The Doctor and Sam arrive on Saturnia Regna, proposed site for the massive theme park of Kursaal. But there are things here which are not ideal for the sudden influx of tourists, things which may have a lasting effect on Sam. Fifteen years later, and, yes, it turns out that they do.
Pg 27 The TARDIS has arrived near the Jax Cathedral dig on Saturnia Regna.
Pg 179 We're back in roughly the same place, but 15 years later.
Pg 276 Back on Kursaal again, and another month has passed. It's not clear if they travelled forwards on time in the TARDIS, or if they just hung around on the planet, but given that Sam speaks of a week of recovery, we'll assume a journey occurred.
Pg 27 "'I wish I'd brought my umbrella,' said the Doctor. 'I remember I used to have one.'" The Seventh Doctor, in practically every story we saw him in. The eighth Doctor finally gave it to Bernice in The Dying Days.
Pg 28 "'"I know they place", you said. "Imagine Disneyland meets Babylon 5."'" Interestingly, according to Escape Velocity, the later amnesiac Doctor couldn't get into Babylon 5.
Pg 31 "'Well, early seventeenth-century mumbo-jumbo, at an rate,' said the Doctor, sniffing. 'Galileo.'" Presumably The Empire of Glass.
"The Doctor said something about Wilson, Kepple and Betty, who, she assumed, had once been his travelling companions." They weren't, of course, but they were the people who invented the quasi-Egyptian 'walking like an Egyptian' sand-dance, some time around 1935. Incidentally, it was condemned as obscene by Josef Goebbels, who, as we all know, was a fine judge of character.
Pg 33 "Sit still, Sam, you've had a bot of a shick." This was a dreadful line in The Invisible Enemy, and there is no excuse for its repetition here.
Pg 34 "Then he reached into one deep pocket, and brought out [...] a browning apple core." It's probably not the same one that was relevant in Hope, but you never know.
"'Everlasting matches,' he said casually." From the novelisation Doctor Who in an exciting adventure with the Daleks.
Pg 38 "'When I say run...' began the Doctor in a low tone." The default continuity reference when you can't think of anything else goes back to the time of the Second Doctor.
Pg 59 "'I'm just not very keen on hospitals, that's all.' She laughed to break the tension. 'Midwife dropped you on your head as a baby?' she said. 'That would explain a lot.' 'Not exactly,' said the Doctor. 'But I suppose you could call it a birth trauma.'" The Telemovie.
Pg 64 "Sam thought of the Tractite she had killed in self-defence. How she had felt. How she had still not been able to tell the Doctor." Genocide, although 'self-defence' would seem to be a mental cover than Sam has created, since it wasn't strictly that if you read the original novel.
Pg 68 "Besides, she reflected morosely, she hated running up and down corridors." This is a joke. I hope I don't have to explain it to you.
Pg 72 "She patted the pockets, which rattled mysteriously." Alien Bodies gives an explanation of why the Doctor's jacket pockets may sound mysterious when rattled.
"'Actually I did take a medical degree,' replied the Doctor smugly. 'Even if it was several lifetimes ago.'" We learned about this in The Moonbase, although it can't have been much good given his medical advice in The Ark.
Pg 89 "Even the Doctor had been reluctant to let her use the Volkswagen Beetle, that, impossibly, he had got into the TARDIS." First seen in Vampire Science and destroyed in Unnatural History.
Pg 117 "'I remember when I was training for my Mars-Venus shuttle certificate,' said the Doctor, his eyes never leaving the control panel." We heard about this in Robot.
Pg 157 "Don't you recognize a werewolf when you see one, Captain?" Strictly speaking, once you know how the Jax virus works, these aren't werewolves at all. But the Doctor doesn't know that right now, and is comparing them to his earlier experience of (very different) werewolves in Wolfsbane. He'll go on to meet yet another different type in Tooth and Claw.
Pg 176 "The Doctor gestured grandly upward. 'Pick a star,' he said." He will later say the same thing in The Girl in the Fireplace.
Pg 179 "Now he could spot an Alpha Centaurian with a wild expression." From The Curse of Peladon, The Monster of Peladon and Legacy.
Pg 186 When bathing, the Doctor wears a baggy, all-in-one, stripey outfit, probably the same one William Hartnell wore in The Space Museum.
