For twenty thousand centuries the Gallifreyans have been the most powerful race in the universe. But now a new force has been unleashed, one with the potential to change everything. Only the Doctor, trusted member of the Time Lord council and a long time resident of Gallifrey, can stop it.
Uncertain, depending on when the book is set. He's definitely played by Paul McGann, but it might be a young first Doctor, a future Doctor who has returned to Gallifrey or an alternate version of the eighth Doctor, living in a universe where the past was retroactively changed.
Larna is the nearest, although she's not a companion in the strictest sense.
The TARDIS usually resides in the Doctor's chambers on Gallifrey. It travels to the Needle world in the far future and back again.
Cat's Cradle: Time's Crucible, Cold Fusion, Lungbarrow. It would also be useful to watch The Three Doctors, The Deadly Assassin, The Invasion of Time, amongst others.
The dating for this book is left ambiguous. It's implied that it might be the past, it might be the future, or it might be 'sideways', in a parallel universe (although this idea is all but dismissed late in the book), or most likely in an altered universe, since a theme of the novel is having the power to change the past. I've attempted to list the dates and their implications where possible. The most likely dating at first glance would seem to be the past... but the Doctor featured is played by Paul McGann. This isn't meant to sit comfortably.
The title: The infinity symbol looks like an eight on its side. This book could be seen as The Eight Doctors done right.
Back cover: "For twenty thousand centuries the Gallifreyans have been the most powerful race in the cosmos" Twenty thousand centuries is two million years - significantly less than the "Ten million years of absolute power" quoted in Trial of a Time Lord, strongly suggesting that this takes place in the past.
There are twelve chapters and we are told in The Deadly Assassin that Time lords have twelve lives.
Pg 1 "Each snowflake melted as it batted into the thick walls of the Citadel" The opening sentence is reminiscent of the opening sentence of Timewyrm: Revelation ("They say no two snowflakes are the same.")
"Gallifrey had been ruled by seers who remembered the future as they remembered the past." The line of the Pythias was seen in Time's Crucible.
"But the memory cheats" A phrase uttered by John Nathan-Turner, responding to fans' claims that the show wasn't as good as it used to be.
Pg 2 "It hadn't been foretold that the Gallifreyan race would become sterile, there was nothing in the Fragment about Looms, Houses, Cousins, this, that or the other." Gallifrey became sterile in Time's Crucible, which also introduced Looms, Houses and Cousins. Looms are Rassilon's solution to the Time Lords (supposed) sterility - they are genetic factories, from which new Gallifreyans spring fully grown. Time Lord society is divided into Houses (which predate Rassilon), and each House was assigned a Loom, which kept the Family stocked with 45 Cousins. We see meet Doctor's family and his Cousins in Lungbarrow. The other is one of the founders of Time Lords civilisation, along with Rassilon and Omega. He kept in the shadows, remained nameless and gave Rassilon the power to carry out his reforms. He was first seen in the novelisation of Remembrance of the Daleks, then Time's Crucible and Lungbarrow, along with a few other NAs.
Pgs 2-3 "Sing about the past again, and sing that same old song" The song has 13 syllables per line, corresponding to 13 lives of Time Lords.
Pg 3 "'A dream come true,' his wife agreed silently.' The woman is Omega's wife, and will later be the Doctor's wife. She is Patience (although she is never named as such here) and was seen in Cold Fusion.
"'Who indeed?' the little man said" The Other. cf Lady Peinforte's "that little man" in Silver Nemesis. Lady Peinforte may have been a follower of the Pythia.
Pg 4 "We're immortal, barring accidents" This is how the Doctor describes Time Lords in The War Games
Pg 5 "The air filled with an unearthly wheezing, groaning sound" Presumably the Gallifreyans can travel in space but not time until Omega opens the Eye of Harmony. It's not clear if the Other is on a ship with Omega's fleet or not. Patience thinks he should be.
Pg 9 "A few tafelshrews had lived here once" Tafelshrews are small mouse-like creatures native to Gallifrey, seen on page 23 of Time's Crucible and page 8 of Lungbarrow.
"Traditionally the time when vampires..." The Time Lords of Rassilon's time fought the Great Vampires, as recounted in State of Decay.
Pg 10 "The Chancellory Watch" The Chancellor was first mentioned in The Deadly Assassin, but this is the first mention of a Chancellory Watch. It's probably an excuse to use the term "Watchmen", a homage to the Alan Moore comic strip of the same name.
"A spell in Traffic Control" Rodan worked here in Invasion of Time.
Pg 11 "The guard light probed the darkness" The light is alive!
Pg 13 "This part of the building is owned by Prydon College" The Prydonian order is first mentioned in The Deadly Assassin. Prydon makes a brief appearance in Time's Crucible and was one of the Heroes.
Pg 14 "Perhaps the best example was the Panopticon itself, the enormous hexagonal hall" The Panopticon is the great hall where the Time Lords have their meetings etc, as seen in The Deadly Assassin. It's hexagonal, like the TARDIS console.
"The omniscate, the Seal of Rassilon, an ancient, swirling, circular design that symbolised infinity and eternity" The Seal was first seen in a Gallifreyan context in Deadly Assassin (although it was sideways compared to the way we normally think of it), but it was also seen in the Vogon hall in Revenge of the Cybermen (right way up)
"Far, far beneath there was the Eye of Harmony" The Eye holds the captured black hole that fuels Gallifrey, as seen in The Deadly Assassin, although we also saw [a conduit to] it in the Doctor's TARDIS in the telemovie.
