Full-length science fiction novels, stories too broad and too deep for the small screen.
After the BBC ended production of Doctor Who in 1989, the editor in charge of the Doctor Who Novelisations, Peter Darvill-Evans, started a line of original novels based on the series. Running from 1991 to 1997, this series of 61 novels focused on the continuing adventures of the manipulative Seventh Doctor and his companions. The series was released by Virgin Books and was given the umbrella title of "The New Adventures".The Seventh Doctor initially travelled only with Ace, his companion at the time of the show's cancellation. They were soon joined by Bernice Summerfield, Adventurer Archaeologist, a more stable and experienced character compared to Ace, who allowed for greater Character Development. Other new companions included Roz Forrester and Chris Cwej, Salt and Pepper police detectives from the 30th century. Bernice (or Benny for short) became a Breakout Character and eventually got more spinoffs than can be sensibly listed, the most well-known of which is her own ongoing Big Finish audio series.The ability to tell a story in 300 pages with an effectively unlimited special effects budget allowed the writers to provide deeper, more thought out stories along with more than a few story arcs, both universal and character-based. The novels were deliberately aimed at adult readers, rather than the family-friendly aim of the TV series, and did not shy away from depicting sex and violence. The stories expanded upon the Seventh Doctor's penchant for playing people-chess with both enemies and friends, and gave it realistic consequences.From 1994 onwards, the New Adventures were accompanied by a sister range of novels entitled "The Missing Adventures", which adopted similar principles to the New Adventures: longer, usually Darker and Edgier novels aimed at more adult audiences. This series included Doctors One to Six, with each monthly novel starring a different Doctor and companion(s). The first of these, Goth Opera, was a direct sequel / prequel (let's just say "timey-wimey" and leave it at that, yeah?) to Blood Harvest, a New Adventure published the same month. One of the later ones actually featured the Seventh Doctor and his companions appearing (both of these novels, curiously enough, starred the Fifth Doctor), but they were for the most part stand-alone, although certain characters and concepts naturally mixed together.The series was followed by the Eighth Doctor Adventures, which took the principles started here and just went ballistic applying them to the relative blank-slate that was the Eighth Doctor.Several Big Finish Doctor Who episodes, marked "Side Step", take place in the New Adventures canon rather than the Big Finish canon.When the TV series was revived, it took plenty of cues from the New Adventures. One story in particular, Human Nature, was adapted for television by writer Paul Cornell.Character-specific tropes are here (for the Doctor), here (for Ace), here (for Benny) and here (for Roz and Chris).Recap page is here, but it needs a lot of filling in.
Aesop Amnesia: It seems like there's a few times over the course of the books where the Doctor learns that he has to stop treating his companions like pawns and resolves to mend his ways — only to start treating his companions like pawns again, usually in the very next book.
Always Need What You Gave Up: In Human Nature, the Doctor turns himself into a human schoolteacher, with none of his usual abilities, to experience what life is like for his companions, and is promptly embroiled in an alien plot. Justified by the revelation that the character who gave him the idea in the first place was one of the aliens, deliberately so that they could take advantage of his reduced state.
And This Is for... / Arson Murder And Life Saving: In Infinite Requiem, when one of the characters realises the full extent of the Doctor's manipulative plan, she knocks him to the ground, saying "This is for using me!" Then she kisses him, saying "And this is for saving our lives."
Anthropomorphic Personification: Some of the Eternals (beings considered Sufficiently Advanced even by Time Lord standards) have taken the role of Anthropomorphic Personifications. The main ones seen in the books are Time, Pain and Death; the Doctor is Time's Champion.
Arc Welding: The villain of Original Sin is retroactively claimed to have been at work behind the scenes in a number of the Doctor's earlier adventures.
Area 51: Corman Air Force Base, Nevada, in First Frontier.
Artifact Collection Agency: The Library of St John the Beheaded, which collects books containing information for which The World Is Not Ready. In future-set stories, it has been succeeded by the Braxiatel Collection, which collects artifacts from many worlds for which the galaxy is not ready.
Bait-and-Switch Lesbians: While the TV show's implications about Ace's sexuality are ... confused (if you're very generous, the intent is that she's bi; it's probably more accurate to say her preferences were entirely Depending on the Writer), the lesbian subtext is rather spectacularly contradicted in the books.
Baseball Episode: The chapter in Happy Endings where the Doctor defuses tensions between visiting aliens and the local humans by organising a cricket match.
Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Gilgamesh and Enkidu fought a cybernetic construct (Timewyrm: Genesys); the Doctor worked with Al Capone to try and keep the peace among Chicago's gangs (Blood Harvest); Akhenaten helped Ace escape Ancient Egypt, while Benny went on an expedition with Vivant Dominique Denon, father of modern archaeology (Set Piece); and William Blake travelled with the Doctor (The Pit).
Belly Buttonless: Time Lords are constructed by machines and so lack navels. The Doctor is an exception.
Big Bad: The Monk from the TV series for the Alternative Universe arc.
