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Literature / Doctor Who Missing Adventures

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A line of Doctor Who spin-off novels produced by Virgin Publishing between 1994 and 1997. The Missing Adventures novels were set between episodes of the TV series (as opposed to its sister line, the Doctor Who New Adventures, which picked up where the TV series had left off in 1989).

Since the line was intended to provide adventures that more-or-less easily slotted into gaps in previous television eras, the Missing Adventures generally tended to be less experimental in nature than the New Adventures, but they often adopted the more adult and Darker and Edgier tone of the other novel range.

The Missing Adventures were succeeded by the Past Doctor Adventures, published by BBC Books.

    Novels in this series 
  • 1. Goth Opera (July 1994), by Paul Cornell, featuring the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa and Tegannote 
  • 2. Evolution (September 1994), by John Peel, featuring the Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane
  • 3. Venusian Lullaby (October 1994), by Paul Leonard, featuring the First Doctor, Barbara and Ian
  • 4. The Crystal Bucephalus (November 1994), by Craig Hinton, featuring the Fifth Doctor, Tegan, Turlough and Kamelion
  • 5. State of Change (December 1994), by Christopher Bulis, featuring the Sixth Doctor and Peri
  • 6. The Romance of Crime (January 1995), by Gareth Roberts, featuring the Fourth Doctor, Romana II, and K-9 Mark 2note 
  • 7. The Ghosts of N-Space (February 1995), by Barry Letts, featuring the Third Doctor, Sarah Jane and UNITnote 
  • 8. Time of Your Life (April 1995), by Steve Lyons, featuring the Sixth Doctor and original companion Grant Markham
  • 9. Dancing the Code (April 1995), by Paul Leonard, featuring the Third Doctor, Jo and UNIT
  • 10. The Menagerie (May 1995), by Martin Day, featuring the Second Doctor, Jamie and Zoe
  • 11. System Shock (June 1995), by Justin Richards, featuring the Fourth Doctor, Sarah Jane and Harry
  • 12. The Sorcerer's Apprentice (July 1995), by Christopher Bulis, featuring the First Doctor, Barbara, Ian and Susan
  • 13. Invasion of the Cat People (August 1995), by Gary Russell, featuring the Second Doctor, Ben and Polly
  • 14. Managra (September 1995), by Stephen Marley, featuring the Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane
  • 15. Millennial Rites (October 1995), by Craig Hinton, featuring the Sixth Doctor and Mel
  • 16. The Empire of Glass (November 1995), by Andy Lane, featuring the First Doctor, Vicki and Steven
  • 17. Lords of the Storm (December 1995), by David A McIntee, featuring the Fifth Doctor and Turloughnote 
  • 18. Downtime (January 1996), by Marc Platt, featuring Sarah Jane, the Brigadier and Victorianote 
  • 19. The Man in the Velvet Mask (February 1996), by Daniel O'Mahoney, featuring the First Doctor and Dodo
  • 20. The English Way of Death (March 1996), by Gareth Roberts, featuring the Fourth Doctor, Romana II, and K-9 Mark 2note 
  • 21. The Eye of the Giant (April 1996), by Christopher Bulis, featuring the Third Doctor, Liz and UNIT
  • Who Killed Kennedy (April 1996), by David Bishop, featuring the Second, Third and Seventh Doctors and Dodonote 
  • 22. The Sands of Time (May 1996), by Justin Richards, featuring the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan
  • 23. Killing Ground (June 1996), by Steve Lyons, featuring the Sixth Doctor and Grant Markham
  • 24. The Scales of Injustice (July 1996), by Gary Russell, featuring the Third Doctor, Liz and UNIT
  • 25. The Shadow of Weng-Chiang (August 1996), by David A McIntee, featuring the Fourth Doctor, Romana I, and K-9 Mark 2
  • 26. Twilight of the Gods (September 1996), by Christopher Bulis, featuring the Second Doctor, Jamie and Victoria
  • 27. Speed of Flight (October 1996), by Paul Leonard, featuring the Third Doctor, Jo and Mike Yates
  • 28. The Plotters (November 1996), by Gareth Roberts, featuring the First Doctor, Barbara, Ian and Vicki
