The Discontinuity Guide
The Telos Novellas

Ghost Ship

August 2002

(Features the Fourth Doctor soon after The Deadly Assassin)

Author: Keith Topping

Editor: David J Howe

Roots: Hugh Lamb's introduction features an overview of Ghost Ship stories in print, including Heinrich Heine's The Memoirs of Herr Von Schnabelewopski, Wagner's The Flying Dutchman, Frederick Marryat's The Phantom Ship, William Clark Russell's The Death Ship, Tom Holt's Flying Dutch, Poe's MS Found in a Bottle, Frank Norris's The Ship That Saw a Ghost, Oliver Onion's Phantas, Daphne Du Maurier's Escort, F. Marion Crawford's The Upper Berth, William Hope Hodgson's The Ghost Pirates and The Haunted Jarvee. He also discusses Ghost Ship films, including The Phantom Ship, The Ghost Ship, Ghost Ship of the Blind Dead, The Fog, Death Ship, Shock Waves, and Lost Voyage. There are also references to Alien and Event Horizon.

There are numerous literary quotations, which open each chapter, and are taken from Hamlet, Percy Shelley's Adonais, Byron's Manfred, Yeats' All Souls Night, Blake's A Memorable Fancy, Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Tennyson's The Lady of Shalott, Baudelaire's Le Voyage, Marlowe's Doctor Faustus, and John Webster's The White Devil. There are references to Hugh Leonard, the Levellers, New Model Army, George Orwell, Ferdinand Magellan, WH Smith, the Titanic, the Lusitania, Algernon Blackwood, M. R. James, Shakespeare, Marlowe, John Donne, the Bible, Galileo, Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart, Wordsworth, the Mona Lisa, Einstein, Oppenheimer, Kelvin, Fracastoro, Le Roi Soleil Louis XIV, Goebbels, Bertrand Russell, Kenneth Clark, and the Marquis de Pompadour. The Doctor briefly sees a vision of rivers of blood filling the ships corridors, which is reminiscent of Stanley Kubrick's The Shining. Osbourne's "I didn't get where I am today" rant might be a nod to The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin.

Dialogue Triumphs: Unbridled curiosity is as dangerous a driving force as ambition or greed or lust.

Continuity: The Doctor carries a penlight torch in his pocket. Simpkins mistakenly assumes him to be Doctor Svengali, Master of Mesmerism, Prestidigitation, Chicanery and Sleight-of-hand.

There is an old Time Lord myth about a surfeit of time travel causing a mental illness similar to delusionary schizophrenia.

Links: The Doctor is travelling alone following the events of The Deadly Assassin. There are references to Daleks and Cybermen. The Doctor recalls Skaro (Genesis of the Daleks). The Doctor uses the TARDIS's Fast Return Switch (Inside the Spaceship). Auderley House is mentioned (Day of the Daleks). The Doctor notes that he has met Byron (Managra).

Location: The Queen Mary, sailing from Southampton to New York City, October 1963.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor spent many long and pleasant winter evenings with Henry Purcell, drinking wine from his cellar. He once fought the Knights Templar in 14th Century France, where he was affected by a narcotic dye in the drapery of a church. He has visited the Cave of Horrors on Cassuragi III, where he encountered the pulse spirits, and haunted castles on the planet Kambalana.

The Doctor once went swimming in the Seine on a hot Parisian summer night with Baudelaire, Manet and Delacroix. He once had a lengthy discussion with a Roman centurion at a settlement near Condercum about the morality of the ethnic genocide of the barbarian Caledonians.

The Bottom Line: During the publication of the New Adventures, Virgin had a policy of not letting authors write from the Doctor's point of view, and this illustrates why not: the first person narrative merely makes the poor characterisation of the Doctor painfully apparent. The actual plot is fairly atmospheric, but Topping's insistence on scattering references to pop music throughout his work is as distracting and irritating as ever.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke


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