The Stone Rose
There are references to the Rosetta Stone, Rome, Winnie-the-Pooh, Starbucks,,Celtic FC, Agatha Christie's Poirot and Miss Marple, Living TV, Michaelangelo's David, Kate Moss, Lambrusco, The Silence of the Lambs, Barbie, Plasticine, Sherlock Holmes, Jonathan Swift, Milk Tray, Charles Dickens' David Copperfield (Uriah Heep), Greek Myth (Orpheus in the Underworld), teddy bears, the Olympics, Boudicca, AI: Artificial Intelligence, The Sixth Sense, the Arabian Nights, The Moomins, Chorlton and the Wheelies, Spongebob Squarepants, Robocop, 'Nellie the Elephant', Cher, Disney's Aladdin, Robin Williams, and the RSPCA. The Doctor nicknames his four cellmates after the Beatles.
Goofs: How does the TARDIS know which time and place to go to? Ancient Rome is a vast empire spanning centuries of time. [The TARDIS works it out – as suggested in The Doctot's Wife.]
The prisoners think they might be crucified, yet one of them says it's better a quick death than a slow one in the mines. Given that crucifixion is a long, slow, agonising death and carried an extreme social stigma, it seems an odd sentiment for someone from the period to express. On that note, crucifixions would not have been carried out in the arena.
If the GENIE we see was able to transport itself and Vanessa back to Ancient Rome by using the global power grid, why would sending one back to its creation require the entire energy of the sun? It's less matter to transport through time and going a shorter amount of time.
The idea that the genies of the Arabian Nights got their name from the GENIEs seen here is slightly problematic, since the idea that genies are wish-granters is somewhat novel to the Aladdin story, and the name is just an anglicisation of the arabic djinn – meaning a capricious spirit.
Dialogue Disasters: Some abominable puns from the Doctor, including, "It's not easy being a "bear"-back rider" and "You madam, have you seen my as?"
The Doctor: 'I know you wouldn't sayy “Boo-dicca” to a goose.' Even Rose groans.
Dialogue Triumphs: The Doctor and Rose discuss what to wear in Rome: "Oh, there'll be something back there. Look under R for Rome. Or A for ancient."
"And what about you? C for conspicuous?"
The Doctor: "Doing things that no one's ever done is my speciality."
And then, some time later, the Doctor arrived in Rome some time earlier.
Rose's response to the Doctor telling her, "I'm all ears" is "Not so much any more!"
Continuity: The GENIEs are Genetically Engineered Neural Imagination Engines. They were created for the sole purpose of granting wishes for their owners; in order to do this, they need to reshape space and time and therefore require tremendous power, depending on the scale of the wish. They are small scaly creatures resembling a cross between a baby dragon and a duck-billed platypus. Although they are artificial life forms, they have logic circuits. The GENIE stranded in Rome is able to use dead bodies as a source of power by converting their mass into energy. In addition to granting wishes, the GENIEs can alter people's perceptions. The Doctor and Rose wish for the GENIE to be free, and for it to go somewhere where it will be happy; it ends up on an unnamed planet inhabited only by large guinea pig-like animals.
The Doctor wears a plain white knee-length tunic with a belt containing his sonic screwdriver whilst in Rome. He and Rose eat fruit pastries with spiced wine when they first arrive in Rome. They eat fresh dates and later eat a full Roman meal, including garum, at Gracilis' villa. He consumes large quantities of honeyed wine and hot pies whilst searching for Rose. He drinks blackcurrant cordial in the British Museum. The Doctor is an excellent horse rider and believes himself to be an excellent swordsman. He uses a frequency from his sonic screwdriver to pacify a lion and interccept an arrow. He does stage magic as a distraction. Ursus briefly turns him to stone; when Rose uses the elixir to turn him back, he kisses her out of gratitude and joy. He gives Rose a small metal device that disguises her voice. As a Time Lord, he is able to see the ripples from changed timelines.