  • 29. Cold Fusion (December 1996), by Lance Parkin, featuring the Fifth Doctor, Tegan, Nyssa and Adric, and the Seventh Doctor, Chris and Roznote 
  • 30. Burning Heart (January 1997), by Dave Stone, featuring the Sixth Doctor and Peri
  • 31. A Device of Death (February 1997), by Christopher Bulis, featuring the Fourth Doctor, Sarah Jane and Harry
  • 32. The Dark Path (March 1997), by David A McIntee, featuring the Second Doctor, Jamie and Victoria
  • 33. The Well-Mannered War (April 1997), by Gareth Roberts, featuring the Fourth Doctor, Romana II, and K-9 Mark 2note 

This series provides examples of:

  • All for Nothing: In Who Killed Kennedy, James Stevens realises that UNIT really are the good guys and that he was simply a pawn in the Master's schemes. So, his life has been ruined, his marriage is over, Dodo is dead and his has nothing to show for it.
  • All-Loving Hero: Amelia Grover in The Eye of the Giant is an example of this, but most characters observe that she is a good person without being fanatical about it, respecting others' rights to have different opinions and never trying to impose her own religious views on others.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: In Goth Opera, the Fifth Doctor at least starts to become a vampire when he is turned by Ruath, an old acquaintance of his from Gallifrey, but he is able to avert this before the change becomes permanent.
  • Arbitrary Scepticism: Jamie was apparently told about regeneration by Ben and Polly, but didn't believe it until he sees another regeneration in The Dark Path.
  • An Arm and a Leg: In The Eye of the Giant, Amelia Grover lost her left arm from the elbow down in the car accident that killed her mother.
  • Ascended Extra: James Stevens, the protagonist of Who Killed Kennedy, is a background character in a couple of television stories. In "Spearhead from Space", he's the one who asks the Brigadier what he's doing at the hospital during the press conference; in "Doctor Who and the Silurians", he's the journalist who telephones the Brigadier, who promptly gets rid of him; and in "The Mind of Evil", he's one of the observers of the Keller Machine.
  • Authority in Name Only: An inverted version of this is discussed in The Eye of the Giant; UNIT doesn't have the budget to have more ranking officers active in the organisation at present, so the Brigadier notes that Sergeants Benton and Yates will have to take on more responsibilities than they would normally be expected to take on.
  • BBC Quarry: Lampshaded in The Shadow of Weng-Chiang by Dave McIntee, in which the Doctor finds himself in an actual quarry and remarks that it reminds him of several alien planets he's visited.
  • Been There, Shaped History: In The Plotters, the First Doctor participates in the translation of the Bible in 1605, as well as getting involved in the Gunpowder Plot.
  • Belated Happy Ending: Who Killed Kennedy had a notoriously sad ending, in which Dodo Chaplet was murdered right after finding happiness with main character James Stevens, after spending years homeless and abused. And Stevens is left with the knowledge that he will kill Kennedy, in his personal future. In 2016, David Bishop wrote a new epilogue for the 20th anniversary edition, where the Twelfth Doctor shows up and rewrites history so that Oswald shoots Kennedy and James and Dodo live out their lives happily.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: The Venusians in Venusian Lullaby are made of this trope, being Starfish Aliens. They fit at least half a dozen of the subtropes.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: In State of Change, Peri speaks of having an 'accident' out of terror while Strapped to an Operating Table in "Vengeance on Varos".
  • Bumbling Sidekick: Parodied in Managra, where the bumbling sidekick to the resident dashing hero is in fact a lot smarter than he lets on — and, indeed, a lot smarter than his boss in many ways — but pretends to be a dimwit because it pays better.
