Doctor Who News Doctor Who Series 7b: Nightmare in Silver

Published on May 10th, 2013 | by Andrew Reynolds

So Just What Was the Cyberwar?

War! Huh, what is it good for? Absolutely cracking Doctor Who serials, that’s what! And no conflict has captured the futility of a conflict between an unstoppable force and an immovable object (other than the Betamax/VHS wars, less we forget) than the Cyber-Wars.

Doctor Who Series 7b: Nightmare in Silver

Recently you may have heard Porridge, the henchmen of a soused old showman, wearily describing just what happened when an alliance of galaxies decided to rid the universe of the Cyber menace to Clara in a trailer for Neil Gaiman’s Nightmare in Silver. (And if you didn’t then get on it!)

Behind those lines – including such breath-taking brevity as, “It’s hard to fight an enemy that uses your armies as spare parts” – lies a truth that’s ultimately much about the Doctor’s own encounters with the silver menace as it is about Porridge’s own resignation at his life with the profiteering entertainer – that the Cybermen are not going away.

Doctor Who Series 7b: Nightmare in Silver

The declaration of war was first made in the 1982 serial, Earthshock, in 2526 where an alliance attempted to stop the Cyber threat spreading across the galaxy. However, the Cybermen hit back; first with a Cyber bomb and then by piloting a freighter into Earth in order to cause an ecological disaster.

Both of these attempts to sabotage the alliance and indeed destroy Earth were thwarted by the Fifth Doctor, but at a great personal cost.

As the unstoppable craft hurtled towards the a pre-historic Earth, trapped inside by both damaged controls and his own hubris Adric remained on board to become the first companion to be killed since Sara Kingdom.

In the midst of their plans, a discovery was made (or rather was made earlier in the Doctor’s own timeline but later on in the conflict) that the Cybermens’ Achilles heel was gold.

Attack of the Cybermen

The 1985 serial Attack of the Cybermen saw humanity finally take a foothold in the war with a key development: the ‘glittergun’ which used gold dust supplied from the legendary planet of gold, Voga, to push the Cyber forces to breaking point.

Meanwhile, in a pincer movement that would make old Herodotus pause for breath, the native Cryons on the planet Telos rose up and sabotaged the Cybermens’ hibernation tombs.

Again, not being ones to take defeat lying down, the Cybermen captured a time machine and travelled back to Earth in 1985 in order to prevent the destruction of their home planet Mondas.

Foiled by the Sixth Doctor and Peri and with Telos back in the hands of the Cryons, the Cybermen were all but defeated save for a few pockets of resistance scattered across the cosmos.

Revenge of the Cybermen

One such group of resistance fighters memorably dubbed ‘a bunch of pathetic tin soldiers, skulking about the galaxy in an ancient spaceship’ by the Fourth Doctor in the 1975 serial Revenge of the Cybermen, discovered that Voga, the planet of gold, had drifted into the solar system, being pulled into orbit around Jupiter as a new moon in 2875.

Their plan was to avenge (yes apparently machines are capable of revenge and if left alone for a long period of time will go a little ‘disco’ too) their fallen brethren by destroying the planet and thus the universes access to the gold munitions.

However, once again the Doctor foiled their plans.

With Nightmare in Silver about to issue an upgrade for scattered legions of Cybermen, here’s hoping there are more memorable, idiosyncratic adventures in the never-ending conflict between humanity, the alliance and the Cybermen.


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About the Author


Everyone has a favourite Doctor and mine - just for his honesty, his fairness and his ability to not notice the Master's awful, awful disguises/anagrams (Sir Gilles Estram!?!) - has to be the Fifth Doctor, Peter Davison. The stories didn’t serve him as well as his acting served those stories.

2 Responses to So Just What Was the Cyberwar?

  1. avatar TimeChaser says:

    I’m sure, like the Dalek Wars, humanity in the future fought various Cyber Wars over a long period of time. Cybermen never die out, they just go into hibernation til we forget about them, consider them nothing more than legend, and then come back and hit us when our guard is down.

  2. avatar vortexter says:

    The Armageddon convention in which all members of the sentient worlds assembled on Earth to sign an agreement on the limitation of’ Planetary Annihalators’ – Weapons of supreme destruction which could be used to alter the biosphere of an inhabited planet was generally seen as the beginning of the Human/Cyber conflict known as ‘The Cyberwars’. The Cybermen had long staked claim to Telos and buried themselves deep into the old cities of the Cryons. The Alliance was wary of the Cyber race using Vaskil as the active element of their own annihalators and as such made a pre-emptive strike of diverting an asteroid: Vogas/665 at Telos to destroy the tombs within. However they were not aware of how far the Cyber race had seeded their own kind throughout the galaxy and they retaliated swiftly by sending out Conversion cubes- Large Metal Cyber factories that could send a hypnotic signal to a humanoid race and producing vast legions at a time. Weakened by their own wars with the androids in Orion, Humanity struggled with this silver wave of metal that swept across the northern arms of Galaxia Kyklos. Afetr an abortive attempt to destroy the conference on earth, the Cybermen set up a new homeworld on planet 14.
    After capturing several cybermen, they found a new weakness – Gold and captured Voga, a satellite from the original Vogas system stripping its natural wealth and inventing the Glittergun which tipped the war in favour of the Humans. Earth at that time had noticed that the Cybermen had problems adapting 2-hearted species to the Cyber template so Humanity was altered to have 2 hearts when fighting in the wars so the Cybermen retaliated by destroying Voga and by developing Chen 7 regardless the risks to other 2 hearted species. When defeated, the Cybermen disappeared at large except for occasional raiding parties spoken off in hushed whispers and spacelore.

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