Apollo 23
by Justin Richards

Publisher: BBC
ISBN: 1 846 07200 0


    A secret research project on the moon goes horribly wrong, trapping Amy and the TARDIS there while the Doctor ends up in the Texas desert.


    Amy Pond.

    Pg 15 In a car park, London, present day.

    Pg 25 The moon.

    Pg 247 Hibiscus Base.

    Familiarity with The Mind of Evil, The Ambassadors of Death and The Seeds of Death would probably be helpful. Then again, since the plot is essentially an amalgamation of all three, perhaps not.

    Pgs 18-19 "Mind you, I haven't died for months" The End of Time.

    Pg 21 The sonic screwdriver makes an appearance (Fury From the Deep et al).

    Pg 23 The psychic paper also makes an appearance (The End of the World et al).

    Pg 55 "There'll be a whole penal colony here in a few hundred years" Frontier in Space.

    Pg 63 "Only the bad, negative inclinations. The Keller impulses." The Mind of Evil.

    Pg 87 "I didn't think there was a direct link from Earth to the moon until T-Mat got going and that won't be for a while yet." The Seeds of Death.

    Pg 118 "'Memory cheats,' Liz said sleepily. 'Other people's memories are not their own.'" The phrase "the memory cheats" was coined by John Nathan-Turner to describe fans' rose-coloured views of early Doctor Who stories in the eighties.

    Pg 144 "UNIT, Torchwood, Operation Yellow Book..." UNIT was the paramilitary organisation the Doctor worked with in the seventies (or was it the eighties?), first seen in The Web of Fear. Torchwood was the entirely different secret organisation tasked with claiming alien technology, first mentioned in Bad Wolf and founded in Tooth and Claw.

    Pg 147 "They found a way to use the M3 Variant fuel developed by the British Rocket Group for their aborted Mars Probe Missions way back." The Ambassadors of Death.

    Pg 148 "Got my Mars-Venus license" Robot.

    Pg 162 "Geronimo!" The End of Time et al.

    Pg 229 "I probably have a jammy dodger of my own somewhere. Usually do." Victory of the Daleks. But see Continuity Cock-Ups


    Agent Jennings, General Walinski, Candace Hecker, Pat Ashton, Major Carlisle, Captain Reeve, Liz Didbrook, Nurse Phillips.


    1. Pg 28 "'What time was Garrett's call?' Walinski asked '17.32,' someone replied. Walinski jabbed his finger at the woman in the photo. 'And this happened...?' 'She was spotted at 17.53 our time,' Hecker told him. 'Major Carlisle got anxious when Garrett didn't report in on the half-hour. She went to look for herself from the Section 4 observation gallery.' Nothing about this makes sense. Garrett, a military man, reports on the half-hour, only he's two minutes late at 17:32. Then 17.53 is less than half an hour afterwards. So when did Carlisle miss Garrett's report?
    2. Pg 87 "It's all well and good at the atomic level. But when its actually people and places..." Don't you mean "it's", Doctor?
    3. Pg 229 "I probably have a jammy dodger of my own somewhere." Except that it's spelled "jammie", not "jammy".

    PLUGGING THE HOLES [Fan-wank theorizing of how to fix continuity cock-ups]

    1. Garrett's half-hour check-ins occur at 15 past and 45 past the hour because time is a bit strange on the moon. And he just called in at 17:32 for a bit of a chat.
    2. The Doctor believes that people and places belong to the atomic level. He's eccentric that way.
    3. The Doctor enjoyed Venusian jammy dodgers, which are wholly unlike human jammie dodgers, which he also enjoys.

    Pg 174-175/220 Talerians. They have swollen limbs, no neck and metal body armour. Their skin is covered in slime and pustules, and they have a single eye. They can download themselves into people's brains.

    Pg 16 Britain.

    Pgs 26/27 Base Hibiscus on the moon and its surroundings.

    Pg 87 The Texan desert.

    IN SUMMARY - Robert Smith?
    Justin Richards seems determined to write the first and last book of each New Series Doctor. I guess that's editor's prerogative. And thank goodness, because it's probably quite useful that a new range starts off with a reliably solid tale. Surprisingly perhaps, the Doctor is quite good, with the right level of Matt Smith eccentricity. Amy is incredibly generic, but that's actually okay as she's not her annoying TV persona. In hindsight, an eleventh Doctor story featuring an astronaut in an impossible location is a little too close to the bone, but that can't be helped. There's only one obvious flaw and that's the Talerians. The idea of a race that can download themselves into people is excellent. (It would have been even better if this had all been an exercise in paranoia and there actually were no aliens, but that's probably too adult for the books these days.) But having them actually appear 200 pages in and be bog-standard monsters - albeit exploding ones - is a huge letdown. It's really too bad they couldn't have been left to the imagination or have no physical bodies. Other than that, this is pretty good, actually.