The Discontinuity Guide
Short Stories

Short Trips: The Muses

cover
Editor: Jacqueline Raynor

TERPSICHORE The Muse of Dance:
Teach Yourself Ballroom Dancing
THALIA The Muse of Comedy:
The Brain of Socrates
MELPOMENE The Muse of Tragedy:
Mordieu
EUTERPE The Muse of Music:
An Overture Too Early
POLYHYMNIA The Muse of Sacred Poetry:
Hymn of the City
ERATO The Muse of Love Poetry and Mimicry:
Confabula
URANIA The Muse of Astronomy:
The Astronomer's Apprentice
CALLIOPE The Muse of Epic Poetry and Rhetoric:
Katarina in the Underworld
CLIO The Muse of History:
The Glass Princess

TERPSICHORE The Muse of Dance:
Teach Yourself Ballroom Dancing

Features the Sixth Doctor, presumably at some point between Killing Ground and Business Unusual

Author: Robert Shearman

Roots: There is a reference to Marks & Spencers.

Dialogue Triumphs: 'I've been everywhere and done everything. I've fought battles you wouldn't believe. I've explored planets further away than human thought. I've done it all. I've no travelling companions any longer. No soldier friends to help me. They've all gone now I'm lonely.'

Continuity: The Doctor persuades ballet teacher Becky to teach him how to ballroom dance; he learns the Waltz and the Foxtrot. He deliberately causes a paradox and attempts to change her history by going back in time to when she was a teenager and teaching her to ballroom dance so that she can do so professionally. It doesn't work, since what she really wanted to be was a ballet dancer. He tells Becky his real name, which is apparently rather embarrassing, and explains that he usually claims that it is too long or unpronounceable.

The Doctor visits the younger Becky whilst in the 1970s repelling a new Auton invasion with a paramilitary unit. He doesnt contact UNIT because he knows that one of his earlier incarnations is currently engaged in helping them to defeat an entirely different alien invasion. The Nestene Consciousness again uses Autons disguised as shop window dummies.

Location: England, c2000, the early nineteen seventies, and the early twenty-first century.

Links: Spearhead From Space.

The Bottom Line: A rather sweet opening to the collection, even if it is rather difficult to accept the Doctor's casual tinkering with Becky's timeline.

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THALIA The Muse of Comedy:
The Brain of Socrates

Features the Fourth Doctor and Leela

Author: Gareth Roberts

Roots: There are references to Artemis, Bisto, and Homer.

Dialogue Triumphs: 'All cultures look odd from the outside. I seem to recall your shaman wearing a plastic glove on his head.'

Continuity: The Jezark race hails from the planet Jezark, an advanced industrial society. The air on Earth is breathable for them, but a little thinner than they are used to. They are vaguely humanoid, but with leathery green skin, three arms, and three glowing red eyes. Their teeth are located in the middle of their chest. Their spaceships use hyper-Zison drives, which destroy the landing grounding when activated.

The Doctor is trying to help Leela to develop a sense of humour. He likes kebabs. He has accumulated numerous unpaid credit card bills in the name of Dr. John Smith. He has never visited Athens before. He carries a sub-plasmic beam tracer. He and Leela meet Euripides, Socrates, Aristophanes and Plato. He has heard of the Jezark race, but has never seen or encountered one before. He reprograms Grimmon's drive using matrix formulae, bypassing the Zison effect, and allowing him to leave safely without destroying Athens.

Leela dons a light linen tunic and sandals for her trip to Athens. She is forced to pose as the Doctor's Spartan wife whilst a guest of Anaximander.

Links: There are references to Xoanon and the Tesh (The Face of Evil).

Location: Athens

The Bottom Line: A welcome return for Roberts, who once more captures the Fourth Doctor perfectly and exploits his relationship with Leela beautifully.

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MELPOMENE The Muse of Tragedy:
Mordieu

Features the Eighth Doctor

Author: Tara Samms

Roots: Various Stigmata legends. There are references to Bugosi Playhouse, Playboy, Oscar Wilde's Ballad of Reading Gaol and The Picture of Dorian Grey, Suspense Theater, the Emmys, Outer Regions, the LA Times.

Continuity: The Doctor uses the alias John. He eats onion soup.

