The Doctor, Ace and Benny become embroiled in a plot by humanoid duplicates to infiltrate New Byzantium. They travel to the neighbouring planet of Arden to discover the native rodents who manufactured the duplicates are being controlled by an evil entity.
Ace and Benny.
Pg 24 In a sculpture park in New Byzantium, on the planet Taingire, 2673.
None. There's a loose running arc of the TARDIS crew attempting to go on holiday (pg 14), but you don't need to have read White Darkness.
Pg 5 "Isaac Summerfield as she last remembered him: strong, resolute, a loving father and devoted husband. She was a girl, tearfully waving her starship commander father goodbye." Benny's backstory, as detailed in Love and War. But see Continuity Cock-Ups.
Pg 6 "What is it Barbara?" Companion to the first Doctor, with a large bouffant (An Unearthly Child to The Chase).
"Then the memory of the explosion tore through Bernice's mind and her mother was gone forever amid the flame and smoke..." Love and War.
"An elderly man with white hair and dressed in a period-style frock coat seemed to stand at the console." The first Doctor.
Pg 11 "You mean he's regenerating?" Both Ace and Bernice seem to know about this, so presumably the Doctor's warned them that it's a possibility.
"For a moment, an image of Jan swam before her, then it was gone." Love and War.
Pg 12 Visions of former Doctor appear briefly.
"Don't bother me now Susan..." An Unearthly Child through The Dalek Invasion of Earth.
Pg 13 "'So,' ventured Ace, cautiously, 'nothing nasty has got into the works - again - has it? Remember what happened last time.'" Cat's Cradle: Time's Crucible through Deceit.
Pg 14 "I could live without another outing courtesy of Club Zombie." White Darkness.
Pg 25 "In the three years of her time that she had been away from him, she had matured considerably" Between Love and War and Deceit.
"He couldn't help thinking of Ace as the confused teenager he had first met on Iceworld." Dragonfire.
Pg 60 "Daleks, Cybermen, Yeti, Ice Warriors, Autons... I could continue, for it is a sadly long list, but I have faced them all - and they often employed schemes of infiltration very similar to what seems to be happening here." The Daleks et al, The Tenth Planet et al, The Abominable Snowmen et al, Spearhead from Space et al. But see Continuity Cock-Ups.
"I can fairly say that my mediation during the conflict between Earth and Draconia, for instance, proved worthwhile -" Frontier in Space.
Pg 68 "Few people owned headgear cut and shaped from the dome and sensory antenna of a Black Dalek Supreme." We saw a Black Dalek Supreme in Remembrance of the Daleks. Ace presumably got this helmet while fighting Daleks during her three years away from the TARDIS between Love and War and Deceit.
Pg 71 "She was now seeing through the image intensifier of the Dalek eyeball" As above.
Pg 74 "Both in the military and government records of the twenty-five forty Earth-Draconia conflict, there were several references to a mysterious "Doctor" - with a young woman companion - who seems to have been instrumental in keeping the sides from all-out war and revealing the Dalek interference in the affair." Frontier in Space.
"I found references to a "Doctor" of unknown origins, in the old records for mid--century Earth!" The UNIT years (The Web of Fear onwards).
Pgs 74-75 "The Doctor is, by venerable decree of the Fifteenth Emperor, a noble of Draconia." Frontier in Space.
Pg 88 Another reference to Ace wearing a Dalek-style helmet (a href=dece.htm>Deceit).
Pg 101 "Did I mention the Daleks?" Yes, quite a few times now.
Pgs 113-114 "Have I mentioned that you remind me of a Brigadier I used to to know?" Splendid chap. All one of him. And see Continuity Cock-Ups
Pg 117 "Oh, I know my fellow Time Lords have occasionally directed my travels for their own purposes, but not often enough to account for the excess of my adventures." Colony in Space et al.
Pg 121 "Jan still gets to you huh?" Love and War.
Pg 139 "Didn't you do any jump training at that fancy academy of yours?" Love and War.
