Progress has left Middletown behind. Jobs are scarce, the mine is worked out and a crack has opened across the moors that the locals believe reaches into the depths of Hell itself. But then a stranger arrives, walking out of the wilderness: a man with no name, no history.
Middletown, although the TARDIS is in its embryonic shape after the climactic events of The Ancestor Cell.
This follows on from the end of The Ancestor Cell, but it's designed so that you don't need to have read anything else before it.
Pg 153 "'When I say "run",' the Doctor murmured in Dobbs's ear, 'then run.'" And that's it.
OLD FRIENDS AND OLD ENEMIES
NEW FRIENDS AND NEW ENEMIES
The Reverend Matthew Stobbold. Betty Stobbold (who later appears in Father Time)
The fire creature is later seen in Time Zero.
- Pg 75 "The surface was partly frozen, islands of ice floating just under the surface of the artificial lake." Except that ice floats on water, so it shouldn't be floating underneath it. It's true that on page 77 the water is steaming, so the ice should be melting, but the heat source is under the weir, so it shouldn't be melting from above.
- Pg 196 "Then she opened her eyes, and Stobbold could see the firelight that danced within them. At that moment he knew - really knew - that whatever the consequences, he had made the right decision." It seems odd to see the good Reverend rejoicing in the manifestation of Nepath's dead sister. (This scene should be from Nepath's point of view, not Stobbold's.)
PLUGGING THE HOLES [Fan-wank theorizing of how to fix continuity cock-ups]
- The heat from the fire creature has unusual properties, one of which is to melt ice strangely.
- The image of the dead apparently reincarnated reaffirms Stobbold's decision to join the church.
FEATURED ALIEN RACES
The fire creature (which we learn is from another world on page 263 of Time Zero).
Pg 1 The first chapter takes place many years before, presumably in England.
Pg 5 Middletown, likely 1894 (as Time Zero, page 263 reveals). AHistory is thus quite wrong about its date.
Also, it's January (page 239), not February as AHistory claims.
IN SUMMARY - Robert Smith?
After the top heavy Lawrence Miles arc, this is the ultimate refreshing change. The introduction of the Doctor is astonishing and there's a single continuity reference in the entire novel. The pace builds slowly, focussing on this unformed Doctor with his unformed blue box and only a single piece of paper to guide him on his newest journey. There's some lovely writing in here and the novel kicks off the most clearly defined story arc ever seen. This is Doctor Who stripped down to its bare essentials and it doesn't matter at all that it all goes a bit pear-shaped at the end. This is something truly special.