Disturbed by the time travel experiments of the evil Dastari and Chessene, the Time Lords send the second Doctor and Jamie to investigate. Arriving on a station in deep space, they are attacked by a shock force of Sontarans and the Doctor is left for dead.
Across the gulfs of time and space, the sixth Doctor discovers that his former incarnation is very much alive. Together with Peri and Jamie he must rescue his other self before the plans of Dastari and Chessene reach their deadly and shocking conclusion...
- Countdown to Death
- Massacre on J7
- Tomb in Space
- Adios, Doña Arana
- Creature of the Darkness
- The Bell Tolls
- The Doctor's Dilemma
- Company of Madmen
- A Song for Supper
- Shockeye the Donor
- Ice Passage Ambush
- Alas, Poor Oscar
Deviations from televised story
- A scant prologue featuring what is implied to be the Time Lords in yellow robes in a violet, misty garden where the flowers grow as tall as trees is recounted briefly by Jamie. He refers to them as "chieftains" and the reference to Victoria Waterfield studying graphology is excised.
- Much of the violence and gore has been exacerbated in the novelisation, featuring grisly details of the duty officer's acidulous murder, the bullet-ridden corpses of massacred scientists, the sanguineous method in which Chessene reads the Dona Arana's mind, the Sontarans' merciless deaths, etc.
- The opening scene with the Second Doctor and Jamie's approach to Space Station Camera is mirrored with the Sixth Doctor and Peri.
- When attacked in the station's infrastructure, Peri punches Jamie out in self-defence.
- The Doctor's sombre musings at the imminent collapse of the universe are expanded. He laments the creatures that will suffer and die, not for ambition or lust for power, but simply as a byproduct of the devastation.
- A fire breaks out in the main computer room while the Sixth Doctor is focussing his mind for astral projection, forcing Peri and Jamie to move him into the corridor as the flames consume the station. He sings "Largo al Factotum" from The Barber of Seville to himself on the way back to the TARDIS.
- The Sixth Doctor is notably hesitant to fight Dastari, telling Jamie he was once a champion sampola wrestler.
- Chessene's use of coronic acid inwardly alarms Dastari, as the Rutans are the weapon's inventors and chief distributors. With it, they decimated the Sontarans at Vollotha. The Sixth Doctor notes that it was specifically tailored to attack cloned tissue and the Sontarans still have no defence against it. When Varl perishes, shielding Stike from the canisters, he notes to himself to recommend his subordinate for the Golden Role of Heroes.
- The Sixth Doctor's dispatch of Shockeye is altered in emphasis. Rather than a postmortem quip of "Your just desserts," he mutters the less ambiguous: "That was for Oscar."
- It is revealed that the Doctor has invented the gumblejack as an excuse for Peri.
- Stike sends Varl with Chessene as a last minute change which she had already anticipated.
- It is made clear that Oscar and Anita are on their way to summon help when they first summon the Sixth Doctor.
- Stike is wearing his helmet when Oscar and Anita see him, explaining their lack of reaction to his alien features.
- Dialogue between Stike and Varl about their weapons, featured in the original script, is restored.
- There are more lurid descriptions from Shockeye about how meat is prepared on Earth.
- Shockeye's musing that he has never eaten a Sontaran is replaced with him telling Dastari not to bother doing so, implying he has.
- The name of Oscar's restaurant is changed from Las Cadenas to La Piranella. It is mentioned that, despite claiming to only be working there between roles, he has been doing so for three years.
- Jamie's attack on Peri causes the Doctor to smash a glass tube in the box he is working on, explaining the gas jet.
- There are some minor dialogue alterations, such as Jamie's line "It looks like Chessene's won" being given to the Sixth Doctor.
- Oscar has a teddy which he asks Anita to look after along with his moths when he dies.
- Peri retrieves the wheelchair with her hand rather than her leg.
- Jamie's dirk embeds itself in Chessene's arm rather than deflecting the beam of her shot at the nozzle.
- Some sequences are rearranged, tending to concentrate on certain groups of characters for longer than on screen. (This creates an odd moment when the Sixth Doctor is said to be being chased by Shockeye at the same moment Chessene dies, yet manages to arrive at the cellar straight afterwards as on screen.)
- The Sixth Doctor's final vow to become a vegetarian is removed. Instead, the novelisation closes with a short summary of the authorities' reaction to the destruction at the hacienda and the murder of Oscar.
- Shockeye kills the lorry driver with a neck snap rather than hitting him across the back with a log.
Writing and publishing notes
- The publishing issue regarding making payment for using the likeness of actors in the covers of the novelisation was very much a complicated (and costly) issue at the time. It was an issue that meant this cover did not feature either of the Doctors' faces.
- The cover price for this special (collectible) novelisation (with gold foil logo), rose from £1.50 to £1.75, before dropping down to the increased price of £1.60).
- There is a suggestion that this title had a first print run of 100,000 copies (beating the previous high of 65,000 copies of The Myth Makers and Marco Polo), but the recorded figures show a first print run of only 60,000). The fact that most of these copies were sent to the USA meant that a rapid reprint was needed. The combination of the two first very-close print runs may explain the discrepancy.
- Cover Flash: The 100th DOCTOR WHO NOVEL!
- Cover Flash: INTRODUCTION BY JOHN NATHAN-TURNER
- Back page includes Fantastic Doctor Who Poster Offers without the colour images.
Additional cover images
British publication history
- W.H. Allen & Co. Ltd. UK