  • Butt-Monkey: The things that happen to Dodo in her appearances in this series of novels are epically and notoriously horrible.
  • The Cameo:
    • In The Dark Path, Victoria briefly observes the Daleks in their city, marking their only appearance in the range.
    • In Millennial Rites, Doctor Strange and John Constantine make cameos.
    • In The Crystal Bucephalus, Tegan finds herself in mid-eighties London, where she has a confrontation with a stroppy teenaged McDonalds waitress named Dorothy.
  • Canon Foreigner: Taking advantage of the ill-defined gap between Peri's departure and Mel's arrival, the Missing Adventures gave the Doctor an extra companion during that period named Grant Markham.
  • Captain Ersatz: Dave Stone, a regular writer for Judge Dredd comics, wanted to do an Intercontinuity Cross Over by Dredd. After his denial by Dredd's copyright holders, he went ahead and wrote Burning Heart, in which the Sixth Doctor joins forces with a super-strict future cop with a face-concealing helmet on a futuristic motorcycle who goes by the nickname Stoneface. He even looks like Dredd in the cover painting. Conveniently, the Guild of Adjudicators established in the New Adventures was already pretty much the Mega-City One Justice Department.
  • Cat Folk: Invasion of the Cat People
  • Celebrity Crush: Managra reveals that Sarah Jane fancies Michael York.
  • Changed My Jumper: The Sixth Doctor wears a toga when visiting an alternate Rome in State of Change, and later dresses as a gladiator, although he takes the time to return to his usual attire once he returns to the TARDIS before the final confrontation.
  • Citizenship Marriage: In Who Killed Kennedy, James Stevens is a New Zealander who came to England. In order to stay in the country, he married the daughter of a disapproving English lord.
  • Cliffhanger: The Well-Mannered War ends with one as, through an evil plot by the Black Guardian, the Fourth Doctor and Romana are trapped in the TARDIS and unable to leave without causing a time paradox, choosing instead to exile themselves out of time and space as they know it. The Doctor notes that the last time he did this, he ended up in the Land of Fiction and they might become fictional themselves! (As a Grand Finale for both Roberts' beloved Graham Williams era of the show, and for the Virgin line, some have interpreted this as a Take That! both at John Nathan-Turner, who became producer with the next TV episode, and at BBC Books for their stated intention to not be like Virgin, but Roberts denies both interpretations!)
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: In Invasion of the Cat People, Gary Russell lists his preferred casting choices for if the book had hypothetically been a TV story, and how he envisions each character's appearance. Among his choices are Jude Law as Atimkos and Jacqueline Pearce as Godwanna.
  • Compound-Interest Time Travel Gambit: The Fifth Doctor himself admits to doing this in The Crystal Bucephalus. He explains that to avoid drawing too much attention, he occasionally has to invest huge sums in doomed business ventures (such as the time-travelling restaurant of the title) and the British film industry.
  • Cross Through: Blood Harvest/Goth Opera (see below)
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Subverted in System Shock, which features evil cyborgs trying to take over the world. When the Doctor tries to appeal to their buried human natures, their leader laughs and says they don't have any — they're not people with robot bits grafted on, they're robots with people bits grafted on.
  • "Die Hard" on an X: The second half of System Shock is Die Hard in a huge computer hub.
  • Eat Brain for Memories: In Venusian Lullaby, this can be done with the brains of the native intelligent species of Venus, due to their alien biology. Sharing out the deceased's brain is an important part of their funeral customs.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Two of them in Millenial Rites. Played with in that one of them isn't evil at all, and the other was minding its own business before it was unexpectedly summoned.
  • Everything Is Online: In System Shock, the Big Bad has spent years planting alien microchips in all kinds of things, precisely so they can do this.
