Bernice Summerfield is settling into her new position as Professor of
Archaeology at St
Oscar's University on the planet Dellah. However, her first
assignment takes her on a remarkably odd
field trip, consisting of pantomime horses, seven dwarves and a
Pg 4 "Every year, a nearby world would align itself to, or be annexed by,
Earth's 'Empire'. The Earth Empire was seen throughout the NAs,
So Vile A Sin.
Pg 5 "The Galactic War, in which the humans and their allies struggled
with an alien species that fundamentally disagreed with them" These aliens
are the Daleks, as mentioned in several NAs. We see the effect the Dalek
war had on Earth in The Sword of Forever.
"Krytell himself, greatest of the many entrepreneurs who had profited
from the Galactic War" Krytell shows up in Ship of Fools.
Pg 6 "The gods had extracted but one price: the needle of the spaceport
made it rain much more often than it had." The references to constant rain
on Dellah were usually forgotten in later Benny NAs, except for Another
Girl, Another Planet. However, it's possible that the rain is most severe
in autumn (mentioned further down the page). The reference to gods here is
almost certainly coincidence.
Pg 7 "Her head of department, Dr Follett, an aged reptilian who
purposefully didn't regulate the cloud of chlorine that surrounded him" We
meet Dr Follett in the Dragons' Wrath and he
continues to show up throughout the Benny NAs.
"Bernice's contract of employment for taking up the Edward Watkinson
Chair of Archaeology." We actually see Edward Watkinson in Tears
of the Oracle.
Pgs 7-8 She had a title for the new work: So Vast A Pile [...]
If the Publishers got too concerned, she'd just tell them she'd had a
system crash and lost the manuscript. Or something." This is a reference
to Ben Aaronvitch's supposed system crash resulting in the delay of So
Vile A Sin (which was finally published the month before this).
Pg 9 "Your Head of Department also wishes to remind his staff about the
later field trip, only, he emphasizes, accommodating two students, which
-" This is the field trip later seen in Beyond the
Pg 10 "The celebrity burglar known as Cat's Paw had been briefly
thought to have been responsible for a burglary in Rigg College Halls" We
meet Cat's Paw in Ship of Fools.
Pg 21 "Hmm. Knowledge above all, as they say." This is a bit of subtle
foreshadowing for Dragons' Wrath.
Pg 23 "He keeps making Chelonian jokes which, since I have some
personal experience of that species, I suppose I should complain about."
The Chelonians are giant turtles, first seen in The
Science, which is where Benny met them.
Pg 24 "At the end of the day, all things considered, that sounds like
The Last Chance Saloon for any title hopes." This probably isn't a
reference to The Gunfighters, but you never know.
Pg 25 "'We,' he whispered in my ear, 'are on a mission from God.'" God
is the People's computer in the Dyson Sphere, first seen in The Also
People. We don't actually see him or the People here, only their agents,
but they're reintroduced to the Benny NAs and appear in later books, from Down onwards.
Pg 31 "I was conscripted, straight out of the Academy [...] I bailed
out of a troopship on the way to a battle, joined a dig by faking my
qualifications" This was mentioned in Love and War.
"I gained my doctorate on the run, through experience." Benny actually
got her doctorate in Return of the Living Dad.
Pg 72 "She dreamt of when she was very young, in the house of her
mother and father, before her world was invaded by aliens" These aliens
are the Daleks, as mentioned in Love and War.
Pg 106 "This Vizier had definitely not just popped back from a day trip
to the home counties on Earth where her real father ran a restaurant."
Return of the Living Dad.
Pg 120 "Two of these lads were decidedly girlish. There had been times
in her life when that wouldn't have been too much of a problem" In
All-Consuming Fire, Benny mentions that most people in her time are
Pg 157 "It would be good to go into their bedroom, to tell Dad not to
go off to war, to tell Mum not to run back out of the attack shelter to
pick up the doll, which her screaming daughter had dropped." Love and War.
Pgs 180-181 "Wolsey looked around the cave to his right, leaning his
weight on his right front paw, holding the gun in his other hand." There's
a very funny scene where the events of the front cover are meticulously
established, including Bernice and Wolsey pausing for a moment before it
Pg 213 "The People were humanoids, basically, who lived in a Dyson
Sphere" We get a summary of the People and God, mainly from The Also
Pg 214 The group which has Bernice as an agent is here the Tiny But
Interesting Interest Group (its name changes between here and Ghost Devices).