Bizarre Alien Biology: The novels added numerous odd details to the list of how Time Lords aren't really all that much like humans.
Bizarre Alien Reproduction: According to Lungbarrow, Time Lords are all sterile and are "born" from a "Loom", a machine in their giant sentient semi-organic family Houses. Each Loom weaves Family members according to a common template, ensuring that they're related; every Family member is genetically a cousin to the others.
Black Bug Room: In The Room With No Doors, the eponymous Room (which the Doctor starts dreaming about being trapped in) functions as a Black Bug Room for the Doctor, although its actual origin and purpose turns out to be something quite different.
Boggles the Mind: Played with in Conundrum: The Doctor and another character play a game of Scrabble in which every word is significant. The Doctor immediately points to this as a sign that their actions are being controlled by an outside force.
Born as an Adult: Loomed Time Lords, according to Lungbarrow, come out of the Loom physically full-grown.
Bouquet Toss: Sleepy ends with a wedding at which the bouquet is caught, to her obvious surprise and alarm, by Bernice. In the novel immediately following, she falls in love and decides to leave the TARDIS and get married.
Cannibalism Superpower / You Are Who You Eat: In Human Nature (which was later adapted for the TV series, but without this aspect), one of the members of the Family is a shape-shifter who can imitate any animal he's eaten part of, including humans. If he does it while they're alive, he can also gain their memories.
Captain Ersatz: The Also People revolves around the Doctor's dealing with "the People", whom the author has openly admitted were heavily inspired by The Culture.
Ben Aaronovitch: I'd like to remind everyone that while talent borrows and genius steals, New Adventure writers get it off the back of a lorry, no questions asked.
Paul Cornell imagined Benny Summerfield as being played by Emma Thompson. (This gets a shout-out in The Dying Days (not by Cornell, but by Lance Parkin, see below), where she's at a cocktail party in 1990s England and has a confusing conversation with a woman who has mistaken her for somebody else.)
Lance Parkin reportedly casts Ian Richardson in nearly all of his novels; this is most obvious in The Dying Days, where Lord Greyhaven bears a striking resemblance to Richardson's most famous real-life role, the politician Francis Urquhart in House of Cards.
Another author who does it a lot is David A. McIntee. The villains in White Darkness are Hammer Horror stalwarts Peter Cushing and Ingrid Pitt. The ultimate villain in First Frontier is Basil Rathbone.
Sherlock Holmes, in the Intercontinuity CrossoverAll-Consuming Fire is also Basil Rathbone, at least on the front cover. On the cover of Happy Endings he isn't (reportedly the cover artist was explicitly instructed not to, possibly because the novel also features the villain from First Frontier), but Watson is Nigel Bruce.
Continuity Nod: NA writers loved to take moments from Classic Who and play with them. For example: the moment in "The Happiness Patrol" where the Doctor talks a sniper out of shooting him. If that speech ever gets quoted in a New Adventures novel, the Doctor is about to get shot.
Happy Endings, the 50th New Adventure, featured a plethora of returning New Adventures characters and a festival of loose-end-tying.
Return of the Living Dad, published near the end of the run, basically exists to tie up the novels' largest remaining loose end, and also ties off a bunch of smaller loose ends that Happy Endings missed, all the way back to a What Happened to the Mouse? question from the second story arc.
The NA creators had (perhaps only semi-seriously?) discussed regenerating the Seventh Doctor into a Doctor "played" by David Troughton, the son of Patrick Troughton. The BBC did not allow them to do it.
Also played with in the final Doctor Who New Adventure, The Dying Days, at the time of which a rumour went around to the effect that Virgin were going to spite the BBC by killing the Doctor off. It features quite a bit of foreshadowing to that effect, starting, obviously, with the title. The Doctor is apparently killed halfway through, but it's a Never Found the Body situation and he shows up alive and well in the climax, just in time to save the day.
Crossword Puzzle: All-Consuming Fire has a fun incidental joke involving the Doctor struggling with the Times crossword.
Danger Room Cold Open: Played with in First Frontier, where the first chapter has a scene with the Doctor and Ace that ends with them both dying, then turns out to be a training simulation for the bad guys: the villain has crossed paths with them before, knows the odds are in favour of the Doctor showing up at the worst possible moment, and wants his mooks to be ready. When the real Doctor encounters the same situation later in the book, the trap almost works — except that the Doctor's now travelling with two companions, and the simulation didn't plan for the second one.
Darker and Edgier: Famously so. The first handful of novels took things a wee bit too far, with a lot of gratuitous sex, violence and foul language, but the series later found its feet.
Dawson Casting: Played with as at least one writer in the early novels described Ace (around 18 when the TV series concluded and played by Sophie Aldred, an actress in her late twenties) as in her twenties. This might indicate that a couple of years have passed since the first NA (though apparently haven't) or could explain why Aldred did not exactly look like a teenager.
