Ghost Devices
by Simon Bucher-Jones

Publisher: Virgin
ISBN: 0 426 20514 6


    A three-hundred kilometre high artefact attracts great interest when it turns out to fortell the future. But Bernice and her archaeological team are not the only ones interested in the artefact...

    The dark-haired man who appears on page 3 might be the seventh Doctor.



    Nothing essential, although there are a fair few references to Oh No It Isn't! and it might help to know who the Watchmakers are, from Cold Fusion.

    Back cover: "One of the seven hundred and seventy six-wonders of the galaxy." In Death to the Daleks there are seven hundred wonders of the galaxy (and six hundred and ninety nine by the story's end)

    Pgs 3-4 "A dark-haired man, dressed in outlandish, antiquated clothes" This might be the Doctor, although he's worried about "Certain powers", so he might be a representative of the People. However, "he had an odd accent [...] falling more harshly at the end of his words" so it's quite likely that this is the seventh Doctor. The People are not supposed to have representatives in this part of the Galaxy, according to their treaty with the Time Lords (The Also People).

    Pg 4 "Reinvest the profits in ploughshares on Spindrast Maxima" Spindraft Maxima was last mentioned on page 140 of Deadfall, in a passage inspired by Simon Bucher-Jones.

    Pg 9 "The Dressing Up As Other Galaxies' Religious Figures Special Interest Group" The main way in which we've seen the People occupying themselves is through membership in Interest Groups. Different IGs have different subject matter, and different amounts of significance to the People's significance. The DUAOGRFSIG might be no more that a dress-up club, but the XR(N)IG (Xenocultural Relations (Normalization) Interest Group) may be responsible for the deaths of twenty-six billion of the insectoid Great Hive Mind of the Universe thirty years before The Also People took place.

    Pg 10 "The People, the race -- or multiplicity of races" The People have extensive access to advanced genetic beppling equipment, with the result that the can potentially have totally different DNA matrices and physical appearences. Add to this the fact that the survivors of the Great Hive Mind, and supposedly any other former enemies, were assimilated into the People as ordinary Persons. We also saw body beppling on earth, about five hundred years ahead of this time, in Original Sin.

    "A specimen of Godzillae E.R.Burroughsia which had arrived from Tyler's Folly" Benny met all sorts of fantastical creatures on Tyler's Folly in Down.

    Pg 11 "No sunglasses and trilby this time, though" In Oh No It Isn't!, God's agents were dressed as the Blues Brothers.

    "Tiny and Interesting Interest Group" This group was introduced in Oh No It Isn't!, but there they were the "Tiny But Interesting Interest Group (see page 214 of that book). Clarence also says that the person who appeared in the first chapter is his nearest colleague, who may or may not be the Seventh Doctor.

    "Making suspiciously inedible dip for the People's parties" In The Also People it was revealed that God always sends veggie dip to parties, and it's always the kind that no one uses.

    Pg 12 "An archaeologist could snoop where angels might fear to tread." The use of this phrase may be a foreshadowing of the climactic events in Where Angels Fear. But it might not.

    "I know my life seems to be falling into a Bernice-has-a-university-problem-goes-on-a-field-trip-almost-gets-killed-but-triumphs-brilliantly-and-solves-her-domestic-crisis-into-the-bargain style of thing" That's a summary of the Benny books' house style.

    "I'm more concerned with Jayne's last essay" Jayne Waspo, part of Benny's tutorial group from earlier New Adventures such as Oh No It Isn't!.

    "Mr Misnomer was actually intended to be a woman" Mr Misnomer appeared (or maybe he didn't) in Down. He was a 2530s pulpzine character.

    "It's also about as wrong historically as a Cro-Magnon wristwatch" Historically more inaccurate than the 1066 wristwatch misplaced by the Meddling Monk and discovered by Steven and Vicki.

    Pg 13 "The lethality of Ninjucoid assassins" These are also mentioned in Tears of the Oracle.

