Godengine

Roots: The names of the Martian colonies Springfield and Shelbyville are taken from The Simpsons. There is a character called Kolchak, presumably after The Night Stalker. There are references to Holst, Coca Cola, Nostradamus, Hitler, and Mitterand's extension to the Louvre.

Technobabble: The Thornley-Ramsay Law concerns the penetration of subspace, and applies to situations where the subspace boundaries are non-aligned. A Jonbar Hinge is an event that shatters the Web of Time, rewriting history on a major scale.

Dialogue Disasters: "So, you're galactic social workers now?"

"Follow that TARDIS!"

Continuity: Dalek weapons of mass destruction include deep penetration ion cannons, anti-matter drills, and pulsed proton impellers. The Daleks monitored humanity's activities for ten point six Earth years before choosing the optimum time to attack. The Ice Warriors offer the Daleks the GodEngine in exchange for the return of their planet. The GodEngine needs a planetary mass to tether it against the subspace fields it generates, but can only operate in the absence of a bipolar magnetic field; this is the reason that the Daleks plan to remove the Earth's core (The Dalek Invasion of Earth). The Doctor notes that the destruction of the GodEngine will fill subspace with exotic particles that will ruin their Strange Icaron generator.

Mars has been terraformed four different times over a million year period by four different species. The Ice Warriors vanished from Mars at the end of the Thousand Day War (see Transit); many of them left to start a new life of Nova Martia. During the exodus to Nova Martia the fleet made a brief planetfall on a world in the Rataculan system that they named Cluut-ett-Pictar. Some Martians remained on the planet when the fleet moved on. Major Martian cities include Ikk-ett-Saleth (the City of the Sad Ones), Sstee-ett-Haspar (the Labyrinth of False Pride), Sstee-ett-Haspar, and the fortress of Ooss-Ett-Jassiir. The labyrinthine city of Sstee-ett-Haspar is one of eight such cities built during the J'Kassar Dynasty and patterned after a map in the Blessed Apocryphal Glyphs of Oras; certain orthodox factions of the Order of Oras consider them blasphemous. The map actually shows the layout of the Osirian cerebellum. They call the North Pole G'chun duss Ssethissi (the Cauldron of Sutekh). T'Ran-ikk-Liis (the Dwellings of Triumphant Majesty) was the largest and most glorious city in the Northern hemisphere until it was destroyed by a burrowing thermonuclear warhead during the Martian civil war ten thousand years earlier, during which the members of the ruling Eight-Point Table were executed; Ikk-ett-Saleth was built on the ruins. Ikk-ett-Saleth is a perfect example of Giis-lon dynasty architecture. Other regions of Mars include the plains of Jull-ett-eskul (the Garden of Oras), and the dried-up sea-bed of Ssken-dass-giis (the Dead Ocean of the Forsaken). The Ice Warriors use Chameleon fields to hide the entrances to their cities. The entrances to their civilian nests are protected by a Ga'jur-ett-Lii'is, or lure for the unfamiliar, which ensures that only those who are welcome are able to pass; these usually take the form of traps, with hidden mechanisms providing safe passage. Military nests such as Liis-arrat-Ixx, are protected by a Xssixss, or path of easy virtue. The most direct route into Ikk-ett-Saleth is via the Fississ-cal-oon (The Way Reserved for Pilgrims). Entrances to infected cities are blocked by a Utt-keth-Johith, or Plague Seal. Military nests sometimes have a Queen, who technically outranks that nest's Grand Marshal but tends to manipulate from behind-the-scenes. Ice Warriors can live for nearly three hundred standard years.

