Reckless Engineering
by Nick Walters

Publisher: BBC
ISBN: 0 563 48603 1


    The history of Earth has been splintered, each splinter vying to become the prime reality. The Doctor has a plan to ensure that the correct version of history prevails - but it means breaking every law of Time along the way.


    Fitz and Anji.

    Pg 20 Near the Clifton suspension bridge, Bristol, Year 151 [2003].

    Pg 152 The cellar of Malahyde's house, Year 5 [1848].

    Pg 162 On a hill in Totterdown, Year 151 [2003].

    Pg 185 The Floating Harbour, Bristol, Year Nought [1843].

    Pg 207 The Bristol Downs, 22 October 1831.

    Pg 209 The Eternium, contemporaneous with 1831.

    Pg 212 The Eternium, contemporaneous with 2003.

    Pg 225 Near the Totterdown gate, either Year 160 [2003].

    Pg 241 The cellar of Malahyde's house, Year 5 [1848].

    Pg 262 It's not actually a materialisation, but the TARDIS winds time backwards to 23 October 1831.

    Nothing essential, although this does follow on from the end of The Domino Effect.

    Pg 23 "We're clearly in some other reality where people like me are freaks. Again." The Domino Effect.

    Pg 26 "I could do with a few more session of torture, you know." The Domino Effect.

    Pg 34 "This time, in this reality, she was determined they wouldn't get the better of her." The Domino Effect.

    Pg 74 "It's like that time when we met those people who were turning into clocks - people ageing to death in seconds." Anachrophobia.

    Pg 75 "The same thing that happened to the clock people?" Anachrophobia. "There's more than one dimension of time" As we learned in The Space Museum.

    Pg 83 "The Doctor and the priest shook hands. Why did Fitz get the strangest feeling that the Doctor was making a pact with the Devil himself?" Echoes of Logopolis.

    Pg 84 "Say what you want about the alternative Edinburgh, at least there had been people there." The Domino Effect.

    Pg 114 "Fitz gasped. 'I can't swim!' 'I thought Anji had been teaching you!' 'Two lessons, Doctor, and all I could manage was to stay afloat - just about!'" This ties in with Fitz's inability to swim in EarthWorld (pg 194), although it contradicts his being able to in The Crooked World (pg 212).

    Pg 161 "Humans can't survive in the Vortex. The Time Winds would tear them apart." Warriors' Gate.

    Pg 186 "Or - a dark thought - Sabbath." Sir Not Appearing In This Book, thankfully.

    Pg 197 "A heat-hazed plain, baking under two suns, one tiny and bright, the other like a giant bloodshot eye." Uncertain reference.

    Pg 237 "Something about a planet, ending - a woman who wasn't a woman - 'meet me in St Louis' - Anji - a cave of ice..." The Ancestor Cell, Compassion, the Earth arc, Escape Velocity, Time Zero.

    Pg 239 "I used to work in something called a garden centre" The Taint.

    Pg 265 "He remembered his mother, in a dim, dusty room in a big house - an institution - " The Taint.

    'Natasha' who appears on pages 254-255 (living inside the TARDIS) is Trix, seen previously in Time Zero and The Domino Effect.

    Jared Malahyde, Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

    The Eternines.


