The Doctor and Sam arrive on Micawber's World for Stacy and Ssard's wedding, but find the festivities interrupted by religious bigotry, the encroaching Olympic Games, some stupid members of the Royal family, and some Foamasi de-badders. Then Stacy and Ssard vanish completely from the plot. Some other things happen but I can't remember what now. Oh, and on Page 250, the Doctor realises that the Wirrrn are involved too, so he meets the queen on Page 262 and kills her on Page 268. Right, that takes care of that little problem. What's next?
Stacy and Ssard, from the Radio Times comic strip, put in an appearance as they're getting married.
Pg 32 By now, it's on Micawber's World, somewhere near a park.
Pg 51 It's back again, having been off to the twenty-third century.
The Radio Times Comics Strips 1997-1998. No, only joking.
A familiarity with The Daleks' Master Plan, The Ark in Space and The Leisure Hive wouldn't go astray, especially to remind you of happier times.
The front cover is arguably a continuity reference as it seems to have been deliberately designed to look like the cover of Vampire Science.
Pgs 1-2 (Author's introduction) "to Steve Cole at BBC Books who so good-humouredly nodded at me when I said I wanted to do a Nimon-verses-Macra story." You can find this tale in the charity anthology Perfect Timing, if you must. It's actually worse than Placebo Effect, but has, I suppose, the advantage of being considerably shorter.
Pg 3 "How did you thwart an enemy who picked clean the planets of the Phylox system in less than five days?" The location of Castrovalva.
Pg 4 "from the furthest reaches of Coscos and Salostophus" The latter is Glitz's planet of origin, as we learned in The Trial of a Time Lord (The Mysterious Planet).
"Wirrrn." The script for The Ark in Space reads 'Wirrn', but Ian Marter, in his novelisation of said story, and for reasons of his own, changed it to 'Wirrrn'. The latter spelling is maintained in this book and, against my better judgement, in this guide.
Pg 10 "Our skeletons have hollow bones with double-joints every few centimetres. This means we can compact our natural forms quite comfortably inside a full replica-human bodysuit for up to eighteen hours at a time." This is a retcon that explains the apparent incongruity of the size of the Foamasi that appear in The Leisure Hive, and the size of the 'human' suits that they appeared to occupy. Something similar has been done with the Slitheen more recently, in Aliens of London. With hilarious consequences.
Pg 11 "A quick call to the office of the Guardian of the Solar System." He's not mentioned by name, but it's Mavic Chen, of The Daleks' Masterplan. There are numerous mentions, not all of which are quoted here.
Pg 16 "The Doctor had fallen asleep playing his old vinyl records." We saw one of these in the Telemovie.
"[They'd] nipped back to Tudor England to return a lace handkerchief the Doctor said he'd accidentally nicked when he'd been older." It might be Silver Nemesis. It might not.
Pg 17 "My Beetle, young lady, has a brand-new automatic transmission. While you were away I had it serviced." Good job too, given the trouncing it got in Longest Day. It does beg the question 'when, exactly?' though. Presumably while he was hunting Sam on loads of different worlds at the beginning of Dreamstone Moon. (There's a suggestion here that Russell didn't know that the Doctor would be imprisoned on Ha'olam while Sam was there.)
Pgs 17-18 "When I wanted to play with cars and hovercraft and motorbikes all those years ago, you couldn't have been less helpful if you'd tried." Most of the Pertwee era, particularly Season 11 and most particularly Planet of the Spiders.
Pg 18 "The lights dimmed slightly." The TARDIS communicating with its crew by dimming its lights also occurs in Divided Loyalties. It's no less stupid here.
"Other walls included a huge filing cabinet and a blank wall, against which rested the bust of some old man the Doctor reverently referred to as Rassilon. He seemed to be some figure out of Time Lord history who was both beloved and feared by today's Time Lords. Somehow, Sam had gathered he was a mate of the Doctor's as well, but she didn't want to begin trying to figure that one out." The Five Doctors. It's presumably a reference to the history of the Other from Lungbarrow as well, but it might just as well refer to Blood Harvest or The Eight Doctors, given that in those books, the Doctor drops round and asks Rassilon for a favour whenever he needs one.
Pg 20 "The Doctor had been aware that she'd had a bit of a crush on him back then." And didn't we all know about it? Longest Day, Dreamstone Moon, Seeing I.
"Met up with some friends. Saved Earth from alien invaders. Hung around with an old archaeology chum of mine." The Dying Days.
"'Having kids'll be fun, I'd say.' 'Stacy can't. Side-effect of something that happened while we were travelling.'" I don't think this actually happens in the Radio Times comics that we've seen.
