The Nineteen-Eighties; as we enter the Age of the Personal Computer, the newborn 'Internet' spreads across America, and the computer invasion enters our homes. Across the technological frontier, an incredible war begins between the criminals and their savvy opponents. A brilliant young programmer, a beautiful college student, and a mysterious hacker known only as 'The Doctor' join forces to combat an electronic threat fallen into the hands of a notorious computer outlaw.
It's never stated, but presumably somewhere near the diner in Maryland, Christmas 1981 (page 10).
Pg 78 The Eridani. Bernice drinks Eridanian brandy on page 32 of Blood Harvest.
Pg 124 "Mars would be more their cup of tea, if it wasn't already taken." Reference to the Ice Warriors.
Pg 131 "That first morning I woke up and I swear I didn't know who I was." Planet of Fire.
Pg 167 "I did have kind of a crush on him once. He was a lot younger then..." The Fifth Doctor.
Pg 247 "There was a time when he got really, really sick, and I had no idea what to do." The Caves of Androzani.
OLD FRIENDS AND OLD ENEMIES
NEW FRIENDS AND NEW ENEMIES
Chick Peters, Bob Salmon, Robert Salmon Snr, Ian Mond, Sarah Swan, Luis Perez, Ghislain, the Eridani.
PLUGGING THE HOLES [Fan-wank theorizing of how to fix continuity cock-ups]
FEATURED ALIEN RACES
Pg 115 The Savant. It's shaped like a Y, with scales or short stiff feathers, with a truncated mahogany beak. It's possible that it's a Caxtarid, seen in Return of the Living Dad and The Room with No Doors.
Pg 77 The Eridani. They're always in human disguise, so we don't find out what they look like (although it may be similar to the Savant). In their disguise, they're always accompanied by a parrot, so possibly the parrot is the controlling intelligence.
Pg 5 Virginia, late 1982.
Pg 10 Washington D.C. and surrounding areas, December 1981. The road trip takes them through Harrington, Delaware (page 141) and as far east as Ocean City, Maryland (page 142), while they end up as far west as Ritchie (page 177).
Pg 111 Allegany County, two months previously.
IN SUMMARY - Robert Smith?
Blue Box is a great little self-contained adventure. Seeing everything through Chick's eyes is really effective, especially his attempts to rationalise what's happening. There's a really wicked twist that for once is all about character rather than plot and it works fabulously. There's a level of thoughtfulness here that's simply not present in most Doctor Who novels (the yellow ribbons tied to the poles is a particular delight if you recognise that it's a memorial from the Iran hostage crisis). There are also some great jokes about the "future" of the internet from an early 1980's perspective and all the computer stuff manages to avoid being dull. One of the bright spots in an otherwise uninspiring run of PDAs.