    Pg 16 "I thought all God's agents in the Milky way had to be humans to avoid breaking the treaty with the Powers That Will Be" Current theory has it that the Time Lords existed in the distant past, so it's not clear if that's who Bernice is referring to here.

    "I'm a Ship." The Ships are also People, hence, 'The Also People'. The circumstances under which Clarence stopped being a Ship become suspicious in Walking to Babylon and finally clear in Tears of the Oracle.

    Pg 18 "A Ninth-Zone-Supported Trading Trust" This may be a Ninth Zone related to the Third Zone in The Two Doctors although that area is supposedly in the 20th-Century time zone.

    Pg 23 "I should have called you Lucifer" Interestingly, Benny actually meets a devil called Lucifer in Mean Streets, although it's almost certainly unrelated.

    Pg 27 "A hasty confab with her supervisor that left her smelling like a fresh swimming bath from the chlorine-laced atmosphere" Introduced in Oh No It Isn't!, Divson Follett is Bernice's head of department in Archaeology at St. Oscar's. He is a reptile who breathes chlorine. He's seen throughout the Benny adventures until Tears of the Oracle.

    Pg 28 "The dozen or so networks that could be picked up on Dellah, SNN, BXB and so forth" In Deadfall the network was DNN. In Mean Streets it's a sorry excuse for a campus radio station.

    Pg 29 "Ripley's Believe It Or FO!" Last mentioned on page 184 of Deadfall.

    Pg 30 "Consequently, the war business recruited its best 'deathmaster'-class experts from the under-eights. Ideally they should also have come from broken homes and lack empathic socialization, but only the really top-class, the so-called 'Violent Elizabeths', met those criteria." 'Violent Elizabeths' is a corruption of 'Violet Elizabeth', a reference to the character Violet Elizabeth Bott, from Richmal Crompton's Just William series of books (1921-1970), much loved by Martin Jarvis (Vengeance on Varos et al). In the 1970s television adaptation of the series, Violet Elizabeth was played by a 12-year-old Bonnie Langford, in a role which would, essentially, define (and blight) her career for the subsequent 40 years of her life. The hideous characterisation of the spoiled brat girl, whose most famous, oft-repeated and lisping line was 'I'll thcweam and thcweam and thcweam until I'm thick', in many ways informed the chirpy buzziness of Mel in the minds of the infamous Pip and Jane Baker, but also inspired many Who fans to auto-loathe the character long before she ever appeared in Trial of a Time Lord. None of this did Miss Langford any favours. (With thanks to Anthony Wilson.)

    Pg 31 "They're all too simple for spontaneous AI node formation" The point at which a computer becomes self-aware. Officially, the first time it happened was in 2109, in the case of FLORANCE from Transit. However, BOSS from The Green Death and WOTAN from The War Machines were both self-aware AIs whose existence and destruction were covered up in the 20th Century.

    "Justifiable Ragnarok" There's the Gods of Ragnarok from The Greatest Show in the Galaxy. But I think this is just some kind of loud music, as Ragnarok is one version of the mythical Apocalypse. In Norse mythology, Ragnarok is an apocalyptic vision of the last days of the world, the twilight of the gods when the sun grows dim, the forces of evil are let loose, and gods and giants slaughter one another and all creation. Note the not-so-coincidental reference to apocalyptic events to come in the Benny line.

    Pg 32 "The Daedalus Chair of Applied Physics" In Greek mythology, Daedalus was a sculptor, architect, and inventor revered as the personification of arts and crafts. An Athenian imprisoned in Crete, he built the Labyrinth to house the Minotaur for King Minos. Later imprisoned by Minos, Daedalus escaped with his son, Icarus, on wings of waxed feathers. Icarus, however, flew too close to the sun; his wings melted, and he fell into the sea. Daedalus settled alone in Sicily. These myths have popped up throughout Doctor Who, from the Minos/Minyans and Minotaur/Nimon connections in the Tom Baker years, the Minotaur in Atalantis in The Time Monster. Also Daedalus (or the Obverse version of him) featured in The Blue Angel, searching for his son, who was born from the Doctor's leg.

