Plague of the Cybermen

Roots: Frankenstein. There are quotations from Hamlet and Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody".

Dialogue Triumphs: School teacher Olga tells the Doctor “No one enjoys my company. I make the children learn when they want to go out and play, and I remind the adults of how little they know.”

Continuity: The Cyber ship uses a Hapthoid reactor unit. It is a colonisation ship that crashed in Klimtenburg generations earlier [given the date, these Cybermen must either have travelled in time from the future, or be members of CyberFaction pre-The Invasion. Since they have metal hands, they can't be an advance group of CyberMondasians as in The Silver Turk]. The reactor housing shattered on impact. The Cybermen partially convert wolves to use as guard here. Those damaged in the crash use body parts from human corpses to replace their own missing limbs. These Cybermen are vulnerable to radiation, which messes up their intra-cybernetic communication relays. They seed clouds to create storms here, using the electrical energy of the lightening to recharge. After the Cybermen are destroyed, the damaged Cyber ship is left in the tunnels below Klimtenburg to "rot down".

The Doctor drinks water in the tavern. He carries radiation-proof yellow bags in his pocket. He has blue anti-radiation pills. He uses the sonic screwdriver to agitate air molecules to try and confuse the wolves' senses. He has a napkin from the Titanic in his pocket (see The Left-Handed Hummingbird).

Proximity to Hapthoid radiation is only lethal to humans over a prolonged period of time.

Links: The Tenth Planet (Cybermen being vulnerable to radiation). The Doctor recalls the tombs on Telos (The Tomb of the Cybermen). The Doctor mentions Karn (The Brain of Morbius).

Location: Klimtenburg, the 19th century.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor has been to Great Yarmouth and Margate. He knew Sir Thomas de Rosemont.

The Bottom Line:They don’t get sick or ill. Cybermen don’t get plague. They are plague.” Workmanlike, but unspectacular, which is a shame given the rarity of novels featuring the Cybermen. For the fannish, the lack of explanation for anachronistic Cybermen is irritatingly distracting. Still, Richards writes the Eleventh Doctor well and Olga makes an effective pseudo-companion.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke

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