Decoy Leader: In Death and Diplomacy, the leader of the notoriously devious Saloi is a figurehead, and the real power rests in the hands of a certain apparently minor official — but it turns out that he is himself a decoy, acting on coded instructions from the true leader. This comes as a surprise even to the true leader, who had had himself mentally conditioned to not be consciously aware that the decoy wasn't really in charge.
"There's something different about you." He frowned, and looked me over again. "Don't tell me. Let me guess." "Doctor, I..." "It's the hair, isn't it? You've had your hair done." "No, I..." "I know! You've lost weight." I sighed. "No, Doctor, I'm disguised as a man." He checked again. "Are you? How very Shakespearean. Well, I'm sure you've got a good reason."
Die Hard on an X: GodEngine traps thirtieth-century cop Chris Cwej in a Martian military base, upon which he promptly proceeds to wreak mayhem using a strategy his partner informs us is officially known as "The McClane Protocol".
Disappeared Dad: Benny Summerfield's father, who went Missing in Action under circumstances that resulted in him being branded a coward and traitor. The truth of his disappearance was ultimately revealed in the shamelessly-titled Return of the Living Dad.
Discontinuity Nod: Various novels include references to various dubious Doctor Who spin-offs in ways that establish their unreality (Dimensions in Time was a literalnightmare, the Out of CharacterDalek Attack video game was a cathartic daydream, the "Doctor Who" stories in TV Comic only happened in the Land of Fiction, and so on).
Everybody Lives: Played with in Sleepy, where the Doctor explicitly challenges himself to save the day without anybody dying: "villains, innocents, everyone".
Everybody's Dead, Dave: Being a non-regular in a Jim Mortimore novel is an almost certain death sentence. (One of his novels has the last surviving member of the supporting cast eaten by a gratuitous giant lizard on the second-to-last page, just in case the readers thought he was going soft.) And given his penchant for massive cataclysms, you're not even safe if you stay off the page; just being on the same planet as a Jim Mortimore plot is a hazard to life and limb. Or in the same solar system. Or, in one memorable instance, the same universe.
Everybody is Single: The decision to give ex-companion Bernice Summerfield her own spin-off series — in which, as lead character, she would be expected to participate in romantic-interest subplots — led directly to the messy collapse of her marriage, which upstaged the violent deaths of a tenth of the Earth's population. This, less than a year after an entire novel was devoted to the wedding and much effort was expended in assuring readers that it was Happily Ever After-type True Love.
Expendable Alternate Universe: Subverted in Blood Heat; after bringing peace to the Alternate Universe where the action of the novel takes place, the Doctor reveals that because it's an artificial timeline generated from the 'real' universe, it's siphoning energy from the 'real' universe that will cause the original one to end billions of years prematurely unless he destroys it. This does not stop him from feeling great guilt at the very real lives he is being forced to end in the Alternate Universe, nor his companions from angrily lashing out at him for this when he tries to justify it with this trope for their sake. Later novels in the series reveal that an old enemy of his created the artificial universe precisely to put the Doctor in this position.
Extreme Omnisexual: Jason Kane was abducted by aliens at the age of fifteen and didn't see another human being for over a decade; it didn't crimp his social life one bit.
Famous Ancestor: The Forrester family take great pride in being able to trace their ancestry back to Nelson Mandela.
Fantastic Honorifics: At least one novel uses "Trau" (Mr) and "Krau" (Ms), which originally appeared in the TV story "The Caves of Androzani".
Floating Head Syndrome: The cover illustration for the first novel, Timewyrm: Genesys, features the Doctor's head in this style.
Foreign Cuss Word: Some time after the series stopped using real swear-words, David A. McIntee got away with having a character in First Frontier say something very impolite in Russian. (The same character in the same book also says something slightly less impolite in Klingon.)
Friendly Address Privileges: The Doctor's latest companion meets the Master for the first time: "Summerfield. Bernice Summerfield. My friends call me Benny, but you can call me Professor Summerfield."
Fun T-Shirt: The Also People mentions that on a previous adventure the Doctor's then-companions bought a matched set of shirts from a custom screen-printing stall saying "Hello, I'm Ace and this is my friend the Doctor", "Hello, I'm Benny and this is my friend the Doctor" and "Hello, I'm the Doctor and this is my friend [delete where applicable]".
Future Imperfect: Happens a lot with future archaeologist Bernice Summerfield, who sometimes gets to catch out her contemporaries on historical events, and sometimes gets caught out herself on things she thought she knew about the 20th century.
In The Highest Science, trends in 22nd century music (and associated subculture) are explicitly organised by the record companies, and one character is considered weird for continuing to listen to a genre that's been declared Last Season. "Headster" music is the equivalent of pseudo-deep, drug-based psychedelia, whereas the current trend is "Freakster", which seems more like bubblegum pop.
In The Also People, the Epigraphs at the start of the chapters are all lines from fictional songs, including Silurian rock, Hith rap, 25th century human folk music, and Cyberman blues.
