The Artifact is a world turned inside out. Low gravity causes enormous floating forests, bizarre lifeforms and terrible secrets. An expedition to explore the Artifact has gone horribly wrong, Ace and Bernice find themselves facing nature at its most deadly and the Doctor comes face to face with his own mortality...
Ace and Benny.
Pg 4 The Doctor is on board a flying church in c2140, so presumably his TARDIS is as well.
Pg 35 Inside the Artifact, c2505.
None. There's a small link to Lucifer Rising, with the son of one of the characters from there appearing here, but you don't need to know anything else.
Pg 19 "They appeared to be in their late middle age, although that obviously didn't mean much: either could have been aged anywhere from sixty to ninety-five." Long human lifespans were a feature of
Lucifer Rising and may be related to the use of spectrox from The Caves of Androzani.
Pg 37 "The Varteq Veil was nothing like this." This is the Dyson Sphere that Benny once excavated. Seen (in VR form) in Lucifer Rising.
Pg 71 "A year ago she wouldn't have trusted Ace as far as she could throw an elephant, but times change." Conundrum, No Future.
Pg 95 Not since the Hoothi had taken Heaven apart before her eyes with their armies of dead flesh." Love and War.
Pg 104 "'I was caught inside a new-born planet once, you know. It was exhilerating.' He thought for a moment before adding, 'Bit hot though.'" Uncertain reference.
Pg 107 "'If whatever it is thinks I'm dead, perhaps it'll leave - perhaps it'll leave me alone.' Before Bernice could say anything more, the Doctor's eyes gaped in a kind if puzzled expression and he slumped into her arms." The Doctor similarly puts himself into a death-like trance in Terror of the Zygons.
Pg 117 "'Rule three...' She hesitated. 'Well, I'll decide rule three when we come to it.'" This is almost exactly what the Doctor said to Ace when she joined the TARDIS in Dragonfire.
Pg 135 "Be careful with the thread. It's not as abrasive as the Venusian nenetif-web I made the saw out of, but it's just as strong." We see this thread slice a Venusian in half in Venusian Lullaby.
Pg 157 "My parents were killed when I was a child" Love and War, although we'll later find out that her father wasn't actually killed in the less-than-surprisingly-titled Return of the Living Dad.
Pg 165 "I knew your father." Alex Bennen, Lucifer Rising.
Pg 168 "Lucifer. Paula. The Angels. Exploitation. Alex Bannen." All from Lucifer Rising.
Pg 174 "It might be time to move on soon. She'd done it before, she could do it again. Somehow though, she knew it would be different this time." Ace left once in Love and War and will do so in Set Piece. But see Warlock for why this doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
Pg 207 "What's the worst thing that ever happened to you, Bernice thought to herself. What's the worst pain you ever felt? Watching your mother die in a Dalek's strafing run? Wondering if it was your fault? Never know if your father had died or how? Being betrayed by your first and only lover? Breaking both legs falling down a bluff thirty kilometres from the solo dig on Auriga?" These are all mentioned in Love and War, although we'll see tha answer to her father's survival in Return of the Living Dad. The events on Auriga later get relayed in the short story 'Steal From the World' by Kate Orman in the Big Finish Collection The Dead Men Diaries.
Pg 208 "'Mummy,' she said, 'I've dropped Molly.' Her mother went back after the doll. Back into the fire." We briefly see the events surrounding Benny's mother's death in flashback. But see Continuity Cock-Ups.
Pg 270 "From what I can tell, he's a lot like his dad. Emotionally confused, unstable, angry, guilty." Lucifer Rising.
Pg 273 "When Bannnen applied artificial respiration, all that happened was a tiny puff of golden spores erupted from between the Doctor's lips. Then his skin began to blur and change. The change only lasted a few seconds before stabilising. Bannen peered closer, eyes narrowed with interest. For a few seconds the Doctor had looked like a different man altogether." The Doctor starts to regenerate, but then stops, the only time he does so in the New Adventures. We aren't sure if he looked like Paul McGann or not (who had yet to be cast at this time), but we have seen the eighth Doctor once before, in a dreamscape in Timewyrm: Revelation.
Pg 289 "I'm going for a walk. I may be some time." This is a misquote from the doomed Antartic expedition. The fourth Doctor says something similar in Planet of Evil.
Pg 292 "She supposed the Doctor must have told her at some point in their travels, told her about the Venusians and how they ate the brains of their dead to experience their memories. Venusian Lullaby.
Pg 303 "When her stomach cramped again she realized she'd made a decision concerning her travels with the Doctor. It just remained to find the right time to implement it." This prefigures Set Piece. But see Warlock for why this makes no sense.
