Camera Obscura
by Lloyd Rose


Publisher: BBC
ISBN: 0 563 53857 0

     

    BASIC PLOT
    From a seance in Victorian London to a wild pursuit on Dartmoor, the Doctor and his companions work frantically to unravel the mystery of the latest threat to Time. Before Time itself unravels.

    DOCTOR
    Eighth.

    COMPANIONS
    Fitz and Anji.

    MATERIALISATION CIRCUIT
    Pg 33 The second floor of a flat the Doctor rented, Victorian London.

    PREPARATORY READING
    This book follows up all the heart stuff from The Adventuress of Henrietta Street. Only certain references to this are mentioned below, as all other references to the Doctor's missing heart are to this.

    CONTINUITY REFERENCES
    Pg 5 "All the other symptoms - the weariness, the slower healing, the loss of the respiratory bypass system - were nothing compared to this horrible, hollow absence." These symptoms first appeared in Hope.

    Pg 6 "His appearance didn't really change, hadn't changed for a hundred years now." The Earth arc.

    "True, he sometimes got the impression that he used to be shorter. But there were also moments when he could have sworn he had once been taller." His earlier incarnations, especially the seventh and fourth Doctors, respectively.

    "What memories he had began a hundred years ago on a nineteenth century train like this one. A second-class carriage. A wary woman opposite." The Ancestor Cell.

    Pg 16 "Sabbath had played him for a fool on Station One, and in Spain." Anachrophobia, History 101.

    Pg 17 "Time's Champion you might call yourself. [referring to Sabbath]" This was the seventh Doctor's title in the NAs, starting in Love and War.

    Pg 41 "The Doctor remembered the eighteenth century, when patients had been put on exhibit." The Adventuress of Henrietta Street.

    Pg 53 "He held a picture of a tower being struck by lightning." The Tarot reading in The City of the Dead (pg 110) includes the Tower, which symbolises Gallifrey's destruction.

    Pg 61 "An upcoming expedition to Siberia." Forward reference to Time Zero.

    Pg 74 "I mean a few years ago in San Francisco, his biodata, well, it kind of stretched -" Unnatural History.

    Pg 83 "I think once I did leave it in San Fancisco." The telemovie.

    Pgs 84-85 "A little twinge on Station One perhaps. A slight weakness in Spain." Anachrophobia, History 101.

    Pg 88 "I've been here before, the Doctor thought suddenly. in league with a moral monster. He strained for details, but gained only a sense of despair and helpless rage. And of fear. Falling...?" Logopolis.

    Pg 90 "It's preferable to my running about like a foolfixing everything only to find out he's been playing me like a pinball machine." Anachrophobia, History 101.

    Pg 91 "Of course, we had the discussion in Spain" History 101.

    Pg 97 "'It wasn't always like this,' he muttered. 'Time travel used to be restricted.'" Before Gallifrey blowed up real good, in The Ancestor Cell.

    Pg 107 "His ship was grander than any magic carpet and he commanded beasts." The Adventuress of Henrietta Street.

    Pg 110 "As a functional method of time travel, it proved to be a dead end." The Talons of Weng-Chiang (and see Emotional Chemistry).

    Pg 113 "Orwell. Much more interesting writer than Verne." History 101, not that you'd know it from that book.

    Pg 115 "It was the sun, on that brilliant English day of his first death by water." The Adventuress of Henrietta Street.

    Pg 126 "Bloody place made him think about his mum." The Taint.

    Pg 127 "And you know who was with him when I did first meet him? A teenaged girl." Sam, The Taint.

    "I was not a florist. I was selling plants." The Taint.

    Pg 131 "People who turn into clocks. Beings from other worlds who look like rhinoceroses." Anachrophobia, Trading Futures.

    Pgs 131-132 "And there were these things - the undecided, no, the unnoticed - they had their stomachs outside slung beneath their legs dripping acid, and with worms in." The Book of the Still.

    Pg 135 "The strange huge ceremonial hall." The Adventuress of Henrietta Street.

    Pg 143 "His eye was caught by a sign on an empty cage: Giant Rat Of Sumatra." He's probably having subconscious flashbacks to The Talons of Weng-Chiang.

    Pg 148 "You see, I'm always uncomfortable in a box." This is probably a reference to the Doctor's fear of being confined in Seeing I.

    Pg 157 "This is too much like that cartoon planet, Anj." The Crooked World.

    Pg 158 "Could have been answered by an ape." The Adventuress of Henrietta Street.

    Pg 160 "Like in San Francisco." Unnatural History.

