Timewyrm: Genesys

Roots: The Epic of Gilgamesh. Conan the Barbarian. Ace quotes the Duchess from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. She mentions Mickey Mouse, James Bond, John Steed (The Avengers), and Watership Down. The Doctor mentions CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale). One of the chapter titles is Band On the Run, after the Paul McCartney and Wings album.

There are references to Hegel, Wagner's Ring cycle, Sigourney Weaver's performance in Aliens, Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby, Spider-Man ("with great power comes great responsibility"), and "Waiting for the Robert E. Lee". Ace's old friend Manisha was first mentioned in Ben Aaronovitch's novelisation of Remembrance of the Daleks.

Goofs: In the prologue, Ishtar's navigator tells her that only the third planet of our solar system is capable of supporting humanoid life. However, the fourth planet is equally capable of doing so - because that's where the Ice Warriors come from. Since I wrote that, Alden Bates has pointed out that the Ice Warriors technically aren't humanoid. However, the point still stands, as humans are capable of surviving on Mars in The Dying Days.

The fourth Doctor's costume in the recording is that introduced during Season 18, yet the recording was made between scenes of The Invasion of Time - which was a season 15 story.

Ace feels like she's been kicked by a bad-tempered Cyberman several paragraphs before getting her memories back. So how does she remember who the Cybermen are?

The Doctor comments that if experiments in civilisation in Mesopotamia had failed, then the human race would have remained in savagery for thousands more years. However there were contemporary civilisations in Egypt, the Indus valley, and China - all of which were independent of each other.

Ace sings for the crowd, and thinks about playing the piano, yet in The Happiness Patrol, she claimed that she couldn't sing, dance, or play a musical instrument.

On page 57, Ace changes into local clothes as a disguise, yet on page 90 she's described as looking outlandish in her jeans and jacket.

Ace remembers events in Paradise Towers - even though she wasn't there during that story. This is later explained in Timewyrm: Revelation as a memory of Mel's that was accidentally given to Ace when her memories were restored.

Shouldn't the cobalt bomb be deactivated by the TARDIS's temporal grace circuits?

The Doctor claims that the Cloister Bell hasn't sounded since Logopolis, so he's forgotten Enlightenment. He also claims that it is impossible for the Brigadier to have sent a "cosmic distress signal", despite the fact that he did so at the end of Revenge of the Cybermen.

Dialogue Disasters: Lots of "O man"s and other cod-period dialogue.

'Maybe I should reverse the polarity of the neuron flow?'

Dialogue Triumphs: Gilgamesh to his personal god: 'Lugulbanda, this would be a pretty good time to get off your backside and do something for a change.'

The Doctor: 'You don't expect a couple of deities to carry money, do you? We've got better things to do with our time.'

The Doctor: 'It's mostly a whiff I get. Evil, pure evil. When you've been after it as long as I have, it starts to feel like a bad stench in the air. And this city is filled with it.'

The Doctor: 'I never make stupid mistakes. Only very, very clever ones.'

Gilgamesh tells Ace, 'I've bedded better-looking wenches than you.'

The Doctor: 'I've been to times and places in which Gilgamesh would look like a veritable angel. And others where he would be flayed alive for behaviour like that. It's not just the TARDIS that has relative dimensions, Ace, but the societies that we visit, too.'

Dumozi to the Doctor: 'Your words are devoid of meaning.'

The Doctor: 'With a little luck, and a lot of brilliance. Both my specialities, I might add.'
Ace: 'Good job it's not modesty that's called for, then. Or we'd really be up the creek.'

Gilgamesh to En-Gula (a native of Kish): 'No offence, but Kish is a cesspit under the gaze of the gods. Fit only to be pissed on or burned down.'

