Fear Itself
by Nick Wallace


Publisher: BBC
ISBN: 0 563 48634 1

     

    BASIC PLOT
    The 22nd Century, and a few short years of interstellar contact have taught Man a hard lesson: there are forces abroad that are nightmare manifest. Powerful, unstoppable, alien forces. It's a realisation that deals a body blow to Man's belief in his own superiority, and leaves him with the only option he has ever had: to fight. When the Doctor and his friends are caught in the crossfire, they find suspicion and paranoia running rampant, with enemies to be seen in every shadow. The fight against alien forces is no job for an amateur, and for a Doctor only just finding his way in the universe again, one misstep could be fatal.

    DOCTOR
    Eighth.

    COMPANIONS
    Fitz and Anji.

    MATERIALISATION CIRCUIT
    Pg 39 A warehouse on Mars, the latter half of the 22nd century. It remains there for four years... maybe. See Continuity Cock-Ups.

    PREPARATORY READING
    Nothing essential, but this slots in extremely well into its gap between EarthWorld and Vanishing Point, so it makes a nice companion piece if you're reading the Earth arc plus EarthWorld.

    CONTINUITY REFERENCES
    Title: The title comes from Lucifer Rising, page 56, in that book's first mention of the looming Dalek invasion, where the Earth President says "We have nothing to fear but fear itself." This is, of course, a quote from Franklin Roosevelt, but its particular mention in the light of the Dalek invasion is what's crucial to what happens here.

    Pg 24 "'Oh God,' Fitz groaned. 'I've heard about your initiative tests.'" The best example is probably Ghost Light.

    Pg 26 "'Almost thirty years living on Earth,' Fitz said, 'and the best I could manage was a job in a garden centre.'" The Taint.

    Pgs 27-28 "Wandering into a mezzanine, Fitz had spotted the New Jupiter Cafe; the irony of their last port of call demanded a visit apparently." EarthWorld.

    Pg 32 Reference to the Earth arc.

    Pg 33 "The victory had come at a huge personal cost, leaving him and his TARDIS badly damaged. The only solution had been for Fitz to leave his friend and the time ship on Earth to recover, rendezvousing with him later on." The Ancestor Cell, Escape Velocity.

    Pg 34 "Only a couple of weeks earlier the Doctor had taken a risk to try and get those memories back." EarthWorld.

    Pgs 39-40 "Michael was Mars-born, so he'd done all the tourist traps: the Paris crater, the New York waterways." The former is likely due to the Martian-propelled asteroid that destroyed Paris in the Thousand Day War, as told in Transit and GodEngine.

    Pg 42 "But Dave had died soon after she'd met the Doctor, the first severed tie to her old life." Escape Velocity.

    Pg 63 "The atmosphere on Mars used to be breathable" As we discovered in The Dying Days.

    "A couple of decades ago there was some sort of invasion. Earth was under alien control, with alien ships blockading Mars. These aliens tried to land on Mars, but got their arses handed to them by some sort of biological weapon. They got their own back; released a virus from orbit that ate through all the oxygen" The Dalek Invasion of Earth, GodEngine.

    "When I played guitar in the clubs, I had a stage name. I was never Fitz Kreiner. Twenty years after VE day and I was still afraid to use my own name." Almost word for word what Fitz says in The Taint (page 52).

    Pg 68 "The Doctor handed the violin back. 'The work of a craftsman.' 'You play?' Valletti asked. The Doctor shook his head. 'I did. Until the monks started complaining about the noise.'" Simultaneous forward and backward reference to The Year of Intelligent Tigers.

    Pg 82 "Something had happened; he had to fight to recall the details now, worried that the events might fade away." Fitz's memories have been slowly disappearing since Escape Velocity (and prefigured at the end of The Ancestor Cell).