Pg 15 "A vast statue of one of the Gallifreyan Founders stood at each corner of the Panopticon" There are six founders, also seen in The Ancestor Cell, although the number varies there.
"Lecturing at Patrex College" The Patrexian order was introduced in The Deadly Assassin.
Pg 16 "All six walls were lined with bookshelves" The Doctor's room is hexagonal, like the TARDIS console.
"He didn't recognise the planet it represented, and the globe itself looked like the product of a non-Gallifreyan civilisation." It's possible that the globe is of Earth.
Pg 17 "The man was powerfully built with rugged features, a weathered face with dark eyes; the woman was a redhead, a little plump." These are the Doctor's parents (see the description given on page 77, through Larna's eyes). The description of the woman matches that of the woman in the picture in Joyce's office in Unnatural History, or Penelope in The Room with No Doors, or Compassion, interestingly (who was introduced after this book was written). The man is likely Joyce, who is played by Sean Connery (matching this description and the one of page 77).
"A beautiful lady with short black hair and a straight golden gown." The Doctor's wife (Patience). She's wearing a different body in when we meet her later in the novel and in Cold Fusion, though.
"The alcove containing the food machine" The first Doctor frequently used a food machine in the early stories.
Pg 18 "He had a high forehead, emphasised by his close-cropped hair" The Doctor is Paul McGann without the wig used in the telemovie.
Pg 20 "'If you've got Gallifreyan eyes,' Peltroc murmured to himself. 'Even if you haven't, it's still quite easy,' the Doctor assured him." The Doctor may not have Gallifreyan eyes, as in the Telemovie.
Pg 22 "I'll stick with the sonic screwdriver, I think" This may or may not suggest that the novel is post-Fury from the Deep.
"There was a single word on the paper, written in capitals: WHO" See page 77.
Pg 23 "All the Chancellory Watch are trained to resist the mind probe" Seen in The Deadly Assassin and mentioned in The Five Doctors.
Pg 25 "A man his age, his height, but with flowing, shoulder-length hair. All his children were dead..." This man is the [regular] eighth Doctor, who on page 273 of Father Time has a similar dream where he sees the short-haired Doctor, whose wife was dead. Cold Fusion implies that the Doctor's children are dead.
Pg 27 "An Infinity Chamber" A bit like the overhead viewer seen in the telemovie.
"Gallifrey's moon, Pazithi" Pazithi Gallifreya was first mentioned in Time's Crucible and also seen in Lungbarrow.
"A little over five hundred Time Lords were present [...] More than half the total number" There are only 1000 Time Lords.
"Larna hesitated" Larna sounds like a cross between Romana (and she has long blonde hair like the second Romana) and the Lady Larn. The Lady Larn is a character from Eric Saward's story for the Radio Times 20th anniversary special, Birth of a renegade. In that story, Larn was the only surviving descendent of Rassilon. Renegade students wanted to make her president, and unsuccessfully tried to recruit the Doctor to their cause. After the coup was defeated, the Doctor's mind was selectively wiped - he was too highly respected to kill, so to render him harmless he was made ignorant of the events leading up to the coup. Shortly afterwards he left Gallifrey with the Lady Larn, now known as Susan.
"It was Lord Hedin." Hedin first appeared in Arc of Infinity. However, his might be his son, who was also called Hedin.
Pgs 27-28 "The Old Time." The Old Time is the period seen in flashbacks in Time's Crucible and Lungbarrow, before the curse of sterility.
Pg 28 "The Magistrate" The Master, back when he was the Doctor's friend, or possibly in the future when he is redeemed. Also see the description on pages 30-31.
"Castellan" the Castellan is the commander of the guards, first seen in The Deadly Assassin.
Pg 29 "The conjunction of the planets Tarva and Alambil" These are the moons of Narnia, mentioned in Prince Caspian.
"Olyesti is one of the Three Minute Cities in the East." Quennesander Olyesti Pekkary was Rassilon's nephew and the leader of the expedition in Time's Crucible.
Pg 30 "The ceremonial Sash of Rassilon [...] the metal circlet that hovered above his head like a halo" The Sash and the Coronet of Rassilon were seen in The Invasion of Time.
"We really must look into the latest disturbances on Tyler's Folly. Certain of the other higher powers are recommending that their people withdraw from the area." Tyler's Folly was the hollow planet seen in the Benny adventure Down and disturbances there led to the climactic events of Where Angels Fear, with the higher powers of the universe (including the Time Lords) running scared, which this is referencing (and The Infinity Doctors was published the month before Where Angels Fear). At least one other set of higher powers are the People from The Also People and the Benny books.
Pg 31 "He was in Low Town" Low Town is the slums of Gallifrey, as seen in The Eight Doctors.
Pg 32 "The Outsiders, those Gallifreyans who had rejected the civilised life in favour of the wilderness beyond the walls and domes." The Outsiders were seen in The Invasion of Time.
Pg 33 "Perhaps even something as sophisticated as a shayde." Shayde is a servant of the Matrix Lords who helps out the Doctor in the comic The Tide of Time and reappeared in various DWM comics.
Pg 35 "At the centre of the disturbance was the Doctor, his skullcap in one hand" The Valeyard wears one of these, although that's probably unconnected.
