The Tomorrow Windows
Roots: The novel is dedicated to the late Douglas Adams, with several references to The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy including designing fjords, and the chapter title Mostly Worthless. There is a Monty Python's Life of Brian joke (Prubert, you're not the messiah, you're a very ). Prubert's role as Vargo, king of the Buzzardmen, in cult film Zap Daniel is clearly inspired by Brian Blessed's role in Flash Gordon. Waterworld clearly inspired Minuea. The mating rituals on Shardybarn are mysteriously similar to Blind Date. Yes he is, not That he be is possibly a reference to the Blackadder II episode Bells.
There are references to Peter Pan, Shelley, Metro, John Lennon, Bill Gates, A Christmas Carroll, Huw Edwards, John Suchet, Eric Cartman (South Park), the Beatles, Radio Times, FHM, The Simpsons, Moby, the Sugababes, Des and Mel, James Bond, Charles Dickens, Bach, Michaelangelo, Shikibu, Newton, Marie Curie, Chekhov, Charles Darwin, Benny Hill, Wimpy, Steptoe and Son, Jenny Agutter, The Darkness, Toulouse Lautrec, Sleeping Beauty, Mills and Boon, So Graham Norton, The Return of the King, Jerry Springer The Opera, Private Eye, Big Brother, Puccini, Keats, Elvis Presley, Freud, Shakespeare, Marilyn Monroe, Tony Hancock, Peter Sellers, Botticelli, Rolf Harris, Cluedo, Humphrey Bogart, Agatha Christie, Elizabeth Taylor, Winnie-the-Pooh, Aethelred the Unready, Richard Dawkins, Hercule Poirot, Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Peter Cushing, and This Island Earth. Guests at the opening of The Tomorrow Windows Gala Opening include Blur, Stephen Hawking, Jeremy Paxman, Ian Hislop, Michael Grade, Salman Rushdie, Ricky Gervais, Joanne Rowling, Bill Bailey, Stephen Fry, Richard Curtis and Ben Elton. There is a reference to soap operas in the Antipodean systems, a nod to Neighbours and Home and Away. The Doctor sings, It's a long way to Tipperary. Metalupitan tea presumably comes from Metalupiter, mentioned in the Doctor Who comic strip Menace on Metalupiter from The Dr Who Annual 1977
Dialogue Triumphs: 'Without free will, there can be no achievements, no surprises, no responsibility. Just things turning out nice again all the time.'
'Hello, I'm the Doctor, I'm nice.'
'God has excellent time-management skills.'
'Democracy is the worst form of government, except, that is, for all the other forms that have been tried from time to time.'
Continuity: The Tomorrow Windows allow people to see into the future; by making decisions based on what is seen in the Windows, it is possible to change the future, which changes the image shown accordingly.
The Doctor's pockets contain his sonic screwdriver, a radiation detector, a scrawl-covered manuscript, an A-Z of Hitchemus (The Year of Intelligent Tigers), a ball of string, a disposable camera, two AA batteries, some loose change from various colony worlds, a half-eaten apple, a tennis ball, and a fountain pen. He has an autograph book signed by Winston Churchill (Players, The Shadow in the Glass), Arthur Conan Doyle (Evolution), Emiline, the Beatles, and two Nelsons; he adds Prubert Gastridge's signature here. The various futures shown to the Doctor by the Tomorrow Windows include the Daleks invading London (The Dalek Invasion of Earth), Time Lords in what is presumably the Panopticon [possibly a reference to the forthcoming The Gallifrey Chronicles], a robot spider fifty yards tall advancing on a medieval castle, and a figure with the head of a yellow-horned bull emerging from a sphere [a Nimon - see The Horns of Nimon, Seasons of Fear].
Personal futures for the Doctor include: a listless looking man sat on a sofa with a girl in a red dress in an unconvincing medieval dungeon (Rowan Atkinson's Doctor from The Curse of Fatal Death); an aristocrat with a high forehead and devilish, shadow-sunken eyes sucking on an inhaler (Scream of the Shalka); a man with long hair swept back and a bent nose, in a cream suit strolling through Regents Park [possibly Stephen Fry?]; a kindly-faced old man in an astrakhan hat pottering in a junkyard; a short, impudent looking man with ginger hair and a afghan coat (Peter Angehlides' future Doctor from More Short Trips: Good Companions, Short Trips and Side Steps: Revenants, and A Life of Surprises: The Collection); a stockily built man in crushed velvet suit and eye-liner; a scruffy student with unkempt, curly hair and an apologetic, lopsided smile (possibly Hugh Grant's Doctor from The Curse of Fatal Death); the Valeyard (Trial of a Time Lord); and a wiry man with a gaunt, hawk-like face, piercing, pale grey-blue eyes and a thin prominent nose (Christopher Eccleston's Ninth Doctor).
