The Discontinuity Guide
The Eighth Doctor Adventures
War of the Daleks
Author: John Peel
Editor: Stephen Cole
Roots: Every retcon ever.
Goofs: Busard ram jets are spacecraft engines said to be powered by drawing in interstellar dust and junk. This sounds fine, except that in interstellar space dust and junk are spread far too thinly to power any such engine.
The Doctor seems surprised that the Daleks have so many ships left since he destroyed Skaro - but even supposing he did, they're likely to have an awful lot of resources in other solar systems that they've conquered. On the approach to Skaro, Sam says that the Daleks don't look like they lost a war - but all the Doctor told her was that they had reached an impasse.
Antalin is used as the name of both the waterworld in interlude one and the planet that the Hand of Omega destroyed. (John Peel has said that this was due to a mistake he made with his notes.)
The Doctor claims that the Daleks have the technology to pilot whole worlds by using the planet's core (as in The Dalek Invasion of Earth) - however, Godengine revealed that this was due to an Osirian device that they never actually got their hands on.
So: was it Skaro that was destroyed by the Hand of Omega, or was it Antalin, or was it somewhere else? The Thals seem to think it was Antalin's sun that went nova - based on location - and that the planet called Skaro here is in the right position for Skaro. However, Skaro in this story is explicity stated to not be radioactive - yet the original Skaro clearly was (see The Daleks). The Dalek Prime's story varies - he suggests to the Doctor that the planet destroyed was Antalin, but at the trial he identifies it as a constructed world.
If the Movellans were created by the Daleks as a ruse to trick Davros, then who are the race of robots who will cause the Daleks so many problems that are mentioned in A Device of Death? [Maybe the Dalek Prime was lying about the Movellans.]
Davros recalls that the Spider Daleks were one of his designs, yet the Thals' belief that they had been abandoned centuries ago rules out the possibility that they were amongst his recent designs - and he certainly hadn't designed them by the end of Genesis of the Daleks.
On page 8, it says that Spider Daleks have tougher armour than regular ones. On page 218, it says that they are not as heavily armoured.
Generally the numbers involved in the war seem ridiculously small. It says that thousands of Daleks have perished in the conflict - yet there must be millions or billions on Skaro alone (especially if - as the Doctor suggests - there has been a general recall).
The Dalek Prime's contingency plan seems very strange. He installs a hidden Dalek factory ship onboard the prisoners' ship. He then expects them to escape through the most violent bits of the war, after which he gives very little resistance. However, he was originally expecting a scavenger ship rather than a bunch of heavily-armed Thals. How did he expect them to escape the planet?
The Movellans turn up as Dalek allies in the Mechanoid interlude, and the Mechanoids recognise them. However, other books (most notably Salvation) will clearly establish that the Mechanoids were sent out in the earlier stages of space exploration - well before the Movellans appeared.
The Thals seem to have forgotten what the Doctor said at the end of Planet of the Daleks because they seem surprised at his more pacifist stance. And yes, this story is after Planet because the Thals know the Doctor can change his appearance.
Dialogue Disasters: Sam: 'Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.'
The Doctor: 'Then I think someone's seriously overdue for their eye test.'
Dialogue Triumphs: Chayn: 'I've heard it said that the first casualty of war is the truth. That's not true. The first casualty in war is love.'
Continuity: Daleks don't need survival pods, as they can survive in space on their own. We see several new types of Dalek in this book. They include Striders - 10 times larger than normal, with 8 long flexible legs and Spiders - slightly larger than normal, but similarly with 8 legs (the Thals think these have been abandoned for centuries). Spiders are more maneuverable than normal Daleks (p8) but are more vulnerable at the joints. Marine Daleks are torpedo-shaped with their eyes at the front, and have their gunstick and a grappling arm parallel to their bodies. They are larger than Slythers. They also have hoverbouts - disc-shaped aircraft with a crew of 1 Dalek. Their stair-climbing abilities are said to be telekinetic. The Doctor claims that their guns can fire a thousand times without recharging [which isn't actually very impressive]. He also claims that they have no culture and no arts. Their hierachy is explicitly laid out. Grey Daleks are the foot soldiers. Blue Daleks are non-commissioned officers. Red Daleks can think for themselves, and command Blue Daleks.Black Daleks command Red Daleks, and Gold Daleks command Black Daleks. The Dalek Prime is the ultimate authority. Blue and Red Daleks have not been seen before this story. Skaro means 'Home' in the Old Kaled tongue.
Thals have a variety of weaponry. Most powerful are nuclear strikes and planet busters. Their troops' armour can take 2 Daleks firing in unison, but not three. However, if it is Hardened, then the Thal can survive a nearby nuclear strike. Troopers are equipped with one-shot rocket packs which work for only 2 minutes.
The TARDIS food machine still doesn't do food properly - it all looks like a mars bar and a glass of carrot juice.
The Doctor has a signed copy of War and Peace in Russian. He has a swiss army knife in his pockets.
Links: Sam recalls The Bodysnatchers and Genocide. The Doctor recalls his seventh incarnation erasing all computer records of himself (Transit).
The Doctor says that he tried appealing to the Daleks' better nature once, and it didn't work (Genesis of the Daleks or Evil of the Daleks?). There are lots of references to previous Dalek stories including The Daleks, Planet of the Daleks, Genesis of the Daleks (the Thals), Remembrance of the Daleks (Davros, the destruction of Skaro), The Dalek Invasion of Earth (the Slyther, the Dalek invasion), Day of the Daleks (referred to in records plundered during the invasion). The Doctor's reference to having seen the Daleks' future, but not who wins may or may not be a reference to Evil of the Daleks. The Power of the Daleks (the Doctor dealing with the factory ship - or so he thinks). The retcon heavily affects Destiny of the Daleks, Resurrection of the Daleks, Revelation of the Daleks, and Remembrance of the Daleks.
Location: The human scavenger ship Quetzel and Skaro 30 years after Remembrance of the Daleks. The prologue takes place on Terakis - a planet between Thal space and Dalek space in the same timezone. The interludes happen on the water-world Antalin not that long after The Daleks' Masterplan, Draconian space soon after they introduce female officers, and the planet Hersperus nearly three hundred years after Mechanoids arrived on the planet.
Future History: The Daleks will invade Earth several times.
Unrecorded Adventures: Some of the references to Dalek stories might refer to unrecorded adventures.
The Bottom Line: 'It's not possible I destroyed the wrong planet...' The plot of the book is, essentially, just an excuse to say that the destruction of Skaro seen in Remembrance of the Daleks didn't happen. There are a few nice bits - whilst writing this review, I was surprised how much better it was than I'd remembered. However, there are still plenty of weak points - the very complicated story of the retcon, the way everyone (including Sam) fancies the Doctor - which is really poorly written, and the Dalek Prime's contingency plans are particularly rubbish.