Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Doctor Who references in non-Doctor Who books

"It seemed to him, as he idled across the channels, that the box was full of freaks: there were mutants – 'Mutts' – on Dr Who, bizarre creatures who appeared to have been crossbred with different types of industrial machinery: forage harvesters, grabbers, donkeys, jackhammers, saws, and whose cruel priest-chieftains were called Mutilasians; children's television appeared to be exclusively populated by humanoid robots and creatures with metamorphic bodies, while the adult programmes offered a continual parade of the misshapen human by-products of the newest notions in modern medicine, and its accomplices, modern disease and war.”
Saladin Chamcha watches The Mutants in Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses (1988), p. 405.
"A collection of movie monsters are posed all along the top of the bookshelf. On instinct, I pick up the one that looks like an upside-down dustbin with rows of studs down the side. As I do, it says 'Exterminate!' and I nearly drop it. The head comes right off. There's a bankie of dope inside. And it's quality, if I'm any judge of substances. And I am."
Zinzi December fails to recognise a Dalek in Lauren Beukes's Zoo City (2010), p. 113.
"This man was wearing what looked like a Smurf hat and what I recognised as an Edwardian smoking jacket - don't ask me why I know what an Edwardian smoking jacket looks like: let's just say it has something to do with Doctor Who and leave it at that."
The first hint Peter Grant is a fan in Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers of London (2011), pp. 22-3.
"Tardis fanny n. A deceptively spacious snatch. A disappointing cathedral when one was expecting a priest's hole."
"The twins watched copious amounts of television (Julia joked that they had to learn the language somehow), but tonight they seemed to be making a point of sitting down to watch a particular programme. It turned out to be Doctor Who.
   Elspeth hovered above them, lying on her stomach, chin resting on folded arms. Isn't there anything else on TV? She was a snob about science fiction and hadn't seen an episode of Doctor Who since the early eighties. Eh, I suppose it's better than nothing. She watched Julia and Valentina watching the television. They are their soup slowly from mugs and looked keen. Elspeth happened to glance at the screen in time to see the Doctor walk out of the Tardis and into a defunct spaceship.
   That's David Tennant! Elspeth zoomed over to the television and sat herself a foot away from it. The Doctor and his companions had discovered an eighteenth-century French fireplace on a spaceship. A fire burned in the hearth. I want a fire, Elspeth thought. She had been experimenting with warming herself over the flames of the stove on the rare occasions that the twins cooked anything. The Doctor had crouched down by the fire and was conversing with a little girl in Paris in 1727 who seemed to be on the other side of the fireplace. Is it sad to fancy David Tennant when you're dead? This is a very strange programme. The little girl turned out to be the future Madame de Pompadour. Clockwork androids from the spaceship were trying to steal her brain.
   'Cyber-steampunk or steam-cyberpunk?' asked Julia. Elspeth had no idea what she meant. Valentina said, 'Look at her hair. Do you think we could do that?'
   'It's a wig,' said Julia. The Doctor was reading Madame de Pompadour's mind. He put his hands on her head, palms enclosing her face, fingers delicately splayed around her ears. Such long fingers, Elspeth marvelled. She placed her small hand on top of David Tennant's. The screen was deliciously warm. Elspeth sunk her hand into it, just an inch or so.
   'God, that's weird,' said Valentina. There was a dark silhouette of a woman's hand superimposed over the Doctor's. He let go of Madame de Pompadour's face, but the black hand remained where it was. Elspeth took her hand away; the screen hand stayed black. 'How did you do that?' said the Doctor. Elspeth thought he was speaking to her, then realised that Madame de Pompadour was answering him. I must have burned out the screen. What if I could do that with my face? She tucked her entire self into the TV and found herself looking out through the screen. It was wonderful inside the television, quite warm and pleasantly confining. Elspeth had only been in there for a second or two when the twins saw the screen go black. The TV died."
A ghost excited by The Girl in the Fireplace, in Audrey Niffenegger's Her Fearful Symmetry (2009), pp. 132-3.


