edited by Jacqueline Rayner
Tell me, O Muse, of that many-aspected hero who fled his home world to travel every corner of time and space. Tell me, daughter of Jove, of his battles and his tragedies, of the strangers he encountered and the evil plots he foiled. Speak with laughter, with tears, through songs and visions of the Doctor, the hero and champion of this world and many more.
The nine Muses have since ancient times brought inspiration to those willing to receive it. Nine authors have received the inspiration of the Muses, to speak of the mysterious Time Lord known only as ‘the Doctor’. They will tell tales of History, of Dancing, of Comedy and Tragedy, of Sacred Poetry, Epic Poetry and Love Poetry, of Music and Astronomy. May they speak to your hearts.
The Muse of Dance:
'Teach Yourself Ballroom Dancing'
by Robert Shearman
Waking up on her thirty-eighth birthday, dissatisfied housewife Becky prepares for another dull day teaching young girls to dance. But when she arrives for the lesson she meets a strange man called the Doctor; he asks her to teach him to dance, but Becky refuses. That evening, Becky and her husband David go out for a disappointing celebratory dinner; the following morning, Becky is again greeted by the Doctor, who informs her that he has paid off her pupils’ parents so that she can give him her undivided attention. Reluctantly, Becky agrees to teach the Doctor the waltz, and, despite being initially unsure of the steps, he soon demonstrates a natural flair. Pleased to see her pupil master the dance so quickly, Becky promises to teach him to foxtrot, but not before they go out to dinner. The two enjoy an intimate meal and conversation, but the Doctor is taken aback when Becky confesses that she is in love with him; they part, promising to meet the next day, but never do… When the Doctor next meets Becky, it is in the 1970s, eighty years in his future and twenty four in her past; assisting a paramilitary organisation stop an Auton invasion, the Doctor spots the young Becky and David walking past; reminded of unfinished business, he arranges for Becky to ‘win’ a competition for free dance lessons; he then meets David for a drink, and warns him not to marry Becky, or to at least encourage her dreams. The Doctor teaches Becky to waltz, giving back to her what she gave to him; but after the young woman shows a preference for a more freeform style of dancing, the Doctor realises that he should have actually taught David, thereby ensuring that they have something in common… Finally, eighty-eight year old Becky is visited by the Doctor, who believes himself to be nearing his death; he is now alone, and has seen everything, but implores Becky to travel with him so that he can re-experience it all through her eyes. Becky sadly refuses, but tells the Doctor to continue with his travels and battles…
*Featuring the Sixth Doctor
*Time-placing: the first part of the story occurs while the Doctor is travelling with Peri, who has stopped off to visit some friends; the Doctor orders a vegetarian lasagne, which suggests that this may happen after the events of 'The Two Doctors'. In the second part, eighty years have passed, and the Doctor is travelling alone, so placing it in the middle of Season 23a seems to be as good a place as any. The final part sees a Sixth Doctor who believes he is nearing his death, placing this at the end of Season 23a.
The Muse of Comedy:
'The Brain of Socrates'
by Gareth Roberts
While on a survey patrol mission, a Jezark spaceship crash-lands on Earth, and the survivor, pilot Grimmon, makes for a nearby town - Athens. Meanwhile, the Doctor decides to take Leela to ancient Greece for a lesson in history and comedy; arriving in Athens, they visit the theatre, but the satirical comedy about the great philosopher, Socrates, as written by Aristophanes, fails to elicit any interest in the Doctor’s companion. They leave, and instead gate-crash a party held by Aristophanes himself, where they meet Euripedes, Plato, and the real Socrates. However, their conversation is interrupted by the activation of the Doctor’s sub-plasmic tracer, and the abrupt departure of Socrates. The Doctor and Leela follow him to the site of the crashed Jezark ship, where the entranced philosopher begins repairs on the damaged equipment. The Doctor and Leela are held at gunpoint by Grimmon, who reveals that he sent out a signal to bring the most intelligent native to help mend his vessel; but he Doctor protests at the idea of linking such an important figure in Earth history to a mind-controlling computer, and is concerned that when the ship’s hyper-Zison technology starts up it will destroy the city. When Grimmon refuses to listen, the Doctor overpowers him, and, using Leela’s knife, is able to persuade the alien pilot to allow him to reprogramme the ship’s drive, bypassing the Zison effect, and allowing Grimmon to rejoin his fleet. With Earth safe, the Doctor and Leela return Socrates to his fellows, ensuring that he can carry on philosophising.
