by Justin Richards

Publisher: BBC
ISBN: 0 563 55572 6


    Raconteur and high player "Kreiner, Fitz Kreiner", finds himself gambling away all his money on Vega Station. Giant bears watch Opera and Sam finds herself with a new appreciation for art.


    Sam and Fitz.

    Inside a hotel room, Vega Station, 2593. Page 94: "Thanks to a subtle manipulation of the time-path indicator he had managed to materialise inside the hotel room he had not yet been allocated when they arrived"


    Pg 16 "The Doctor's machine might not be able to hit the target exactly on time, but it knew how to dress for the occasion." Likely a reference to the Master's line in the telemovie.

    Pg 39: Reference to Ginger Beer reminds us, unconscionably, of The Android Invasion.

    Pg 41 Reference to the Jax of Kursaal fame.

    Pg 94 "If only he had brought his everlasting matches with him..." First seen in the novelisation of The Daleks.

    Pg 121 The Doctor appears to use that age-old favourite device of his, transmigration of object from The Ambassadors of Death.

    Pg 141 "The alien technology that made Azoth, or that lurked in the Benelsians' cave under London" The Taint.

    Pg 150 "It showed a tall man wearing a wide brimmed felt hat and a long dark coat." The fourth Doctor visited Vega Station 50 years ago.

    Pg 155 "I'm a demon at backgammon, you know. Once, against Kublai Khan -" Marco Polo.

    Pg 170 "I am from beyond the stars. On my planet, it is customary to shag by way of civilised greeting." This is Fitz's last line in The Taint.

    Pg 199 Fitz's 'shaken not stirred line' gives rise to an interesting Bond fact: as Ian Fleming got more and more irritated by the character that he created, he made him, very subtly, a bit of a bore. The drinks he so often demands should, in fact, for best effect, be stirred and not shaken. Ditto, Bond was always one year out on the perfect vintage for a wine, and things like that. Not a lot of people know this.

    Pg 266 There's a line about imagining a lot of money which, I think, owes itself to the Telemovie.

    Newark Rappare appeared in Dragons' Wrath. He leaves Vega Station here to become a Professor of Art History at St Oscar's University on Dellah. Thus the events here are contemporary with the Benny books.

    Vega Station reappears in Tears of the Oracle, when Irving Braxiatel wins Asteroid KS-159 (the site of the Braxiatel Collection) in a game of cards (which was mentioned in Theatre of War).

    President Robyn Drexler, Bigdog Caruso, Harris Stabilo, Cassey Cage, Cy Slavish, Mr and Mrs Antherzon.


    1. In terms of nit-picky nit-picking, you might want to ask why the canvas slashes on the front cover appear to have painting on the back of them. I wonder what the picture was.
    2. Pg 108 Great typos of our time: "A stack of books toppled over and formed a crude damn across one passage through the mess." Wow.
    3. Pg 187: You might want to ask, as do I, how the Devourer, lacking lungs, creates the breath necessary to manipulate vocal cords into making a noise.

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

    1. The artist drew a rough version on the other side.
    2. One of the books happened to flop open at the word 'damn' and those who noticed found this very crude.
    3. The Devourer has a membrane which vibrates when air is passed through it, but such air doesn't actually proceed to anything we might think of as lungs.

    It's not clear whether Buttrel is a human colony or not, although the TARDIS crew don't seem out of place.

    Canvines, giant upright wolves.

    Various painted monsters who come to life, most notably the Devourer of Souls, a huge shaggy monster that's actually made of canvas and paint.

    Vega Station, 2593 (Neware Rappare's appearance dates this contemporaneously with the Benny NAs).

    President Drexler's office, Buttrel.

    IN SUMMARY - Robert Smith?
    It's light years ahead of the EDAs around it and manages to raise a few smiles, but it's still not that great. There are a few plot holes - an assassin is hired to kill the (fourth) Doctor yet it's been 50 years since he visited the station - and some of the solutions seem a little obvious. The Doctor spends an inordinantly long time gambling in the opening chapters before the plot gets underway and it's a remarkable coincidence that Sam just happens to end up in the one painting with an escape route. But a lot of the book is greatly redeemed by having a confidently portrayed Fitz and some amusing jokes, a true rarity from this period of the EDAs.