The Pit
by Neil Penswick

Publisher: Virgin
ISBN: - 426 20378 X


    The seventh planet of the Althosian system is quarantined against all intruders. When the TARDIS materialises there, it becomes apparent that there are other visitors: a hit-squad of killer androids, a trespassing scientist and his wife, and two shape-changing criminals with their team of slaves. With the Doctor flung into an alternate universe, who can prevent the destruction of an entire solar system?


    Bernice Summerfield.

    Pg 29 In the jungle of the seventh planet of the Althosian system.


    Pg 1 "Rassilon's single-minded will had transformed the world." We saw this begin in Cat's Cradle: Time's Crucible.

    Pgs 1-2 "In that time, religion had been abolished and rational science had been restored as the centre of the law." Time's Crucible again, but this will also be taken up in Christmas on a Rational Planet.

    Pg 16 "The Doctor held up a moth-eaten red velvet jacket. 'I'm sure I put jelly babies in here.'" The fourth Doctor's jacket (but see Continuity Cock-Ups).

    "The monsters you meet on your travels: Cybermen, Daleks, you know." The two most famous monsters (The Tenth Planet et al, The Daleks, et al).

    Pg 30 ""The Doctor dangled a yo-yo to the ground but the toy refused to return to his hand." Just like the fourth Doctor, specifically The Ark in Space.

    Pg 45 "A memory of her life before the Daleks had taken away her parents." Benny's backstory, as detailed in Love and War.

    Pg 60 "My granddaughter loved your work." Susan, seen in An Unearthly Child through The Dalek Invasion of Earth, The Five Doctors and who will later appear in Legacy of the Daleks.

    Pg 68 "What are years when you walk in eternity?" Pyramids of Mars.

    "I recognize ogrons, terrileptals and skeletal human remains." Day of the Daleks/Frontier in Space, The Visitation. But see Continuity Cock-Ups.

    Pg 87 Reference to Daleks.

    Pg 97 "First he was an old man, with neck length grey hair, then a middle aged man with a mop of black hair. [...] The final transformation was from a fat, jolly fellow wearing a multicoloured coat, to a mirror image of the star traveller standing beside him." We see visions of the first, second and sixth Doctors.

    Pg 104 Reference to Daleks.

    Pg 121 "I am a personal friend of Queen Victoria." Well, kind of, although he won't be for some time. See Tooth and Claw.

    Pg 146 "He talked about the murder victim sprawled across the pavement, and then wandered off into a conversation about a comedian called Ken Dodd." Delta and the Bannermen.

    "He had become known as Jack the Ripper." And we'll find out his true identity in Matrix. Depending on the arrangement of the chronology, of course, the seventh Doctor likely already knows this, but isn't saying. Devious bastard.

    Pg 148 "I once played this with Kublai Khan." Marco Polo (although he played backgammon there, not marbles as here).

    Pg 149 "A pastor I knew used it as the basis of his final sermon, before facing his greatest fear." The Curse of Fenric.

    Pg 150 "And then a great scientist, Rassilon, led the people into the scientific age. He overthrew the Pythia, who with her ancestors had ruled for an eternity. She cursed Gallifrey; a deadly plague ravaged our planet." Time's Crucible.

    Pg 151 "I remember Jo Grant. She was so young and fragile. She left me." The Green Death.

    Pg 154 "I trained with the great Harry Houdini, escape artist extraordinaire." Planet of the Spiders.

    Pg 168 "He suggested that the military man could contact either a Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart or a Brigadier Bambera for clarification of his position." The Web of Fear etc, Battlefield.

    Pg 169 "He had contacted UNIT HQ and had confirmed that for a period in the 1970s and 1980s there had been a scientific advisor to Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart." The Pertwee era, plus a bit on either side of it.

    "The Doctor had explained that in 1969 a man had walked on the moon; that unmanned space flights to other stars had been sent out in the 1970s and towards the end of the twentieth century manned space flights had visited other planets in the solar system." The Ambassadors of Death and The Android Invasion, primarily.

    Pg 215 "But then on my travels I met a vampire which had escaped a great war with the Time Lords." State of Decay.

