Harvest of Time

Roots: There are references to the BBC, Ovaltine, Charles Dickens, Einstein, Double Diamond, High Plains Drifter, Pale Rider, Cliff Michelmore, Shangri-La, King Arthur, Ennio Morricone, The Archers, Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum, The Clangers, The Towering Inferno, the Apollo mission, and the BBC.

Dialogue Triumphs: “The day time travel stops astonishing you is generally the day something ghastly goes wrong.”

“You have always had an idiotic attachment to style.”

Continuity: The Master is imprisoned in former nuclear power station Durlston Heath. His Time Lord physiology means that he is immune to the low level radiation field in the station. He eats a biscuit dunked in tea here. Whilst in prison, he is forced to wear a metal collar that can stun or kill. He reads a history of early surgery whilst incarcerated. He has never dreamed in his life. The Doctor failed basic chronic navigation at the Academy, whilst the Master passed with the highest commendations in temporal engineering ever granted. The Master claims that the Blinovitch Limitation Effect is nothing but a story designed to keep the real power in the hands of the High Council and that Blinovitch is a myth. He has visited Skaro.

The Sild capture all of the Master's incarnations from across time and space, except for his current one, in order to enslave him to an Assemblage machine that gives them mastery of time. The incarnations include potential ones that may never happen and number considerably more than thirteen; one of them is female [Missy?], some are non-humanoid and one is a young man resembling a politician [presumably the incarnation seen in Utopia, The Sound of Drums/Last of the Time Lords and The End of Time]. The Doctor and the Master were responsible for designing the time rift that sent the Consolidator into the future. After the Doctor loses him on Praxilion, he claims to have escaped by finding an abandoned Type Forty TARDIS (implied to be the Doctor’s) and returns to twentieth century Earth, where he is recaptured. His TARDIS is disguised as a lorry when it materialises. He claims that his evil is due to the gestalt influence of his other incarnations.

Jo eats toast here. She dons camouflage gear.

The Sild resemble blue-green seahorses and travel in metal crab-like ambulators, which they use to attach themselves to the brains of other life forms, possessing them and controlling them by direct neural contact. Possession by a Sild is fatal. They can also animate corpses for a while. They conquer by force of numbers. They were rounded up and locked away on board a ship called the Consolidator over a billion years ago on the authority of the Time Lords, along with a thousand other horrors including various technologies. They only incarcerated species that had already been locked away or entombed on board the Consolidator. The Consolidator was apparently destroyed, but actually was catapulted into the far future beyond the Epoch of Mass Time Travel, where it ended up in orbit around Praxilion, allowing the Sild to escape. Sild ships are built to suit their modest dimensions and are thus riddled with finger-thick fluid pipes. They have no conception of the individual.

The Praxilions have multiple limbs and white and red striped fur. They resemble massive caterpillars. They have three sexes. They have mammalian like faces with snouts, broad mouths, and darkly intelligent eyes.

The Doctor dons an extra coat before venturing out onto the Consolidator. He has an old wickerwork garden chair in the TARDIS. He has read about the Infinite Cocoon and seen reconstructions and life-size holograms of it.

The TARDIS has a chronometric stress analyser as part of its sensory apparatus. Its inertial compensators are not working properly. Charged vacuum resonators weren’t fitted to TARDISes until Type Forty-Fours.

Atkins was in Yates’ old regiment. Yates sustains a cut to the head here.

According to the Doctor, the Blind Watchmakers are the finest temporal artisans in history. They are large mole or bat-like creatures with a highly developed sense of acoustic perception and whiskers so finely tuned that they can literally see by touch. They live in tunnels under the ash-black airless cerust of the battle-sterilised husk of a planet. They are famed for their clumsiness.

The mile-long city slugs of Esquenal are among the gentlest, kindest of souls in the galaxy. They are renowned for their slime-trail poetry.

Aliens incarcerated on board the Consolidator include Quagulans, which have glittering, knife-edged armour; Social Craints, which are half organism and half unicycle; and Mepuloids, which are multi-legged and sting-tailed and have multiple eyestalks. The Axumillary Orb is the most concentrated explosive device in history.

Links: This story is set somewhere between The Dæmons and The Sea Devils. In a reference to Jamie, the Doctor notes that he once knew a McCrimmon. He mentions Susan. Yates mentions the Yeti (The Web of Fear), the Cybermen (The Invasion), the Silurians (Doctor Who and the Silurians) and the Autons and the Nestene Consciousness here (Spearhead from Space, Terror of the Autons). The Doctor mentions the Axons (The Claws of Axos) and Ogrons (Day of the Daleks, Frontier in Space) and recalls being nearly strangled by a telephone cord (Terror of the Autons).

There is a reference to C19 (Time Flight). “The Bast… the Master” may be a nod to Elgin’s fluff in The Deadly Assassin. UNIT’s Hercules first appeared in The Invasion. The Brigadier recalls Yetis (The Web of Fear) and Cybermen (The Invasion). The Doctor recalls seeing Earth destroyed by its expanding sun (The Ark). Time dams were seen previously in The Pirate Planet. There are references to Ice Warriors and Judoon.

Location: London, England, and Scotland, [1971] Praxilion and the Consolidator, beyond the Epoch of Mass Time Travel.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor was taught the rudiments of snake charming by the finest swami in old Calcutta, just before the siege of Khartoum. He and the Master both witnessed the supposed destruction of the Consolidator. The Doctor claims to have instructed da Vinci in the arts of draughtsmanship and fencing.

The Bottom Line:What use is a lifetime of villainy, without the counterpoint of at least one good deed?” The characterisation is slightly off, but generally this is a fascinating science fiction romp and the explores the relationship between the Doctor and the Master to good effect.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke
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