Pg 21 "By now Earth is the centre of the Galactic Federation." See The Curse of Peladon, amongst others.
Pgs 21-22 "[The Federation was] set up by Earth, where the central administration is based." Much of the Federation lore was set up in the Peladon stories: Curse, Monster and Legacy.
Pg 22 "The Galactic Federation is there to protect, preserve and serve, while attempting to bring all the planets under one common roof. But the Guardian is like, say, your American President, Billy." This is clearly a continuity squarer between the different accounts of the Peladon stories and The Daleks' Masterplan.
Pg 22 "The whole kit and caboodle is based on the idea of people spending all their time just being awfully nice to each other." This description of the Federation is also exactly how the Doctor described the Traken Union in The Keeper of Traken.
Pg 25 "Clarke shuffled over, wearing the portable mass detector like a papoose on his chest." Similar to such a device in Earthshock.
Pg 31 "Stacy was working in an office on Antares." Location of some of the action in Lords of the Storm.
"Ssard had a job in the Martian Commision on Io, helping locate some of the fringe Martian groups who wanted out of the peace coexistence that Martians shared with the Federation members." We see such a group in The Monster of Peladon.
Pg 34 "Madox was one of a cloned species, the Teknix." First seen in The Daleks' Masterplan.
Pg 36 "I seriously considered staying on Ha'olam, you know." Indeed she did - Seeing I.
Pg 37 Mention of Victoria and Tegan.
"I will always remember you." Not so. By Escape Velocity, he's totally forgotten her existence and there's not even a blink of recognition when he sees her grave (or what might be her grave) in The Gallifrey Chronicles.
"Only magicians could take me to Victorian London or twenty-second century Borneo." The Bodysnatchers. Alien Bodies. And see Continuity Cock-Ups.
Pg 38 "Immortality often has a high price." See also The Five Doctors.
Pg 42 "And as for outlawing any gwampa fruits that didn't have a perfect ninety-degree bend in them." This is a less-than-subtle parody of a European Community directive about the curvature of bananas. I'm not making this up. It reflects back to the original parodic nature of The Curse of Peladon being a refection of the UK joining the then EEC.
Pg 47 "To his right, a panel in the wall slid back." A-ha: a top secret wall panel. This sort of thing has appeared so many times in Doctor Who, it's clearly a continuity reference. Think The Invasion and work forwards from there.
Pg 49 "Two yellow-and-purple spotted horses, dressed in what clearly passed for their Sunday best on their home planet." Mentioned in Frontier in Space.
Pg 50 "Possibly one of those Kolpashan fashion houses." For reasons known only to the authors of the books, this is the most frequent comics reference that they use. It's from Victims, a fourth Doctor and Romana story, and gets name-checked again and again in this novel.
Pg 57 "It was even nicknamed the 7,438th Wonder of the Universe. There were not exactly 7,437 others, but to some wag at the holocam networks the phrase had made a good headline." There are, to the best of our knowledge, 699 Wonders of the Universe, according to Death to the Daleks, although the number may have increased since then. You have to wonder why '7,438th Wonder of the Universe' was considered a good headline.
Pg 58 "The threat of terrorism from the likes of Galaxy Five or the Free Rasta VI was ever-present." The Monster of Peladon and unknown reference (although it sounds like a plea for something...)
"The terrorists exposed and incarcerated on Desperus." The Daleks' Masterplan.
Pg 70 "She was still trying to shake the almost comical notion of a preacher with a five-pound Dalekanium bomb." The Dalek Invasion of Earth.
Pg 79 "All right, how about I say I'm here by the request of SSS Headquarters on Earth? Dal Karlton, that's the chap." The Daleks' Masterplan.
Pg 80 "He scooped up a pressure blower and began expertly easing small pieces of ruptured skull apart." We last saw the Doctor's ability to perform an autopsy in Kursaal.
Pg 83 "'Don't move, Doctor whoever you are.' 'Smith.' 'Nice try.' 'Well, it worked two thousand years ago.'" The Wheel in Space onwards.
Pg 86 "(unless being chased by Daleks, Zygons or Psionovores)" War of the Daleks, The Bodysnatchers, unknown reference.
Pg 91 "Seconded to the planet Peladon... links to something called the "Ancient Diadem"... links to Pakhar... links to..." Legacy.
Pg 108 "I've never had a faith, as such. I had a House. And a birthsign. And a Chapter to be loyal to." Not having a faith becomes relevant later in The Satan Pit. Also Lungbarrow (House), The Creature from the Pit (birthsign), The Deadly Assassin (Chapter).