No explanation is given for the outbreak of stigmata; the Doctor hypothesizes that it is caused by an alien trapped in a local church, but is purely guessing and there is nothing to support this.

Links: One of the Doctor's stories concerns a drilling project that cracks the Earths crust and releases a gas that drives people insane (Inferno). Another concerns the end of the world beginning in San Francisco (Doctor Who).

Location: Los Angeles [the 1960s].

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor is alone and is working as a freelance writer, probably setting this story during the Caught on Earth arc. The Doctor has written for Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse and U.S. Steel Hour and was on the staff of Alfred Hitchcock Presents for a while.

The Bottom Line: Like most of Samms' short stories, this is grim and uncompromising, with great characterisation. The lack of resolution however is rather irritating.

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EUTERPE The Muse of Music:
An Overture Too Early

Features the Third Doctor, Sarah Jane Smith, The Brigadier, and Sergeant Benton

Author: Simon Guerrier

Continuity: Sarah drives an MG.

Isaac travels with the Doctor at some point in the future, eventually staying on Earth in the 1950s apparently because he falls in love. He is a Russian composer, but his final piece is copied from another, undisclosed source which may be alien in origin. A future incarnation of the Doctor requests that a D-notice be placed on the news of Isaac's death.

The mysterious men who kill Isaac and steal all the copies of the sheet music are tall and grey. They dress in suits and top hats, one with a black rose in his buttonhole, the other with a white tulip. They enter UNIT HQ via a wormhole. The Doctor is prevented from investigating further by a man in a bowler hat and pinstripe suit [possibly the Time Lord from Terror of the Autons].

Links: There is a reference to Jo's marriage to Professor Jones (The Green Death). The Master and the Daleks are mentioned.

Location: London, England, [late 1972 or early 1973]; UNIT HQ summer 1973.

The Bottom Line: 'It'll drive me mad not knowing.' An obtuse and thoroughly annoying story that promises much but delivers little save a mystery that is set up but is unlikely to be resolved any time soon.

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POLYHYMNIA The Muse of Sacred Poetry:
Hymn of the City

Features the Seventh Doctor and Ace

Author: Sarah Groenewegen

Roots: There are references to the Sunday Sun and Star Wars (Not the Force?).

Continuity: The hymnal skein is a force that holds all life together. Immortal guardians, including Li Chen Mei, protect it.

The Doctor uses the alias Dr. John Smith again. Ace still carries nitro-9.

Location: Sydney, Australia, Sunday 31st May 1942.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor has met Mei before.

The Bottom Line: Competent, but forgettable. Despite Groenewegen's attempt to create a vaguely epic feel, neither the plot nor the characters are especially interesting.

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ERATO The Muse of Love Poetry and Mimicry:
Confabula

Features the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa between Time Flight and Arc of Infinity

Author: Ian Potter

Roots: The story opens with a quotation from As You Like It. There are references to the Flying Scotsman, the Flying Dutchman and Louis Quinze.

Dialogue Triumphs: The Doctor found himself simultaneously repulsed by the image and reminded of Milton Keynes.

Continuity: Maya is a Psionosphere. They are planetary computers created by a race called the Makers to bring people together in consensual artificial realities in which their minds can interconnect. The Makers have long since abandoned Maya, possibly as the result of a war. She has gone mad over the intervening years. She manifests herself as a humanoid image in order to talk to the Doctor. She can read the surface of the Doctor's mind despite his best efforts to resist. The Doctor tells Nyssa that he gave Maya the illusion of permanently keeping him prisoner so that she wont be lonely, but she believes that she has given him the illusion of escaping instead, which would of course mean that all subsequent Doctor Who stories are merely a fantasy experienced by the imprisoned Doctor.

The Doctor mapped loves chromosomal origins as a young Time Lord.

Maya's home planet has a pink and grey sky.

Links: There is a reference to Borusa (The Deadly Assasin, The Invasion of Time, Arc of Infinity, The Five Doctors).

Location: An unnamed planet, date unknown.

The Bottom Line: Whilst nowhere near as funny as Potters previous Apocrypha Bipedium (Short Trips: Companions), this is still a highly intelligent and witty story. The ending, which throws canon into doubt from here on, has been done before in Gareth Roberts' The Well-Mannered War but is still an amusingly cheeky twist.