Pg 188 "'Doctor,' she persisted? 'Does your Information System tell you my future?' He composed his features into what he hoped was a disarming expression - his sincere half-smile, the one that never failed. 'It's full of useless information, and not very well indexed. Besides, I could only afford the abridged version.'" The Doctor's evasiveness here suggests that he knows exactly what Sam's future is, and we find it out for ourselves in The Gallifrey Chronicles.
Pg 192 "'My hearts,' he gasped, and dropped back onto the stretcher like a rag doll." The Doctor feigns a heart attack, much as he faked a similar illness in Genocide.
Pg 206 "A display was showing the waiting time as 29 minutes." I'm not sure if that seems unreasonable to anyone else, but here in the UK, Accident and Emergency waiting time is usually at least two hours if not considerably longer, so, despite all the complaints of the medics etc., I'd rather be on Kursaal than Earth if I broke my leg.
Pg 245 "And I'm half-Alsatian on my mother's side" is probably the silliest reference we will ever get to the Telemovie.
Pg 249 "Sam threw her head back, and a haunting howl filled the air." Suddenly I'm thinking of the Master in Survival.
Pg 277 "She thought about the Tractite again." And we thought about Genocide again.
Pg 278 "You know, for similar reasons, four countries in your time still keep samples of the smallpox virus." This is rather more relevant now, in this time of terrorist paranoia, than it was when this book was written. And it was only two (the US and former USSR), although scarily maybe the Doctor knows something we don't. Then again, um, no one quite knows what happened to the USSR samples, so they may well be in at least three countries. But perhaps not for the reasons the Doctor postulates.
Pg 279 "He didn't answer straight away. Then he said, 'I just do my best.'" The Brigadier says something similar in Battlefield.
OLD FRIENDS AND OLD ENEMIES
NEW FRIENDS AND NEW ENEMIES
Zaturday is a cameo character who may or may not survive, but he's a drug-runner and is probably about to spend the rest of his life in jail. Randy is another cameo character, an ambulance driver; it's not clear if that's his name or if that's just how he styles himself to impress Sam; if the latter is true, it's not working.
Bernard Cockaigne is the only member of the main cast to survive, and he does so as a Jax drone. Which is, if you can find the Epilogue, bizarrely hidden after the acknowledgments, about to be unfortunate for Mrs DuPre.
Mrs DuPre, but I suspect that she will not last more than a couple of minutes after you shut the book.
Various members of the Kursaal security squad in two timezones including Sergeant Mallaby, Officer Huan Qua, Sergeant Porlock, Officer Vereker and Officer Dmowski.
Other cameos from: Doctor Webber, Claire Johnson, Tarbogev, Denis Lambton, Nurse Malone, Dr Josef Brandt and Mrs Coppington.
- Pg 32 "'Gordon Christ!' [says Sam...] 'Sorry about the language, Doctor.'" It's not the most extreme thing we've ever heard in the books, let's be fair (compare Ace's 'Go fuck your mother' - albeit in Russian - in First Frontier). We know Sam is quite a prude as regards swearing, though, so she apologises. Which is odd given her later 'string of obscenities' (pg 112).
- Pg 33 "One of the few things that I remember him [Sam's Dad] approving of was when I went down the community centre and gave blood, without being asked nicely first." Except you can't give blood in the UK until you're 18, which Sam isn't, so either her father knew she was breaking the law or this whole cute story about home life with the Joneses is a complete lie.
- "Melissa Donoghue fainted when she first gave blood. Fell off the couch, and dragged the bag onto the floor. It squirted all over the lino." And, as if to prove the lie, this actually cannot happen. There's a nurse with you all the time when you're giving blood and, if you do happen to faint (hangs head in shame - yes, but only once), you have to be working bloody hard - and against gravity, the design of the couches and the attendant nurse - to fall off the couch. Yep, she's still making it all up.
- Pg 78 "'Oh, there were people here,' said Saraband." There were people on Saturnia Regna, it transpires. Meanwhile, the Jax were in hibernation waiting for people to arrive there. But if there were people there already... why didn't the Jax just wake up and infect them?
- Pgs 117-119 "'I remember when I was training for my Mars-Venus shuttle certificate,' said the Doctor, his eyes never leaving the control panel. 'I'd paid upfront for ten monthly lessons' [...] 'Halfway through my first all-day lesson, I forgot that Uranus spins on its side.' [... After the disastrous lesson] 'What did old Frajnar say to you?' The Doctor laughed. 'He said, "Same time next week, Doctor?"'" Suffice it to say, even the most astronomically illiterate child would be able to tell you that the chances of flying past Uranus whilst travelling between Mars and Venus are small in the extreme. More to the point, how can the teacher say 'see you next week,' when the lessons are monthly?