Pg 112 "She had been seventeen when the Doctor met her (well, give or take a few months). Now she was twenty-one. All that time on Ha'olam meant she must have missed a couple of good parties back home." Seeing I and see Continuity Cock-Ups.
"She could imagine the Crimewatch programmes, the newspaper reports and announcements on GLR or Kiss FM. Missing girl. Samantha A. Jones." This is very like what happens to Rose in Aliens of London.
Pgs 112-113 "Baz and his stupid gang doing their Charlie deals." The Eight Doctors.
Pg 114 "'Da, out tabeamers. A'bass, ya view, Thainch'k?' Sam shook her head. 'I'm sorry, guys, but you're losing me.'" The Doctor later has similar problems with speaking Foamasi, which ties in to his being unable to understand the language in The Leisure Hive. Foamasi language is one of the few to defy TARDIS translation circuits, as mentioned in the NAs.
Pgs 116-117 "Or was it a quirk of this new personality of his that he regarded humans a little less tolerantly since becoming acquainted with his own - how could he put it? - genetic heritage?" The half-human thing from the Telemovie. See also Continuity Cock-Ups.
Pg 121 "Sam was suddenly somewhere else. In a windswept desert - Sansom Plains on Ha'olam - and around her she could feel, without seeing, the presence of the I." Seeing I. And, once again, see Continuity Cock-Ups.
"She was on the Mu Camelopides moon, with Anton." Dreamstone Moon.
"Seeing the Doctor through the eyes of a Jax." Kursaal, and, yet once more, see Continuity Cock-Ups.
It's a 1980s BBC flashback sequence! "A jumble of images - cracks in a wall forming letters; a military woman trapped; the Doctor; a strange wasplike insect, chittering away, gazing around with bulbous brown eyes; a Spider Dalek, blasting down Thals; the Doctor; an Earth dominated by Tractites; a man blurring, becoming a Zygon; Carolyn; the TARDIS, in Shoreditch; the Doctor..." Gosh. OK: the Shift in Alien Bodies; Bregman in Alien Bodies; the insects in Alien Bodies; War of the Daleks; Genocide; The Bodysnatchers; Vampire Science; The Eight Doctors.
Pg 127 "Sam nodded. 'Yeah entropy. As a good friend of mine once said, "the more you put things together the more they keep falling apart."'" As well as the fact that 'Yeah entropy' without an appropriate comma sounds like a Heavy Metal band, and the disgraceful lack of commas in the rest of the sentence, this sounds like the Doctor's been quoting himself from Logopolis.
Pg 132 "What happened in the moonbase of Hirath's satellite." Longest Day.
"It felt, in a way, a little like being back at the Mission on Ha'olam." Seeing I.
Pg 136 "He placed a calling card on the salver - white with a black stripe and a ? symbol across it." Remembrance of the Daleks.
"I have come across the West Lodge once or twice." The Leisure Hive.
Pg 140 "But on the whole I work for Martians, Pakhars, humans, Cantryans, Chelonians, the Tzun, Lurmans, Vegans." The Ice Warriors et al, Legacy et al, humans are pretty much all over, Cantryans are from Legacy, Chelonians from The Highest Science originally, the Tzun from First Frontier (and see Continuity Cock-Ups, yet again), Lurmans are from Carnival of Monsters. Vegans are seen in The Monster of Peladon and Fear of the Dark.
Pg 146 "The Dreamstone Moon was mined out." Dreamstone Moon. And see Continuity Cock-Ups.
"My last protest was in the twenty-third century." Seeing I.
Pg 153 "Ms Sox gazed open-mouthed at the Doctor. Eventually she spoke. 'How did you know that?'" He's reading her time-line again, as he did in the Telemovie and has been doing on and off ever since.
Pg 154 "Cows have been exported all over the galaxy, even to Jadea. They are about the only creatures on the planet that aren't green." Jadea was clearly named by that famed astronomer of old, Terry Nation. Oh, and see Continuity Cock-Ups.
"'Earth has a fully functional weather-control system, and has done for thousands of years.' The Doctor didn't miss a beat. 'Ms Sox, I was on Earth when they set those devices up.'" We saw them in The Seeds of Death and The Moonbase, the latter of which may be what the Doctor is referring to by his being there. That occasion may also be an unrecorded adventure, however.
"I have seen the very birth of mankind, from a single-celled amoeba mutated by neutronic radiation." City of Death, presumably.
Pg 155 "And I absolutely love the decor of this room." This is almost identical to the shoes bit in the Telemovie.
Yet another reference to Ha'olam and Seeing I.
Pg 162 "Once upon a time, in another lifetime, I saw everything. Nowadays, I keep missing the important bits. It's really not fair." Comparison to the NA Doctor. And doesn't he sound petulant about it?
