Falls The Shadow

Title: Falls The Shadow
Author: Daniel OMahony
Genre: SF, Tie-In
Series: Doctor Who New Adventures
Ranking: ?Unranked
LibraryThing: Title:Falls The Shadow
Read: 1995

Well, I finally read this one, months after I got it.

I can see why someone compared this with "Strange England", though in one sense, "Strange England" was more vividly horrible. There was more horror in those singing insects than there was in the two villains. Yet another NA with a surreal landscape. I wonder if it's a requirement. No, I don't dislike surreal landscapes, it's just that you start to get weary of them when they happen a lot. Which NA's didn't have a surreal landscape in there somewhere?

Am I becoming jaded, or are the NAs all running into each other in ordinariness?

Okay spoiler warning time. Discussion time.

The cover didn't help. Hard to think of Gabriel and Tanith as perfect in beauty when the pictures of them on the cover weren't very beautiful at all. Gabriel and Tanith were just violent. Continuously and sadistically violent.

But the most interesting question, and here's for the discussion time: who is the grey man? I mean the author seems to be proposing a change in the metaphysical nature of the Whoniverse, but there are several things that don't make sense about it.

  • Grey. With white as Good and Black as Evil, Grey seems to style himself as Doubt. But on the other hand, he seems to style himself as Chaos. Now, I agree that Order and Chaos are neither good nor evil (since things like Nazi dictatorships can be very evil and very orderly). But... aw, I think part of my problem here is that I disagree with the standing metaphysical order of the Whoniverse with the Black and White Guardians being equal and opposite, so trying to slot a Grey Guardian in there is adding to my confusion. But still, I don't really understand what he's supposed to stand for. Doubt? (and how would doubt apply to Evil?) Chaos? (and doesn't Evil want to create chaos as well as order?) Freedom? (but doesn't Good want to create freedom?)

  • His people. Who are his people? Are the Black Guardian and the White Guardian of his people, or something else? And if they are, then who are the rest, or are there only three of them? Who are they?

I think I had some more questions, but I can't remember what they were.

Kathryn A
(now I can read Set Piece! Yay!)

Later, on Thu, 30 Mar 1995...

Ah, I remember now. The other query/problem I had with "Falls the Shadow". And it was the most important one too.

Whoniversal metaphysics warning

Falls The Shadow spoiler warning

Okay, so Gabriel and Tanith were born out of the pain of the universe, a wounding of the universe, the pain of destroyed potential futures, such as the one that Jane Page came from. And the Doctor felt guilty because such pain was caused by him and other time travellers. Am I right, or did I completely miss what was happening?

Because, if that's the case, however poetically appealing it is, it doesn't make any sense. Because time travel isn't the only thing that destroys potential futures. If time travel was never invented, millions of potential futures are destroyed every second, every time someone makes a decision. Is the author trying to tell me that the natural order of the universe (that is, a universe supposing time travel had never been invented, an untampered-with universe) causes a wounding of the universe? Where is the logic in that, the design?

I am assuming that the Darvil-Evans structure of the Whoniverse is the one that needs to be used: the one which sets the Doctor's Gallifrey way way back in (to us) the past, which is actually the Present. And the nature of time travel is such that it is impossible to travel into the Past, into a point before the Present (thus nobody goes back in time to have a chat to Rassillon etc), but it is possible to travel into the future, but the act of travelling into the future and observing and participating in it, makes that future certain (or almost certain) to occur. It crystalizes it, so to speak. That there is only one universe; parallel universes take a great deal of energy to create and they are only temporary. It is not impossible to change history, but it is difficult, destructive, and a very Bad Thing.

So, in all this, why is there pain at the wiping out of possible futures? It's not as if they had a right to exist: there can be only one history-of-the-universe in the end. What exists, exists. What might have existed does not exist, and should not exist.

Is it because these potential futures were wiped out "sooner" than they might have been? Because the actions/decisions that wiped them out happened before the Present moment actually arrived there? But what does "before" mean in that context? We're talking about meta-time here, and that's so hairy I think I'll leave it.


Sid & Nancy scale: a Ken Done painting