Roz Forrester heard about a secret project and vowed to investigate it someday. Chris Cwej decides to honour Roz's promise and teams up with Bernice to take on the seedy criminal underworld of Megacity.
Roz (in the prologue), Chris Cwej, Joseph, Irving Braxiatel.
This is a sequel to elements from the first third of Shakedown.
Pg 3 "Roz Forrester and Chris Cwej were hunting a planet-hopping serial killer called the Ripper as a favour to an old friend." Shakedown. The old friend is the Doctor.
Pg 13 "Professor Bernice Summerfield, holder of the Edward Watkinson chair of Archaeology, Rector of Garland College." Benny got this title in Oh No It Isn't! and we find out what happened to Watkinson in Tears of the Oracle.
"Currently titled So Vast A Pile" Oh No It Isn't!
Pg 14 Reference to Menlove Stokes (The Romance of Crime, Oh No It Isn't!).
Pg 15 Reference to Jason.
Pg 19 "You were doing historical research on Sentarion, remember?" Shakedown.
Pg 24 "He's got my bike again" Benny's bike was first seen in Oh No It Isn't!
Pg 46 "There are drugs that do that - abnormal rage, abnormal strength. Skoob, for instance." Skoob is another name for Skar, the drug featured in Catastrophea.
Pg 49 "Vrax-heads go all to pieces, shaking all over." Vraxoin was seen in Nightmare of Eden.
Pg 55 "Bernice recognised Falardi, Foamasi and Arcturans, among others." Original Sin, The Leisure Hive, The Curse of Peladon.
Pg 70 Reference to an Ice Warrior.
Pg 73 There are cigarettes called Drashigs (Carnival of Monsters).
Pg 75 "My bank account was getting low enough to crawl under a Dalek." This is the only time the word "Dalek" is mentioned in any of the Benny NAs.
Pg 76 "Remind me to send you a case of Algolian champagne." The Leisure Hive.
Pg 86 "I'd sooner spend six nights in a sewer on a warlock stakeout." Warlock.
Pg 96 "I heard they ate a Chelonian once." The Chelonians first appeared in The Highest Science and various NAs and MAs after that.
Pg 112 "We were looking for a serial killer called the Ripper, who was really an alien called Karne." Shakedown.
Pg 113 Karne is named as a Rutan, something the book had thus far been avoiding.
Pg 159 "It was discovered on some godforsaken jungle planet." Catastrophea.
Pg 214 "After the chaos and confusion of the war." It's not clear what war this refers to, whether it's the Dalek invasion of 2159, or the same war whose aftereffects are seen in The Sword of Forever.
OLD FRIENDS AND OLD ENEMIES
Dr Follett was first seen in Dragons' Wrath.
Garshak and Murkar were seen in Shakedown, as were a number of Wolverines and Ursines.
Sara also appeared in Shakedown, although she wasn't named there. She was the well-endowed dancer that Chris ogled on page 78 of that book.
NEW FRIENDS AND NEW ENEMIES
Little Louie, Chief Harkon, Simeon Kragg, Klamath, Mayor Ramarr, Ramon, Happy Mike, Nastur, Lucifer,
Rodney, Benny's secretary (page 15).
Director Santos Silvera, head of the Institute for Advanced Research, appears here for the first time. He goes on to appear in a number of Benny NAs.
PLUGGING THE HOLES [Fan-wank theorizing of how to fix continuity cock-ups]
FEATURED ALIEN RACES
The Goll (seen in Oh No It Isn't! etc).
An Ootsoi (seen in Deadfall).
Alpha Centaurans (Curse of Peladon etc).
Pg 5 A ratlike lifeform in a leather jerkin.
Pg 18 A haughty golden-skinned Lucidean.
Pg 20 An octopod.
Pg 35 A Dethak, a flightless avian-evolved lifeform, who became mercenaries.
Pg 45 Little Louie is a round troll-like figure from Vathek II.
Pg 47 A spindly grey-haired clerk.
Pg 51 A Pakhar (first seen in Legacy and then throughout the NAs and Benny NAs).
Pg 55 Falardi, Foamasi and Arcturans.
Pg 56 (and 207) Wolverines, savage wolf-like creatures from Lupus II (also seen in Shakedown).
Pg 74 Ursines, bear-like bodyguards, seen in Shakedown.
Nastur is a fat, toadlike reptilian.
Pg 92 Lucifer is a Demonaic, from the planet Gehenna. They are incredibly tall and skeletally thin, with jet-black scales, slanting red eyes, horns and leathery wings.
Pg 122 Sara is a Rigellian, who look human but have much longer lifespans.
Pg 128 Werecats, cat-like scavengers likely indigenous to Megarra.
Pg 129 A hairy, wizened anthropoid.
Pg 185 Another octopod, this time playing double bass.
Pg 188, 188 Sam is an alien, although it's not clear what kind.
Megacity, Megarra, some time previously (contemporaneous with Shakedown).
Megacity, present day to the Benny NAs.
A space shuttle (page 39).
IN SUMMARY - Robert Smith?
Mean Streets is a fun little potboiler. It's not too heavily reliant on Shakedown, although it does give Garshak centre stage. He even gets first-person narratives, rather than the more obvious Bernice. The
plot-within-a-plot manages to work well enough and there's enough local colour to make Megacity come alive. It's a pity Benny doesn't get a bit more to do (only at the end does she shine, the rest of the time she's shopping, flirting or asking Chris inane companion-like questions), but there's still a lot of fun to be had here.