An illegal time travel experiment threatens to destroy ancient Babylon. Only Bernice can travel back to avert the destruction of history.
Clarence, Wolsey, Joseph.
The Also People.
Pg -2 "This won't be a crude war, like the cat-and-mouse game with the Insects." This war was mentioned in The Also People.
Pg 1 "Medical advice: never stick anything in your ear smaller than your elbow; never stick anything larger in your skull than, say, a continent. - Kate Orman" This quote is from So Vile a Sin, page 108.
Pg 6 "On Friday night she had been returning from a late meeting with Dr Follett" First appeared in Dragons' Wrath and frequent appearances throughout the Benny NAs.
Pg 8 "Benny had visited the Sphere once before." The Also People
Pg 10 "As you know, the War ended thirty years ago, but we're still feeling the effects." Mentioned in The Also People
Pg 11 "There's an island continent put aside for the Truly Crazed." This is seen in Down and is where !X comes from.
Pg 12 "But how often did the natives of those worlds understand the pyramid or ziggurat in the same way as the Ikkaba themselves? [...] The ancient Yemayans may have been closer to the Ikkaba in their own symbolic construction of the construction." Yemaya and its pyramids were seen in SLEEPY.
Pg 25 "There had been some serious tonsil-hockey involved the last time they had encountered each other." Ghost Devices.
Pg 28 "Joseph reminds me of a miniature People drone, actually, although he's smaller and doesn't have a face." This is foreshadowing for Tears of the Oracle.
Pg 49 "'I'm God,' said my Porter." God possessing Joseph is important foreshadowing for Tears of the Oracle. See page 270 of that book.
Pg 56 "I held the Edward Watkinson Chair of Archaeology at St Oscar's, named for one of the century's most noted archaeologists, and a bit of a hero of mine." This is backstory established in Oh No It Isn't!. We see more of Watkinson in Tears of the Oracle, although the dating there doesn't match, as he and Bernice are in different centuries.
Pg 61 "Certain cultural clues (see Appendix III) indicate a different origin for the Egyptian pyramids" Pyramids of Mars.
Pg 62 "The Ishtar Gate, Benny knew, largest of eight around the city's perimeter." Ishtar was actually the Timewyrm, as seen in Timewyrm: Genesys.
Pg 65 "The House had developed its overprotective demeanour shortly after the fuss with God" Possibly a reference to The Also People.
Pg 68 "I'd fought off bug eyed monsters and marauding knights in my time" Sanctuary.
Pg 69 "I was remembering a knife held to my throat in a truck on Jaris" Uncertain reference.
Pg 83 "'Where were you born?' 'Well, have you heard of Beta Caprisis?'" It was established in Love and War that Benny was born on Beta Caprisis, but this was forgotten in later NAs, which said she came from Earth. Her true birthplace is finally remembered here.
Pg 91 "I might get back to discover that the human race had been wiped out by the Caxtarids" Seen in Return of the Living Dad, The Room With No Doors and (possibly) Blue Box.
"Or I never met Jason. Or I'm an alcoholic. Or I never found my missing dad. Or I beat my children." Benny found her father in Return of the Living Dad, which also revealed that she would have children in the future. We see the first of these children in The Glass Prison onwards.
Pg 94 "I could tell her about the Ootsoi and the Goll and all the different Kapteynians" The Ootsoi are mentioned in Oh No it Isn't!, which also features the Goll. Kapteynians were seen in The Room With No Doors.
Pg 104 Reference to Yemaya (SLEEPY).
Pg 110 "I activated our simulation of her" Seen in Ghost Devices.
Pg 116 "We should just have dropped a tub of antimatter of the All Of Us home planet" The Insects mentioned in The Also People.
Pg 125 Reference to Jason.
Pg 133 "But then, what about my own near miss with one of those very students?" That was Mike Doran, in Oh No It Isn't! (who also appeared, with a different first name, in Deadfall).
Pg 164 "Once, when I was trying not to fall in love with Jason, he played a rotten trick on me. Pretending to be lethally wounded at the bottom of a pit." Death and Diplomacy.
Pg 170 "I've even met the Martians" Legacy, The Dying Days.