    Pg 239 "The repository of knowledge, the Matrix, doesn't even refer to the war." The Matrix was first seen in The Deadly Assassin.

    Pg 254 And one of our great scientists, Rassilon, announced that he had discovered the principles of time travel. All that we had to do was harness the power of a black hole." The Deadly Assassin and The Three Doctors.

    Pg 255 "I could tell you so much. How in another experiment a scientist was sent into a black hole and was supposedly killed by the force of the explosion. He wasn't." This is likely Omega, as recounted in The Three Doctors.

    Pg 162 UNIT, although not featuring anyone we know.

    William Blake.



    1. Pg 7 "DAY THREE 18:00-24:00" Except that there's no such time as "24:00". Immediately after 23:59, the clock ticks over to 0:00. This leaves us with Dad's Army-like images of sergeants reporting "incident occurred at twenty five hundred hours, sir".
    2. Pg 9 "He had a mop of curly brown hair" Except that Sylvester McCoy's hair is wavy, not curly, and can't really be described as a mop (certainly not on the cover).
    3. Pg 11 "There was no-one else." We're not going to mention this every time we see it, but there isn't actually a hyphen in "no one". This isn't specific to this book, though: it appears to be Virgin's house style. (Another annoyance is the ellipses with spaces in between them . . . That really doesn't convey a trailing off, does it?)
    4. Pg 16 "The Doctor held up a moth-eaten red velvet jacket. 'I'm sure I put jelly babies in here.'" The fourth Doctor's jacket was destroyed by the fifth Doctor in Castrovalva, so why does it still exist?
    5. Pg 36 "Butler raised its front legs into the air, halting its hooves before they stamped down on Chopra's body. It roared deep into the jungle, a howling animal cry." It sure seems like Chopra's dead, doesn't it? Especially as a) Butler's transformed into a three-metre tall animal and b) this occurs at the end of a chapter. Except that Chopra's alive and well on pg 46 and thereafter (and never mentions this incident).
    6. Pg 37 "His specialism was the local conflicts of the early twenty-first century." What's a specialism, when it's at home? Any relation to specialty?
    7. Pg 68 "I recognize ogrons, terrileptals and skeletal human remains." Are "terrileptals" any relation to Terrileptils? And why isn't "Ogrons" capitalised?
    8. Pg 95 "'Gallifrey,' said the Doctor. 'Where's that?' 'It's a planet on the constellation of Kasteborus." Or Kasterborous, as the case may be.
    9. Pg 136 "I am fifty-four. You are but two-thirds of my age." Er, so Blake thinks that the Doctor looks 36? Highly unlikely, given that McCoy was 46 when Survival aired.
    10. Pg 136 "'I'm over a thousand years old,' the Doctor replied." Hoo boy. All together now: he was 953 in Time and the Rani and will go on to celebrate his thousandth birthday in Set Piece. So how is this possible?
    11. Pg 151 "My sonic screwdriver is missing." Er, yes, it would be, since it was destroyed in The Visitation (it appears here on pg 156). Although he later carries one in the Telemovie and the new series, that's Romana's sonic screwdriver, that she gives him in Lungbarrow (pg 308).
    12. Pg 249 "I cannot cope with the pain, Spike thought." Which is odd, because it's been made clear that androids don't feel pain. For example, Thomas's arm breaks in several place on pg 153, yet he feels no pain.
    13. Pg 275 "The last week had taken its toll on the fifty year old man." Except that Blake was 54 earlier (p83).