    1. Pg 36 "Though the kitchen and into the parlour." Huh? "Through", surely?
    2. Pg 74 "How long did cattle live? Horses? Certainly not more than ten or at most twenty years." Are you certain, Fitz? Horses can live up to 30 years.
    3. On page 91, 1 hour and 20 minutes within the time distortion is equated to 36 hours ("one and a half days") outside the distortion effect. That means that time is passing (36 (hours) * 60 (minutes)) outside against 80 minutes inside - i.e. 27 times faster outside the distortion than within. On page 92, four months is equated to ten years. Ten years is 120 months. 120/4 means that time is passing 30 times faster outside the distortion effect. However, February (p40) year 5 (which means less than the full 5 years, given that Year Nought began in July; it's actually been 4.58 years) is equated to 160 years outside the distortion effect (p92). This is (160/4.58) 35 times faster outside the distortion effect than within.
    4. Pg 145 "Without it, you would be able to see out into the estate - but contemporaneous with our island of time. That is, you would see October, Year 5 - for as I have explained, from my point of view it has only been five years since the Cleansing. But step through the edge of the time field, and you'd be in October 160." If what you see beyond the estate's wall is contemporaneous with Malahyde's time, then surely you'd see February, Year 5, not October. It's definitely February inside the estate, as made clear by pages 12, 145 and the fact that it being February for Aboetta is a key plot point of the early parts of the novel.
    5. Pg 193 "There was a body lying in the hall." Why would this be, given that Ashton Court - both the mansion house and much of the surrounding gardens - in inside the exclusion zone and is therefore unaffected by the Cleansing. Given that the body belongs to Malahyde's already-elderly servant George (pg 189), are we to assume that he was just on the edge and - despite being aged to about 110 and suffering from a massive metabolic shock - he managed to run inside the gate, rush along the gravel drive (pg 189), through the gardens (pg 190) and into the hall within forty seconds?
    6. Pg 235 "Anji and Malahyde stood in front of the screen, watching the events unfold." ...and there's another version of Malahyde in Ashton Court at this moment (page 240) as well. Yet at the end of the page: "On the scanner she could see that the Watchkeepers were beginning to lead the Doctor and Malahyde away." This Malahyde should be Brunel.
    7. Pg 251 Aboetta (possessed by Watchlar) shoots Malahyde in the TARDIS control room, even though weapons supposedly don't work in there.
    8. Pg 255 "The girl brushed a lock of mousy-coloured hair out of her eyes" Except that Trix is usually a blonde, when not in disguise.
    9. Pg 264 "Anji couldn't help but feel sorry for him. How could you get on with your normal life, after having seen the wonders of the TARDIS, of other worlds, of other universes, without going mad?" Except that this is precisely what Anji's been a) wanting to do all along b) managed quite well for eighteen months in Time Zero and c) will manage perfectly well again come Timeless. So it's a very strange observation for her to make.

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

    1. Aboetta's house has a very strange design.
    2. Fitz comes from a time before Google. As does the author, one suspects.
    3. The distortion effect itself is inconsistent over time.
    4. Since it's autumn outside (although it switches from night to day) when Anji runs through the gate a moment later (pg 148), perhaps the view is always the same season as the outside, even if it isn't the same day, or year. For some reason.
    5. You just can't find help like that any more.
    6. Anji got confused due to the number of Malahydes running around.
    7. The reality-altering effects that have changed the TARDIS library must be affecting the temporal grace circuits as well.
    8. She's practising one of her more subtle disguises.
    9. Anji didn't cope as well as she made out, having gone quite mad in Time Zero, but hid it from everyone.

    Pg 127 The Eternines, bright, bluish-white globes of light, who communicate via implanted memories.

    Pg 1 Bristol, 1831.

    Pg 5 Bristol, Year Nought [1843].

    Pg 23 Bristol, February Year 160 [2003].

    Pg 145 Malahyde's house, Bristol, October, Year 5 [1858]. (Time passes at a different rate inside the house.)

    Pg 209 The Eternium, contemporaneous with 1831.

    Pg 212 The Eternium, contemporaneous with 2003.

    Pg 269 Bristol, 19 July, 1843.

    IN SUMMARY - Robert Smith?
    Reckless Engineering's setup is pretty good, with a decent mystery that slowly unfolds, some engaging characters and some cool time shenanigans that work because they're not treated flippantly. Not to mention Anji's dinner, which is incredibly shocking, but fits in perfectly. Sadly, the ending undoes much of the good work done here, with the TARDIS flitting about every other page, multiple versions of characters and an overwhelming sense that, despite the setup, we're actually not supposed to care about the characters and the world we've seen. There's a really excellent book struggling to get out here, which probably would have been a lot stronger if it weren't lumbered with the alternate universe arc.