    Pg 90 "Kapoor's suit, like the Professional's, is interwoven with tiny Dortmunium threads" Dortmun was the wheelchair-bound scientist in The Dalek Invasion of Earth (although it may have been invented by his daughter, whom we met in GodEngine). Dortmunium is a nice counterpoint to Dalekanium.

    Pg 120 "During the occupation, the aliens kept a lot of Earth's population subjugated with neurological implants." The Robomen, The Dalek Invasion of Earth.

    Pg 134 "Remember the time on Bathesda when I slept right through the entire revolu-" Bathesda appears in Wallace's short story "First Christmas" in Short Trips: A Christmas Treasury.

    Pg 135 "More than a hundred years and I never felt at home there. From the moment I woke on that train , I didn't need memories to tell me I didn't belong. It took me a long time, decades, to figure out just why that was. To understand. The only hope I had was a note. A promise that if I endured someone would be waiting for me." The Ancestor Cell, The Earth arc.

    Pg 148 "For a hundred years, he'd passed for one of them." The Earth arc.

    Pg 149 The Doctor plays the violin, much as he does in The Year of Intelligent Tigers.

    Pg 176 "'Thousand Day war, maybe?'" He consulted the on-screen menu. 'Ambush in Achebe Gorge?'" Backstory to Transit and GodEngine.

    "He remembered the first time he'd killed. The man had been trapped in immovable arms, a lunatic whose obsession had caused massive destruction, and the Doctor had aided his demise, kicking him back into raging flood waters." The Burning.

    Pg 177 "It's what the Zens did when it happened for real" The Zen Brigade was mentioned a lot in Transit.

    Pg 221 "Fitz caught flashes of familiar images: the blue of a police box; Anji smiling; one of the princesses from Earthworld. Then things he didn't recognise: a blonde teenager; a city consumed by flame; a statue falling into a river." EarthWorld (but see Continuity Cock-Ups; Miranda, Father Time; Dresden, The Turing Test; Nepath's sister, The Burning.

    Pg 222 "It was cruder than the machine on Earthworld, but the principles remained similar." EarthWorld (but see Continuity Cock-Ups).

    Pg 238 "When he'd been hurt, he'd felt something pushing through his blood. A chemical release that had finally purged fear from his system. It felt like a precursor to a bigger event, like a caterpillar wrapping itself in a chrysalis. As if some physical change were coming." The Doctor's regenerative abilities, first seen in The Tenth Planet. The Doctor also started to regenerate and stopped in Parasite.

    Pg 239 "One hundred years ago, he'd woken on a train, the sound of the engine in his ears, smoke and steam in his mouth. He had a name - Doctor - and a note leading him to a rendezvous in a century distant, and that was all." The Ancestor Cell, the Earth arc.

    Pg 265 "Dave Young incinerated by the planet hopper's engines. Running for her life on Earthworld." Escape Velocity, EarthWorld (but see Continuity Cock-Ups).

    Pg 266 "It's like there's a part of his mind that's walled off." The Doctor's amnesia, which he gained in The Ancestor Cell. We discover the reasons for this wall in The Gallifrey Chronicles.

    Pg 267 "If he used this equipment could he finish what they started on Earthworld?" EarthWorld (but see Continuity Cock-Ups).

    Pg 268 "In years to come Anji will be married." To Greg, whom we meet in Timeless and we discover this in The Gallifrey Chronicles.

    Pg 269 "Dave will have been gone for less than a month." Escape Velocity.

    Pg 270 "He was signalling a defunct IMC transmitter on Titan." Colony in Space and more New Adventures than you can count.

    Pg 275 "He remembers the hundred years before, as well. Boarding a space shuttle. The smile on his daughter's face. Alan Turing, unsteady on a bicycle. Another body, falling back into flood waters. The rocking of a railway carriage and soot on his tongue." Father Time, The Turing Test, The Burning, The Ancestor Cell.

    Pg 276 "He doesn't remember anything from before that railway carriage." The Ancestor Cell.

