All-Consuming Fire

Roots: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories and H.P. Lovecraft, obviously. Conan Doyle's Professor Challenger is also a member of The Library of Saint John the Beheaded. Hindu mythology. There is also a reference to Sax Rohmer's Fu Manchu, whom it is implied is also real. There are references to The Strand Magazine, Mozart, Orlando Lassus, Schwind, Delacroix, Landseer's Monarch of the Glen, Amati, Stradivarius, Baden-Powell, the Daily Telegraph, the Chronicle, the Globe, Gray's Anatomy, Edgar Allen Poe's The Purloined Letter and A Tale of the Ragged Mountains, Chopin, Charles Dickens' Bleak House, Carpenter's Principles of General and Comparative Physiology, Beck and Beck's Elements of Medical Jurisprudence, Casper's Handbook of the Practice of Forensic Medicine, Dupont's De Incendiis Corporis Humani Spontaneis, The Lancet, The London Medical Gazette, the Times, Samuel Pepys, Isaac Newton, Bede's Ecclesiastical History, Benjamin Franklin, Gladstone, William of Occam, Jules Verne's From the Earth to the Moon, Edward Page Mitchell's The Clock That Went Backwards and An Uncommon Sort of Spectre, Pink Floyd, Victor Hugo, B&O, Bibby's, Doctor Livingstone, the Isley Brothers, Dante, Sonic the Hedgehog, Oscar Wilde, Robert Burns, Blue Peter, von Clausewitz, Kolchak the Night Stalker, Question Time, Iain M. Banks, Reader's Digest, Enrico Caruso, and Mission Impossible. The Doctor quotes Voltaire, Shakespeare (Hamlet), and Shelley.

Dialogue Disasters: Lots of cockney, including, "Ere luv, fancy some fun for a tanner?"

"I prefer bandy legs to bandy words."

Dialogue Triumphs: "A hooded man is a suspicious figure of almost gothic proportions."

Continuity: The Great Old Ones are a group of beings that originate from the universe before this one. They survived its destruction by shunting themselves sideways into a parallel universe that ceased to exist a split-second after their own, and then shunted themselves back again, arriving in this universe just after the Big Bang. Because this universe has fundamental physical laws such as the speed of light and the charge on the electron that are different to those in theirs, they have god-like powers. They have been worshipped as gods throughout history by the Silurians, the gargantuan entities that ruled Earth before the Silurians (see White Darkness), and a cult amongst the Shobogans (The Deadly Assassin). The Great Old Ones include Azathoth, Cthulhu (White Darkness), the Gods of Ragnarok (The Greatest Show in the Galaxy), Nyarlathotep (whom the Doctor hopes never to meet), Dagon (whom the Sea Devils worshipped), Hastur the Unspeakable (also known as Fenric) (The Curse of Fenric), Yog-Shoggoth (The Great Intelligence) (The Abominable Snowmen, The Web of Fear), and Lloigor (the Animus) (The Web Planet). Azathoth was always the weakest of the Great Old Ones according to legend.

Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson are both real, but Conan Doyle, a friend of Watson's, changed their names to protect their identities. Their encounter with the Doctor here finds its way into print as All-Consuming Fire. Being a Reprint From the Reminiscences of Doctor John Watson As Edited by Arthur Conan Doyle. For Holmes and Watson, events here take place after the death of Watson's wife. In addition to Mycroft, Holmes has a second, older brother named Sherringford. Sherringford remained at the Holmes family farmstead in North Yorkshire, where he lives the life of squire. Picking up on clues in his father's journals, he contacts Azathoth and becomes one of its followers, and is eventually transformed into a Rakshassa. Sherlock kills him to save Watson. Holmes' arch-nemesis Professor James Moriarty disguises himself as a man named O'Connor in order to investigate Maupertuis; he dons a ginger wig as part of the disguise. Watson speculates that Moriarty might suffer from a minor form of Tourette's Syndrome. Moriarty is writing a paper on the mathematics of folding higher dimensions.

The Library of Saint John the Beheaded has existed for a thousand years and is a repository for books that have been banned. It is located in St Giles Rookery, London. Two local gangs, who watch each other and anyone entering or leaving the Library, protect the Library. Pickpockets search anyone leaving to ensure that they have not attempted to steal any books; anyone who tries has his hands cut off. Books contained in the library include one of three unexpurgated versions of the Malleus Maleficarum, the only complete transcript of Galileo Galilei's trial, shelves of books on the Chinese Si Fan society and its leader Doctor Fu Manchu, five lost plays by Aristophanes including The Banqueters, the only known copy of the Basra Fragment of the lost Dictionary of the Khazars, proof of Fermat's Last Theorem, Doctor Watson's The Affair of the Politician, The Lighthouse and the Trained Cormoran, Adventures Amongst the Abominable Snowmen by Redvers Fenn-Cooper (Ghost Light), Ludwig Prinn's De Vermiis Mysteriis, and Shakespeare's Love's Labours Wonne [See The Shakespeare Code]. The Library also contains numerous documents describing the habits and physiognomy of the Loch Ness Monster (Terror of the Zygons).

Ry'leh is covered by an ice cap, which is supported by the tops of mountain peaks and covers the entire planet; everything on Ry'leh lives beneath the ice cap, in the space between it and the land. Creatures resembling helium balloons on skates live on the underside of the ice. They have three legs, each ending in one of the skates, and according to Ace they taste like chocolate. They have dominance fights, in which the skates of the victor puncture the loser's body; the loser falls off the ice as a consequence. Three-legged rat-like animals live in the foothills; they are approximately five to six feet long and are covered in scales. They are greyish-green in colour. Because of the relative positions of Earth and Ry'leh in the space-time continuum, the gateway can only be opened between India and the Plain of Leng on Ry'leh. Plants are Ry'leh have razor-sharp, bruise-coloured vanes and are carnivorous.

