Seeing I

Roots: There are references to Tetris, Lego, Alan Turing, The Times, Disney, Jules Verne, Lawrence of Arabia, the Teletubbies, Dirty Harry, and Frankenstein.

Goofs: Having wind-up Daleks on sale in 2202 is rather like having Nazi stormtrooper dolls in late nineteen-forties Britain.

The Doctor collates parts of the manuscript of Down Among the Dead Men Again from the network, a reference to Bernice Summerfield. Except it's about three centuries too early for there to be copies of it on the network, unless her father turned a copy into an eBook during the twentieth century.

Dialogue Triumphs: "Never put down to conspiracy what you can blame on incompetence."

Continuity: The I are centaurid, carapaced, covered in glass-like light-blue plating, and have compound eyes. They have six-fingers on each hand. They are a compound mind and refer to themselves as I. They have been travelling for so long that they no longer have a home. They steal technology from other species, then seed other planets with it for other species to find, whilst waiting to see how the second species develops it before harvesting the products. Technology salvaged by the I includes a Borelli elemental compositor, a Kosnax fruit machine (see Time-Flight), and a Time Lord Mark VII mind probe with thirteen seconds (The Deadly Assassin, The Five Doctors). The mind probe forms the basis of INC's entire technology. INC made IXNet, a massive interactive computer system that interacts with, and is composed of, the minds of INC employees. INC owns sixty-four percent of TCC, although it was the I themselves who were responsible for the experiments on Hirath (Longest Day). They also took a single time tree from Hirath and took it to Tractis (Genocide). Separated from the rest of the I gestalt, the I are harmless, unintelligent creatures.

The I's space ship is a living tinclavic chrysalis, which the I have occupied like hermit crabs. It hatches out when it enters a planetary atmosphere, emerging as an alien with a vast triangular body, brassy skin and solar sails for wings. It resembles a wirework butterfly and lives in the dark spaces between stars. It is apparently intelligent, or at least sentient.

Savar was a Time Lord on a mission for the Time Lords whilst the Doctor was a student. Something went wrong, forcing him to abandon his TARDIS in a lifepod. The lifepod was attacked by the I, who ransacked the technology and removed his eyes, without which the contents of his lifepod wouldn't work. Savar was eventually found and taken back to Gallifrey by the Time Lords, who failed to identify the raiders. Savar's eyes have been trying to regenerate for hundreds of years.

The Doctor has been repairing the Volkswagen Beetle, which was damaged by Kusks in Longest Day. After the Tractites tried to starve the Doctor to death, he ate a bowl of tomato soup very slowly, then slept for twenty-eight hours (Genocide). He releases 6.02 x 1023 data "umphs" into the galactic computer network in an attempt to find Sam, breaking though the computer security programs of the entire network. He temporarily collapses Kisumu Interplanetary's intranet in the process. He creates the umphs himself, programming them to a level where they are virtually a type of AI. He creates a fake I-card with the alias Bowman James Alistair. He has a set of the Encyclopaedia Britannica in the TARDIS. He poses as a maintenance worker to infiltrate INC. He wears a Denim prison uniform whilst held captive on Ha'olam. He is sentenced to ten years imprisonment for industrial espionage. His personal possessions include the TARDIS key, a wallet-sized orange-ripple distinguisher, a stuffed bear, a bag of jelly babies, and a perigosto stick (which he claims is used in games of four-dimensional juggling). Whilst in prison at Bainbridge, he makes ninety-seven escape attempts in eighteen months, followed by nine more attempts in three weeks. He is completely unable to escape, but is never punished or tortured and is always well-treated: he spends a total of three years in prison before Sam rescues him and nearly goes insane with boredom. He paints pictures whilst in prison. He has a habit of wearing clothes similar to whatever he dons shortly after a regeneration for that entire incarnation. He's unwillingly given an I implant whilst in prison. The TARDIS helps him remove it, leaving his eye bloodshot and bruised. He and Sam have a prearranged system of distractions and escape plans, which they refer to by specific numbers. He eats a banana. He takes a sonic screwdriver mark nine from the TARDIS after his original is confiscated, but retrieves the original before he leaves Ha'olam.

On Gallifrey, the retina has almost completed replaced the fingers as the way of communicating with machines (see The TV Movie, The Apocalypse Element). Time Lord retinas are capable of limited thought.