*Featuring the Fourth Doctor and Leela
*Time-placing: Leela compares the theatre to the one she visited in Victorian London, placing this after 'The Talons of Weng-Chiang';K-9 is not mentioned, so should come before 'The Invisible Enemy'.
The Muse of Tragedy:
by Tara Samms
Bill, an overworked Hollywood writer, is finding it hard to keep up with his workload, having to juggle commissions for books, magazines, and television shows with his commitment to his pregnant wife, Cindy, and his young mistress, Susie. After he decides to arrange for a ghost writer to help out, he meets a man named John Smith; however, Smith’s work is undisciplined, and he is finding it hard to get the vague memories of strange and fantastic events in his head down onto paper. After a lunchtime meeting, Bill visits Susie, only to find that her hands are profusely bleeding from apparent stigmata - the manifestation of Christ’s wounds at his crucifixion. They rush to the hospital, and find that many more people are suffering from the same phenomenon, which then vanishes harmlessly as quickly as it appeared. John is intrigued by the epidemic, having witnessed the event and also witnessed a statue of the Virgin Mary in a nearby church weeping tears of blood. He meets up with Bill for lunch, but the writer collapses, unable to breathe properly; John takes him to Susie’s, and finds that the young woman has begun bleeding once more. As Bill recovers, John realises that the events are connected: Bill’s asphyxiation is how a crucified man would die on a cross, whereas the stigmata is occurring in the way that the bible describes the wounds to be inflicted, rather than how the method of execution actually happened. Leaving a sceptical Bill to rest, John tells Susie that her lover has at best three years left to life, as he is suffering from either Alzheimer’s or Pick’s; Bill overhears the news, and listens as Susie decides to leave him so that he can spend his time with the family that needs him. John leaves, and, believing the recent events to be the work of a dying alien intelligence crying out for attention from within the church, he vows to begin his travels around the world once more…
*Featuring John Smith (the Eighth Doctor)
*Set during 'The Earthbound Saga'
*Time-placing: this occurs in the 1950s, when the Eighth Doctor is recovering from the events in 'The Ancestor Cell', and just after 'Endgame'.