The Shlangii have five long, jointed legs with a sagging body supported on top. Each leg has five joints, each consisting of a double hinge, one above the other. They can move faster than the human eye can see. They are the most feared mercenaries in the known universe (at least according to the Doctor) and are notoriously unreceptive to new ideas, making them resistant to hypnosis.

The being that claims to be Azathoth on Ry'leh is actually an imposter. It resembles a big slug, and has the power to make people like it via mind control. It transforms its followers, both human and Ry'lehans, into Rakshassi. The Rakshassi are named after Hindu demons. They are crimson colour armoured crustaceans, with billowing leathery wings that have talons on the points. They can fly and have coiled tails with a spiked club of flesh on the end. They have no eyes or mouth, just a set of thorny growths on their heads. When the Doctor snaps one of these spikes off a Rakshassa, watery pink fluid spills out. The Doctor diverts the space-time tunnel bringing Azathoth and the Rakshassi to Earth to San Francisco in 1906, where the fire that followed the earthquake destroys them.

The Doctor has aged five hundred years since his first incarnation. He is a member of The Library of Saint John the Beheaded and was first issued with his ticket c1387. He drinks tea and eats Madeira cake in Holmes' apartment, and sarsaparilla in the Tank bar. He lodges with Professor Litefoot whilst in London (The Talons of Weng-Chiang). His umbrella shaft is hollow; he fills it with oil. He tells Watson that he never sleeps. He claims that he has two brains [he doesn't mean it literally; see Shada (TV)]. He flippantly tells Bernice that Time Lord Hell is like Earth. He has a four-dimensional pop-up book in the TARDIS entitled Every Gallifreyan Child's Pop-Up Book of Nasty Creatures From Other Dimensions.

Visiting India, Ace is persuaded to change into a frilly dress, in which she feels very uncomfortable. Her gun disassembles into separate components that she keeps on her belt. It is implied that she had sex with Glitz (Dragonfire). She has taken part in rout marches on Ragnarok. Most of her smart bombs deserted her on Peladon in order to set up a union with the mining machines (Legacy). She studied the 1906 San Francisco earthquake in history lessons at school.

Bernice has lived in the slums of Avernus where the dead bodies are left to rot where they fall, and a squat above a throat gelding shop on Zellen VII. She spends two months in Bombay working for the Doctor. She disguises herself as a man whilst in Bombay, after she knocks a man out in a bar and decides that she is too conspicuous as woman. She once attended a seminar on Felophitacitel Major by a Draconian who theorized that many different cults across the universe all worshipped the same gods. She gives Watson some of her diary entries to help him write up the case, and he incorporates the yellow sticky notes she puts over entries.

The Shobogans are New Age Time Lord drop-outs (The Deadly Assassin). Eusapia, like Zeta Minor, is half in this universe and half in another (Planet of Evil). Tersurus has clone banks and singing stones (The Deadly Assassin). Magla is a planet whose crust is actually a shell covering a vast, dreaming creature.

Links: The Library of Saint John the Beheaded was first mentioned in Theatre of War. There is a reference to the Monk and Artemis (No Future). The Doctor has mud from Menaxus on his gaiter (Theatre of War). The Doctor notes that he has met both Conan Doyle and Rudyard Kipling (Evolution). Holmes tells Watson that "Sleep is for tortoises", thus echoing the Fourth Doctor's words in The Talons of Weng-Chiang; Holmes failure to solve The Affair of the Walking Ventriloquist's Dummy is probably a reference to Mr. Sin. He Doctor mentions coronic acid (The Two Doctors), Raston Robots (The Five Doctors), Horda (The Face of Evil), Z-bombs (The Tenth Planet), Vervoids (Terror of the Vervoids), and exo-space (Full Circle, State of Decay, Warriors' Gate). Benny refers to Hoothi (Love and War), Moloch, IMC and Lucifer (Lucifer Rising), Braxiatel (Theatre of War), the TARDIS explosion in Siberia (Birthright), the Titanic (The Left-Handed Hummingbird), and Sontarans.

Location: Jabalhabad, India, March 1843; London, the SS Matilda Briggs, Bombay, and Ry'leh, 1887; and San Francisco, 1906.

Future History: Bisexuality is the norm for humans in Benny's era.

Unrecorded Adventures: The First Doctor and Susan visited Jabalhabad, India, in 1843, whilst they were touring India by elephant. They met Siger Holmes, father of Sherlock, Mycroft, and Sherringford, in the Officers' Mess at the British Army cantonment in Jabalhabad.

The Doctor took a medical degree in Edinburgh in eighteen seventy. He met the Pharaoh Psammitichus, as well as Ptolemy.

Mycroft Holmes has encountered the Third Doctor in the reading room of the Diogenes club on occasion.

The Bottom Line: The idea of a crossover between Doctor Who and Sherlock Holmes is the stuff of fan fiction, but works rather well due to Lane's aping of Conan Doyle's writing style. With appearances by Mycroft and Moriarty and numerous references to past Holmes adventures, his fondness for the fictional detective shines through; unfortunately, he has a tendency to make the Doctor look good at Holmes' expense, most notably when the action switches to Ry'leh and Holmes is totally out of his league. Despite this however, All-Consuming Fire is largely successful.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke
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