Pg 168 "Gar paused, then nodded like Dave Wilson used to in biology class, trying to look like an innocent three-year-old because he'd just looked the word 'vagina' up in the dictionary for the fifth time that afternoon." Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that this is the first time the word 'vagina' has ever appeared in a Doctor Who novel.
Pg 180 "The journalist who had reported from the front line on the first Galaxy 5 war." The Monster of Peladon.
Pg 186 "It's a lovely world, you know. Destroyed by nuclear war years ago by some thugs called the Argolin." The Leisure Hive.
Pg 199 "But to the Pakhars, Lurmans, Shistavanens and others." Legacy, Carnival of Monsters, unknown.
Pg 202 The Wirrrn Queen says "You will become like us", so she's clearly been watching The Tenth Planet. Bet she's got episode four as well.
Pg 208 Another mention of Desperus, from The Daleks' Masterplan.
Pg 250 "Surely I can't have been so stupid - yet maybe this is how it really began. The hatred for mankind..." This is supposed to be the backstory for The Ark in Space.
Pg 262 There's a quick summary of The Ark in Space.
"But what if the humans they claimed had hunted them were in fact themselves fighting back - from an earlier Wirrrn invasion? Such as this one." Presumably, at the end of this book, the humans go on a hunt, the 1000-year-long one that takes place in the Andromeda galaxy which Noah mentioned in The Ark in Space.
Pg 267 "I threw away my Doctor's-assistant L-plates three years ago on the Mu Camelopides moon." Oh, shut up. This is supposed to be a reference to Dreamstone Moon, but it's not because it bears no relation to what actually happened in that story.
Pg 272 "Ms Sox tossed her hair back, and shrugged. 'I'm tempted to say they got what they deserved.' 'Are you now?' The Doctor looked at her sadly. 'Let's leave the sermons against drugs to the schools, shall we?'" This probably qualifies as the most irresponsible thing that the Doctor has ever said. Given that many of the people who took the Wirrrn pills need organ transplants, and a percentage of people who take Ecstasy need organ transplants as they liquefy, one might suggest that a parallel was being drawn here. And the Doctor seems to think it's OK. I'll accept that people do stupid things, but for the Doctor suggest that people shouldn't learn about what drugs etc. might do to you is, in my humble opinion, not entirely in character for him.
Pg 275 "I need to be here to see it in, to help celebrate the wonder that is eternity and the joy that the year 4000 will hold." What a hideous line. And it'll hold a Dalek invasion (The Daleks' Masterplan) and you'll probably die. Heigh ho.
Pg 277 The Doctor appears to be able to hear the TARDIS speaking to him (Divided Loyalties), but by this point, I may well have ceased to care to live or breathe.
Pg 278 "London. Midnight. 1999. Yes, I think we could manage that. London will be very safe that night, I've made sure of that. A few times, come to think of it." The Telemovie, Millennial Rites, Millennium Shock. Actually, given the events of Millennial Rites, it might well not be safe at all.
"The last couple of years had been... interesting, there was no getting away from that." Well, moreso than this book, anyway.
OLD FRIENDS AND OLD ENEMIES
NEW FRIENDS AND NEW ENEMIES
Cameos from Miss Rutherford, a receptionist; Ntumbe, a driver; Labus, an alien.
Quartermaster Sergeant Dallion; Agents Clarke, Klein, McCarrick, Carruthers and Fenton.
Reverend Lukas; Phillipa Iley; Jolyon Tuck; Kyle Dale. Phillipa and Jolyon are about to become Wirrrn, though.
Events Co-ordinator Algernon Sumner; Madox; Ms Sox; SSS Commander Ritchie; SSS Agent Hedges.
M'Rek'd and P'Fer'd, the two yellow-and-purple spotted horses. Christopher and Mary Townsend, Stacy's parents.
Consort Ethelredd; Counsellor De'Ath.
Green Fingers and the Patriarchs of West, South and Twin Suns Lodges; Gielgud, the Foamasi Butler.
- Pg 15 "Dust. Sam tutted." The TARDIS is dusty, despite specifically managing to have remained undusty for over three years in Seeing I, the previous novel.
- Pg 19 "'Well, you know that while only a few hours passed for you -' 'You'd been gone for nearly a year of your time. Yes, I remember.'" Make up your minds. Sam thought it was a year in Vampire Science, although the Doctor said it was three in the same book. By Alien Bodies, Sam knows it was three years. Now, she states it was one year again, and the Doctor doesn't disabuse her.