Pg 173 "Bernice Summerfield, graffito in pencil opposite the above paragraph, Capella 4, 2563." The date here being thirty years prior to the Benny NAs isn't a cock-up, but actually a very clever and consistent recurring use of the dating of Benny's life. She was active in the early part of the 26th century before Love and War, then appeared on Dellah after a 30 year gap. This is very well adhered to during the Benny NAs, even more impressive because they never explain that the dating inconsistency is due to her travelling with the Doctor.
Pg 174 "Another drone had once fixed my knee" The Also People?
Pgs 184-185 "I decided to go on a solo dig on Capella 4. [...] I found a cliff, which I promptly fell off." This story of Benny's expedition is later seen in flashback in a short story in The Dead Men Diaries.
Pg 200 "I took him hostage in a bar to escape some police." Death and Diplomacy.
Pgs 202-203 We get a summary of the war between the People and the All Of Us, as mentioned in The Also People.
Pg 207 "I handed her my hat. She turned it over in her hands. 'It's an original from Groenewegan's Millinery," I said. 'It had to be specially made.. They don't normally make this kind of hat in white.. Look, you can tell from the tag.' I turned the fedora over. 'All the way from Neo-Sydney,' I said." This is an in-joke that arose when David McIntee had the Doctor wearing a white fedora in White Darkness. Sarah Groenewegan, a fan from Sydney, Australia (later a short story writer for the Benny and Doctor Who Big Finish short story collections), wrote to McIntee pointing out that they didn't make fedoras in white. To her surprise, when First Frontier came out, it mentioned that the Doctor had had the hat specially made from Groenewegan's Millinery, in Neo-Sydney (see page 13 of that book).
"I remembered those long nights in the Aurigan jungle" Benny's expedition, The Dead Men Diaries.
Pg 216 "It rains all the time on Dellah." This is backstory set up in Oh No It Isn't!, but was mentioned so infrequently in the Benny NAs that it's noteworthy to have any other author remember it.
Pg 228 Reference to Yemaya (SLEEPY).
Pg 236 "I wonder if it even ran that bloody high-level simulation of me that it's got to see if I'd be willing to help prevent it." Ghost Devices.
Pg 238 "So you'll be contacting the Tiny But interesting Interest Group?" First seen in Oh No It Isn't!, it reappeared with a name change in Ghost Devices, but is back to its original name here.
Pg 239 "Until I earned a genuine professorship, I lived in the constant fear that someone would pop the balloon of my forged credentials." Benny had faked her doctorate in Love and War, but was working on a genuine Ph.D. in Return of the Living Dad.
Pg 241 "Dep's daughter, iKrissi, looked about eight years old, with a big smile and a loud giggle." iKrissi is Chris Cwej's daughter, although he doesn't know about her. She was conceived during The Also People and mentioned on page 249 of Happy Endings.
Pg 246 "Seventeen of my diaries have survived. I've lost count of the ones that were destroyed or left behind somewhere" It's not clear how far into the future this passage is written, but a number (possibly all) of Benny's diaries were destroyed in The Squire's Crystal.
OLD FRIENDS AND OLD ENEMIES
God, The People.
Pg 239 Sara!qava appeared in The Also People and Happy Endings.
NEW FRIENDS AND NEW ENEMIES
John Lafayette, Ninan, Miriam.
WiRgo!xu, I!qu-!qu-tala, iKrissi.
!Cin-ta!x, who reappears in Tears of the Oracle.
- Pg 173 It's not a fault with this book, but the dates don't match Tears of the Oracle, which has Watkinson's time as eighty years before Benny's time.
PLUGGING THE HOLES [Fan-wank theorizing of how to fix continuity cock-ups]
- The dating here is from one of Watkinson's books, so it was probably a later edition.
FEATURED ALIEN RACES
Pg 1 Dellah, 2594.
Pg 7 Benny travels across space on Clarence.
Pg 8 The Worldsphere, 2594.
Pg 26 The Ruins of Babylon, December 1901.
Pg 30 The Worldsphere, two weeks after the party.
Pg 57 Planet MD 20879, 2594.
Pg 61 Babylon, 570 BCE.
IN SUMMARY - Robert Smith?
A fabulous read, one of the gems of the Benny NAs. It's got a great setup, the welcome appearance of a time travel plot and some lovely imagery. Babylon is extremely well evoked, the People are given some great depth and there's a poignancy to the ending which remains long after you've finished the book. Excellent stuff.