Speed of Flight
by Paul Leonard

Publisher: Virgin
ISBN: 0 426 20487 5


    The TARDIS materialises on a planet that is literally at war with itself. The Doctor tries to save the sky, Jo helps the land and Mike Yates finds himself Dead.


    Jo Grant and Mike Yates.

    Pg 22 In its usual corner of the Doctor's laboratory in UNIT HQ, c 1973.

    Pg 34 Just slightly above the ground on a ledge in the childforest, inside the artificial world of Nooma, the future.

    Pg 231 Inside the control room of the sun.


    Pg 20 References to the Brigadier and Benton. There are intermittent references to the Brigadier and UNIT throughout, but I haven't noted the others.

    Pg 21 "It was Sergeant Bell She told me that he had to come in from Reading, so..." This is obviously intended to be the same Bell who was seen onscreen in The Mind of Evil, The Claws of Axos and in the novels The Eye of the Giant, The Scales of Injustice and The Face of the Enemy. But see Continuity cock-ups.

    "The bloke you met might have been an Auton." Spearhead from Space/Terror of the Autons.

    Pg 22 "The huge dusty retort that had somehow survived the destruction of the Bedfordshire HQ stood, one more unused, on an equipment cupboard by the far wall." Probable reference to Dancing the Code, where UNIT HQ was overrun with Xarax clones.

    Pg 23 "Now Karfel is a very peaceful place and we'll be visiting it at the height of its civilization." Timelash. Since we don't see Mike Yates return to Earth at the conclusion of this story, we can assume that Timelash's prequel occurred shortly after this story, with Mike Yates in tow. This ties in to Tekker's comment, "Just the two of you this time?" indicating that the third Doctor had brought a second companion to Karfel.

    Pg 24 "Mike did vaguely recall making such a remark, perhaps on the way back from Kebiria." Dancing the Code.

    Pg 41 Reference to Karfel (Timelash).

    Pg 51 "Suddenly she remembered Catriona Talliser, the reporter she'd met in Kebiria." Dancing the Code.

    Pg 90 "He remembered the moment in Kebiria when he'd thought she'd been taken over by the Xarax." Dancing the Code.

    Pg 180 "I was just repeating an old Venusian nursery rhyme." We saw the Venusians in Venusian Lullaby.

    Pg 230 The Doctor has a sonic monkey wrench. This is one of the only times he's mentioned any other sonic tools aside from the sonic screwdriver.

    Pg 242 "'Do you reckon we'll ever get to Karfel?' asked Mike. Jo shrugged. 'I don't know. We never got to Metebelis Three.'" They do make it to Karfel, as revealed in Timelash. The Doctor promised to take Jo to Metebelis Three since The Three Doctors and Carnival of Monsters. He eventually visits there in The Green Death (and Planet of the Spiders), but all Jo got was this lousy crystal.


    Epreto, Eeneeri, Xaai.


    • Pg 21 "It was Sergeant Bell She told me that he had to come in from Reading, so..." It's not the fault of this book, but Bell was revealed to be a traitor in Face of the Enemy, so it seems a bit odd that she's not only still working for UNIT, but has been promoted.

    PLUGGING THE HOLES [Fan-wank theorizing of how to fix continuity cock-ups]

    • As the guide for Business Unusual posits, apparently UNIT hired someone with the same name shortly afterwards.

    The sentient inhabitants of Nooma, who have a lifecycle consisting of:

    • Pgs 34/167/220 Children, who resemble monkeys with fangs, who are born from budding plants.
    • Pgs 34/167 Men.
    • Pgs 42/215 The Dead, who resemble wooden robots made of clay.
    • Pgs 103/105 The Unpromoted, men who didn't fight and have huge, deformed muscles and ropes of veins and tendons
    • Pgs 109/167 The naieen, huge men with wings.

    Pg 81 Pterodactyls.

    Also some worms (page 40) and flies (page 51).

    Pg 1 Inside the terraformed world of Nooma, the far future (time unknown, but page 239 indicates the experiment has been running for 2347.54 years and we can assume the Aapex Corporation existed in Earth's future, since the men seem).

    Pg 19 Paddington Station, c 1973.

    Pg 22 UNIT HQ (which must be right near Paddington Station, as it only takes Mike and Jo minutes to get there), c 1973.

    Pg 194 Jo briefly leaves the artificial world, in an emergency rescue capsule.

    IN SUMMARY - Robert Smith?
    Often it's an author's lesser novels that most show the joins in their writing. Speed of Flight is a case in point. There's a half-hearted attempt to create a realistic alien world with complex aliens, but it never really comes off. Similarly, the sub-Mortimore attempts at experimental writing never seem to gel. But the worst is the cerebral haemorrhage that Paul Leonard always seems to have with somewhere around fifty pages to go, presumably as an excuse for not bothering to end any of his novels satisfactorily. You can almost see him sitting at the word processor saying "Well, I've set an entire world at war with itself, killed off Mike Yates and my major villain has poisoned the sky, so I suppose I'd better -- Urgk."