Cat's Cradle: Time's Crucible
by Marc Platt

Publisher: Virgin
ISBN: 0 426 20365 8


    The TARDIS is invaded by an alien presence and is then destroyed. Lost voyagers from Ancient Gallifrey perform obsessive rituals in a deserted city. Only the Doctor can challenge the rule of the Process and restore the stolen Future. But the Doctor was destroyed long ago, before Time began.



    Pg 8 The TARDIS left on a corner of a leafy housing estate in Perivale (which is where is was in Survival, incidentally).

    None, although there's a lot of Time Lord stuff from The Deadly Assassin.

    Pg 1 "The most powerful civilisation in the cosmos would have been better off staying in the Dark Time" The Dark Time was the period of Gallifreyan history before the Time Lords came to power, first mentioned in The Five Doctors.

    Pg 3 "Vael Voryunsti Sheverell was not cut out to be a Young Hero" The Hero as a Gallifreyan concept pops up in The Infinity Doctors as well.

    "At the Academia" Presumably a precursor of the Time Lord Academy, or the Prydonian Academy, or Prydon Academy, or University, as it is variously named in various points in the show's history.

    "Every exotic corner of the Gallifreyan Empire" Before the Pythia's curse Gallifrey had a pretty big empire. The Gallifrey of The Infinity Doctors grows out of a Gallifreyan Empire as well, but Gallifrey may still be the core of such an empire. But The Infinity Doctors still pays service to the Pythias as well (mentioned on page 1 in fact).

    "They knew that he was an Individual" Before Rassilon all Gallifreyans were telepathic to the point that there was no such thing as privacy, or it was very rare. The Doctor mentions this in The Deadly Assassin and Susan demonstrates telepathic abilities in the Sensorites and The Witch Hunters.

    Pg 4 "In the old days, before the Intuitive Revolution, secrets were a precious gift on Gallifrey." Phrase invented in the Cartmel Masterplan. The Revolution is concurrent with this time-period of the story: a prolonged time of crisis in which the Pythia lost power and cursed Gallifrey with sterility, Rassilon took power with Omega and the Other, the Empire collapsed, genetic looms to produce new babies were invented, along with regeneration, Rassilon used a fleet of bowships to fight off the Great Vampire, Omega conducted his time experiments and the Time Lords were founded.

    Pg 5 "The might Hero Prydonius" Haclav Agusti Prydonius, presumably the originator (or part of the family which started) the Prydonian Chapter, College, Academy, et cetera of the Time Lords first mentioned in The Deadly Assassin.

    "And did the new experiments into time travel number the days of the Space Voyager?" Posible reference to the mythology surrounding the Voyager (from DWM comic strips 88 to 99), which might be tied in with Merlin, who dwelled inside the Matrix with the Celestial Intelligence Agency in the Tides of Time strip.

    Pg 6 "He produced his greatest trophy, retrieved from the ruin of Thule - the severed head of the Sphinx itself." Later on in the New Adventures, specifically in Dead Romance, the Sphinxes are reintroduced as an element of Lawrence Miles' Time Wars story arc. The Sphinxes are mirror-faced winged monsters, the agents of the Gods who drive the race of Time Lords from the New Adventures universe into a bottle universe with its own Earth. The Gods used to be the deities of the People of the Worldsphere, in the Home Galaxy, but through some course of events the computer named God became the representative of the People and had the Gods imprisoned inside Dellah in the Milky Way. The Gods are also refugee Time Lords escaping from their own BBC Books universe, driven out by the Enemy from Alien Bodies. The idea of all this escaping into the next universe started out with the Ctulhu interpretation of the Great Old Ones in books like All-Consuming Fire and Millennial Rites: Yog-Sothoth became the Great Intelligence, Shub-Niggurath became the Nestenes, and so on.

    "He railed at the injustice of the Gods, the capricious and all-powerful Menti Celesti, who saw all things but did nothing." In Alien Bodies the Celestial Intelligence Agency's future transformation into the Celestis may be connected with the ancient Gallifreyan Gods, who in NA continuity are the Chronovores, Guardians and the Great Old Ones. Specifically, there are Time, Death and a few other Gods which have something to do with being functions of the Time Lords' minds; each has a Gallifreyan Book of Power dedicated to it by colour code. The 7th Doctor is Time's Champion; he meets Death in Timewyrm: Revelation, Love and War, SLEEPY and Happy Endings, and perhaps elsewhere. Interestingly the Time Lords themselves later evolve a code where they see all and do nothing (observe but not interfere) and this can possibly tie into Dead Romance's theory that it's bottles all the way down, with the Gods of each the Time Lords of the previous bottle.