The Muse of Music:
'An Overture Too Early'
by Simon Guerrier
Reporter Sarah-Jane Smith interviews a composer named Isaac, recently visiting the U.K. from a foreign nation. However, on hearing Sarah address her companion as the Doctor, Isaac reveals that he once travelled with the Time Lord some twenty years ago. Realising that these events are from his future, the Doctor hurriedly leaves, fearing that the knowledge could influence forthcoming events. He returns to U.N.I.T. headquarters and asks the Brigadier to help Isaac, arguing that the man is a member of his organisation by proxy, and, because of his affiliation with the Doctor’s future self, will probably have saved the Earth several times. Meanwhile, Sarah visits Isaac, unaware that they are being watched by two mysterious men dressed in grey undertaker suits. Isaac is reluctant to give anything away, but he does entrust the reporter with an envelope containing sheets of music that he has written. Later, Isaac apparently commits suicide; the Doctor decides to investigate, and together with Sarah he visits Doctor Nikolai Faro, the foreign ambassador who granted Isaac permission to visit England. Faro tells them that he granted Isaac asylum after learning of his involvement in a pivotal military coup in 1953; he was impressed by the composer’s music, although the Doctor’s questioning leads him to reveal that he did find the work strangely familiar. When Sarah’s story is later killed by a D-Notice the Brigadier protests to his superiors, only to learn that the Doctor’s future self requested the suppression of any investigations. With only the music as a lead, the Doctor tries to uncover why it is so hauntingly recognisable, but the two men in grey materialise, overpower him, and then vanish with the papers. The Doctor builds a device to trace the source of the alien’s transport beam, but as he activates the machine, a Time Lord takes him out of time and warns him off the investigation, citing that the time is not yet right for him to learn the answers he seeks. The Doctor is left with the memory of the familiar melody, but even that soon begins to fade…
*Featuring the Third Doctor, Sarah and the Brigadier, and introducing Isaac
*Time-placing: the Brigadier mentions Jo Grant and the return of her Metebelis crystal, placing this just prior to 'Planet of the Spiders'
The Muse of Sacred Poetry:
'Hymn of the City'
by Sarah Groenewegen
The Doctor and Ace arrive in Australia on 3rd May, 1942, the night a Japanese midget submarine is due to self-destruct in Sydney Harbour and trigger a night of fighting between the Japanese forces and the American military stationed there. As the incident erupts, the Doctor and Ace visit a fortune teller named Li Chen Mei, who gives the Doctor a mysterious small box. The two travellers then head for the billet they are booked into, a house owned by Mrs Harris, a matronly woman whose husband is away fighting in the war. The Doctor entrusts Ace with the box and then heads for a local feature known as the Gap; meanwhile, an aborigine named Ginny, and an American G.I., Marine Corporal Jed Allum, find themselves drawn to the same destination. As night falls, Ace hears a disturbance downstairs, and when she investigates she witnesses Mrs Harris slaughtering one of her chickens; disturbed, Ace finds herself compelled to follow the Doctor, and soon arrives at the cliff-top in time to see Jed attack Ginny. She renders the G.I. unconscious with a handy rock, enabling the Doctor to give the box to Ginny; in return, the aborigine girl gives the Time Lord another box made of bark, telling him to give it to “the other one”. The Doctor and Ace return to Mrs Harris’ in time to meet a newly-arrived Mei; entering the house, they find Mrs Harris conducting a strange ceremony using the remains of the chicken; after Mei stops her, the Doctor explains that the woman was attempting to protect the city and the people overseas fighting the war, but was causing an imbalance in the hymnal skein; this force is looked after by Guardians such as Ginny and Mei, but the balance has now been restored. Now aware that her good intentions went wrong, Mrs Harris makes everyone tea.
*Featuring the Seveth Doctor and Ace
The Muse of Love Poetry and Mimicry:
by Ian Potter
The Doctor and Nyssa arrive on a train-city travelling across the surface of a devastated planet. Finding the body of a murdered policeman, they attempt to investigate, but are split up after accidentally activating an alarm. Nyssa meets a group of rebel gardeners attempting to overthrow the class system existent on the train, while the Doctor finds himself in First Class with the privileged. However, the Time Lord soon suspects that the mystery surrounding events on the train is too convenient, and surmises that it has been constructed purely to draw him and his companion in. Reality suddenly changes, and the Doctor finds himself face to face with a beautiful woman named Maya; she tells him that she is a psionosphere, a sentient planetary computer constructed by a race of aliens known as the 'Makers', and her purpose is to create consensual realities in which minds can interconnect, bringing people of all races together in harmony - however, the Doctor suggests that this could in fact be a means of conquest used by the Makers. Maya reveals that the Doctor and Nyssa have been in a world of her making for two the last two days, ever since they entered an old building on a ruined planet - her. She offers the Doctor a life of happiness spent in her world, and refuses to take no for an answer; the Doctor reluctantly agrees, on the condition that Nyssa be freed; insisting that he say goodbye to her personally, the Doctor rejoins his companion, who believes that she has helped the rebels to win their struggle. Telling her of his plans to stay, the Doctor gives Nyssa codes to sever his connection to the TARDIS, and, ignoring her protests, sends her on her way. But when Nyssa enters the codes into the timeship's controls, they actually create a psionic pulse that disrupts Maya's systems and enable the Doctor to gain the upper hand; he escapes Maya's reality and rejoins Nyssa in the TARDIS, but reprogrammes the planet's systems into believing that he has stayed behind with her as her eternal companion.
