Cat's Cradle: Warhead
by Andrew Cartmel

Publisher: Virgin
ISBN: 0 426 20367 4


    The Earth stands at the brink of destruction as environmental collapse is imminent. Multi-national corporations and the super-rich have united in a last desperate effort to buy themselves immortality in a poisoned world. If Earth is to survive, somebody has to stop them.



    The TARDIS is stationed at the house on Allen Road for the duration, but we get a second hand description of the TARDIS materialising inside the Butler Institute in New York on page 42.


    Pg 10 "'Hello Shreela,' he said." Shreela was one of Ace's old Perivale friends, seen in Survival. Her name is given as Shreela Govindia on page 18.

    Pg 11 "What about Midge, eh?" Midge was another acquaintance of Ace's from Perivale, also seen in Survival.

    "I liked his little sister, though" Midge's sister Squeak also appears in Survival

    "You mean her immune system went" Although it wasn't written yet, Eternity Weeps gives a plausible reason for accelerated environmental damage. If Survival took place in 1989 and Cat's Cradle: Warhead in 2009, Shreela is dying at about age 40.

    Pg 16 "McIlveen, James Haines" Creed McIlveen, who appears in Warlock and Warchild, is Jimmy's brother as explained on page 152 of Warlock.

    Pgs 20 and 26 "Is Chuck going to hell?" Chuck Norris is president. According to Eternity Weeps, in 2003 Bruce Springsteen is the President of the United States. There is a presidential election scheduled for 2008.

    Pg 26 "With that vibration always making her wonder if the earthquake was coming" The next reference to the coming California Earthquake is in the TV Movie, where the 8th Doctor meets Gareth, who will go on to work on a UCLA task force which discovers a way of accurately predicting earthquakes. Gareth graduates in poetry in 2000, giving him time to join the task force before 2009, by which time the Big One hasn't happened yet.

    Pg 31 "What broke it was the cat" The silver cat is the only overt recurring image in the Cat's Cradle series of books. Its purpose is obscure, but it may be a symptom of the TARDIS being unwell. Cats are intertwined into Time Lord history; see page 207 of Goth Opera.

    "Then she remembered that the Butler Institute hadn't had any laboratory animals for years now." The Butler Institute featured here was first known as the Butler Corporation in 1987 in Damaged Goods, when it was part of the Brotherhood telepath conspiracy. It merged with Eurogen in 2107 to become the EB Corporation. Eurogen Butler were responsible for the exploitation of Dimetos in the 2140s in Another Girl, Another Planet. Such corporations eventually took the Earth into receivership when the government collapsed in Lucifer Rising, just before the Dalek Invasion in 2157. The EB Corporation later becomes known as the Spinward Corporation, one of the first Multi-Planetary Corporations in the 22nd Century, seen in Deceit.

    Pg 40 "'Forever', she said. 'That's a very long time.'" The Doctor says the same line in State of Decay.

    Pgs 77-78 "Their ultimate destination was in southern England." The House on Allen Road was first seen in the comic strips Fellow Travellers (where it was revealed that the second Doctor owned the house).It was depicted as being pretty isolated apart from a smaller house called 'Keeper's Cottage' in the grounds that has been ignored ever since. It is only revealed to be the Doctor's house on the final page, when the Seventh Doctor and Ace observe a photo of the Second Doctor in Tibet on the wall in the hall. It also features in the comic strip Ravens, which reveals that the second Doctor bought the house. There's a sign at the gate which says 'Smithwood Manor', and 'No Trespassing' and graffito on it saying 'Beware of the God'. This is its first appearance in the New Adventures. It also appears in Transit, Warlock, Just War, Warchild, So Vile A Sin and The Dying Days. Different Doctors use it on and off throughout the 20th and 21st century. It's still standing in 2981 in So Vile A Sin, but that may just be a side-effect of the Nexus - it's lived in by an alternate Doctor.

    Pg 78 "The television set was a 1940s Bakelite television" Like the one the Doctor used to confer with Davros in Remembrance of the Daleks.

    Pg 82 "They were mercenaries, Kurds who had been displaced by warfare since their early childhood." In 2003 Kurdistan was the beachhead for the Cthalctose sulfur virus in Eternity Weeps, and it got totally nuked and then eaten by a naked singularity.

    Pg 89 "The credit card was in the name of Ms J Smith" The Doctor often travels under the name Dr John Smith.

    Pg 91 "'Thirteen Years Left' said the tee-shirt" This is presumably one of Ace's pre-Dragonfire T-shirts from 1987, thirteen years before the millennium.

    Pg 101 "I'm just twenty-two and I don't mind dying." The lyrics are from Who Do You Love? by George Thorogood and may imply that Ace is twenty two at this point (although later NAs revise that estimate).

    Pg 120 "Ace was left with the complete English poems of John Donne and a slavery-and-plantation-saga." Rector Adams gave the fourth Doctor a similar volume in Old Flames, on page 15 of Short Trips.

    Pg 121 "A hologram decal of Alistair Crowley" A clone of Aleister Crowley was a supporting character in Managra. A homunculus of the same name appears in Heart of TARDIS.

