Head Games
by Steve Lyons

Publisher: Virgin
ISBN: 0 426 20454 9


    Dr Who, superhero and gentleman to boot, and his trusty sidekick Jason must battle the evil forces of his morally ambiguous evil twin, known only as 'The Doctor'.


    The sixth appears in multiple dreamscapes.

    The remaining five Doctors appear briefly on page 255, in a dreamscape within the Doctor's mind.

    Benny, Chris, Roz, Ace, Mel and Wolsey.

    Pg 2 Inside Jason's bedroom, Earth 2001.

    Pg 14 In space, near Arcalis (and the TARDIS has just come from Arcalis itself, as we see in flashback on page 66).

    Pgs 19-20 Inside the Citadel, Detrios.

    Pg 59 At the foot of a hill on Avalone, the far future.

    Pg 71 Inside the Galactic Prison (but it's a fictional dreamscape).

    Pg 127 Inside the cultists' Great Hall, Detrios.

    Pg 131 The Glebe cafe, January 1994.

    Pgs 149/153 By the lake in St James's Park, London, 2001.

    Pg 178 Sheffield, 2001.

    Pg 201 The Great Hall of Buckingham Palace, 2001.

    Pg 220 Inside the Miracle.

    Pgs 249/251 England, 2001.

    Pgs 251/252 Earth, possibly Pease Pottage, sometime in the nineties.

    This is a sequel to Conundrum, which itself is a sequel to The Mind Robber. The links aren't overwhelming, though.

    On the other hand, in some ways this is the pivotal central novel of the NAs, so it's a good idea to have read Timewyrm: Revelation, Love and War, The Pit, Falls the Shadow and Set Piece. The first scene of Time and the Rani and the last scene of Dragonfire are also necessary viewing.

    Oh, and it's a companion piece to Millennial Rites, which was published at the same time. But it can be read before that one.

    Pg 2 "He kept his eyes on the unfolding text" Possibly reference to the semiotically thick reference book of the same name.

    "His eyes gleamed blue - or was that green?" Reference to the Doctor's eyes changing in the novelisations and used as a symbol of the seventh Doctor's power in the NAs. Appropriately, they seem kind of blue-green on the cover.

    Pg 4 "He forced himself to think about Terra Alpha: the planet where happiness was mandatory , where death squads had punished those who had dared to feel blue." The Happiness Patrol.

    "So where next? Daleks on Skaro? Mercenaries on Mars? Giant fleas on Pluto?" The Daleks et al, The Ice Warriors, et al, probable reference to the comic strip Ground Zero, where Ace is killed battling a poorly-drawn giant flea (but see Continuity Cock-Ups).

    Pgs 4-5 "She hadn't seen the Doctor's face fall as she operated the scanner control - as he realized where they had landed." On Earth, in time for Silver Nemesis. I'd be disappointed too.

    Pg 5 "She had had her suspicions before, during that business with the Hand of Omega." Remembrance of the Daleks.

    Pg 8 "Ace, older and bitter, sick of his betrayals and secrets, infuriated by his complicity in parting her from Robin and letting Jan die." Nightshade, Love and War.

    "Bernice, so angered by the destruction of the Seven Planets in the Althosian System and never understanding why he'd let it happen." The Pit.

    Pg 10 "The Doctor had killed Ace once. He had pulled her strings and dragged her to the moon, making her a pawn in a lethal game of chance." Timewyrm: Revelation.

    Pg 11 "He remembered Ace, just after the moon. [...] She had asked him about the others, the two she had not met." This book develops the seeds of the sixth Doctor's arc sown in Timewyrm: Revelation and Love and War. The first, third, fourth and fifth Doctors were seen in Timewyrm: Revelation. It was stated (on page 173) that five of his previous selves were present in the Doctor's mindscape and the second Doctor appeared in visions in Timewyrm: Apocalypse. This arc is eventually resolved in The Room with no Doors.

    "'I am Time's Champion,' the Doctor bellowed" First introduced in Love and War, this became the seventh Doctor's mantle throughout the NAs.