In Just War, an incautious time traveller accidentally gives the Nazis a technological leg-up, resulting in them developing stealth bombers in time for World War II.
In The Room With No Doors Joel explains to a 17th century Japanese warlord how to turn a loom into a calculating engine. He's surprised at how quickly the warlord catches on, and comes up with uses for computers that Joel thought he'd have to lead up to.
Good Cop/Bad Cop: In The Also People, Roz and Chris discuss what approach to take to a suspect, considering several variants that are standard in their time before settling on "standard Aristocracy drill: Good Cop, Downright Sycophantic Cop".
The Greys: First Frontier, set in the 1950s, features the Greys.
Half-Human Hybrid: In First Frontier, the alien Tzun (The Greys of 1950s UFO lore) create the Ph'Sor (the Nordics of 1950s UFO lore) by combining Tzun and human DNA.
Have We Met Yet?: Because of the way time is distorted in the setting of Cat's Cradle: Time's Crucible, the first time (for her) that Ace meets the Phazels, they already know who she is. From her point of view, she meets their earlier selves a little later.
He Who Fights Monsters: The Nietzsche quote appears independently in more than one novel, usually in reference to the Doctor's manipulations.
Hollywood Voodoo: White Darkness uses spelling as a distinguishing feature: American soldiers who don't know what they're talking about refer to "voodoo" and "zombies", native Haitans and the Doctor talk of "vodoun" and "zombi". Mind you, despite the author Showing His Work there's still an evil voudon priest who actually worships the Great Old Ones...
Humanoid Abomination: One of the authors (specifically, Dave Stone) liked to hint that Time Lords are incomprehensible multi-dimensional entities bearing no more resemblance to the humanoids the audience knows than Jim Henson to Kermit the Frog. The idea doesn't seem to have caught on, though.
Hurt/Comfort Fic: A recurring theme, particularly in the novels of Kate Orman; two novels (Orman's Set Piece and Paul Cornell's Human Nature) have chapters actually titled "Hurt/Comfort".
'Doc, there's something I need to ask you... It's — well...' 'It's about this friend of yours,' the Doctor prompted. 'Yeah. Right. He's got a problem.' 'Friends always do.'
Immortal Procreation Clause: The Time Lords, in the elaborate backstory for Gallifrey developed over the New Adventures, are all sterile and reproduce with Looms. The Doctor was Loomed but is a special case—it's heavily implied that he is a genetic reincarnation of the Other, a major Gallifreyan historical figure from before the species went sterile, which is why he has a belly button.
Omega, despite his sacrifice, still had a hand in their affairs. It was a rather good joke he thought, but Rassilon didn't find it funny at all.
Inspiration Nod: Blood Harvest features a hardboiled detective and part-time first-person narrator inspired by the works of Raymond Chandler; his opening narration is almost word-for-word the opening narration of Chandler's The Big Sleep.
Instant A.I., Just Add Water: Transit has a weird (possibly parodic) variant of the "any system will become self-aware if it's just complex enough" version — where the system in question is the much-extended future equivalent to The London Underground.
Insult Backfire: In First Frontier, the villain's description of his ultimate gambit draws a response of "That's despicable" — to which he replies, "Thank you, my dear. One tries one's best."
Invisible President: The identities of the US President and the British Prime Minister are kept vague in The Dying Days.
Is It Always Like This?: In Sky Pirates!, new companion Roz reflects that her first adventure with the Doctor ended with the possibility her friend could turn into a mindless berserker with no warning, her career in ruins, assassins searching for them, and a destroyed city, and asks Benny for reassurance that not all of their adventures will end like that. Benny is suddenly reluctant to continue the conversation.
Is The Answer To This Question Yes: Played with in All-Consuming Fire. Ace says, "Does the pope wear a funny hat?" Watson, who met the pope earlier in the story, replies, "Not the last time I saw him."
It Is Pronounced Tro-PAY: Inverted by Chris Cwej. His surname should be pronounced "Shvay", but because everyone pronounces it "Kwedge" he's decided to go along with it. In his first appearance, although his new partner Roz Forrester pronounces it correctly, he corrects her.
Kiss-Kiss-Slap: In Eternity Weeps Benny greets her (soon-to-be-ex-)husband Jason with a "Summerfield combo," which apparently involves "a two-minute French kiss immediately followed by a straight left to the jaw."
Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The final Doctor Who New Adventure, The Dying Days, includes a conversation between two fans about the final movie of a famous sci-fi franchise, and the fact that because it was the final one the audience for once couldn't be sure that the main characters had Contractual Immortality. The relevance to the main characters of The Dying Days is obvious and entirely deliberate.
Leave Behind a Pistol: The Doctor does this for one of the villains in Just War. (The villain first attempts to use it on the Doctor.)
Lemony Narrator: Conundrum has a Lemony Narrator who turns out to be a character in the story and a Reality Warper whose narration is causing the narrated events to occur.
