Recap / Eighth Doctor Adventures The Book Of The Still
Lebenswelt, planet of endless parties, is home to a museum housing the most valuable object in the universe for a stranded time-traveler: the Book of the Still. Write your name in the book, and someone from the future can come and rescue you. Many people want the Book for less than altruistic reasons, however, and will resort to all manner of distasteful means to get hold of it. The Doctor, Anji, and Fitz only mean to spend a few hours visiting, but a few hours becomes rather longer after the Doctor attempts to steal the Book and is arrested, Anji is derailed by a mob, and Fitz meets the woman of his dreams
Tropes present in The Book of the Still include:
- Apocalypse How:
- Blood from the Mouth: This happens to Fitz. He gets better, though.
- Body Horror: The eventual fate of [IntroInductions] Escort Angency. See Timey-Wimey Ball below.
- Book Ends: An interesting framing device is created by writing the epilogue first, where Carmodi explains her actions and motivations to the reader, none of which make sense (not even the reason for reversing the order of prologue and epilogue) until the prologue at the end of the book.
- Bride and Switch: Between Fitz and the Doctor. Well, it never really happened; it's actually a virtual reality world where the Doctor is a Card-Carrying Villain trying to force some poor girl into marriage, but gets a Disguised in Drag Fitz instead. It's a sort of Lotus-Eater Machine for Fitz, since he gets to be a swashbuckling hero... wearing a Fairytale Wedding Dress and marrying the Doctor isn't actually stated to be part of the appeal for him, but one never knows.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Eight, natch. Darlow and his henchmen rough him up quite a bit. And stick a mind bomb in his head compelling him to search for Carmodi and try to kill her.
- Disguised in Drag: Fitz is in a sort of Lotus-Eater Machine On Drugs, whose creators are trying to come up with an interesting adventure scenario for him. He ends up marrying an evil, lecherous version of the Doctor, disguised in a Pimped Out Wedding Dress as Evil!Doctor's unwilling bride, then having a swordfight, rescuing his Girl of the Week, and flying around with a jetpack, still in the dress.
- Dooms Day Device: the world killing bombs, pretty straightforwardly.
- Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Averted, then not-so averted. Fitz has Fake Memories implanted in his mind that make him fall overwhelmingly in love with Carmodi Litian. When the drugs begin wearing off, she tells him that she paid for him, and he's horrified, and tells her to keep away from him, even though saying so causes him physical anguish. His feelings of violation vs the lingering devotion to Carmodi caused by the drugs taking their time leaving his system, are discussed on several occasions. However, when Carmodi abruptly dumps him, little attention is given to her actions earlier, and in her final letter she mentions forgiving him.
- Fairy Tale Wedding Dress: Worn by Fitz of all people, in his epic fantasy dream-sequence.
- Fake Memories: Fitz is given a very "boy's own" dream sequence that tells the story of how he and Carmodi fell in love. Being Fitz, it involves Cavalier soldiers, epic swordfights, last-ditch escapes, and him wearing a beautiful wedding dress and marrying the Doctor.
- Funetik Aksent: Fitz gets a bit self-conscious about how unsophisticated he is, and his third person narration mentions, "you can take the boy out of Norrrrf Laaanden, but you couldn’t take the Norrrrf Laaanden out of the boy", which is pretty clearly a self-deprecating exaggeration.
- Grandfather Paradox: Rhian insists that the time loop surrounding the Unnoticed is one, necessitating everyone jumping back to complete it, much to the Doctor's horror.
- Idiot Ball: Why on earth Fitz would volunteer for a thinly veiled sex slave ring is beyond most readers, though it could just be because he's Fitz.
- Lotus-Eater Machine: One is created for Fitz to make him fall in love with Carmodi, the woman who's payed for his services for twenty-four hours. Little did he know she'd kidnap him.
- McGuffin: the titular Book.
- Mind Rape: Uncomfortably close to literally.
- Mood Whiplash: Fitz's ridiculous dream sequence? Hilarious. Fitz finding out that his love for Carmodi was manufactured, his memories are lies, and he has no idea who he was before he met her? Not so funny.
- Plucky Girl: Rhian Salmond.
- Psychic Surgery: The Doctor is rendered Brainwashed and Crazy by a device that's been inserted into his brain. Fitz is shortly thereafter rendered conveniently intangible (among other things), and the Doctor instructs him to remove the device for him. Fitz is then somewhat perturbed to find his hand covered in slime, and the Doctor thanks him "for not taking a bigger handful".
- Rape by Proxy: Oh-so-narrowly avoided by the fact that Carmodi's not technically interested in Fitz for sexual reasons. But see above.
- Right on Queue: Anji spends more or less an hour, although it apparently feels more like sixty years, queuing to visit the Doctor in jail. It annoys her that being English has made her so good at queuing that she can't bring herself to complain about it.
- Stable Time Loop: Rhian thinks the whole book is one. The Doctor refuses to believe they're trapped in it and tries to Take a Third Option, without much success.
- Taking the Bullet: Fitz, for the Doctor. Only it's a laser gun, and he survives with just a painful burn.
- The Teaser: Lampshaded; the first chapter is titled "Obligatory Spectacular Opening".
- Timey-Wimey Ball: The three minions get somehow merged together when physics goes out to lunch near the end of the book, but don't manage to separate themselves before reality reasserts itself. The resultant terrifying monster evolves over time into an entire species: The Unnoticed, who have been chasing Carmodi and the Book of the Still the whole time.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Rhian and Carmodi's fates are ambiguous at best, and they count as examples because when the Doctor, Fitz and Anji leave, the two women get little to no explanation.