Pg 36 "Unlike almost everyone else, everyone apart from poor Savar, the Doctor had travelled. This was a man who had looked up at other skies, left footprints in alien soil." In Seeing I, Savar's eyes were stolen by the I (an insect-like race) and used for technology. The Doctor has travelled, so this might be set in the future, after his return to Gallifrey. The 'footprints' reference is a paraphrasing of the Doctor's speech to Ian in An Unearthly Child 2, just after the TARDIS has landed in 100,000 B.C.
Pg 38 "Today, for the first time in recorded history, Sontaran and Rutan fleets were sharing the same star system without instantly trying to annihilate one another." The Sontarans were first seen in The Time Warrior and the Rutans were mentioned then, but not seen until Horror of Fang Rock. The past sections of Time's Crucible sees the Hero Prydonius sent to monitor a minor disturbance between the Sontarans and the Rutans - here we see the war finally ended, in the distant future. The presence of Sontarans on Gallifrey invites comparison to The Invasion of Time.
"A star that showed signs of extensive re-engineering to keep it within main sequence." Presumably by the Hand of Omega (Remembrance of the Daleks, Lungbarrow).
Pg 40 "He and the Magistrate were the only members of the Council less than two thousand years old." This doesn't help much in quantifying the Doctor's age.
Pg 41 "Becoming energy beings of pure intelligence" Like the Celestis, in Alien Bodies.
"Swarming across the universe in such numbers that no one could kill you all" Like Humans, as described in The Invisible Enemy.
Pg 42 "And such a very great time after the fall of our own people." The fall of Gallifrey was predicted in Goth Opera and The Crystal Bucephalus and finally seen in The Ancestor Cell.
Pg 43 "They knew some of the names that would appear in the history books of the future: Varnax, Faction Paradox, Catavolcus, the Timewyrm. Threats to the entire Time Lords race, but quantifiable ones, ones that the Time Lords were destined to survive." Varnax appeared in various aborted scripts for the Telemovie (as described in The Nth Doctor). Faction Paradox are a Time lord cult dedicated to paradox, introduced in Alien Bodies (and the prediction of survival against them is wrong, in The Ancestor Cell). Catavolcus was a demon appearing in the comic The Neutron Knights. The Timewyrm appeared in the first four New Adventures.
"There was to be a conflict, a war fought at some point against an implacable force." The Time Lords fight a mysterious Enemy in a future war, as outlined in Alien Bodies, Interference, Dead Romance, The Taking of Planet 5 and The Ancestor Cell.
Pg 44 "He barely scraped his PhD, as I recall." The Doctor scraped by with 51% on the second attempt, according to The Ribos Operation.
Pg 47 "The Enemy Within" The title of the Telemovie, according to Philip Segal is "Enemy Within". This was also the title of various aborted scripts.
"Over ten percent of the Gallifreyan population was female, but no more than a dozen of the thousands of Time Lords were women." This explains why there were no female characters in The Deadly Assassin and very few seen on Gallifrey at all.
Pg 48 :No better than Pengallia, Marnal or Morbius" Morbius was seen in The Brain of Morbius. Marnal is mentioned fairly often throughout this book, but it's not known whether this is a reference to something else or not.
Pg 50 "The Doctor was the only person on Gallifrey to wear a battered cashmere jacket, pressed silk shirt and tailored tan trousers." This description matches the eighth Doctor's outfit.
Pg 52 "'Neath Panopticon dome/Rassilon faces Omega/But who is the other?" (and the next line ends with "brother", interestingly) We hear another Gallifreyan nursery rhyme in The Five Doctors. Another founder was called Apeiron. One of the statues in The Ancestor Cell has close-cropped hair like the Doctor here, but that might be the Other.
Pg 54 "They'll be Scooped down at Nine Bells tonight." The Time Scoop was invented in Gallifrey's 'dark times' to capture aliens and make them fight to the death for the Time Lords' pleasure (The Five Doctors).
"Public Record cameras" Runcible was a reporter for the Public Register Video in The Deadly Assassin.
Pg 55 "Once again the TARDIS time capsules travelled the universe on official Time Lord business." Once again may refer to the pre-Minyan policy on intervention (Underworld).
"His eyes had been removed" We see more details of this in Seeing I.
Pg 57 "I'll need to see the fault locator records." The first Doctor had a fault locator in the TARDIS, seen most prominently in The Edge of Destruction.
"No alien race has access to the Matrix. Well, not any more. Over the years, a number of races have tried and..." The Invasion of Time? Almost certainly, except that Larna doesn't specify that the Sontarans themselves tried, which would seem natural in this context.
Pg 58 "Aircar traffic had been diverted away from this part of the city" Romana has an aircar licence in The Pirate Planet.
Pg 59 "There was no reason why the stairs couldn't be dimensionally transcendental." It's possible the stairs inside the TARDIS in Invasion of Time are like this.
Pg 62 "'General Sontar,' the Doctor gasped." Also in The Crystal Bucephalus.
Pg 62 "The Supreme Council of the urSontaran Warburg" A Warburg is also mentioned in Time's Crucible.
Pg 63 "And not all Time Lords are Gallifreyans" Ace was to become a Time Lord in Season 27 (and possibly Cwej in Lungbarrow) and the Doctor is half-human. On page 30, Castellan Voran is described as a "Dromeian Counciller", although it's not clear if this is his race or title. If it is his race, it's interesting that a non-Gallifreyan later becomes president.
Pg 64 "Flowers of Remembrance of the Lost Dead" Flowers of remembrance are also featured in The Ancestor Cell.