    Pg 8 "The TARDIS lunch machine" The TARDIS food machine was invented by David Whitaker in the first season, and was one of his favourite plot devices. Ace renames it here.

    "It was difficult to sneer at something improbably called the 'Hand of Omega'when the next minute it was coming at you for its lunch." Remembrance of the Daleks.

    "The Doctor eyed the window displays of mannikins in the department stores with a mixture of curiosity and what looked like suspicion." Reference to the shop window dummies breaking out in Spearhead from Space. Interestingly, location filming for Spearhead included footage shot in this very location (Ealing Broadway).

    Pg 9 "He normally slotted naturally into any situation, however bizarre, from alien ice cave to Victorian dinner party." Dragonfire and Ghost Light.

    Pg 10 "She prayed her time with him would never, ever end." This book conatins the first hints that Ace is going to leave the Doctor, which she ultimately does in Love and War.

    Pg 15 "It started to snow." We also see snow on Gallifrey in the opening pages of both Timewyrm: Revelation and The Infinity Doctors.

    Pg 17 "She was even still wearing Ace's dad's wedding ring" The status of Ace's parents marriage was a bit up in the air in the NAs.

    Pg 23 "Chronaut Amnini Distuyssor Lorizhon, daughter of the ancient House of Blyledge." Even before Gallifreyans were made sterile, family groups were divided into ancient households. In Cold Fusion Patience is revealed to be a Blyledge.

    "A specimen tafelshrew fell accidentally from its exercise wheel" Gallifreyan rodent, also features on page 9 of The Infinity Doctors and page 8 of Lungbarrow.

    Pg 28 "The corner of Bleasdale Avenue" Actual street in a Perivale housing estate. Some location filming for Survival was done there, and it's possible that these TARDIS scenes are meant to take place in the same spot as the ones in that serial.

    Pg 29 "It had been a gift from Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart some time in the future" In Battlefield, set in 1997, the Doctor and Ace infiltrated UNIT with passes dating from Season 7 which were the wrong colour. Evidently, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart gave them new passes accurate for that time.

    Pg 32 "Watch the fault locater." (sic) Actually the fault locator. Introduced in the first season, this pops up quite a bit in the novels.

    "The Jibert Cathcode Troisieme timepiece he had recently unearthed from somewhere" Possibly a reference to the clock seen in the console room in Season 1, which temporarily melted in The Edge of Destruction.

    "A threadbare antique chesterfield" The TARDIS sofa also hasn't been seen since The Edge of Destruction, a serial which shares some themes with this book.

    Pg 33 "A rod of tubular steel" Possibly the gadget the Doctor used to pinpoint dimensional interference in Battlefield.

    "Electricity cracked up in a blue surge" In An Unearthly Child, the Doctor electrified the controls to stop Ian from opening the doors and in The Edge of Destruction, the TARDIS electrified five of its six panels to indicate where the 1st Doctor needed to focus his attentions.

    Pg 35 "In the corner of the console room sat a small mahogany travelling chest" Possibly the chest seen in The Power of the Daleks after the first regeneration scene

    "He lowered his hand and reached for the heavy tome marked TARDIS Manual" In the 30th Anniversary DWM comic strip 'Time and Time Again' it was stolen from the 1st Doctor's timeline in Shoreditch 1963 as the sixth segment of the Key to Time. The Doctor used it in Vengeance on Varos. In the novelisation of that story, it is described as '726 bulky pages of the bulky manual marked 'TARDIS - Service'. A TARDIS Manual was also mocked up for a publicity photo of Sarah Sutton and Mark Strickson.

    Pg 36 "Omnivores, Kronovores, Haemovores" Chronovores first featured in The Time Monster and have always had the "Ch..." spelling elsewhere in the novels, while Heamovores appeared in Curse of Fenric.

