To the Slaughter

Roots: The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy (demolishing planets). Feng Shui. Gaws and Mildred are of course named after sitcom George and Mildred. There is a quotation from Milton's Paradise Lost. There are references to Antony Worrall Thompson, The Wizard of Oz, Stars in Their Eyes, Rolls-Royce, Thunderbirds, the I-Ching, Maltesers, Louis Quinze, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Louise Brooks, Sherlock Holmes ("elementary, my dear Watson"), Jules Verne, Winnie-the-Pooh (Tigger), Star Wars (light sabres), Monty Python's "Dead Parrot" sketch ("It has ceased to be. It is an ex-moon"), Humpty Dumpty, Country Life, Simon and Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water", David Lynch, Spider-Man, the Michelin Man, Dyson vacuum cleaners, Nurofen, Blue Peter, T. J. Hooker, Boots, The A-Team, Sartre, Scooby-Doo, Dr. Doolittle, Harley-Davidsons, The Avengers (Cathy Gale), and The Incredible Hulk (Bruce Banner).

Goofs: On page 17 Halcyon states that 1938 is almost four hundred years in the past, but on page 86 Trix ponders on being over five hundred years in her future [Trix is estimating the date, whereas Halcyon almost certainly knows what year he lives in!].

Dialogue Disasters: "There is HEART in EARTH."

Dialogue Triumphs: "Reasonable people adapt themselves to the universe; it's the unreasonable who seek to change it."

"The universe is a ghastly mess... It's wild and cruel. It's rarely pretty. But like the life that goes on within it, in spite of it... it's to be protected."

Continuity: The Icthal are humanoid aliens with grey skin, and a broad face with all of the features bunched up in the middle. They have fish eyes and gill-like ears. They wish to purchase a weapon from Falsh's Weapons Research Institute on Carme in order to protect their space from human expansion.

Klimt's slugs resemble a cross between slugs and caterpillars; they have no need of air or moisture and can survive in the freezing vacuum of space. They are a weapon bred to inflame and arouse the aggression in animal life, resulting in rioting and violence.

Chiggocks are genetically engineered food animals created by splicing the genes of chickens, pigs and bullocks. They resemble large headless turkeys. Hidehogs are similarly engineered animals used to produce leather.

The Doctor dons a chef's smock whilst on board Falsh's station. The Doctor's lucky stars are a couple of red dwarves in Pavo. The Icthal destroys his frock coat. The Doctor keeps pen and paper in his trouser pocket. He claims that he can't see violet.

Fitz wears Old Spice. Sook disposes of his usual clothes, including his Cuban heels, and replaces them with black coveralls and black and white space shoes. He has a fling with Sook here, but elects to remain on board the TARDIS, partly, it is implied, due to a budding relationship with Trix. He went to St Augustine's of Archway school. He keeps his TARDIS key in his shoe. When the TARDIS reconstructed him in Interference, she gave him an infallible memory and a more complicated mental structural underpinning of which he is unaware. He tells Gaws and Mildred that he is a private investigator. He gives Sook a bag from the TARDIS that has a pocket dimension stitched into the lining as a parting gift.

Trix disguises herself in a kitchen uniform whilst on board Falsh's station.

The TARDIS fluid links have again run out of mercury (The Daleks, The Wheel in Space). The Doctor needs approximately ten millilitres to replace it.

Halcytone is a paint containing nano-optic particles in the paint base that generate a infinitesimal current that changes the colour of the paint as it dries. It was a by-product of weapons research and can be used to hypnotise people and also as a spying device.

The Venteuse System has over a thousand satellites, each named after a flavour of jelly bean, including Peach Ripple and Blackberry.

Links: Cole admits in the author's note at the end that the story was partly inspired by a line in Revenge of the Cybermen that reveals that Jupiter only has twelve moons in the future. Trix mentions Welwyn Borr (The Tomorrow Windows). Fitz recalls the death of his mum (The Taint), Mechta (Parallel 59), Yquatine (The Fall of Yquatine), the Council of Eight's hourglass room (Sometime Never...), and the TARDIS "remembering" him (Interference). There is a reference to Draconians (Frontier in Space). The bidders at Klimt's auction are not explicitly identified, but one is a Sontaran and another a Kroton (The Krotons, Alien Bodies); the third, described as "a tall humanoid creature festooned with dangling fronds", might be a member of the same species as Zephon (The Daleks' Master Plan).

Location: One of Falsh's FILOC-Ps (Falsh Industries Luxury Orbiting Conference Podules), Thebe, and Callisto, c2338AD.

Future History: Circa 2338AD, Earth has been mined out, stripped, and largely abandoned, left to the Third World countries. Venus is now used as a rubbish dump for toxic waste. Mercury was also used as a dump, with waste left on the hot side to burn up; the orbit of Mercury was accidentally destabilized in the process, and it fell into the sun. Mars is protected by an Empire Trust preservation order due to its Martian ruins. Falsh Industries headed by Robert Falsh funds a project by celebrity decoratiste and Feng Shui expert Aristotle Halcyon to demolish all but the "Ancient Twelve" of Jupiter's moons as part of the Restore the Wonder campaign to remodel and remarket the ailing and largely abandoned solar system. One of the Twelve, Carme, is demolished by Falsh to cover up a weapons research facility. Thebe is later destroyed for the same reason. Other moons in the Ancient Twelve include Lysithea. As part of the Restore the Wonder campaign, the massive Medicean Stadium is built on Callisto. Blazar Demolition Services are contracted to carry out the destruction of the moons. Following the destruction of Carme, Blazar Demolition Services are forced to take the blame and Falsh Industries instead awards the contract to NewSystem Deconstruction, one of Falsh's hidden subsidiaries. Most of Jupiter's moons are demolished here, including Callirrhoe, Umbriel, Callisto, Thebe, and Leda. Falsh Industries has designed and constructed a new Mercury by 2338. Neptune and Uranus's moons have also been artistically thinned out. The Oort Cloud, once used as a stop off point by early space pioneers, has been dismantled as a hazard to shipping. Unwanted asteroids were sold for scrap to the Kilomons and Draconians.

Blazar Demolition Services is based on Thebe. NewsCorp is the main news broadcaster to the solar system and human space by this time. Sudships are notorious for giving passing spaceships unwanted washes. Termination orders are placed on senile dementia patients in this time. There is a zoo on Ganymede. Class-A drugs are legal at this time and SE limiters are available to reduce side effects; drugs are also available to rapidly counteract the effects of narcotics should a user need to focus in a hurry.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor studied Ba Chai in Peking during the nineteen-twenties. He claims that Joseph Addison misquoted him. Fitz visited a space station called Farside in orbit around Jupiter with the Doctor, which Sook notes disappeared three hundred years earlier.

The Bottom Line: 'He reared super-killer-art-loving slugs?' Veering widely from comedy to horror, and with the utterly ludicrous premise of explaining a throwaway line in Revenge of the Cybermen, To the Slaughter falls between stools. It's entertaining enough and there are some great characters, but it is difficult to take seriously at all, which considering the mass slaughter in the second half of the book is rather unfortunate. As the last novel in the range before The Gallifrey Chronicles it ends up feeling like pure filler, and is, ultimately, rather forgettable.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke

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