    "Farouk, his head of department" Farouk was involved in the Perfecton expedition in Oh No It Isn't!, despite not being named as such. Note that it's not the first name of Professor Singh, since they're two different people on pg 244.

    Pg 36 "Herr Doktor Harbinger" Mr Misnomer's arch-foe in extracts printed in Down.

    Pg 37 "Invasion of parallel-universe meta-termites" Like the Ants in Set Piece.

    "Good Guys versus the Men In Black Hats" This might be a reference to the Blues Brothers clones who appeared in Oh No It Isn't! which would make the Time Lords the Good Guys. So it might not be such a reference, after all.

    Pg 38 "Herakles" Or Hercules, if you prefer. Ancient Greek-Roman legendary demigod. Lost his temper and killed his family at one point, and was punished with being sent to perform twelve herculean tasks. A version of him appears in Underworld.

    Pg 40 "How do I know that I'm not the simulation now" The irony is that Benny is a work of fiction. This is one of the themes of not only this book, but the Benny line as a whole, questioning the line between reality and fiction. Other notable examples include Oh No it Isn't! (the events on Perfecton), Down (with Benny's Post-it notes writ large), The Mary-Sue Extrusion (where the writer of the story may be the only slightly less fictional writer of the novel) and Dead Romance (which questions the level of fictionality not only of one universe but of an infinity of them).

    Pg 42 "Never studied, Doc. Flew bugsprayers over the sea farms of Ordifica as a girl." Ordifica was mentioned in Down and appears in Interference.

    Pg 50 "It's a perfectly sensible adaptation on the evolutionary cusp between mammal and reptile" We saw an example of this evolutionary cusp in Ghost Light.

    Pg 57 "Duodecahedrons mostly" The Dodecahedron was a set piece in Meglos as the Tigellan power source. Are there two?

    Pg 60 "More redolent of the military shipyards of the Hotop and Spinward Companies" First mentioned in Deceit, the Spinward Corporation was one of the first Multi-Planetary Corporations in the 22nd Century. Spinward was first known as the Butler Corporation in 2009 in Cat's Cradle: Warhead, when it was responsible for trying to put human consciousness into machines instead of repairing the environment. In 2107, according to A History of the Universe, Butler merged with Eurogen to become the EB Corporation. Such corporations eventually took the Earth into receivership when the government collapsed in Lucifer Rising, just before the Dalek Invasion in 2157. In Deceit Spinward were running a colony on the planet Arcadia for sinister purposes; the colony ship EBC Back to Nature had left for Arcadia in 2112. EBC eventually became Spinward. Ace's Auxies were sent to Arcadia ostensibly to fight Daleks, but really to blow the whistle on Spinward for the Earth Government. Spinward was most recently mentioned in Deadfall, when Tolland mentioned that he had worked for them in the Wars in 2555.

    Pg 62 "A tiny Goll gamma-male" The Goll are one of three native Dellahan power blocs, the others being the Sylan Federation and the Tashwari, who had St. Oscar's built. The gamma-male bit suggests some kind of Brave New World-ish eugenics.

    Pg 63 "It wasn't a leisure junket like the Perfecton Expedition" Reference to Oh No It Isn't!

    "Bernice guessed from Menlove Stokes's tall tales" Artist and iconoclast from the Missing Adventures The Romance of Crime and The Well-Mannered War, in which he ended up on Dellah in time to wangle tenure before Oh No It Isn't! took place. He uses bodily fluids as his medium.

    Pg 64 "The ruins in Antarctica had spoilt some archaeologists" Benny is investigating Antarctican ruins at the beginning of The Sword of Forever. In The Scales of Injustice a lost Earth Reptile shelter in Antarctica is mentioned. In The Taking of Planet 5, co-authored by the writer of this book, Fendahl remains are discovered in Antarctica.