Levitating Lotus Position: In Sky Pirates!, there's a scene where Benny finds the Doctor "sitting in a lotus and ... levitating three feet off the deck — something he swore blind that he could only do occasionally and with concentrated mental effort, but which Benny had lately come to suspect was the result of being so engrossed he simply forgot to stay on the ground." (They're in a pocket universe with weird physics, which may or may not explain it.)
Light Is Not Good: Played with; while still on the side of the angels, the Doctor was depicted as far more of a ruthless Anti-Hero than he had been during most of the TV series (even the TV incarnation of the Seventh Doctor wasn't quite the manipulative Chessmaster with an Omniscient Morality License that the novels made him, although the seeds were there). To juxtapose against his darker character, his standard costume became a cream / off-white suit.
Several of the novels offer hints that the TARDIS itself is alive. The "Cat's Cradle" arc establishes that at least part of it is Organic Technology (and that things can go badly wrong if the organism is contaminated).
Lovecraft Lite: Several of the novels use Lovecraftian elements, and they're all inevitably Lovecraft Lite, sometimes to an eye-rolling extent. One of the more self-aware is All-Consuming Fire, which alternates the narration between a Public Domain Character19th-century guest, who finds the experience full of incomprehensible strangeness and mind-scarring horror in classic Lovecraft fashion, and the Doctor's companion, who's much more blasé about the whole thing. ("Rugose alien monstrosities? What, again?") The final self-aware touch is that the monster is only pretending to be a Great Old One for the cosmos-cred; it really is Lovecraft Lite.
Magical Eye: In "Time's Crucible", the Pythia steals an eye from a decapitated Sphinx and substitutes it for one of her own, to boost her waning prophetic powers.
Maligned Mixed Marriage: Leela and Andred's relationship in Lungbarrow. The other Time Lords find it rather embarrassing that Andred is with a 'non-Gallifreyan'. Leela and Andred, however, don't mind at all.
Meaningful Rename: Done by an entire species in Original Sin, after losing an extremely unpleasant war with the Earth Empire. The two Hith met in the course of the book are named "Homeless Forsaken Betrayed And Alone" and "Powerless Friendless And Scattered Through Space".
Memory Gambit: In Set Piece, the Doctor wipes his mind of his plan to stop the Big Bad, so that the Big Bad can't work it out. Unfortunately, he also has to wipe his mind of the trigger to restore his memory.
Ace: You've finally done it. You've even bamboozled yourself.
Metal Detector Checkpoint: The "terrorists sneak specially-designed weapons through the metal detector" trope is played with in Theatre of War. In the future, everybody uses rayguns, and the security checkpoints are designed to detect their energy sources; the assassin walks straight through carrying, concealed but otherwise unmodified, a perfectly ordinary 20th-century gunpowder handgun taken from a museum.
Midair Repair: In The Dying Days, the Doctor — five minutes above London, downward bound and accelerating — builds a parachute out of a helium tank and the contents of his pockets.
Milestone Celebration: The 50th New Adventure, Happy Endings, marked the occasion with Benny's wedding, with characters from most of the previous books turning up, plus a chapter featuring contributions from almost every author in the range up to that point, apart from Jim Mortimore.
Mother Nature, Father Science: The mythology of Gallifrey features a group of male scientists (led by Rassilon) and a group of female witch-priestesses (led by the Pythia) struggling for control. Rassilon won, and went on to found the Time Lord society. Different novels offer different opinions on whether this was good or bad.
The Music Meister: Rojahama's Song-and-Dance, from Sky Pirates!, is a force of nature, or perhaps some kind of meteorological effect, that causes spontaneous outbreaks of Crowd Song complete with Spontaneous Choreography. (The planet on which this occurs is in a solar system that, for reasons explained later in the book, is basically one giant Weirdness Magnet.)
My Card: In All-Consuming Fire, the Doctor calls on Sherlock Holmes while he's out, and leaves a card reading simply "The Doctor — Travelling". Holmes is able to deduce several extra details, particularly that the card is a one-off, not part of a batch, and was printed recently, perhaps specifically for the purpose of being left for Holmes.
My Species Doth Protest Too Much: The villain of Return of the Living Dad is from a species that the series had previously used solely as bumbling comic relief; being fed up with never being taken seriously forms a significant part of his motivation.
Myth Arc: Concerning the Doctor's true identity and the murky origins of the Time Lords.
Nineties Anti-Hero: Ace was definitely upgraded into a mild example of one of these, going from a messed-up-but-exuberant school-girl with a taste for explosives into a hardened grim-and-gritty battle-suit wearing gun-and-explosive toting space marine. The other companions could touch on this trope as well, particularly Roz, certainly in comparison to the Doctor's previous companions.
Every. Single. Celebrity in Tragedy Day. For example, a boy band called Fancy That.
Briefly done for a quick gag in Legacy. The Encyclopedia Exposita is The Rough Guide to Federation Tourist Traps written by Krymson LaPlante. At the time of publication, The Rough Guide To... had just become a TV series presented by Magenta Devine.
