rather than the idea of telepathic TARDISes in general, but the writing is appalling].

The Doctor assumes that the central column of the Type 97 TARDIS is the Time-Vector Generator, which seems odd given that his TARDIS has both and that they would be difficult to either confuse or combine (see The Wheel in Space).

On page 77, the Doctor announces "They're going to try and kill Napoleon and Wellington at one and the same time" - it should be Nelson and Wellington, as stated further up the same page.

Page 230 states that Napoleon returned from St Helena prior to the Battle of Waterloo; he didn't, he returned from Elba and was sentenced to St Helena later, as correctly stated elsewhere in the novel.

Most glaringly of all, why exactly do the CIA bother adjusting Jamie's memories when he is reunited with the Doctor so that he thinks he travelling in the TARDIS during the period between The Evil of the Daleks and Fury from the Deep, but adjust them to provide a reason for Victoria's absence? Why not just restore all of the memories taken from him at the end of The War Games and explain the situation to him?

Dialogue Disasters: Incredibly, the Doctor calls Serena a "mannerless minx".

"No, no, not the mind probe!"

Dialogue Triumphs: "My dear Doctor, if I could trust you, you wouldn't be of any use to me."

"You can learn a lot from traps."

Continuity: For the Players, the events described here take place after both Players and Endgame; they suspect but aren't sure that the Eighth Doctor is the same person as the Second Doctor. They have a rule that any Player killed in human form must die like any mortal. The Countess at least is aware of the Time Lords, as she has an ally on Gallifrey. She adopts the aliases Madame Lafarge and Countess Malika Treszka. The Countess creates an alternate time line in which Napoleon wins the Battle of Waterloo; he died of pneumonia during his victory parade in Moscow, and his empire collapsed, as foreseen by the Countess. The Players take advantage of the disintegration of the empire to create numerous small territories, which they pit against each other in endless "games" of war. The Countess describes this as her Grand Design. The Doctor restores the correct timeline by travelling back and preventing Napoleon's victory. Following his defeat of the Players here, they abandon the Grand Design and all Games suspended indefinitely due to the amount of disruption the Countess causes, which gets them noticed by the Time Lords.

Gallifrey has a Freedom of Information Act. Oubliettes are superior Time Lord prison cells for important prisoners. Time Lords have an instinctive fear of Vampires (see State of Decay). The Death Zone usually contains Vampires and Raston Warrior Robots. The Timescoop was supposedly destroyed after Rassilon's Reformation.

Raston Warrior Robots appear to be made of liquid metal; when the Doctor blows one up with a torpedo here, the pieces roll back together and reform the robot. Nobody knows who built them, but according to legend they were created by an alien super-race dedicated to war; so efficient at it were they that they eventually wiped themselves out.

The Doctor's trial at the end of The War Games was re-edited for the Gallifreyan populace; he was originally sentenced to death for interfering in the affairs of others, but is instead recruited by the CIA to investigate temporal interference on Earth, in return for which he's promised that his death sentence will be commuted into a period of exile. The deviousness and corruption of Time Lord politics were one of his reasons for leaving Gallifrey originally. He has friends amongst the Shobogans (The Deadly Assassin). He is given a time ring when he goes on his first mission for the CIA (Genesis of the Daleks) (the Doctor's trip to Earth and meeting with Winston Churchill is detailed in Players). On his return, he's provided for his next mission, and to his indignation, with a supervisor in the form of Time Lady Serenadellatrovella, or Serena for short. He's also temporonically tagged so that the CIA can observe and retrieve him at any time. The pair is provided with a Type 97 TARDIS, which Serena is supposed to pilot.