    Pg 70 "Singh's Collapsar Conjecture" Presumably a reference to Professor Singh, from Oh No It Isn't!

    "Professor Owl in Cosmology" Owl is first mentioned on page 32 of Oh No It Isn't!, a book by Paul Cornell. She was described as an elderly, rather buxom cosmologist with a monocle and a grey cardigan. Most of Paul's books have owls in them, but he disputes the claim that they all do.

    Pg 73 "Woe and lamentation upon the heads of the Gods who have seen what will befall their children's children, and cannot change it." Alien Bodies mentions a climactic war in the Time Lords' future which may be the reason no trace of their civilisation remains in the present. We see some of that war in Dead Romance.

    Pg 74 "The Gods are dead and cannot come out of their graves. If they did, I doubt we would long survive their coming." On the other hand if the Gods of Vo'lach are not the Time Lords but rather the Gods of Dellah (who come out of their graves in Where Angels Fear), then this is a marvellous set up for events that will affect the Benny line in the future.

    Pg 75 "Bernice was an alpha-female, albeit an alien one." Andrew Cartmel's books Cat's Cradle: Warhead, Warlock and Warchild mention the alpha-male in the context of a wolf-pack mentality. It goes farther that personality Type-A's. Bernice certainly isn't a Type-A, but she's the closest thing to an alpha-female Antok has, assuming all the male academics are even less successful alpha-males. However, if the Goll have a Brave New World type of system (Antok is a gamma male), then Bernice certainly qualifies for alpha status.

    Pg 76 "Heirosarch Mandir" Heiro- may connote being able to foretell the future, but it may have something to do with a hereditary position. See also Heironymous from Masque of Mandragora.

    Pgs 79-80 "Four brightly painted statues, apparantly of children's toys" The Teletubbies. See page 105.

    Pg 82 "The single largest alien artefact I've ever encountered that was not burnt to a frazzle by an inconvenient nova the moment I got near it" The direct reference is to the Perfecton civilisation in Oh No It Isn't!, which got starbaked at the climax of the novel, forcing Benny to run away. But she has had a run of bad luck as far as alien artefacts go; she had to abandon her research on Heavenite civilisation in Love and War when the planet was unexpectedly invasion by millions of Hoothi spores and their moon-sized gas dirigible. The Althosian System blew up in The Pit just when she found out what was really going on there. She arrived in the Lucifer System in Lucifer Rising just in time to see it quarantined and drawn off into a pocket universe through a black hole. Her big chance to explore Silurians (sorry, Earth Reptile) civilisation was lost when the Doctor switched off the parallel universe where they took over the Earth in Blood Heat. The Elysian Artefact started falling apart as soon as she arrived in Parasite. A pretty checkered archaeological career, all in all.

    Pg 88 "Oh, Jim'll fix it." Jimmy Savile OBE was the host of a TV programme in the UK which deals with wishes, called Jim'll Fix It!. Once he granted Gareth Jenkins' wish to meet the Doctor and see the TARDIS in a short sequence filmed during Colin Baker's hiatus between Seasons 22 and 23, entitled 'A Fix with Sontarans' and co-starring Tegan and the Sontarans

    Pg 89 Another reference to Spinward Corporation.

    Pg 91 "The Dr Watson medal for sidekicks" Benny actually met the real Dr Watson in All-Consuming Fire, although he may not have had that name.

    Pg 95 "David Foreman, the ship's landing pilot" The similarity of his surname to Susan's becomes important later on.

    Pg 101 "Those remains stand in relation to the existing canopusi as Fendleman's Man does to modern Homo sapiens." In Image of the Fendahl Professor Fendleman examined a perfectly preserved 12 million year old Homo sapiens skull. The skull, named Eustace, was a tool of the Fendahl, an Evil From The Dawn of Time. Supposedly time-looped by the Time Lords, the Fendahl had manipulated humanity to a point at which it could manifest itself, which is why Fendleman was named Fendleman. How Fendleman's Man became scientifically canonical is unclear, because Fendleman and all his associates, save one, were killed by the Fendahl. The one that survived, Adam Colby, hadn't wanted to publish Eustace's discovery in the first place because it was as yet scientifically impossible. Proving Eustace didn't get any easier, because the Doctor threw it into a supernova. We see a followup to Image of the Fendahl in Simon Bucher-Jones's next book, The Taking of Planet 5.