Infamously, Lungbarrow revealed that, since a long-ago catastrophe rendered their entire race sterile, Time Lords don't have sex — they get created on looms. (Included at no extra cost: A tortured explanation of how, in that case, the Doctor can be Susan's grandfather.) The novel led to a lot of Memetic Mutation, and was entirely ignored by the TV series.
"Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: The Sherlock Holmes crossover All-Consuming Fire has the framing device of being an account written up by Doctor Watson, with an epilogue in which the Doctor and Benny have just read it themselves. Benny queries the Doctor about such details of Victorian life as using strychnine as a flavouring for beer, and filtering sugar through bull's blood. He assures her they're all true.
Not So Different: In Original Sin, the Doctor is trapped in a room with homicidal maniac Zebulon Pryce, who claims that the Doctor's Technical Pacifism is not so different in practice from Pryce's usual behaviour, and challenges him to prove otherwise.
Not-So-Harmless Villain: In No Future, the Vardans and the Meddling Monk shake off several decades of being considered hapless comic relief villains.
"For do not the greater powers of the universe tremble in fear and cry out in terror at the very name of the Vardans?!" "The Vardans?" Benny frowned. "I think you'll find that your enemies tremble with mirth and cry out things like 'Oh good, it's only the Vardans, thank goodness it wasn't somebody serious like the Daleks'."
Omniscient Morality License: The Doctor frequently claims that his role as 'Time's Champion' gives him the right to play with people's lives as if they were pawns — he can see how time is supposed to function and is engaging in his chess games for the greater good of all. Naturally, the people whose lives he's playing with tend not to find this justification very convincing.
One Phone Call: The Doctor expresses a belief in the legally-mandated one phone call when he and his companions are arrested in First Frontier, but it's not put to the test.
Open Secret: In Death and Diplomacy, the Saloi are a Planet of Hats of devious conspirators, as typified by the fact that whatever the official hierarchy charts say, the true reins of power rest in the hands of an apparently minor functionary with the title of Assistant sub-Administratorial Secretary. And every Saloi (as well as most of their enemies) is well aware of this, "for the simple reason that the subject of such a 'secret' would ordinarily have the life expectancy of a snail in a blender unless everybody knew about it."
'[The Doctor] is very much like the owl, I think,' said Guy, half to himself. 'Wise, you mean?' Benny had heard several people comment on such a likeness. Perhaps it was his eyebrows and keen gaze. 'What has wisdom to do with owls? He is comfortable in the darkness, as they are, and I think he is equally as adept at hunting down prey in cold blood.'
Oxbridge: The Dimension Riders by Daniel Blythe is set in the fictional St Matthew's College, Oxford. The college president is a retired Time Lord. Presumably, the author (an alumnus of St John's, Oxford) wanted to balance out "Shada".
Pardon My Klingon: After some early unsuccessful experiments with real swear-words, the series stuck with this, most commonly using the future-swear-word "cruk".
First Frontier has a classic example of an alien using an alien swearword in the middle of an English sentence. It also has Ace saying "smeg" a lot (the author originally had her using real swearwords, but the editor made him take them out), and at one point she says something impolite in actual Klingon.
Parrot Expo-what?: In First Frontier, when Ace warns an FBI agent their opponents will probably be armed with disruptors. "Dis-what?"
Phantasy Spelling: For reasons unknown, the title of the first New Adventure is Timewyrm: Genesys, spelling "genesis" with a Y.
Pig Latin: Original Sin has the Doctor working with some military types to stop an alien starship that's leaking dangerous radiation. When he has to go and retrieve the TARDIS, knowing that the military probably want to seize the ship for their own purposes, he gives their commander a message to pass on to Benny: "Ashtray the ipshay".
Planet of Hats: Parodied in Death and Diplomacy, in which three warring empires have been carefully manipulated to be Planet of the Sex-ObsessedSavages, Planet of the Uptight Military, and Planet of the Devious Assassins. It's specifically mentioned that none of these societies would actually work if someone wasn't pulling the strings.
Playing Both Sides: First Frontier initially seems like a standard Alien Invasion, but it turns out that the real villain of the novel is playing both sides against each other to achieve his own goals.
Plot-Relevant Age-Up: As part of the series' quest for "maturity", teen companion Ace left the series in Love and War and rejoined a few novels later as an adult. (Yay, time travel.)
Pocket Protector: Subverted in Death and Diplomacy, where Jason Kane tells a cynical anecdote of his grandfather, who went away to war wearing a crucifix of great sentimental value. One day, a bullet fired at him hit the crucifix — which shattered, aggravating a wound that would otherwise not have been lethal.
Poke in the Third Eye: In one of the novels, the Doctor has been keeping snooping telepaths out of his head via Psychic Static for most of the book. He finally resorts to this after a direct attack. Cue one catatonic would-be attacker.
The Doctor: She wanted to see what was on my mind. I'm rather afraid I let her.
