Doctor Who: The Newbies Guide
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This is the sixth in the BBC's Eighth Doctor Adventures series of novels. It is the novel that sets up the "War in Heaven" setting of the Faction Paradox spin-off.
Where does this fit?
This happens in sequence with the rest of the Eighth Doctor Adventures.
The characters listed below are the series regulars, important recurring characters, and real life historical characters. If a character's appearance is a major spoiler, then their details will be hidden in spoiler tags. In general, recurring characters are not listed here on their first appearance unless they become a series regular during the story, or they are a real life historical character.
Sam Jones is a teenaged schoolgirl from London 1997 who joined the Doctor in The Eight Doctors (BBC Eighth Doctor Adventures). She is a do-gooder with a heavy interest in groups like Greenpeace and Amnesty. She has blonde hair.
Recurring and Historical Characters
UNISYC is the successor organisation to UNIT (the United Nations Intelligence Taskforce). UNIT was formed in the late 1960s to fight attempted alien invasions and the like. The Third Doctor (and later the fourth) was scientific advisor to the British branch in the early 1970s. This is the first appearance of UNISYC.
The Time Lords are the Doctor's own people. They are immensely powerful, having the technology to control time to a certain degree. We first met them in The War Games (Classic Series Season 6), where the Doctor made contact with them because he needed their help. The Time Lords sentenced him to regeneration and exiled him to Earth. They subsequently used the Doctor to perform a number of missions for them both during and after his exile. The Doctor's exile was lifted in The Three Doctors (Classic Series Season 10) after he helped the Time Lords with a crisis. The Doctor subsequently visited his home planet of Gallifrey on several occasions. During The Invasion of Time (Classic Series Season 15) and again during The Five Doctors (Classic Series Season 20) he briefly became President of the Time Lords. Time Lord technology includes devices like the Hand of Omega, capable of destroying stars, the Demat Gun (a powerful disintegrator), and the Sash of Rassilon (which protects the wearer from energy as powerful as in a black hole and allows them to convert it for their own uses) as well as TARDISes.
The Daleks are a race of mutants encased in powerful cyborg bodies whose shape is reminiscent of pepperpots. They view all other species as inferior, to be enslaved or exterminated. The Doctor first encountered them on their home planet of Skaro in The Daleks (Classic Series Season 1). He has subsequently fought them on numerous occasions in every single incarnation, including during their 22nd century occupation of Earth (The Dalek Invasion of Earth (Classic Series Season 2). In Genesis of the Daleks (Classic Series Season 12), the Time Lords sent him to interfere with their origins. In Remembrance of the Daleks (Classic Series Season 25), he was responsible for the destruction of their home planet, Skaro. In War of the Daleks (BBC Past Doctor novel), he and Sam intervened in a Dalek civil war.
The following stories and other resources are not necessary in order to follow the plot (we've summed up the essential bits for you). But being familiar with them will probably enhance your enjoyment of this story.
In The Dalek Invasion of Earth (Classic Series Season 2), the Daleks had successfully invaded Earth. The Doctor helped the human resistance movement to foil the Daleks' scheme to remove Earth's core so that they could turn it into a massive space vehicle. Later stories have established that this occupation began in 2157 and ended in 2167.
If you want more information about the future war scenario established here, then the best place to start is with Faction Paradox: The Book of the War (Faction Paradox novel), which is an exhaustive encyclopedia/short story anthology about the war. However, reading it is most definitely not necessary in order to understand Alien Bodies, and may confuse you even more.