Beltempest
by Jim Mortimore


Publisher: BBC
ISBN: 0 563 40593 7

     

    BASIC PLOT
    Mind-bogglingly immense disaster sweeps through the Bel system, as two hundred billion people face imminent death. The Doctor tries to save lives, while Sam gets involved in a religious cult that offers immortality.

    DOCTOR
    Eighth.

    COMPANIONS
    Sam.

    MATERIALISATION CIRCUIT
    Pg 26 A moon of Belannia VI.

    PREPARATORY READING
    None.

    CONTINUITY REFERENCES
    Pg 13 "At his touch, the button - a bright, red, palm-sized emergency shutdown control removed from the drive generator of a junked sandminer." The Robots of Death.

    Pgs 16-17 "Sam thought for a moment about the time she had spent away from the TARDIS" The Sam is Missing story arc.

    Pg 28 "As a man is the sum of his memories." The Five Doctors.

    Pg 29 "Atropine. Adrenaline. Anaesthesia: benzoprophyliticine, ten units per unit body mass. Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique, first movement. Bonesaw." Very similar to a sequence in the Telemovie. Weirdly alphabetical.

    Pg 45 "She thought of the near-disaster Janus had brought about." Ah, an unusual feature of the EDAs: editing. The Janus Conjunction.

    Pg 47 "On the surface - the airless surface - of Belannia VI's moon, Saketh was standing up.." An image recently re-used in The Impossible Planet.

    Pg 51 "He wondered vaguely if the TARDIS had got a bee in her bonnet about wayward suns at the moment." The Janus Conjunction.

    Pg 74 "This was just like Ha'olam again." Seeing I.

    Pg 76 "She remembered Dan Engers, the boy she'd tried to look after on the Cirrandaria" Vanderdeken's Children.

    Pg 86 "How he'd managed it she had no idea, but he looked around, tucked his thumbs into his lapels - which stretched a little as if unused to the gesture." He's channelling the first Doctor, but he appears not to have done this for some time.

    Pg 92 "I was in my early nineties before I could bring myself to admit that I still liked to play with my perigosto stick." Mentioned in The Green Death.

    Pg 94 "Celery, he thought." The Fifth Doctor.

    Pg 101 "She thought of reverend Lukas back on Micawber's World, and Kyle Dale." Placebo Effect.

    Pg 105 "I knew another doctor once. This was just after I died, so things between us were [...] complex." Grace Holloway, the Telemovie.

    Pg 154 "She didn't find it surprising in the same way as the Doctor had not been surprising - more like a slightly unfamiliar item of clothing, an old glove that you had never owned but was your size, which fitted perfectly when you pulled it on. Something you'd never known... as if, in a way, it was you that fitted perfectly into their lives... as if you were the object that had been found." Alien Bodies.

    Pg 192 "Besides, these glasses have a sentimental value. Watched Puccini's Madame Butterfly through them once." The Telemovie.

    Pg 194 "Have you ever seen what happens to a Wall's Dalek Death Ray lolly when you put it in a microwave?" These were items of merchandise produced by T. Wall and Sons, 1976-1977.

    Pg 196 "The deep ache of radiation sickness, just as on Janus Prime." The Janus Conjunction.

    Pg 215 "The Doctor wriggled his eyebrows at one of the nerve clusters. It ignored him completely. 'Hm. Not Delphon then.'" Spearhead from Space.

    Pg 224 "I once left a world because I disagreed with the philosophy of its Masters." Gallifrey and the Time Lords.

    Pg 225 "Then we appear to be on opposite sides of a two-headed Martian penny." The second Doctor carried a lucky double headed coin in the novelisation of The Three Doctors.

    Pg 231 "I walk in eternity now." Pyramids of Mars.

    OLD FRIENDS AND OLD ENEMIES
    None.

    NEW FRIENDS AND NEW ENEMIES
    The only one who survives is Captain Bellis.

    CONTINUITY COCK-UPS

    1. Pg 6 "He waited for morning to bury Skywatcher, but morning did not come for more than a year." However, the back page states that it's only a month. So which is it?
    2. Pg 21 "Sam leaned her face against the glass, tried not to imagine what her body would look like emptied of life, bloated and burst from decompression; tried not to imagine how much it would hurt." Except she doesn't need to remember what decompression feels like; she went through it three times in Dreamstone Moon alone.
    3. Pg 71 Only Belannia II is uninhabited... except that on page 135 Belannia I is "a charred cinder of a world, consisting of little more than molten rock and an atmosphere poisonous in the extreme" and page 107 says that Belannia XXI is a dumping ground for nuclear waste, viruses and the like; pages 107-108 state "Were there any life extant at all within this wasted system, no doubt there would have been many problems."
    4. Pg 101 "Her mum had taken her to church once, as a child. It had scared her. It was so big and echoey, but calm, and full of dark places, and more smiling people than she had ever seen at once before." OK, but contradictory with Kursaal, where her father was the, albeit lapsed, religious one and they went as a family.
    5. Pg 108 "Five and a half centuries of lethal shenanigans, in the form of technological and biological planetkillers, had been launched by a fleet of robot orbiters into the heart of the Belannian sun." Which is all very well, but contradicts page 88 which states that they've been chucking stuff into the sun for 500 years. Which is it?
    6. Pg 206 "'The refugees -' '-have their own ship. How else did Saketh arrive here?'" Erm, he came with you, on your ship, you silly girl.

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

    1. He's in an arctic region and a combination of the sun's disappearance precedes a very long arctic winter.
    2. That was a long time ago. But really, how much work do you need in terms of continuity to have said "Sam leaned her face against the glass, trying not to remember the last time this happened, on the Dreamstone Moon, trying not to remember the taste in her mouth as her lungs started to bleed. Hoping against hope that they would hold out this time. Trying not to remember how much it was going to hurt." There, I too could be Jim Mortimore.
    3. There's microscopic life on both these planets, although it does indeed have problems. But Belannia II doesn't even have this.
    4. Her past keeps changing as the Doctor manipulates her memories, whether he's doing it subconsciously or not.
    5. Both, one assumes, but the contradiction is odd, it must be said.
    6. The nanites have completely addled Sam's thinking.

    FEATURED ALIEN RACES
    Pgs 86/95 The Hanakoi, a benign race with fuzzy, orange hair, elongated faces and no noticable ears.

    Pg 185 The Hoth, beings the size of continents.

    Pg 186 Planet-sized beings who who gestate inside a sun and live millions of times longer than galaxies.

    Pg 187 Nanomachines on the hunt for their own form of God.

    FEATURED LOCATIONS
    The Bel system, a system of 23 planets, 22 of which are inhabited, plus assorted moons.

    IN SUMMARY - Robert Smith?
    With a cast of faceless billions, a congenital idiot of a Doctor and an immortal, hugely dangerous Sam, this is Doctor Who on acid. Somehow, this huge and terrifying novel has been squeezed into just 249 pages. It's not for the faint of heart and it's a great pity we didn't get some decent characterisation, but this novel almost seems to transcend that sort of thing. It's not the sort of novel that it's possible to like, but it's one hell of a roller-coaster ride.