"The Tomb of the Uncertain Soldier" Many countries have a tomb of the unknown soldier, commemorating the many men who died in the first and second world wars. A soldier in a Time War would of course be an uncertain soldier.
"The Time Wars" I think these were featured in the comics, but I'm not sure.
Pg 67 "Dropping out of vworp drive" The comics use 'vworp' to represent the sound of a TARDIS materialising.
Pg 68 "Qqaba was the last in the universe, of that Omega was certain." Qqaba is the star that Omega turns into a black hole in the comics Star Death, 4-D War and Black Sun Rising. It's also mentioned in Time's Crucible.
"He ran his gloved hand over each casket in turn." These are the Hands of Omega, Omega's remote stellar manipulators. One accompanied the Doctor on his escape from Gallifrey in Lungbarrow, allowing him access to the Old Time and later he retrieved it in Remembrance of the Daleks, where he used it to destroy [what he thought was] Skaro and its sun.
Pg 69 "Open" Omega's plan is activated with the same word that the Doctor uses to address the casket in Remembrance of the Daleks.
"The protective field granting the ship temporal grace." Seen in Invasion of Time, amongst other places.
Pg 70 "He heard it via the telepathic link to the others" In Time's Crucible, the early Gallifreyans are telepathic. See continuity cock-ups below.
Pg 71 "He heard one of their voices, then the other." Whose is the first voice? (Possibly this is just a sneaky way to introduce "the other" naturally into the text).
Pg 75 "Sleep in My Mind" Most of the Doctor's family sleeps in his mind, except when he really wants to remember them (Tomb of the Cybermen).
Pg 76 "Same length of day and year, same gravity, same distance from the same type of sun" Earth and Gallifrey have always had a lot in common, so it's no surprise that the two populations look similar.
"Four Quartets" is by T.S. Eliot. The first quartet, Burnt Norton, begins:
Time present and time past
Are both present in time future
And time future contained in time past
"There was only one timepiece in the whole room, an ormolu clock from Earth" Ormolu is a mix of gold and mercury, used to give objects a gold finish. In the early TV stories there is an ormolu clock in the console room (especially Edge of Destruction).
Pgs 76-77 "The longer of the two hands was between the two and the three, the shorter sat about a quarter of the way between the five and the six." The time on the clock is just slightly before 5:15, the time the first episode was aired on November 23 1963. This is probably the clearest signal of when the novel is situated.
Pg 77 "There was a single word, hand-written, in capitals: OHM" OHM is short for Omega and the SI units Larna refers to are represented by the Greek letter Omega, but upside-down, the word reads WHO. This not only forms a link between the Doctor and Omega, but ties in to the original titles of the show, where WHO was superimposed over OHW. See page 22.
"The first was a computer painting of a couple" Romana mentioned computer paintings in City of Death. The description of the couple here and the Doctor's wife complements the descriptions on page 17.
Pg 78 "'"Death is but a door",' she whispered." This is a voice print, as in the Invasion of Time. The phrase is the inscription seen in Silver Nemesis.
Pg 81 "The Great Key? The Key to Time?" Invasion of Time, season 16.
Pg 83 "He wore a ring on the middle finger of his right hand which had the same blue gem set in it." This is the ring on the cover. The Hartnell Doctor wore such a ring (used especially in The Web Planet). In Cold Fusion, Patience says "You wear my husband's ring".
"'Yet you have this zero room for her.' 'This place is for me'" The zero room aids in regeneration by providing a simple stable environment, as seen in Castrovalva. Does this mean the Doctor has already regenerated, or is he expecting to at some point?
"'You had the chance to leave. Why did you come back?' 'This is home.'" This implies that The Doctor voluntarily returned to Gallifrey.
"'Where did you meet?' 'We didn't'" This isn't nearly as obscure as it seems - Patience was the Doctor's nursemaid from birth, so he had known her all his life.
"There were a number of aliens too - Mr Saldaamir" Mr Saldaamir is a blue skinned non-Gallifreyan, a friend of the Doctor's father. He appears in Unnatural History, Beige Planet Mars, Father Time, The Gallifrey Chronicles and the short story Fishy Business (and possibly Where Angels Fear). He's involved in some shady project that might concern straightening out jumbled timelines and alternate realities.
Pg 84 "The young son and the older woman. What would his father think?" This is another reference to Patience being the Doctor's nursemaid before she became his wife.
"The analogue Time Lords that had built the Tower" Does this imply that the Time Lords in this novel are digital? These might be the clockmakers referred to in Christmas on a Rational Planet and some Benny books. Or they might be the Time Lords of the 'real' universe. Or possibly the Time Lords of the Benny Universe (Dead Romance). This is a fascinating passage, yet it's curious that it has no apparent connection to anything else in the book, so there's probably something cleverer going on. The clock tower with its clockwork figures were created by Time Lords from a parallel universe, who were erased one day (or conversely, the clock tower appeared one day). Later on, we learn that Omega has been retroactively changing the past, so it's possible that these Time Lords were alternate Time Lords seen elsewhere before Omega's retconning. We're told that the clockwork figures have complex, yet perfectly regulated social interactions. In the very next scene we're told that life in the Citadel normally ran like clockwork. It's possible that the Time Lords of this novel are clockwork figures in the 'real' universe. This ties in to a theory from Dead Romance, that the chain of Time Lords who can put whole universes in bottles is infinite, so we might be seeing a bottle universe here.
Pg 87 "You will always hear a name you understand" The Time Lords' gift for language was mentioned in The Masque of Mandragora.
