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The Discontinuity Guide
The Past Doctor Adventures

Loving the Alien

May 2003

Loving the Alien cover

(Features the Seventh Doctor and Ace after Heritage)

Author: Mike Tucker and Robert Perry

Editor: Justin Richards

Roots: The Quatermass Experiment (the British Rocket Group) Thomas Kneale is probably named after Nigel Kneale. Them! and They Came From Beyond Time! (giant ants). Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (the giant Ace). There are references to The Times, The Daily Mirror, Whitaker's Almanack, HMV, the Beatles, Bovril, Coca-Cola, Question Time, the Elephant Man, Vera Lynn, Humphrey Bogart, Agatha Christie, Flash Gordon, Johnny Morris, Alexander the Great, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, All Things Bright and Beautiful, For He's a Jolly Good Fellow, King Kong, and General Custer.

Goofs: How does time suddenly start to repair itself once Limb commits suicide? [The Doctor uses the dimensional stabilizer to repair the damage to the time lines].

Continuity: George Limb survived the journey through time at the end of Illegal Alien and found himself in London in 1954. He is unable to travel any further back than his point of departure in 1940, and he can't get further forward than 1962, which he has only managed to reach once. He doesn't understand how to operate the Cybermen's time machine and works on the principle of trial and error. Arriving in 1954, he accidentally activated the lode-circuit, which means that the time machine always brings him back to London 1954 after every journey. The Doctor explains that the Vortex is filled with alternate time lines, branching off from every point in space/time; more are created every time consciousness interacts with the physical world. Limb's interference with history upsets the balance, by creating whole new chains of actualities, and causing the Vortex to become overfilled; the realities become too dense and the walls between them start to break down. Limb has been interfering with history many times, in an attempt to avoid his own death; during his travels, he saves James Dean's life and takes him on as his assistant. He has met Winston Churchill. He has seen his own death many times, in many alternative time lines; he always either dies alone and in pain or falls prey to cyber technology. Finally convinced by the Doctor that he cannot evade death, he commits suicide. The Doctor buries him in Ace's grave.

In one of the alternate realities he creates, George Limb becomes Prime Minister. Cyber technology is exploited to augment the population, ending disease; members of the public recharge themselves via stations built into the walls of public buildings. The Prime Minister Limb in this alternative undergoes almost total cyber conversion, setting humanity along the same path as Mondas. The augmented gorilla controlled by the mainstream George Limb destroys this cybernetic George Limb. The augmented British of this reality invade the mainstream reality through a dimensional rift; Drakefell launches a flotilla of nuclear missiles through the rift, devastating the alternate Britain.

Following their discovery of a sewer full of dormant Cybermen at the end of Illegal Alien, McBride and Mullen dynamited the sewer, but it became obvious that when the sewers were rebuilt following the war the authorities discovered the Cybermen and began experimenting with their technology. They began an augmentation programme codenamed Operation Tinman after The Wizard of Oz. Based at London Zoo, they began experimenting on apes, turning them into crude cyborgs dependent on static electricity.

The Doctor briefly impersonates Dr. Dumont-Smith. He carries a scuffed leather bag of coins, which he gives to Ace (as in Remembrance of the Daleks). He plants a bug on Ace's jacket. He thinks he looks more respectable than he did in his Fourth and Sixth incarnations. He borrows a white linen shirt and a fawn sleeveless pullover with a faint band of pattern around it from Davey O'Brien. The Doctor drives a bubble car borrowed from Rita Hawks around London, and finds it to be a terrifying experience. Human chemical preparations rarely agree with him, and some are extremely dangerous to him (see The Mind of Evil). The Gallifreyan Labyrinth Game involves getting your opponents lost in a maze, and then controlling their movements from then on by getting them accustomed to making certain turns. The Doctor used to play it on Gallifrey, where at one time there were labyrinths on every street corner, even in the Panopticon. The Doctor says that dimension stabilizers were developed to repair damage to the time lines, not inflict it; he used to carry one in the TARDIS. The Doctor drinks alcohol, but claims it has no effect on him [unless he wants it to - see Slipback, Transit, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, The Year of Intelligent Tigers]. He has a hand-held device that can detect minute traces of Vasser dust. He carries a pair of opera glasses in his pocket.