    Pg 123 "She used to have a different name, you know. She's an old friend of mine." Miss David appeared in a couple of 4th Doctor comics. The character was actually supposed to be Leela, but when the publishers realized they'd have to pay an additional fee to use Louise Jameson's likeness they drew eyeglasses on her and changed her name (she still wielded a mean knife, though). However, she was called Miss Young there.

    Pg 136 "Do you want fries with that?" There was a Brief Encounter printed in a DWM about Ace working in a McDonald's and meeting the Ergon, the pantomime chicken Omega used as a servant in Arc of Infinity. There's a scene in The Crystal Bucephalus involving a girl called Dorothy working in a McDonalds in London. On page 151 of Head Games Ace remembers working at the McDonalds at Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street, opposite Centrepoint and (now) the Virgin Megastore.

    Pg 141 "Tantric lines of power" These also play a central role in The Adventuress of Henrietta Street.

    Pg 143 "How is the TARDIS now?" The Cat's Cradle series ostensibly centres around the illness of the TARDIS and the silver cat (although thematically it's much stronger). This is the only time the word 'TARDIS' appears in this book, quite shocking for the early NAs.

    Pg 145 "The Persian carpet" Miss David trades in carpets. It's threadbare by the time of Warlock (2014 according to A History of the Universe).

    Pg 148 "The bathtub was massive" On page 146 of So Vile A Sin Simon and Genevieve discover that the alternate Doctor keeps a Venusian (see Venusian Lullaby) in the bathroom of the House at Allen Road. On page 7 of The Dying Days Bernice relates the quirks of the House's plumbing. To get any large amount of hot water you need to slap the brass tank on the landing until you hear a glup noise. It stays faithful to the black floor tiles and the shower stall without mentioning the tub.

    Pg 150 "She dropped a yellow plastic duck into the water of the bathtub." The Doctor seems fond of such bath toys. The Doctor has one on Gallifrey in The Infinity Doctors and the fifth Doctor, Sir Justin and Shayde encountered one in The Tides of Time comic strip.

    Pg 151 "When the spray hit her she soaped her elbows and began to sing." In The Happiness Patrol it's established that Ace cannot sing, but presumably this doesn't apply to showers. However, Timewyrm: Genesys establishes that Ace had a beautiful singing voice and takes great pride in it.

    Pg 184 "Those powers are clearly a black blessing. They're conferred by the Lords of Hell for use on this plane of reality" An interesting theory about the origin of psi-powers. The explanation in So Vile A Sin merely explains that the Time Lords try to stop other telepathic races from evolving.

    Pg 187 "The boy was wearing a frayed velvet smoking jacket which Ace usually wore" Presumably one of the third Doctor's coats that Ace found in the TARDIS wardrobe room.

    Pg 237 "'Whatever happened to the traditional roll of greasy banknotes?' said Mrs Woodcott." Mrs Woodcott also appears in Warlock and Warchild, although here she's not real. It's not clear who she is, possibly a Time Lord. On page 247, Mrs Woodcott's face in a dream merges into Ace's in reality, so it's possible that she's an older Ace.

    Pg 238 "In a pub called The Moonchild on the corner of Powys Square." Mrs Woodcott's haunt, it is mentioned again on page 261 of Warlock.

    Pg 245 "A mind-bendingly powerful psychedelic, for instance." Mrs Woodcott's drug might be Warlock, but it probably isn't.


    Miss David, former companion of the Doctor's.

    The silver cat, previously seen in Time's Crucible.

    Mrs Woodcott, Vincent and Justine all reappear in Warlock and Warchild.

    James McIlveen never mentions a brother in this novel, but his brother Creed turns up in Warlock, Warchild and Happy Endings.

    The King Building also appears in Warlock and Warchild. The Butler Institute goes on to appear in various forms in Deceit and Another Girl, Another Planet.


    • Pg 100 "Her boots on the floor heavy with mud beside the boy's" A pre-Time Storm liaison for Ace, whereas Happy Endings established that Glitz was her first lover.

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

    • It's not clear that Ace necessarily slept with the boy, so we can assume not.


    O'Hara's house and grounds, near Albany, New York.

    Hammersmith Hospital, London.

    The House on Allen Road, the South of England.

    The King Building, headquarters of the Butler Institute, Fifth Avenue New York.

    The Municipal library on Wendacott Avenue, England.

    Marmaris, Turkey and a nearby island.

    Heathrow terminal.

    A destroyed McDonalds in Kent, England.

    A mall on Wendacott Avenue, containing the Smartt Software store, McCray's drugstore and a police station, England (in flashback).

    Calvin's Palmer's house, England (in flashback).

    Central Park and a drugstore on Fifth Avenue, New York.

    A New York police station.

    IN SUMMARY - Robert Smith?
    Utterly magnificent from beginning to end. Cartmel writes like greased lightning, with scene after scene of apparently disconnected events slowly coming together to form a perfect whole. The idea that the books could stand apart from the continuity of the television series which spawned them was instrumental in allowing the NAs to break free and the idea that the Doctor had companions we didn't know about twisted all our fan perceptions sideways. Warhead plays with the themes of the Cat's Cradle arc, presenting a book that's superficially vastly different from Time's Crucible, but whose beats play out exactly the same way. The Doctor's plan unfolds like a flower and the fact that it completely fails at the end because he misjudges the human propensity for people to fall in love only adds to the beauty of it. This is nothing short of a masterpiece.