- Pg 22 "But the Guardian is like, say, your American president, Billy." Who's also named as President Clinton on the same page. Except that Sam's American president is Tom Dering, as seen recently in Option Lock. And since he was President in 1998, he would have been elected in 1996, so he'd have been President back when Sam first met the Doctor, in 1997. (AHistory's timeline also puts Dering as having won in 1996.)
- Pg 31 "Stacy was working in an office on Antares" while "Ssard had a job in the Martian Commission on Io", which means that, given that they live several hundred light-years apart, they must practically never see each other. Which is bearable, but explain how , given that they must at least visit occasionally and can afford that, they can't afford to fly to Earth or New Mars (Pg 30)? Certainly Earth is far, far closer to Io than Micawber's World is meant to be.
- Pg 37 "Only magicians could take me to Victorian London or twenty-second century Borneo." Actually, given that Alien Bodies was set in 2063 or 2069, it was twenty-first century Borneo.
- Pg 42 "What's good for the goose, and all that." This should read 'What's sauce for the goose' in order to make any sense of the proverb.
- Pg 52 "'Townsend... Stacy's mum and dad?' The Doctor smiled, his blue eyes wide with pleasure. 'But the web of time and all that?' Sam hissed. 'That,' the Doctor whispered, 'is why I've been away for so long. Putting other things in motion so that history won't notice their disappearance. Tricky, but can be done. By a master.'" What? What nonsense is this? When have we ever seen the Doctor worry about this before? He didn't worry about it when Sam joined him. Or Stacy. Or anyone else for that matter. Why does he have to spend a week fiddling with time-lines just to get Stacy's parents to visit? Also, does he take them back, or has he uprooted them completely and dumped them 1500 or so years after their own time? (Not that it should be a problem if he did, of course, since he did exactly the same to Stacy.) It's a lovely wedding present, I imagine, to have your parents attend when you didn't think they'd be able to, but do you really want them with you for the rest of your married life together? But, if he does take them home, what's the problem with the time-lines?
- Pg 53 "I've been giving them a quick tour of the cosmos, showing them the alien races and updating them on Stacy's life. Alien contact was restricted to a few invaders and a couple of benign helpers in the twenty-third century." Two points to make here. Christopher and Mary stare at Ssard as though they've never seen an Ice Warrior before: you'd've thought that the Doctor might have seen fit, in his tour of the cosmos, to take them to Mars and say, 'This here's an Ice Warrior; you're daughter's marrying one of them.' Furthermore, since the Earth/Mars war is documented as far back as the late twenty-first century (Transit) and the Martian front in the Dalek War (2260s) is clearly established in GodEngine, how it is that they don't know what one looks like anyway?
- Pg 72 In the first of a veritable hat-trick of dating miscalculations: "Over the last twenty thousand years, the human race has degenerated into a morass of corruption, decay and immorality." Is the Reverend Lukas really suggesting that we should go back to the way we were in the year 16,000BC? He surely means 'two thousand'.
- Pg 84 "Easy mistake. The pockets are adapted - not part of the original coat. I sewed in an extra dimension." In Alien Bodies we are led to understand that the Doctor's pockets are a result of his reading a book on fashion sense and Zen, not this rather obvious solution to the eternal problem of the Doctor's pockets that we get here. So which is it?
- Pg 103 "The Doctor paused, then flipped another card over. King of Hearts. He moved it to the twelve o'clock position." Er, that's not how you play Clock Patience. The Kings are the bad cards that go in the centre; the queens go on the twelve o'clock position.
- Pg 104 OK, really finicky, I admit, but "no-one-can-actually-pinpoint-exactly-when-we-asked-the-Doctor-to-help-and-so-will deny-it-all-if-it-goes-wrong" is clearly missing a hyphen between "will" and "deny".
- Pg 106 "The plan is to use three per planet as carriers. That gives us a more than acceptable risk of failure." What a strange plan. Why not use more? Why limit it to three? The whole point of the Wirrrn is that they want everyone to be like them. More to the point, when the pills are distributed, this limitation seems to have been conveniently forgotten.
- Pg 112 "She had been seventeen when the Doctor met her (well, give or take a few months). Now she was twenty-one. All that time on Ha'olam meant she must have missed a couple of good parties back home. So, to Mum and Dad she had been away perhaps four years." But that's not how time travel works. Either Sam or Russell clearly haven't got their heads round the idea that she can go back to when she left - she doesn't have to go back four years later. And indeed, when she does go home, in Interference part 2, she in fact does go back to very soon after she left.
- "And she couldn't even get that tatty old Shortlist T-shirt on now if she tried." This is the T-shirt that she was wearing when she first met the Doctor, but, other than it being tatty, we have to ask why she can't get it on anymore. Did she get really fat when she was on Ha'olam?
