The Nightmare of Black Island

Roots: Ali is inspired by any number of children's books with child protagonists. Monsters coming from children's' imaginations is most likely inspired by Fear Her.Ali is inspired by any number of children's books with child protagonists. Monsters coming from children's' imaginations is most likely inspired by Fear Her.

There are references to Lewis Carroll and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, the Oxford English Dictionary, Invisible Detective, Elgar, The X-Files, the Bee Gees' "Staying Alive", Range Rovers, "Rock Around the Clock", and WH Smith.

The Doctor's everlasting matches were first seen in David Whitaker's novelization Dr Who in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks. The pterodactyl making a kklak is from the cover of the novelisation of Invasion of the Dinosaurs.

Goofs: The Doctor's comment that the villagers might be surprised that there's a department of the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff that deals with monsters sounds a little odd. If he's referring to Boom Town the monster was city mayor, having nothing to do with the Welsh Assembly. And he can't be referring to Torchwood, since he hasn't encountered either branch yet.

If the lighthouse was abandoned due to the decline of the mining community (p. 10), how did the village transition to being a fishing village (p. 58). Surely fishermen based in the village would need the lighthouse more than ships transporting coal.
Peyne claims that the principles of the Time Lords are to protect the lesser species and put right the wrongs of the universe. Which is pretty much the opposite of the long-established Time Lord principle of non-interference.

Why do the villagers believe that Morton is, or was, a local boy, when he says that he was only in Ynys Du for a holiday? And given what he says about his association with the place, how is he in contact with Bronwyn so that she could tell him not to come back?

The timeline given for the Cynog search for the missing pieces of Balor's mind is inconsistent. It's established that it's 70 years since 1935, and that they found Morton during the Blitz (1940-1941), yet the Doctor then states several times that the search took 50 years. Whichever timescale you use the search takes a very long time given that the Cynog were able to detect Morton and Morton knew the identities of the six they find.

Technobabble: Psychomorphic radiation.

Dialogue Triumphs: Bronwyn: “He's a guard duck. Looks after my house when I'm out feeding the seals.”

Continuity: The Cynrog are humanoid with wrinkled and ridged green-grey skin. They have flattened, pug-like noses from around which tufts of greasy hair sprout, and eyes like yellow slits. Their home planet has dry sand and several suns. They have wide mouths studded with sharp, protruding teeth, and a ridge of transparent spines runs over the tops of their heads and down their backs. A Synod rules the Cynrog. The Cynrog are warriors, and subjugate other species in the name of their god, Balor. The Cynrog are familiar with the Raxacoricofallapatorians, and the Slitheen family specifically (Aliens of London/World War Three). They are also aware of the Time Lords (whom Peyne considered to be "arrogant"), the Time War, and regeneration.

Balor was the General of the Cynrog hordes and was left for dead after the battle of Grantran Prime. He was then revived via one of the Cynrog's accelerated genetic-mutation experiments and revered as a god. The Brintepi laid a trap for him at the battle of Monson Daar, bound him with their technology and cast him out into space and time; Balor crashed on Earth in Ynys Du in 1935 and died in the flames of the crash, but not before he placed fractions of his mind in the minds of eight local children. The Cynrog searched the universe until they tracked him to Earth during World War II, and spent the next few decades working with Nathaniel Morton, one of the eight children, to remove the pieces of Balor from him and the others and restore him. They use psychic projections created from the nightmares of local children via the behaviour inhibitor to create a new body for him. The Doctor directs Ali to readjust the Cynrog transmitters so that Balor feeds on the neuroses of adults rather than the nightmares of children, without which he ceases to exist.

Their ship is an interstellar hopper with dual plasma-injected engines and a toughened duralinium hull with built-in force-shield deflectors. Its exterior is a dull silver-grey olour etched with “alien hieroglyphics”. It has a cloaking-shield generator.

The Doctor still carries everlasting matches (see The Resurrection Casket). He uses his sonic screwdriver to determine that red water contains blood, set car alarms off, shatter an iron padlock with high-frequency sound waves, fuse metal, and as a torch. He again uses his psychic paper. He normally gets an after-image of whatever people see in the psychic paper. He eats a "gargantuan" breakfast in the pub and then moves onto toast. He adopts the alias Dr Jones, and introduces Rose as Miss Evans, his PA. He buys a postcard from the Harbour Master in Ynys Du. He carries opera glasses with LCD lenses and controls built into them. He hasn't met the Cynrog, but knows them and Balor by reputation. The Cynrog force an intravenous drip into the Doctor's arm.

Rose wears a parka. She drinks hot chocolate and coffee in the pub. She finds people who actually like mornings annoying. Her gran went into an old people's home for a little while before she died; Jackie made Rose promise that she'd never put her in a place like it. When Rose was a kid she and her mates hung around the shops, the cinema, and a patch of waste ground that someone had tried to turn into a playground. She borrows an old sweatshirt and some tracksuit bottoms from Beth.

Whilst in the Vortex, the TARDIS' telepathic signals pick up signals from the Cynrog behaviour inhibitor's telepathic aerials, which affect Rose's dreams whilst she asleep inside it.

Behaviour inhibitors are usually used on farming planets to control livestock, which gets nervous if it wanders out of the field.

Links: This story is set between The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit and Fear Her [see The Art of Destruction]. The Doctor mentions New Earth and apple grass (New Earth). The Doctor's psychic paper first appeared in The End of the World. The Doctor's jokes about monsters in the Assembly in Cardiff, which is a reference to Boom Town. The Doctor mentions the Moxx of Balhoon (The End of the World). The Cynrog ship has a duralinium hull (Colony in Space). The Doctor sees visions of the Nestene Consciousness (Rose), Slitheen (Aliens of London/World War Three, Boom Town), and Daleks (Dalek, Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways) from Rose's dreams. Rose's mention that the Doctor is what monsters have nightmares about was a concept first mentioned in Love and War.

Location: Ynys Du, near Tenby, Wales, late September [2006].

The Bottom Line: The Nightmare of Black Island features monsters out of children's nightmares, a villain defeated by the mundane neuroses of adults, and a prominent supporting role for a young girl, and is therefore an ideal Doctor Who novel for younger readers. Tucker's prose, which in the past has often been pedestrian, is perfectly suited to this age group, and the end result is quite good fun for adults too.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke and Stephen Gray

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