    Pg 161 "I've only known him to be close to one woman [...] But that was in another century and the wench is dead." Scarlette, The Adventuress of Henrietta Street. This is a very famous quote from Christopher Marlowe's sixteenth-century play 'The Jew of Malta': '-But thou hast committed fornication -Yes, but that was in another country, and beside, the wench is dead.' Note the suggestion that the Doctor was sleeping with Scarlette.

    Pg 164 "In the distance, against a lowering sky, loomed a tower of tumbled stones, a rock pile made by a giant. 'Dartmoor,' he breathed." Also the location for the filming of The Sontaran Experiment.

    Pg 181 "A tawny owl, the Doctor thought, admiring it shyly [...] 'I'm not you tonight,' he said." Owls featured heavily in the NAs. "'Good hunting,' he said softly." Possible reference to Survival.

    Pg 199 "I know we discussed it in Spain, but I was a trifle woozy -" History 101.

    Pg 200 "Showing up here, showing up there - and each time a new timeline breaks off." Forward reference to Time Zero onwards.

    Pg 222 "If he survives this, if I survive this, I'm going home." This prefigures Time Zero.

    Pg 225 "There was, for example, that incident in Cairo..." Uncertain reference.

    Pg 234 "The fools had done their best, but it would take greater than they to murder him." The Adventuress of Henrietta Street

    Pg 268 "It was a smaller man, brown-haired, dressed in white, squinting back out of fierce blue eyes. He'd seen him somewhere, hadn't he?" The Seventh Doctor, whom the eighth saw in Endgame, although it might also be a reference to the eighth Doctor dreaming of the seventh in The City of the Dead.

    Pg 269 The Doctor sees visions of the sixth, fourth, third and first Doctors.

    Pg 271 "The Doctor heard the inter-dimensional door to the Jonah open, the throbbing engines, the distant cry of apes." The Adventuress of Henrietta Street.

    Pg 273 "Oh, I don't know. An abominable snowman." Possibly a reference to the Season 5 stories.

    Pg 277 "Siberia's going to be a nice change" Forward reference to Time Zero.

    OLD FRIENDS AND OLD ENEMIES
    Sabbath.

    Death used to appear semi-regularly in the NAs, especially Timewyrm: Revelation, although this time she appears as a decrepit old woman.

    NEW FRIENDS AND NEW ENEMIES
    Pg 60 George Williamson reappears in Time Zero.

    Constance Jane, Hugo, Vera.

    CONTINUITY COCK-UPS

    1. Pg 9 "What a turnaround the audience was going to experience, as if their very heads would swivel one hundred and eighty degrees on their necks." This would be more of a half-turnaround, as it would cause them to subsequently face backwards. This is clearly meant to be three hundred and sixty degrees.
    2. Pg 84 "Oh please, don't be coy. If you wanted to kill me, you would have. But you can't do without me yet. You don't know your way around well enough." This is attributed to Sabbath, when talking to the Doctor and, as a result, makes no sense whatsoever.
    3. Pg 99 "It's robbed, I was." This should almost certainly be "I's robbed I was."
    4. Pg 114 "Sabbath spit out water." Huh?

    PLUGGING THE HOLES [Fan-wank theorizing of how to fix continuity cock-ups]

    1. Octave is a performer, damnit, not a mathematician.
    2. The Doctor's busy messing with Sabbath's head, so Sabbath decides to respond in kind.
    3. Scale's upset and not able to formulate his words properly.
    4. The Doctor's warping of reality is affecting Sabbath's ability to process tenses.

    FEATURED ALIEN RACES
    Chiltern's monster, a fusion of a human and seven other parts, including a toaster, a rose bush and a rat's mouth for an eye (page 256).

    The Doctor conjures up a time squid on page 113.

    There's something with claws and wings in Death's domain on page 222, although it's not clear quite what that is.

    FEATURED LOCATIONS
    Pgs 35/196 London, July-August, 1893 (the year is confirmed in Time Zero).

    Newcastle.

    Pg 53 Liverpool.

    Pg 164 Dartmoor.

    Pg 221 Capel Gorast, Wales

    Llanrwst and Betws in Wales.

    Pg 212 The Doctor also journeys into Death's domain.

    IN SUMMARY - Robert Smith?
    Camera Obscura is gorgeously written, with some laugh-out-loud scenes, some lyrical story-telling, strong characterisation and a meaty role for the Doctor. It isn't quite the be all and end all of the EDAs that its reputation would suggest, mainly due to the relatively small-scale plot that's going on here (the time machine itself is a bit of a McGuffin, causing far too much pointless running around and the camera obscura of the title barely features!), but there's a lot to be enjoyed here. And the description of Chiltern's monster is utterly chilling. Highly recommended.