  • Exact Words: In The Dark Path, Koschei is basically defeated because of this; he had hypnotised Victoria to shoot herself in the head if the Doctor tried to do anything to stop Koschei taking control of the Darkheart, but as Koschei gave no such orders regarding Jamie, Jamie is able to disarm Victoria and leave the Doctor free to stop his former friend.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Victoria in Downtime, due to manipulation by the Great Intelligence.
  • Firing Day: In Who Killed Kennedy?, James Stevens is fired from the Daily Chronicle when he refuses to turn in his files on UNIT.
  • Freaky Funeral Forms: In Venusian Lullaby, the Doctor and his companions attend a funeral on Venus, during which the deceased's brain in carved up and shared among the mourners, who eat it. The Venusians can Eat Brain for Memories, so this is seen as a way of letting the deceased live on. The Doctor takes it in stride, but his human companions find it off-putting.
  • Godzilla Threshold: In The Sorcerer's Apprentice, the Doctor's research into the planet's past reveals that one of the original human expeditionary force to transform this world into a place of magic had to use Merlin's Helm- a "master control" for the system- to basically brainwash the entire planet to have no concept of religion or gods to prevent them from creating such beings in the future by accident. The Doctor notes that such an action is essentially a crime, but they cannot judge the man as he was in a desperate situation and took the only action possible in a difficult situation.
  • Have We Met Yet?: A variation of this is a key plot point in Empire of Glass; Irving Braxiatel was attempting to invite the Doctor to be the chairperson of a crucial conference, but his contacts gave the ticket to the conference to the First Doctor during the events of "The Three Doctors", with the result that, when his memory of meeting his future selves was erased, the Doctor forgot what the ticket was for (Braxiatel likely intended to invite the Third Doctor rather than the First).
  • Heroic BSoD: In Who Killed Kennedy, James Stevens goes through this after Dodo's death. He retreats to Brighton and spends several weeks debauching himself and wallowing in pity.
  • Historical Domain Character:
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In Invasion of the Cat-People, the Euterpian Atimkos is killed by his own enhanced song when he is trapped in the TARDIS after it has been reverted to its police box shell; since the box is still indestructible, the song reverberates inside the box and destroys Atimkos when he tried to sing his way out.
  • Identical Stranger: In The Empire of Glass, Irving Braxiatel's incompetent helpers not only accidentally hand the invite for a disarmament conference the Doctor was supposed to chair to the wrong incarnation, they pick the wrong man when dispatched, and instead get an elderly seventeenth century Cardinal. To Braxiatel's relief, the Cardinal mistakes the alien gathering for a civil war in Heaven, and using imagery from the Book of Revelations, successfully chairs the conference to completion.
  • Idiosyncratic Cover Art: In comparison to the New Adventures, the Missing Adventures' cover designs remained consistent over the range: black covers with white and coloured text, with the front cover divided into two parts, the left-hand side usually featuring the Doctor up top and a companion below (with occasional exceptions), and the right-hand side featuring the range logo up top, a picture in the middle, and the title and author on the bottom. The spine featured a miniature version of the cover picture.
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: In The Crystal Bucephalus, the Doctor says that he's a Time Lord, not a bank manager.
  • Instant Expert: To a point; in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, it only takes a few days of instruction for the First Doctor to become so skilled in the local ‘magic’ that he can hold his own against another magician with only some help from two other skilled spellcasters.
  • Interquel
  • Intrepid Reporter: James Stephens, the protagonist of Who Killed Kennedy, is a reporter for The Daily Chronicle obsessed with the Kennedy assassination who investigates UNIT, losing everything in the process. He later becomes a journalism tutor, with Sarah Jane Smith being one of his students.
  • It's All About Me: In The Shadows of Weng-Chiang, Hsien-Ko Chang is smart enough to have formed a reasonable understanding of time travel in the 1930s using information obtained from Magnus Greel's notes, but she still rejects the Doctor's attempt to explain that her plans won't work because she's so consumed by her desire for revenge.
