Time and Relative

Roots: There are references to WH Smith's, How to be Topp by Geoffrey Williams, Panorama, Dan Dare, Pluto the Dog, Cadbury's, Hank Jansen, Dennis Wheatley, Popeye, Wimpy, Brigitte Bardot, Norman Wisdom, Scott of the Antarctic, Attila the Hun, Enid Blyton, The Twilight Zone, Ravel's Bolero, Brave New World, and Lyon's Maid ice-cream. Susan has seen Lawrence of Arabia and is familiar with Danger Man, Pinocchio, Winnie-the-Pooh, Susan Maughan's Bobby's Girl, Neil Sedaka's Breaking Up is Hard to Do, Chris Waites and the Carrollers' Christmas Caroline, the Beatles, The Evening Star, The Evening News, The Evening Standard, Shirley Anne Field, Sunday Express, Alan Freeman, Lord of the Flies (which she is reading in her English Literature class), Bunty, Hancock's Half-Hour, and The Magic Flute. She and Gillian go to see The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner. She occasionally discusses President Kennedy, famously assassinated the day before the first ever broadcast of An Unearthly Child. Susan's friends John and Gillian are presumably named after Dr Who's grandchildren in the TV Comic Dr Who comic strip. The Doctor's everlasting matches were first mentioned in David Whitaker's novelisation of The Daleks titled Dr. Who in an Exciting Adventure With the Daleks.

Goofs: Why is the Vicar referred to as Mr Haigh? Surely it should be Rev. Haigh.

The Doctor and Susan both use the term singlehearts to differentiate themselves from humans, despite the fact that the First Doctor has only one heart (The Edge of Destruction, The Sensorites, The Man in the Velvet Mask) [The term is Susan's, and she is unaware of the Doctor's unusual heritage - he accepts the term to avoid uncomfortable explanations - see Lungbarrow]

Dialogue Triumphs: The Doctor: 'Continuity, bah! Doesn't exist, child. Except in the minds of the cretinously literal, like the singlehearts who clutter up this planet. Trying to sort it all out will only tie you up in useless knots forever.'

Gillian: 'You live in a Junkyard?'
Susan: 'Sort of.'
Gillian: 'And I thought our gaff was a tip.'

The Doctor: 'I am not from a flying saucer! What would be the point of that? You'll be seeing flying teacups and creeping pepperpots next, and a whole animated dinner service.'

Susan: 'I foresaw several futures branching from this point. In most of them, I wasn't alive.'

Susan: 'He [the Doctor] has this strange idea that educators are the sharpest, most dangerous intellects on the planet. I mentioned that he has never been to a parents' evening, didn't I?'

Continuity: Tinkering with the TARDIS can throw the local timeline out of synch. The Doctor seems to have some knowledge of John's future. Susan has holes in her memory, especially regarding her origin. The same is true, only more so, about the Doctor. She refers to humans as singlehearts - and it is explicitly stated that she has two.

Susan keeps a diary. She is supposedly fourteen, but whether this is her real age is not made clear. Both she and the Doctor are suffering from holes in their memory, especially regarding their origin. The Doctor's holes are bigger. Whenever Susan tries to think about this, she gets sharp painful headaches, which she describes as mindaches. She is aware however that in fleeing their home they have broken the rules and she refers to the Time Lords as The Masters. In her spare time, she baby-sits a six-year-old boy from Trinidad called Malcolm, and frequently gets upset at the racist abuse he gets from passers-by. She stops baby-sitting him when his Aunt Junie comes to stay with him and his Mum, making Susan's services unnecessary. She calls the humans singlehearts, and it is confirmed that she has two hearts (see City at World's End), a term which the Doctor also uses [see Goofs]. She notes that she is only on her first face implying that although she hasn't yet regenerated, she is capable of doing so (but see Lungbarrow).

It was Susan's idea that she attend Coal Hill School, since she didn't want to stand out whilst they were trapped on Earth. The Doctor forged records for her, and obtained an Eleven Plus exam paper, which she failed because she tried to argue with the questions. Because of this, the Doctor made her attend a Secondary Modern School instead of a Grammar School. Her form tutor at Coal Hill School is called Mr. Grange (nicknamed Ghasty Grange by the pupils). . The headmaster is a Mr. Carker. Susan has friends at school called John and Gillian Roberts. John was nicknamed the Martian by Gillian because she says that he resembles Dan Dare villain The Mekon (actually Venusian). Gillian gave Susan the nickname Forehead, based on her apparent surname. The school bully is named Francis Minto. Susan is a fan of the Beatles and tells her friends that Love Me Do is the best and most important single of the last five years. She and the Doctor both like tea and she considers them to be honorary British. She finds Patrick McGoohan, John Lennon and Peter O'Toole attractive, but not Albert Finney. She is reading a book by Alan Sillitoe and dislikes Cliff Richard and the Shadows. Vidal Sassoon has cut her hair [a reference to the fact that he styled actress Carol Ann Ford's hair for the part of Susan].