OLD FRIENDS AND OLD ENEMIES
Pg 2 Alex Bannen, from Lucifer Rising, makes a brief appearance escaping the Mexican food riots some years before, a scene that had been referred to in that novel.
NEW FRIENDS AND NEW ENEMIES
None surviving (except the Artifact itself). Technically, we don't see Bannen die, but after shooting the Doctor he slumps against the TARDIS and waits for death (pg 297), so it probably comes.
- Pg 21 "The speaker was a tall man, practically bald" This is Mark Bannen. And yet, a page later, we're told "Though not tall, Bannen somehow contrived to give the appearance of height." So is he tall or isn't he?
- Pg 140 "1706" What, AD? That was more than seven hundred years ago!" A lot more. Seven hundred years past 1706 would be 2406, whereas this is set approximately 350 years after 2154, making it c2504.
- Pg 168 "The dual perception blurred, brightened, became light that tickled her, them pummeled her with photon fists." Say what?
- Pg 200 "Yet Midnight told me their numbers are decreasing logarithmically." What, so slower than linearly? Should this be decreasing exponentially?
- Pg 208 "'Mummy,' she said, 'I've dropped Molly.'" Except that Benny's doll was named Rebecca in Love and War (Pg 75)
- Pg 205 "Two sets of hands held her until she slumped again, muscles trembling." Except that Gail has one of her hands amputated around this time (pg 220) and, prior to that, her arm wasn't working anyway. So how can she have a set of hands?
- Pgs 258-259 "Of course it was screaming. The sound was supposed to terrify her into submission, paralyse her for vital sounds necessary for the thing to catch her and impale her on those lethal spikes." Shouldn't that be paralysing her for "vital seconds"?
- Pg 270 "This is because in the next stage of its life cycle the Artifact will need to gain the intelligence to build gas-giant plants" Shouldn't it be building gas-giant planets instead?
- Pg 281 "He moaned as the beast killed and ate his mother, there in front of him, more than three and a half centuries in the past, but there, right there in front of him." It's never explained how Bannen survived 350 years while only looking middle-aged.
PLUGGING THE HOLES [Fan-wank theorizing of how to fix continuity cock-ups]
- Bannen is so good at contriving to give the appearance of height that he even contrived to give it to the author.
- Eight hundred years is, nevertheless, more than seven hundred years.
- The pummelling is so intense it makes Ace feel like multiple people.
- Midnight isn't particularly good at maths. Much like the author, one suspects.
- Benny named her doll Rebecca Molly. (It's back to Rebecca in Return of the Living Dad.)
- In her delirious state, Benny is hallucinating a second hand.
- The creature uses tiny but vital sounds, like breathing and moaning of its victims, to hunt them more efficiently.
- It should, but the Artifact does so enjoy the occasional gassy fern.
- Presumably it's some weird property of the Artifact. Everyone else we meet inside it comes to a violent end, so we can assume Bannen found his way there centuries ago (which is, incidentally, the same time it appeared in the Elysium system (page 296)) and has been living inside ever since.
FEATURED ALIEN RACES
Pg 9 A twin-bodied manta.
Pg 17 Monkeys, a race of wheel-shaped marsupial septopods.
Pg 40 Flying octopi that strobe with coloured light and have wide, flat tentacles.
Pg 81 Mutable fungus (that we later find out are also the schill).
Pg 86 Multi-legged, translucent creatures that resemble two spiders joined across the back.
Pg 97 A thorn-tipped plant that roars and hunts humans.
Pgs 121/127 Benjamin Green transforms into a crystalline creature with transparent leaves and no face. He resembles a lumpy bag of elephant skin about two metres wide, from which project knobs of pink crystal and has holes that open and close.
Pg 123 The schill are silver balls with metallic carapaces.
Pg 258 An airbuggy-sized, red chitinous creature, covered in black spines.
Pg 268 The Artifact itself is alive.
Pg 301 Something large and reptilian.
Pg 2 Mexico, c2140 (a few years before Lucifer Rising).
Pg 4 On board a flying church, c2140.
Pg 10 The Artifact (in the Elysium system). The food riots of Mexico are more than three and a half centuries in the past (page 281). Down places these events in the early 26th century and Lucifer Rising took place in 2154, so 350 years later would be 2504.
Pg 256 A fortnight has passed.
IN SUMMARY - Robert Smith?
It's brutal, it's agonising, everybody dies and there are great stretches with no dialogue, simply more descriptions of awful things that are going to kill you. And yet... I love this book. The writing is impossiby beautiful, the wonder that is the Artifact is beyond anything we've ever seen in Doctor Who before and the characters are believably vivid. It's not exactly a fun time, but there's a beauty to be found here regardless. Not everyone's cup of tea, but I found it delicious. An overlooked gem.