Roots: The novel opens with a quotation from Denis Diderot's Le Neveu de Rameau. There are references to Jung, H. G. Wells, Neuromancer, Plato, Kubla Khan, Pinocchio, Flowers for Algernon, Humpty Dumpty, Cluedo, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ("Turtle Power").
Goofs: Memory RNA doesn't have the properties attributed to it here, which are very, very literal (it actually transfers information from DNA genes to ribosomes during protein synthesis).
Dialogue Disasters: "Great jumping gobstoppers!"
"Yemaya well ask." Groan...
Dialogue Triumphs: "I hate monsters that are too small to shoot."
"Gaining information is a very minor reason for torturing people."
"The universe is full of creatures that can get inside your soul. Things that try to take away the very things that make you who you are, who try to reshape you for their own ends, who want to eat you like a piece of fruit and spit out the seeds. It's Turtles all the way down."
"The future is a door made of doors."
Continuity: Human genes for psi powers are recessive and rare. Few human telepaths can get past the barriers around a Time Lord's mind. "Panic about one thing at a time" is a Gallifreyan saying. FLORANCE has been the property of DKC for some time, and has been off-line for four years. Madhanagopal used to experiment on it. FLORANCE escapes from DKC by uploading to a satellite after Benny reactivates it. GRUMPY is an artificial intelligence built by Director Madhanagopal of the Dione-Kisumu Corporation; it is designed to model the human mind and its structure mimics that of the human brain. GRUMPY can encode anything that it learns in the form of mRNA that can be injected into humans, who then gain that knowledge. Madhanagopal is a member of a secretive member of the Brotherhood, concerned with maximizing human potential via psi powers. The virus that infects the colonists travels straight to their brains and awakens their latent psychic abilities, including telepathy, psychokinesis, pyrokinesis, and psychometry; all the colonists are infected, but those without latent abilities are asymptomatic. The virus also contains a payload of memory RNA. The virus was created by Madhanagopal, who wanted to encode psi powers and used GRUMPY to turn the machine code he designed into mRNA. GRUMPY flees DKC after Benny and Roz visit it in 2227, before eventually being recaptured; however, it launches its operating system into a ship that is shot down above Yemaya 4, and quietly inserts viral mRNA encoding its memories into the vaccines for the Yemayan colonists, who thus end up carrying separate portions of its memories. GRUMPY intends the virus and its operating system to recombine it on Yemaya. At some point during this process, it changes its name to SLEEPY. SLEEPY sacrifices itself to save the colonists, crashing its ship into the Flame Warrior, but its memories live on in the colonists and computers on Yemaya 4.
Yemaya 4 orbits the sun Yemaya. Yemaya 4 has a large temperate zone, gentle seasons, thick forests, rushing rivers, no large predators, and biochemistry similar to that of Earth. The native Yemayans were tall, and left little sign of their existence except for the ziggurat. Benny hypothesizes that the temple suggests Exxilon or Osirian influence (Death to the Daleks, Pyramids of Mars). The trees on Yemaya look like giant celery stalks, and are dark green at the base and fiery orange at the top. The planet's gravity is slightly lower than Earth normal. The colonists are able to plant Earth crops immediately on arrival as well as using several native Yemayan crops. The colonists bring animals with them in cryogenic suspension. Animals native to Yemaya include a slender-necked dappled mammal the size of a cat. Artificial Intelligences brought to Yemaya by the colonists include BAR B, WATCH OUT! and CONNECTICUT.
The Doctor had his one-thousandth birthday whilst held prisoner on board Ship (Set Piece). His real name has thirty-eight syllables. The Doctor's metabolism is capable of interpreting human memory RNA and producing the Gallifreyan equivalent. He isolates genes from the virus. He keeps a scrapbook of newspaper clippings and other reports about events in various periods of history that he considers worth investigating, including the destruction of the colony on Yemaya 4. He makes a bet with Death whilst unconscious that he won't have to kill anyone on Yemaya 4. Dot Smith-Smith shoots him with a stun gun. Her telepathic attack makes his eye bleed; he eventually gives in and lets her read his mind, which drives her insane. The Doctor adds Benny, Chris and Roz to the colony records when the DKC troops arrive. He eats dinner with Colonel White, including soup, and fish with ersatz honey carrots made from yeast; they later share Kenyan githeri, and the Doctor drinks tea. In a further dinner, they have vegetable soup and pasta. He renders a DKC trooper unconscious by placing a finger on her forehead (see Survival). He gives Benny and Roz a homing device that detects the telepathic field generated by the TARDIS, so that they can find their way back to it; they reprogram it so that it homes in on the Doctor's telepathic field instead.
Benny wears a tattered denim jacket over a t-shirt that reads Keep the Leap, and ex-army khaki trousers with an Aboriginal flag patch sewn over one knee. When she was little she used to wish that she had magical powers. She isn't planning on ever having children, largely because she is worried what her lifestyle would do to them. She has seen the Ikkaban metaphor for sacrifice inscribed on altars on three different planets. She can fly a hoverskimmer. Youkali Press publishes Benny's book An Eye for Wisdom: Repetitive Poems of the Early Ikkaban Period in 2315. She pretends that the Doctor is her uncle in a brief and unsuccessful attempt to hide his alien nature from the DKC troops. She drinks warm milk in the TARDIS. She and Roz poses as agents for the Serial/Spree Killers Investigations Nation Unit whilst working undercover for the Doctor in 2227. When Madhanagopal captures her and Roz, he has nerve blocks put in their necks to temporarily paralyse them. Benny later dons a bangle from the TARDIS that projects a vortex diffraction force shield.
