Bafflement and Devotion was most notable for the introduction of Paul Magrs into the DWU, a character who would go on to become a prominent recurring character in the Iris Wildthyme series and beyond.
The story also provided a range of fictional citations that furthered the story's meta-fictional aspects.
Summary[edit | edit source]
Paul Magrs writes about Iris Wildthyme and the Doctor Who series, while simultaneously Iris attempts to convince her companion, the Eighth Doctor, to stop being so adamant about how his past played out...
Plot[edit | edit source]
From Paul Magrs' point of view, he recalls that he was asked to write about the books he had written, and Paul mentions the impact that the Doctor Who series had on him.
Iris and the Doctor then talk about her origins, and the conflict of the Thals and the Daleks (the events that the First Doctor was a part of, after the escape from the Tribe of Gum). Iris thinks to herself that the events happened differently for her, and the Doctor is huffy about Iris' claims, and he wants to know which version of events actually happened, all those years ago.
The Doctor doesn't talk to Iris for a while, and he puts the kettle on. He's disturbed by the the fact that the claims from Iris are potentially true, in part due to his own past constantly changing. He realises that he suddenly remembers having adventures that he previously didn't do, such as being in Antarctica and seeing dinosaurs, and being there when Venice crumbled into the Adriatic. The Doctor is happy that he's experiencing these events like this, but that happiness turns to horror as he realises that this means he could live forever.
The TARDIS comes out of the Time Vortex, and the Doctor and Iris are flung into a new adventure together...
Characters[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- The Fourth Doctor is described as being Tom Baker, and the Second Doctor being Patrick Troughton.
- Iris and her companion Jenny helped the Second Doctor defeat the Dalek Supreme on Marlion.
- Paul Magrs owned all one-hundred and fifty "Terrance Dicks" novelisations.
- Paul Magrs wrote a text based on his Doctor Who books.
- Paul Magrs listened to the Geoff Love version of the "Doctor Who theme" in 1978.
- The Doctor listens to Johannes Brahms and Gustav Mahler.
- Paul mentioned that the Beryl Reid incarnation wore a silver cardigan and sensible boots.
- Iris worked for the Ministry, and she helped Geoff Love to develop the "Doctor Who theme". She did this while disguised as a cellist/Space: 1999 fan.
- Upon the Doctor asking Iris if she was retroactively injected into his past, Iris responded by saying "Who? A faction of paradox inducing psychopaths from the far future perhaps?".
- Doctor Who in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks is a novel. The Doctor notes that it heavily contradicts A book by Terrance Dicks "very badly".
- Iris recalls being on Skaro, and meeting the Aryans and the Daleks there. She remembers those events being more akin to a Philip K. Dick story.
- Paul wrote that the first incarnation of Iris was "rather like Edith Sitwell as she's described in Denton Welch's memoirs".
- Paul mentions that Iris occasionally works for MIAOW.
