Ghost Devices

Roots: There are references to Keanu Reeves, James Mason, Steve Austen, Christopher Lee, Holst, Wagner, Burroughs, Calvin Klein, Edgar Rice Burroughs, That's Life, Erich von Däniken, The Three Musketeers, the Titanic, Die Hardest, Alan Turing, Dante's Inferno, Star Wars, G. K. Chesterton, the Flying Dutchman, and Hitler.

Dialogue Triumphs: "If I'd wanted mechanisms that flew up to people and made them better, I'd have strapped rocket motors to a team of surgeons."

"He thinks that he must accomplish everything in his lifetime or his insights will be lost. That is why he embraces violence."

"This assassination carried out by a Ninjucoid Version-99 Assassin... You too can invest in all that is most up to date in mutogenic homeotropic wetware by accessing CRIMESAFENET-MURDER-INCORPORATED in the next twenty minutes." And everything else the Ninjucoids say.

Continuity: Canopus IV has no plate tectonics. The Spire on Canopus IV is roughly three hundred kilometres high and probably has foundations seventy kilometres deep. It is the largest planet-bound structure in human-explored space. Futurite is tachyon-baryon alloy that can retard or even reverse time; the Spire is made out of it. The Vo'lach built the Spire eons ago; as a result, the Canopusi worship them as Gods. The Spire has a column of tachyons at its core, which produces visions of the future that the Canopusi record, their so-called "Ghost Languages". The Vo'lach built the Spire to take matter from the heat death of the universe in a million potential futures and use it to create tachyonic dark matter across the universe (creating quasars as a side-effect), and thus stabilising the universe to delay its destruction. The Spire is destroyed here in the past by Vo'lach planetcrackers, making its very existence a paradox.

Canopus II is a lifeless rock.

The Canopusi are an intelligent reptilian bipedal species that worship a pantheon. They do not perspire. They are usually infected by parasitic beetles. They bear their young alive, then deposit the placenta and womb into an eggshell, possibly originally to stop predators being attracted to the afterbirth. They eat the egg, and grow a new womb. They have four stomachs; if any one is poisoned, it cysts itself off, collapses into a hard nodule, and is expelled; a new one grows to replace it. Sandstriders are animals with broad pads for feet and yellow, bony limbs with barbs. The Defarg produces venom. Rustin seeds are part of the Canopusi diet. Gharag birds are found on Canopus IV.

Vo'lach Prime orbits the star Sadr in the Gamma Cygnus System. The planet is smaller than Earth and has oceans. The Vo'lach have mined out the system, so that only one depleted gas giant and no asteroids remain. The inner planets have been strip-mined. Vo'lach Prime is the first planet in the system; the "planet" between Sadr and Vo'lach Prime is actually a massive weapons systems containing tachyars derived from the technology used to build the Spire. The Vo'lach were arms dealers, about whom little is known, except that were tricked into signing a treaty with one Melmouth Jackson. According to legend, they wiped out all life on their home planet apart from themselves. Nobody has ever found their home planet. They have been dealing arms across the galaxy for millions of years. They use android Negotiators and other robots, including the Factories on Vo'lach Prime. The factories sift the water of the planet's oceans for minerals including deutronium and iridium. Bombers in the atmosphere scan the Factories for independent thought and destroy any Factories that exhibit it with nuclear warheads. The Vo'lach never knowingly or intentionally created artificial intelligences. The Vo'lach have been extinct for nine and a quarter million years. Many if not all of them committed suicide after the Spire revealed a secret about their future, which was that their descendants would become a scourge on the entire universe: this vision prompted them to wipe out all life on their planet that could evolve into such a threat, never build intelligent machines, and ultimately destroy their own species. They started dealing in weapons in the hope that somebody would wipe them out. In fact, the Canopusi, their metaphorical children, are destined to evolve into the threat they foresaw.

Ninjucoid Version-99 Assassins are artificial intelligences capable of mimicking anyone. Morry is a Version-100. Mechanista-A-GoGo specialises in android death machines.