Continuity: The Matrix on Gallifrey has a safeguard that any piece of information you accidentally stumble across whilst in there is wiped from your mind. Time Lords tend to clear out their minds every few thousand years. TARDISes can store the more important information, but the rest just disappears. Some of the programs on the TARDIS console appear on screen in ancient High Gallifreyan, in which the Doctor claims that all the best computer programs are in ancient High Gallifreyan. The TARDIS has a selection of Mesopotamian clothing from this period. Ace's bedroom in the TARDIS contains a large bed with a brass frame, a small cabinet supporting a Tiffany-style table lamp, a chair, a mirror on a stand, a small dresser, and a small table.

The Doctor uses the TARDIS' telepathic circuits to erase some of his useless memories and accidentally sets the field too high, erasing Ace's memories as a result. He manages to retrieve them from the telepathic circuits and restores them. The Doctor can see perfectly well in the dark. He can call on his previous incarnations using the TARDIS telepathic circuits - with effort, temporarily overlaying their personality and abilities on top of his current one (in this case, he uses his Third incarnation to defuse Qataka's cobalt bomb.) This means that Time Lords develop new personalities, skills and methods when they regenerate. He plays along with Gilgamesh's initial assumption that he is Ea, the God of Wisdom. Ace is similarly mistaken for Aya, Goddess of the Dawn. He uses his respiratory bypass system (Pyramids of Mars)to avoid being overcome by ether. He collects a large torch from the TARDIS. He removes the time path indicator from the TARDIS in order to detect any disturbances in the Vortex (The Chase, The Daleks' Master Plan).

Ace dons a cloak and a winding cloth to cover her hair whilst in Kish. She later dresses in jeans and a sari for Gilgamesh's feast in Uruk. She insists that she is old enough to drink alcohol, but dislikes Mesopotamian beer. She drinks a type of fruit juice whilst visiting Utnapishtim. Some of Ace's mum's boyfriends had tried to curry favour with her by taking care of Ace. They bought her fish and chips before taking her to a pub while they drunk beer with their mates, giving Ace some fizzy drink. She spent the time playing darts, and stealing odd mouthfuls of beer. As a result, she dislikes beer-drinking drunks. One of the boyfriends was an Irishman who taught Ace the song The Wild Rover; a bus ran over him whilst he was blind drunk. Ace cried at the news of his death. She considers her singing voice to be one of her real assets [but see Goofs. Qataka implants a probe in Ace's temple, but it only causes tissue damage.

Qataka is from Anu. She used cybernetics to rebuild herself in order to avoid death, of which she had a morbid fear. She connected her brain to a computer mainframe to preserve her mind, and periodically replaced her organic components with the blood and brain tissue of others. She was eventually sentenced to death and executed, but her mind survived due to the computer back up, and built a new, artificial, body for itself. In her new robotic form, she has platinum allow skin and can change shape at will. She left her planet in ruins when she fled by detonating a cobalt bomb. She first appears to Gilgamesh as a smooth, featureless humanoid with burning golden eyes, but later adopts a form more akin to that of a human woman. Her favoured shape has the arms and torso of a woman, but the lower body of a serpent. Despite being robotic, she still seemingly uses the blood and brains of humans as food. She uses cybernetic implants inserted in the skull to telepathically control her slaves and can override the circuitry of robots and other computerized machines. On crash-landing in Mesopotamia she poses as the goddess Ishtar. Whilst in Kish, she cybernetically links herself to a thermo-nuclear device as an insurance policy should anything happen to her. She has heard of the Time Lords and Gallifrey. Trying to trap her mind in the TARDIS telepathic circuits, the Doctor accidentally downloads her into the console. He tricks her into entering the life support circuitry in the secondary control room (The Masque of Mandragora) and jettisons those circuits into the Vortex (see Logopolis). In the Vortex, she merges with the bits of TARDIS and Utnapishtim's computer virus and is named the Timewyrm by the Chronovores (The Time Monster). Because the Timewyrm is created by the Vortex, she can roam anywhere in time and space and is virtually all-powerful. She is no longer tied to normal dimensions and can changes mass and state at will, and can occupy any mind in any epoch. The Matrix on Gallifrey contains legends of the Timewyrm. Because she contains bits of the TARDIS and because the Doctor puts one of her probes in the telepathic circuits, he can follow her wherever she goes.

