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The First Time Space Visualiser

By Graham Howard

I'm not referring to the Time Space Visualiser as seen in The Chase, nor the first edition of the fanzine you are now reading.

The Time Space Visualiser - Project Theta Six was published in late 1979 and was advertised as the "first photographic special" of the Doctor Who Appreciation Society (DWAS). The purpose of this special was to print a large number of "lesser seen photographs" from Doctor Who linked to an original piece of fan fiction. Remember, at the time there was no video, it was before many stories had been novelised, before Doctor Who Weekly/Magazine, or indeed any of the now prevalent high quality fanzines which cover every conceivable aspect of Doctor Who. It is also interesting in that it represents an early example of (in my opinion) quality fan fiction (I confess that I find 90% of fan fiction to be extremely boring!), and also because at the time it allowed insights via text and photos into stories of which very little was widely known at the time.

The story itself was penned by Jan Vincent-Rudzki, the then President of the DWAS. The story opens in the parallel universe experienced by the third Doctor during Inferno. The Time Lords of this parallel universe are observing the Inferno project and are perplexed by the appearance of the Doctor, who does not 'exist' in their universe and claims to come from an alternative universe. The Time Lords undertake to 'follow' the Doctor's escape, so as to be able to study and observe this other universe. However, their receiving devices are unable to move far away from the Doctor without losing contact, and so their observations are restricted to glimpses of the Doctor's adventures throughout his various incarnations (up until The Invasion of Time) - hence the photos. Of interest is the Time Lord's attempt to affect a physical transference, resulting in the transferee being reduced to a 'mind force' - becoming the Great Intelligence!

Also of interest is the portrayal of Gallifrey and the Time Lords in this parallel universe. It easy to forget that even in the late 1970s there were fan controversies surrounding Doctor Who. It would seem that the portrayal of the Time Lords in The Deadly Assassin and The Invasion of Time caused a fair amount of consternation with some fans, there being all sorts of theories of Time Lord decay being concocted to explain how Time Lord society appeared in these episodes. In the story Gallifrey resembles a galactic university in which many non-Gallifreyans are able to become Time Lords, with the most advanced Time Lords being "creatures of pure energy". Perhaps it is not surprising then their shock at seeing the Gallifrey as shown in The Invasion of Time: "This was a very sad Gallifrey they saw. They could not understand what had happened to it. Perhaps some insidious force?" (Nowadays this could apply to the DWAS!).

This item appeared in TSV 22 (April 1991).