Pg 165 "Marco Polo... Hannibal over the Alps... Mao's long march." The Doctor met Marco Polo in, um, Marco Polo. He mentioned being a friend of Mao's in The Mind of Evil.
Pg 180 "Hell's teeth but I must have been lucky." Logopolis.
Pg 183 "I once triggered a weapon that destroyed an entire world." Remembrance of the Daleks.
Pg 217 "He looked down at the smoking remains of his umbrella." The Doctor's umbrella is destroyed. Again. It won't be the last time.
Pg 243 "Actually, I was thinking of a holiday on my own." This is a lead-in to Birthright and Iceberg.
OLD FRIENDS AND OLD ENEMIES
NEW FRIENDS AND NEW ENEMIES
Donal Robson (although he never meets the TARDIS crew), Kim Talavera, Marshall Talavera, Prefect Delray.
- Back cover "Arden. A planet of hills and streams and forests. Peaceful. Friendly" Why is there no full stop at the end of the last sentence?
- Back cover "Something that can reach out to the regional stellar capital, Tairngaire". But page 28 says "This is New Byzantium, capital city of the planet Tairngire." So which is it?
- Pg 5 "Isaac Summerfield as she last remembered him: strong, resolute, a loving father and devoted husband." Since Benny's mother died some years before Isaac disappeared, why is Benny's last memory of her father as a devoted husband? Did he remarry?
- Pg 20 "Wargames system Delta Epsillon." Should that be "Epsilon", the greek letter?
- Pg 37 "The Ace found herself in a tiny square with three streets radiating from it." Huh?
- Pg 60 "Daleks, Cybermen, Yeti, Ice Warriors, Autons... I could continue, for it is a sadly long list, but I have faced them all - and they often employed schemes of infiltration very similar to what seems to be happening here." This isn't actually all that true. For one thing, the Yeti and the Ice Warriors weren't big on infiltration. For another, the technique here is to clone a human, hollow out the brain and have the alien drive around the human like a car. It's hard to imagine the Ice Warriors or the Yeti doing that.
- Pg 98 "He jumped down and pulled bundle of marker flags and a geo-scanner from the back." Say what?
- Pg 110 "Oh, brass-hat bating you mean." Should that be "baiting"?
- Pgs 113-114 "Have I mentioned that you remind me of a Brigadier I used to to know?" Say again?
- Pg 117 "'Just remember what curiosity did to the cat,' she cautioned. 'Why do you think they have nine lives?' he replied. 'And why do you think Time Lords have twelve?'" Except that Time Lords have thirteen lives, not twelve.
- Pg 122 "He was too dazed to fight back. 'Your fugging' digging!' the man was screaming in his face." Why is there an apostrophe after "fugging" when the g wasn't dropped?
- Pg 143 "Initiate standard proceedures." As opposed to the more standard "procedures"?
- Pg 153 "Broadsword orbitting Arden." Or orbiting, maybe?
- Pg 153 "As though it had been molded" Or "moulded", perhaps?
- Pg 154 "Unencombered by the injured, we can make our best time to Touchstone" Unencumbered, per chance?
- Pg 155 "She was probably dosed with painkiillers" Would those be related to painkillers?
- Pg 159 "What a setting this would be for A Midsummer Nights Dream." Should that be "Night's"?
- Pg 159 "Watching her surroundings with a more cirtical eye." Or "critical", by any remote possibility?
- Pg 166 "Huh? what? Okay, I can hear you." Why isn't the "What" capitalised?
- Pg 175 "No, it still can't explain how they can react faster even than our ships autonomous systems." Shouldn't that be "ships' autonomous systems"?
- Pg 194 "The bushtail was squatting of its haunches" Wha--?
- Pg 208 "Chunks and crusts glowed, fused and fell away, rattling like clinker down and curve of the dome to vanish in the blackness that spread out from its base for twenty metres." I'm sorry?