Sam arrives on Ha'olam with only the TARDIS key, a piece of string, a handful of coins from different worlds, a pen, a pebble, and a cartoon Mo badge in her pockets. Whilst travelling with the Doctor she sent postcards to her parents whenever she was back on Earth in roughly the right timezone. Sara gives her a job in a Livingspace homeless shelter in the city of El Nath. She eventually gets a Resident Alien Identification Number (RAIN). She speaks a little French. She spent three years running her school's Amnesty chapter. She dreams about an alternate life living in a bed-sit in King's Cross (see Alien Bodies). Ramadan teaches her to use a twenty-third century keyboard [a bowlboard - see Dreamstone Moon], which enables her to get a job as a G-4 rated I-clerk at INC. INC finds her a flat with a flatmate, Shoshana Rubenstein, but she walks out on both when she realises she is working purely to pay the rent. Sam eats lentils. Both in London and the TARDIS she used to run for two to three miles a day. She buys some white t-shirts on Ha'olam and paints slogans on them. She works on the Livingspace-funded Eurogen construction site in the savannah. She finally admits that she is in love with the Doctor. She falls in love with Paul and has a relationship with him that lasts about four months. She later starts dating Chris and then Orin. She is twenty years old by the time she leaves Ha'olam. She decides to resume her travels with the Doctor after the I are defeated. She manages to kiss the Doctor just before they depart.

The TARDIS sound system is set up to play Don Giovanni and Donna Summer. The TARDIS can home in on the Doctor. The bats Jasper and Stewart still live in the TARDIS. The cat that the Doctor was given on Earth remains on Ha'olam (Legacy of the Dalek).

DOCTOR is an AI created by data generated by the I implant placed in the Doctor's eye whilst he is in prison. He is intended to be a model of the Doctor's mind and was forced to work out how to operate independently when the Doctor was rescued from Bainbridge. It eventually agrees to help Sam and the Doctor defeat the I.

Most of the surface of Ha'olam is covered in desert and savannah. Cities on Ha'olam include El Nath and Al Markim.

There are Lacaillans and Caxtarids on Ha'olam (Return of the Living Dad, The Room with No Doors). The Ke Caxtari don't trade in weapons.

Human Outreach and Livingspace collaborated on building a school on Eostre 5. There is a Caxtarid compound on Baubo 7. Other planets mentioned here include Mebd 3 and Mooloolaba.

Tinclavic (The Visitation, The Awakening) is ideal for building spaceships, because its molecular structure can be locked and unlocked, changing its conductivity and magnetism. Lots of spacefaring species secrete tinclavic.

Links: Longest Day, Dreamstone Moon. Sam recalls Tractites (Genocide), Zygons (The Bodysnatcher) and Daleks (War of the Daleks), and mentions Joanna Harris' experiments with anencephalic humans (Vampire Science). The novel opens with a quotation from Timewyrm: Revelation. The Doctor mentions Romana. There are references to Kapteyn's Star (Return of the Living Dad, The Room with No Doors), and Argolin (The Leisure Hive). INC use a captured Martian Izax-47 lowrider sonic cannon from the Thousand Day War (Transit). The Doctor wants to visit Stella Stora on the third day of Krazyx, 2042 (see Terror of the Vervoids). The Doctor notes that after Ace left him, it was three years before he saw her again (Love and War, Deceit). The butterfly room first appeared in Vampire Science.

Location: El Nath, Eurogen, Bainbridge and Samson Plains on Ha'olam, 2202.

Future History: During the twenty-first century, Middle Eastern countries started producing high technology and space industries as their oil reserves ran out.

Ha'olam is a recently colonised planet. Corporations present on Ha'olam include Kisumu Interplanetary (KI), INC and TLA. INC's retinal computer interface technology is stolen Time Lord technology. Books available on Ha'olam include Lewin's Genes XXXIV [either this has remained in print, or a new author has taken over the role of updating it, since he can't possibly be still alive by 2202], and History of the Beita Yisrael. Katz Mizchak is a gamezine. Solar coaches are used for transport on Ha'olam. The Pickled Pupils are a band.

Colonies are starting to get nervous about Earth regaining power now that the Dalek War is over. There is a New Geneva on Earth.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor has visited Cairo and Jerusalem. He has escaped from the Tower of London and a Klein Sphere (see Set Piece). Sam has seen him bungee jump from a plane. Leonardo da Vinci tried to teach him to draw, with little success. After the I are defeated, the Doctor makes a trip to a tailor in Neo Sydney to have his usual outfit recreated.

The Bottom Line: "Three years of nothing." Astonishingly well-written, Seeing I does more to develop both Sam and the Doctor than any other novel in the range up to this point, whilst telling an intriguing story of parasitic aliens into the bargain. The Doctor's reaction to being imprisoned and having nothing to push against is remarkable.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke

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