    Pg 17 "Well, it was the Trods; fault really. They'd built this giant megatomic nuclear device, you see, and they were blackmailing -" The Trods appeared in the comics.

    Pg 21 "And, although Kat was no religious woman, she offered a small prayer to the Miracle: that, from this long-augered conflict, some good might come." A possible reference to the famous line in Genesis of the Daleks.

    Pg 25 "The Undertown was a numbingly familiar place to be: a world of poverty and despair, the festering foundations over which Earth's empire had been built." We saw this in Original Sin.

    Pg 35 "You know what I had to do to my last partner, don't you Chris?" Roz killed her last partner, Fenn Martle, as told in Original Sin.

    Pg 37 "A semi-natural thing, a fluke accident, perhaps caused by the Timewyrm, or by the Monk's machinations with the timestream. Maybe even Gabriel and Tanith created it as a by-product of their existence." The Timewyrm arc (Genesys through Revelation), the alternate history arc (Blood Heat through No Future), Falls the Shadow.

    "'If I'm going to wind up facing Dr Doom again,' she had said, 'you can forget it.'" Conundrum

    Pg 40 "'If this is what compiling a book of bad twentieth-century jokes does for the psyche,' she muttered, 'I'm getting out of publishing at the first opportunity.'" Benny's joke book is mentioned frequently in Sky Pirates! and then, after this brief reference, never, ever again.

    Pg 45 "Why was his own mind confining him to this room, with time running out?" Set up for The Room With No Doors.

    Pg 50 "You should address me as "Doctor" and refer to me by my full name." This is a parody of the early NA habit of referring to the Doctor as "The Time Lord".

    Pg 53 "'Well I suppose it's time.' Silly cow, why had she said that? 'Time that I left.'" Dragonfire.

    Pg 62 "You wiped out the Seven planets in the Althosian System, left Silurian Earth to a lingering death" The Pit, Blood Heat.

    Pg 66 "I haven't had a travelling companion since John and Gillian left for Zebadee University." John and Gillian were the first Doctor's companions in the early comic strips. Characters of the same name are also in Susan's class at Coal Hill School, in Time and Relative.

    Pg 68 "I believe it calls itself "Qwedge", ma'am." This is the first confirmation of the pronunciation of "Cwej", although we later find out it really should be "Shvay", but Chris has given in to everyones mistaken pronunciation. He later goes back to "Shvay" in The Room with no Doors.

    Pg 70 "A fortnight ago, I was fighting mad teddy bears." Toy Soldiers.

    Pg 73 "You're an accomplice of Doctor Nemesis!" Conundrum.

    Pg 74 "It's all right Sparky, I've got her." Conundrum.

    Pg 77 "And memory like an elephant's, as I recall." Trial of a Time Lord.

    "'The nearest one was sort of hovering,' Mel pressed on, remembering, 'As if it wasn't really here at all. And I think it had a thin yellow line around it.' The Doctor laughed. 'Don't worry, I've faced monsters exactly like that before.'" This is a rare acknowledgement of the existence of CSO in the Doctor Who universe.

    Pg 91 "When you make enemies of Silurians, you have to be prepared for their pets too." Seen in Doctor Who and the Silurians, Warriors of the Deep and Blood Heat.

    Pg 92 "He said you'd "left Silurian Earth to a lingering death"." Blood Heat.

    "And "wiped out" seven planets in the - Arthurian? - Althosian - System." The Pit.

    "In fact it was just after Silurian Earth that I met Jason. Both were part of Mortimus's plots as I recall." Blood Heat, Conundrum and No Future.

    Pg 95 "He knew from bitter experience how corruption could breed within the institutions of power." Original Sin.

    Pg 98 "I've allowed my neutron flow to take on the wrong -" A misquote of the third Doctor's famous phrase about reversing the polarity of the neutron flow.

    Pg 105 "I studied with Houdini." Mentioned in Planet of the Spiders.