The Doctor drinks lemonade and eats custard creams. He prefers Jelly Babies to Liquorice Allsorts. Prior to actually meeting him and discovering his role in the fall of several Galactic Heritage Foundation-protected planets, Prubert Gastridge was one of the Doctor's heroes. The Doctor is a huge fan of Zap Daniel. The Doctor, Trix and Charlton pose as descendants of Gastridge in order to sneak into the Centre for Posterity. The Doctor has never flown the type of shuttle that he takes from the Centre for Posterity. He runs for office on Minuea, prompting Fitz to don a t-shirt bearing the legend I'm Voting For The Doctor.
Fitz drinks bitter and Stella Artois.
Trix changes into hipsters and a neon-pink skinny rib whilst in London, July 2004. She briefly plans to pose as a conceptual artist from Eastern Europe, whose work consists of black and white films about cutting off her hair. She drinks champagne as well as lager. Referring to previous aliases, she mentions the Grand Duchess (Time Zero), Crystal Devine (Timeless), Aunt Beatrice (Sometime Never...), Triksie, Nat and Mac. An undisclosed tragedy befell her father, which she struggles to forget.
Martin created the Ceccecs, which are two-dimensional pseudo-forms, with low resolution and monochrome to save bandwidth. They are generated by block transfer computation (Logopolis). They crackle and flicker, a result of compression artefacts resulting from the algorithm used to generate them. They can electrocute people by floating into them.
Nimbit is a half-human, half-walrus hybrid; his origins are not expanded upon.
The Vorshagg are tall, thickly built lizards with serrated teeth and dagger-like horns. Their home planet is also called Vorshagg. The Vorshagg have evolved to be gratuitously violent, slaughtering other life-forms on sight, but without malice; it is never meant personally. The development of the de-aggrifier, a device that could be affixed to the left frontal lobe of the Voshagg brain, rendered them harmless, since although the violent instinct remains, they are unable to act upon it. Following the development of the de-aggrifier, Vorshagg ambassadors were able to forge relations with other worlds, and the Vorshagg were eventually inducted into the Galactic Council. During the induction ceremony, a malfunction of the de-aggrifier of the Vorshagg diplomat caused it to eat the delegate from Largolan Beta.
Question Intonation consists of two floating spheres covered in matted fibre, each approximately thirty centimetres in diameter. The spheres are unconnected, but remain in close proximity, never more than two metres apart and are mutually dependent. When the creature is at rest, both sacs hover, but when agitated, both oscillate whilst exhibiting a greater degree of revolution. They float because each sac contains hydrogen in approximately the same proportion that carbon-based life forms contain liquid water, and they can regulate their altitude by spontaneous hydrogen absorption and release. Each sphere contains a web of membranes analogous to the human brain, with one sac controlling motor functions and dictating the creatures emotional responses, whilst the other contains the creatures reason. The spheres communicate via electromagnetic pulses. Question Intonation is possibly an example of gender reunification, at some point consisting of two genders, each an individual sphere, which have evolved into their current, two-sphere form. It is possible that they reproduce by an exchange of partners during their famously well-attended discotheques. Separating the spheres kills the creature.
The Micron are a tiny, resentful race that dream of universal domination; due to their diminutive size, their only real chance of achieving this is through commerce, by purchasing large numbers of planets. They are insects, each only one millimetre high, with six hemispherical eyes. They prefer a methane atmosphere. The Micron Domination Council rules the Micron.
Astral Flowers are vast, floating flowers that orbit stars. They have a life cycle of ninety-one years; every ninety-one years their elliptical orbit takes them within the liquid water belt of the star they are orbiting, causing the ice that has preserved them for the previous nine decades to melt, allowing them to bloom. The period of wakefulness last no more than a year, during which time the flower reproduces, photosynthesises and gains nourishment from dark matter that has fallen into its gravity well. During its frozen period, they preserve themselves by secreting a chemical into the ice, which can be used to keep alive any creatures held within the ice; as a result, they can be used to cryogenically preserve people and are often used as homes for the elderly. By 2004 and they only exist within the Galactic Heritage protected solar system of Sirius Omega; the Ceccecs destroy them.