    Pg 102 "Delcorii the Centauri" Alpha Centaurans are hermaphroditic hexapods. They flollop about on one foot, have six arms, and their heads are a single huge eye. They look rather rude, in the sense that the universe is rather big.

    Pgs 105-106 "Giant cuddly aliens" The Teletubbies again, as well as being the Vo'lach. "Duquincy, who considered himself a fair amateur biologist, thought that the statues were Canopusi attempts to depict the forces of nature - earth, air, fire, water - as nothing that vividly coloured would stand a chance in evolutionary terms. Peterson though the four statues indicated that the Vo'lach were quadra-sexual, and that the differently patterned horns or antennae might be sexual displays if not actual sex organs." There was a lot of outcry in the US at the suggestion that one of the Teletubbies might be gay. Rumours that this suggestion can be traced directly back to a comment by Gareth Roberts are completely founded.

    Pg 111 "A room the size and height of an intercontinental bullet train" Tempest, which takes place on such a train, was published only a couple of months after Ghost Devices.

    Pg 115 "Full of references to wolves eating the moon and the years of great sterility" In Norse mythology Fenrir was a ferocious wolf, the offspring of Loki and the giantess Angerboda. The gods subdued him with a magical chain, Gleipher, but in the process he bit off the hand of the god Tyr. In the great battle of Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods, Odin (possibly represented by the Moon) will be devoured by Fenrir. In Doctor Who Fenrir is represented by Fenric from The Curse of Fenric. It's not clear who Fenrir is in the Gods arc of the Benny novels, if indeed that's the metaphor they're following. There's an indeterminate period of Martian Ice Warrior sterility. The Martians are an ancient and scientifically advanced race based on Mars, a more-or-less sterile planet. The Dying Days explores some of the aspects of Martian sterility. The link here is the "Middle Period Martian" mentioned in the same paragraph.

    Pg 122 "The ship had some deep-gel cabinets for transport of live goods" Cat's Cradle: Warhead introduced a basic form of suspended animation used in the 21st Century, also seen in Warlock. Suspended animation is the result of immersion in a chemical gel which also acts as a local anaesthetic.

    Pg 123 "I might have expected libations to Old Father Space and the Virgin Worlds" Virgin Worlds is an imprint of science fiction published by Virgin Books, who also produce the New Adventures.

    Pg 124 "Even with subspace transit links, the inverse-cube law lost too much of the power" The relationship between the apparant brightness of a source of light and its distance is an inverse-square relationship. The cube relation is because of the three dimensions the light is radiating into. Subspace energy transmission is supposed to reduce the energy loss. This method of transporting solar energy through subspace sounds like the Martian attempt to destroy the Jacksonville colony with the GodEngine in GodEngine, except that the technology was sufficiently advanced to be Osirian and not 23rd-Century Terran.

    Pg 128 "What would Roz have done?" Late companion of the Seventh Doctor in the New Adventures Original Sin through to So Vile A Sin. This is the first reference to Roz in the Benny Books.

    Pg 133 "I've just never known an emulation get at its own underlying code." Benny has become so fantastically self-doubting that she rewrites her own history with post-it notes and can tell when she's only being simulated.

    Pg 136 "Bernice hoped for an afterlife that didn't involve giant bloomers, pantomime horses, working for God and thigh-slapping" The last time Bernice died, (which seems to be fast becoming one of her favourite pastimes) was in Oh No It Isn't! when she was transported into a Perfecton pantomime.