    Pg 108 "THE FEROCIOUS FROG MAN. Five years for attempted Galactic Domination." Possibly Monarch, from Four to Doomsday.

    Pg 113 "He helped a Time Lord friend of his destroy them, killed billions of people." The Pit.

    Pg 124 "He tried to operate the TARDIS: a mad idea, his senses screamed. It was far too complex for even a rational mind to handle without the Doctor's experience - Q'ell had taught him that." Toy Soldiers.

    Pg 130 "Dorothy McShane had decided to pay a visit to the cafe in Glebe; her first one since the Doctor had left." Set Piece.

    Pg 131 "A side-effect of a hole punched through space-time by a woman called Kadiatu in a rogue time vessel." Set Piece.

    "That familiar noise, like a key scraped along a piano string, only much slower." This was in fact precisely how the TARDIS materialisation effect was produced in 1963. It's possibly also an amusing parody of the fact that so many authors feel the need to describe the sound of the TARDIS materialising in the books.

    Pg 134 "This was almost as strange as the 'incident' six months ago; the one which had persuaded Beecham, with the approval of old man Yeadon, the owner, to install monitoring equipment in the cafe." Presumably this is Robin Yeadon, Ace's lover from Nightshade. He reappears in Happy Endings, having hooked up with Ace's mother; presumably he'd returned to England by then. The incident from six months ago is from Set Piece.

    Pg 136 "Who was that terrible woman?" This is an infamous line from Dimensions in Time.

    Pg 137 "Aaron Blinovitch would have a fit if he knew you were even thinking about it." The Blinovitch limitation effect was first mentioned in Day of the Daleks. It's been mentioned quite a lot since then.

    Pg 142 "He had faced down the decidedly unpleasant Zamps" Zamper.

    Pg 151 "Ace gave a wry smile, walking past the McDonalds branch she had worked all those years ago." We see her working here in The Crystal Bucephalus and Damaged Goods.

    "A vat of murky liquid on the main bench professed to hold a 'Naughty Brain' and warned the user not to place it in home-built humanoid heads." The Brain of Morbius.

    Pg 152 "It's only a sequel." It is indeed, to Conundrum.

    Pg 154 "Mel couldn't help but feel disappointed that the quality of Thames water had not improved since 1986. Or rather, she reminded herself, since 1999 when an earlier Doctor had brought her here." Millennial Rites. Although technically she was last here in 2000, since Millennial Rites carried over into the new year. Since 1999 was only just over a year ago, quite why Mel would expect the quality of the water in the Thames to have improved is beyond us. (It's because the continuity reference was clearly dropped in later; it makes sense before the 1999 reference, as 15 years would be a reasonable amount of time for that to have happened.)

    Pg 157 "The Daleks would parade themselves across that landmark, two centuries hence, their message to the peoples of Earth: that London had fallen." The Dalek Invasion of Earth.

    "In a real sense he had been responsible for the Dalek invasion himself. he had landed in the midst, after all, out of all of Earth's possible futures at the time." This is partly an oblique reference to Day of the Daleks, but also a reference to the NA writers' guidelines theory that the Doctor's appearance at an event grounded it into history, out of various possible futures and that he was on a treadmill with regards to keeping the web of time subsequently intact.

    "He recalled Gabriel and Tanith, embodiments of the lives snuffed out by such tragedies" Falls the Shadow.

    Pg 161 "I should have learnt that from the Vardans." No Future.

    Pg 165 "It's like when we went to the Great War" Toy Soldiers.

    Pg 167 "Becoming a cowardly custard?" Similar to a line in Paradise Towers.

    "And these are all Trods down here, we're always battling them." These were Dalek-like robots from the early comics, which could be safely used without worrying about copyright.

    Pg 171 "I don't recall Paradise Towers being any bed of roses either, but we got through that one." Paradise Towers.

    Pg 173 "So many failures before me. Goth, Hedin, the Master, Ruath, even Borusa. Myself in one possible future. I thought I'd averted that. How could I really have hoped to avoid it?" The Deadly Assassin, Arc of Infinity, Terror of the Autons onwards, Blood Harvest/Goth Opera, The Five Doctors, Millennial Rites, Trial of a Time Lord.