    Pg 37 "Now the fluid links are playing up" First seen in The Daleks.

    "There used to be a secondary control room" Seen throughout Season 14, although technically the mahogany console room is the primary one and the white one the secondary one (at least according to the novelisations).

    Pg 40 "The copper moon Pazithi Gallifreya." This is the first time Gallifrey's moon is identified.

    Pg 43 "An overgrown courtyard with crumbling stone arches" The Cloister Room as seen in Logopolis.

    "A gentlemen's changing room, full of neglected cricket bats and cracked red leather cricket balls." The Fifth Doctor tries out his cricket outfit in this room shortly after his regeneration.

    Pg 47 "Ace's friend Manisha" First mentioned in the novelisation of Remembrance of the Daleks and then onscreen in Ghost Light.

    "She sat forward again and exchanged glances with Shreela" Shreela first appeared in Survival and reappears in the next book, Cat's Cradle: Warhead.

    Pg 48 "Ace turned and saw Sabalom Glitz lounging in the back row." Glitz first appeared in The Trial of a Time Lord and then again in Dragonfire where he knew Ace.

    "'I won't say a word, sprog,' he leered. 'Your mother wouldn't like it.'" Glitz calls Ace 'sprog' in Dragonfire. In the novelisation it's hinted that they had a sexual relationship and in Happy Endings it's revealed that Ace lost her virginity to him.

    "Captain Sorin of the Red Army's Special Missions Brigade" The Curse of Fenric.

    Pg 52 "I am Quennesander Olyesti Pekkary, first son of the House of Fordfarding." Castellan Fordfarding is mentioned on page 117 of The Infinity Doctors (and bears a striking resemblance to the first Doctor).

    Pg 55 "Blasted out of existence on earth by a freak chronometeorological event that turned out to be no freak at all." Dragonfire and The Curse of Fenric.

    Pg 60 "Low Orculqui" Language of the natives of Svartos, mentioned in the novelisation of Dragonfire and on page 213 of Lungbarrow (and see page 82).

    Pg 73 "The two ships rammed and slid together like passing ghosts." The TARDIS and the Time Scaphe collided in the Time Vortex, much like the Time Ram of Doctor's and the Master's TARDISes in The Time Monster.

    Pg 75 Reference to Daleks (in this case, not liking finger biscuits).

    Pg 77 "Time storms and Timewyrms" Dragonfire and the Timewyrm series.

    Pg 79 Reference to Dalek time travel, from Remembrance of the Daleks.

    Pg 83 "A wide circular collar rested on its shoulders" The Doctor's ghost is wearing Time Lord robes as well as a ceremonial collar.

    Pg 85 "The Pythia flicked through views reflected on to her screen by panoptics throughout the City." One of these panoptics presumably becomes the Panopticon, first seen in The Deadly Assassin.

    Pg 86 "What was needed was a mighty challenge in the Games." This may be a reference to the games fought in the Death Zone in The Five Doctors, except that there it was referred to as "the Game of Rassilon". On the other hand, much of the legends of the Time Lords have been attributed to Rassilon anyway, so this might not be inconsistent.

    "Or a legend from the Great Book." The Book of Future Legends, possibly the same Book of Prophecy referred to on page 4 of The Infinity Doctors.

    Pg 89 "'Rassilon!' reprimanded the servant in the shadow." Rassilon was first mentioned in the Deadly Assassin and in most Time Lord stories since. The servant is the Other, the unnamed third member of the triumverate of early Time Lords (along with Rassilon and Omega) who first appeared in the novelisation of Remembrance of the Daleks and would also feature in Lungbarrow.

    Pg 93 "A green liquid crystal display that said 11:56." Interestingly the same time that appears on the clockface of the Master's TARDIS in The Keeper of Traken.

    Pg 95 "Surges of mercury flooded around her feet" The streams are mercury streams, a reference to the fluid links from The Daleks.

    Pg 116 "A Swiss Army knife inlaid with the silver letters 'IC'" These are the initials of Ian Chesterton. Ian was seen to use the sofa in which the knife was found.

    Pg 137 The knife is positively identified as Ian's.

    Pg 141 "A single flute was playing somewhere." Probably the second Doctor's recorder.

