Love and War (Cornell novel)

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Doctor Who book
Book cover
Love and War
Series Virgin New Adventures
Release number 9
Featuring Seventh Doctor
Ace, Bernice
Writer Paul Cornell
Publisher Virgin Books
ISBN ISBN 0-426-20385-2
Release date 15 October 1992

Love and War is an original novel written by Paul Cornell and based on the long-running British science fiction television series Doctor Who. It features the Seventh Doctor, Ace and introduces a new companion, Bernice Summerfield. A prelude to the novel, also penned by Cornell, appeared in Doctor Who Magazine #192.[1]

An audio adaptation of the novel was released by Big Finish Productions in October 2012 to mark the twentieth anniversary of the character of Bernice Summerfield.

Plot[edit]

Ace returns to Perivale to attend the funeral of her childhood friend Julian. Despite the atmosphere of the funeral, she takes comfort that she still has the Doctor and returns to the TARDIS.

In the 26th century, the planet Heaven, has been designated as a cemetery for the dead of various races, of which there are many at the moment, as Earth and Draconia are in the middle of a war with the Daleks. In addition to the military presence and various civilian settlements on the planet, there is also a community of Travelers and a group of archeologists, led by Prof. Bernice Summerfield. Bernice (Benny to her friends), is looking for clues to the function a mysterious arch-shaped monument, left by Heaven's long extinct original inhabitants about whom nothing is known. In the main settlement of Joycetown, there is also a religious sect called the Church of the Vacuum, led by brother Phaedrus, who preach that the universe is without meaning and that people should give themselves over to the vacuum of space. In the middle of one of their rituals where a member of the group is being sacrificed the victim is taken over by an alien presence, that announces it is coming to Heaven and the Church must do its bidding. The Doctor and Ace arrive on the planet looking for a book the Doctor wants called the 'Papers of Felsecar', which he believes he can find in a library of forbidden texts the Earth authorities have stored on Heaven. However, the librarian claims he hasn't seen the book. Outside Ace bumps into one of the travelers called Jan, whom the Doctor promptly saves from the attentions of Kale, one of the soldiers station on Heaven. Ace goes with Jan back to the camp and meets his friends, including Roisa, Jan's on again off again lover, Maire (a Dalek killer who wears one of their guns as a trophy) and Benny. Walking back she tells Benny about the TARDIS and her own background. As one of Benny's specialist subjects is 20th-century history, she knows that no matter how strange her story, Ace is telling the truth. Also at the camp is Christopher, the traveler's sexless high priest, who is beginning to sense evil approaching.

The Doctor visits Miller, the man in charge of the IMC military force on Heaven. Miller knows about the Doctor through legends that describe him as the "Oncoming Storm" and tells him that his instruments keep picking up a vast sphere in orbit, but the sphere keeps vanishing before they can identify it. Worried about what this means the Doctor meets Benny at her dig site and helps her access a hidden chamber beneath the arch, where they find the body of one of the long vanished Heavanites and a message written on the walls. Outside a sniper tries to shoot them, but Benny wounds the attacker in the arm and they flee.

At the traveler's camp, Ace joins Jan and the others in the virtual reality realm, known as Puterspace, where the travelers have constructed their own area called the Great Wheel. Jan is greeted by the archetypical god of universal jokes, The Trickster, who torments Jan with a goblet. Jan tells Ace that he once stole such a goblet from the Church of the Vacuum. Jan doesn't agree with their concepts of sacrifice, because long ago when he and Christopher were drafted, they volunteered for experimental drug trials, but Jan lost his nerve at the last moment and Christopher took his for him, with the result that he gained psychic abilities and lost his gender. As the travelers gather at the Wheel, Roisa tells them all that she plans to leave the group, but before she can explain a creature breaks into the Wheel. Christopher holds it off while the others escape, but his body is killed in the process.

The Travelers hold a funeral for Christopher’s body and Ace spends the night with the grieving Jan. That night, Ace experiences a strange dream in which the Doctor meets Death and offers himself as a sacrifice to her instead of Ace. Death reminds the Doctor that he sacrificed his sixth body to become "Time's Champion" and says that instead of Ace, she will taken another life. The following morning the Doctor is unsettled to learn Ace has slept with Jan and changes the subject to the book he's looking for. Ace goes to the library and realises that the librarian is being watched, but still manages to locate the book. Miller sends Kale to man an orbiting space station in case of attack.

