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Roots: There are references to H.G. Wells, Mark Twain, Stanley Kubrick's Paths of Glory, Alan Garner's The Stone Book, Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes, Little Star, Stockhausen, The Beatles, Rogers and Hammerstein, James Dean, Cliff Richard, and the teachings of Lau Tzu. Although not actually in the book, Alexander the Great, Aristotle and Queen Olympia feature heavily throughout the novel.

Continuity: The Game of Me is owned by Susan and plugs into the TARDIS console. Its objectives are different each time its is played on this occasion, it creates a reality in which different iterations of the players live out their lives trapped within a TARDIS outside which the universe has ceased to exist. Once the Game has begun, the players memories of the Game vanish, leaving them to solve their predicament. In this Game, the players discover the ten things that define a person according to Aristotle, which are substance, quality, quantity, place, time relation, condition, state, action, and passivity. The first player to discover all of these things wins the game and becomes God. In order to learn these things, the players subjectively live out decades trapped within the TARDIS, living multiple lives and being reborn after death.

Since they are apparently on their way Pella in 334BC to meet Alexander the Great when the begin playing the Game, it begins with the players remembering Macedonia, and remembering spending five years there during which Ian was a solider in Alexander's army and was responsible for the deaths of thousands, and in which Susan became pregnant with Alexander's baby. In Barbara's memory of these events, Ian died beneath the wheels of a chariot; in his memories, Barbara died of radiation poisoning after leaving Skaro, since the Thal drugs didn't work on humans. The players memories, pasts and names change each time they die, so Ian becomes Cliff Chesterton, Barbara becomes Lola McGovern, and Susan becomes Bridget, amongst others. Ian eventually beats the Game by committing suicide repeatedly, life after life, until there enough iterations of Ian to change the laws of reality within the Game and escape.

Other iterations of the Doctor and his companions include Mandy, Janet, and Dr Who and his grandchildren John and Gillian from the TV21 Comic strip.

Links: During the multiple realities of the Game, Ian and Barbara's memories of their travels in the TARDIS change, and include references to various unmade stories and short stories from the first World Distributors Dr Who Annual. In the first iteration of Ian that we see, he met Susan English and her Grandfather on Barnes Common (see Doctor Who In An Exciting Adventure With the Daleks, the novelisation of The Daleks. The spelling Tardis, also from that novelisation, is frequently used), after which the TARDIS tried to warn them of impending collision with a star (The Edge of Destruction). He also remembers the events of Marco Polo, The Aztecs, The Sensorites, and The Reign of Terror.

The first iteration of Barbara recalls the events of An Unearthly Child, but then travelled to Luxor (Anthony Coburn's unmade story The Masters of Luxor). In her version of events, the TARDIS crew also visited the planet Ix, where they encountered giant jellyfish (?????). A later iteration of Barbara recalls Mechanistra and Kandalinga, from the Dr Who Annual stories Peril in Mechanistra and The Fishmen of Kandalinga. Later, either Ian or Barbara [it's a little unclear] remembers the Zarbi Supremo (The Lair of the Zarbi Supremo), the Yend (The Sons of the Crab), and the Sensorites' giant spiders (The Monsters From Earth), all from the same annual. Cliff, Lola and Bridget are all from early Doctor Who script The Giants by C.E. Webber. Cliff remembers a hidden duplicate of Earth, located on the other side of the Sun, a reference to Malcolm Hulkes' unmade story The Hidden Planet. Dr Who, John and Gillian appear in a four-page comic strip in the style of the TV21 Comic strip they hail from.

During a conversation with Barbara, the Doctor discusses his family. They quote the Second Doctor and Victoria's conversation from Tomb of the Cybermen verbatim. Ian uses the TARDIS wall crank to open the doors, as seen in Death to the Daleks.

Location: The TARDIS.

The Bottom Line: Absolutely stunning novel, which smashes all boundaries and stretches the format of Doctor Who as no other novel ever, has. Ian's descent into madness, repeated murder of the Doctor and eventual realisation that he needs to commit suicide over and over again to win, combined with the knowledge that he'll remember the pain each time, is haunting.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke
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