Illustration by BH Robinson of "Electro-Magnetic Waves", from David Carey, 'How it works': Television, (1968) p. 21.
"During an interview for Rolling Stone in November 1973, Bowie launched into a disquisition on song's place in his planned Ziggy Stardust stage production: 'The end comes when the infinites arrive. They really are a black hole, but I've made the people because it would be very hard to explain a black hole on stage ... Ziggy is advised in a dream by the infinites to write the coming of a starman, so he writes "Starman", which is the first news of hope that the people have heard. So they latch onto it immediately. The starmen that he is talking about are called the infinites, and they are black-hole jumpers. Ziggy has been talking about this amazing spaceman who will be coming down to save the earth. They arrive somewhere in Greenwich Village.' Bowie's affinity with home-grown science-fiction permeates much of his work, and he has always enjoyed this Quatermass-style juxtaposition of the fantastic with the banal, of the mystical with the homely, of black holes with Greenwich village. Remarkably, this account of 'black-hole jumping' and of Ziggy's ultimate fate ('When the infinites arrive, they take bits of Ziggy to make themselves real because in their original state they are anti-matter and cannot exist in our world') is identical to the storyline of the BBC's tenth anniversary Doctor Who special The Three Doctors, a high-profile reunion of the show's lead actors which had been broadcast a few months earlier, while Bowie was in London recording Aladdin Sane."
The origins of the song "Starman" in Nicholas Pegg, The Complete David Bowie - Expanded and Updated Sixth Edition (2011), p. 236. (It's not the only reference to  Doctor Who in the book.)
Any more? Ideally, with page references, please...

Care of Sean McGhee of stylish pop band Artmagic:
"'This is it', says Chris. He tells us about his 'really good dream' last night. 'I was in Dr Who and the drawings on the carpets were satanic messages. It had chases and everything.'"
David Bryher reminds me of this one (which nicks from descriptions of the fourth and fifth Doctors in the works of the all-mighty Terrance Dicks):
"[The Pirate Captain's] years of staring at the ocean had given him a nice even tan, and when asked to describe himself in letters to pen friends he would tend to note that he was 'all teeth and curls' but with a 'pleasant, open face'."
Ian Farrington supplies this one:
"Inside were long rows of blue teleportation booths. Their shape and color reminded me of Doctor Who's TARDIS."
Ernest Cline, Ready Player One, p. 73.

The actor Anthony Keetch provided the above, from a strip in the 1981 Shiver and Shake Annual, pp. 90-6.

Paul Scoones sent in a frankly outrageous four spots:
"‘We waited for a minute but ... nothing. The Encephalovision simply showed static. But then, Daphne suffered an overload of sensory input, and her buffer started to fill. We started receiving pictures a minute after that. These are the first images ever of the Dark Reading Matter!’ Tuesday flipped a switch, and the playback began. At first it was difficult to make out anything at all, but soon shapes started to form on the screen. Strange creatures that looked a lot like pepper pots with bumps all over their lower body, a domed head and a sink plunger sticking out in front. ‘What are they?’ I asked. ‘We think they’re called Daleks,’ said Tuesday, ‘an early type.’ ‘You’re saying the Dark Reading Matter is populated by Daleks?’ ‘No – we believe this might be a lost Doctor Who episode, from one of the master tapes wiped in the seventies.’ ‘Wiped because they didn’t have room to store it?’ ‘Probably because it wasn’t very good,’ said the Wingco. ‘It’s possible the Dark Reading Matter might contain all forms of lost or discarded storytelling endeavour.’ ‘Or Daphne has a Dalek fixation. You know how obsessive dodos can be.’ ‘All too well,’ said Tuesday, looking across at Pickwick, who was on the floor attempting to sort dust particles into their various colours, ‘but it wasn’t only Daleks. Watch the rest.’"
Jasper Fforde, The Woman Who Died A Lot (2012), pp. 267-8. 
"‘And you are here now … because?’ ‘Landen said he’d videotape Dr Who for me, and the Daleks are my favourite.’ ‘I’m more into the Sontarans myself,’ said Miles. ‘Humph!’ said Joffy. ‘It’s what I would expect from someone who thinks Jon Pertwee was the best Doctor.’ Landen and I stared at him, unsure of whether we should agree, postulate a different theory – or what. ‘It was Tom Baker,’ said Joffy, ending the embarrassed silence. Miles made a noise that sounded like ‘conventionalist’, and Landen went off to fetch the tape. … ‘Here it is,’ said Landen, returning with a video. ‘Remembrance of the Daleks. Where did Thursday go?’"
Jasper Fforde, First Among Sequels (2007), pp. 137-8. 
"How was he supposed to put across to them that art was observation, art was the captured stuff of life? They thought they had eyes but they didn't. They saw nothing. Back at the end of the previous term, he thought that he'd struck a glimmer of understanding in one or two; he'd set the class to draw from memory an old-style telephone box, of which there was one right outside the gates. They passed it every day. Some of them had probably even vandalised it. But nobody could get the shape of it, or get the windows right. One boy even put a light on the top of his, like the police box in Doctor Who."
Stephen Gallagher, Nightmare, With Angel (1992), p. 36.
"‘If he kept his answers short and pertinent. it was still more than possible to pass. So far, so good. What would be slightly trickier was cramming a whole month's revision into minus thirty-five minutes. Thirty-five minutes was hard enough, but minus thirty-five minutes - well, you'd have to be Dr Who.’"
Grant Naylor, Red Dwarf: Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers (1989), p. 80.
Paul also sent a link to an archive of a column in his fanzine TSV, where readers sent in Doctor Who references.