The Ice Warriors pride beauty and aesthetics above everything apart from war. The Martian planetary identification glyph, or flag, is a triangle overlaid with a lightening bolt, with an artificial burning sun in its centre. At the end of the Thousand Day War, the UN team that arrived from Earth to discuss peace terms found Mars abandoned and only the bodies of six of the eight members of the Eight-Point Table left behind; the other two members, Falaxyr and Abrasaar, escaped. Abrasaar is known as the Butcher of Viis Claar (Valles Marineris), where he lead General Burkitt's King's Fusiliers into a trap. Abrasaar becomes Abbot Aklaar of the Holy Order of Oras and dies fighting a blood-duel with Falaxyr; Falaxyr dies when the Daleks destroy his ship as he flees Mars after the destruction of the GodEngine. The eight members of the Eight-Point Table are Supreme Grand Marshals, and wear ornate, light purple armour inset with gold with an embossed representation of the Martian Sphinx on the chest; a voluminous dark purple cloak tops off the ensemble. The Ice Warriors never developed subspace technology. Female Ice Warriors have a slighter build and a dorsal spine. Martian law forbids the forging of copies of the Sword of Tuburr. The Parliament of Seers can grant holy passage to pilgrims with which no other Martian interdict can interfere. The Martians call the GodEngine Ssor-arr duss Ssethissi (The Engine of Sutekh). They built it over a period of seventy years using technology from the Martian Sphinx and a crashed Osirian starship; it is designed to manipulate the electromagnetic, gravitational and subspace fields of stars, causing them to emit coherent, superluminal beams of plasma. The Sword of Tuburr activates it. Sleeping fever is a Martian infection; because it burns itself out after a decade, Martian geneticists chose it as the basis for their bacteriological weapons. Martians are herbivores, and Martian chefs are highly prized in the caste structure. The Riis-utt-Ssethiss, or Bloodswords of Ssethiss, were the Martian assassination elite; their order was wiped out during the Primal Wars and they became legendary. Warding shrouds are metallic cloths used to protect the Martian dead prior to cremation. Martians defecate so infrequently that they don't have separate areas for doing so in their dwellings. Martian armour consists of carapaces and helmets grown in nutrient tanks and augmented with cybernetics; as well as increasing their strength, it gives them a direct link to the Martian battle-net and boosts reaction time by five hundred percent. The Brain-rack creates artificial neural pathways in the human mind, which dominate existing thought processes and ensure obedience. The Martian Axis is a terrorist organization that bombed Coventry and destroyed the Montreal monorail system. Ice Warriors challenge each other to a blood-duel by spitting in their opponent's face.

Phaester Osiris has no magnetic field. The Osirians based their technology on the principles of a monopolar magnetic field. The Osirians placed the stellar power relay that kept Sutekh imprisoned on Mars because of the planet's lack of a magnetic field. They influenced Martian civilization just as they did Earth's, although the Martian Sphinx is a thousand years older than Earth's, suggesting that the Osirians visited Mars first. The hulls of Osirian WarScarabs are made out of an alloy of light neutronium and osmidium; they are opaque to subspace fields because they built their shielding into the molecular structure of their vessels. Osirian technology has a deleterious effect on subspace fields. The Holy Order of Oras worships Horus, and follows the teachings of the Book of Oras (which includes the Sermon of Liis), which renounces violence. The Utet-Sak-Oras (Divine Sight of Horus) lies at the heart of their faith and was hand-drawn from an Osirian star-sapphire. The Ninth Book of Oras is the Rebirth of the Father. Most Martian myths and legends date from the Primal Wars. The Martian Sphinx is very similar to its counterpart on Earth, but with the helmeted face of a Martian Lord rather than that of a Pharaoh. The Ice Warriors moved it to a hidden location inside a temple at the Vastitas Borealis during the Thousand Day War; they also moved the actual Eight-Point Table from which the ruling body takes their name.

The Meddling Monk once allied himself with a military nest (The Time Meddler, The Daleks' Master Plan, No Future).

Flora and fauna on Mars includes rock snakes (metre-long grey creatures with bodies that resemble spherical grey rocks linked together with a scorpion-like sting on the tail and a single bulbous eye at the other end), spider-lizards, venom-moss, and plasma vampires, (which are metre-wide amoebae that secrete sulphuric acid and which are virtually extinct by 2157AD). The hissing made by a Rock-Snake is its mating-call, and is usually followed by the clicking of its feeding triumph; they are permanently in a mating frenzy and hungry. Their sting is bio-plasmic. Rock-Snakes are almost extinct by 2957, although isolated fatalities still occur in less developed regions of Mars.

Crystalline, wafer-thin creatures that feed on methane ice inhabit Pluto. They have existed for thirty thousand years and apparently have a culture; the radiation released by the Daleks' destruction of Charon destroys them.

The Doctor provides himself, Roz and Chris with survival packs and atmospheric density jackets (The Web Planet) when the TARDIS breaks up, which include some orange anti-radiation pills. Whilst on Mars, he assembles a china teapot from his survival kit and makes tea. He carries a worn map of all the major Martian cities in the region of Mars in which he and Roz find themselves. He gives Roz a gravimetric adjustment device in the form of a bracelet that he obtained from the Nimons (The Horns of Nimon). The Doctor has only ever encountered two Vortex ruptures, one shortly after he obtained his TARDIS and one in The Crystal Bucephalus. Esstar gives him a copy of the Book of Oras to give to Benny. Whilst visiting London in 2167 with Chris and Roz he picks up Susan's discarded TARDIS key.