The Doctor meets Jan and realises that he is really in love with Ace. Seemingly making his mind up about something, the Doctor enters Puterspace, only to be attacked by Phaedrus and members of the Church of the Vacuum and trapped in a recreation of his third regeneration, where he was dying of radiation poisoning, alone in the TARDIS. Ace breaks in to rescue him and the scene shifts to a recreation of Ace's home and one of her arguments with her mother. Suddenly, Julian appears and Ace realises that he has been absorbed intyo the alien's group consciousness. With the help of Christopher, whose mind still lives on inside Puterspace despite the death of his body, Julian regains enough of his individuality to help Ace and the Doctor escape. In the confusion, Phaedrus is trapped in his own worst memory, of the time when he performed the mercy killing of his dying mother.

That night the Doctor leads the travelers as they break into the library, but the librarian turns before their eyes into a fungus-like creature. The Doctor kills the creature by setting it on fire and retrieves the book. The Doctor tells Miller that Kale has also been infected by the creatures and it was him who shot at the Doctor and Benny. He has similarly infected everyone on the space station via fungal spores and the planet is now defenseless and they cannot call for help.

The Doctor tells Ace to end her relationship with Jan, but she thinks he is simply jealous and doesn't want her to abandon him. The 'Papers of Felsecar' contains a message from a future Doctor, who has left behind the cypher to translate the Heavenite message. Ace spends the night with Jan who reveals that his secret name is Aradath, which means 'big fire', in relation to the prokinetic abilities he gained from the military drugs. Suddenly, a cloud of fungal spores drifts into the camp, but in the confusion it is impossible to tell who was infected. Christopher appears before Ace, in a reanimated corpse. He warns her that if she stays with Jan she will be forced to make a sacrifice.

The message on the wall is warning that confirms the Doctor's worst fears. Everyone of the billions of dead bodies on Heaven has been infected by the fungus. In orbit Kale tries to crash the station and destroy the dig site. The Doctor and his friends break into the church (where he and Benny disrupt the Churches mantras by singing Try a Little Tenderness) and demands to speak to their masters. Ace, fearing that she will lose Jan, threatens to kill Phaedrus unless his masters call off the attack. Kale promptly self-destructs the platform.

The Doctor explains that the fungus is an alien life form, known as the Hoothi. The Hoothi feed on death and decay, and travel in giant organic spheres filled with toxic gases that are invisible to tracking systems. They are master planners, laying traps for their enemies across time; everyone infected by the spores is now linked to the Hoothi group mind, and they can use them to gather intelligence or do their bidding, before eventually transforming them into fungus creatures. The Heavanites were a race that the Hoothi regularly harvested and used brainwashing to convince that they were gods. The body at the dig is of a woman who rebelled against them and the archway is a telescope she built to spot the approaching spheres. With no way of getting help the Doctor seemingly gives up hope of beating them. Roisa, realising that she is infected, straps explosives to her body and goes to destroy the Church, but she is unable to pull the trigger and Phaedrus leads her to the crypt to meet her new masters. Jan, furious with the Doctor for doing nothing, decides to take action himself. He thinks that, with the help of the telescope, they might be able to attack the sphere in a shuttle with explosives. Although he tries to leave Ace behind, she comes along anyway. Ace, though, leaves a note for the Doctor suggesting that, if she doesn't make it back, he should take Benny as his new companion. Approaching the sphere she asks Jan to marry her and he accepts, but at the last moment everyone except Ace explodes into the fungus — including Jan. In the confusion, Ace falls into an escape pod and falls back to the surface.

Realising Ace has gone on the attack, something he expected Jan to stop her from, the Doctor leaps into action. He and Benny go in the TARDIS to the sphere, where the Doctor offers the fungi one last chance to surrender, which the giant fungus refuses to do. They have already used Roisa to infect the Doctor and threaten to convert him unless he does what they want. As they leave, Benny sees her traveler friends, including Jan, now no-more than walking corpses. All across Heaven the bodies of the dead rise out of the ground and attack the military bases and towns. Benny finds Ace in the forest, looking for revenge. Christopher appears, and assures Ace that Jan was not manipulated into his death but went of his own free will; however, Benny is an expert at reading body language, and knows that he is lying. Phaedrus enters Puterspace in a last attempt to make peace with his dead mother, but Ace follows hims and attacks him.