M Owczarski points out that Mary Robinette Kowal admits to sneaking Doctor Who into the regency:
"Look for him on Page 144 in the hardcover [of Glamour in Glass]. Starting with the line, 'Before Jane could decide on the merits of this argument, voices and footsteps in the hall announced the arrival of the doctor, a tall, slender fellow, with a shock of dark hair.'"
Alexander Wilkinson sent me this exhaustive list of references to Doctor Who in Star Trek.

Writer Jonathan Morris sent this, on the subject of Conan Doyle and the Cottingley fairies:
"But he was being stupid, too, because if you look at the pictures you can see that the fairies look just like fairies in old books and they have wings and dresses and tights and shoes, which is like aliens landing on the earth and being like Daleks from Doctor Who..."
Simon Curtis looked this review of The Android Invasion part two:
"Saturday, 29 November [1975]I saw the TV news. 'Dr Who' gets more and more silly. Bruce Forsyth too ill to do his 'Generation Game' so Roy Castle took it over. He is marvellous. Can't understand why he's never become a big name, he's got talent, looks & technical brilliance ... lovely person."
Russell Davies (ed.), The Kenneth Williams Diaries (1994), p. 503.
Writer Piers Beckley, a connoisseur of such things, provided this:
"Down by the river, she had been so entranced by the naked man that she had paid only cursory attention to his scattered clothing. But now, his strange outfit intrigued her.
   What she had taken for a jacket was in fact a long Edwardian frock coat in black crushed velvet, which he wore with grey trousers, a black and grey striped brocade waistcoat and a wing-collared shirt than was unfastened to show his chest. Slung around his neck was a rather mangled length of heavy grey silk which appeared to be the remains of a cravat. The whole ensemble was crumpled and dusty - especially the shirt - and there were grass stains on the grey cloth of his trousers, but he still projected a picture of forlorn elegance. He couldn't be a New Age traveller. He looked more like an escapee from the Victoria and Albert museum, or a Tussaud's mannequin, touched by God and come to life."
Portia Da Costa, The Stranger (1997), pp15-16.
Stephen Elsden sent this assessment of The Underwater Menace part four, dated Sunday, 5 February, 1967:
"On Saturday I was watching an episode of Dr Who and spotted a little boy in that called Frazer Hines. So I rang Willes up and told him. He said, 'My word, you are going to enjoy yourself on this production, aren't you?' He said he's spoken to Routledge. And he thought he'd probably get on to Bob Stephens as well. They are going to do it in August."
John Lahr (ed.), The Orton Diaries, p. 79.
My esteemed editor, Jacqueline Rayner, sent this:
"'Hi, Dad.' Ben scarcely turned his head. He was deep in Doctor Who." (cont.)
Dorothy Simpson, Last Seen Alive, p. 10.
The horrific Mark Morris couldn't remember the Doctor Who references in his own books, but offered up:
"Then we went home to watch 'Doctor Who'. It was good, only Jim got all excited about watching the giant maggots chase Doctor Who and nearly had to go to bed."
Ramsay Campbell, "The Man in the Underpass", in the collection Alone with the Horrors (1994), p. 84.
The following led to Matthew presenting a documentary on the DVD of The Talons of Weng-Chiang about this very subject:
"[Thomas Burke's disavowal of the image of the Limehouse opium den as "another story for the nursery" did not stop its prevalence in popular culture.] Nor did it present these sinister visions being projected back on the nineteenth century, to generate retrospectively - in sources as various as academic work on Edwin Drood, film adaptations of Conan Doyle and episodes of Doctor Who - a Victorian East End populated by divan-sprawled dope-fiends."
Matthew Sweet, Inventing the Victorians (2001), p. 91.
My friend Camilla R found two references from the same book:
“The scores of in-jokes and shared history and special knowledge I couldn’t imagine having with anyone ever again, not without a Tardis to whisk me back to being twenty.”
Mhairi McFarlane, You Had Me At Hello, p. 82. 
“The grimy exterior gives way to a grimier interior, a basement with bar stools and a big Wurlitzer-style jukebox, like a super-sized garish toy or leftover Doctor Who prop. The lighting is set to ‘gloaming’, the air perfumed with an unmistakable acidic base note of unclean latrine.”
Ibid. p. 240.
I found this one:
"Which 'doctor' travelled through time to help the Greeks at Troy? (Clue: He gave them the idea about building a wooden horse.)