Anu is "many light years" away from Earth. The inhabitants of Anu are humanoid, but taller than average humans and with white hair, and have life spans lasting thousands of years. They have the technology to re-grow lost limbs, but not brain tissue. Utnapishtim's Guardian robots, which inspired the Scorpion Men of the Epic of Gilgamesh, are eight foot tall, with long metal legs and squat bodies. They have no necks, and long jointed arms ending in claws fitted with needle pointed guns. Their eyes resemble camera lenses, with a small grating underneath and mandible-like antennae protruding from the lower parts of their faces.

Enkidu is a Neanderthal, meaning that their species survived until at least 2700 BC.

Links: During his fourth incarnation, the Doctor left a temporal projection of himself wired into the telepathic circuits to warn his future self about the Timewyrm. This was during The Invasion of Time. The message also mentions Leela. and Sontarans Ace mentions Cybermen (Silver Nemesis), and her recovered memories include Dragonfire, The Greatest Show in the Galaxy, Battlefield, The Curse of Fenric, Survival. Ace and the Doctor last met a Neanderthal in Ghost Light. She also recalls Manisha. Companion images the TARDIS uses to warn the Doctor of danger are the Brigadier, Victoria, Jamie, and Katarina. The Doctor recalls the last time he used the Time Path Indicator - which was The Daleks' Masterplan. He also recalls techniques taught to him by K'Anpo (Planet of the Spiders), and the deaths of Katarina, Sara Kingdom (The Daleks' Masterplan) and Adric (Earthshock). When the third Doctor is in control, he mentions Liz, Jo, Sarah, the Brigadier, and Sergeant Benton. The Doctor recalls the lesson that Harry Houdini taught him about compressing his foot to get it through a narrow gap (Planet of the Spiders). The cloister bells last sounded during Logopolis. The Doctor mentions once meeting a Chronovore (The Time Monster). [Obviously he's not got much memory of The Quantum Archangel - maybe it was one of the memories he edited out.] We see the Secondary control room (from Season 14). The Doctor tries to destroy the Timewyrm using time ram ('The Time Monster') and mentions Dodo.

Location: Uruk and Kish, Mesopotamia, c2700BC; the TARDIS, the Time Vortex; and London, 1951 in an alternate timeline.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor strikes a posture that Jack Dempsey once showed him. He comments that he's been to times and places where Gilgamesh would have looked like a veritable angel, and ones where Gilgamesh would have been flayed alive for his behaviour. The Doctor recalls having taken tea with Leela and her husband (Andred) - presumably in his fourth incarnation at the end of The Invasion of Time. He was taught something about compressing his foot to get it through a narrow gap by Harry Houdini.

The Bottom Line (prosecution): The very first New Adventure, and the first in a series of ongoing full-length novels that is still going (albeit with a different publisher) at the time of writing, is in retrospect little more than a glorified Target novelisation. The abundant references to adolescent prostitution and nudity appear to be present solely to meet the remit of "Too broad and too deep for the small screen" and there are lashings of gratuitous fanwank. Despite this, it remains rather entertaining, and Peel's supporting characters are memorably well rounded. The Timewyrm makes an immediate and lasting impression as a truly nasty villain.

The Bottom Line (Defence): It's not just the TARDIS that has relative dimensions, Ace, but the societies that we visit too.' The first in a series of adventures that are too broad and deep for the small screen. Timewyrm: Genesys fits the bill perfectly. It is a compelling read, with great plot and characterisation, and it depicts the differences between our society and that of 2700 BC very well. A great start to a great series.

Discontinuity Guide by Stephen Gray and Paul Clarke

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