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Recap / Doctor Who New Adventures First Frontier

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The Doctor, Ace, and Benny travel to the United States in 1957 for an adventure mixing UFO mythology and 1950s B-Movie tropes — and the return of an old enemy.


This novel contains examples of:

  • Area 51: Corman Air Force Base, Nevada.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: The Master's new incarnation is, according to the author, meant to be imagined as being played by Basil Rathbone.
  • Compensating for Something: Benny's reaction the first time she encounters the Master and his TCE.
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  • Danger Room Cold Open: Played with. 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 favor 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 traveling with two companions, and the simulation didn't plan for the second one.
  • Discontinuity Nod: The Doctor mentions that he once had a nightmare "where all my old foes chased me round a soap opera", referring to the previous year's charity special "Dimensions in Time".
  • Foreign Cuss Word: Sometime after the series stopped using real swear words, David A. McIntee got away with having a character say something very impolite in Russian. (The same character in the same book also says something slightly less impolite in Klingon.)
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  • 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."
  • The Greys: The Tzun.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: 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.
  • Human Aliens: The human-seeming "Nordic" aliens of 1950s UFO lore appear, where they are genetically-engineered Half-Human Hybrids created by The Greys.
  • Insult Backfire: The Master'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."
  • The Mothership: The Tzun Stormblade.
  • Mythology Gag: Reference is made to a Russian space probe launched from Nykortny Air Force Base, which previously appeared in the novelization of "The Invasion" (and is itself a mythology gag in tribute to Nicholas Courtney).
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  • One Phone Call: The Doctor expresses a belief in the legally-mandated one phone call when he and his companions are arrested, but it's not put to the test.
  • Pardon My Klingon: 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?: When Ace warns an FBI agent their opponents will probably be armed with disruptors. "Dis-what?"
  • Playing Both Sides: The plot initially seems like a standard Alien Invasion by the Tzun, but it turns out that the Master is playing both sides against each other, leading the Tzun to believe that they'll be welcomed and the humans to believe the worst of the Tzun, to achieve his own goals.
  • Punny Name: One of the aliens' historical figures is Councillor Ph'Roch, which if you read it aloud is pronounced "Frock".note 
  • Purple Eyes: The Half-Human Hybrids all have blond hair and violet eyes.
  • The Reveal: Major Kreer is the Master. There are hints from early on, but it's not made explicit until one of the regular cast learns who he is.
  • Right-Hand Cat: The Master has a black one, a callback to his last TV appearance. Benny, not knowing its history, snarkily asks him if it's black for copyright reasons.
  • Roswell That Ends Well
  • Safecracking: The Doctor does a bit of the old listen-to-the-tumblers safecracking.
  • Shout-Out: Numerous references to 1950s SF movies, including:
  • Smoking Barrel Blowout: The Master, 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".
  • Spoiler Cover: The pull quote chosen for the back cover, which has Major Kreer taunting Ace that she's already killed him once, doesn't completely give the game away, but it does make it a lot easier to guess what his secret is.
  • Walk This Way:
    '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.
  • Warrior Poet: The Tzun, unlike many other warrior races in the Whoniverse, take art and music seriously, believing that encouraging creativity will also improve their strategic abilities.
  • What's an X Like You Doing in a Y Like This?: Invoked by Major Kreer when he recognises Benny from her centuries-in-the-future archaeological career, leading to the reveal that he's a time-traveller too.
  • You Watch Too Much X:
    'You don't intend to just walk into a Cold War base, surely?' Ace called out to him. 'They'd probably shoot us, just in case.'
    'You've been watching too many cheap TV shows, Ace.'

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