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The Dying Days (novel)

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The Dying Days
NA061 thedyingdays
Doctor: Eighth Doctor
Companion(s): Benny, The Brigadier
Main enemy: Xznaal, Ice Warriors
Main setting: England, 6 May 1997
Key crew
Publisher: Virgin Books
Writer: Lance Parkin
Release details
Release number: 61
Release date: 18 April 1997
Format: Paperback Book; 16 Chapters, 298 Pages
ISBN 0-426-20504-9
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Virgin New Adventures
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Bernice Summerfield New Adventures
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The Dying Days was the final release of the Virgin New Adventures line of Doctor Who novels and the only one featuring the Eighth Doctor. After this novel was published, Virgin Books forfeited the rights to produce novels featuring the Doctor to BBC Books. This marked a transition to a new series of novels featuring Bernice Summerfield as the main character while BBC Books made their own series of novels featuring the Eighth Doctor.

Publisher's summary Edit

6 May 1997

The Dying Days of the Twentieth Century

On the Mare Sirenum, British astronauts are walking on the surface of Mars for the first time in over twenty years. The National Space Museum in London is the venue for a spectacular event where the great and the good celebrate a unique British achievement.

In Adisham, Kent, the most dangerous man in Britain has escaped from custody while being transported by helicopter. In Whitehall, the new Home Secretary is convinced that there is a plot brewing to overthrow the government. In west London, MI5 agents shut down a publishing company that got too close to the top secret organisation known as UNIT. And, on a state visit to Washington, the British Prime Minister prepares to make a crucial speech, totally unaware that dark forces are working against him.

As the Eighth Doctor and Professor Bernice Summerfield discover, all these events are connected. However, soon all will be overshadowed.

This time, the Doctor is already too late.

Chapter Titles Edit

  1. What We Saw From the Ruined House
  2. Foreign Soil
  3. Return to Mars
  4. Gratuitous Violets
  5. The World At One
  6. Close Encounters
  7. Work, Rest and Play
  8. Death and Diplomacy
  9. Our Friends From Mars
  10. An Englishman's Home
  11. That Which Does Not Kill Us ...
  12. The No Doctors
  13. Earth Attacks!
  14. Look! - Up In the Sky!
  15. Going Down in History
  • Epilogue

Plot Edit

to be added

Characters Edit

References Edit

The Doctor Edit

  • The Doctor refers to himself as the Eighth Man Bound, the champion of Life and Time, the Bringer of Darkness to the Daleks and the Oncoming Storm to the Draconians, and the guy with two hearts.
  • The Doctor is calm about dying after blowing up the Martian War Rocket.

Individuals Edit

  • Lord Greyhaven makes a deal with the Ice Warriors which enables them to invade the United Kingdom.
  • Bernice is staying at the Doctor's house in Kent after getting a lift there with Kadiatu Lethbridge-Stewart and aM!xitsa.
  • Alexander Christian knew Jo Grant when she was studying her A levels.
  • Winifred Bambera is married to Ancelyn, who has gone with the Crown into exile, as befits a Knight of the Realm.
  • The Brigadier reminds Bambera that he is still technically retired, despite being the figurehead of the anti-Martian/Greyhaven rebellion.
  • At the Queen's re-coronation, the Brigadier points out the Fourth Doctor, Romana and K9 to Doris.
  • Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart is promoted to General.
  • The Doctor tells Benny that she is his longest-serving companion as of that time.
  • Xznaal, despite being an Ice Lord, doesn't wear the traditional armour, instead wearing the shell of a Warrior. According to Benny, this implies his eccentricity and is an insight into his mindset: militaristic and close-minded.
  • Bernice knows how to isolate electrics from the fuel supply of a 20th century helicopter.
  • Bernice excavated Mare Sirenum on Mars when she was twenty-four. This established her reputation as an archaeologist.
  • Bernice stole parts of her diary describing events around the UNIT/Rebel assault on Martian held London from a "tattered old paperback with a creepy eye on the cover". [1]
  • Benny receives a letter (from 2593) offering her the Edward Watkins chair of archaeology at St. Oscar's University, Dellah.
  • The Brigadier met the Eighth Doctor in Hong Kong in 1988 when they discovered the secret of the Embodiment of Gris.
  • The Brigadier spent time waiting for the Doctor in the UNIT parking bays with Bessie.
  • David Staines is Home Secretary of the United Kingdom government.
  • Bernice's 20th century knowledge speciality ranges from 1963 to 1989.
  • Veronica Halliwell is Director General of MI5.
  • Bernice can speak Martian.
  • Eve Waugh an American news reporter.