    Pg 144 "We were in deep ocean hunting the last of the Meta-Kraken" Deep sea monsters like giant squids. John Wyndham wrote a book called The Kraken Wakes in 1953. The Zygons' Skarasen from Terror of the Zygons is grammatically similar, but biologically different. There's a Kraken in San Fransisco Bay in Unnatural History and the monsters from Down might be related.

    Pg 145 "Bang thud?" Stereotypical sound effect associated with suicides with handguns, not necessarily murders. There's a related joke on page 212 of Set Piece.

    Pg 146 "TURING TESTS" The Turing Test is a test of intelligence in computers. If you can have a human conversation with them naturally, they pass the test and can be defined as intelligent. The test was devised by Alan Turing, the computer scientist who ran the code-breaking section of the British Foreign Office during the Second World War. He invented the Turing Test, had the Turing computer language named after him, but unfortunately broke anti-homosexuality laws and eventually killed himself. Turing narrates one third of the BBC novel, The Turing Test.

    Pgs 162-163 "It was actually policy between the power blocs on my species' original world" Presumably during the Cold War, although possibly an improper use of metaphor; Benny just said the Vo'lach had been trying to keep other cultures at equal levels in order to deter aggression. It's hard to argue for a third force in the Cold War; the different sides also had different arms dealers. This might be a reference to the Power Blocs in Warriors of the Deep, which had a similar setup.

    Pg 169 "Multi-adaptors both male and female had medusa'd their way out" The Medusa was a beautiful woman with snakes for hair, who kidnapped Andromeda in an ancient Greek myth. Perseus came and rescued her. The snakes are represented by the multi-adaptor cables. There's also a later Benny NA called The Medusa Effect, which is probably coincidence.

    Pg 180 "What the hell is a Nijucoid?" The Ninjucoid acts like an N-Form here. N-Forms have already been used in Damaged Goods and So Vile a Sin, only different. Since the most recent N-Forms were hyperdimensional assassins controlled by the forbidden Time Lords, this probably isn't one of them.

    Pg 181 "The anoraked figure" Possibly an angel, like Clarence or the Dark-Haired Man from page 3. But why the anorak? And why haven't we seen this one before?

    Pg 182 "WHEN I SAY RUN, RUN LIKE RABBITS" Favourite strategy of the Second Doctor when faced with giant blobby monsters etc.

    "Surprisingly few life forms evolve an immunity to being shot" On the other hand, the Brigadier says 'Just once I'd like to meet an alien menace that wasn't immune to bullets' in Robot. It's all a matter of perspective.

    Pg 186 "A surprisingly advanced antigravity mechanism" Like in The Pirate Planet.

    Pg 187 "I particularly like the buy-one-get-the-second-one-for-half-price offer on doomsday weapons" The Doomsday Weapon, from Colony in Space, was a Time Lord Secret Weapon.

    Pg 191 "Electromagnetic pulse interference" A side-effect of some asymmetric nuclear explosions or explosions carried out above the atmosphere is the electromagnetic pulse effect. See Battlefield, Episode 1, although there may be more detail in the novelisation.

    "A bit of high-speed antimatter" Antimatter is a form of matter in which each of the particles that compose ordinary matter -- the proton, neutron, and electron -- is replaced by its corresponding antiparticle, that is, the antiproton, antineutron, and positron, respectively. Antiparticles have the same mass and spin as their respective particles, but they have opposite values of such electromagnetic properties as charge and magnetic moment. Because of its opposite properties antimatter is highly unstable in contact with normal matter, and tends to annihilate itself in a release of all its potential energy, so that hand-held amounts are sufficient to destroy planets, or so we think. On the other hand, if you're Toim Baker in Planet of Evil you can keep the stuff in a coffee tin.

    Pg 194 "CAUTION: FUGUE-LIKE NEXUS CONSEQUENCES MAY PRECEDE/FOLLOW OPERATION OF THESE WEAPONS" In their non-aggression treaty with the Time Lords, the People are forbidden from interfering in the Temporal Nexus, meaning the process of timelines in our galaxy centering around Gallifrey and, partially, Earth.

