Roots: The novel opens with a reference to The Generation Game. There is a reference to Kandalinga from The Dr Who Annual short story The Fishmen of Kandalinga. There are references to Christopher Columbus and Turner.
Dialogue Disasters: "Stop the dolphin!"
Dialogue Triumphs: "Civilisations based on slavery rarely stand the test of time".
Continuity: Ninety-eight percent of Coralee's surface is covered with water. The only land consists of a necklace of islands strung along the planet's equator. There are no natural predators on the planet. There are a few primitive cetacean life forms native to Coralee, as well as giant Ramora eels. Coralee has two suns and several moons. Its rings used to be a moon. Legends about Coralee have spread as far out as the Cachalot system and speak of an indigenous population amongst the most warlike that the galaxy has ever seen: they achieved space flight, had a religion, and recorded much of their history in the form of hieroglyphs in their cities. They apparently vanished virtually overnight, due to the savage Krill. There are ruined cities all over the ocean beds of Coralee.
The Krill are aquatic and vaguely humanoid, with webbed feet, rows of razor-teeth, pale bluish-grey glistening skin, and shell-like talons. They can withstand enormous damage to almost any part of their bodies, since other parts take over the function. If a Krill is mortally wounded, it can return to its larval stage to heal itself. The Krill were genetically engineered as a living weapon by the original inhabitants of Coralee. They fired Krill eggs at the planets of their enemies, where the Krill laid waste to their worlds. The Krill eggs are virtually indestructible, able to withstand extreme cold and the heat of atmospheric re-entry. They feed and thrive on radiation. Their creators devised a biogenic weapon to destroy the Krill, but weren't quick enough to use it and were wiped out by their own creations. The weapon is specific to the Krill and reduces them to puddles of slime.
Cetacean lifeforms (dolphins and whales) comprise nearly a quarter of the population of Earth's [ocean] colonies. They are fitted with translators that allow them to talk to humans, who taught them to speak. They use spider-like exoskeletons with pincers to move about on land. They are an incredibly quarrelsome species, with over three hundred words for offending each others' immediate family members.
The Cythosi are squat muscular humanoids approximately seven feet tall, with thick hide-like grey-green skin with pronounced bony ridges. They keep humanoid slaves, but dislike looking at them as they consider them to be aesthetically displeasing. The Cythosi are notoriously brutal and often kill their slaves on a whim or in response to some imagined slight. They eat the bodies of their slaves. Their ships are designed along purely functional lines. They use service robots on their ships, which have optional hostility settings meaning they will attack any living thing, including the crew. The Cythosi developed personal morphing generators long ago and have based some of their technology on that of other species. They are at war with the Zithra and want the Krill to use as a weapon against them. The Cythosi never abandon their ships and therefore do not build them with evacuation in mind.
Dreekans are four-armed bipeds found on many of the ocean worlds. They are excellent swimmers. Dreekan Voodoo is a cult that arose on their own planet and nearly wrecked its economy, since the cult encouraged a drug culture that at one point resulted in nearly three billion addicts. Dreekan Voodoo cultists have a legend of a Messiah known as the Treeka'dwra.
Other species on Coralee include Chimerons (Delta and the Bannermen), Metalunans, Martians, and Alpha Centaurians (The Curse of Peladon, The Monster of Peladon).
The Doctor has a kite in the TARDIS, which he trades with a boy on Coralee in exchange for an unusual shell. He builds a sandcastle in the shape of the City of the Exxilons (Death to the Daleks). He stimulates the silica in the sand to make it light-emitting. His pockets contain an eyeglass, a toffee apple, scissors, glue, a penknife, and a datapad. When he suggests that he and Ace check into a hotel on Coralee to give themselves a proper holiday, he takes only a small Gladstone bag. He claims that he was renowned for his sartorial elegance on Gallifrey. He pays for his and Ace's accommodation using a scarab credit card [possibly the mobile currency seen in Battlefield]. He has a UNIT pass with a photograph of his current incarnation, at the Brigadier's insistence (Battlefield). He creates a fake ID card for himself under the alias of Dr. John Smith, senior investigator for InterOceanic. He orders a Kwanga juice.
Ace dons a swimsuit and large t-shirt when she first arrives on Coralee. She later changes into cycling shorts and vest top and packs a bulging suitcase of clothes for the hotel. She wears sunglasses. At one point she wears a blue and green silk dress. She listens to her Courtney Pine cassette (Silver Nemesis). She still has a scar on her neck from when the Doctor tried to kill her (Matrix). She may have visited the Greek Islands. Ace used to live in a flat with her mum.
Links: Ace recalls the Blitz (Illegal Alien). The Doctor mentions Tegan. The Braxiatel Trust is planning to hold a conference on Coralee. The Doctor shudders at a mention of Ragnarok (The Greatest Show in the Galaxy). There are references to Androgums (The Two Doctors), Iceworld (Dragonfire), and Excalibur (Battlefield).
Location: Coralee, [c4260 according to Lance Parkin's AHistory].
Future History: On Earth, the oceans are hopelessly polluted, as a result of which the Cetacean life forms have all been shipped to settlements near the poles. There is a New Oslo on Earth. London hasn't existed for five hundred years.
OMC and InterOceanic are corporations involved in terraforming. Hobson's World in the Cerelis cluster has recently been terraformed, as has Kandalinga. Coralee was colonised four years prior to events here. The colonisation of Coralee was orchestrated by a Cythosi agent disguised as human engineer Phillip Garrett, working for Cythosi High Command as part of a plan to gain control of the Krill.
Edwin Bryce is the other of Androgum Cookery for Novices: How to Master the Boomerang Spoon, and is currently writing Walking the Final Frontier: The Travels of Edwin Bryce.
Guldarian farming drones are used on outposts along the Brago Nebula.
The Bottom Line: "The Krill are the embodiment of mindless, destructive fury, Doctor. They are rage. Pure rage." Workmanlike, with Perry and Tucker again capturing the performances and Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred surprisingly well. As a base-under-siege/monster story, it makes fine use of the Krill, but the Cythosi are utterly forgettable and it would have worked far better as a script than it does as a novel.