  • It Was Here, I Swear!: In Who Killed Kennedy, Stevens and Pvt. Cleary manage to escape from Glasshouse and hatch a plan to expose it on national television. However, when Stevens returns to the facility, it is found to be unlocked and seemingly abandoned with the Master nowhere to be found.
  • It Will Never Catch On: In The Crystal Bucephalus, the Doctor is baffled that a restaurant he invested in has become a success.
    I'm a Time Lord, not a bank manager. When I invested in this place I had no idea that it would succeed. I mean — a time-travelling restaurant?
  • Jerkass Has a Point: When talking with a manifestation of the Valeyard in Millennial Rites, the Sixth Doctor concedes to the Valeyard's observation that sometimes the more ruthless course of action is necessary; he only objects to the Valeyard's belief that the Doctor has to enjoy such actions, as opposed to tolerating having to go that far when he's sure there's no other option left.
  • Jerkass Realization: The Sixth Doctor has one in Burning Heart when he realises that he’s been so harsh to Peri recently because he subconsciously blames her for the death of his previous self, the novel concluding with him apologising to her and affirming that he’s glad he saved her.
  • Landmarking the Hidden Base: Millennial Rites reveals the sinister truth behind the construction of the Canary Wharf Tower.note 
  • Magic from Technology: A literal example of this occurs in The Sorcerer's Apprentice, when the First Doctor visits a planet where an alien nanite network has disrupted all modern technology while allowing the native humans to use what appears to be magic with sufficient concentration and focus, to the point that even the Doctor learns some useful tricks.
  • Meaningful Name: In The Dark Path, the Master was called "Koschei", a traditional name for male antagonists in Slavic mythology.
  • Moral Guardians: Miriam Walker from Time of Your Life, a member of the Campaign for the Advancement of Television Standards who complains about the excessive violence and sex on television.
  • Mr. Alt Disney: Ralph Mimsey, whose deserted theme park and cryogenically-preserved head feature in Burning Heart.
  • My Significance Sense Is Tingling: In Millennial Rites, the transformation of half of London into a Low Fantasy Cosmic Horror Story setting is detected by a blond haired man in a dirty trenchcoat in a Dublin pub and a thoughtful man levitating in a voluminous blue cloak in a New York brownstone.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • The threat in The Eye of the Giant only comes about because the Third Doctor’s attempt to restore his ability to travel in time resulted in him changing history and allowing hostile alien forces with access to advanced bio-manipulation technology a chance to attack Earth.
    • In Millennial Rites, Anne Travers unintentionally makes things worse; she was preparing to banish the Great Intelligence, a being from the previous universe, who she believed was being summoned to Earth by Ashley Chapel, but in reality Chapel intended to summon a being from the next universe, with the three competing laws of physics in one place temporarily fracturing reality around London.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Time of Your Life gives us Miriam Walker, a television campaigner who is an obvious dig at Mary Whitehouse.
  • Nothing Up My Sleeve: In System Shock, the Doctor has an impossibly long metal pointer up his sleeve.
  • Off with His Head!: In The Shadow of Weng-Chiang, the Doctor decapitates Mr. Sin.
  • Origins Episode: The Dark Path, for the Master.
  • Overly Long Name: Lady Ruathadvorophrenaltid, in Goth Opera.
  • Parental Abandonment: James Stevens, the protagonist of Who Killed Kennedy, was abandoned by both parents. His father refused to acknowledge his responsibilites and was killed in WWII before James was born and his mother put him up for adoption.
  • Path of Inspiration: The Lazarus Intent in The Crystal Bucephalus was set up by a criminal who ripped off Christanity wholesale to create a religion which, rather than teaching the Messiah was resurrected and would return, taught that it was up to believers to invent time travel, and rescue their saviour from the moment of his death. The Doctor notes that while the church may be a fraud set up by an egomaniac (Lazarus isn't even a Dark Messiah, just a conman who thinks big), devout Lazarites tend to be good people.
  • 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.)
