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The Discontinuity Guide
The New Adventures

No Future

February 1994

No Future cover

Author: Paul Cornell

Editor: Peter Darvill-Evans

Roots: The title is a lyric from the Sex Pistols' God Save the Queen (which is also the title of chapter 5). There are references to the Carpenters, Twinkies, Harold Wilson, George Best, Madonna, Melody Maker, NME, Boris Becker, Cinderella, Reader's Digest, David Bowie, Brian Eno, Michael Moorcock, Charlie Chaplin, the Worzels, Rod Stewart, Saturday Night at the Movies, The Generation Game, Basil Brush, the Manic Street Preachers, the Sunday Times, Cliff Richard, Michaelangelo, Picasso's Guernica, St Etienne, Kellogg's Pop Tarts, Robert Donat, Mr Kipling, Love Thy Neighbour, Alf Garnett, Roxy Music, Bruce Forsyth, Scooby Doo, Patti Smith, Mike Oldfield, Lou Reed, Freud, Doc Martins, Keats, Iggy Pop, Def Leppard, Tony Benn, Crosby, Stills and Nash, the Rolling Stones, Wings, Wombles, Haagen-Daz, the Times, Sherlock Holmes, Blue Peter, Top of the Pops, Benny Hill, Bob Geldof, Robin Hood, Ozric Tentacles, The Orb, and Aladdin. Pike mentions the Soviet Vodyanoi, a reference to The Nightmare Man. The Monk, refusing to believe that the Doctor has escaped him, hopes that the interference with his plan comes from a Shayde, a reference to the Doctor Who Magazine comic strip 'The Tides of Time' and others.The excursion into the Mediasphere includes fragments of The Goodies and Dad's Army. Professor X's characterisation, and particularly his talking-to-the-audience routine, is based on Frankie Howerd's character in Up Pompeii!.

Goofs: Not really a goof, but 'No Future' boasts arguably the worst cover of any New Adventure.

Dialogue Disasters: The Brigadier orders an attack on a Vardan stood next to Paul McCartney's band: "Chap with Wings, five rounds rapid!" (groan!). [I thought it was an amusing reuse of the line - Ed.]

Dialogue Triumphs: Benny to the Vardans: "You are, after all, the only race in history to be outwitted by the intellectual might of the Sontarans".

The Brigadier on the Doctor: "It's my opinion that the Doctor symbolizes the best values of British life. Eccentricity, the creative amateur, and civilization."

"That's the trouble with omnipotency. Makes you think you can do anything."

Continuity: The Meddling Monk's real name is Mortimus. He used to be an agent provocateur for the High Council. Following the events of The Daleks' Master Plan, he remained on the ice planet whilst repairing his TARDIS. He adopts the alias Robert Bertram. He was an initiate in one of the colleges of scholars in the Capitol, which pretend not to worship, but are dedicated to keeping secrets. He eventually became aware of other worlds where everything he believed in was meaningless, so he turned to politics, attempting to "create a purpose out of nothing". Finding politics to be full of betrayal, he retreated into hedonism, out of a desire for harmless fun. He feels that the manipulative Seventh Doctor has now adopted the methods that he once condemned the Monk for. He is appointed UNIT UK's new scientific advisor, since UNIT already use a lot of equipment that he helped to develop. His TARDIS is more spaciously designed than the Doctor's, with dark, high-ceilinged cloisters and carvings and gargoyles. He keeps it cold to remind him of his hatred of the Doctor (The Daleks' Master Plan). Its structure is disrupted by a signal generated by the Doctor. The Monk has been watching the Doctor from afar since they last met, and has visual records of nearly all of his adventures, although he has yet to recover some [a in-joke to the missing episodes]. He captured Artemis the Chronovore and has been using her to give Morka the power to kill the Doctor (Blood Heat), resurrect the Garvond (The Dimension Riders), empower Huitzilin (The Left-Handed Hummingbird), and restore the Land of Fiction (Conundrum). He also used her to release the Vardans' home planet from the time loop that the Doctor trapped it in during The Invasion of Time, and suggested that they invaded Earth, since they were looking for revenge on the Time Lords and the Sontarans (Earth being a planet of strategic significance to the Sontarans, and of interest to the Doctor).