    Pg 196 "Dwarf-star matter" Dwarf-star alloy was first mentioned in Warriors' Gate and has appeared here and there in the novels. For example, page 79 of Deadfall. And in Where Angels Fear someone wears a dwarf-star earring, which sounds painful.

    Pg 197 "If your great-great-great grandfather hadn't had the most crucial confrontation of his career at the edge of a whacking great melodramatic waterfall, we'd be running this galaxy by now." Morry is a descendent of Professor Moriarty, Sherlock Holmes' nemesis last seen falling off the Reichenbach Falls grappling with Holmes. Earlier, he appeared in All-Consuming Fire.

    Pg 202 "Vermin tacticians of a future Europa" Either the Jovian moon or the reconstructed continent from Managra.

    "Masked tyrants of the new ice ages" The Ice Age from about the 29th Century in The Ice Warriors, except there weren't any faith viruses in it. Possibly this is the way the Ice Warriors recruit new troops. The million jihads sounds like Magnus Greel from The Talons of Weng-Chiang.

    "I knew how the Vandors killed the Insane God in the Labyrinth of the Bone" Vandor Prime was in Mission: Impractical. The Insane God might be the (last?) Doctor from Alien Bodies.

    Pg 211 "The latest Sex and Archaeology blockbuster" Is this a Beyond the Sun reference?

    Pg 215 "There's a failsafe to stop targets doing a Flying Dutchman and just staying in hyperspace" The Flying Dutchman is a three-act opera composed by Richard Wagner and first produced at the Dresden Opera House in 1843. Based on a legend Wagner found in Heinrich Heine's Memoirs of Herr von Schnabelwopski (1833), the opera is the story of a man doomed to wander the seas eternally in his ship The Flying Dutchman until he is redeemed by a woman's love. The Flying Dutchman is also the name of a ship visited by the renegade Cyberleader Kroton in a DWM Comic, which was stuck in a time-loop and Mawdryn's ship was compared to it in Mawdryn Undead (and was stuck in hyperspace).

    Pg 232 "A million years hence, behind barriers of solid time, certain powers watched" Almost certainly the Time Lords, except that the Time Lords live in the distant past. But behind a barrier of solid time, that's not really an issue, is it?

    Pg 233 "The Veltrochi Love-In Groove Collective" (sic) The Veltrochni are a warlike race which look like a cross between the 'Alien' movies and the 'Predator' movies. They annihilate the Tzun early in the Third Millennium and appear in The Dark Path and Mission: Impractical. The misspelling might be an alternate name, or they might be an alternate universe version of them (or even someone else), given that this section takes place in a parallel dimension.

    Pg 235 "Death Marshal Falaxyr" Martian Grand Marshal Falaxyr was responsible for starting the Thousand Day War against Earth, a stunning defeat for Mars. In 2157 he negotiated with the Daleks for Ssor-arr duss Ssethissi in GodEngine. Martians can live a long time, so the longevity isn't a problem between 22nd and 26th Century, especially because Falaxyr doesn't die in the Dalek blockade anymore.

    Pg 236 "Bernice lived a hundred lives as a cavewoman [...] several times they were contemporaneous dinosaurs" We see contemporaneous dinosaurs in Down, but more significantly we see an alternate Earth complete with dinosaurs in Blood Heat.

    "They might be called Watchmakers, but even that word might be better avoided" Universal watchers from the imagination of one insane character in Christmas on a Rational Planet. Essentially a way of referring to the Time lords without having to name them.

    Pg 238 "You can't be a race of amoebas who divide asexually and still expect to survive a Grandfather Paradox" The Grandfather Paradox is one where you travel back in time to kill your own grandfather before you were born... but Grandfather Paradox, the voodoo priest of the House Lungbarrow, was first mentioned in Christmas on a Rational Planet and later seen in The Ancestor Cell.

