Crisis in Space
by Michael Holt

Publisher: Severn House


    As this is a gamebook that doesn't have any traditional page numbers, we are instead listing pages by what section they appear on. If something takes place on Page 4 of Section 2, then it'll be written as (2.4). We have also included a section for endings, as alternate endings (especially ones resulting in you suffering horrible deaths) became a massive selling point of gamebooks. Be aware that some of the other information here (such as materialisations and locations visited) may only appear in a 'non-canon' bad ending.

    An evil space overlord is trying to send an artificial black hole into Earth's solar system to destroy it. You join the TARDIS team (including Turlough) for an utterly bizarre romp that features random bouts of singing, a critical mass of puns/gags on every single page and the weirdest mobius strip mangling of the game book format ever seen.


    'You' (explicitly named Chris in this one), Peri, Turlough.

    Turlough re-joins the TARDIS crew for this story, as Garth Hadeez is supposedly his 'hated enemy.' We'll assume some truly wild stuff happened on Trion since Planet of Fire.

    Just prior to the book's events: outside your house to pick you up. Presumably just before that, somewhere on Trion to pick Turlough up.

    (4.2) The barren surface of Mars, 2007.

    (51) The TARDIS is described as making its usual wheezing dematerialisation sound as you leave Mars, but when you go to land in Phobos's crater (46) you're described as physically descending. I'll split the difference and assume that the Doctor just materialised into space right next to Phobos and by sheer lucky coincidence, immediately noticed Garth was on the moon.

    (19.2) A random point on the surface of Phobos.

    (31) Yet again the TARDIS is described as descending onto something it's right next to while making the dematerialisation noise, in this case the Halley's Comet. Again, I'll split the difference and say he did a very atypical TARDIS manoeuvre of descending during dematerialisation, to be completely sure he didnŐt miss the comet.

    (3) Halley's comet in 1986. You quickly leave because Garth hasn't built his secret base there yet.

    (5) Near Johannes Kepler's house, Prague, a cold Winter night in 1607.


    (Un-sectioned First Page) "Turlough, now - he went to school in 'little ol' England.'" Mawdryn Undead.

    (2.2) "On the other hand, he could be on Halley's Comet." Halley's Comet was recently important to both the Doctor and Peri in Attack of the Cybermen, where the titular Cybermen tried to send it crashing into Earth. I love the idea that Garth genuinely never knew about how close he was to a pointless death because of a completely different sinister alien scheme.

    (26.2) "She has a streak of blood on her cheek. She stops like a rabbit. You look up. Above you both slowly swings in the gusty wind a newly strung up corpse. He is hanging from a gibbet. Obviously his blood has dripped down and splashed Peri. But you decide not to alarm her unduly. You merely whistle the 'Eton Boating Song'" ...okay, this actually did creep me out. For absolutely no reason, the book takes a complete 180 degree turn from pure fluffy comedy into describing this gruesome detail, only to instantly have Chris creepily ignore it. I know the sixth Doctor's television era is known for cartoonish amounts of gore and murder, but what a whiplash! Worth noting is Peri and Chris's exchange at the end: "'Say Chris, do we hang a left or a right here?' 'Looks more like a thief!' You say." Geez, kid.

    (35.2) "Nip back to the TARDIS and get your tungsten cricket bat." Turlough apparently owns a tungsten cricket bat, harking back to the Doctor being an avid cricketeer when they travelled together. We can assume that the Fifth Doctor bought it for him as a self-serving birthday present, to try and get his friend interested in his own favourite hobby.


    Astrophysicist Johannes Kepler, who exchanges introductions with the Doctor, breaks into song for no reason and is kidnapped to never be seen on-screen again in the span of three pages.

    Garth Hadeez, the 'Genghis Khan of the Galaxy.' Lady Tyrannica, his snake-haired wife. His army of robotic Golons, mutated White Centipedes and Black Maggots. Boss, Fritz and Hans: three burly witch-hunting thugs in 1607 Prague whom Garth hires as bodyguards.