The Galactic heritage Foundation protects planets of particular scientific or historic interest, ensuring that they are protected from sale or development. Planets protected by the Galactic Heritage Foundation include Varb (Nightmare of Eden), Vidow, Kootanoot, Gidi (Nightmare of Eden), Earth, Arkmic, Shardybarn, Ulclar, Biblios, Terjowar, Wabbab, Dido (The Rescue), Phoenix, Prum, Verd (Nightdreamers), Ijij, Vymto, Shalakor, Zom, Pergoss, Varb, Ranx (Nightmare of Eden), Flamvolt, Venfou, Vij (Nightmare of Eden), Flamvolt, Iwa, Quarxis, Centros, Ulcorn, Unlyo, Puxatornee (Flip-Flop), Vona, Kambalana Minor, Monbel, Terangh, Tigus (The Daleks' Master Plan), Minuea, Valuensis, Estebol, Teredekethon, Kandor, Anima Persis (Death Comes to Time), Veln, Exxilon (Death to the Daleks), Diqdarl, Perfugium (Master), Zazz, Rethgil, Huldraa (Project: Lazarus), Aighin, Tyza, Zil, Oelid, Stavromula, Ryrys, Boojus Five, Wabbab, Ompsi, Qell, Dramor, the tundra world of Shibshed, Acfarr, Tonhic, Hambas, Pluvikerr (The Crystal Bucephalus), Tinric, Bros (Nightmare of Eden), Venmof, Ertshea, Esto (The Sensorites), Arethro, Wabbab, and Gallifraxion Four. Other planets mentioned here include the marsh moon of Bhaxis; when a volcano super-chain erupted on Bhaxis, the population was forced to evacuate to the marsh moon. There is a planet Kevin in the fifth galaxy. There are also references to the warp-poets of Dronid (Shada (TV), Interference), the Apostles of Grarb, and the prophets of Hawalion. The third Princess Tabetha of Cerrenis Minor once spent a weekend on Earth.
Shardybarn has two suns and is inhabited by rustic humanoids that farm food animals call Grunts and chew chobacco. Shardybarn means the presumption that tomorrow will be as glorious as today. The inhabitants of Shardybarn go through a fertility cycle, which means that the males are only potent once very five years. Species native to Shardybarn include crowflies. Grunts are squat grey animals covered in fur, with six stumpy legs and horns; they communicate with each other via bleats, snorts and ground-shaking flatulence. After Prubert introduces the selfish meme of religion, the inhabitants of Shardybarn spend the next thousand years developing a strict religion, which involves self-pummeling because they believe they are guilty of the sin of being born. Shardybarn is rendered uninhabitable by a series of nuclear explosions, caused by the inhabitants in a bud to get their god to return and save them from certain destruction.
The sun of Valuensis has rings. Tribes on Valuensis include the Khali and the Jhander; they settle their tribal differences with dancing competitions. Frywater is a drink on Valuensis. Following Prubert's introduction of the murder meme, a thousand years of war broke out, until only two nations, the Gabaks and the Aztales, remained, dwelling in underground cities on opposite sides of the globe. The Gabak city is maintained by Octobots, eight-legged robots with hemispherical heads. The Aztale city is called Terranaton. Circa 1400, an all-out nuclear war rendered Valuensis uninhabitable; robots remained in both the Gabak and Aztale cities, augmenting themselves with organic components and continuing the war. They finally destroy each other by triggering electromagnetic pulse bombs.
The inhabitants of Estebol are female humanoids, who race sleighs drawn by animals called pups. After Prubert introduces the concept of the internal combustion engine, the planet is eventually consumed by its own technological pollution, with roads and cities covering every surface on the planet. Eventually, the atmosphere of Estebol was changed by the pollution created by the cars, with levels of carbon monoxide and lead that caused children to be deformed or stillborn. The cars became semi-sentient; they ensnare the humanoid population as drivers, their victims becoming possessed by the car once they get behind the wheel.
Minuea is a planet with many oceans, which eventually rose to flood the landmasses when a rogue satellite, known as the Pirate Moon entered the planet's orbit c980AD. The pirate ships that prowled the seas became vast floating cities. Animals found on Minuea include gullbatrosses, porphins, snapes and snoogles. A thousand years after Prubert's visit, the planet becomes obsessed with politics, prevaricating over how to deal with the rapidly approaching Pirate Moon almost to the point of catastrophe.
Gadrahadradon is reputed to be the most haunted planet in the galaxy. The transparent ghosts are actually visions of the future, and form the basis for the Tomorrow Windows.
Frantige Two has a population of one billion; its people, known as pseudo-terrans, live for thousands of years. Martin describes it as dull.
Utopia is one of the worlds terraformed by Welwyn Borr. It is maintained by short, chubby robots called Zwees.
Xanadu is one of the worlds terraformed by Welwyn Borr, and features a beautiful marine habitat beneath ultra-oxygenated one-third density water, in which humans can breathe. However, the water isn't self-oxygenating, the ecosystem isn't viable (forcing Borr to ship in a new load of bio-engineered life every couple of days), and the water is slightly carcinogenic. Another of his planets is a Gaia sphere, a single vast entity that has unexpectedly entered puberty and is starting to produce fungus and unpleasant odours.
Miscellaneous races mentioned here include Dryrths, and urang monkeys. Humanoid races that live for thousands of years include the Meons, Vlharb, and the tedious hermits of Quixote Minor. The Paragrolli of Paragrol have roughly the same lifespan as a human. Prubert visited a desert world where fire-water, a local drink, originates in the bladder of a squat, leathery creature called a Fyr.
