Last of the Gaderene

Roots: Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Night of the Living Dead (the army of converted humans marching on the village). Gatiss mentions Blue Peter in his foreword. The novel pays homage to Terrance Dicks' Doctor Who novelisations, with descriptions of Jo as a very small, very pretty girl and chapter titles including Escape to Danger. The Doctor's I'm not local is probably a nod to Gatiss' The League of Gentlemen. The novel opens with a quotation from the Bible (Mark 5:8). There are references to Vera Lynn's White Cliffs of Dover, Alice Fey, Winston Churchill, Fidel Castro, Snow White, Annie Get Your Gun, Raleigh bicycles, Whistler's Mother, Betty Grable, Laurel and Hardy, Little Bo Peep, the newspaper Horse and Hound, Burke and Hare, Greek Mythology (Cerberus and Hades), and a Newton's Cradle.

Dialogue Disasters: The chapter title 'Fate Worse Than Death' Groan!

Dialogue Triumphs: 'You won't get far trying to take over the world if you're stranded on the runway of an East Anglian aerodrome.'

Continuity: The Gaderene are small, white, spindly arthropods with semi-transparent shells described as a cross between a crab and a worm. They have large, dark eyes. Xanthos has three moons, a burnt orange sky and dense jungles. The inhabitants are small and thin with dome-shaped heads and yellow, almond shaped eyes. Humans possessed (or converted) by Gaderene embryos have their personalities suppressed, making them virtually impossible to hypnotize. The Gaderene establish the aeronautical company Legion International to provide them with cover whilst on Earth. They travel through space by matter transference, but without a complete set of matter transference encoders only the embryos, not the adults, can travel safely because the embryos are virtually mindless. Embryo converted humans can be used for menial tasks and brute force, but are incapable of more sophisticated control of their hosts. Two embryos landed on Earth thirty years earlier and marked it for colonization; they then lost contact with their home planet until the Master intervened and put Bliss back in touch. After inhabiting a human host for thirty years, the Doctor hypothesizes that Bliss's human body is now actually a part of her. The home planet of the Gaderene is dying for reasons unspecified. There is a group of Gaderene called the Apothecaries that tend the other Gaderene whilst they are in stasis and oversee the attempted transference to Earth; they pledged to remain behind on their planet and witness the end. Twelve elders rule the Gaderene.

The Master adopts the alias Inspector Le Maitre. The Master recalls falling out with the Doctor at the Academy as a result of the Master not keeping his word about something. In return for helping the Gaderene, the Master is promised the chance to witness the destruction of the human race. He sustains an injury to his hand from a machine gun bullet. He claims he's better at play-acting than the Doctor.

The Doctor mixes fertilizer and iron filings to make bombs that produce nitrous oxide.

When Jo was a child, her bedroom was a sizeable room on the second floor of her parents' house, which abutted her parents room.

RAF Wing Commander Alec Whistler is an old wartime friend of the Brigadier.

Links: This story probably after Dancing the Code, Speed of Flight, and Catastrophea]. Jo mentions Metebelis Three (see The Green Death), which the Doctor has mentioned to her but failed to get her to. The Doctor recalls helping UNIT defeat Axons (The Claws of Axos), Dæmons (The Daemons), Daleks (Day of the Daleks) and Omega (The Three Doctors). There is a reference to the Peace Conferences from The Mind of Evil and Day of the Daleks.

Location: UNIT HQ [late summer 1971]; Culverton, East Anglia, during World War Two and 1971; Xanthos [date unknown].

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor spends one or two weeks on Xanthos, eventually being imprisoned by Lord High General Gogon when he tries to interfere in local affairs. He has flown a Spitfire in the year 2154.

The Bottom Line: The Pertwee era by numbers, it would be more surprising if the Master didn't turn up in Last of the Gaderene. Appreciation of the obvious homage to Terrance Dicks depends largely on one's opinion of Dicks Target Novelisations, but on the whole Gatiss' knack for characterisation makes this an enjoyably nostalgic romp.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke
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