- Pgs 116-117 "Or was it a quirk of this new personality of his that he regarded humans a little less tolerantly since becoming acquainted with his own - how could he put it? - genetic heritage?" How long is the Doctor going to continue to refer to this body as his 'new' one? It might still be new to us, but we now know that he's been in it for at least four years (if you do the adding up).
- Pg 121 "Sam was suddenly somewhere else. In a windswept desert - Sansom Plains on Ha'olam - and around her she could feel, without seeing, the presence of the I." It wasn't the Sansom Plains, it was the Samson Plains.
- "Seeing the Doctor through the eyes of a Jax." Kursaal makes it clear that Sam doesn't actually remember any of her experiences as a Jax.
- Pg 139 "'Ah, George. Yes. We call him Typtpwtyp.' This came out as a series of chirps and twitters, the traditional Foamasi language - hence the voice synthesisers." All very well, but how does the voice synthesiser know to turn itself off so that we can hear the Foamasi language for just this one word?
- Pg 140 "But on the whole I work for Martians, Pakhars, humans, Cantryans, Chelonians, the Tzun, Lurmans, Vegans." Lords of the Storm made it clear that the Tzun were wiped out hundreds of years before this novel.
- Pg 146 "The Dreamstone Moon was mined out." No it wasn't. It was abandoned when it turned out to be a creature.
- "'And here I am,' she continued, looking at the Meep. 'It's 3999, twenty thousand years since I started trying to make a difference.'" Er, no. It's two thousand years since you started, actually.
- Pg 154 "Cows have been exported all over the galaxy, even to Jadea. They are about the only creatures on the planet that aren't green." Except we learn that the Jadeans were genetically engineered. Can it really be true that having created a green species, the scientists who did so looked all around the galaxy to find an entirely green planet to put them on? Now that's impressive.
- Pg 155 "No doubt she'd spent too long on Ha'olam." It's not specific to this moment, but it is a question: Where have all of Sam's Yiddish/Aramaic slang terms, which had entered her vocabulary in Seeing I, gone? She spent three years there and her vocal patterns changed. Why have they reverted?
- Pg 158 "'Penthouse only,' said a computerised voice. 'Non-stop.'" Why is the only elevator in the largest hotel Sam's ever seen only going to go up to the top floor? How do you get to all the other floors?
- Pg 185 "There was a species on Micawber's World that would object to her plan more vociferously than the others. Foamasi they were called." Again, I'm ignoring the missing comma, but I am asking how the queen can be thinking that the Foamasi are going to be a problem when, on page 106, the Wirrrn plan involved using the Foamasi to distribute the damned pills that it appears they're now going to object to. It cannot be stated strong enough here that the Wirrrn are of one mind! There cannot possibly be a situation where the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing.
- Pg 205 Ms Sox: "We also knew that one of the scientists the SSS were bringing up from Earth a Dr Mason, was seen meeting someone who had no security clearance whatsoever [...] I wanted to see if there was a connection between this Dr Mason and the infiltration with our company on Ganymede." Not withstanding another really painful missing comma, missing the word "was" after the word "Earth", and the fact that it should be 'infiltration of' not 'with', compare this next statement: Pg 227 Ms Sox again: "I recognise him... wait a minute! He was the scientist who disappeared from the SSS place. One of Professor Jeol's team [...] Human. Er, let me think. Yes. Mason! Miles Mason, an expert in xenobiology. We sorted out his entry visa for the SSS, found him quarters. Very popular with the service actually. Chase Carrington even knew a bit about his background." I can only stand back in amazement, my mouth on the floor and say 'What?' How can she have forgotten her conversation of just 22 pages ago? Why, oh, why, oh, why can you not get internal continuity right across just over twenty pages? How stupid are you?!
- Pg 232 And Russell goes for the treble: "The Doctor leaned back and slapped the side of the microscope. 'Primitive thing. All they've done in twenty thousand years is add a few new buttons and a holographic readout point.'" Lots of microscopes around in 16,000BC were there? Gosh, those Ancient Greeks sure had advanced scientific instrumentation amidst their bacchanals.
- Pg 234 "No one spoke, until finally the Twin Suns Lodge representative spoke. As a scholar on twentieth-century, human, 2-D movie actors, he knew he sounded just like Al Pacino in Scarface." Let us temporarily cast aside the really lousy writing that uses the word 'spoke' twice in one sentence. Here we have the five leading members of Foamasi society. Let us, again, have patience and wonder why the Patriarch of the Dark Peaks Lodge is here, given that Micawber's World is barred to them. No, what is truly ludicrous here is the fact that, in the inner sanctum of the Foamasi, with only Foamasi present, they elect to have their discussion using voice synthesisers in a variety of stupid accents instead of taking the more obvious decision of actually speaking their own native language.