    1. The famously ginger, black uniform clad Turlough is depicted with blonde hair and a blue suit on the UK/Australia edition of cover.
    2. On that very same cover, Turlough is being carried away by a cat/bat hybrid creature that doesn't appear in this book.
    3. (1) "Peri is checking some back-of-an-envelope calculations of the Doctor's - on the micro." This book has a weird obsession with the crew using random gadgets that redundantly do the same thing as established TARDIS systems, such as a translator and... a BBC Micro-brand computer?
    4. (2.2) ''Still, nothing adventure, nothing gain.'' This is one of the few lines of dialogue that doesn't have another character pointing out the goof, so this seems to be an actual spelling mistake.
    5. (6.2) "From behind the rocket stands a glowering hulk of a huMANoid. Behind him towers a stunningly beautiful WOMANoid in a regal cloak of royal blue, like a butterfly's wings, edged with glinting knives." Besides this passage implying the narrator has serious gender-based personal issues to sort out, it describes Lady Tyrannica as having a cloak that resembles butterfly wings, yet on (60) it's made clear she has genuine, functioning butterfly wings.
    6. (6.3) ''Golonic is one of the commonest languages in the solar system.'' It's bad enough that the Sixth Doctor of all of people would make such an odd grammatical error, let alone one this terrible.
    7. (33.1) "There are Peri and Turlough, running like billio around the crater's edge to meet you." I wonder if billio has any relation to Billy-O. There are some who claim the expression came from someone named 'Billio', but it's such an obscure opinion on such an obscure saying that I have to say this was a genuine mistake. Even then, the name isn't capitalised.
    8. (51.2) "Then it disappears OFF CAMERA." The narrator describes Garth's rocket ship leaving the TARDIS viewscreen as it going OFF CAMERA and later (49) describes their visit to Kepler as being CENSORED from the history books.
    9. (51.3) "It could be the moonlet Phobos. Or it could be that Black Hole in orbit already." How could the Doctor possibly confuse the two?
    10. (8.3) "I challenge you to unarmed combat!" Garth Hadeez laughs boastfully before challenging Chris to unarmed combat. Right before announcing that he fights with a ball and chain and asking Chris what his weapon will be, implying he doesn't know the meaning of the phrase he just used.
    11. (8.4) "'Oh, what a pain!' The Doctor chimes, sighing sadly. 'Suppose I'll have to kill him off.'" The Doctor carelessly announcing completely earnest murderous intent as if he must nip down to the shops to pick up some bread is horrendously out of character, even for the unstable sixth Doctor.
    12. (35.2) "That's good Doctor, didn't know you played cricket!" This is said by Turlough, completely earnestly.
    13. (15.2) "Why? So we'll think it's one of Mars's twin moonlets, that's why!" Garth makes his artificial black hole resemble Phobos to make it inconspicuous... because Mars suddenly having a third moon that looks like an exact replica of one of the other ones is extremely subtle.
    14. (9.2) "'It's all relative in space,' you hear the Doctor say. 'You're doing nicely for lock-on, Chris. Relatively speaking, as Einstein would say.' 'Whoever he is!' you hear Peri joke.'" It's absurd to think that anyone from the 1980s, let alone a college student, wouldn't know who Einstein is.
    15. (31.3) "Now listen to this, hear my spell, young Chris. I forecast you'll do or die! But first cast once a die. Throw a 5 or 6, And live to play more tricks. But throw a 1 or 2, or What's as dreaded, A 3 or 4 And you are deaded! Now you know your fate, Let the die de-cide it, mate!" Tyrannica seems to have broken the fourth wall, as there's no dice rolling in-fiction.
    16. (43.3) "Even now, I suspect, Garth Hadeez is busily building his city in the sky. On Halley's Comet. When we last saw it, four hundred years later, it was finished, you remember. But if we catch him now, his defences will be down. The hunt for Garth Hadeez is on, chaps. Fan out everybody. Comb the city. Explore every avenue. Leave no cobble unturned. We must get Garth before he gets up to the comet and his tricks again." The Doctor mentions that they just saw Garth's base on Halley's Comet, which is something that only makes sense if you've gone through the Mars branch of the book first and didn't start with the Prague branch. This also makes utterly no sense: you've just defeated Garth in the future, so surely the Doctor wouldn't suggest tampering with your personal timelines?
    17. (44.1) "Ah, you're Chris, aren't you? Yes, my wife - The Queen, you know - told me your name." Lady Tyrannica apparently knows your name... despite the fact you won't be born for about another 350 years.
    18. (49.2) "There is one story about him. He's an extraterrestrial, you see. In the twentieth century they made a film about him. Called, I believe, ET. But it was nothing like Garth Hadeez." First: it's 'extra-terrestrial.' Second, it's 'E.T.' Third... what?

