Revolution Man
by Paul Leonard


Publisher: BBC
ISBN: 0 563 55570 X

     

    BASIC PLOT
    The world is going to be destroyed on 18th May 1969. It has to do with a cult based around the notorious Revolution Man and a drug called Om-Tsor, which gives its users almost god-like powers. So along come the Doctor and Sam to fix it. But the sixties, allegedly a time of peace and love, masks the normal fears and paranoias, and, if you happen to be a Chinese agent, like Fitz, nothing really makes as much sense as you thought it did. The end of the world, it turns out, is really rather nigh.

    DOCTOR
    Eighth.

    COMPANIONS
    Sam Jones and Fitz Kreiner. The latter leaves the Doctor for two years of his time and about a week of 'Doctor' time. But he's back now and, we're sure, better than ever.

    MATERIALISATION CIRCUIT
    Pg 17 Near Earls Court station, London, 1967.

    Pg 80 Maddie's house in Shooter's Hill, 1967.

    Pg 96 In a hospital, 1967.

    Pg 103 The East Worldham Pop Festival, 4th June, 1968.

    Pg 147 TLB HQ, East Cheam (!), June, 1968.

    Pg 175 Where Maddie is, in the Himalayas, 5th June 1968.

    Pg 177 Back in East Cheam, a moment or two after leaving.

    Pg 189 Ramsgate, February 14th, 1969.

    Pg 194 Ramsgate, a few more times, looking for a message.

    Pg 210 The hovercraft terminal at Ramsgate, 12th April.

    Pg 220 A grass verge near Ramsgate, by Fitz's car.

    Pg 223 The TLB HQ, back in East Cheam, but now, due to the outrageous author convenience of unexplained 'slippage in the Vortex' on 18th May.

    Pg 240 Wembley Stadium.

    PREPARATORY READING
    The Little Red Book, by that age-old friend of the Doctor (and see the manic retcon below), Mao Tse Tung.

    CONTINUITY REFERENCES
    Pg 2 Mention of Sontarans

    Pg 20 "His voice drifted back: '... Yetis in the underground.'" The Web of Fear as quoted in Remembrance of the Daleks.

    "'... regeneration?' 'Yes, yes. The Brigadier was most confused, poor chap.'" Spearhead from Space.

    "They're [the Yeti] not due for another year or two." The Web of Fear again, and trying to fix the date of said story in the late 1960s or 1970.

    Pg 25 "He remembered the way that everyone on the Vega space station had spoken English." Demontage.

    Pg 26 "Hadn't the Doctor said something about a 'chameleon circuit'?" See Logopolis and Attack of the Cybermen for the Doctor' attempts to reactivate said circuit. With hilarious consequences. [And, by the by, has anyone noticed that no one ever uses the phrase 'with hilarious consequences' to mean what it says it means anymore?]

    "I hear you have your own country. The Fitz Free State, no?" Mentioned in The Taint.

    Pg 29 "How many revolutions have you been in lately? I've been in two - no, three. And a couple of rather nasty wars, and some protests." Erm, could be anything. That said, by our reckoning, she hasn't been in any revolutions at all.

    Pg 30 "'You haven't been in the front line.' 'I have.' 'But you haven't killed anyone.' 'I have.' Genocide. The Doctor actually appears to be a bit upset about this, and well he might be.

    Pg 34 "When they'd defeated vampires in LA and Tractites in alternative worlds." Vampire Science and Genocide.

    Pg 35 "Suddenly the Doctor glanced back at her sharply, flicked his eyebrows in a familiar coded gesture." Maybe Delphon - see Spearhead from Space. Maybe not.

    Pg 48 "Probably to cover up something he'd said about the Canvine on Vega." Demontage.

    Pg 50 "At the check she handed over her own passport, one of the Doctor's many falsies, this one in the name of a Mrs Evelyn Smith." Seemingly a poor attempt to tie the Big Finish audios to the EDAs, although since this book was released a good year before The Marian Conspiracy, possibly just a coincidence. Damn big one though.

    Pg 56 "The organization it purported to be from didn't quite exist yet, and the Brigadier who'd signed it was still a colonel in the British Army." UNIT and good old Alistair, currently pre-The Web of Fear.