Citations[edit | edit source]
- The Doctor first met Iris on Hyspero. (Doctor Who and the Scarlet Empress)
- Iris had previously met the Doctor in the 18th century. (Iris Wildthyme's Old Flames)
- Iris had met the Doctor even before that, when he was exiled to the 1970s. (Doctor Who and Verdigris)
- Iris, Jenny, and the Second Doctor fought the Dalek Supreme in the diamond mines of Marlion. (Iris Wildthyme and the Fabulously Priceless Baubles of the Dalek Supreme)
- Iris was sent on an investigation of Geoff Love by the Ministry. (Iris Wildthyme and the Maestro of Doom)
- Iris mentions a faction of paradox-inducing psychopaths from the far future. (Doctor Who and Interference)
- The Doctor speculates that Iris might've come from another dimension where her claims of knowing the Doctor were true. (Doctor Who and the Blue Angel)
- The Doctor is unsure if he is a renegade, (Doctor Who and the War Games) a President, (Doctor Who and the Invasion of Time) exiled to Earth, (Doctor Who and the Auton Invasion) or [his] homeworld, (Doctor Who and the Infinity Doctors) whether he had a mother (Doctor Who: The Novelisation of the Hit TV Movie) or whether [he] had been processed out of some diabolical gene-splicing machine, (Doctor Who and Lungbarrow) or if it's all been some peculiar distraction or fantasy. (Iris Wildthyme and the Mauve Autodidact)
- Iris suggests to the Doctor that she came from a place where he doesn't exist. (Iris Wildthyme and the Gilded Utensils)
- Doctor Who in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks (Doctor Who and the Dead Planet) contradicts another book. (Doctor Who and an Unearthly Child)
- Iris once visited Skaro. (Iris Wildthyme and the Extremely Lively Planet)
- Iris' describes her life as stories, about "paradoxes, time travel, mind control, virtual selves, cloning, regression, reincarnation, talking vegetables, cybernetics, regeneration, prolepsis, analepsis, alternative dimensional instabilities, metatextuality, allegory, satire, fantasy, revisionism, cliches, plagiarism, and hoodwinkery". (The Sacred Ajai'ib of Hyspero)
- The "Edith Sitwell" Iris met all seven of her future incarnations in the Death Zone. (Iris Wildthyme's Seven of Thirteen)
- The "Shirley Bassey" Iris posed as the singer for a while. (Iris Wildthyme's Goldfinger)
- The "Beryl Reid" Iris, on Hyspero, "doggedly pursued" the Doctor as she felt she was destined to die. (Death to Iris Wildthyme)
- The "Jane Fonda" Iris worked for MIAOW in the 1960s. (Iris Wildthyme's Fabric of Time Itself (MIAOW))
- The Doctor remembers new events after his fifth incarnation had left Tegan at Heathrow Airport. (Doctor Who's Time Flight)
- After Heathrow Aiport, the Doctor remembers he and Nyssa reuniting with Tegan in Amsterdam. (Doctor Who and the Arc of Infinity)
- The Doctor remembers being in Antarctica and seeing dinosaurs (Doctor Who and the Land of the Dead) and when Venice crumbled into the Adriatic. (Doctor Who and the Stones of Venice)
- The Doctor mentions the Brigadier and his nervous breakdown. (Doctor Who and Mawdryn Undead)
- Iris Wildthyme's TARDIS makes a loud, rasping, droning noise as it rematerialises. (Iris Wildthme's Wheezing, Groaning Enigma)
Notes[edit | edit source]
- The table of contents for DWM 289 included original art of the Jane Fonda incarnation of Iris that was not included in the story itself.
- Through the description of the "Edith Sitwell" Iris, it's implied that she is the same incarnation of Iris that first appeared in Magrs' Phoenix Court series.
- The short story was later reprinted in the 2021 charity anthology Bafflement and Devotion: Iris at the Edges.
Continuity[edit | edit source]
- The Eighth Doctor's encounter with Iris on Hyspero is mentioned. (PROSE: The Scarlet Empress)
- Iris' adventure with the Second Doctor and Jenny Winterleaf in the diamond mines of Marlion is mentioned. (PROSE: Verdigris)
- The Eighth Doctor says he can't remember if he had a mother or if he was created out of a gene-splicing machine. (TV: Doctor Who, PROSE: Lungbarrow)
- Iris claims that it was she who was present on the Dalek city and not the Doctor. However Iris' version of events involved the Daleks experimenting with hallocinogens and weird sex. (TV: The Daleks)
- Paul Magrs wrote stories about Iris. This character and his profession would be expanded upon in PROSE: Brenda's B&B, The Magrs Conundrum!, Party Fears Two, Parsley Sage, Rosemary and Wildthyme.
- The events of TV: Time-Flight and Arc of Infinity are mentioned.
- The Doctor recalls the events of AUDIO: The Land of the Dead and AUDIO: The Stones of Venice.
- Doctor Who in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks is shared between Time Lords. (PROSE: The Taking of Planet 5)