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

    1. He and the Doctor are effectively enacting vigilante justice to stop Hadeez, so he's changed his distinctive colour palette in a bid to not be recognised by the authorities.
    2. At one point while separated from the group, Turlough fights off Hadez's most powerful minion: the dreaded Catbat. Turlough points to a nearby TARDIS interference device which distracts the Catbat for long enough for him to bash its skull open with a rock. He then re-joins the group and doesn't mention the encounter as he's too busy thinking of his next hilarious pun.
    3. Garth used technological trickery that made the TARDIS so unreliable that the crew had to resort to using... equipment far less advanced than the TARDIS.
    4. Despite spending years on Earth, Turlough still hasn't quite got the hang of all our human expressions.
    5. Tyrannica is egotistical enough to get a designer cloak modelled after her own appendages.
    6. Chris misheard the Doctor saying 'communist', as the Golons operate on a political system where property is owned by all, and individuals receive depending on their ability and needs. This somehow directly resulted in the creation of their language.
    7. billio (no capitals) was a famed Martian athlete, known for his remarkable ability to run around craters.
    8. The narrator shouted to make sure we were paying attention, and the Doctor stubbed his toe mid-sentence, but didn't let it stop him. What a trooper.
    9. Immediately before Chris arrived, the Doctor announced to everyone that he had done reconnaissance work and found out that Garth's artificial black hole will take the form of an interstellar object smaller than a planet. He simply forgot to fill Chris in on this integral, important information because he was too busy thinking of his next hilarious pun.
    10. Despite spending centuries on Earth, Garth Hadeez still hasn't quite got the hang of all our human expressions.
    11. The Doctor's regeneration was so unstable that even so long after stabilising, he still gets aftershocks of violent intent. This one lasted for all of five seconds.
    12. Turlough is speaking to the Doctor purely in the sense of his sixth incarnation, not caring to understand the details of regeneration outside of 'becomes a bit of a different person'.
    13. Garth knows the space authorities chasing him are single-mindedly looking for something that looks like a black hole and wouldn't care to check anything else. This reading surprisingly lines up with the characterisation of the Judoon.
    14. Peri was intentionally making a bad joke to cut the tension of Chris having just almost been sucked into a black hole.
    15. Lady Tyrannica was speaking in complete metaphor. It just that said metaphor happened to perfectly match up the page's literal challenge of dice rolling.
    16. This book is a recounting of the adventure taking place in the middle of the Trial of a Timelord season; before choosing a future event to prove his innocence, the Doctor messing around in the matrix 'replaying' a simplistic and fun adventure he recently had with some of his closest friends, including Peri who he's just been informed is dead. He simply misplaced his 'cue' as it were, hence, why none of the matrix projections are confused. I hate how this joke reading I just came up with adds some genuine emotional pathos to a book that includes the exchange: ''Doctor, I think he's taking off!'' ''Taking off what?'' The Doctor asks. ''His pants!'' (51.2)
    17. As well as being able to cast ill-defined magic spells, Tyrannica has ill-defined precognitive abilities.
    18. The Doctor is talking about a completely obscure, straight to video rip-off of E.T. called ET.