Portal Network: The Transit Network of portal-trains in Transit just covers the solar system (although the book describes an attempt at a Stellar Tunnel). Most people have a better idea of the shape of the network than of the physical system. It's a parody of The London Underground, of course.
Promoted Fanboy: The editors of the series made a point of being accessible to first-time authors—going so far as to recruit them from fanzines and the like—which led to quite a few of the novels being written by fans. Some names you might recognise: Paul Cornell, Mark Gatiss, Russell T. Davies...
Pull a Rabbit out of My Hat: While visiting Egypt in All-Consuming Fire, the Doctor is buttonholed by a conjurer who does a series of tricks with baby chickens, including making them appear and disappear. When he pauses in expectation of payment, the Doctor pulls a rabbit out of his own hat and hands it to him. (How he manages this when he presumably had no idea in advance that a rabbit would be called for is never explained.)
Reading Your Rights: The Adjudicators' version of reading your rights is pretty close to "you have no rights" anyway, but Roz Forrester still adds her own spin:
"I am obliged to inform you that your words, guestures and postures are being recorded and may form part of any legal action against you. Under the terms of the data protection act 2820, as amended 2945, I am also obliged to inform you that you and any appointed legal representative will be able to purchase a copy of all recordings upon payment of the standard fee. I am obliged to tell you that, but I won't bother. Just don't piss us around."
A Real Man Is a Killer: In No Future, a (female) soldier tells Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart how, before her secondment to UNIT, part of her training was to raise a rabbit, and then kill it. At the time, she thought she didn't mind, now she was a warrior (although she does mention crying herself to sleep later that night). The Brig's training makes her realize she did, and he tells her "Then they were bastards, Tennant, to order you to do that. What were they?"
Required Spinoff Crossover: As a promotional tie-in the first Missing Adventure, Goth Opera, was a sequel to Blood Harvest, the New Adventure released in the same month. (That is, for the Doctor Goth Opera happened first, but for several other characters who appeared in both books Blood Harvest happened first. Ah, time travel.)
Right-Hand Cat: The Master has a black one on his first appearance in the novels, a callback to his last TV appearance. Benny, not knowing its history, snarkily asks him if it's black for copyright reasons.
Running Both Sides: In Toy Soldiers, there's a war where it turns out that both sides are being run by the same supercomputer, which had set the whole thing up because it had heard somewhere that periods of conflict often produce flowerings of creativity.
Safecracking: The Doctor does a bit of the old listen-to-the-tumblers safecracking in First Frontier.
Secondhand Storytelling: Theatre of War has plot-relevant Conversational Troping regarding the use of this in stage plays, with particular reference to a famous play about a group of soldiers who meet up after a battle and tell each other what just happened.
Self-Deprecation: In one of Terrance Dicks's novels, one character mocks another because he can't come up with a better description for that sound the TARDIS makes than "a wheezing, groaning noise". It's the same description Dicks always used in the Doctor Who Novelisations he wrote.
In No Future, set in the 1970s, the Doctor watches part of an episode of Professor X, the in-universe equivalent of Doctor Who; the actor playing the Professor is not explicitly identified, but is clearly Frankie Howerd in the same comic mode as Up Pompeii.
In Death and Diplomacy, the Czan sergeant is a clear pastiche of Sergeant Major Williams in It Ain't Half Hot Mum, to the point that at one point he responds to "Is you soldier boys?" by claiming to be a concert party. The villains result in several shout-outs to Saturday morning cartoons, at one point setting up a death-trap disguised as a village of happy Smurf-like creatures. At the end of the book, when it's revealed the villains are evolutionary-enhanced Gallifreyan rodents, one of them asks what they'll do now; another rants "We do what we always do, try to take over the universe!"
According to Godengine, the standard Adjudicator method for a single person to take over a building occupied by the enemy is known as the McClane Protocol.
In Love and War, Ace acompanies New Age Traveller Jan on a cyberspace-enhanced Vision Quest, in which they meet the Trickster. Ace starts to identify who she sees him as, but gets interupted. However his cry of "You wouldn't let it lie!" and later comment "That's a Diana and Trickster sword" makes it pretty clear he's Vic Reeves.
A Long List of the aliens and time travellers and others aided by Isaac's organisation in Return of the Living Dad includes several shout outs, since the guy delivering it is a geek:
Significant Anagram: Multiple examples. One notable one is "Interstellar Nanoatomic ITEC" in Original Sin, which only works because the author declared that in the Future, "ITEC" will be a common company-name suffix like "Ltd" or "Inc".
Smoking Barrel Blowout: The villain of First Frontier, after using a remotely-operated bomb to make a killing, blows across the top of the remote control device "as if blowing smoke from the barrel of the gun".
Space Pirates: In Sky Pirates!, the eponymous pirates fly between all the planets of their solar system, so are technically space pirates as well.
Speaks in Shout-Outs: The Doctor's conversation with Centcomp in So Vile a Sin. The system wasn't designed to have a voice of its own, so it speaks "in a jarring mix of words, snipped from media sources".