    "Still grass on Lungbarrow mountain before haytime" The Doctor's House is called Lungbarrow in the book of the same name, but the mountain is Mount Lung there.

    "And no dinner for those that Housekeeper Satthralope found out" Sattralope is also referred to in Cold Fusion and appears in Lungbarrow.

    Pg 142 "A tall woman slowly made her way across the grey plain." This could be Patience, or Cousin Innocet, or the personification of Time.

    Reference to Iceworld (Dragonfire).

    Pgs 151-152 The Phazels are wearing multicoloured clothes and twirling colourful umbrellas. This might be a reference to the sixth Doctor's outfits, or it might be a reference to a similar pageant scene from The Prisoner.

    Pg 159 "Letters addressed to him or Christmas cards. She gave up on the idea that he ever filled in forms or kept a diary." We see a birthday card from Susan on page 273 and the second Doctor kept a 500 year diary in Power of the Daleks (and the seventh had a 900 year diary in the telemovie).

    Pg 162 "Rassilon's freeman servant, his invaluable Tersurran factotum" In The Deadly Assassin Goth said he found the Master dying on Tersurus.

    Pg 176 "I shall hurl thee into the sepulchasm of night" There's no such word as sepulchasm, but it's the name of a popular board game on Gallifrey by the Doctor's time, according to Lungbarrow.

    Pg 180 "A small read-out window spelt out 'DRAMATIC DECONSTRUCTION' in Middle Gallifreyan." The Five Doctors introduced Old High Gallifreyan, this is obviously more recent. Old Low Gallifreyan is mentioned in several Terrance Dicks books, including Blood Harvest and Shakedown.

    Pg 182 "Worse than walking down an Osirian's spiral spine." In Pyramids of Mars, the fourth Doctor said that Osirians had spines like spiral staircases.

    Pg 183 "'This is worse than Covent Garden tube' [...] 'I remember. All that cobweb.'" In The Web of Fear, the TARDIS materialised at Covent Garden station in the middle of an invasion of the Underground by the Great Intelligence, using robotic Yeti armed with web-spinning guns.

    Pg 184 "Certain techniques he had learned in his youth from a local mystic." The renegade Time Lord later known as K'Anpo Rinpoche, mentioned in The Time Monster, State of Decay and Lungbarrow and seen in Planet of the Spiders.

    Pg 188 "Even visiting Gallifreyan history is strictly forbidden." The first Doctor does exactly this in Lungbarrow.

    Pg 192 "Is that well done in the King's English?" Probably a reference to Battlefield, which suggested that England had a king by 1997.

    Pg 201 "And that State of Grace circuit still needs looking at." The TARDIS interior is supposed to exist in a State of Temporal Grace, first seen in The Invasion of Time.

    Pg 203 "Demands for independence from the Aubert Cluster." Interestingly, the villains of U>Human Nature are the Aubertides, shape-shifters from the planet Aubis... who know a great deal about the Time Lords.

    "He was to act as an independent observer in some minor territorial dispute between Ruta III and the Sontara Warburg." The Sontarans have been fighting the Rutans for as long as anyone can remember. Their situation is finally resolved in the distant future in The Infinity Doctors, which also mentions the urSontaran WarBurg (page 62).

    Pg 204 "The sacred firelake of Rag-Fraish" The mantra of the sisterhood of Karn was "Sacred fire, sacred flame" and by the end of the book we see that the seers of Gallifrey have become the Sisterhood.

    Pg 210 "Miss David's carpet shop in Antalya" Forward reference to Cat's Cradle: Warhead.

    "One of forty-five cousins from the loom of the gloomy House of Lungbarrow in the southern mountains." We visit the House of Lungbarrow in the book of the same name.

    "The Doctor had met him once, but that was in his tomb" The Five Doctors.

    "The Doctor had also met Omega, another legendary Hero." The Three Doctors, Arc of Infinity and The Infinity Doctors.

    Pgs 210-211 "It was a chance encounter with the Book of the Old Time that had first nudged the Doctor's thoughts back towards his world's archae-barbaric past." I'm not sure what this is referring to. The Doctor might have encountered a Book of the Old Time in the Remembrance of the Daleks novelisation, or perhaps Timewyrm: Revelation, but I can't place it.