- Pg 149 "She hadn't felt this helpless since she'd been holed up by the Daleks on Skaro, utterly alone and far from home." Except, once Sam had got to Skaro in War of the Daleks, she was with the Doctor throughout, so she was never alone.
- Pg 185 "It seems like only a week since we saw this place being built" is Sam's comment on having travelled forwards 15 years into Kursaal's future. Which is all very well, but the Doctor then states in only been two nights in their time anyway, so it's considerably less than a week, and Sam knows she's travelled in time. All right, so it's not continuity, but it's still a very stupid thing of her to say, even for Sam.
- Pg 240 "'At first it must have been one every couple of months. So we just cooped 'em up in the ZooPark for safekeeping.' 'Safekeeping?' The Doctor was staring at him now." And then the Doctor goes into a huge righteous anger riff which would be more convincing had he not suggested putting the Jax into a zoo back on Pg 173.
PLUGGING THE HOLES [Fan-wank theorizing of how to fix continuity cock-ups]
- As is the case for many teenagers, it's fine to swear, so long as your 'Dad' can't hear you do so.
- Either Sam lied to the blood transfusion people, or she is lying to the Doctor. Either which way, she's a liar.
- Yep, she's still making it all up.
- The Jax had programmed their hibernation unit to wake them once a certain concentration of beings had arrived. Until the Kursaal project, that hadn't happened.
- The training ground isn't necessarily between Mars and Venus. And, incredible though it may seem, perhaps when the Doctor says 'monthly' he means that the lessons last for a month each, separated, in this case, by a gap of a week. (It may also be that the Doctor has two lessons a week apart, and then two months off.)
- She means 'alone' to imply 'with the Doctor'.
- Sam's infected by the Jax virus at this point, and her sense of timing has gone to pot.
- The Doctor's actually really angry with himself for being so bloody stupid. And we can empathise with his anger.
FEATURED ALIEN RACES
The Jax, a virus that spreads, like HIV, through blood contact. Its hosts appear to be lupine, although that may be an effect of the fact that the current species carrying the disease were once the wolves native to Saturnia Regna. There are two types of Jax carriers: the drones, carriers infected after death; and the pack leaders, who are infected while still alive.
Zaturday is a Fodoran, basically humanoid, with blue skin and yellow hair.
Ermayans are basically humanoid, with wrinkled ears and noses, while Brascans are hermaphroditic creatures looking like orangutans in a boiler suit.
Haxalians have forehead antennae, Caballans have horselike nostrils, ears and hooves and are, presumably, fairly horselike in general. Geomydes, meanwhile, resemble chipmunks, with fluffy cheek-pouches. Angorans have pink, fluffy hair, but then, so do some of my friends.
Some Ogrons appear. And then they get blown up.
And let's have a cheer for our old friends from the race of Alpha Centauri, who still look like a penis.
Saturnia Regna, on which the pleasure world of Kursaal is going to be built. It's in the Cronus system. In the first section, we visit the Jax cathedral, filled with symbolic carvings, not to mention a fairly high-end computer system, as well as the Hospital, a restaurant, the HALF HQ, the Police Station and the headquarters of GrayCorp.
On Pg 179, we travel forward 15 years, but to the same place. We visit various sections of the theme park, particularly the Jax History ride, the Cathedral again, as well as Cockaigne's apartment.
IN SUMMARY - Anthony Wilson
Nothing was likely to successfully follow Alien Bodies. And nothing did. It's not so much a novel as a string of set pieces, some of which are bearable. We're supposed to be horror-struck, but there's not enough horror to keep us on the edge of our seats. We're supposed to be concerned about Sam, but we're, quite simply, not. We're supposed to be rooting for the Doctor but when he's behaving as stupidly as he is here - we knew, everyone knew, that Sam had been possessed by the Jax, but he's in total denial, despite having most of the evidence - it's impossible so to do. In short, a decent werewolf story, something different, exciting and continuity-light, after the previous novel, would have been ideal. This isn't it, and you're going to have to wait until Wolfsbane for it to happen.