Ace makes use of the TARDIS swimming pool, which reminds her of a council house bathroom [the Doctor has replaced it since Paradise Towers]. She and her friends once got thrown out of the Ship on Wardour Street for being underage. Ace has sex with James Dean, and gets a tattoo on her shoulder with ACE, JIMMY, LONDON 1959 written in ribbons over a heart. The Doctor discovers when he performs her autopsy that Dean got her pregnant. George Limb murders Ace by shooting her through the head. He dumps her into the Thames off Blackfriar's Bridge; her corpse is washed up at Wapping the next day, taken to a mortuary, and labeled Jane Doe. Limb kills Ace to attract the Doctor's attention and plants clues on the corpse, knowing that the Doctor will find it. He claims that he plans to go back and stop himself from killing Ace later on. The damage to the time lines caused by Limb causes an Ace from a divergent timeline (in which the dimensions are much larger) to appear in London. She gradually shrinks down to normal size. This alternate Ace is from a divergent timeline in which she never got a tattoo [it is implied that this timeline diverged from the main timeline shortly after she and the Doctor arrived in London in 1959. The Doctor claims that to all intents and purposes, she is the only Ace]. The divergent Ace differs slightly from the original Ace in that she dislikes peas and has trouble remembering her correct surname.

The Doctor tells Hark that Gallifrey is 29,000 light-years from Earth.

Vasser dust is a waste bi-product of time travel. It has telepathic qualities and resembles frost. The hull of the space ship from the parallel Earth is made of an intelligent metal that can adapt its physical and chemical properties to suit different situations.

The British Rocket Group is established by the 1950s (see Remembrance of the Daleks).

Links: Cody McBride, Inspector Mullen, George Limb, and the Cybermen left in the sewers of London, first appeared in Illegal Alien. The Doctor last walked down Whitechapel road during Matrix. The Doctor first exhumed Ace's corpse at the end of Prime Time. There are references to the events on Blini-Gaar with Vogel Lukos and Channel 400 (Prime Time), and Mel's death (Heritage). Mel left a menu from the Shangri La Holiday camp in her room when she left the TARDIS (Delta and the Bannermen). Ace pockets the red star that Sorin gave her in The Curse of Fenric, to avoid wearing a Russian Army badge in 1950s London. The Doctor wistfully recalls his sonic screwdriver (The Visitation). There are references to the Brigadier.

The Doctor tells McBride that he has destroyed planets (Remembrance of the Daleks). His first visit to the radiation scarred petrified forests of Skaro has followed him for the rest of his life (The Daleks). He grimly recalls that he was helpless to save the people of Mondas (Spare Parts).

The Doctor's 'There are realities out there where the skies are water, the trees are made of air and the people speak in rhyme, realities where' is a nod to the end of Survival.

Location: London and Winnerton, England, 1959; England in an alternate universe in which George Limb becomes Prime Minister, 1959.

Unrecorded Adventures: After leaving Heritage, the Doctor takes Ace to celebrate New Year at a dozen points in a dozen planets histories, to a royal wedding on a planet populated entirely by giant butterflies [Vortis?], and to the Moon to watch Neil Armstrong take his first steps (the Doctor whistling like a Clanger from behind a rock). They spent a week hiking through the mountains on the planet Kriss, their sherpas the gentlest, kindest, funniest aliens that Ace has ever met. They visited the Twelve Planet Fair, where the Doctor bought Ace candyfloss whilst he entered the juggling competition. They visited Live Aid, and finally Woodstock, where Ace had slipped away from the Doctor to spend the night in Canadian Hippy Gavins tent, causing the Doctor to realize how powerless he is to protect her. The Doctor also made a furtive trip to the British Library to confirm the date of her death.

The Doctor has met the Beatles. He once spent a summer in Louisiana, on a ranch that bred racehorses, where he met a little girl named Ellie Jane.

The Bottom Line: For the most part, this is one of Tucker and Perrys better novels; lively prose and a complex story makes for a enjoyable read with far less of the gratuitous continuity that marred Prime Time, and it nicely ties up loose ends from their previous Seventh Doctor and Ace novels. The return of George Limb is very welcome. Unfortunately, it is seriously compromised by the treatment of Ace; the resolution to the plot of Ace's death is an enormous cop-out, and as Simon Bucher-Jones has rather vociferously pointed out on various Internet forums, the Doctor's happy acceptance of an alternate Ace alarmingly cheapens the life of the original since he effectively replaces his dead best friend with a duplicate.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke

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