The Eye of the Tyger
Roots: In his foreword, Neil Gaiman describes the influence of Doctor Who on his own work, especially Neverwhere and also notes the influence of Beauty and the Beast on The Eye of the Tyger. The Doctor quotes from Rule Brittannia. There are references to Punch, Field, The London Illustrated Magazine, Blackwoods, Shelley, Blake's Tyger, Tyger, and Dr Seuss (I suppose a cat in a hat would look rather strange). The Doctor plays As time goes by on the gramophone in the TARDIS.
Goofs: TARDIS is again said to stand for Time And Relative Dimensions In Space, rather than Dimension. [But is this really a goof anymore? - Ed.]
There is some confusion about dating; the Doctor says on page twenty-eight that the TARDIS has traveled about a million and a half years into Fynes' future, but the back cover blurb dates the story to the thirty-second century [the back cover is correct - the Doctor refers to humanity going into hibernation to escape solar flares (The Ark in Space)]. [Editorial note: the dating of the solar flares is uncertain, but most of the information puts them between the two dates suggested]
Dialogue Triumphs: 'Your race is able to believe in a thousand kinds of foolishness, but can't see what's in front of its face until its nose is rubbed in it.'
'What a wonderfully simple idea! No wonder I didn't think of it.'
Continuity: The Doctor describes the tyger as a member of one of the chameleon races. It generates an inertial shield around its body, protecting it from bullets but not burning gasses. It reproduces by creating slave races, infecting those around it and transforming them into beings like itself. It adopts the form of a tiger because it is ideally suited to hunting in the forests of India, and later infects humans, turning them into half-human half-tiger hybrids. Its true nature seems to be viral. It came to Earth in a ship the size of a watermelon, which is capable of moving itself to safety on a dozen pairs of jointed legs.
Whilst in India, the Doctor wears a linen suit, a white ruffled shirt, and a straw hat. Back in the TARDIS, he changes into a brown cotton duster coat, over a high-collared shirt and a grey cravat, and grey trousers. He later dons red trousers, a linen jacket and stout boots, and carries a canvas haversack. He also wears a pearl-grey snap-brim homburg hat. The Doctor sets up a time loop inside Fynes' body to halt the progression of the tyger-fever. He suggests taking Fyne to one of the hospital worlds of the Flower Cultures.
The TARDIS console room contains a mirror and a dumb-waiter. The Doctor tells Fyne that the mirror can show him what he will look like if the tyger-fever runs its course [probably the same mirror as in The Power of the Daleks]. The TARDIS wardrobe is filled with steamer trunks and wooden chests and racks, and a pile of hat boxes in one corner. There are numerous pairs of shoes lined up around the walls, and an ancient Chinese screen draped with dresses. Fyne finds a pair of twill trousers, some red braces, and a russet jacket with wide lapels and leather patches on the elbows.
Seraph bought the ship second hand; it has been used by several races over the centuries, and strange life forms have made their way on board over the years and settled down in the service ducts. The Recyclers are androids that maintain the machinery of the ship, and which came with it when Seraph bought it. Life forms on board Seraph's ship aside include rabbit-sized deer, rats, dwarf kangaroos (which may be the rockhoppers that Casimir refers to), and dogs. The passenger that attacks the Doctor, Fyne and Casimir is a giant alien squid with numerous tentacles, each crowned with beaks, horns and fronds.
Methane-breathing octopuses live in cold gas giants such as Neptune.
Links: The Doctor is travelling alone, probably setting this story in the same gap as Rip Tide. The Doctor notes that he once met William Blake (The Pit). The Doctor refers to humanity going into hibernation to escape solar flares but oversleeping (The Ark in Space).
Location: India, during the latter days of the British Empire; in orbit around a black hole on the outer rim of the milky way, during the thirty-second century.
Future History: Seraph and Casimir are members of a feline race with three toes on each foot. They arrived on Earth shortly after it began to be repopulated by Vira's people (The Ark in Space) and helped the humans to rebuild and re-establish contact with other civilizations. Certain factions turned against them, so Seraph bought a spaceship and set out with ten thousand human followers in search of a new home, planning to planoform a suitable planet.
The Conservers exist billions of years in the future in a time when all the stars in the universe have burnt out and all remaining life has gathered around black holes as the only remaining source of energy. They are descended from the human race and stow stars and planets inside their black hole; every one of these planets is transformed into a huge library, in which they conserve the whole of history. They cannot exist in the thirty-second century, because the fabric of the space-time continuum is too dense for them. They send avatars back into the past, which make contact with Seraph and lure him to the black hole, where his people settle on some of the planets inside it. These humans are the group, which eventually evolve into the Conservers, who thus ensure their own development by reaching back into their own past.
The Doctor also mentions a race called the Preservers, but tells Fyne, that's another story entirely.
Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor has visited the black hole in which the Conservers dwell in a previous incarnation. He claims to know Einstein.
The Bottom Line: A strangely lyrical piece with a certain fairy-tale air. The disjointed plot, rather than being a disadvantage, works due to the characterisation of pseudo-companion Fyne, from whose point of view the entire story is told.