Confident of victory the Hoothi sphere lands to pick up the dead and the infected. The Doctor goes to the Church and jacks into Puterspace, ostensibly to pull Ace out so they can escape. But as Ace watches in horror, the Doctor and Christopher use Phaedrus’s link to the Hoothi, their own links to Puterspace, and Christopher’s old friendship, to contact Jan’s remains through the neural link still embedded in his fungus-ridden body. There is still a bit of Jan left in the Hoothi group mind, and the Doctor reminds him of his secret name. Jan uses his pryokinisis to burn the Hoothi sphere, igniting the gas in the sphere and destroying them. Jan realises that the Doctor had always planned to send Jan to his death and did it despite knowing Ace's feelings for him.

In shock, Ace wanders into the basement of the church, only to find Phaedrus and Roisa and a single surviving Hoothi, left behind as a back-up. At the last moment, Maire the only other surviving traveler, emerges carrying a Dalek gun and kills Roisa. Ace calls out to Julian inside the Hoothi mind and the creature explodes.

Returning for Ace, the Doctor is confronted by Christopher, who dies in his arms to remind him of what he has done. The Doctor tries to apologise to Ace, but she angrily walks out of the TARDIS resolving to travel with Maire. Although she is also displeased with him, Bernice agrees to travel with the Doctor as she thinks he needs someone to remind him who he is and why he fights evil. Their first journey is back to Earth to release some of the owls, that can no longer survive in Heaven's ecosystem. In the distance Ace and Julian are driving towards the beach.

Continuity[edit]

  • Ace returns in the book Deceit, although the fallout from Jan's death lasts for several further books. Her brief departure here was a device of range editor, Peter Darvill-Evans, to allow for a change in her character.
  • This book introduces the character of Bernice Summerfield and establishes the main aspects of her character and backstory; such as the death of her mother and disappearance of her father, which is latter resolved in Return of the Living Dad. She returns to the planet Heaven in the audio play Death and the Daleks, also by Paul Cornell.
  • The war between Earth, the Draconians and the Daleks, follows on from the events of Frontier in Space. The lunar penal colony in which the Doctor was imprisoned in that serial is also mentioned.
  • This novel establishes that the Third Doctor spent ten years lost in the vortex before regenerating in Planet of the Spiders. This is apparently one of the Doctor's worst memories as he was alone and helpless.
  • The Doctor's deal with Death is ultimately resolved in the novel version of Human Nature, where Death takes the life of the humanised Doctor, Dr John Smith, in place of Ace here. This is also the first book to mention the concept that the Seventh Doctor deliberately killed his previous self in Time and the Rani, which is further explored in Head Games.

Hoothi[edit]

The fungoid monsters in this novel, the Hoothi, were named in a throwaway reference in the 1976 Fourth Doctor serial The Brain of Morbius. A form of sentient fungus-like biomass, the Hoothi sought to expand their influence throughout time and space. In order to achieve this, they wished to overthrow the Doctor's homeworld of Gallifrey. They believed that by conquering Gallifrey they would gain the ability to spread their spores to all parts of space and time.

As in the throwaway line in The Brain of Morbius, the Hoothi travel in gas filled dirigibles the size of a small moon. The gas comes from the decomposing corpses consumed inside. The dirigibles are invisible to almost all forms of tracking.

Using Hoothi filaments (resembling white fibres) they were able to forcibly control the minds and bodies of living (and deceased) lifeforms and absorb the knowledge and memories of infected intelligent beings to expand their own knowledge. In this respect, they resemble a biological equivalent to the Cybermen. The filaments are blown throughout time and space and can infect people without their knowledge and lie dormant for years until activated.

Audio Adaptation[edit]

Love and War
Big Finish Productions audio play
Featuring Seventh Doctor
Ace, Bernice
Writer adapted by Jacqueline Rayner
Director Gary Russell
Executive producer(s) Nicholas Briggs
Jason Haigh-Ellery
Set between Nightshade and Transit
Release date October 2012

Love and War is a Big Finish Productions audio drama based on the long-running British science fiction television series Doctor Who. This is the first time that Big Finish has adapted a Doctor Who novel into a full-cast audio story. The Virgin-published novels Birthright and Just War were adapted as Bernice Summerfield stories, but altered to remove the Doctor. Four other Bernice Summerfield solo novels were also adapted for audio.

Cast[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Doctor Who Magazine, #192, pp. 16-17

External links[edit]

Reviews[edit]