Pg 88 "She was safe in the Doctor's bed." Shag #1.
Pg 89 "Only butterflies, and this was just a dream." Likely a reference to the Butterfly Room, a symbol of the eighth Doctor's personality.
Pg 90 "Her waist-length hair was bedraggled." Another Time Lady who had a great deal of hair was Cousin Innocet. The two are probably unrelated, though.
Pg 91 "'Are you alive or dead in there, puss?' he asked the box solemnly." This is a joke about Schrodinger's cat, a thought experiment, where quantum uncertainty could have an effect on the macroscopic world that wouldn't be confirmed until it was observed.
Pg 97 "His hearts as black as his robes" I'm sure this is a misquote from somewhere obvious, but I can't place it.
"The Magistrate had known the Doctor all his life, and although they'd had their differences in the past, it was clear that they loved one another." Who says the Doctor is straight? Also, it's possible that "their differences" refers to the period when the Magistrate was known as the Master, if this is set in the future.
Pg 101 "If, say the Cybermen were to destroy the Earth before the human race had reached their full potential, then the consequences to universal history would be catastrophic." This is Attack of the Cybermen and the Doctor was unwittingly sent by the Time Lords to protect the web of time.
"The intervention of certain higher powers" The Guardians?
Pg 107 "'Baxterium?' he whispered." Baxterium is named for Stephen Baxter, award-winning science fiction author. See page 194.
Pg 109 "The Keeper of the Matrix [...] wore ceremonial robes" The Keeper of the Matrix guards the key that allows access into the Matrix. At the end of The Ultimate Foe, the Keeper of the Matrix is the Valeyard.
Pg 114 "The Doctor let the memories wash over him. 'Many times.'" The Doctor has experienced the loss of loved ones many times, suggesting a future setting.
Pg 115 "My Lord president, this breach is so large, so powerful, that the most surprising thing about it is that the past hasn't already been affected." The breach affects the past retroactively, suggesting an alternate-Gallifrey setting.
Pg 117 "A sculpture that resembled a molecular model" There's one of these in the Castellan's office in the Invasion of Time.
"A sepia portrait of Castellan Fordfarding, an old man with a high forehead, an aquiline nose and thin white hair." The House of Fordfarding is mentioned in Time's Crucible. The description is suspiciously close to that of the first Doctor, so either Castellan Fordfarding was played by William Hartnell, or in this universe, the Doctor we know became Castellan and instead the (first?) Doctor is played by Paul McGann. Another portrait matching this description can be seen on the front cover of Lungbarrow.
Pg 118 "With its pantograph and pivots it looked like a shaving mirror." There was also a shaving mirror in the TARDIS console in Season 14, although it's not clear if that too was a retinal scanner.
Pg 121 "'Centro is where you left him,' the Castellan assured them." Presumably a comics reference.
"Then who is it? The Klade? The Tractites? The Ongoing?" K-L-A-D-E? Why, that's an anagram of -- The Klade are mentioned in Father Time. The Tractites are a race inhabiting an alternate Earth, from Genocide. The Ongoing may be a comics reference.
Pg 130 "The timezone in which the Time lords lived was around ten billion years after Event One" Not only does this pin down the setting of the story, it says that Gallifrey actually exists in a specific time. As a side note, A History of the Universe dates Genesis of the Daleks to c 4000 B.C. and in that story the Time Lord refers to having mastered simple technologies "when the universe was less than half its present size". Make of that what you will.
Pg 134 "It would have no toes and only three fingers." The stripped down Sontaran warrior explains the difference between appearances in the Sontarans, a clone race.
"We exist in a state of grace" Temporal grace, preventing any harm coming to anyone in a TARDIS.
Pg 137 "There was a brick-lined column, like a vast chimney stack, capped by a vast iron globe set in the centre of the floor of the Panopticon, a hundred storeys above, down to the Eye of Harmony, a thousand miles below." This description matches the Eye as seen in the Deadly Assassin.
Pg 140 "There were vast insects, bizarre mechanisms, even purely abstract shapes. Some were more human: angular-faced women in golden cloaks; a blue-skinned figure in an immaculate business suit;a man with a single bionic eye." The insects are probably the Charrl, future inhabitants of Earth, from Birthright. The angular-faced women might be the Drahvins, but the image isn't quite right. The blue-skinned figure is Mr Saldaamir. The man with a single bionic eye is Silver, from Hope.
"The Magistrate saw himself with six faces, wearing a black tunic." The six faces are Delgado, Pratt, Beevers, Ainley, his form in First Frontier and Eric Roberts.
Pg 145 "The Doctor's own TARDIS was stuck in one form." It's not said which form, but in the previous paragraph it fits inside the space of a little cupboard.
Pg 148 "Gallifreyans had traditionally resisted the urge to transform into beings of pure energy." The Celestis take this option in Alien Bodies (although there's a strong counterargument to doing so in The Taking of Planet 5).
"But if Gallifrey could fall, then what hope for the lesser races?" Gallifrey falls in The Ancestor Cell.
Pg 151 "[Savar] had been a friend of the Doctor's father. He had been the Doctor's friend." Just an interesting note.
Pg 154 "He and I studied the Old Times together. The ROO texts" Rassilon, Omega and the Other. Also mentioned on page 119 of Goth Opera.
"Imagine Gallifrey's might in the hands of the Daleks or the Faction Paradox." That's spooky and predates The Ancestor Cell by two years.
Pg 155 "Inside its impossibly large control room was a three-sided central console." Early TARDISes with fewer features?
