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Cybermen in The Doctor Who Technical Manual

The Cybermen

fromThe Doctor Who Technical Manual

by Mark Harris

1983 Sphere Books (Out of Print)

(Please Note : The graphics have been adapted very slightly)

The story of the Cybermen goes back many aeons, to a time when the solar system had only just been created. In those days Earth had a sister planet -Mondas. But soon the great intergalactic forces of that period broke Mondas free of its orbit and it drifted away from the solar system into deep space.

Organic life on both worlds developed in much the same way, but on Mondas circumstances made survival for the people of the rogue planet much more difficult. After many centuries, they began to realise that their life-spans were shortening and their bodies becoming weaker. It was clear that unless they could do something to reverse this, their entire race faced extinction.

In their efforts to preserve the species, the doctors and scientists of Mondas made many experiments In the fields of bionic and cybernetic engineer­ing. They learned how to replace diseased organs with synthetic appara­tus, capable of performing the functions of the original perfectly. As their replacement technology advanced, they were able to exchange entire limbs for prosthetic devices which performed better than the original flesh and blood.

Generations later, it had become quite normal for people to have cybernetic limbs. Cyber-technology provided them with legs which were faster, arms which were stronger and hands which were much more dexterous.

The people of Mondas were no longer concerned merely with surviving – they were striving to achieve physical perfec­tion. In their attempts to free them­selves of all weakness, they decided to erase emotion from their brains, their only remaining organ made of flesh and blood. Emptied of love, hate, anger, fear or compassion, a new race of beings emerged from Mondas – THE CYBER­MEN. Totally logical, even if not actually evil, they would become ruthless in their attempts to achieve their aims.

Having attained physical perfection, they began to look for new goals. They turned their attention to the pursuit of power and the conquest of the Universe.

The scientists of Mondas therefore began to look into the possibilities of space travel and before long had devel­oped short range space vehicles. When ‘Mondas strayed into the Telos system the Cybermen invaded that planet. Telos was taken and many of its inhabitants were converted into Cybermen, and an army of Cybermen was stored on Telos.

It was centuries later, in 1986, that Mondas finally wandered back into this solar system. It was now in truth a dying world. The planet’s life force, upon which the Cybermen’s existence depended, was diminishing rapidly and In order to save themselves they decided to drain the Earth of its energy.

A fleet of Cyber-ships was to remain in orbit around the Earth to deal with any resistance. Meanwhile, one of the land­ing parties would organise the gathering of the terrestrial energies from the Earth’s northern polar Ice cap.

The scheme, however, could not suc­ceed. The Cybermen had seriously underestimated the Earth’s vast store of energy. The phenomenal influx of power was too much for their planet – Mondas was destroyed, exploding into billions of fragments. Isolated from the energies which maintained their life support sys­tems, until that moment beamed to them from Mondas, the invading Cyber­men weakened and died.

By this time, however, the Cybermen of Telos had perfected the techniques of hyperspace travel. This meant that countless galaxies and star systems were now within their grasp. Despite the destruction of Mondas, the Cybermen’s reign of terror was only just beginning.

The Telosian Cybermen have attemp­ted to conquer the Earth on a number of occasions. Because they cannot repro­duce themselves naturally, they favour planets dominated by humanoid types. There, they can increase their numbers in the only way possible for them – by converting humans into Cybermen.

The typical Cyberman stands about 7 feet tall and has the strength of ten humans. He is immune to the most intense heat and can survive in the vacuum of space. The Cybermens weapon systems are highly sophisti­cated. They have also been known to use Cybermats – small metallic ‘rodent-like’ creatures – for attack and sabot­age,

Although almost invulnerable, Cybermen do have weaknesses. For instance, their chest units can easily be ‘choked’ with gold dust, terminating their life-support systems. It is therefore clear why Cybermen regard gold as a major problem, and why they made such a determined attempt to destroy Voga, the legendary ‘Planet of Gold’. Fortun­ately their plan was frustrated by the Doctor.

Great advances in Cyber-technology are however being made all the time. It cannot be long before the Cybermen are an invincible force. Humanity’s only hope then will be inter-planetary unity, a galactic alliance to combat the Cyber­netic invaders from Mondas.

Cybermen in the Radio Times

The Tomb of the Cybermen

What have we learned from the Cybermen?


Paper published by Doctor Tanizaki

Cybernetics Expert

Profile of Doctor Tanizaki by Ianto Jones

Dr Tanizaki

Dr Tanizaki is head of the Cybertechnology Institute of Osaka, founded 2007 after the Cyberman invasion. Purpose of the CiO was to monitor and learn from the Cybermen and their debris.

Many early experiments proved unsuccessful, especially due to the lack of available material (mechanical or biological), or any way of understanding the equipment that was used.

Dr Tanizaki once said during an interview, “I wish I understood them. It’s like hoping to find God on the autopsy table – all you’re staring at is a set of parts. In some ways, horrible as this is to say, I wish I’d become one of these creatures. Just to know how it all happened. What if felt like – even though, of course, we know that these poor creatures felt nothing at all.”

Dr Tanizaki is incredibly fussy about travel and hotels. First class and five star. Very keen to know what kind of treadmill is in the hotel gym, due to a recurrent knee injury.

What Have We Learned From The Cybermen?

Cybernetics is “efficiency of action” taught Louis Couffignal, an early pioneer. “Efficiency” is what the Cybermen have shown us. Their technology reduced humanity to its core essentials, and then rebuilt those components so that they functioned more efficiently. It was a fundamental reimagining of the human concept, a revision not just of body but of brain. If we look to the Greek origin of the word “Cybernetics”, we see that it was originally about the theory of government. Rather than replacement limbs or organs, we return to the Greek view of restructuring human behaviour along unified lines of efficiency. This is what the Cybermen are – a model of physical and psychological efficiency. A simplified structure where every unit (we cannot say individual) worked towards a defined Telos (Greek again, for goal or purpose). If you look at the human way of doing things, you can see at least five different levels and modes of interaction, which I shall detail later. What is most important is that these are layers of inefficiency, with each individual working towards their own goals, and only towards a unified goal if that suits their own selfish purpose. A way of defining a unified goal is to identify, perhaps, supporters of a football team – they display, there, a shared wish for success which can also [extract ends].