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Hyspero has been ruled for thousands of years by the Scarlet Empresses, creatures of dangerous powers — powers that a member of the Doctor's own race is keen to possess herself: the eccentric time traveller and philanderer known only as Iris Wildthyme.
As the real reasons for Iris's obsession become clear, the Doctor and Sam must embark on a perilous journey across deserts, mountains, forests and oceans. Both friends and foes are found among spirits, djinns, alligator men and golden bears — but in a land where the magical is possible, is anything really as it seems?
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- Eighth Doctor
- Sam Jones
- Iris Wildthyme
- The Cyborg Duchess
- The spider
- The Spider Duchess
- Major Angela
- The Mock Turtle
- The first Scarlet Empress
- The current Scarlet Empress
- Our Lady of the Flowers
- The Vizier
- The Doctor, Sam and Iris visit Hyspero in 9968.
- Aja'ib is a book of fantastic stories, tales and adventures.
- Romana II once dragged the Doctor to an opera in Milan. After that they went to see the soprano hermaphrodites of Alpha Centauri.
- Sam sings ABBA songs with Iris on their road trip.
- The Doctor describes himself as an ethnomethodologist.
- The Doctor recalls "jumping off an Ice Warrior ship over Central London. Scuba diving with Zygons. Causing havoc once again on Skaro."
- Iris was not fond of the Seventh Doctor.
Foods and beverages
- Iris consumes a variety of alcohol, mostly gin.
- Sam drinks too much of the crystallised wine.
- Gila buys some fish.
- The Doctor offers the Mock Turtle a jelly baby prior to travelling through the vortex in Iris' bus.
- Iris was mentions that she's met some of her other selves via time scoop.
- The Doctor and Iris both know that the Death Zone is no larger than North Wales.
- On Gallifrey, regeneration is treated the same way that sex is treated on Earth.
- Iris mentions the Doctor has collaborated with Davros, Napoleon Bonaparte, Al Capone, the Rani and Adolf Hitler.
- The Doctor and Iris met Oscar Wilde in Paris just after Wilde's imprisonment.
- The Doctor and Jo Grant met with Iris and they met Gertrude Stein and Pablo Picasso just after the Doctor and Jo had left Spiridon.
- Only the heart of the Cyborg Duchess is flesh. She joins with the giant spider to become a symbiotic creature.
- The Mock Turtle was locked in stasis in ice on a plinth over looking the ocean. He's mildly telepathic. His hind legs are hooves.
- Sam doesn't like Pink Floyd.
Iris Wildthyme and the Doctor
- Iris claims to have survived "Giant Spiders on Metebelis Three, the Cyberman tombs of Telos, the Drashigs in feeding frenzy on their foetid swamp world."
- Iris has also recently escaped Xeriphas.
- Iris refers to the Master as a "phallocentric dope".
- The Doctor challenges Iris' claims, stating, "You didn't foil the Dalek invasion of Earth in the twenty-second century. I did! It was me, Susan, and Ian and Barbara! And the Cyber tombs on Telos...You weren't there Iris. You weren't to be seen!"
- Iris replies by saying that in her version, she travelled with her "glamorous young assistant" Jeremy.
- Whilst in a river with patriarchal psychic river jellyfish-like creatures, Sam is telepathically contacted by said patriarchal creatures, who tell her that the Doctor was woven on a loom and only thinks he has a human mother.
- The Doctor recalls having Christmas dinner with Iris, Tegan and Turlough.
- Iris once proposed to the Doctor in Venice.
- Iris once travelled with an "obtuse shape-shifter who loved nothing better than to spend much of his time as a lippy garrulous penguin."
- Kroton the Cyberman is a friend of Iris.
- Iris astral projects herself around Hyspero while everyone sleeps in Major Angela's house with the bears.
- Bears that shave their golden fur live in the Forest of Kestheven.