    Pg 59 "Fitz had got to the TARDIS at Earl's Court only to find a notice, OUT OF ORDER, hanging on the door." As in The War Machines. And, incidentally, there was an police box at Earl's Court when this book was written.

    Pg 61 Mention of Selachians and Zygons. The Murder Game and Terror of the Zygons, amongst others.

    Pg 68 "Police bail, a Dr John Smith, English." Back to The Wheel in Space for the old favourite of pseudonyms.

    Pg 78 "You don't happen to have a motorbike that I can borrow?" The Telemovie.

    Pg 80 "Fitz followed, wondering if the Doctor thought he could bring back the dead." The Telemovie, ill-advisedly.

    Pg 84 "The car that the Doctor kept in the console room was partly dismembered at the moment." But nowhere near as dismembered as it's going to get in two books time; Unnatural History.

    Pg 89 "The man could almost have been a Sontaran from one of the Doctor's holiday pics." The Time Warrior et al, and another strange mention of the fact that the Doctor appears to have gone on holiday with them at some point. See also Players.

    Pg 93 "She found a call box, dialled a Kent number." Presumably the NA House in Allen Road, as first seen in Cat's Cradle: Warhead.

    Pg 119 "They called these mountains the roof of the world." And they entitled an episode of Marco Polo after them.

    Pg 177 "He tapped a brass calendar with black and white figures on it that said '5 June 1968 HUMANIAN ERA.'" Similar to the Telemovie, but a different device.

    "A single, gonglike alarm rang out," That'll be the Cloister Bell then, back after popular demand since Logopolis.

    Pg 189 "We save the universe six times before breakfast each morning." Quoted from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland and later mis-quoted by Terrance Dicks in The Five Doctors.

    Pg 191 On Chairman Mao: "Knew. In a previous - well, a long time ago. When he was still... Before he lost... oh, well, I've been through that." A retcon of the comment in The Mind of Evil that the Doctor counted the founder of the Cultural Revolution amongst his friends and also, possibly, a sly reference to the NAs.

    Pg 192 "We were involved in a paradox loop once before, and we almost didn't get out." Genocide.

    Pg 210 It sounded horribly inefficient, yet she remembered that sixties science fiction had been full of futures with hovercraft." So did science fiction of the seventies, if Planet of the Spiders is anything to go by.

    "Or the first weeks on Ha'olam." Seeing I.

    OLD FRIENDS AND OLD ENEMIES
    None.

    NEW FRIENDS AND NEW ENEMIES
    Signor Catelli. Pippa. Some British agents, including Alan, Charlie, Frank and Ray. The hugely-inappropriately-named Brothers Sunshine. The TLB: Pippa, Jim, Haystacks and a few others. Jin-Ming - now whatever happened to him? A convenient old lady, who's able to give appropriate information at an appropriate time.