The Monk traveled to the very edge of the Universe to capture Artemis and used a ritual involving a pentagram and the blood of five races whose destinies had been changed by the Time Lords: Minyans (Underworld), Silurians, Daleks, Humans, and Mandrels (The Nightmare of Eden). However, he traps her in a containment unit by substituting the blood of the human for the blood of an Eternal, Vain Beauty, who he found playing Russian roulette in a bar in Paris. The ritual also utilized five spheres stolen from the Sisterhood of Karn (The Brain of Morbius), although they had forgotten their function. His TARDIS disguises itself as a desk and a stone at Stonehenge. He read about the Garvond in the Red Book of Gallifrey (The Dimension Riders). He plans to travel with Ace and Jan (Love and War), doing good throughout the Universe. He was once technical adviser to the Moroks (The Space Museum), and Yartek leader of the alien Voord (The Keys of Marinus). He becomes Death's Champion. Once free, Artemis briefly removes his mouth and plants a hook through his face. He is last seen fleeing into his TARDIS; as it dematerializes an agonized scream is heard as Artemis takes revenge for her imprisonment...

The Chronovores are essential to the ecology of the Universe, helping with structural flaws and devouring the ill-considered trifles of time-faring races. It is rumoured that without them the Universe would begin its collapse, since they ease the stresses and strains of physics. Like the Guardians, they are constrained by certain codes of conduct. The Monk feeds the captive Artemis on a trail of chronons from a distant collapsar.

The Mediasphere is a virtual environment built on the community of fiction that evolves in the collective unconsciousness of intelligent beings, in this case humans. It was created using technology similar to that used to control the Land of Fiction, by the Vardans (The Invasion of Time). Their home planet is called Varda. The Vardans can take over humans. They can also kill with an electrical charge. They can also tailor the appearance of their humanoid forms to suit their needs, allowing them to impersonate humans. The Doctor notes that they can travel down any waveform including thought. They have been inhabiting Earth's electronic media and influencing humans through television. They were a militaristic race, with a very spartan society, and lived by the principles of martial meditation and survival of the very fittest. They eventually transcended their physical bodies, possibly with the aid of one of the greater powers. They have a tendency to ally themselves with other races. The Monk intends to organize the largest pop concert ever performed, which millions of people will watch on television, allowing the Vardans to invade their minds. In the Doctor's encounter with the Vardans before Mortimus used Artemis to change the time line and intervene himself, the Doctor trapped them in a standing wave between Earth and the Moon. He adopts this plan in the new time line, eventually beaming them back to Varda, a trip that will take five thousand years. There is a civil war underway on Varda, since some Vardans want an end to the path of conquest.

The Doctor was put on the UNIT payroll in 1971, but rarely cashed his pay cheques. Death appears to Ace in a dream and tells her that all Eternals have a champion. He uses a Temporal Disruption Monitor to detect temporal distortion. He performs artificial respiration. Of late, his future self has started leaving notes for him, breaking the first law of time. The Monk traps him in a cylinder filled with an oxygenated solution, constantly replenished through a microscopic dimensional link, and leaves it on the ice planet from The Daleks' Master Plan. The Monk intends that he will die from the wound seemingly inflicted by Ace, regenerate, and then live out his remaining regenerations in the cylinder, starving to death each time. The Doctor escapes using a piece of paper that it is actually a fragment of the Monk's unstable TARDIS exterior, linked to the whole, which deposits him in the Monk's TARDIS. The Doctor kept the BBC pass that he was given when he appeared on Nationwide during "that General Carrington" business (The Ambassadors of Death).

Ace flippantly adopts the alias Dorothy Moose. She and Benny pretend to be sisters. She pretends to betray the Doctor to the Monk, seemingly stabbing him again in the wound she inflicted in The Left-Handed Hummingbird. As part of her plan to convince Mortimus that she is on his side, she shoots the Queen, but deliberately ensures that she only inflicts "a flesh-wound".

Investigating in London 1976, for the Doctor, Benny joins the punk band Plasticine. The Doctor first heard a Plasticine CD at a party in Finchley in the early twenty-first century and when he first met Bernice he realized that he'd heard her voice before. She performs in a Plasticine reunion at the 1993 Glastonbury Festival.

The Brigadier has become Buddhist. He dies in a hail of gunfire; his last words are "Are the children safe, Captain Yates?" In return for having freed her, Artemis grants Ace's request to save the Brigadier by changing events so that she is there to stop him being shot. This results in Ace being unable to have freed Artemis in the first place, so Pike does it instead. The Doctor makes the Brigadier forget the events that take place here, so that he'll retire early and take up teaching as the Doctor remembers (Mawdryn Undead).