Rose's full name is Rose Marion Tyler. She once went to a toga party. She wears a denim jacket, the pockets of which contain a purse, a handkerchief, a packet of mints, her mobile phone, and a flower earring. She wears an ankle-length dress in pale blue with a dark blue shawl over her head and a silver hairpin whilst in Rome. Rose is familiar with Shakespeare's Julius Ceasar. Her star sign is Taurus. She and Jackie once went on holiday to Tenby. Rose and her friend Shareen once planned to sneak off to Danny Fennel's party and pinched a bottle of wine from Jackie's kitchen cupboard to get them in the mood; they both fell asleep after one glass each and missed the party. She models for a statue for Ursus, and gets transformed into stone thanks to the powers invested in him by the GENIE. She makes a small cloth drawstring purse for the Doctor to keep his sonic screwdriver in whilst he is in Rome, learning the skill here. She once nursed Mickey through a bout of the flu. She left Mickey once, but soon returned; he thought she was on the rebound when she came back and was worried she'd leave him again. The GENIE provides her with a bag of chips and a copy of Kitten's Garden Adventure by Martin Golightly. She watched AI: Artificial Intelligence twice because she fancies Jude Law.
Mickey's friend Vic once asked Rose to pose in her underwear for a photo-shoot; she declined. Since he last saw Rose, Mickey has been doing voluntary work with children.
Jackie keeps a photograph of Rose's statue in her kitchen.
Links: This story is set between New Earth (there is a reference to petrifold regression) and School Reunion (Mickey has yet to join the TARDIS crew).
There is a reference to people gaining psychic powers from "aliens and rifts" (The Unquiet Dead). Rose recalls visiting the dawn of humanity (Only Human) and the very end of Earth (The End of the World), and fighting Daleks 200,000 years in the future (Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways), shop dummies from Henrik's (Rose). There are references to the Doctor's hand growing back (The Christmas Invasion), and Slitheen (Aliens of London/ World War Three, The Monsters Inside, Boom Town). The Doctor notes that he has seen Abominable Snowmen (The Abominable Snowmen, The Web of Fear), Werewolves (The Greatest Show in the Galaxy, Loups-Garoux, Tooth and Claw), Demons (The Daemons, Battlefield), and Vampires (State of Decay, [/ma]Goth Opera[/ma], Project: Twilight, The Curse of Fenric, Blood Harvest, The Eight Doctors, Vampire Science).
Location: The British Museum, London, c. 2007; Rome, March 120 AD; the Bureau Tygon, April 2375; and an unnamed planet, date unknown.
Future History: Merik's Theorem dates from the twenty-fourth century. The Bureau Tygon is Earth's main scientific research establishment by 2375 AD. Salvatorio Moretti created the GENIEs in 2375 to act as a boon for humanity, in an age where people were used to getting whatever they wanted; as a result of human greed and vindictiveness they were widely abused until so many wishes were granted that Earth was on the brink of destruction as different people wished incompatible wishes; if one person wished for the Earth to be destroyed, another could wish it to survive. Eventually, some humans found the earliest GENIE, created in May 2375, and wished it to take them back in time to that month, where they destroyed the laboratory in which the creations were created, thus altering history and averting their own timeline. History is presumably changed again, removing even that timeline, when the very first GENIE travels back to Rome in 120 AD from April 2375, before the destruction of the laboratory.
In the alternate timeline in which the GENIEs were widely available, an Arabic revival promoted several people to wish themselves back to the time of the Arabian Nights Entertainments; when their timeline was averted, their journeys still left ripples, inspiring the Arabian legends of Genies.
Unrecorded Adventures: In the middle of this story, the Doctor spends several months with Michelangelo, so that he can learn how to sculpt and sculpt the statue of Rose found in the British Museum, in order to safeguard history.
The Doctor defeated a silicon-based life form called the Ogre of Hyfor Three circa 200 AD; its foot can be seen in the British Museum in 2006. He implies that he has met the Philistines.
The Doctor once caught a bouquet at a wedding and nearly ended up married to the Emperor of Golibo's favourite pet, an elephant.
The Bottom Line: Nice ideas, shame about the plot. Rayner's knowledge of history means that The Stone Rose benefits from some impressive period detail, although the novel's target audience does result in passages that virtually shout out, "This is educational!" Unfortunately, for the most part this a is disjointed mess, jumping to and fro and playing with temporal paradoxes in a way that has been done far better elsewhere.