*Featuring the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa
*Time-placing: Nyssa is reminded of Mondas, placing this during Season 19a, after 'Spare Parts'.
The Muse of Astronomy:
'The Astronomer's Apprentice'
by Simon A. Forward
The Doctor, Jamie and Victoria visit the peaceful Union of Traken for a holiday. Here they meet an alien astronomer named Neverglade and his excitable companion, Viola; the Doctor is fascinated to learn that Neverglade is attempting to map all the stars and planets in the universe, an ambitious project that will take him countless years to complete. While Jamie, Victoria and Viola join the Traken people in attending the Feast of Melkur, a celebration of the arts given in honour of one of the calcified creatures in the Grove, the Doctor joins Neverglade in his observatory, where the astronomer has created an intricate scale-model of the universe, held in the crystal walls of the complex. After enjoying the festival, Nyssa meets a handsome man in the Grove, while Jamie and Viola head off to Dragon's Cup, a spectacular display of sheer canyons and ferocious water sprays. Victoria joins the Doctor and Neverglade and learns that the astronomer is beginning to feel weary from the weight of his task; after Neverglade retires to rest, the Doctor begins 'helping' to map more stars, but is interrupted by the arrival of Consul Symia, who is worried that something is disrupting the harmony of the Union's biomatrix. Meanwhile, Viola attempts to create a knight to play-fight with Jamie, her "knight in shining armour", but the threat becomes all too deadly, and they are forced to flee; something is affecting Viola's magic, and the two find themselves chased by bandersnatches straight out of Louis Carroll's poem 'Jabberwocky'. Nyssa is again approached by the handsome man - in fact the Keeper of Traken - who asks her to stay with him, but she refuses. Then a violent storm breaks out and the Melkur comes to life; the monster is about to attack everyone when Jamie arrives and slays it, in a scene straight out of the poem. After Consul Symia asks them all to leave Traken, believing the disruption to be caused by Neverglade's observatory, Viola confesses to the Doctor and his friends that she created the astronomer with her magic, to provide her with a companion with whom to travel the universe. Some time later, Victoria has left the TARDIS crew and settled down with the Harris family; unknown to her, the Keeper has imbued her with a portion of Traken's Source energy, ensuring that part of the Union will always be out among the stars. This energy in turn creates Viola, who then leaves to begin her travels among the stars...
*Featuring the Second Doctor, Jamie and Victoria
The Muse of Epic Poetry and Rhetoric:
'Katarina in the Underworld'
by Steve Lyons
Katarina awakes to find herself in the afterlife; she meets an old woman, and tells her the story of her life: of how she was handmaiden to Cassandra, High Priestess of Troy; how she then left to travel with an old man called the Doctor; and how she sacrificed her life to save the old man and his friends, dying in the cold vacuum of space. Wandering the dead plains, Katarina encounters the Doctor; he assures her that he is not dead, but has been summoned to help her; Katarina surmises that the old woman must have been a goddess, and that she asked Hypnos, god of sleep, to bring the Doctor to her while he slept. The Doctor decides to help his deceased companion reach the Elysium fields, and takes her to meet Charon, the ferryman on the river Styx; but Charon refuses to help Katarina, declaring her unclean due to the means of her death. Through a ruse the Doctor tricks the ferryman, steals his boat, and takes Katarina across the waters to the shores far away, but then Cerberus, the ferocious three-headed guard dog, blocks their way; the Doctor fashions a dog-whistle from a reed, which enables them to distract the creature enough to pass. The travellers then meet the Three Judges, who weigh up all Katarina’s deeds made while she was alive - but they deem her neither good nor evil, and condemn her to an afterlife spent on the dusty plains. The Doctor appeals to Hades, but the god of the Underworld refuses to change the decision of his judges; the old woman appears and reveals herself to be the goddess Persephone; she appeals to Hades, and finally wins him over. Katarina is allowed to move onto the paradise of the Elysium fields, and then discovers that the Doctor was no more than a conjuring of Persephone’s - meaning that in the end she proved herself through her own actions.