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URANIA The Muse of Astronomy:
The Astronomer's Apprentice

Features the Second Doctor, Jamie and Victoria

Author: Simon A. Forward

Roots: There are references to Alice in Wonderland, the Flying Scotsman, Three Blind Mice.

Continuity: The Melkur seen here is a massive monster that seems to have been dragon-like in appearance. The current Keeper of Traken is a young man, tall, dark and handsome. According to legend, the Union was founded when a Prince and a Princess battled a fire-breathing demon and buried him at the heart of a world called Araken, a lost world that good people cannot see and where evil is channeled away.

The Keeper of Traken gives Victoria a portion of the Source, which becomes an entity in its own right after Victoria stays on Earth after leaving the Doctor. The entity is Mimsy Borogoves; she can create other beings from her imagination, including Neverglade, an alien astrologer with whom she travels. The interaction of her Source-derived abilities and the actual Source on Traken, causes her to accidentally create dangerous illusions, reanimate a Melkur, and make the Trakenites behave unusually, including the Keeper.

Links: The Keeper of Traken. There are references to Victoria staying on Earth with the Harrises (Fury From the Deep).

Location: Traken, centuries before 1980.

The Bottom Line: A lyrical fairytale that makes good use of Traken and has a rather touching twist at the end. Forward's gift for characterisation continues to shine.

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CALLIOPE The Muse of Epic Poetry and Rhetoric:
Katarina in the Underworld

Features Katarina during The Daleks' Masterplan

Author: Steve Lyons

Roots: Greek mythology.

Continuity: It isn't explained precisely what is going on; either the events here are a hallucination suffered by Katarina in the last moments of her life, or else the afterlife of Greek mythology actually exists. If the latter is true, and this story is to be taken literally, it is possible that the realm seen here is a domain of Null-Space (The Ghosts of N-Space), which would explain the emphasis placed on the power of Katarina's belief [it is also possible, if this is the case, that the Greek Gods seen here are the trans-dimensional beings of Deadly Reunion, although their characterisation isnt entirely consistent with that novel.

Links: The Daleks' Master Plan. There are also references to The Myth Makers.

Location: The Greek Underworld!

The Bottom Line: 'Without your example, I would have remained lost forever. You were my inspiration!' A touching tale that makes use of Katarina in the only way possible and explores the faith in the Doctor that she exhibited in her brief time with him despite not understanding what was happening around her.

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CLIO The Muse of History:
The Glass Princess

Features the first eight Doctors

Author: Justin Richards

Roots: Sleeping Beauty.

Dialogue Triumphs: 'You have to live life to the fullest you can, not just sit back and let it all go by. You need to be out there doing it, not stuck indoors, watching it.'

Continuity: The Doctor visits Clio in each of his incarnations, each time without companions. He brings a gift from each Doctor, the Third Doctor bringing presents from his preceding incarnations in order to catch up. From the First Doctor Clio receives a broach, from the Second a recorder, from the Third an empty box containing hope, from the Fourth a bag of jelly babies, from the Fifth the piece of celery from his lapel, from the Sixth a cloth cat, and from the Seventh a Blue Peter badge (courtesy of Ace). The Eighth Doctor finally releases her permanently from sleep after her family has all died, keeping her happy as she enjoys the fresh air one last time before she ages to death before him.

Dolmara is a neighbouring planet, ruled by Clio's father's cousin Malvek.

Senexium Pulverate causes rapid aging. The First Doctor builds a special bed for Clio that slows the effects of the poison whilst allowing her body to age the normal rate, but which keeps her in a coma save for single days at different points in her life. The bed utilizes a stasis generator, but uses power at an exponential rate.

Links: The Fifth Doctor tells Clio that the celery he gives her doesn't really exist (Castrovalva, Enlightenment).

Location: An unnamed planet, date unknown.

Future History: The planet and Dolmara are probably Earth colonies. Following the attempt on Clio's life, a war breaks out, which her family eventually loses.

The Bottom Line: A moving and melancholy tale that is a perfect example of how to make use of multiple Doctors without recourse to fanwank. The story is told through Clio's eyes, which makes her blissful innocence of her fate all the more tragic.

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Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke

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