The Discontinuity Guide
The Missing Adventures
The Ghosts of N-Space
(Features the Third Doctor between Death to the Daleks and The Monster of Peladon)
See also the DiscContinuity Guide entry on the audio version of this story.
Author: Barry Letts
Editor: Rebecca Levene
Roots: Astrology, ghost-hunting. Many of the scenes in N-Space are very similar to hell as depicted in Dante's Inferno. Mafioso genre movies, Warlock, Poltergeist ('heading towards the light') and near-death anecdotes as well as (possibly) Altered States. Jung's Synchronicity. Terminator 2 ('I'll be back'). Louisa reads The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliffe and may be based on the heroine from Northanger Abbey. Sarah likens N-Space to Hieronymous Bosche's works (probably 'The Garden of Earthly Delights' and perhaps 'The Temptation of Saint Anthony', upon which some of the monsters seem to be based). Uncle Mario mentions 'Tom Tom the Piper's Son', 'Georgie Porgy', 'The Grand Old Duke of York' and 'borrowed' a copy of Jacaranda from a young Brigadier and says 'I put another log on fire' Aladdin pantomimes ('he looks like the Widow Twankie, doesn't he?') Jeremy mentions James Bond twice. Paolo paraphrases the Parable of the Prodigal Son.
Goofs: The plot is essentially just a load of extremely unlikely co-incidences.
The Doctor says that he knows Leonardo da Vinci and H.G. Wells, historical figures he doesn't meet until in his fourth and sixth incarnations respectively (see 'Unrecorded Adventures' below). It is implied that Jeremy has never been in the TARDIS before, although he took at least one trip in it (during The Paradise of Death).
N-Space was defined to be something completely different in Full Circle, State of Decay, and Warrior's Gate.
Technobabble: Ion-focusing coil. Multi-Vectored Null-Dimensional Temporal and Spatial Psycho-Probe. Out of the Body (OB) Dimensional Transducer. The mathematics of psycho-physical stresses in the metaphorical surface-tension of the boundary between this world and N-Space
To substitute the effects of Clancy's comet and seal the barrier to N-Space the Doctor wires the TARDIS' space-time warping template into its temporal transducers. The Doctor uses anti-plungboll spray.
Fashion Victims: 'I feel like a refugee from Pride and Prejudice' says Sarah, in period costume.
Dialogue Disasters: Most of the book.
Continuity: Sarah is trying to write a novel as an escape from journalism. She has tried to sell her adventures so far to her editor Clorinda, but been routinely rejected on the grounds of implausibility. Just after she left school, Sarah had intensive training in sailing from a naval Sub-Lieutenant (who she went out with). She got her job on Metropolitan after a story about a voodoo witch doctor, which meant that she had to travel from the Caribbean to the old slave coast. Her family used to hire a caravan on the Gower coast. She gets up at 7 if she's going for a run on Hampstead Heath at 8 if she's not and at 9 if she's having a lie-in. A year ago, she uncovered a corruption scandal involving a minister. She has or had a friend called Jenny, who she was at school with. The friendship is/was 13 years old and the two used to take bike rides in the uplands behind the suburb in which Sarah had been brought up. Her mum has a poodle, but not a cat. Her uncle Hubert has or had a grandfather clock.
The Brigadier's Granny MacDougal had a second cousin who is uncle Mario (now aged 92). The Brigadier is now Mario's only living relative, [so everyone on that side of the family must be dead]. This makes him one eighth Italian and the rest Scottish. When he visited as a child, he took his teddy bear (despite being old enough for prep school) and some children's books, which were left behind. Mario has a blunderbuss (his granddad's granddad's), which he has kept loaded since World War 2 (having been anti-fascist since 1922). In 1940, the Brigadier's home was destroyed by a bomb. The Brigadier doesn't believe in ghosts.
Invisible races see by "parallel sensing of the trace that photons leave in N-Space" (i.e. Clairvoyance).
Every sentient being has an equivalent Null-Body and when they die, it
goes into Null-Space, in the manner of near death experiences. Such bodies are responsible for some cases of ghosts. Negative emotions are left behind to become monsters. Sometimes an individual is trapped by their emotions and beliefs into something like hell. When projected into N-Space, the Doctor can read minds. Time and space are related differently in N-Space. Poltergeists are low-grade N-forms that get through into our world and 'possess' a like-minded individual (to its negative tendencies), such as an adolescent.