Pg 157 "I of the Needle" The I were the race that stole Savar's eyes in Seeing I.
"Hedin was still a Hedin." Hedin is presumably a family name, so the counsellor seen in Arc of Infinity might have been an ancestor or a descendent of the Hedin here.
"Was that before or after your wedding? [...] It was before the grandchild [...] You looked much as you do now" The grandchild is presumably Susan and this may or may not tie into Lungbarrow, where Susan was the granddaughter of The Other and came from the old times (and although she recognises the Hartnell Doctor, she acknowledges that he doesn't look like her grandfather).
Pg 158 "Two million years ago, Rassilon, Omega and the others took their starbreakers to Qqaba." We get a potted history of Gallifrey. As with the back cover, two million years places this firmly before Trial and its "Ten million years of absolute power."
"Oh, you think I'm just another Morbius, intent on raising an army and conquering the universe" The Brain of Morbius.
"Change begins at home. That's why you came back." This also echoes the speech from Trial of a Time Lord and the line "I should have stayed at home." The Doctor coming back from his travels suggests the future, though.
Pg 159 "I stepped from him" Is this a term of affection for Savar's TARDIS, the way the Doctor refers to his TARDIS as 'she', or is Savar's TARDIS sentient (It speaks, telepathically, on the next page). That might suggest the future seen in Alien Bodies, when TARDISes are sentient (due to Compassion - a future that was averted in The Ancestor Cell).
"I could see birds in that alien sky" Another paraphrase from the Doctor's speech in episode 2 of An Unearthly Child.
"Nothing was fixed, nothing." The past is fluid from Omega's domain, again suggesting that this is 'sideways'. Interestingly the triple concepts of past, future and sideways that are possible settings for this novel within 'regular' continuity are exactly the three concepts outlined for the original direction of the show, back in season 1.
Pg 160 "I abandoned my dying ship, made for the escape unit" In Sanctuary, the escape unit is the Jade Pagoda (although that wasn't what it was in Iceberg).
"I saw the pages behind ours, other times and spaces. Not parallel universes, but palimpsest universes." The 'pages' behind the current reality might be the more familiar reality of the show, or the Time Lords of the Benny universe. This also rules out the idea of this being a parallel universe in the traditional sense of the definition.
Pg 161 "They came while I slept" 'They' are the I.
Pg 163 "The Effect can change the past?" Like the history of this book, perhaps.
Pg 164 "The Time Lords of old could see the future." They lost this ability in Time's Crucible.
Pg 166 "A million times more habitable land than even a Dyson Sphere could provide." A Dyson Sphere is a habitable sphere built around a star. The People of the Worldsphere live inside a Dyson Sphere (The Also People, the Benny books).
"The sky had fallen." This might tie in with Father Time and the falling of the Supremacy.
Pg 169 "This thing is an abomination,' one of the monks intoned." The Time Lords have been seen as monks before, both in the form of The Meddling Monk and also in Dead Romance and Tears of the Oracle.
Pg 173 ""He had his own special insight into the man." It's not clear what the Doctor's insight on Omega is, whether it's to do with the Other, or if this is set in the future, the events of The Three Doctors.
"This could very well be the decision that leads to the destruction of Gall-" We see this occur in The Ancestor Cell and technicians at the beginning of that book are monitoring events to look out for just such a decision.
Pg 177 "The blackstar was devised to crack open Dyson Spheres." We saw a war between the Time Lords and the People in Walking to Babylon.
"A disc, the light sliding from the omniscate on its top surface" This is the bomb that the Time Lords send towards earth in Interference book 2.
"Even during the Vampire Wars we never had to resort to the -" State of Decay. Note that the Doctor speaks of the Vampire wars as though he was there. He might be referring to history, or it might be a slip of the tongue, Remembrance of the Daleks style.
Pg 178 "They'll need the Great Key." The Great Key was also used to arm a powerful weapon in The Invasion of Time.
"Activate an eyeboard." We see eyeboards in Seeing I, which are based on Gallifreyan technology courtesy of Savar's eyes.
Pgs 187-188 "There was someone with him... a woman... professional-looking with a generous mouth, wearing a tailored suit and baggy coat... heavily pregnant, with long legs, high cheekbones and ruffled black hair... a teenager, blonde streaks in her ginger hair and Rupert Bear trousers... a wiry young woman with blue eyes and fair hair..." These are the eighth Doctor's companions from various places. The heavily pregnant woman is Bernice, pregnant with the Doctor's child in the aftermath of The Dying Days. The fair-haired woman is Sam Jones. The professional woman is probably Grace Holloway. The ginger-haired teenager is Izzy from the DWM comic strip.
"The Sagittarius Galaxy had already been absorbed." Once again, Doctor Who mixes up constellations and galaxies, in the best tradition of the TV series.
Pg 189 "The Doctor dusted down his jacket, straightened his scarf." It's interesting to note that this Doctor is given a scarf, when the eighth doesn't have one. Mind you, the first Doctor in An Unearthly Child had one.
Pg 190 "Sideways in time." Battlefield.
Pg 193 "Those are Thompson Lamps. [...] They are everlasting." The Doctor used everlasting matches in the novelisation Doctor Who in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks.
Pg 194 "The Time Ships" This is by Stephen Baxter, for whom Baxterium is named (see page 107) and is the authorised sequel to The Time Machine.
Pg 195 "Librarinth" A combination of library and labyrinth, also mentioned in Father Time.
