The Room with No Doors
Roots: The novel opens with a quotation from Paul Valery. There are references to The Simpsons (Chris shouts "Cowabunga") [I thought that was Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles - Ed], Frankenstein, Isaac Newton, Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, Sherlock Holmes, Schrödinger's Cat, the Wright Brothers, The Cask of Amontillado, Babylon 5 ("What do you want?' 'Never ask that question'), Ghostbusters, Greenpeace, Rush, Star Trek, Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, the Pankhursts, Marlowe's Dr Faustus, Shakespeare, Picasso, and H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds ("Suddenly, the lid fell off"). Professor X: The New Adventures is, of course, a reference to the New Adventures themselves.
Dialogue Triumphs: "If you arrived in your time machine and someone was about to, exempli gratia, murder a child, would you stop them?"
"Of course I wouldn't. I have no right to interfere with the flow of history."
"Ah. That's the easy answer. But what might you really do? If it came to the crunch?"
"All those with psychokinesis, raise my hand."
"You're not from around here, are you? I concluded as much when you neither attacked us nor ran away screaming."
Continuity: The Kapteynians here are avians. They are a metre and a half tall, with hard and dark bodies, wings, and beaked, large-eyed faces. There are more than sixty sentient species on Kapteyn's Star 5 (see Return of the Living Dad for an example of another Kapteynian species), of which the avians are the negotiators and messengers between the others. One of the avians on board Te Yene Rana's slave ship is psychokinetic.
The Caxtarids are humanoid with metallic red eyes and hair, from Lalande 21185 (Return of the Living Dad, So Vile a Sin). They are experts in the creation of living torture machines, to which they give names such as Prompter of Confessions, and Manacle of Flesh. They invaded Kapteyn 5 and enslaved the Kapteynians, exterminating four of the indigenous sentient species, making deals with eight, and enslaving the rest; the system became a tribute system, handing over a percentage of its population to the Caxtarids every year, to either be eaten or used as slaves. Caxtarid Corporations have strip-mined a dozen inhabited worlds. Te Yene Rana uses robot drones shaped like flying heads, and small flying insects.
The Doctor sometimes shouts and screams in his sleep. The TARDIS contains a copy of James Archer's The Death of Arthur, which the Doctor painted whilst in a silly mood; he gave Merlin a smiley badge and added a Dalek coming out of the lake. He carries a lacquered bamboo bow when he leaves the TARDIS in Japan, and introduces himself as "Isha" (Japanese for Doctor). He easily disarms Aoi using martial arts. He wears a dark paisley waistcoat and a tweed jacket and carries a leather shoulder bag. He carries an egg shaped device, which he built, that detects temporal distortion. He is at least one thousand and three years old. He describes Roshi's tearoom as one of the calmest places in the universe. He and Chris eat rice gruel and pickled vegetables in the Doa-no-nai-heya Monastery. They both ride horses borrowed from the monks. He knows that he will regenerate soon (The TV Movie), and implies that only his current incarnation is Time's Champion. Regeneration was never meant to be an emergency measure and is usually done slowly, with assistance, in medical facilities on Gallifrey. The Doctor describes it as both a good feeling ("in the same way that driving a vehicle very, very fast is a good feeling"), and bad ("because you know you are going to die"). He hopes to be unconscious again for his next regeneration. He is a member of the Royal Society. He carries a pencil torch, a pencil, a sharpener, and a Times crossword. He also carries a paperback copy of Kleinzeit. He can see ultraviolet light. He can tell if a human has telepathic ability. He is immune to the effects of Caxtarid torture devices. He claims to be the President of the Intergalactic Flora Society (see The Seeds of Doom). The Doctor believes that his Sixth Incarnation will imprison him in his subconscious when he regenerates into the Eighth Doctor, as revenge for his own actions (see Head Games), but eventually comes to realize that whichever incarnation he is in, he's still the Doctor. The Doctor has read Historian's Account of the Kapteynian Peoples. He gets shot with an arrow whilst holding a child; the child is killed and the arrow pins it to the Doctor's body, the shaft penetrating between his second and third ribs, and the head protruding from his back; he goes into a death-like coma as a result (see The Daemons, Planet of the Daleks) and Chris and Penelope, believing him to be dead, bury him alive.