Umberto is 79. His brother built a radio in 1929.
The TARDIS has two rooms with period dresses - crinolines in one, Jane Austin in the other. It can also keep food fresh for an indefinite period. It takes a great deal of energy to return a TARDIS to soon after it has left. The Doctor also has a box labelled 'Sarah - her hair'.
The Doctor claims that the concept of changing history is not valid in
the sense Sarah would understand it. The Blinovitch effect was formulated by Aaron Blinovitch in the British Museum's reading room in 1928.
Parakon stun-guns last for 24 hours. They can be set to fine beam (more powerful) or broad-beam (cone).
The Doctor seems to imply that there is some measure of truth in astrology. He says pasta-styled dishes pop up all over the galaxy, 'but spaghetti is the best'. He postulates that Hieronymous Bosch may have once visited N-Space, possibly aided by Maximillian. Scratchin is a game on Gallifrey.
Plungbolls are small furry thumbnail-sized Gallifreyan creatures. They live on the mountain near [the house of Lungbarrow]. They are attracted to heat, but you can get an anti-plungboll spray. The Doctor once took a mountainering hike with his old teacher. They were stuck by a river that had burst its banks. They crossed it and ended up in the teacher's garden.
Jeremy got his job on Metropolitan because his uncle Teddy pulled strings. Jeremy has taken Sarah with him on holiday, his mother having bailed out at the last minute. He is a pretty good shot with a rifle, having had practice at the fairground (the last time he won a plaster Venue de Milo, a 'silver' jug and a pink teddy bear). He went to boarding school and has an Uncle Teddy who shoots. He knows goats.
As in Silver Nemesis, magic works. There appears to have once been an elixir of immortality which allows Vilmio to live for over 300 years. The Doctor theorises that its formula is 'a Latin translation of a Spanish version of an Arabian extract from a Greek alchemic text taken from an Egyptian esoteric original of immense power... the Babylonians probably had a hand in it too.' During his bargaining with Vilmio the Doctor mentions other 'Lords of the Galaxy', though he may have been bluffing. Clancy's comet, or 'the wing of the dragon' passes Earth every 157 years (1504, 1661, 1818, 1975).
Links: Stories that Sarah has tried to sell as a journalist include The Time Warrior, The Paradise of Death, Invasion of the Dinosaurs, and Death to the Daleks. (i.e. all her recorded adventures to date.) Jeremy and the stun gun come from The Paradise of Death. The Doctor notes that the power generated by negative emotions was used by the Master in The Dæmons. The Doctor mentions his sentence (The War Games). The TARDIS energy banks were drained by the beacon of the Exxilon City. To comfort the grieving Sarah the Doctor tells her a story of the hermit he once knew (The Time Monster).
Location: San Stefano Minore, Sicily. The UNIT era 18th-22nd May [allegedly 1975], 1818, and circa 1504.
Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor claims to have met Carl [Jung], the man who coined the word Synchronicity a few years ago. He also says that he lent Bertie [sic] Wells his ion-focusing coil for an invisibility experiment. He claims to have been friends with Horace Walpole, who invented the word Serendipity and the Gothic Novel. Horace wrote The Castle of Ontrario in the year that Ann Radcliffe, who is generally thought to have invented the gothic novel, was born.
He visited the rector of Burnham Thorpe and taught his son Horatio [Nelson] to box the compass, some years before he entered the Navy aged 12. The Doctor has some eggs taken from King Alfred's kitchen. Alfred's cook was 'a dab hand at bear rissoles'. The Doctor claims to have met Sarah Siddons, and have her hair. Leonardo [da Vinci] is said to be an acquaintance of the Doctor's (which contradicts The Masque of Mandarogora and City of Death).
The Bottom Line: 'That's just plain silly.' Badly written, with a plot that's mostly a string of unlikely co-incidences. The characterisation is pretty poor as well. Jeremy is the most annoying character you could imagine. It might just be possible to feel sorry for him for being so useless, but it's his own fault.