    "Next stop the other side of the universe then." This leads right into Vanishing Point.

    OLD FRIENDS AND OLD ENEMIES
    Pg 3 Anji's brother Rezaul was mentioned in Escape Velocity and appears briefly here in flashback.

    NEW FRIENDS AND NEW ENEMIES
    Jennifer Valletti, Caroline Arquette, Robertson, Joshua Easter, John and Jason McCray, Sara and Terrance Mukabi.

    Other Station personnel include Archer, David Verger, Weir, Carvacchio, Alonso, Garcia, Bluth, Davis, Marcus.

    Also Anji's husband, Michael, although she won't remember him and the Doctor and Fitz didn't meet him.

    CONTINUITY COCK-UPS

    1. Pg 4 "Mars was closer to Earth than Earthworld." I wonder if it's further away than EarthWorld. It's a shame, because the book otherwise slots in so seamlessly, but this jars terribly if you read them next to each other.
    2. Pg 65 "The two man had been general workers" It's not clear why the Doctor's forgotten how to pluralise.
    3. Pgs 274-275 "My control of the TARDIS isn't what it used to be. But we're back on Earth now, which means all we need to get Anji home is a temporal journey rather than a spatial one." Except that the TARDIS materialised in a warehouse on Mars (pg 39), not Earth.

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

    1. Since there are thousands of EarthWorlds, perhaps the Doctor, Fitz and Anji stopped off at one of the ones that called itself "Earthworld" in an unrecorded adventure after they were done on EarthWorld. Presumably they also encountered princesses there (p221).
    2. He's distracted, due to the harpoon wound.
    3. Perhaps the TARDIS was shipped to Earth, during the intervening four years.

    FEATURED ALIEN RACES
    Pg 93 They aren't technically aliens, but members of the 101st get transmuted into insect-like creatures over seven feet high, with disjointed limbs, a dark carapace, multijointed neck and a bullet-shaped head with parallel rows of round black eyes and two mouths.

    Pg 151 A group of Ice Warriors take Anji and others hostage.

    Pg 190 All manner of near-dead aliens, placed in stasis shortly before expiring.

    Pg 258 One of these is a blue-skinned female, with a hint of scales around her cheekbones and green eyes.

    FEATURED LOCATIONS
    Pg 4 It's the latter part of 22nd century, decades after the Dalek invasion of Earth (pg 274). For dating purposes, "now" refers to the timezone that is contiguous with page 6: four years after Farside Station was lost.

    The action variously occurs:

    Pg 3 Mars, four years ago.

    Pgs 6-7 A shuttle near Jupiter, now.

    Pg 12 Farside Station, now.

    Pg 17 The PSV Pegasus, four years ago.

    Pg 39 Mars, three years previously.

    Pgs 86-87 Mars, two years previously.

    Pg 123 Mars, c eighteen months previously.

    Pg 151 Mars, c six months previously.

    Pg 194 Mars, now.

    Pg 226 The System Colonies, six months ago.

    Pg 265 Marineris base, six weeks later.

    Pg 269 A transport heading to Earth., six weeks later.

    Pg 272 Florance, Italy six weeks later.

    IN SUMMARY - Robert Smith?
    This is, just about, one of the greatest EDAs ever written... so it's especially odd that it's technically a PDA. Seriously, how phenomenally good is this? The writing is crisp and at times beautiful, there's amazing characterisation for the Doctor, Fitz and Anji, the guest cast feel like real people, the setup is intriguing, the revelations are astonishing and the resolution perfectly fits everything we've been told. There isn't a part of this that isn't firing on all cylinders, which is especially impressive given its four year timespan and multiple locations. It slots seamlessly into its gap, which is more impressive than you might think. If you haven't read it, drop everything you're doing and do so right now - and it's best to go in cold, so try not to spoil yourself. But if you have read it, treat yourself and read it again. It definitely pays off on rereading. Stupendous.