'I,' she said, in the voice of a little girl. 'Know,' said a deep-voiced man with a Southern accent. 'You,' said an elderly woman.
Spontaneous Human Combustion: All-Consuming Fire features what first appears to be a case of this, but it ultimately turns out to have been murder-by-pyrokinesis.
Starts with Their Funeral: So Vile A Sin begins with a one-page prologue entitled "The Body on Page One", in which one of the Doctor's companions is killed, then flashes back to show how and why it happened. The death had originally been planned as a surprise ending, but the book was delayed (Ben Aaronovitch's computer crashed) and books with the character already dead were published first, so the book was rewritten to go the Foregone Conclusion route.
Taking You with Me: The Pythia in Cat's Cradle: Time's Crucible attempts to take all of Gallifrey with her.
Tele-Frag: Transit has a teleport network spanning the Solar System, where trains are sent through the gates. There are occasional references to the Bad Accident, which is eventually explained as what happened when two trains tried to materialise in almost the same place at the same time. They ended up merged together. And so did everyone on board.
This Is My Name on Foreign: In Timewyrm: Exodus, the Doctor translates his occasional makeshift identity of "Dr John Smith" into German, presenting himself as "Dr Johann Schmidt".
Those Wacky Nazis: The Nazis in Timewyrm: Exodus are not totally wacky, but are played with a lighter tone than they might have been. The Nazis in Just War are not wacky at all.
Timey-Wimey Ball: The main setting of Cat's Cradle: Time's Crucible is a literal Timey-Wimey Ball — the inside of a sphere, about three miles across, containing the same city at three different points in time. At the start, things that change in the 'past' city affect the 'present' and 'future' ones, but as the book progresses, those rules begin to break down and the place ends up as a Timey-Wimey Ball in every sense.
Twenty Minutes into the Future: Many of the "earth-bound" stories took place in this vague era, a few years ahead in order to allow for some fantastic elements, but not far enough to be unrecognisable. Iceberg (published in 1993), for example, went to great lengths to give background and character to the far future world...of 2006!note ...and actually didn't do too badly in a lot of respects. No jet-boat luxury cruisers or holocameras just yet, but a single European currency and maddeningly paranoid airport security was spot on.
Under City: In Original Sin, Spaceport Overcity Five was built on top of London, and what's left of the old city is referred to as the Undercity and occupied only by criminals and people who can't afford to live anywhere better. (In a variation on the trope, the Undercity isn't buried: the entire Overcity hovers above it on Anti Gravity engines.)
Unreliable Illustrator: Original Sin, which introduces new companions Roz Forrester and Chris Cwej, features several internal illustrations to help readers get an idea of what they look like. For this reason, they depict Chris as he usually looks, which (due to a plot point involving Magic Plastic Surgery) is not actually what he looks like in some of the scenes depicted (including the one on the cover).
'Hardly. Walk this way,' the Doctor said mysteriously, and hopped away from the car in a peculiar manner. When he saw that the women were strolling normally after him, he hurrumphed loudly and wandered off towards a low rise just to the left.
We Didn't Start The Führer: Played with in Timewyrm: Exodus, where Hitler separately receives covert assistance from two different groups of aliens attempting to further their own ends — but neither is able to control him, and what he does with their assistance is all entirely his own idea.
Parodied in SLEEPY, where the Mad Scientist who has built a telepathic AI insists that neural nets are completely unnecessary. Apparently one of his rivals tried to create an intelligent computer by hooking a cat's brain to a mainframe, and got "a computer that wants to play with string and sit on your newspaper".
In So Vile a Sin, the Centcomp system that oversees the interstellar Earth Empire turns out to have a human being built into its heart; the Doctor is led to this discovery by a series of events arranged by Centcomp itself, which has deduced his existence from the data it processes and wants him to come and rescue her.
What Did I Do Last Night?: Bernice finds herself in this situation after an extended drinking session with Jason Kane in Death and Diplomacy.
What the Hell, Hero?: The Doctorreally goes overboard with the people-chess, and more than a few people make a point of how little they appreciate being treated like a pawn. In fact, Ace's main arc involves her lashing out at him because of this.
What's an X Like You Doing in a Y Like This?: Invoked by the villain of First Frontier when he recognises Benny from her centuries-in-the-future archaeological career, leading to the reveal that he's a time-traveller too.
Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: The Left-Handed Hummingbird features a detective whose parents apparently thought it would be a good idea to name him Hamlet Macbeth.
World Tree: Sky Pirates! is set in a pocket universe where none of the planets are the usual spherical shape. One of them is a giant tree.
You No Take Candle: Is characteristic of Sgloomi Po in Sky Pirates and the Plobs in Death and Diplomacy. Is both books being written by Dave Stone, suggesting he is liking this trope.
Zeerust: A lot of the novels heavily engage with Cyberpunk technologies, plots, settings, characters and themes, to such a degree that at times they might as well have "this was published in The Nineties" stamped on every page.