Roz doesn't wear her Adjudicator armour here, having forgotten to put it back on after Benny's wedding. Konstantine (The Also People) once told her, "Comfort is the best way to lead an Adjudicator into a sense of complacency". Roz was for a time posted to Jackson City on Olympus Mons on Mars whilst squiring Konstantine. Whilst she was partnered with Fenn, a group of joyboys stole an Imperial Landsknecht flitter and flew it through one the gravitic beams holding up Overcity Five, interfering with their flitter's antigrav drive and causing them to crash into the Undercity, where the Underdwellers ate their charred corpses. Roz's travels with the Doctor have tempered her xenophobia, but she still feels occasional pangs of unease in the presence of extra-terrestrials. Roz has seen luminous bio-engineered fungus on Igrillius 6. Roz learnt Hi Shu's defence on Ponten IV. The Herzang Manoeuvre is another technique popular amongst Adjudicators. The Cthalz manoeuvre is invariable fatal, since it immobilizes the autonomic nervous system. The defence wasn't discovered until the twenty-eighth century. Roz was in the Class of 2955 at the Academy.

Chris's father's birthday is the 7th May. One of Chris' ancestors is Nate Cwej, a member of Adjudication Intelligence in the twenty-second century. Chris learned about the Eight-Point Table from the drunken songs of the Ice Warriors at Benny's wedding. Chris has visited Mars before, in his native time. Chris carries a bug-catcher, a standard piece of Adjudicator equipment that resembles a small grey orb and which detects and jams recording devices. Chris' survival kit contains nose filters that protect against gas attack, as well as vials of nitro-twelve and nitro-thirteen, and a pencil torch. He rigs a bio-cybernetic feedback scrambler to knock out some Martians.

The TARDIS breaks up when it gets caught between a subspace infarction and a Vortex rupture. The TARDIS protects the worldliness of its occupants, effectively allowing them to exist outside of time; the effect wears off after a while, to prevent disruption to the normal operation of the universe. The destruction of the GodEngine averts the destruction of the TARDIS, since history remains unchanged and the Vortex rupture never happens.

Kentaurus has twin suns, as well as a red giant. It has a purple sky. Arcturus is shrouded in methane, whilst the cities on Alpha Centauri are oxygenated and boats turrets and pillars. The stunnel established on Charon connects with Ultima. A Transit web is a portable stunnel terminus.

Links: The novel opens with a quotation from Battlefield. The Dalek Invasion of Earth, Transit, Pyramids of Mars. Slaar was Draan's father (The Seeds of Death). The Doctor describes all Osirans as selfish and duplicitous and notes that Horus was no better than the rest, which ties in with Scarab of Death. The TARDIS has just left Benny and Jason's wedding when it breaks up (Happy Endings). The novel opens with Old Sam's attempt to contact the Ice Warriors at the end of Transit. The Ice Warriors have a legend of the Great Death that came from the stars (Image of the Fendahl). The Daleks create a subspace blockade by flooding subspace with strange icarons (Original Sin). There are references to Theodore Maxtible (The Evil of the Daleks), Professor Kettlewell (Robot), Davros, Magnus Greel (The Talons of Weng-Chiang), Rassilon, Arcturus and Alpha Centauri (The Curse of Peladon), T-Mat (The Seeds of Death), trisilicate (The Curse of Peladon, The Monster of Peladon), the term "Ravens" used to refer to Adjudicators (Lucifer Rising), Sontarans, Cybermen, Nepthys (The Sands of Time), Arrestis and the Lazarus Intent (The Crystal Bucephalus), IMC (Colony in Space, Lucifer Rising), and Vraxoin (Nightmare of Eden). The Doctor mentions the Terileptils' destruction of his original sonic screwdriver (The Visitation). It is implied that Erica Dortmun is Dortmun's father (The Dalek Invasion of Earth).

Location: Arsia Mons, Mars, 2109AD; Jull-ett-eskul Seminary of Oras, Argyre Planitia, Mars, 2110AD; Void Station Cassius on the edge of the Solar System, 2157AD; Olympus Mons, Mars, 2157AD; Charon, 2157AD; London, c2167AD.