Answer: Doctor Who in the 1980s British television series. (Captain Kirk of the Starship Enterprise also popped back to Troy in an episode of Star Trek, but Kirk decided not to interfere. Troy must have been full of time travellers and their machines. Strange that Homer didn't mention them in his poems!)"
Terry Deary, Horrible Histories: Groovy Greeks, (1996 [2001]), 2007 edition,  p. 100.

9 comments:

Alex Wilcock said...

Not adding, I'm afraid, but while of course The Satanic Verses has a riff on Doctor Who, it's a bizarre urban legend propagated by over-literal fans a couple of decades ago that this is a direct reference to The Mutants.

It's not impossible that he vaguely remembered watching that story; it seems more likely that it was just an obvious derogatory shortening that occurred to more than one writer; but, as your putting the term in context shows, it's much more than that one word, and surely the point is that Rushdie is making up his own story that has nothing to do with Bob and Dave's (and, indeed, has precisely the opposite message), meditating on how culture makes the 'other' scary and unsubtly flagging what sort of 'other' gets the grief from it through his "Mutilasians".

I didn't know the fearful symmetry of Niffenegger riffing off the riffing off of her Wife, though...

0tralala said...

Hmm... I think of all the stories, The Mutants is the best fit for what Rushdie describes, and the themes of the story match the book, too. But interesting...

Tom Murphy said...

Isn't he on the list of guests at the 'Reunion Party' in Mike Moorcock's The Condition of Muzak, the final part of the Jerry Cornelius tetralogy?

0tralala said...

I don't know, Tom - you tell me. You only get points for a quote and a page reference :)

Jonny Morris said...

The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time by Mark Haddon.

p112: (re: Conan Doyle & Cottingley Fairies)

"But he was being stupid, too, because if you look at the pictures you can see that the fairies look just like fairies in old books and they have wings and dresses and tights and shoes, which is like aliens landing on the earth and being like Daleks from Doctor Who..."

Andrew Batty said...

In the first book of The Magician's House series by William Corlett one of the characters says that the magician looks like Doctor Who. Not sure of the page ref as I don't have a copy to hand but it's in the first few pages.

In Anno Dracula: The Bloody Red Baron by Kim Newman (in which fictional characters from other novels/tv shows appear) Lady Jennifer from The War Games is mentioned in passing.

There are tons of Doctor Who in-jokes in Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen comics. The 2nd Doctor appears in Century: 1969 and the 1st and 11th Doctors cameo in Century: 2009.

The 10th Doctor and Rose cameo in the Buffy comic arc 'No Future For You': http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lqpcjh5OLo1r1gbyco1_500.jpg

Andrew Batty said...

Right here's the Magician's House quote from the Amazon 'look inside' preview:

'He was there,' William protested. 'I spent ages talking to him. His name was Steven Tyler.'
Jack glanced at his nephew again in the driving mirror.
'Stephen who?' he asked.
'No, Doctor Who!' Alice corrected and giggled again.

- The Magician's House: Steps Up the Chimney by William Corlett (Chapter 2, The Journey to Golden House) http://www.amazon.co.uk/Steps-Chimney-Magicians-House-Quartet/dp/0099482177/ref=pd_sim_b_3#reader_B005Y0OF6Q

Piers said...

"Down by the river, she had been so entranced by the naked man that she had paid only cursory attention to his scattered clothing. But now, his strange outfit intrigued her.

What she had taken for a jacket was in fact a long Edwardian frock coat in black crushed velvet, which he wore with grey trousers, a black and grey striped brocade waistcoat and a wing-collared shirt than was unfastened to show his chest. Slung around his neck was a rather mangled length of heavy grey silk which appeared to be the remains of a cravat. The whole ensemble was crumpled and dusty - especially the shirt - and there were grass stains on the grey cloth of his trousers, but he still projected a picture of forlorn elegance. He couldn't be a New Age traveller. He looked more like an escapee from the Victoria and Albert museum, or a Tussaud's mannequin, touched by God and come to life."

"The Stranger" by Portia Da Costa, Black Lace, 1997, pp15-16

And, indeed, throughout.

Philip said...

My theory regarding the Rushdie quote is that he was remembering The Brain of Morbius. That also refers to "Mutts", and Morbius is a much closer match for the monsters Rushdie describes than the titular Mutants.

The Condition of Muzak reference is p200 in my copy, but "Doctor Who" and "a Dalek" are two names in an enormous guest list of mostly British folk-heroes which I'm not going to type in.