Chris still sleeps in his Daffy Duck boxer shorts (Return of the Living Dad). His room on board the TARDIS contains souvenirs from various planets, some comic books, and a pile of dirty T-shirts and underwear. He likes warm milk when he can't sleep. The Doctor has been teaching him Zen archery for a couple of years. Whilst in Japan he dresses as a Samurai, wearing loose trousers and a blue cloth jacket with gold patterns over a black kimono, and carries two swords. He claims that he is from a Dutch family and was raised by a Samurai family after being orphaned in a shipwreck. He thinks he is twenty-six years old, but has lost track whilst traveling with the Doctor. "Know the local manners" is an Adjudicator lesson. The Doctor tells him about regeneration. He feels guilty for his part in Liz Shaw's death and for not ending her pain when he had the opportunity. He adopts the Japanese version of his name, Kuriisu, whilst in Japan. When Chris first joined the Academy he wanted to be out solving crimes; his first duty, as for all Adjudicators, was traffic. He hated it at first, but now sometimes wishes he could go back to being a traffic cop. He asks the Doctor if he knows what happens to people after they die. His misses his parents, who he hasn't seen in over a year. Kame cooks for him a proper Japanese dinner of rice, soup and three small main courses. The first time that Chris realized he would die one day was when he was playing baseball at the age of fourteen; he can no longer remember exactly what sparked the realization. He prays to the Goddess for the first time in a very long time. Chris's grandfather was completely demented by the time he died, and Chris is worried that it might be hereditary. Unable to put his feelings about recent events into words, he writes a letter to the Doctor.
The TARDIS kitchen contains the food machine (The Daleks, The Edge of Destruction), and a twentieth century fridge containing a fossilized Archaeopteryx, a skateboard, and a single bottle of gold-top milk. The TARDIS has an archery range.
Joel Mintz left the Admiral's group (see Return of the Living Dad) to travel with Penelope Gate, whom he met in a police lock-up in Swindon. He once met Liz Shaw, when she came to see Isaac.
Penelope Gate's Victorian time machine runs on clockwork, and is powered by a miniature Analytical Engine and a mutated Tzun battery, which she obtained in 1996. The first time she successfully used her time machine she used a lightning strike to charge it up. Her machine was actually drawn through time remotely by the Lapteynian Psychokinetic.
Links: Original Sin, So Vile a Sin. Joel Mintz last appeared in Return of the Living Dad. Chris recalls shooting two Nazis (Just War). Kapteynians were first mentioned in Return of the Living Dad. The Doctor notes that he's met Shakespeare (The Empire of Glass), Marco Polo (Marco Polo), and Richard the Lionheart (The Crusade). There are references to the death of Liz Shaw (Eternity Weeps), Professor X (Conundrum), Tzun (First Frontier), Oolians (Human Nature (book), Original Sin), Daleks, Cybermen, Zygons (Terror of the Zygons), Kraals (The Android Invasion), Autons (Spearhead from Space, Terror of the Autons), Ogrons (Day of the Daleks, Frontier in Space), and Kat'lanna (Head Games). The Doctor briefly runs through his various regenerations, noting that he was unconscious for most of them (The Tenth Planet, The War Games, Planet of the Spiders, Logopolis, The Caves of Androzani, Time and the Rani).
Location: Japan, March 1560 AD.
Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor has visited Doa-no-nai-heya Monastery in sixteenth century Japan before, circa 1550AD, and met Kadoguchi-Roshi, the old master; the monks call him "Yukidaruma-san" (Mr Snowman) because Roshi found him in the snow. He had just faced the jiki-ketsu-gaki ("Hungry ghost", actually a Vampire), knowing that he was the only person who could stop her; realizing that it would cost him his life, he climbed out through a window and bolted, which is when Roshi found him. Eighteen people died as a result of his failure. He stayed at the monastery for three months after the monks found him. He eventually defeated the vampire by letting her drink his blood until she thought he was dead; whilst she slept, he burned the castle to the ground.
The Doctor again recalls meeting the Ikkaba (SLEEPY). Benny told him about Joel's handling of the Gaffney incident the last time he saw her [at some point immediately after Eternity Weeps].
At the end of the novel, the Doctor briefly leaves Chris in Japan whilst he takes Joel back to Little Caldwell in 1996, and Penelope to England in 1883.
The Bottom Line: "Chris. Forgive me." The penultimate New Adventure featuring the Seventh Doctor, The Room With No Doors addresses the emotional baggage accrued by the Doctor and Chris over the last few novels, as both come to terms with the deaths they feel responsible for. As such, it paves the way for Lungbarrow, but it also works extremely well as a novel in its own right, Orman combining her gift for characterization with some fine period detail and much wit.