The king of Mendeb Three is enslaving the inhabitants of Mendeb Two with a mind-altering drug. The Doctor and Ace help a revolution along.
Pg 11 There's a cameo by the second Doctor.
Pg 11 Jamie also appears.
Pg 12 On the equator of Mendeb 3 (offscreen), a few years before the main action.
Pg 30 On board the space station between Mendeb Two and Three, main time period.
Pg 41 In the town square in a village on Mendeb Two.
Pg 17 "I was waiting on tables in that grotty bar in Iceworld." Dragonfire.
"The last film she'd been to see,just days before she was in the chem lab at school and carried out the experiment that had gone only slightly wrong but had swept her up in a time-storm anyway, had been an arty thing called Withnail and I." Dragonfire. Interestingly, Withnail and I stars not one but two Doctors (the eighth, as was known when this was written, and the alternative ninth from Scream of the Shalka, which wasn't).
Pg 18 "He was definitely gorgeous. Who was he? That was it: Richard E. Grant." Why couldn't the Doctor be more like Richard E. Grant?" This is getting very meta. Ace will eventually get her wish, in Scream of the Shalka.
Pg 24 "I thought the TARDIS could just download all this stuff from the Matrix." The Deadly Assassin et al.
Pg 46 "It's on a permanent link to the food synthesiser." Featured in The Daleks et al.
Pg 96 "And I once had a job as a waitress, sir." Dragonfire.
Pg 135 "Have I mentioned that I once knew Harry Houdini?" Planet of the Spiders.
Pg 138 "The bread has been made with a yeast that could prove dangerous to the Sontaran physiognomy, but I'm fairly sure it's harmless for humans." The Time Warrior et al.
Pg 203 "The ruler of the planet Chloris, for instance, tried to have me killed by throwing me into a pit." The Creature From the Pit.
Pg 221 "From waitress to waitress, via a spot of time travel and saving a few civilisations, she thought." Dragonfire.
Pg 228 "A baseball bat worked against the Daleks, and gold coins did for the Cybermen." Remembrance of the Daleks, Silver Nemesis.
OLD FRIENDS AND OLD ENEMIES
NEW FRIENDS AND NEW ENEMIES
Kedin, Madok, Tevana, Vethran, Lafed
- Front cover: Why is there a question mark motif in the brickwork? And why do the guard's eyes glow red? These things never happen in the novel.
- Pg 46 "The doctor's head was cocked: he had heard it too." Why isn't "Doctor" capitalised?
- Pg 117 "Are you are a Two?" Huh?
- Pg 145 "It was as if a giant had rested a book across the two mountains. [...] It was wide enough for an army to march across, and two stories high." Storeys, surely?
- Pg 175 "The tower was half its original height; it had been lowered and widened to protect it from artillery and to accommodate large cannon." Accommodate a large cannon, perhaps? Or accommodate several large cannons?
PLUGGING THE HOLES [Fan-wank theorizing of how to fix continuity cock-ups]
- The question mark just happens to be a symbol of the realm, which may be why people take to the seventh Doctor so easily. The guard's red eyes may just be a reflection of the explosion happening behind him (presumably the one Ace sets off).
- Bep-Wor is unsure whether "doctor" is the strange man's title or name. He wavers here but eventually decided it's his name.
- The guard is so confused by the Doctor that he's mixing up his words. Much like the author, one suspects.
- The giant book analogy is very strong here.
- Yes, but is it cannon?
FEATURED ALIEN RACES
It's unclear whether the inhabitants of Mendeb Two and Three are human or not.
Pg 28 Camelopes, which are never described but are presumably a mix between camels and antelopes.
Pg 54 A mule.
Pg 267 Some birds.
Pg 4/43 Mendeb 3, a decade before the main action (Pg 18).
Pg 12 Mendeb 3, a few years before the main action (Pg 48).
Pg 23/30 The space station between Mendeb Two and Mendeb Three, during the main time period.
Pg 32 A ship.
Pg 51 An escape pod.
Pg 85 A cargo pod.
IN SUMMARY - Robert Smith?
This might just be the oddest novel in the history of Doctor Who. It's entirely forgettable, being simply a march from slavery to freedom by a bunch of slaves, with mild nudges from the Doctor along the way and briefly by Ace at the end. Very little gets in their way, with none of the usual obstacles that one might suspect from, say, drama. At the time, this was exciting, because it briefly restored the NA Doctor and New Ace to the BBC line, but it was a false dawn. The Doctor is perfectly fine, although in no way a master manipulator. But Ace is terrible, as well as barely being in the book. She spends most of her time pining for Kedin, who's married, probably having sex with him, hating him and then deciding to stay on Mendeb 3 with him forever (he all but pushes her into the TARDIS at the last minute). She has almost no agency whatsoever, even when she's not being drugged. Oh, and while under the influence, she also gets molested and very likely raped by several men. Charming.