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

    1. The 24 hour clock had a lot of trouble catching on, so in the future it was decided to actually include a "24" in there somewhere. So now, an hour after midnight, it clicks over from 24:59 to 01:00.
    2. The Doctor enjoyed his fourth persona's hairstyle so much that he's spent hours in the TARDIS salon trying to make his look the same. Fortunately for all concerned, it loses its bounce not long after he leaves the TARDIS.
    3. It really is annoying, though.
    4. The TARDIS has many and the fourth Doctor used to keep jelly babies in all of them.
    5. Butler may be able to transform into a three metre tall animal, but he can't change his mass, so he's still only the weight of a fat dwarf (pg 25). Presumably, then, Chopra suffers some slight bruising.
    6. Academics of the future are advanced in their thinking, but not in their vocabulary.
    7. There's an entirely different species called Terrileptals, that bear no resemblance to the Sawardian villains. As for the lack of capitalisation, it's an obscure Time Lord custom when discussing skeletal remains.
    8. The Doctor is talking about one of the nine Gallifreys, which are all in slightly different constellations. Sadly, this clever ruse won't fool Faction Paradox for one minute, when they eventually invade.
    9. When the Doctor shed his memories in Timewyrm: Genesys, he also shed some years.
    10. He's younger than he was in Time and the Rani in Voyage of the Damned, so it's all a big mess anyway. Perhaps the Doctor counts in Gallifreyan time, which may well be nonlinear.
    11. He must have built a new one and then lost it permanently.
    12. The Hunters are very efficient torturers and have found a way to make androids believe they're in pain.
    13. A side-effect of travel through the dimensions is that you lose some years. This may also explain the Doctor's nonlinear aging.

    Pg 12 Killer-type androids, that are part of the Justice Police, with some of the senses of living beings (pg 22).

    Pg 25 Shapechangers. In their natural form, they're midgets, with round, smiling faces, vast, overweight bellies and bald heads, looking like contorted children's toys. They have a constipated walk, pig-like facial expressions and appear ageless.

    Pg 25 Kthons, the original inhabitants of the Althosian system. They're small, wizened creatures, naked and hairless, with skin like papyrus. Regardless of their age, they walk and talk like old men.

    Pg 23 Hunters, alien beasts, with lots of teeth that are native to the Althosian system.

    Pg 33 Small dinosaurs that are vegetarian and fast of foot.

    Pg 45 Incandescent insects.

    Pg 46 A wingless bird.

    Pg 55 A marmoset-like monkey.

    Pg 55 A lion.

    Pgs 55-56 The Cun, small, half-blind, pig-like creatures.

    Pg 70 Bapputchin, horse-like animals with stripes, heads like tigers and twice the height of normal horses.

    Pg 71 Flying creatures with bat-like wings, horns, savage teeth, yellow eyes, claws, long tails, forked tongues and skeletal bodies. Their bodies are hairless and composed of brown, reptillian hide (Shown on the front cover.)

    Pg 72 Giant jellyfish.

    Pg 84 Pterodactyls.

    Pg 85 Blue-painted women, some with parts of their bodies missing, others with their faces rearranged.

    Pg 88 A scorpion.

    Pg 106 Spiders over a hundred metres tall, with legs the size of tree trunks, two protruding molars and a body covered in matted hair, which hides the sensory organs.

    Pg 109 A rat.

    Pg 122 Ants.

    Pg 122 A shrew.

    Pg 153 A dark green snake, seven metres long. Although, it turns out to be mechanical (pg 154), as do most of the creatures on the planet (pg 206).

    Pg 218 Galks, jackal-like creatures twice the size of dogs, that stand on their hind legs.

    Pg 260 The Yssgaroth. It resembles a huge serpent, with spikes and billowing dragon wings, dozens of eyes in its forehead, savage teeth, a long tongue and small horns.

    Pg 1 Gallifrey.

    Pg 9 Nicaea, 2400.

    Pg 21 Aboard the Dragonslayer.

    Pg 27 The nameless seventh planet of the Althosian system.

    Pg 55 A barren world, in another universe (pg 135).

    Pg 57 A hopper.

    Pg 110 London, September 13, 1888 (pg 111).

    Pg 167 Salisbury Plain, present day (pg 169).

    IN SUMMARY - Robert Smith?
    The reviewer raged. It's wild. It's crazy. It's boring. It doesn't make any sense. He smiled. The first fifty pages are wonderful. The shunting about between ever more fantastic locations is both thinking big and annoying. Kopyion so desperately wants to be the Other. The reviewer sighed. What were you thinking, he shouted. The writing style is appalling. But only when not in dialogue. It's ahead of its time. It's a mess. It's an historical curiosity, now. The Doctor kneeling in front of Kopyion is a travesty. The atmosphere of doom and gloom is incredible. Even the quote at the beginning goes on too long. There's nothing else like this, and you're grateful. But it's also something to stare at in wonder and horror now.