"It was bound in reptile hide of some kind, with an omniscate embossed on the cover." That's the Seal of Rassilon (this is a book about future prophecy of the Time Lords).
Pg 196 "He slammed the book shut, suddenly pale." There's an event towards the end of the prophecy book that unnerves the Doctor, presumably the destruction of Gallifrey in The Ancestor Cell. The three men are sure that the Doctor won't prevent the event from occurring (especially true if he causes it).
Pg 197 "We are Gallifreyan/Human hybrids, the Children of Kasterborous" Kasterborous is the constellation in which Gallifrey is located. Interestingly, the Doctor is a Gallifreyan/Human hybrid (the Telemovie) and he has a child who comes from the far future (Father Time), and there's some suggestion that he might also be Miranda's biological father, so it's possible that these guys are the Doctor's descendants.
"We are from the Accidentally Left Behind When Everyone Else Transcended This Reality Interest Group." On the other hand, they might be future People.
"I think that Helios is Merlin." Merlin is a future Doctor (Battlefield), so Helios might be the Doctor.
"We are clearly the super-evolved survivors of the Thal race, fleeing the penultimate destruction of Skaro that sparked off the Final Dalek War." The penultimate destruction of Skaro is quite amusing, especially as this book was a reaction to the retconning of Skaro's destruction in War of the Daleks.
Pg 200 "We'd tell you the correct answer: thirty five." Not so coincidentally, the number of years of Doctor Who that this book celebrates.
Pg 204 "A rather battered segment of the Key to Time." It had to show up somewhere.
"A semi-organic helmet" Ice Warriors?
"The much coveted Crown of the Fifth Galaxy" The Peladon stories featured representatives from Galaxy Five, but it's not clear if this is the same thing (in Legacy it's a terrorist organisation, not a galaxy at all).
"A blue-gold ovoid with a flower growing from it..." Uncertain reference
"They were set into the floor, like a bomb bay, or the way into a Kansas storm shelter." The Kansas storm shelter is a reference to The Wizard of Oz, which itself was the inspiration for Ace.
Pgs 206-207 "'I know you,' he realised. 'Yes,' Helios said simply. 'As I know you.'" It's not clear who Helios is, but he's the only one of the three able to remember both the past and the future. The Merlin hint is rather suspicious, so I'll suggest that he really is a far-future Doctor.
Pg 207 "But you have already taken your first steps on... [...] you've seen the enemy." The Ancestor Cell.
Pg 208 "And for a fleeting moment she was a smaller, fuller woman" We see two incarnations of Patience. The shorter woman is the incarnation the Doctor married. The blonde woman is the regenerated Patience who we see in Cold Fusion.
Pg 209 "A King of Infinite Space" This is a line from Hamlet, but also a reference to the Kings of Space in Dead Romance, who are the Time Lords from a higher bottle universe.
"I was born a Gallifreyan, but I've lived long enough that I may just have evolved beyond that." Patience has developed the power of regeneration, but she wasn't born with it. This reconciles apparently contradictory parts of Cold Fusion and Lungbarrow.
Pg 210 "I am two million years old" The early Time Lords really do live forever.
Pg 211 "The Doctor remembered the night that he had been too late" This is the same scene as on page 173 of Cold Fusion.
Pg 213 "'Isn't the Doctor one of the Four Names too?' 'He is. But Rassilon was very clear that the Doctor should only be killed when he -'" Lance Parkin has confirmed that this refers to the same "four names" mentioned in The Adventuress of Henrietta Street.
Pg 215 "He's probably jumped into that TARDIS of his and left Gallifrey again." It looks like the Doctor has a habit of leaving Gallifrey.
Pg 216 "The wide belt she usually wore with it was missing" Shag #2
"I was right on the brink of death in the matter universe" Patience's death is recounted in Cold Fusion.
Pg 217 "If he's got the power to create all this, he must be able to whip up an escape route." Much of this is a parallel to The Three Doctors. As the Doctor didn't comment on the familiarity of the situation then, that suggests that this takes place either in the future or an alternate reality.
Pg 221 "That's how he chooses to represent the singularity." Omega's singularity was also represented by a fire in The Three Doctors, although here it's a blazing fire in a fireplace and there is was a single column of flame. It's not clear whether the Doctor already knew this or not.
Pg 222 "A beard that curled down his chest" Omega has a face, suggesting that this is before The Three Doctors.
Pg 223 "When matter is transmitted, a duplicate is created at the destination and the original is destroyed." This is quite similar to the description of Lucretia's transmat phobia in Down.
Pg 224 "I have seen a universe where there was no Rassilon and the Time Lords were gods thanks to me." The Time Lords are gods in Dead Romance.
"'Parallel universes?' 'Such places exist, but this was our universe, riddled with paradox and contradiction like weevils in a biscuit.'" This seems to rule out the setting as a parallel universe. If it's sideways, it's 'our' universe, except that the past has changed.
Pg 229 "Hang on, I'm two hundred and twenty-nine pages in, with only another fifty-one to go." Cool.
Pg 231 "As President you will be given full access to the Matrix, the Great Key, the Demat Gun, the Magnetron, the blackstars" The Demat gun was a powerful Time Lord weapon seen in The Invasion of Time (powered by the Great Key). The Magnetron was the device the Time Lords used to move Earth in The Mysterious Planet [with thanks to Alex Hargrave]. Interestingly, in Invasion of Time, the Demat Gun is forbidden knowledge and although the Doctor discovers how to build it, his mind is wiped at the end, yet here both the great Key and the Demat Gun are common knowledge.