  • Scam Religion: The origin of the Lazarus Intent, described above.
  • Significant Anagram: There are several Significant Anagrams in the novel Managra, starting with that one.
  • The Slow Path: In The Crystal Bucephalus, the Fifth Doctor spends five years stuck on a distant ice planet until he is able to return to the titular time-travelling restaurant by opening his own restaurant and making it so good it will attract the attention of the Bucephalus.
  • Soap Within a Show: Time of Your Life is set in the environs of a TV studio, the products of which include Jubilee Towers, a low-budget soap largely set in the environs of a TV studio.
  • Solar System Neighbors: Venusian Lullaby features a civilisation on Venus from a couple of billion years ago.
  • Start of Darkness: The Dark Path is this for the Master, to the extent that he is shown choosing his name for the first time (prior to these events he went by the name 'Koschei').
  • Steal the Surroundings: In State of Change, it's revealed that the parallel Earth the Doctor and Peri have spent the book exploring was created when a cosmic entity bullied by the Rani attempted to copy the TARDIS console. Due to the Rani's terrible wording, it not only copied the console, but a large portion of its surroundings - ie, Earth. When the Doctor makes contact with the entity and actually takes the time to explain what happened, the entity creates a perfect duplicate Earth to put the empire it unwittingly created in.
  • Stock Unsolved Mysteries: The Lost Colony of Roanoke in Empire of Glass.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: In The Plotters, Vicki dresses as a boy in a doublet and hose, adopting the name Victor, and promptly becomes the object of the homosexual King James' affections.
  • Take a Third Option: The Well-Mannered War ends with the Fourth Doctor faced with the prospect of either remaining in the Time Vortex for the rest of his lives or materialising on twenty-sixth century Earth and releasing a dangerous swarm of telepathic insects into the past; he escapes by using an emergency switch to take the TARDIS completely out of time.
  • Take That!:
    • In Invasion of the Cat-People, Ben eats at McDonald's.
    Food tastes like cardboard. Nothing changes.
    • From Lords of the Storm:
    Nur: He's not very good at lies, because he's not used to telling them.
    Turlough: I thought he was a politician?
  • Telefrag: Referenced by name in The Dark Path, as a semi-standard military tactic used to cripple starships (e.g., by teleporting someone or something into the location where a ship's pilot is sitting) without actually damaging the ship itself.
  • Took a Level in Badass: An interesting example in State of Change; while the Sixth Doctor normally isn't that good at hand-to-hand combat, a unique set of circumstances allow him to let his third incarnation's persona essentially take control of his body, allowing him to fight trained Roman soldiers to a standstill and even outmanoeuvre the current champion gladiator during a confrontation in the Colosseum.
  • Translator Microbes: Defied for once in The Eye of the Giant when the Doctor has great difficulty talking to the Semquess; this can be attributed to the TARDIS being several thousand miles and forty years away from his present location and the Semquess language involving underwater communication and a form of sign language with their multiple limbs, which the Doctor naturally cannot imitate easily on his own.
  • Who Shot JFK?: Who Killed Kennedy reveals the assassination was a plot by the Master to get World War III started just in time for the First Doctor's arrival on Earth on November 22, 1963, and that the attempt was supposed to fail — so in order to prevent nuclear catastrophe, the narrator of the novel, journalist James Stevens, eventually has to travel back in time from 1996 and shoot Kennedy himself.
    • However, a chapter the writer wrote for the 20th anniversary has Stevens, with help from the Twelfth Doctor, instead travel back to stop Dodo getting murdered by the assassin before they travelled back, leaving it unclear what actually happened.
  • You Are Not Ready: Specifically stated by the First Doctor in The Sorcerer's Apprentice; they have encountered a nanite network that allows those who access it to essentially wield magic, but this power could be used to terrifying extent. As it turns out, the network's creators weren't ready for it either.

Alternative Title(s): Virgin Missing Adventures