    CONTINUITY COCK-UPS

    1. Pg 19 "This was the year when London became another city, a space echoing with Eastern harmonies and decorated in primary colours, screaming with Beatlemania, thudding with the deep, sensuous heat of the Rolling Stones. For a year and a day, the bombed-out capital of a fallen empire became nirvana, the dream destination, the place to which the young people followed the Pied Piper of fashion and the rich scent of incense and lived in a multicoloured dream of old stone and jasmine gardens, hash smoke and red buses, bowler hats and revolution. Or so the Doctor had said." Really? Seriously? This is so far away from the Doctor's phraseology that we can only assume that...
    2. Pg 32 "Ed's not really in Kathmandu. He's in Shooter's Hill." Which is the location of Maddie's flat. To which Fitz is about to walk her (Pg 45). From Piccadilly. In the middle of the night. Over a distance of about 12 miles. Why is it not morning by the time they arrive?
    3. Pg 33 Really nitpicky, this one: "The Greeks had been right, thought Sam, looking at the statue of Eros perched in the middle of Piccadilly Circus." Actually, it's not a statue of Eros, but of Anteros, the Greek God of contemplative love rather than lustful love. But it's a common enough mistake, and most Londoners make it.
    4. Pg 98 "Scientists are still puzzled by the 'freak weathering' of the pyramid, which occurred on the night of 5th November." Except that most of the other dating in the novel leads us to believe that the Doctor and co. landed in 1967 around June/July time, but, somehow, after the pyramid graffito. So when are they exactly?
    5. Pg 164 "Quickly, before he could think, before Jin-Ming could think, he put his hands to his mouth and crammed the flakes of Om-Tsor inside." And it works too; suddenly Fitz is 50 miles high and climbing. But back on Pg 14, putting Om-Tsor into boiling water made it ice-cold. This implies a massive endothermic reaction on contact with water, so why hasn't Fitz's tongue frozen to the roof of his mouth?
    6. Pg 189 "'It's St Valentine's Day,' said the Doctor. For a moment Sam was flummoxed, then she remembered the custom." What? Sam has forgotten Valentine's Day? Is she that stupid or that sheltered? Really?
    7. Pg 211 "There's a Chinese secret agent on the hovercraft. He's come to get the Om-Tsor." And then, later down the page: "'What are the TLB giving the Chinese in return?' she asked. Maddie looked away, shook her head. Om-Tsor, thought Sam. It has to be Om-Tsor." Of course it does, you silly girl. She just said so, but then pretended not to have done and came over all reticent. Yeah, we couldn't believe quite how bad this one was either.
    8. Pg 214 "I have Maddie, and I have - political beliefs." No. You don't have Maddie. You've just spent at least 6 months on a Chinese commune and she's moved on. Not that you've shown any interest in her of late and you even described it as bourgeois love on Pg 186.

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

    1. ...Fitz is referring to a different Doctor.
    2. They took a bus some of the way, but didn't mention it later.
    3. Sam's one of the Londoners who make this common enough mistake.
    4. We'll go with June/July and assume that they landed before the pyramid thing despite that being their excuse for going and, as far as we can tell, the first 'appearance' of the Revolution Man. Would've been really nice to have had this explained however.
    5. Almost explicable: the Om-Tsor was in ice, so was already cold. It's scientific nonsense anyway, so why should we worry?
    6. Sam's obviously flummoxed because she momentarily thinks the Doctor's going to kiss her or something and she covers up her nervousness by pretending it's to do with the day itself.
    7. Over the noise of the hovercraft, Sam doesn't hear what Maddie says first time. By the time she asks again, Maddie's realised that she's said too much, and refuses to repeat herself, but clever old Sam can work it out anyway. Poor in the extreme.
    8. Fitz is either bluffing to Sam or confused due to the effects of the brainwashing.

    FEATURED ALIEN RACES
    None, interestingly enough.

    FEATURED LOCATIONS
    In 1967:

    The Himalayan mountains in North-West India, in the Vale of Kashmir.

    Earl's Court station and environs, including the Alhambra Hotel.

    The Revolution, a cafˇ off Piccadilly Circus, and environs.

    Ed and Maddie's flat in Shooter's Hill.

    Rome, Italy.

    Various places around Blackheath, including the Greenwich meridian in Greenwich park.

    Heathrow airport, albeit very briefly.

    In 1968:

    The East Worldham Pop Festival, June.

    The Himalayas.

    St. James's Square, London.

    TLB HQ in East Cheam, hilariously. That's where I'd put my anarchist hide-out, anyway.

    The Valley of Om-Tsor, high in the mountains.

    All over the world in one of the most surreal battle sequences ever seen.

    In 1969:

    The Chairman Mao Ideal Collective in Sichuan Province, China.

    Ramsgate.

    A railway station near Chongqing.

    The hovercraft terminal at Ramsgate.

    East Cheam again.

    Wembley Stadium.

    IN SUMMARY - Anthony Wilson
    OK, it's not bad in many ways and you can't fault the ambition of either the time-scale or the sheer, Bond-like number of international locations used. But you can fault the fact that it's trying terribly hard to be an NA in disguise, but not living up to such an august description. And you can certainly criticise an ending which involves the Doctor shooting someone in the head, then taking drugs, then announcing to all that he's just saved the world, not that we see it happen. And then he runs away. Yes, the last 40 pages or so are total meltdown time in practically all respects. Oh, also you can criticise the fact that we read this plot before when we read Genocide. Still, on the bright side, it's short.