- Pg 221 "Do they realize I wouldn't die, that I'm onto a better dean than the Doctor's twelve lives at the moment?" Ladies and gentleman, a new record: two cock-ups in the same sentence. Not only should this be "a better deal", but the Doctor has thirteen lives, not twelve.
- Pg 225 "It probably involved the duplicates among the military, in combition with these shadow-forms" I beg your pardon?
- Pg 228 "Then you'll leave Umbra to grow. or else." Shouldn't this have been capitalised?
- Pg 228 "'Doctor.' the Prefect's voice was uncertain." Shouldn't that first full stop be a comma?
- Pg 233 "I'll bet Umbra knows a thing or two about hypespacial transmissions" I wonder if it knows about hyperspacial transmission as well?
PLUGGING THE HOLES [Fan-wank theorizing of how to fix continuity cock-ups]
- Arden's friendliness just goes on and on.
- The Doctor's Scottish accent is causing the TARDIS to mistranslate slightly.
- Benny's grief interferes with her ability to reason.
- It's a similar-sounding proper noun.
- Ace briefly decided to add the definite article to her name, in an effort to be more like the Doctor, but immediately realised how stupid it was and thus never did so again.
- This is actually quite similar to what the Kaled mutants are doing inside their Dalek casing and the Doctor just gets a bit carried away by mentioning the others.
- Donal is possessed, so it may be playing havoc with his syntax.
- Benny isn't possessed, she's just a very bad speller. Much like the author, one suspects.
- The Doctor has momentarily reverted to his first incarnation.
- The Doctor is actually talking about cats: Time Lords have twelve cats apiece. It's a by-product of getting so old.
- The full word is actually "fuggingk". It's very rude on Tairngaire (although less so on Tairngire).
- The ship has procedures, but in times of emergency it also has proceedures, which are wholly different.
- The Broadsword was performing a complex manoeuvre called orbitting, which was similar to but not exactly the same as orbiting.
- Ace is experimenting with speaking in American dialect, with spelling to match.
- The Doctor's Scottish accent is showing again.
- Ace is injured and it's making her woozy. Much like the author's brain, by this point, we suspect.
- It's a wholly different play, one performed in the 26th century that Ace saw recently.
- In the 26th century, they'll have both a critical eye and a cirtical eye.
- Ace is still half asleep and slurring her thoughts. Not unlike the proofreaders of this book.
- Chiminoe is so confused he's forgetting basic sentence structure. He's not alone.
- Bushtails have strange anatomical tricks when they're under stress.
- The shadowform is playing havoc with perception. And grammar.
- Ace is so stressed that she's secretly having a cerebral haemorrhage. Not unlike the typesetters by this point, we suspect.
- A "combition" is a Gallifreyan term for a combination, only with less overlap.
- It's a very minor threat.
- The Prefect was very uncertain.
- Umbra is a leading galactic expert on hypespacial transmissions, but that's not much help, as no one else uses them.
FEATURED ALIEN RACES
Pg 1 A bushtail, something similar to a squirrel.
Pg 2 Tree slinks.
Pg 4 Swoops.
Pg 158 Shenn
Pg 207 A shadowform, a black mass with tendrils
Pg 226 Umbra
Pg 2 Arden, 2673 (pgs 28-29).
Pg 16 The Broadsword.
Pg 28 New Byzantium, capital city of Taingire.
Pg 104 The Broadsword
Pg 244 Arden, one year later.
IN SUMMARY - Robert Smith?
You know, here at the Cloister Library, having finished the Eighth Doctor Adventures, we were going to work through the New Adventures and fill in the gaps. This is where we stopped. It took me three years between starting this guide entry and finally finishing it. This is easily the worst New Adventure and may indeed be the worst book ever written in the entire history of literature. It makes Gary Russell and Barry Letts look like Pulitzer winners. Forget the litany of errors, the out of character regulars or the boring people who inhabit the rest of the book. Focus instead of the sheer horror that is Umbra and its "childlike" villainy or the sheer unrelenting boredom of the thing. Or, on second thoughts, don't.