The Doctor carries everlasting matches. Nobody has asked for any of the scrap in Foreman's Yard since they have been there. It is implied that he cant recall his real name. He has never broken the primary rule of his people, which says he must not meddle in the affairs of others [implying that his visits with Susan to Esto (The Sensorites), Quinnis (The Edge of Destruction), Venus (Marco Polo and Venusian Lullaby), and various periods in Earth history were purely to observe]. The primary rule is so deeply ingrained into his and Susan's mind that challenging it puts them at risk of madness (and mindwipe if they get caught - see The War Games), and this is responsible for their amnesia. Their conditioning is so extreme that even considering breaking the rule causes memory loss and shuts down whole areas of personality. Initially, the Doctor is so reluctant to interfere that he agrees to stay out of the way whilst the Cold wipes out humanity; once Susan convinces him to stop the Cold, it opens his mind to the possibilities of getting involved for the first time, giving him a feeling of satisfaction and even making him consider tampering with history [a temptation that the Meddling Monk couldn't resist]. Having had this change of heart, he becomes more paranoid about people finding out about him and Susan, since he knows that the Time Lords will be alert for any signs of interference. He is particularly paranoid about teachers, because he thinks,educators are the sharpest, most dangerous intellects on the planet [hence of course, his abduction of Ian and Barbara in An Unearthly Child].

The TARDIS is referred to throughout as the Box [presumably due to Susan's and the Doctor's amnesia. The name comes back to Susan after this story, hence her belief that she coined the name (An Unearthly Child)]. The Doctor filled the TARDIS with clocks and odometers before they left home, where they do not work - as soon as they left, the clocks started. The TARDIS also contains an elephant foot umbrella stand full of assegais, and a chrono-synclastic infundibulator. The TARDIS is damaged and is leaking dimensional energy, which is affecting the freeze-thawing process and also inadvertently draining energy from the Cold. At the same time, the Doctor starts to build a dampener to vent the dimensional overspill. In the process, he burns out the TARDIS's directional control.

The Cold is a [extra-dimensional] life form that inhabits ice, and was the dominant life form on Earth during the First Great Ice Age. It claims to be native to Earth [and presumably evolved after the fall of the Silurian civilization]. The Doctor refers to its intelligence as an animus. It has been dormant in the ice fields of Siberia for millennia, and may have been awoken by the Russians Novosibirsk project. It can animate ice and snow, making it move and creating icy soldiers out of snowmen. Once it recovers its full strength, it will be able to occupy all of the ice in the world simultaneously, but the dimensional leakage from the TARDIS is stopping it from doing this [and is what draws it to London]. It intends to wipe out the infestation of mammalian life on the planet. The Doctor is persuaded to stop it by Susan, and builds a device that reaches into other dimensions and can enfold the Cold, trapping its controlling animus in a single ice crystal. He then deposits it on Pluto in the far future [between Godengine and The Sunmakers], which is ideally suited to it due to its extreme cold.

Students have seen Ian and Barbara visiting the cinema together, suggesting that they were at least starting to date prior to An Unearthly Child.

Links: The story is a prequel to An Unearthly Child. The Doctor's scornful remark to Susan that she will be seeing creeping pepperpots is an obvious Dalek joke (The Daleks).

Location: Coal Hill School, Totter's Lane and surrounding area, Wednesday 27th March - Wednesday 4th April 1963.

Future History: In the future, pens are made obsolete by mind-dictating machines that translate thoughts into grammatically perfect language. At some point, people use Fonetik Speling. - all from Susan's knowledge.

Unrecorded Adventures: The TARDIS arrived in Totter's Lane junkyard approximately five months earlier. It takes the Doctor five attempts to get to Pluto with the Cold, during which he ends up in various locations and times throughout the Solar System. He may also have met Genghis Khan, although he might just have read about him.. Susan knows quite a bit about Renaissance Italy. The Doctor tells Susan that Mozart as a bad-mannered show-off with a silly hairstyle [possibly the Doctor met him on a trip prior to leaving Gallifrey for good see - Divided Loyalties].

The Bottom Line: 'I have become afraid of the snow.' A chilling, effective, and well-written story. Time and Relative is the best start that any range of Who books has had. The glimpse into Susan's mind is handled well. There are lots of allusions to other Who stories, but these only add to the book, and the end result is a superb read.

When Telos announced its intention to publish quarterly hardcover novellas, it came under fire from some corners of fandom for attempting to milk the Doctor Who money-cow, and really needed to start the range with something special. Time and Relative fulfils that requirement admirably, presenting us with a fascinating insight into Susan's time at Coal Hill, her relationship with her Grandfather, and the Doctor's roots. The story builds the characters of both of them, plus the TARDIS, into what they are at the start of An Unearthly Child, and makes for a captivating read, especially the Doctor's change from impartial observer to gleeful meddler. The Cold is the perfect villain in a story populated largely by children, since it makes snowmen into killers, a truly childlike nightmare.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke and Stephen Gray

Other Guides to this Story

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