- Pg 238 On the subject of the pills carrying the freakish Wirrrn mutating thing: "If it's a disease, then why hide it so deeply?" This has got to qualify as one of the most stupid questions to have ever passed the Doctor's lips. The really obvious answer is: So no one would find it.
- Pg 244 "They went into the corridor and into the galley area." So there is a kitchen in the TARDIS. There wasn't in Seeing I.
- "The hovering globe followed and he pressed a button on the nearby microwave oven. The door popped open, trapping the hologram." How? A hologram is made of light. You can trap a hologram in exactly the same way that you can trap a moonbeam; i.e., you can't.
- Pg 248 A Foamasi gun's powerpack explodes and "the walls, floor and ceiling had become like glazed marble, the contents of the room evaporated by the heat of the blast. The Foamasi and the hybrid had been atomised completely." So the heat was enough to atomise everything in the room, but the walls withstood it and didn't get vaporised too. Those are damn strong walls.
- Pg 250 "'And your thing in the tunnel didn't look like the Ambassador, did it?' added the Doctor. 'Er, no,' said Kyle, looking around the reptile at Sam for confirmation. 'More like a big insect thing. With pincers, and antennae and -'" So let's get this straight. When Sam finally explains what happened to her in the tunnels beneath the surface, she neglected to even briefly describe the aliens that she met down there, either the grubs or the Wirrrn Queen. What did she say, exactly? Can you imagine that conversation? She must have turned cartwheels to avoid actually describing the things. ('And then we hid from some things that, erm, and then we had a chat and went deeper into the tunnels...') Is she really that stupid? Is the Doctor really that stupid not to have asked her?
- Pg 262 "Within five minutes, the Time Lord and his new Jadean associate were facing a nightmare." Another dreadful line. And 'five minutes'? Is that how long it takes to get to the very centre of Micawber's World? Just how small is the place, anyway?
- "At least ten times larger than any other Wirrrn the Doctor could remember seeing. All those years ago, paradoxically in the future." How ironic. This is about the only time the word 'paradox' is used by the eighth Doctor when it's not connected with the word 'Faction' and, actually, it's not a paradox at all. If you travel in time, you're going to meet things before you first met them all the time. Was it a paradox when he met the Cybermen in The Wheel in Space, having met them in The Moonbase? No. Of course it wasn't. How annoying.
PLUGGING THE HOLES [Fan-wank theorizing of how to fix continuity cock-ups]
- The Doctor has currently disengaged the dedustifier, in order to make important modifications.
- It's been a while now, and Sam's forgotten. The Doctor, embarrassed, doesn't correct her when she gets it wrong. Alternatively, this is proof that the Doctor is constantly messing with Sam's memories and mind.
- The Doctor is making a specific point about Clinton, which doesn't apply to Dering, and Sam - for reasons of her own - doesn't bother to correct him.
- Travel to Earth and New Mars is more expensive despite the shorter distance as it's more densely populated.
- She's also been to twenty-second century Borneo with the Doctor, perhaps showing an interest in how the revitalisation effort turned out.
- The proverb's changed over the last 2000 years.
- Unless Christopher and Mary had something really serious to contribute to the timelines, which is never stated, it can only be assumed that the Doctor's showing off. He's probably just meandered off for a while, then remembered what he was supposed to be doing, gone and picked them up and hurried back to Micawber's World. You could fit anything in this gap. How about all those comics stories featuring Izzy, hey?
- Christopher and Mary lived quite sheltered lives, and didn't get out much. The Doctor, not knowing this, didn't bother to take them to Mars because he assumed that they'd know what an Ice Warrior looked like automatically. Gosh, though, Gary: do pay attention.
- The Reverend Lukas has done some serious historical studies, and fervently believes that the human race in the year 16,000BC was at its most moral, its least corrupt and its very freshest. He may, however, have been consulting dodgy texts.
- The coat was replaced in Seeing I, so we can assume the Doctor's methods have changed. It's cheap, though, because the Alien Bodies explanation was so much more poetic.
- It's four dimensional clock patience, which has different rules. And anyway, Alien Bodies proves that the Doctor cheats if it makes the game more interesting.
- It's where the Doctor took a breath in the middle of his sentence.
- At this point, there are likely to be only enough pills for three per planet, so this is the best way of spreading the net as wide as possible. However, pill productivity exceeded expectations, and they were able to give out more when it came to it.