    "We'll be picking bits of crystallized time out of our hair for years" According to the Doctor Who New Adventures Writer's Guide, TARDIS theory has it that alternative possibilities are fluid until the TARDIS arrives and we have an adventure. When the TARDIS leaves time becomes fluid again, but those moments stay crystallized and the fluidity still has to lead up to and agree with the next crystallization.

    Pgs 240-241 "Even treaty-breakers had their uses." David Foreman is a Time Lord agent, so his surname becomes quite significant.

    Pg 245 "When they started the Spire working there were no quasars" There's a quasar in the constellation Casseiopeia, and in Logopolis the Master points the Pharos radiotelescope at a Charged Vacuum Emboitement in that constellation. Maybe quasars are CVEs to E-Space.

    "A physicist called Paul Dirac" Because of his contributions to the understanding of elementary particles, Dirac is considered to be one of the founders of modern quantum electrodynamics. He's mentioned in Shada.

    Pg 246 "Time travellers, future cops, cosmic hoboes" The Doctor, Chris and Roz, although we've never seen Benny meet the second Doctor.

    "Now I don't know if they still exist" So Benny may effectively have written herself out of the Whoniverse. On the other hand, she mentions Chris explicitly in this pargraph and he turns up in the very next book.

    "A future of skycities and Empire" Original Sin.

    "Federations and peace treaties between galaxies" After the fall of the Imperium Humanum the Federation starts up, a much more humane gathering of humans and aliens. See Decalog 4. Bernice has violated the Temporal Nexus and committed an offense against the Time Lords. This may be the beginning of the war predicted in Walking to Babylon or the one referred to in Alien Bodies. But it might not.

    Clarence appeared as a different character in The Also People (although neither he nor we realise it at this point)

    Clarence the Angel. Named for the angel in the Frank Capra film It's A Wonderful Life starring Jimmy Stewart (and since he's named by Benny, this makes sense). Clarence becomes a regular throughout the Virgin Benny books. In Tears of the Oracle, we learn that this actually wasn't the first time we'd seen Clarence; he'd been a character in The Also People, but this had been wiped from his mind.


    1. Pg 11 "Tiny and Interesting Interest Group" This group was introduced in Oh No It Isn't!, but both there and in Down, they were the TBIIG, or Tiny But Interesting Interest Group (see page 214 of Oh No It Isn't! for example).
    2. Pg 32 Farouk is said to have been on the Perfecton Expedition here, but was never named in Oh No It Isn't!
    3. Pg 86 "Bernice picked at her salad" Bernice's vegetarianism was introduced recently in Ship of Fools. This doesn't jive with page 88: "Another pancake of crispy duck".
    4. Pg 123 Benny refers to herself twice in the third person in her diary.

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

    1. The TBIIG might have changed their name.
    2. Benny might not have known Farouk at the time, or he might have been part of the group and just not named.
    3. Benny might be an omnivore, or she might be eating some engineered-for-consumption duckweed. With what we know about Benny's time period from The Sword of Forever it's lucky that Dalek DNA bombs didn't invalidate the entire biosphere. Or maybe duck is an alien vegetable in the same way that Noun is an alien planet.
    4. Possibly it's an obscure reference to Benny having an out of body experience after almost dying.

    The Vo'lach, creators of dangerous weapons.

    The Ninjucoids, dangerous weapons themselves.

    Vo'lach Prime, a long time ago and 2594.

    Dellah, 2594.

    The Worldsphere.

    The Gulag Archipelago, New Rarga.

    The Hotel Hesperon, No Prior Claim (Yed Prior X).

    The starship Second Best Buy.

    Canopus IV.

    IN SUMMARY - Robert Smith?
    This is a dense novel that contains a lot of nice hints for the future and some intelligent writing and clever set pieces. However, the characterisation is all over the place, especially Mandir, which hurts the book terribly and key characters like Morry don't appear nearly enough. There's some worthy stuff in here, especially the manouvering by the Time Lords and the People, but the grimness of the rest makes it hard to see these gems. Another draft and this could have been a masterpiece. But it isn't.