    Pg 211 "A suspicion had been born in his mind that before regeneration there had been reincarnation." This refers to the Other and the faces in The Brain of Morbius, as we find out in Lungbarow.

    Pg 220 "Its shape, flickering with geistlicht" That's German for Ghost Light.

    Pg 231 "There'd been nights like this on Horsenden Hill." We see Horsenden Hill in Survival.

    Pg 238 "The Doctor squirmed inside the glittering mesh, contracting muscles and sinews in the way Harry Houdini had shown him." The Doctor mentions knowing Houdini in Planet of the Spiders.

    Pg 241 "Only one figure at that time, maybe two figures, weilded such powers of telepathy as she exhibited." The second figure might be the Other.

    Pg 243 "There was a mirror across his mind. [...] She was certain this unknown voice had dogged her before." The first link between the Doctor and the Other. Lungbarrow reveals the details of how this comes to be.

    Pg 250 "Tell Mum I'm sorry" Ace says something similar when she's about to be shot in the Curse of Fenric.

    Pg 252 "Viewed objectively, it could be the most momentous impact event since Adric hit Mexico." Earthshock.

    Pg 261 "Rassilon the God Prydonian Cardinal Borusa" We first saw Borusa in The Deadly Assassin and then in most subsequent Gallifrey stories.

    Pg 262 "Seek out the fire fountains of Karn." The Pythia's people become the sisterhood of Karn, seen in The Brain of Morbius (which was also noted to be in the same general area as Gallifrey).

    Pg 266 "That wretched sorceress Peinforte" Silver Nemesis, here linked to the Pythia and the Susterhood.

    Pg 270 "Which is more than can be said for you." The Other is not Gallifreyan.

    Pg 271 "Go and see Omega at the science faculty." These events will ultimately lead to Omega's creation of time travel (The Three Doctors, The Infinity Doctors)

    Pg 272 "Later came the triumphs of regeneration and, at last, Time Travel." In Lungbarrow it's made clear that Rassilon and the Other can't regenerate.

    Pg 273 "Cousins and more cousins in a distant mountainous country." Lungbarrow.

    "There was a birthday card, old and yellowing, and on it in willowy writing was Happy Birthday Grandfather." The mystery of how Susan ties into the Pythia's curse wouldn't be solved until Lungbarrow.

    Pg 274 "His jumper in shreds" The Doctor's question mark jumper is destroyed here, but presumably he gets a new one as he wears it in later NAs.

    Pg 275 "They only appear in the direst need, when even the cloister bell doesn't work." First heard in Logopolis.

    "How much do you know about Persian carpets?" In the next book, Warhead, Ace spends time in Turkey.

    Rassilon, the Other.

    There's a brief cameo by Ace's mother on page 17.

    Pekkary, Reogus, Amnoni, Chesperl, Shonnzi.

    The silver cat makes its first appearance (it reappears in Warhead and Witchmark).


    1. Cover art: There's no bell on the bicycle, but on page 49 it rings.
    2. Pg 195 "The resulting explosive catastrophe, Blinivictual's theory made flesh, was somehow being contained by the TARDIS." In the series he was always called Blinovitch.
    3. Pg 211 "To visit Gallifrey's past was the one rule he had never broken." Actually, the first Doctor did precisely this in Lungbarrow.

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

    1. The bell rings in Ace's dream, so it might be symbolic.
    2. The Doctor's memory is still fuzzy at this point, so he might be misremembering.
    3. This one is harder, because it's mentioned twice and Vael confirms it after reading the Doctor's mind. However, Vael doesn't get everything and the Doctor's memory is on the blink anyway.

    The Time Lords.

    The Process, a leech-like alien with a head at either end, who absorbs information.

    Gallifrey, the Old Time.

    Ealing Broadway, West London (near Perivale) (page 8)

    A corner of a leafy housing estate in Perivale.

    (The grey city doesn't count as a location as it's really the TARDIS interior)

    IN SUMMARY - Robert Smith?
    Mindblowing. I've read Time's Crucible three times now and it's blown me away every time. There's a whole heap of stuff here that would go on to shape the NAs and you have to read every line carefully. However, Platt's writing is a joy to behold, a rich and deep well that can be savoured over and over again. A hugely important book and despite its heavy-going text, a thoroughly rewarding one.