The Doctor is familiar with temporal graphology. He dons white breeches, a neatly-tailored long-tailed black coat with frilled shirt and cravat, gleaming black boots and a short travelling cloak whilst in Antibes, carries a Bregeut watch, and adopts the alias Citizen-Representative Henri Dupont, special investigator for the Committee of Public Safety. Later, he again uses the alias Doctor John Smith. He later impersonates Napoleon. Whilst in Paris he buys items of day and evening wear, breeches, boats, coats and many-caped cloaks. Before visiting the palace, he changes into a black coat, black breeches, and a frilly white shirt with an elaborate black cravat. For the Battle of Waterloo, he dons black breeches, a black evening coat, a frilled white shirt, and a white waistcoat. He and Serena drink champagne in Paris. He and Serena rent house number six in the Rue Chantereine, the Doctor using the alias Doctor Jean Dupont. The Doctor meets Napoleon, Nelson and Wellington here. He eats numerous small chicken pies with garlic at Napoleon's palace. He is familiar with Omega drives [it is implied that they are based on Gallifreyan technology]. He claims that he took his Gallifrey Lifesaver's Certificate at the Academy [he's possibly being facetious]. Serena gives him a piece of psychic paper, the latest technological development of the CIA (see The End of the World). He wears a Napoleon-style hat whilst impersonating the Emperor, which he keeps. When he returns to the CIA in the Type 79, he is wearing a smarter version of his normal attire and has grey streaks in his hair; it is noted that he "took his time getting back" to Gallifrey [exactly how long he spends wandering before returning to Gallifrey is unclear, although it probably includes his visit to the Brigadier in The Five Doctors]. He's sent to Space Station Camera at the end of this story, and insists on his getting his own TARDIS back; as well as a Stattenheim remote control, the CIA installs a teleport control (see The Two Doctors). He also asks to be reunited with Jamie; the CIA agree and decide to adjust his memory so that he thinks Victoria is still travelling with the Doctor but is, at the Doctor's suggestion, off studying graphology.

Serena is from the House of Dellatrovella, a powerful family on Gallifrey. Serena dies by throwing herself into the path of bullet meant for Wellington, fired by the Player Valmont; the Doctor buries her on Earth.

The Type 97 TARDIS has a working chameleon circuit; it disguises itself as a small ornamental fountain, a small ornamental pavilion, a grandfather clock, and a tree. The CIA fit it with a recall mechanism and a self-destruct device.

Links: The War Games, The Two Doctors, Players (some sections are cut-and pasted from Players), Endgame. This story is set between The War Games and Spearhead from Space and before The Two Doctors [and The Five Doctors]. Raston Warrior Robots, the Death Zone, and the Timescoop first appeared in The Five Doctors. The Doctor recalls meeting his Eighth incarnation during The War Games (The Eight Doctors). The CIA and Rassilon were first mentioned in The Deadly Assassin. There are references to Metebelis Three (The Green Death, Planet of the Spiders), the Doctor's narrow escape from the Terror (The Reign of Terror), the Vampire war (State of Decay), Daleks, Cybermen, the Blinovitch Limitation Effect (Day of the Daleks, Invasion of the Dinosaurs), and psychic paper (The End of the World).

Location: Gallifrey, date unknown; Nice and Antibes, 1794; France, 18th November 1815; London, 12th September 1805; Paris, 1805; Paris in an alternate timeline, July 1815 and 1865; Brussels, 1815

Unrecorded Adventures: Before returning to Gallifrey, the Doctor visits the Duke of Wellington in London in 1816 and takes a trip to Brighton with him, where they meet the Prince Regent and the Doctor is persuaded to invest money in the fledgling Chumley's bank.

The Bottom Line: "It's far better to tell a story that will be believed." And so Terrance Dicks ends the Players trilogy in much the same way that it began, with a dull plot, boring villains, and potentially interesting historical figures reduced to barely sketched caricatures. The novel is also littered with gratuitous continuity references, but mostly only to those stories written by Dicks himself, which only goes to highlight the extent to which he's recycling his own material. World Game isn't the worst Doctor Who novel he's written by any means, but it also isn't the best. It's deeply frustrating that the Season 6B theory finally gets fully explored (Dicks visited it before in Players) but in such a pedestrian way.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke
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