"But the People are forbidden to interfere in the Milky Way. The
greater powers of the universe agreed that strategically -" The 'greater
powers' are the Time Lords, who have a non-aggression treaty with the
People. We hear more about this in later books, including Walking to
Babylon, Where Angels Fear and Dead Romance.
Pg 224 "'A vessel which would actually be bigger on the inside than the
outside -' She stopped and glanced at Wolsey, as if to make sure
everything was OK. He nodded impatiently. 'I think you got away with it.'"
This is a sly reference to the new state of affairs in the Virgin novels,
which couldn't directly reference Doctor Who elements.
OLD FRIENDS AND OLD ENEMIES
Menlove Stokes, who previously appeared in The Romance of Crime and The
Well-Mannered War. He has hair here (see page 14) although he was bald in
Professor Arthur Candy appeared in Decalog 3.
NEW FRIENDS AND NEW ENEMIES
The Sultan of the Tashwari, who reappears in late Benny NAs, including
Joseph the Porter is introduced on page 9. He pops up in virtually
every Benny book from this point on.
Michael Doran (who later become Matt Doran in Deadfall).
The Department of Advanced Research is introduced on page 15. We see
more of this throughout later NAs.
Hettie Bonistall, Lucinda Pargiter, joint occupiers of the Chair of
Professor Warrindar, Head of Psi is a Pakhar male. He's mentioned in Deadfall.
Professor Ferdinand Archduke, specialist in Obscure Theatrical Forms.
He reappears in Dragons' Wrath.
Benny's students are: Michael Doran, Polybus Arex, Anne-Marie Rose,
Ockjin Fuleep, Jayne Waspo, Vitor Pluse and Marjorie Marjorie. Polybus
Arex, Ann-Marie Rose and Marjorie Marjorie turn up briefly in Dragons' Wrath, while Michael Doran, Jayne Waspo, Vitor
Pluse and Marjorie Marjorie turn up in Deadfall,
with only one name change.
Professor Epstein, specialising in Chelonian Literature.
Professor Owl, a cosmologist is mentioned in Ghost
The Grel, who appear throughout the Benny NAs and elsewhere, including
a mention in Earthworld.
Professor Otterbland, head of Zero Interest Philosophies.
Professor Singh, Theoretical Physics gets mentioned in Ghost Devices.
Professor Janes, Space Vehicle Recognition.
Professor A. J. Wagstaff, History.
Professor A. J. Blandish, History.
Captain Balsam, navigator Aurum and Lt Salvistra (the King and his
daughters in panto land). The Lieutenant formerly known as Prince Charming
(we don't find out his real name).
PLUGGING THE HOLES [Fan-wank theorizing of how to fix continuity cock-ups]
FEATURED ALIEN RACES
The Goll, natives of Dellah. We don't get much of a description, although
females have a physique particularly suited to bodyguards. They have
The Ootsoi are mentioned on page 13. They also appear in Deadfall.
One of Benny's students is a Lucidian, with golden skin and a freedom
ring in his nose.
Another student is a Maldean, a vastly chested sports student.
A third is a Linnerkerist, although it's not clear if this is an alien
race or a cult.
The Grel, humanoid aliens with bulbous heads and tentacular faces. They
search out information and wield data axes, which can absorb information
directly from someone's brain. They often use statements like "Good fact".
Professor Warrindar is a Pakhar, a rodent-like race first seen in
The Perfectons, blue humanoids with six multi-jointed fingers on each
page 148 for a full description).
Dellah, The Winton, the Grel ship, Perfecton, Autumn 2593. The
panto scenes all take place on The Winton.
IN SUMMARY - Robert Smith?
At the time, Oh No It Isn't! was a bizarre choice of novel to launch a new
line of books. However, it's a fantastic book which improves greatly upon
rereads and surreptitiously sets up a number of elements of the Benny
universe, without belabouring the point (sadly most of them get ignored by
subsequent books). It's also very, very funny. Benny's decision at the end
to sacrifice the humanoid Wolsey she's come to grow and love is
heartwrenching. This is a fabulous novel.