The Glass Prison

Roots: There are references to Pink Floyd, Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, Rumpelstiltskin, Sleeping Beauty, King Kong, Dr Doom, Through the Looking Glass, The Chronicles of Narnia, and Alien. Benny mentions the songs "Pack Up You Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag", "It's a Long Way to Tipperary" and "Dem Bones".

Goofs: On page 83 there is a reference to Gripper's tentacles, rather than Sophia's.

Continuity: Bernice knows a girl named Chlamydia. Benny has a Pakhar midwife named Claire (short for Clair'atil), whom Braxiatel hired for her and with whom she had become great friends. She also befriends a Grel named Sophia whilst in prison. Braxiatel was going to have a birthing pool built for Bernice. Benny wasn't allowed caffeinated beverages as a child. She once nearly died during a drunken midnight ice-skating jaunt on the ornamental lake at the Braxiatel Collection. Benny finally gives birth to her baby by cesarean section whilst in the Glass Prison. The Grand Imperator of the Fifth Axis performs the cesarean, intending to murder the baby once it is born. Benny names her son Peter Guy, his middle name in honour of Guy de Carnac (Sanctuary). Peter has a Killoran nose, and his scream is at a very high pitch. Benny asks Claire and Sophia to be his Godmothers.

Braxiatel has recently acquired a space yacht. The Braxiatel Collection contains the lost diaries of the Emperor Claudius, and two copies of issue one of The Amazing Armadillo Girl, one with the free armadillo keyring still attached. Braxiatel collects Benny's father from twentieth century Earth to visit his Grandson (Return of the Living Dad) [implying that Braxiatel has a TARDIS, which has never actually been confirmed].

Claire has assisted with twenty cesarean sections, but only a quarter have involved human mothers. She weaves a blanket for Peter out of her own fur, which is a Pakhar tradition.

Ten months have passed since the events of Professor Bernice Summerfield and the Doomsday Manuscript, during which time Kolonel Daglan Straklant has been incarcerated in the Glass Prison. He has had his artificial hand confiscated, lost weight and grown long hair and a beard. He tries to kill the newborn Peter out of revenge. He dies during the collapse of the Glass Prison, Benny deliberately avoiding saving his life. The Grand Imperator of the Fifth Axis is killed here, contributing to the collapse of the Fifth Axis.

Non-Grel races are not permitted to have knowledge of Grellor nomenclature, so they use aliases. The Grel believe in Slawcor, the afterlife Heaven where all facts are known. Grel have thick rubbery skin and can lose several layers of epidermis without harm.

Killoran's embrace the pain of childbirth as a sacrifice to the creator for the gift of life. Prior to Benny's pregnancy, there are three cases of human-Killoran dual parentages on record.

The Aseks are featureless, colourless humanoids employed by the Fifth Axis as wardens in the Glass Prison. Benny hypothesises that they are products of Fifth Axis genetic engineering and that Asek is short for asexual.

Terpsechians are walrus-sized aliens that can secrete various compounds from their bodies, including narcotics and acid. Narcotics are secreted from their trunks, acid from their anuses. At least some Terpsechians are blue-skinned.

Deirbhile is a small planet with a single landmass, housing the famous Glass Prison. The Glass Prison isn't actually made of glass, but a more durable transparent material. Joseph records and amplifies Peter's scream, the which is at just the right pitch to shatter the prison, thus destroying it.

Mr. Crofton has a greenhouse on the Braxiatel Collection, in which Wolsey likes to sunbathe.

Ingestion of Marshmallows causes instant loss of consciousness in the Criath People of Taghost.

Links: The Fifth Axis and Straklant first appeared in Professor Bernice Summerfield and the Doomsday Manuscript. Avril first appeared in Professor Bernice Summerfield and the Squire's Crystal. The Grel first appeared in Oh No It Isn't!, which is also where Wolsey became "Puss in Boots". There is a reference to the Pyramids of Mars (Pyramids of Mars). Keri is mentioned (Legacy, Happy Endings). Benny refers to the galaxy's only surviving breeding pair of Sand Beasts, which may be a reference to The Rescue. Jason's time spent trapped in a Demon dimension is also mentioned (Twilight of the Gods (NA), Professor Bernice Summerfield and the Infernal Nexus. There are numerous references to the death of Benny's mum, first described in Love and War. Benny uncomfortably recalls killing someone by stabbing a paintbrush through their eye (Eternity Weeps). She also refers to being tortured (Just War). Sophia asks Braxiatel about the Oracle of the Lost (Tears of the Oracle). Emil and Tameka visit Benny following the birth [Emil last appeared in Twilight of the Gods (NA), working for Braxiatel - presumably he moved on at some point prior to this story]. Jason mentions his and Benny's wedding (Happy Endings).

Benny notes that she has friends who deliberately mispronounce their names, which may be a reference to Chris Cwej, and people whose names are barely possible to pronounce because they contain exclamation marks, which is a reference to the People. Benny knows that Angels exist, a reference to Clarence. There are two subtle references to the Doctor, who visits Benny at the Braxiatel Collection following Peter's birth whilst she is asleep and leaves a naming band for Peter with a note saying "he will be worthy of you".

Location: The Glass Prison on Deirbhile, and the Braxiatel Collection, 2600AD.

Future History: Scrabble is still popular in 2600AD, as is Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which has reached its seven-hundred-and-ninety-second season. By this time, patients are allowed to eat before operations.

The Bottom Line: Superbly written in the first person narrative, The Glass Prison gives Benny a predictably traumatic time of giving birth, as both she and the baby find themselves in prison under threat from not only Daglan Straklant but even the Grand Imperator of the Fifth Axis. Despite the tension and claustrophobia during the chapters leading up to the birth, Rayner wisely allows Benny to escape immediately afterwards, providing plenty of time for a lengthy but well-deserved warm and fuzzy ending surrounded by friends and loved ones.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke

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