The Clockwise Man

Roots: The Russian Revolution. Tim Burton's Batman (the showdown in the clock tower). There are references to Wagner, Tchaikovsky, Disney's Snow Witch, Lenin, Trotsky, Faberge eggs, Shakespeare's Hamlet, and Arnold Schwarzenegger's role in The Terminator.

Goofs: On page 26, Freddie says that he left Russia when he was 2. On page 37, it is established that this was in October 1917 (actually, the Russian Revolution was in November 1917 by the Gregorian Calendar, but the Russians hadn't switched, so it was still October by their calendar). However, Doctor is clearly on course for the British Empire Exhibition in October 1924, which is where he intended to end up. Which would mean that either Freddie left Russia aged 3 rather than 2, or that he's aged 8 years rather than 7 since then.

Why does Anastasia seem to think that Repple's claim to be the elector of Dastaria is genuine when there is no such country? Especially when Repple claims that Dastaria borders Russia.

If it's October 1924, then why is London icy on page 61?

Is it really possible to make humanoid and felinoid robots out of clockwork? In particular, although it
could theoretically be possible to operate lasers by piezoelectricity powered by clockwork, such lasers would necessarily be less powerful than the ones in your CD player. The Doctor's comparison between a clockwork torch and a laser doesn't make it any more convincing. Plus, you'd expect a laser to turn up on Melissa's scan for anachronistic technology. Oh, and real laser beams can't be seen unless something gets in their way.

Why does Melissa say she underwent genetic modification in order to change her appearance to look how her race thinks humans look like? Surely surgery would be the appropriate technique - especially as Melissa refers to "hackers and cutters" when talking about the people who undertook the operation.

The Doctor muses that Tower Bridge has been around for less than 25 years, when it was opened in 1894 – which was 30 years before this story.

Dialogue Disasters: 'Triffic!'

'Clockwork?'
'Yeah. We're not winding you up.' Groan!

Dialogue Triumphs: 'I only kissed him.'
The Doctor: 'He's a boy.'
Rose: 'I thought that was what they were for.'

Wyse recognizes that the Doctor has seen war, telling him, 'Thought as much. You can tell. It's there in the eyes. And the attitude too. A sort of enthusiasm for life between the ennui. Like we can't quite believe we're still here, but we must make the most of it while we are.'

The Doctor: 'He'd hardly hide away from assassins by adopting a laughably silly name then opening a club in central London and taking in guests.'

The Doctor: 'I like people to think I'm a bit thick. Makes them careless and arrogant. Ready to explain their dastardly plan in words of one sill! silly!'

'I've always wondered, why isn't phonetic spelt with an 'F'?

'Despite his obsession with chess, he was a real gentleman.'

Continuity: Rose isn't sure whether they had famous people in 1924. She admits that she is rubbish at geography. She doesn't like being called "my dear". Rose dons a mint green calf-length cotton dress and a long dark hooded cloak for London in the nineteen-twenties. She later buys a woollen suit and a 'less frumpy' dress, as well as a long nightdress. She has bacon and eggs for breakfast at the Imperial Club. One of Rose's neighbours in London was a boy called Josh whose mother never let him out to play.

The Doctor seems more concerned about the loss of his jacket than about the loss of the TARDIS. He claims to be excellent at Geography. It is implied that he doesn't sleep. He changes into a new brown round-necked shirt. He gives his leather jacket to Repple. He appreciatively drinks 1921 claret at Sir George's house and later drinks brandy with Wyse. He plays chess with Wyse and notes that they are well-matched opponents. The sonic screwdriver is capable of cauterising wounds, and its cylindrical power pack can be removed.

Shade Vassily ruled the Katurian Empire as a dictator and was responsible for the deaths of millions; when revolution broke out, the last action of the Imperial Court before the revolutionaries took over was to sentence him to exile on the primitive planet of Earth. Believing that this was too lenient, the Painted Lady perused him to Earth intending to execute him. Vassily was guarded by an artificial intelligence, but a fake Vassily, Repple, made of clockwork, was assigned another Katurian as jailer and bodyguard. Repple's programming is so sophisticated that he doesn't know that he is artificial.

Katurians are humanoid but not human; Vassily underwent surgery to make him look human, as did the Painted Lady. Due to flawed information about what humans looked like, her face was transformed into a parody of humanity, forcing her to wear masks in London to hide her true appearance. Their technology includes weapons which look like 20s-style cigarette holders and which can fire firebolts. They have a means of detecting anachronistic technology, and the readings for the sonic screwdriver and the TARDIS are off the scale. Their spaceships are powered by ion cells which can be re-energised with a source of hydrogen. The Painted Lady and Vassily's jailors both use clockwork mechanicals in London in the nineteen-twenties, since they do not have anachronistic power sources. The Painted Lady uses the suits of armour, and the AI sent to both guard and protect Vassily uses the cats. The cats resemble real cats, but can fire laser beams from their eyes.

Links: The Doctor's reaction to a suggestion about providing evidence that he is of noble birth, dispossessed by conflict, is an allusion to the destruction of Gallifrey first mentioned in The End of the World. The Doctor comments that a picture of the French Revolution isn't right - which is either an allusion to An Unearthly Child, or a reference to The Reign of Terror, or both. He also remembers the events of Rose. Rose recalls Gwyneth (The Unquiet Dead). He also mentions his appearance being changed as part of an exile (The War Games), and that he can hold his breath for ages (his respiratory bypass system, first seen in Pyramids of Mars)

Location: London, October 1924. The book starts on Monday evening and finishes Wednesday night.

Unrecorded Adventures: It is implied that the Doctor witnessed the 1919 Flu epidemic.

Q.v. The Fate of Gallifrey, The End of the World; Bad Wolf, The Parting of the Ways.

The Bottom Line (prosecution): Entertaining enough, and written with Richards' usual workmanlike skill, but The Clockwise Man fails to live up to its potential. Little of Wyse's character is actually explored, and his transformation from urbane and sophisticated chess opponent into a bog-standard megalomaniac is rather disappointing.

The Bottom Line (Defence): 'That's the sort of daft double-bluff I'd do.' When it was announced that the Ninth Doctor novels would be aimed at 12-year-olds, many fans were concerned that this would mean a dumbing down of the novels. The Clockwork Man shows that business continues more-or-less as usual, being a Justin Richards novel by the numbers, right down to his trademark "twists". He's written far better, but it's nothing like as bad as many had feared.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke and Stephen Gray

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