Cat's Cradle: Time's Crucible

Roots: The Ancient Gallifrey sections are inspired by the Roman Empire and Greek and Norse legends. Surrealist paintings. Alice in Wonderland, Alice Through the Looking Glass, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. A Christmas Carol. Dante's Inferno.

Goofs: If Gallifrey has an interstellar empire, how does the failure of a harvest cause discontent? The chances of a planet-wide crop failure are pretty slim, and even if it happened, surely food could be shipped in from elsewhere, or – given the apparent level of technology - created artificially.

The Doctor refers to Blinovictual's theory when he means the [Mawdryn Undead version of] the Blinovitch Limitation Effect.

Technobabble: Tachyon infiltrator, dimensional template.

Dialogue Disasters: Laws were made to be broken. How else did he gain his reputation as an innovator?

Ace: 'Go stick your head in a breezeblock sandwich.'

Ace: 'Come on, Professor. You're needed.'
The Doctor: 'Kneaded? What do you take me for? A loaf of bread?'

Ace: 'Doctor Wilby?'
The Doctor: 'Will be the Doctor!'

Dialogue Triumphs: The Doctor: 'I'm not sure I've ever been normal before.'

The Doctor: 'I wish you'd make up your mind.'
Ace: 'I wish you'd find yours.'

'The Ancients have much to teach, but one should not dwell amongst them forever.'

'Loads of Times was a very disturbing anachronistic concept.'

Vael: 'Impossible.'
The Doctor: 'Only if you know it's impossible.'

She knew he was not to be trusted. He had stolen her steel comb.

The Process: 'The Future, where is it?
The Doctor: 'Coming soon.'

The Doctor: 'Time is so cruel. It's the worst monster of all. It has the most tricks and it always wins in the end.'

Continuity: Ancient Gallifrey had an empire. On the frontier, Young Heroes hunt the lacustrine Sattisar and battle with the Gryffnae, whose stone heads are encrusted with jewels. There is also a century-long siege of the Winter Star and a plague of batworms on the asteroid archipelago. The Academia is ruled over by the Court of Principals. Their gods are called the Menti Celesti. Ancient Gallifreyans are highly telepathic. Only a few select Individuals are able to shield their thoughts from others. Their telepathy can be used to power time travel. The games used white sand imported from Mirphak 2 because it showed up better.

The Pythias were (female) seers who ruled Gallifrey before Rassilon. They fed on a diet of fish tongues, and used amulets. Their relics include the epiphany scrolls of Soneuramos (including the reliquary of accession) which was entrusted to the 217th Pythia in the sacred firelake of Rag-Fraish, a jewelled periapt with a tongue of blue ice given to the 389th Pythia by the legendary hero Ao, the invisible armour of Troppolsabler, the holy icons of the Bright Past, and the Great Book of Future Legends.

Gallifrey's copper-coloured moon is called Pazithi Gallifreya. Visiting Gallifreyan history is strictly forbidden. Cardinal Borusa wrote Rassilon the God.

The TARDIS compensates for jet lag and has a galley (as well as the food machine). In a crisis, it can summon the Doctor and Ace back by using illusions, and it can electrify the console. It contains an overgrown courtyard with crumbling stone arches that make you think you're in the open air, a room of tissue-thin circuitry screens like webs of white lace, and a gentleman's changing room full of neglected cricket bats and cracked red leather cricket balls [used by the fifth Doctor]. The TARDIS library contains a signed copy of Geoffrey Chaucer's The Doctour of Science's Tale, 1388. This is next to Baedecker's Galactic Guide, Volume XXVII, Bajazet Magna to Bali, and a stack of 45 singles and EPs by Billy Fury, Adam Faith, and the Beatles. Elsewhere, there is an overhead trapdoor with a steel ladder which the Doctor refuses to tell Ace about, and a corridor lined with oil paintings. No-one has seen the multi-dimensional plans since it was in neural construction dock back on Gallifrey. The Banshee Circuits kick in when all other TARDIS systems fail. They lock onto whatever resources are available in a last ditch attempt to survive. The TARDIS is able to contain the energies released by the Blinovitch Limitation Effect. It contains a pair of opera glasses marked PROPRIETA DI VERONA ARENA

Ace is under the impression that the Doctor built the TARDIS. On Iceworld, she picked up pidgin Galaxpeke and pigbin Orculqui. She can swear fluently in 11 alien languages. She has been experimenting with Nitro-nine again, and one of her experiments is nitro-ten. Her Blue Peter badge was awarded for heroic achievement. She was in the Brownies.

Some of the Doctor's earliest memories include Lungbarrow mountain, his forty-four cousins, born fully-grown from the family Loom, who occasionally laugh and go lushberrying. They also include Housekeeper Satthralope, who has a clay pipe, wispy beard, and 20-way mirrors. The Doctor [believes that he] has never visited Gallifrey's past.

Links: Ace mentions the Hand of Omega (Remembrance of the Daleks). She has a recently-developed aversion to cats - particularly black ones (Survival). We see the seventh Doctor's UNIT pass from Battlefield. There are references to the Time Storm, Glitz, and the Nosferatu (Dragonfire), as well as Sorin (The Curse of Fenric), and Manisha. Ace discovers a Swiss army knife with the initials IC (Ian Chesterton). Ace remembers her time on Iceworld (Dragonfire). The Doctor mentions an Osirian's (Pyramids of Mars) spiral spine and cobweb on the tube (The Web of Fear). We see the origins of the conflict between the Sontarans and the Rutan (first mentioned in The Time Warrior). The Doctor mentions his previous meetings with Rassilon (The Five Doctors) and Omega (The Three Doctors and Arc of Infinity). The Doctor mentions Miss David's carpet shop in Antalya, which would appear in the next New Adventure Cat's Cradle: Warhead. The Sisterhood of Karn (The Brain of Morbius) and Lady Peinforte (Silver Nemesis) are said to be descendants of the Pythia's followers. Ace remembers coming across a card in the TARDIS library saying 'Happy Birthday Grandfather (a reference to Susan). The "overgrown courtyard" sounds like the "cloister room" (Logopolis. The corridor lined with oil paintings may be intended as a reference to the TARDIS art gallery (The Invasion of Time), as Van Eyck's 'Jan Arnolfini and His Wife' appears in both (although in The Invasion of Time, all the artworks prove to be holographic replicas, while the paintings in this novel are implied to be real).

Location: The TARDIS, Ancient Gallifrey, Ealing Broadway.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor remembers 'that ridiculous tower in Pisa'. He saw the ration queues of Boom City after the Great Soul Rush of '831 had failed.

The Bottom Line: 'The TARDIS was her home now.' Time's crucible is hard reading. The premise is extremely interesting, and the sections set in ancient Gallifrey are fascinating, but the book fails to gel together and it doesn't help that the Doctor is absent for a good portion of the book.

Discontinuity Guide by Stephen Gray

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Comments

I found this one a bit of a slog but one that comes together by the end. It could have been shorter though; all that time without the Doctor and then him losing his memories seemed like padding. I really liked some of the Doctor's speeches close to the end and the Gallifrey scenes were rather interesting.

I don't remember any mention of the Sontarans and Rutans though. Where does the book feature the origin of their conflict?

On page 203, Prydonius is sent to act as an independent observer to a minor territorial dispute between Ruta III and the Sontara Warburg.

Thank you. I completely missed that.

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