Future History: Prior to invading Earth in 2157, the Daleks exterminated a billion settlers on the Earth colony Sifranos, leaving the planet as a sterilized cinder. When they invade the Solar System, they set up a subspace blockade across the system, as well as the more conventional blockade provided by their fleet. They invade Mars later in 2157, although a genetically engineered virus that attacks their wiring means that this invasion fails (see Genesis of the Daleks). Charon is initially subjected by proton bombardment by the Daleks, and later reduced to a radioactive cinder by their second attack on 7th May 2157; by 2957 it is still highly radioactive. The Daleks also bombard Callisto, Tethys and Nereid, all of which have dedicated weapons research facilities, with proton bombs. By 2162, all the planets in the Solar System have fallen to them. The physical blockade of the Solar System is finally broken circa 2167, by the Colonial Warship Dauntless.

An expedition from Earth explored Ikk-ett-Saleth in 2115AD. The only human colonies on Mars in 2157 are Jacksonville (which has become Jackson City by 2957) at Olympus Mons, and Arcadia Planitia. Shelbyville is established circa 2207, and Springfield, which is next to Ascraeus Lacus, c.2227.

By 2157, the Transit system has been abandoned, partly as a result of the disastrous attempt to open the stunnel to Arcturus (Transit). c.2152, a small Earth government-funded research complex was established at the colony on Charon to try and find useful applications for the technology. ATETs, All-Terrain Excursion Transports are used on Mars in 2157AD and are still used by 2957. Adjudication Intelligence, a precursor to the Guild of Adjudicators, existed in the twenty-second century. Oberon, which by 2957 was second only to Ponten IV as an Adjudicator base, started out as an underground base during the Dalek blockade. There are bloody skirmishes between the Bureau of Adjudicators and certain Martian factions during the twenty-first and twenty-second centuries.

By 2310, Mars has been terraformed to the point where it has an Earth-type atmosphere, including the pollution.

Solid holography was invented in 1998 and suppressed soon afterwards; the most advanced technology of the type subsequently reached by mankind by 2157 is the similarity, a primitive holographic system.

By 2957, Triton has a Baron, since it doesn't merit a Viscount. Nova Martia is off-limits to non-Martians by 2957.

The Bottom Line: Craig Hinton's least ambitious novel, GodEngine has a b-movie "quest" structure and an annoying tendency to follow every line of Martian with an English translation in a way that starts to become irritating. Nevertheless, it's an entertaining romp, and admirably attempts to make sense of the Daleks' ludicrous plans in The Dalek Invasion of Earth, whilst simultaneously fleshing out Martian culture in new and interesting ways. Flawed perhaps, but nevertheless underrated.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke
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Comments

There's a certain 60s scifi shout-out that's passed you by - must be deliberate by the author, it's so loud it's deafening to anyone who was a scifi fan kid in the 60s in Britain (as I was). He even teases: uses the name several times, causing a 'Hang on. Is he going to ...?', and dragging it out before finally the appearance and the description - 'Yes! He did it!' (big grin).

it's a shout-out to the science fiction future in the Gerry Anderson 'supermarionation' (puppet) scifi shows, specifically Thunderbirds - even more specifically the feature film 'Thunderbirds Are Go' - and also 'Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons' (same shared future history and universe as Thunderbirds, just a few years later), especially in the licensed official Captain Scarlet comic strips in the 'TV Century 21' comic (name changing to just TV21 part way through - presented as a newspaper from the mid 21st century in the shared future history of Fireball XL5, Stingray, Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet, and greatly expanding the background of the TV shows in a licensed, official way.)

In 'Thunderbirds are Go' the mid-21st century Zero-X mission to Mars, driving around in the MEV, find one native Martian life-form in the otherwise barren landscape ... which duly attacks them (possibly only because they were provoked by the Zero-X crew trying to break samples off something they don't realise is alive), forcing them to lift off dangerously and early to escape. Still a very memorable scene to me, for all that I was six at the time I saw it after the film's release (actually especially because I was only 6 and at that age it was very scary). What they had found (and tried to blow samples off) was .... Martian Rock Snakes. That's what they were called, and they also featured several times and quite luridly in the Captain Scarlet comic strips in stories that returned to Mars. And they looked like ... a string of boulders (easily mistaken for a rock pile when curled up), with a single large eye in the head 'boulder', and an attack consisting of blasts of superhot plasma. Sound familiar? Craig Hinton's Martian Rock Snakes have the same name, and the same description - he's just changed two things: made them smaller (the Thunderbirds/Captain Scarlet ones are vehicle size), and has his little ones fire the plasma from a sting on the tail rather than out of their mouths. (A Google image search on Thunderbirds Martain Rock Snake pulls up pics from the Thunderbirds Are Go film, and on Captain Scarlet Martian Rock Snake finds a whole page from a TV21 story they appear in, if you are interested.)

So - deliberate shout-out, and Thunderbirds Are Go and Captain Scarlet should be in 'Roots'.

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