Benton's first name is John. He seldom watches television.

Mike Yates knows of Hamlet Macbeth (The Left-Handed Hummingbird). He tells the Brigadier that he doesn't wish to return to UNIT after the Black Star affair is over, since he believes in their ideals, just not their methods.

The TARDIS materialises around Nelson's Column, which it disguises itself as. It also adopts the form of a miniature Statue of Liberty and a tent at Glastonbury. The TARDIS has kept a copy of Ace's memories from when she reconstructed it from them. The TARDIS contains a recreation of part of Heaven, a place called Shepherdshay. The Chameleon Circuit breaks again.

Under UN Resolution 2245, UNIT officers are allowed to use ultimate force on hostile extraterrestrials. The Doctor's time as scientific advisor is nicknamed the Big Bug Era by UNIT soldiers. Dalek casings are used in training exercises. Broadsword is a Special Ops elite unit, which Benton describes as UNIT's version of the SAS.

The terrorist organization Black Star blows up Big Ben [it is later rebuilt].

Eternals are partial to gold.

The poison required to kill a Minyan is rare and expensive.

Links: The architect behind the Doctor's recent troubles is revealed to be the Meddling Monk (The Time Meddler, The Daleks' Master Plan). There are references to the alternate Earth of Blood Heat, the Garvond (The Dimension Riders), Huitzilin (The Left-Handed Hummingbird), and the Land of Fiction (Conundrum). The Doctor arrives in 1976 to confront his enemy because of the fact that Master of the Land of Fiction knew of Earth in 1976 as a place invaded by aliens. The Vardans first appeared in The Invasion of Time. The Chronovores first appeared in The Time Monster.

There are references to the death of Professor Clegg (Planet of the Spiders), the Zygons (Terror of the Zygons), Axons (The Claws of Axos), Autons (Spearhead From Space), Omega (The Three Doctors) (in addition, the Brigadier notes that the last time he traveled in a TARDIS, he ended up in "Cromer"), Morgaine (Battlefield), the Guardians (The Ribos Operation, The Armageddon Factor, Enlightenment), the Gods of Ragnarok (The Greatest Show in the Galaxy), and the Yeti (The Web of Fear). The Doctor told the Brigadier about the Brigade-Leader (Inferno). The Doctor claims to have killed the Master (Survival) [see First Frontier]. Ace mentions Jan (Love and War). Professor X is mentioned (Nightshade) (he apparently has a ship disguised as a pillar box, which he calls his TASID, because he bought it off a bloke called Sid). Nightshade himself is also mentioned. The Monk refers to the Dalek invasion (The Dalek Invasion of Earth). The Brigadier mentions Harry and Sarah. Mike's previous betrayal of UNIT was in Invasion of the Dinosaurs. The Vardans describe the Time Loop around their planet as a chronic hysteresis (Meglos). The Doctor mentions his granddaughter. The Monk plays a seqeuce of the Doctor battling the Minotaur in The Time Monster. The Monk uses some Chelonian technology (The Highest Science). He mentions the Dæmons (The Dæmons) and the Eternals (Enlightenment).

The Brigadier notes that during the Yeti invasion, operations extended down to Tooting Bec, a reference to Jon Pertwee's suggestion that finding a Yeti sitting on the toilet in Tooting Bec is scarier than encountering monsters in space. The Monk asks if a shadowy figure is Magnus, come to steal his gold [possibly meant to be a reference to the Master, but later established to be the War Chief (The War Games) - see Divided Loyalties].

Location: England, 1976; Glastonbury Festival, 1993; and an unnamed planet of ice, date unknown.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor once played Find the Lady with David Bowie in a punt that Romana was poling. The Doctor played the villain in the UNIT staff Christmas party panto in 1973; Jo was Aladdin and Captain Yates was Widow Twankey.

Q.v.: Benny's Birthday, Love and War.

The Bottom Line: 'We're exactly the same, then! We're both just time meddlers, only you like to think you're superior!' Despite being Paul Cornell's least favourite of his own Doctor Who novels, No Future is underrated. The sudden resurgence of the antagonism between Ace and Benny is rather jarring, but it allows any final issues between them to be resolved, and whilst the Meddling Monk is far more bitter and twisted than his rather likeable television counterpart, his revenge-fueled vendetta against the Doctor demonstrates how much the Doctor has changed since his first incarnation. The revamping of the Vardans makes them a credible threat, and all in all the novel provides a satisfactory end to the Alternative History cycle.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke

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