*Time-placing: this takes place after the events of 'The Daleks Masterplan'
The Muse of History:
'The Glass Pincess'
by Justin Richards
On her fifth birthday, princess Clio enjoys a party with her royal parents and all their loyal subjects. She finds great happiness in opening all her presents, until she receives a gift of glass slippers from her uncle Ferdand; a poisoned needle hidden in one of the shoes pricks her toe, and she immediately begins to feel unwell. Guards move to seize her uncle, but he takes a pill and falls to the floor; her parents seem very upset, until a kindly old man named the Doctor steps up from the crowd to help, and leads her off to her bed. Clio awakes the next morning in a bed now covered in wires and tubes; curiously, she is told that it is her birthday again, and she also notes that her parents seem older, and that her friends talk of a war being waged; the Doctor is there too, although he now looks like a little man with dark hair. Clio has a lovely birthday and then goes to bed, and when she wakes the next day she learns that it is another birthday. Everyone looks older still, and the Doctor now has white hair and is dressed in velvet; he gives her presents from the other Doctors: a brooch, a recorder, and a box containing hope. After the celebrations, Clio once more goes to sleep, but when she wakes for her eighth birthday, she finds everyone is much sadder, except the Doctor, now with curly hair and a big grin, and a bag of jelly babies for her. When Clio wakes for her ninth birthday she notices that her body has changed, her parents are much older and greyer while the Doctor looks younger, and that there are guards at the doors. This time the Doctor gives her celery for a present. The next birthday is more sombre, and her father is absent; the Doctor is loud and brightly dressed, and he gives her a cat badge. The following birthday is an even more solemn occasion: an impish Doctor takes her to an old woman - in fact her mother - and then gives her a ‘Blue Peter’ badge for a gift. When Clio wakes up the next time, she meets only the Doctor, now young once more. On seeing the ruined rooms of the palace, Clio realises that everyone has died, leaving her all alone; the Doctor explains that her special bed kept her alive, but its diminishing power means that she would either sleep forever, or be awoken one last time, and so the Doctor decided that Clio should be given the opportunity to enjoy one last birthday. As the two play a final game amongst the trees and flowers outside the palace, time finally catches up with the princess, and the last thing she ever feels is the Doctor’s tender kiss on her cheek…
*Featuring the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Doctors
*Time-Placing: Oh my giddy aunt! This is tricky! The First Doctor appears to be travelling alone, but as this could be set at any point in his timeline, so I've just guessed! The Second Doctor is solo, so I'm placing this during Season 6a. The Third Doctor is also alone, and refers to the events of 'The Three Doctors', so this should take place after 'The Green Death', and before 'The Time Warrior'. The Fourth is on his own, so I'm placing it after 'The Deadly Assassin', and before 'Face of Evil'. The Fifth Doctor is alone, so I'm putting it after 'Omega', another solo adventure. The Sixth Doctor has no companion, so this goes neatly into the middle of Season 23a. The Seventh Doctor mentions Ace, who gives up her 'Blue Peter' badge, so I'm putting this before the Timewyrm story-arc, as Ace is wearing her bomber jacket and badges up until then. Finally, the Eighth Doctor has his memory intact, so I'm placing this early on in his travels.
*Published by Big Finish