    "But I'm sorry I sent you away, Mel, that you were stranded." Dragonfire.

    Pg 174 "You don't look like a "Jeremy Fitzoliver" to me." The Paradise of Death, The Ghosts of N-Space, Instruments of Darkness.

    Pg 176 "You influenced my mind, made me leave the TARDIS and go with Glitz - Glitz of all people." Dragonfire.

    "He was halfway to becoming the Valeyard. He almost killed you, here on Earth, at Canary Wharf Tower in 1999." Millennial Rites.

    Pg 177 "Not even all my memories are intact." The Doctor edited his memories in Timewyrm: Genesys.

    "Fenric had sent Ace. I couldn't avoid my responsibilities any longer." Dragonfire/The Curse of Fenric.

    Pg 192 Reference to the Brigadier (but see Continuity Cock-Ups).

    Pg 193 "She ignored the vivid impression in her mind that, on the far side of the disturbance, there were Cybermen, Yeti and alien knights waiting in ambush." The Invasion, The Web of Fear, Battlefield.

    Reference to Ancelyn (Battlefield).

    Pg 194 "'Shame!' Brigadier Bambera cursed." It's not any funnier in print than it was on screen, in Battlefield.

    Pg 198 "'I had to be sure you weren't the double,' Ace said apologetically. 'He doesn't have a sensitive nerve cluster in his shoulder.'" As featured in The Left-Handed Hummingbird.

    Pg 200 "It's becoming too easy to track me from the media reports. Still I rectified that in a century or so.'" The Doctor wiped all mention of himself from Earth's records in 2109, in Transit.

    Pg 201 "Ace wished her own portrait had been placed here instead of Windsor Castle." Silver Nemesis.

    "You said to do something about Kadiatu Lethbridge-Stewart." Kadiatu has thus far appeared in Transit and Set Piece. This is a lead-in to The Also People.

    Pg 202 "Earth's magnetic field will reverse in four years' time and the corner shop has run out of rice pudding." Iceberg (but see Continuity Cock-ups), Remembrance of the Daleks.

    Pg 203 "You did this in the land of Fiction: put a storybook character on the throne and spoke through him." Conundrum.

    Pg 205 "I've prevented invasions by Autons, Daleks, Cybermen and Axons, by Yeti and renegade Time Lords." Spearhead from Space/Terror of the Autons, Day of the Daleks, The Tenth Planet/The Invasion, The Claws of Axos, The Abominable Snowmen/The Web of Fear, The Time Meddler/Terror of the Autons et al.

    "But the more I meddle in your timestream, the more fixed it becomes and the more dangerous then is the established order." Peter Darvill-Evans' theory of the NA treadmill.

    Pg 206 "I remember a dream about witches and superheroes." Conundrum.

    Pg 209 "She hadn't died since... oh, since Shadowfell, many months ago." Falls the Shadow.

    Pg 210 "I hope you never have to find out what real life is like, "Doughnut"." This was Ace's nickname for Mel in Dragonfire.

    Pg 212 "'What about your Seven Planets?' Benny nodded morosely. 'I try not to think about it. And I gave him hell at the time, believe me.'" The Pit.

    "Since I've known him, he's been shot through the heart, had his mind ripped open by mechanical insects... I thought his head had been lopped off once." Parasite, Set Piece, Legacy.

    Pg 214 "I gather I missed the mutant ninja turtles again." Zamper.

    "Got any ideas why Canary Wharf Tower changed shape on the first day of 2000?' 'You should steer clear. And don't discuss it in front of Mel.'" Millennial Rites.

    "And who shouldn't I tell about Kadiatu? [...] This dimensional rift you're worried about - it's her fault isn't it? She caused it when her time machine burnt out of control." Set Piece and also a lead-in to The Also People.

    Pg 215 "You're seen her, haven't you? Since she vanished into the vortex and we thought she might be dead?" Set Piece.