Benny, Roz and Chris eat ration cubes on Yemaya 4. All three of them, plus the Doctor, become infected by the virus; Roz and Benny remain asymptomatic (despite Benny's latent abilities), but the virus triggers Chris' latent telepathy. Telekinetic Cephas accidentally breaks Roz's arm, snapping her radius and ulna in two places each and shattering the bones in her wrist. She and Chris pose as medical personal when the DKC ship arrives. Roz changes into a white uniform when she and Benny are sent back in time aboard the TARDIS. GRUMPY tricks Madhanagopal into infecting Benny and Roz with a virus that cures the virus on Yemaya 4. Roz later changes into leather jacket, fingerless gloves, black t-shirt and trousers, leaving her armour in the TARDIS. Benny helps a reluctant Roz into a frock for Cinnabar and Byerley's wedding.
Chris's eyebrows get burnt off when he tries to rescue a colonist from a fire. He later suffers from dehydration and exposure. He dons a dark green suit for the wedding.
The Doctor's beach house in Sydney has a study that contains a copy of Flaubert's Parrot. Whilst recuperating at the beach house he wears dark glasses and zinc cream when out in the sun. The kitchen contains old Chinese crockery and chipped mugs purloined from the UNIT cafeteria. The Doctor smashes the bathroom mirror.
There is a sofa in the TARDIS console room. Roz and Chris have spent hours remodeling the TARDIS gym, which Chris found one day after getting lost on the way to breakfast; Roz suspects that it used to belong to Ace. The TARDIS also contains a well-equipped weapons room, which also apparently belonged to Ace and from which Roz takes a Katana each for herself and Bernice. Wolsey has to get food from a wheeled food machine by chasing it along the TARDIS corridors, which he doesn't find amusing. The Doctor sets the TARDIS' HADS (The Krotons).
Tegan once told the Doctor about the time that a moth got stuck in her ear when she was a child.
DKC has a base on Sunyata, less than thirty-six hours travel from Yemaya 4. The Ikkaba and D'nasians helped to spread Exxilon culture through the area of space that includes Yemaya 4. There are several Exxilon languages. Roses and Souls is the Ikkaban metaphor for sacrifice. Nobody in Benny's time knows what the Ikkaba looks like. According to the Doctor, they had strange ideas about death; they used to sacrifice themselves to the Turtle, a symbol of life, death and resurrection. They used to kill themselves at her temple, never in groups and never in front of an audience, throwing themselves into fire. According to the Doctor, it would never have occurred to the Ikkaba to write in stone.
The Foamasi language consists of clicks designed to stimulate the visual cortex; they see the words as they are spoken (which is presumably why the TARDIS can't translate their language - see The Leisure Hive).
Links: FLORANCE first appeared in Transit. There are references to Hoothi (Love and War), Daleks, the Terrible Zodin (The Five Doctors), the destruction of the Chelonian fleet in Zamper, the Doctor's fishing trip with the Venerable Bede (The Talons of Weng-Chiang), his near encounter with the "universe's birth trauma" (Castrovalva), his trip to visit a giant rabbit, a pink elephant, and a purple horse with yellow spots (Frontier in Space), and the destruction of Skaro (Remembrance of the Daleks). Chris recalls nearly dying when the flitter crashed in Original Sin, and the Doctor recalls his conversation with Zebulon Pryce; Roz also mentions Vaughn. Part Three opens with a quotation from the Doctor in Destiny of the Daleks.
Location: Yemaya 4, 2257; Io and Dione, 2227.
Future History: Nephelokokkugian is colonized in 2255; evidence of an alien civilization was suppressed so that the colonization could proceed.
Standard colonization procedures in the twenty-third century include a full biological survey to be carried out by robot probes before anyone sets foot on the planet; the probes take samples of bacteria and viruses and anything that might be pathological is used to create a vaccine for the colonists. Planets exhibiting signs of alien civilizations cannot be colonized. Yemaya is colonized in 2257 two months before events depicted here. Most of the colonists are African. Prior to the arrival of the TARDIS crew, the colony on Yemaya 4 was destroyed in 2257 due to the outbreak of psi powers; the Doctor's interference averts this fate, thus changing history.
The Dione-Kisumu Corporation is Kenyan in origin. The Yemayan colonists arrive on the planet in a DKC colony ship, and the company provides most of the medical technology.
DKC are the solar system's chief produces of memory tablets in 2227. CM Enterprises is a rival company.
By 2257, Sydney is virtually uninhabited. South Africa is part of the United African Confederacy.
By 2957, humans with psychic abilities, referred to as "the Gifted", are required to be registered.
Unrecorded Adventures: The TARDIS crew has been on Yemaya 4 for two weeks at the start of the novel. The Doctor has spent time with the Ikkaba; he found them disturbing.
The Doctor visited the house at Allen Road with Mel; whilst it was being painted, he took her to Sydney, where they rented a VW and drove up the coast until they found a suitable beach house, which the Doctor bought.
The Doctor met Johann Sebastian Bach after sawing his way very badly through the cello line of a chorale in Leipzig; Bach was so irritated that he invited the Doctor to dinner in order to tell him off. He once spent an evening chatting with Lady Lovelace.
Whilst searching for flotsam scattered throughout time and space by Ship's destruction (Set Piece), the Doctor found a copy of The Elements of Style on Bellatrix.
The Bottom Line: "You always leave little bits of yourself everywhere." Elegant, witty, and thoroughly captivating from beginning to end, SLEEPY sees a proactive but compassionate Doctor, and a rare but effective companion pairing as Roz and Benny are sent off on their own mission into the past. Every character is given depth - an Orman trademark - with even the shady Madhanagopal well characterised. Mention of whom serves as a reminder that buried within the rich plot are the first stirrings of the loose "psi powers" arc that will have shocking ramifications for the remainder of the range, but not until after a equally monumental event in Benny's life...