- She's actually thinking about how now, being older, she won't be able to go to teenagers' parties any more. She should meet Benny, who's never let age get in the way of a good party.
- She's washed it lots of times, and its shrunk.
- This incarnation of the Doctor's always seemed pretty confused. Presumably, until that sorts itself out (which will be a while, mark you and me) he still considers it as 'new'.
- The Sansom Plains were also nearby.
- Lukas's telepathic scan reveals more than even Sam knew.
- It's very well programmed.
- There are one or two Tzun still around, as seen in Mission: Impractical, so he means he works for a few individuals, not the race
- Sam discovered, while on Ha'olam, that they went back to it and started mining again. The bastards.
- Sam's upset, and not thinking clearly. Or just not very good with subtraction. Much like the author, one suspects.
- Yes, it would appear that the scientists did, however patently ludicrous that sounds.
- The Doctor didn't like it and, after all the problems he had with Dodo's speech patterns, he's got a little gadget in the TARDIS to alter the way people use language. It still doesn't stop her saying 'bricking it' though (Pg 115), so it's not working perfectly. Perhaps that's because he's had to deactivate the dedustifier.
- There are more elevators, but Sam only sees this one.
- The Wirrrn is more aware now, since some Foamasi have been absorbed, that Green Fingers is involved in some way, and it's he that she realises may cause problems. But you have to work for this, and there's no excuse.
- God alone knows. Perhaps the Wirrrn queen's telepathic blast affected her mind. I don't know. I actually paid for this book. Russell got paid for writing it. By me. Give me my money back.
- He's thinking of a different species which had invented microscopes in 16,000BC, not humans at all.
- It's a Foamasi thing. They won't tell us why.
- He's still suffering from the results of the Wirrrn Queen's telepathic assault, and not thinking as clearly as we've always known him to before. Oh no, wait, this is the eighth Doctor; he never thinks clearly. He's just being his normal stupid self.
- Sam complained about the lack of a kitchen, so there's been some reconfiguring going on of late.
- While it is a hologram, there's a solid part of it, kind of like Rimmer's light bee. Good God, now we have to raid Red Dwarf for our answers.
- Those are damn strong walls.
- Sad to say, the Doctor and Sam really are that stupid.
- It's clearly not very big.
- This is a subtle clue that the Faction Paradox virus he's been infected with is starting to break through.
FEATURED ALIEN RACES
Labus is of an unnamed species with dark, bluish skin, tusks and a trunk.
Cantryans have burnt-orange skin and three stubby fingers.
Ssard is an Ice Warrior.
Teknix are cloned species, bald and ultra-efficient.
Two yellow-and-purple spotted horses, named as Equinoids, imaginitively.
The Snarx apparently have the Olympic cleaning contract sown up.
A V'orrn has shaggy white fur.
Kleptons, about three feet high, dark faces, rubbery snout, and hate the long-extinct Thain race.
Meeps, from the comic strip stories.
Also Cogwegs, Saurians, rooster-looking aliens, Morogs from Pindant, Hiinds, Morrains and Wereloxes.
All the local Parads die of telepathic shock, poor things.
We also see some Lurmans, Shsitavanens and Pakhars, working on the holocrews.
Pg 3 The Andromeda Galaxy, quite some time ago.
Pg 5 Cape City, South Africa, Earth, recently (a couple of months before the bulk of the action).
Pg 19 The TARDIS is 'parked in space', somewhen.
Micawber's World, 3999AD. The main city is Carrington City, which includes the Mirage Hotel, the Carrington Grande Hotel, a Church of Earth church, an SSS HQ, a Foamasi temple, a shopping mall and several parks as well as the 3999 Olympic Stadium. If you feel like buying the place, you should note that there's a very convenient place for any household Wirrrn you may have at the dead centre of the planetoid.
IN SUMMARY - Anthony Wilson
Oh, dear God. Like all Gary Russell books, it reads like a children's story by Enid Blyton ('Another pause and then the two new friends burst into laughter' on Pg 33 is a serious offender, but there are numerous others). The pacing's way off, both in structure and in the fact that the scenes with the Doctor and the Wirrrn last six pages and he doesn't even realise that they're involved until Pg 250. Characters change personality in accordance with the plot. Characters do stupid things to further the plot. Which would be almost forgivable if the plot were, in fact, any good. The whole thing's just a mess. The Ark in Space was about the triumph of human spirit in adversity, about the benefits of the individual over the swarm, about glory of independent thought, independent life and about the pleasures of being a thinking, feeling being. This book... isn't. The saddest indictment is that so much of this is supposed to be funny and precisely none of it is. Avoid it like you would avoid a drug-pusher with dodgy green goo all over his hand.