    The large cyclops Hadeez is presumably a Golon, with his plastic Golon robots sharing a name due to un-creativity. Lady Tyrannica is an unknown species with butterfly wings and snakes for hair, presumably another variety of Golon. The centipedes and maggots where originally normal Earth bugs until mutated by Hadeez, arguably counting as 'alien.'


    (6) The completely dull, barren surface of Mars, where you mostly just jump around in zero gravity trying to run away from Golons in 2007.

    (46) The completely dull, barren surface of Mars's moonlet of Phobos, where you mostly jump around in zero gravity trying to run away from Golons in 2007.

    (31) Garth Hadeez's secret icy lair on Halley's Comet. A much more interesting location than the last two combined, meaning we only spend about five pages on it (also in 2007).

    (5) Prague and its surrounding countryside (including a castle where Hadeez is hiding) in 1607.

    (19.2) You fruitlessly chase after Garth who escapes in his rocket. The Doctor says it's a shame that Garth got away, but he'll gladly treat you to another adventure. The Doctor seemingly gives up on stopping Garth from launching an artificial black hole in Earth's solar system circa 2007.

    (22) Chased by a Golon, you ignore the rope that Turlough has thrown to you in favour of running behind a dune. You're accidentally smothered to death by a swarm of Garth's cybernetic Black Maggots that are trying to rip you to shreds, as not even they're competent enough to fulfil their purpose.

    (23) While in space, you get too close to Garth's artifical black hole and are spaghettified.

    (24) To teach you some manners, a witch turns you into a toad. She says you look 'toadily different' and then turns you back. Another baffling section where I can't tell if it's meant to be an ending or not, as the 'go back to the previous section' sentence is phrased just like the actual endings.

    (31.3) You fail Lady Tyrannica's dice game, and your heart stops from the curse she put upon you.

    (45) While chased by multiple Golons, you overshoot a jump and are knocked out in the middle of a crater. When you wake up, you see Lady Tyrannica standing over you, who happily enslaves you for life.

    (52) You are overpowered by the Golon you tried to fight, and it presents you to snake-haired Lady Tyrannica. She's overjoyed, because she really needs a new hairdresser!

    (57.2) The Doctor messes with Garth's rocket navigation systems, but presumably this time this results in him just drifting through space. Again, nothing is done to stop the black hole. This is only half of an ending, because the Doctor then invites you to take a separate adventure: the other choice you had at the start of the book to go the past, wherein you just bump into the past version of Garth and chase him around until he gets away. (This is the ending in which you defeat Garth and see the most of the book's content, so I'll assume this is the best ending.)

    (58) Garth and Tyrannica corner you, the book informing you that your adventure is over. I'm assuming typing out the phrase 'they beat you to death' was a bit too much of a tonal whiplash.

    (70) The Doctor sends out radio waves to mess with the navigation on Garth's Rocketship. He flies into his own black hole to die in one of the most horrid, nightmarish ways possible, and the Doctor, Chris, Peri and Turlough laugh and shout in joy. (Intended as a good ending.)

    IN SUMMARY - Dylan 'Malk' Carroll
    I felt my sanity erode completely as I was reading this. I love Doctor Who going in a light-hearted, goofy direction (I enjoy Season 24 more than most), but this is a fate worse than death. Aside from the endless barrage of oddly worded jokes, both good endings have you and the Doctor laughing over directly killing Hadeez, which leaves a frankly awful taste in my mouth. It has the worst formatting of any gamebook I've ever seen; the entire Prague section of the book is presented as either a complete dead end, or as a weird epilogue to the main adventure; after killing Garth Hadeez, you just run back to the past where he was four hundred years ago and start looking for him again? Oh, and the whole thing uses a much larger font than the other books, making me think this is the remnants of a sub-line of Doctor Who CYOA books aimed at a slightly younger audience. Avoid this book unless you want to lose your mind: Stockholm syndrome's kicking in, and I'm starting to utterly love it, myself.