- Sam sees Draconian princes, Spiridons in purple furs and Martians in armour on the streets of Hyspero.
- The Doctor mentions vampires to Sam while discussing the borders between magic and science.
- According to the Doctor the Chelonian version of Cinderella had to be seen to be believed.
- Iris is sick because she took high tea with a Draconian prince and ate a live Kaled mutant from the shell.
- Iris Wildthyme's TARDIS responds to Iris' voice commands.
- Sam and Gila trade a dismantled and useless etheric beam locator for some bread.
- The Scarlet Guards have T-Mat-like devices on their belts.
- The Doctor describes travelling through the Vortex as "vworp vworp".
- This novel is often narrated in first person by Iris Wildthyme, Gila, Sam Jones and the Doctor.
- There are numerous references to past stories.
- There are bronze and verdigris towers in Hypero. Sam also bathes in a verdigris tub (there are a few other references). Verdigris is a novel Paul Magrs wrote after this novel which also features Iris Wildthyme.
- Sam has a dream, which is probably not a telepathic trance where she and the Doctor had just left Victorian London with several slumbering Skarasen. She notices the Doctor's Volkswagen Beetle. The Doctor in the dream shows her his "Citizens Advice Bureau" which are seven heads on spikes.
- "Really, Doctor, this is hardly -" (Third Doctor)
- "You see, my dear, it's very simple..." (First Doctor)
- "I'm not exactly breaking the Laws of Time, but -" (Second Doctor)
- "There were once three sisters and they lived at the bottom of a treacle well..." (Fourth Doctor)
- "Only in the direst of emergencies can you -" (Fifth Doctor)
- "Nice? Nice?" (Sixth Doctor)
- "I saw this coming." (Seventh Doctor)
- This is Iris Wildthyme's first full novel appearance. She first appeared in PROSE: Old Flames.
- Iris regenerates into the blonde version next seen in PROSE: Femme Fatale.
- The Doctor thinks back over his most recent adventures: Skaro, (PROSE: War of the Daleks) London, (PROSE: The Bodysnatchers) San Francisco, (TV: Doctor Who and/or PROSE: Vampire Science) and the House of Lungbarrow. (PROSE: Lungbarrow)
- The Doctor mentions having been put on trial, (TV: The Trial of a Time Lord) exiled, (TV: Spearhead from Space) summoned to carry out ridiculous tasks, (TV: Genesis of the Daleks, The Brain of Morbius) and "dragged back to your ancestral home to atone for sins that weren't even yours." (PROSE: Lungbarrow)
- Sam has a dream sequence which occurs just after PROSE: The Bodysnatchers.
- While entertaining the birds of paradise the Doctor mentions many of his past adventures.
- When "he was sent to avert the genesis of the dreams and desires of one particular historical despot". (TV: Genesis of the Daleks)
- When he met "the vicious slime-like beast in the pit that only [he] could befriend and talk to". (TV: The Creature from the Pit)
- When he "was forced to battle a multi-legged fiend that secreted acid from every pore in an arena watched by some million or more". (COMIC: Doctor Who and the Iron Legion)
- When he visited "the world at the edge of the cosmos where [he] fell into a puddle and met the last known and very strangest creature in the world". (TV: Planet of Evil)
- When he "went to the centre of the world and met people for whom time had stood still". (TV: Doctor Who and the Silurians)
- When he encountered "the demon who lived under a church and unleashed himself one sacred night". (TV: The Dæmons)
- The Doctor recalls the events of PROSE: The Dying Days (jumping off an Ice Warrior over central London), scuba diving with Zygons (PROSE: The Bodysnatchers) and causing havoc (again) on Skaro. (PROSE: War of the Daleks)
- The Doctor and Iris perform a mind-sharing ritual much like the Second Doctor and Third Doctor once did. (TV: The Three Doctors)
- The Discontinuity Guide to: The Scarlet Empress at The Whoniverse
- The Cloister Library: The Scarlet Empress