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Beyond the Book


Nigel Robinson is an experienced Doctor Who writer. In the mid-1980s he was editor of the Target novelisations, having previously penned several quiz books, and novelised four stories (The Sensorites, The Time Meddler, The Underwater Menace, and The Edge of Destruction). More recently, he authored the third New Adventures novel, Timewyrm: Apocalypse.

The idea Nigel Robinson submitted to Peter Darvill-Evans was basically the same plot which appears in the finished novel, but the Doctor was trapped with Ace in the London of 1909. Robinson was at first shocked at Darvill-Evans's request to remove the Doctor (so that the adventure could be considered concurrent with the following, companionless novel, Iceberg), but then saw what a good idea and a challenge it could be.

The Doctor does however have quite an influence over the book's events. Robinson sees him 'as an alien being of slightly dubious morals who isn't to be trusted', and if the Doctor were capable of plotting events in advance, then there is no need for him to be around when his plans come to fruition.

Several references to past companions such as Victoria and Barbara crop up. Robinson thinks that such continuity references should not be ignored as long as they are important to the plot; when self-referencing becomes irrelevant or intrusive, Robinson considers this a mistake - one he feels he made with his previous New Adventures novel.

The background of 1909 London - where most of the story is set - comes mostly from Robinson's knowledge of the society and politics of the time. He also received a wealth of useful information from Coutt's Bank in the Strand. The Soho pub which Bernice frequents really existed, and in fact still operates today, but under a different name - Robinson drinks there himself on occasion!

This item appeared in TSV 36 (November 1993).

Index nodes: Birthright, Beyond the Book