    Pg 216 "Ace, foisted on him by Fenric" Dragonfire, The Curse of Fenric.

    Pg 226 "The Doctor moved in quickly and felled one with a deceptively simple shoulder grip." He does this in Battlefield, too.

    "Ace had been through all that herself, in her own time." Love and War.

    Pg 228 "The Day God Went Mad" This was the original title for The Face of Evil.

    Pg 237 "They brought to mind the Charrl and the things which had burrowed under her skin on the Artifact; worst of all, her mutated possible future self that she had seen when the TARDIS had turned itself inside out." Birthright, Parasite, Cat's Cradle: Time's Crucible.

    Reference to Daleks.

    Pg 238 "He even did what, in a previous incarnation, he had been unable to do: he confronted Davros in his own control bunker and shot him dead." Resurrection of the Daleks.

    "'You killed me,' the sixth Doctor spat. 'You were so desperate to exist yourself that you ended my life. I accuse you, "Doctor", of murder. Of suicide in the first degree.'" Time and the Rani. This is also the development of the hints sown in Love and War about the seventh Doctor ending the sixth's life and how the sixth hates him for that.

    Pg 241 "You were travelling the road that leads to the Valeyard." As mentioned in Love and War. The Valeyard was seen in Trial of a Time Lord and Matrix.

    "But you still met Melanie, you still destroyed the Vervoids." Business Unusual, Terror of the Vervoids. The sixth Doctor also spends most of the Virgin MAs trying to avoid these events, most notably in Time of Your Life, Killing Ground and Business Unusual.

    "You almost killed Mel on Earth in 1999, when you were so close to becoming the Valeyard yourself." Millennial Rites.

    Pg 242 "Somebody had to become the Ka Faraq Gatri." First referred to in the novelisation of Remembrance of the Daleks.

    "How many people did you endanger on Earth, playing games with Daleks? Manoeuvring them into destroying Skaro?" Remembrance of the Daleks.

    "You killed Ace on the moon. You left Kadiatu to her fate." Timewyrm: Revelation, Set Piece.

    Pg 243 "What about Gabriel and Tanith?" Falls the Shadow.

    "The seventh Doctor was down and the sixth Doctor's hands were about his throat" Just like in The Twin Dilemma.

    Pg 248 "he passed his hand briefly over Jason's eyes and commanded: 'Sleep.'" The seventh Doctor does similar things throughout Season 26.

    Pg 251 "I did explain about our swapping TARDISes" This happened in Blood Heat.

    Pg 253 "Ever since Ace left, since I had to replace her, I've known it could all happen again." Love and War.

    Pg 254 "Some rest and relaxation on Florana. Or maybe a trip to the Eye of Orion." Death to the Daleks, The Five Doctors.

    Pgs 254-255 He talked to his other selves: the librarian, the ferryman, even the one he had once crucified on the cross of his insensitivity." Timewyrm: Revelation.

    "It took a moment to reorient his senses, to remember that he was floating in the Zero Room's null-gravity environment." Castrovalva.

    Pg 255 "His thoughts had turned to Kadiatu Lethbridge-Stewart. He hadn't made his decision about her yet" This is followed up in The Also People.

    Pg 1 Jason, the writer from Conundrum returns and is given a name here.

    Pg 54 Sabalom Glitz.

    Pg 73 The White Knight, from Conundrum, appears briefly.

    Pg 173 UNIT

    Pg 191 Brigadier Winifred Bambera, last seen in Battlefield.

    Pg 182 There's a cameo by the Queen, who also appeared in Silver Nemesis.

    Kat'lanna (who doesn't die here, despite what Christmas on a Rational Planet or The Room with no Doors say), Thruskarr, Mortannis, Rokk.


