Borrowed Time

Roots: Alien (the “giant” cockroaches have yellow acid for blood). There are references to Einstein, Damien Hirst, the Large Hadron Collider, The Chronicles of Narnia, I Love Lucy, The X-Factor, Al Capone, Genghis Khan, Minis, and Big Brother.

Dialogue Triumphs: “Just because you don’t know how something works, doesn’t mean you can’t break it.”

“They’re time-travelling aliens, why wouldn’t their spaceship look like a police box?”

Continuity: The Time Market is located on a planet with blood-red moons. Renegade Time Lords used to purchase dirty time from it. The Shadow Proclamation outlawed the Time Market’s trade centuries before it began. Time Harvesters are parasites.
Symington and Blenkinsop are shark-like bipeds. They are actually extensions of the time travelling entity that poses as human female “Jane Blythe”. The entity has heard of the Time Lords.

The Yomalet-Ram are small floating cowled genderless humanoids with a baby-like faces and very white skin. They have miniaturisation technology. They run a storage facility underneath the Millennium Dome.

The Doctor carries an enormous fob watch. He buys Amy and Rory a pot plant as a wedding present. He apparently has tons of moon rock in the TARDIS, which has basements. He uses the psychic paper to pose as Dr Schmidt from Zurich. There is a letter in his pocket addressed to “the Sontaran Ambassador”. At some point in his future the Doctor rents a storage space off the Yomalet-Ram at Little Green Storage. He loses twenty-five years off his life-span here. His pockets contain an apple, some string, and a swanee whistle.

Amy did GCSE Spanish instead of history. She dons a business suit and glasses here. She uses the psychic paper to pretend to be a doctor and claims that the Doctor is her patient.

Rory dons an overly large suit here. He obtains a Super Lucky Romance Camera: Capture the Moment!TM in the fifty first century. His favourite sandwiches are ham and cheese.

A jungle room populated by small pink snail-like creatures is actually a functioning economy he picked up on Gigia 8.

Telepathic hair extensions were all the rage on Cerpris Beta just before the total collapse of their civilisation.
Piero de Medici died of Urharborean Plague, which the Doctor attributes to a side effect of some temporal flux caused by Mandragora (The Masque of Mandragora). He mentions Chrononillium Mega Condensers and Espedarian Back-and-Forths.

The Ah N’Brubrn Clan of Warrior Molluscs residing in the Thames and the End, Rue, Burn Doomsday Cult intend to destroy London 271 days after events here. On Kotorsk-Bejal there are three-metre tall cockroaches. There is a planet near Ursa Minor where everyone lives inside the stomach of a giant spinefish.

Links: Borusa’s “Only in mathematics will we find the truth” is quoted (The Deadly Assassin). There is a reference to the Eternity Perpetual Company ([/tv]Carnival of Monsters[/tv]). The Doctor mentions Raston Warriors (The Five Doctors) and the Blinovitch Limitation Effect (Day of the Daleks).

Amy notes that the Doctor has mentioned time-space hoppers, presumably a reference to Captain Jack’s wrist band (‘Utopia, The Sound of Drums/Last of the Time Lords). There is a reference to Rory waiting two thousand years for Amy (The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang). There is a reference to the HADS (The Krotons) and the Shadow Proclamation (The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End). There are references to UNIT and Torchwood. There is a reference to the Doctor being in Totter’s Lane in 1985, dealing with unfinished business (Attack of the Cybermen).

Location: London, 1985 and 2007; Earth, 5087; and Heemstede, the Netherlands, 1636.

Future History: The Super Lucky Romance Camera is invented in 5044. Mutant reproducing crabs were created in the forty-ninth century to gnaw out the otherwise indestructible hulks of marine vessels used in the Fifth World War.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor claims that he once knew a spam filter that became sentient. Amy claims to have saved an entire planet from a plague of killer ladybirds. The Doctor claims to have saved the whole history of the universe using just a rubber band and a tin of pineapple rings. He was present when the foundation stone of the oldest building in London was laid, but then had to deal with the Alicagorians. He claims that he once fiddled with the TARDIS’ psychic circuits and as a result nobody could see his reflection, which gave the people of Transylvania a fright. He states that Sigmund Freud was a friend. The Yomalet-Ram has met the Doctor before, but in the Doctor’s future.

The Bottom Line:Time travel – makes plots so very difficult to foil.” A hugely witty, complex and rewarding that novel with a great basic concept. Incredibly, Alderman somehow manages to make compound interest interesting. The characters are brilliantly characterised and there are some lovely nods to the past for older fans.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke

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