Pakafroon Wabster have recently had a chart hit with a song that samples some of Prubert's lines from Zap Daniel. Absynthzo, Lochmoffs Ultrablend and Frux Jeune are intoxicating drinks. Types of tea offered by Martin include Aldebaran Instant and Metalupitan Grey. Electron bombs were used in the Varlon-Hyspero war (The Scarlet Empress). Texts written by Astrabel Zar include Implications of Reductive Casual Loops, Probability N-forms and Interstitial Time Induction. Astrabel Zar published Inversions in the Hyperspacial Matrix in Scientific Breakthroughs Monthly. Terraforming magazines include Globe Collector, Which Planet, and Total Worlds. Currency accepted by Dittero includes Arcturan ultra-pods, Glissian roubles, and Warrien ultra-francs (Mission to the Unknown). Harbinger of Doom is a tobacco. The Galactic Heritage Foundation publishes The Galactic Heritage Foundation Space Travellers Guide. Prubert once appeared in Inferno magazine; brands he considers advertising in the future include Megara Direct (The Stones of Blood) and Tersuran Airfresh (The Deadly Assassin).
The Earth year 2004 is equivalent to the Galactic Year 2457. Prubert Gastridge was born in the Galactic Year 1400. Zap Daniel was filmed in the Galactic Year 1443; its director, Hinkle B. Tawdry, died at the time of the Battle of Hastings. Prubert was guest of honour at ZapCon in Galactic Year 1547, appeared at BuzzardFest Thirty Eight in Galactic Year 1638, did An Audience with Vargo in Galactic Year 1729, Prubert Gastridge A Celebration in Galactic Year 1911, and guested on Quark and Sun in Galactic Year 2002. At some point, an alien landed on Earth and gave J. M. Barrie the idea for Peter Pan, a form of which already existed in extraterrestrial cultures.
Links: The Doctor muses on the recent destruction of multiple alternate Earths (The Domino Effect, Reckless Engineering, Timeless). He recalls Sabbath, Silver (Hope), Ferran (Father Time) and the Kandyman (The Happiness Patrol). He mentions Brunel (Reckless Engineering). Reo is mentioned (Halflife). Fitz recalls meeting George Orwell (History 101) and his trek through Siberia (Time Zero). Ken Livingstone recalls some of the times that the Doctor has saved London, including the Ice Warriors landing in Trafalgar Square (The Dying Days), the Yeti in the underground (The Web of Fear), the dinosaurs in St. James's park (Invasion of the Dinosaurs), and the shop-window dummies in Ealing Broadway (Spearhead from Space). Fitz recalls his visit to the Institute of Anthropology (Sometime Never...). There is a reference to Zagreus, apparently a character Prubert voiced for an interactive cartoon, nods to both Zagreus and Scream of the Shalka. Prubert also narrated The Dalek War In Colour. Martin knows of the Doctor by reputation and asks Trix if she's ever met K9. There is a reference to the metal seas of Venus (Marco Polo). Neo-Aretians are mentioned (Tears of the Oracle). There is a reference to Navarinos (Delta and the Bannermen, Return of the Living Dad). The still amnesiac Doctor tells a garbled story about the time he helped Shakespeare to write Hamlet (City of Death), and includes the Braxiatel Collection and Vicki (The Empire of Glass), and the Daleks (The Time of the Daleks). He has also told Fitz a confusing story about visiting Atlantis (The Underwater Menace, The Time Monster).
Location: Easter Island, date unknown; Tate Modern art gallery in London, and Lewisham, June 2004; Froom-Upon-Harpwick, c1000AD; Shardybarn, c1000AD and June 2004AD; Charlton Mackerels research station, June 2004 AD; Valuensis, c1000AD; Gnomis, c2004AD; Estebol, c1000AD and June 2004AD; Utopia, June 2004AD; Minuea, c1000AD and June 2004AD; Gadrahadradon, June 2004AD; and the Centre for Posterity in the petals of an Astral Flower in the solar system of Sirius Omega, June 2004AD.
Future History: Not exactly future history, but an Electron Bomb destroys Tate Modern in June 2004.
Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor is an old friend of [real-life Doctor Who fan] Ken Livingston, Mayor of London. The Doctor defeated the Voord (The Keys of Marinus) in the Penge area of London during the nineteen-eighties. He has met Aethelred the Unready and Charles Dickens. The Doctor watched Zap Daniel on its original release, queuing to get in, with a young girl and a lad from the Navy [Polly and Ben, presumably].
The Bottom Line: Imaginative, witty and hugely entertaining, The Tomorrow Windows is a worthy tribute to Douglas Adams. Morris handles a welter of concepts, characters, and planets with ease, continuing to prove himself as one of the best of his generation of Doctor Who writers.