Bernice has recently written The Suitcase of Social Embarrassment: Terry & June considered as a metaphor for a world in crisis. She is currently writing her book, now called Galactic Myths of the Far Frontiers. She has a student named Jayne. The Vo'lach Negotiator anaesthetises Bernice. Benny later takes tranqs and brandy when she thinks she's accidentally destroyed the universe.

Gabriel is one of the Heavenly Host, God's right hand and data organiser. He is a former Ship and Shipherd; following an accident, only a small part of his mind and memories survived and he became an Orgcybe, his mind implanted in a body made of human protoplasm. He manifests as a six foot tall angel. Bernice decides to call him Clarence. He is a member of the Tiny and Interesting Interest Group (see Oh No It Isn't!). there is a Grown Not Made Special Interest Group.

Dellah has an annual Kinky Gerlinky Memorial Saturluna, Beer Race and Pyjama Jump. Donald is the Julian Clary Professor of Sexuality in Fashion History. Networks available on Dellah include SNN and BXB. Programmes mentioned include Ripley's Believe It Or FO!, Know Your Predators, and Wish Yourself There. Malkovitch Fellows holds the Daedalus Chair of Applied Physics at St. Oscar's; Farouk (Oh No It Isn't!) is his head of department. Professor Jervis Lochlin has an obsessive interest in neo-Velikowskianist theories. St. Oscar's has recently started celebrating invented ancient traditions to drum extra funding, including the feats of St Barnabas and all Toads.

The planet They're All Nouns You Idiot (known colloquially as Noun) is so called due to an initial translation problem with the short-tempered native species. Other planets mentioned here include Telvos, Hoopla IV, New Rarga, Spindrast Maxima, Priapus IX, Leviathan Major, Honspar, and Divine Right. The Mondesfiore family controls the access corridors to the entire Telvos Nebula. There are Rattacatta mines on Hoopla IV, currently occupied by supporters of the fundamentalist pretender Prince-Imran Suleiman. There is currently a full-scale civil war on the Wompon coasts of New Rarga. There may be Levitating Swine on Gaderene III. Planetcrackers were used to destroy New Scotland during the Wee Free Interregnum.

The Hrgrhrgrtrt were a race of amoebas that reproduced asexually; they were erased from history by a Grandfather Paradox, although the Time Lords still know of them.

Links: Benny recalls Roz. A specimen of Godzillae E. R. Burroughsia has recently arrived at St. Oscar's from Tyler's Folly (Down). Mr Misnomer is also mentioned. There are references to Ordifica (Interference), Menlove Stokes and the Us (Oh No It Isn't!), and to masked tyrants of the new ice ages (The Talons of Weng-Chiang)

Location: Vo'lach Prime, They're All Nouns You Idiot, Dellah, The Worldsphere, the Gulah Archipelago on New Rarga, No Prior Claim (a.k.a. Yed Prior X), Canopus IV, on board the Second-Best Buy and the Purple Love Rocket, 2594.

Future History: Mega-Hints For Type II Civilisations is published in the Dellah University Yearbook, 2593. It is supposedly written by Professor Gervase Oodd of the CyberTheology Department, but is withdrawn when it is discovered that no such academic or department exists. Maxwell-Murdochs are autolits.

Melmouth Jackson's back teeth can supposedly be found in a museum on the third planet of Barnard's Star.

The Hotop and Spinward Companies (Deceit) run military shipyards.

Mr Misnomer and the Polar Peril is an autolit.

Crime families mentioned here include Mondesfiore, Von Cataclysm, and Red Leopard.

Biological leech-weapons are used during the twentieth-ninth century.

The Bottom Line: "The great aim is universal peace and brotherhood. What else could have caused so much bloodshed and inconvenience?" A fantastic mix of wit, imagination and hard physics that serves as one of several reminders that Bucher-Jones is probably Doctor Who's most underrated novel writer.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke

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