Roots: The novel opens with quotations from Shakespeare and Kipling, with Stone's introduction also mentioning Joyce and Trudi Chase's When Rabbit Howls. The novel ends with a quotation from As You Like It. There are references to Basil Rathbone, William S. Burroughs, J. Edgar Hoover, Star Trek, Naked Lunch, Sherlock Holmes and H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds (Nathan and Kiru's alternate Earth adventures), Aristotle, "Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam", and Paradise Lost.

Dialogue Disasters: "Who the frik are you?"

Much of Sgloomi's dialogue, which reaches new heights of self-indulgence.

Continuity: The Egg is an artifact capable of directing and controlling extradimensional energies: Randolph Bane found it in the remains of the Grey Museum of the Shadow Directory (see Christmas on a Rational Planet, The Death of Art). He used it to transform the unfortunate Simon Deed into his Animus as part of an elaborate plan to alter the universe to one in which Bane doesn't have to die, as a result of which Earth becomes the centre of a massive quantum flux that randomly generates a virtually unlimited number of alternate realities. Normality reasserts itself after the Egg is destroyed, and Bane and Deed are trapped in an eternal time loop in which Deed snaps Bane's neck over and over again.

When Roz was twenty, she and the twenty-nine year old Fenn Martle (see Original Sin) investigated the use of a hypnoleptic drug derived from an extract of the human pituitary gland amongst the Fnarok population of the Overcities; the pituitary glands in question originated from the human colonists of the Fnarok home planet, Zarjax. The twenty year-old Roz is snatched out of time here and helps Benny, Chris, Jason and Sgloomi deal with Bane; afterwards, she is returned to her own time and has no memory of events due to her contact with the Egg.

In order to raise funds, Bernice takes a supervisory position, escorting a privately funded group of children to visit the Lost Temples of Malanoor. She claims that she has been a vegetarian since a very early age, except for occasional lapse and bacon sandwiches "which don't count". She drinks Oolonian brandy on the Schirron Dream. She was subjected to the Haze whilst training at the Academy, but was one of the few failures on whom it didn't work. Her number at the Academy was PFC-0188172-DB-0182-77-142-PROVISIONAL.

When Jason was young, he used to play in a pillbox on a nearby beach, which eventually became a den and somewhere to go when he skipped school.

Since Benny last saw Chris, he has parted company with Sara (Mean Streets) and taken some time out in a monastery, a habit he has found soothing since sixteenth-century Japan (The Room with No Doors). The monastery in question was that of the Beneficient Brothers of Saint Sidney on Dragos. Chris once witnessed the effects of a catastrophic plague on the planet Minos.

Sloogmi Po found Jason in the Lower Habitats of the Proximan Chain.

The Malanoor system is named after its single inhabitable planet and has a G2-type star. Malanoor is at least partially covered in fauna-rich rainforest. The Malanese are an intelligent, slightly phosphorescent, fungoid, squat, vaguely humanoid species with sweeping carapaces that extend from their heads and prevent them from looking upwards, as a result of which they have no concept of "up". They have established a tourist industry for off-world visitors, based partly on the Lost Temples of Malanoor. The Temples were built as a tomb for the Emperor Shon Yi Rambakagh, a tribal leader with pretentious of grandeur, and were robbed of their treasures almost immediately after being built.

In one of the alternate universes briefly seen here, the space normally occupied by the Asteroid Belt is occupied by a single planet called Hestia. (Image of the Fendahl, The Taking of Planet 5)

There are lost temples on Shokesh (Death and Diplomacy) and Diorindi IV.

Links: Oblivion completes Stone's "Clockwork Trilogy" that includes Sky Pirates! and Death and Diplomacy. Roz died at the end of So Vile a Sin. Leetha, Nathan, Kiru and Sgloomi Po last appeared in Happy Endings. There is an Olabrian joy-luck crystal on board the Schirron Dream (Ship of Fools).

Location: Malanoor, on board the Schirron Dream.

Future History: The Tenth Planet of the solar system has been variously named Goofy, Decadon, and Ultima Thule.

The Haze was an offshoot of the Bane Industries interactive virtual-reality rigs and was used during the Dalek War for rapidly brainwashing cadets into efficient and remorseless killers more or less instantaneously.

Unrecorded Adventures: Bernice and Jason were pursued by Dragans on Morlonia Prime; in order to escape, they fled through a Place of the Dead, as a result of which both were deported from the planet and barred from ever returning.

The Bottom Line: "And that's it, is it?" Stone's idea of a big epic finale turns out to be surprisingly grim and humourless, with grisly imagery and horror in spades. Nevertheless, it works because Stone's anarchic style is well-suited to a tale of chaos; the personnel hells are unpleasantly effective and it's nice to see Roz again.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke

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