The Sands of Time

Roots: Mummy films, particularly those by Universal and Hammer Bram Stoker's The Jewel of the Seven Stars, The Awakening, and Blood from the Mummy's Tomb. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.

Goofs: There are many examples of causal loops - a temporal paradox caused by someone travelling back in time and doing things that will cause them to travel back in time to do those things.

Miss Warne, head of Lord Kenilworth's domestic staff, would have been referred to as Mrs Warne because of her position, regardless of her marital status.

Atkins claims that ancient Egypt changed more rapidly than anyone thought possible - referring to a 200 year shift from villages with chieftains to countries with kings, which is hardly the most dramatic social change in history.

Technobabble: Relative Dimensional Stabiliser. Induced metabolic coma. Temporal prestidigitation.

Dialogue Triumphs: Tegan: 'Great. So what do we do now?'
The Doctor: 'We think.'
Tegan: 'Think?'
The Doctor: 'Yes, Tegan, think. It can be really quite useful - you should try it occasionally.'

The Doctor: 'The trouble with being a Time Lord is that you never seem to have the time.'

Kamose: 'It was an American from Oregon. I do not know whether they can be trusted any more or less than other Americans.'

Continuity: Tegan once almost drowned whilst swimming near a coral reef. Her father is dead.

Osiran service robots are immune to shotguns, but can be destroyed with dynamite. They have little pyramids on their backs to focus the energy they need. Osirans can make use of time spillage to travel in time. However, this ages them the same amount that they travel through time. They also live for millions of years. Their power is based on psi-powers an mathematical exactness. Their homeworld is Phæster Osiris. Some of their technology depends on magnetic monopoles, which only work outside the influence of a bipolar magnetic field. The only such place in the Solar System is Mars. (This is also shown in Godengine).

Links: Tegan says that her sense of adventure died somewhere in Amsterdam (Arc of Infinity), and she is still wearing the same clothes she wore there. The Doctor mentions Blinovitch (his limitation effect was first mentioned in Day of the Daleks). There are many references to Sutekh and the Osirans from Pyramids of Mars. The Doctor mentions Scaroth (City of Death) and the Zero Room (Castrovalva).

Location: Egypt in c.5000 BC, c.2000 BC, hundreds of years after 2000 BC, and September 1896. Cranleigh Hall, Oxfordshire, 1926. Kenilworth Hall, 1926, 1965. London 1880, 9th-10th November 1896, 1975, 1996. The Great Pyramid, 1798. St Helena, 1821.

The Bottom Line: 'Her destiny is already charted.' The Sands of Time is a truly amazing book. Although the prose is fairly pedestrian, the plot and characters are very good. The Doctor and Tegan dealing with knowing their own future, Tegan coping with Nyssa's apparent death, the various plot twists, and the character of Atkins make the whole thing excellent. This is how stories about time travel should be.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke

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