Pg 237 "He could sense the powers of evil and darkness drawing closer" These aren't Omega, but those that will follow him, presumably Faction Paradox and the Enemy.
Pg 240 "It was a metal casket that bore a disturbing similarity to a coffin." Other caskets seen in the series are the Hand of Omega in Remembrance and the Doctor's casket in Alien Bodies. A transmat copy of the Doctor's body does get put in this one, so just possibly this is the casket that turns up in Alien Bodies.
Pg 246 "The Magistrate moved her aside and then took a stubby black tube from his belt." The Tissue Compression Eliminator.
Pgs 246-247 "I know what you have been and what you will be." Omega causes the Magistrate to vanish. It's not clear whether he kills him (placing this in the future or sideways) or this is the catalyst that turns him evil (instead of The Dark Path). It's interesting to note that he's abandoned here by the Doctor, or at least Omega in the Doctor's body, which might explain his turning to evil and hating the Doctor (assuming he survives).
Pg 253 "You're not the Doctor, are you?" Omega inhabits the Doctor's body, just as he did in Arc of Infinity.
Pg 255 "She was fast asleep beside him" Shag #3.
Pg 257 "He didn't have his - the Doctor's - glasses on." The Doctor needs glasses? The fifth Doctor did in Castrovalva and Frontios.
Pg 259 "She'd been his tutor, his friend, his first love, his wife, the mother of his children." Just wanted to point this out.
"He was a Time Lord from the Noble House of Lungbarrow on the planet Gallifrey. He had been born of the loom, son of the greatest explorer of his age and a human woman, Annalise... no... his mother's name had been Penelope. He knew his father's name at least: his father's name wasn't Ulysses, and he was a professor at Berkeley." The differing accounts of the Doctor's origins make a great point in this novel about retroactive changing of the past. We see House Lungbarrow in Lungbarrow. The explorer reference is to the Doctor's father, Ulysses, in the various Nth Doctor scripts. Penelope from The Room With No Doors matches the description of his mother on page 17. Daniel Joyce is a professor at Berkeley in Unnatural History (and note that Joyce wrote Ulysses).
Pg 267 "I've left that place behind, with all its squabbling and imperfections and unrequited love and decay and..." In Ghost Light, when asked about the things he hates, one of the things the Doctor mentions is unrequited love.
Pg 270 "'Snap,' he said calmly." The second and sixth Doctors exchange this word when they meet in The Two Doctors.
"This is Skaro" The nuclear fallout is still raging.
Pg 271 "Destroying and undestroying planets with the merest thought." This section tries to point out the danger of retcons, for example the undestruction of Skaro in War of the Daleks.
Pg 272 "Of course you can rewrite history, but you shouldn't." This contradicts The Aztecs deliberately, with a paraphrase of "You can't rewrite history. Not one line."
Pg 275 "The Monument to Lost Explorers" This might be related to the expedition in Time's Crucible.
"The cultivation of roses and chess endgames." The rose garden appears in the novelisations of The Five Doctors and The Massacre and in Timewyrm: Revelation. Chess is a popular game in the series, from the Doctor's games with K9 to The Curse of Fenric.
Pg 279 "I'll be away from Gallifrey for most of the time, leading a team of specialists." Larna's new job appears to involve working with Joyce in San Francisco and she's namechecked in Unnatural History.
Pg 280 "The Doctor smiled." This might be the catalyst to the Doctor leaving Gallifrey, but it's a lot less clear than it might be.
OLD FRIENDS AND OLD ENEMIES
The Magistrate (The Master, but here a friend of the Doctor's), Hedin (although possibly not the same Hedin seen in Arc of Infinity), Patience (from Cold Fusion), Savar (from Seeing I), Omega, with cameo appearances by Rassilon and the Other.
NEW FRIENDS AND NEW ENEMIES
Larna (mentioned later in Unnatural History), Castellan Voran,
CONTINUITY COCK-UPS The setting isn't a cock-up, it's deliberately ambiguous and ties into the theme about the dangers of changing the past.
- Pg 70 "He heard it via the telepathic link to the others" In Time's Crucible, the early Gallifreyans are telepathic, but they lose this ability before Omega launches (and there's a great deal made of that at the end), so this is an inconsistency.
PLUGGING THE HOLES [Fan-wank theorizing of how to fix continuity cock-ups]
- Possibly there's some residual telepathy left, or this is an artificial telepathic link for Omega's mission.
FEATURED ALIEN RACES
The Time Lords (who might possibly not be the Time Lords we know).
Gallifrey (the Citadel and Low Town, on the outskirts of the Dome), timeframe uncertain.
The Needle world, and a space station placed in orbit around it, the far future.
Omega's world of anti-matter.
IN SUMMARY - John Anderson and Robert Smith?
This highly unusual novel throws you for a loop the first time around, as your fan gears mentally grind in three directions, trying to fit this into place. However on second reading, it's a whole new novel, one that's concerned with big, hard SF ideas, detailed worldbuilding and which plays its theme like a finely tuned instrument. The first third is wonderful, even though almost nothing happens - the details are fascinating and you're pulled into the puzzle of the setting immediately. It drags a bit in the middle, but things pick up again for the much-criticised final third when events relocate to the far future. The Doctor is fabulous, with Paul McGann written all over him. There's lots of fun pieces, too many to mention, although the resolution is stunningly anticlimactic. However, this is a book to be savoured.