Organisations Edit

  • UNIT is much better funded than it was in the 1970s.
  • UNIT has a branch in Paris called NUIT.
  • UNIT in the past has dealt with attempted invasions by the Bandrils and Drahvins without the Doctor's help.
  • The Martian Communicators Guild is an Ice Warrior organisation.

Planets Edit

  • Mars has a perfectly breathable atmosphere, if a bit chilly, but its soil is almost completely infertile.
  • Water is a source of great wealth on Mars.

Objects Edit

Technology Edit

  • The Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to reflect an Ice Warrior's sonic blast.
  • After being blown out of the Ice Warrior's War Rocket, the Doctor creates several balloons to slow his descent out of bin bags, curtain rings and a cannister of helium.

Timeline Edit

  • The Arcturan Treaty of 2085 is the official date of peaceful first contact with aliens.

Vehicles Edit

  • The Brigadier kept Bessie in mothballs for the Doctor.

Cultural references from the real world Edit

Notes Edit

  • Although officially the final release of the Virgin Doctor Who New Adventures line, it was in fact not the last to be published. Due to production delays, a novel featuring the Seventh Doctor that had been intended for release several months earlier, So Vile a Sin, was not published until a month after this novel came out, making it, technically, the final Doctor Who NA release.
  • This was the only New Adventures book to feature the Eighth Doctor, and was the last Doctor Who book to be published by Virgin.
  • Rather than using the McCoy era Doctor Who logo on the spine, or the later New Adventures logo intended for the Summerfield novels, The Dying Days features the Virgin Books logo on the spine.
  • Prior to the release of The Company of Friends, the novel held the distinction of featuring the only appearance of Professor Bernice Summerfield with the Eighth Doctor for over ten years.
  • Virgin would continue to publish The New Adventures of Bernice Summerfield. The Dying Days ends leading Bernice to her new home at the University of Dellah.
  • This novel was the first to be re-released by BBCi on the official Doctor Who website in ebook form, accompanied by extensive notes and commentary from author Lance Parkin and new illustrations by artist Allan Bednar. It became inaccessible in 2010.
  • At the Mars landing party there are a few notable guests: Jeremy Paxman, Richard Dawkins, Chris Evans, Gillian Anderson, Richard Branson, Alan Yentob, Emma Peel and Lalla Ward (who appears as herself and "in character" as Romana II at the end of the book).
  • Benny's knowledge specialty of the 20th century actually ranges from 1963 to 1989, a reference to the period of the TV series' original run.
  • When Xznaal is seen from the point of view of Greyhaven, the Doctor, or Benny, the pronoun Parkin uses for Xznaal is "he". From anyone else's point of view, Parkin refers to Xznaal as "it", as in "Xznaal moved its scaly body".
  • The human names are also written (when viewed from the Ice Warrior's point of view) as they would pronounce them, such as Gerayhavun/Greyhaven, Xztaynz/Staines.
  • Philip Segal reportedly stated that a big alien invasion couldn't be done on the TV movie's budget because of the cost of multiple prosthetic costumes and the cost of showing a full alien invasion. The Dying Days features an alien invasion with three Ice Warriors; there are never more than two Ice Warriors in a room together throughout the book.
  • The book's concluding chapter ends with Benny initiating a sexual encounter with the Doctor, a first for the franchise in any licensed media. Debated for many years by fans, the event was again referenced in the Big Finish audio drama Benny's Story, furthering its controversy.
  • The book was notable for not having the Doctor Who logo anywhere on the cover, spine or interior, due to Virgin not having the rights to the logo introduced for the Eighth Doctor (the rights to which were owned by BBC Books) and not wanting to use the Seventh Doctor's logo; Virgin Publishing's logo was used instead. In addition, the title Doctor Who appears nowhere on the back cover or interior pages until one gets to the copyright page. There is also a brief mention on an acknowledgements page.
  • The book concludes with the afterword, "The End and a new beginning", signed by the editors of the New Adventures line, acknowledging this as the final Doctor Who novel and promoting the start of the Virgin Bernice Summerfield New Adventures line.
  • Parkin later released his original epilogue to the novel as a "final chapter" to the novel in 1997.
  • The novel's title was inspired by the lyrics of Gladys Knight's License to Kill.

E-Book illustrations Edit

Continuity Edit

Footnotes Edit

  1. This describes the cover of Lance Parkin's original A History of the Universe, which ironically doesn't cover this period.

External links Edit

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