    1. Pg 4 "So where next? Daleks on Skaro?" This is a flashback to a conversation taking place immediately after the Happiness Patrol. So Ace should know well that the Doctor destroyed Skaro in Remembrance of the Daleks (and she's even described as his new companion in this timeframe).
    2. Pg 21 "Mortannis, almost a throwback to the Old Time, had become the family's prodigal son. Kat'lanna, quite the whitest child ever born, was scorned." This is an interesting use of the term "prodigal son", which usually refers to the child less favoured by the parents, rather than the favourite as seen here.
    3. Pg 51 "Her red hair was cut short and she wore a shapeless powder blue tracksuit" Except on the cover Mel's hair is quite long and she's wearing her outfit from Time and the Rani.
    4. Pg 192 "Have you contacted General Lethbridge-Stewart, sir?" It's long been clear that the Brigadier was never promoted to general.
    5. Pg 202 "Earth's magnetic field will reverse in four years' time" The Flipback in Iceberg occurs in 2006, not 2005.
    6. Pg 205: "If we change things in 2001 then Chris might not be born in 2954." Except that Original Sin happened in 2959 (specifically, Pgs 86-87 of that book have the Doctor looking at records that happened in 2955 and noting that this was four years ago). So was Chris only 5 years old during Original Sin?

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

    1. The Doctor isn't remembering correctly, as he admits earlier on that page.
    2. In the story, the prodigal son eventually returns and is welcomed by his father, so perhaps this is what is being referred to. It's still odd, though.
    3. Jason's fictional manipulations probably reset Mel's appearance to her earliest appearance in the seventh Doctor's continuity.
    4. Presumably he's a brigadier-general.
    5. The field begins to reverse in 2005 and this is what the Doctor is referring to.
    6. The Doctor, at this point in Head Games, is so distracted by changes to the timeline, he's imagining changes that never happened.

    Pg 15 The lizard men of Detrios.

    Pg 26 A giant insect, with black, double-jointed legs, coarse hair and six yellow globe eyes (but it's a fictional creation in a dreamscape).

    Pg 44 A mutant lizard, as tall as the ceiling, with narrow yellow eyes, acidic saliva, a trunk-like neck and a long, leathern four-legged body (but it's a fictional creation).

    Pgs 49, 61, 104 A variety of dinosaurs (although they're technically not alien and are fictional creations anyway).

    Pg 58 A security robot.

    Pg 84 The humanoid inhabits of Detrios. They're black-skinned, hairless and don't blink.

    Pg 125 Enros, who's a Detrian, but augmented with a silver exo-skeleton and artificial respiration.

    Pg 8 Metro City (but it's a fictional dreamscape)

    Pg 14 Detrios, probably 2001 (page 92 indicates that the fictional energies are flowing into 2001 and Detrios's Miracle is one of their offshoots).

    Pg 25 The Undertown, from Original Sin (but it's a fictional dreamscape).

    Pg 51 Avalone, the far future.

    Pg 71 The Galactic Prison (but it's a fictional dreamscape).

    Pg 129 The Glebe cafe (from Set Piece), 1994.

    Pg 149 London, 2001.

    Pg 151 London, 2002.

    Pg 159 England, early 2002.

    Pg 169 On board the London to Sheffield Express, 2001.

    Pg 181 Sheffield, 2001.

    Pg 220 Inside the Miracle, a fictional ball of energy orbiting Detrios.

    IN SUMMARY - Robert Smith?
    This is the central axis about which the entire arc of the NAs swung, with a treatise on just how far the books - and the seventh Doctor in particular - have come and how far they're willing to go. And the biggest surprise is just how enjoyable so much of it is in retrospect. The jokes are all meta-jokes, like the hilarious bit with the TARDIS materialisation sound and the juxtaposition of the current TARDIS crew with previous crews from this Doctor works a treat. There are only two aspects that don't work, but unfortunately they occupy the bulk of the book. The fictional adventures that take up the first quarter should have been confined to a single chapter and almost everything about Detrios is a waste of space. You can see why it's there, trying to make the NA seventh Doctor rub up against a "traditional" adventure, but it just doesn't have the flair that it should. But otherwise, this is a really worthy read, far too overlooked. Oh and the cover's hilarious. But you knew that.