Drift

Roots: The X-Files. There are references to Noah's Ark, Creedence Clearwater Revival's Lodi, the Mary Celeste, GI Jane, Wild Turkey whiskey, Casablanca, James Bond, The Omega Man, Doctor Zhivago, The Invisible Man, Lord of the Rings, Chuck Norris, The Silver Surfer, Twinkies, Jack and Jill, The Waltons, the Oscars, Wile E. Coyote, Laurel and Hardy, Predator, Shakespeare, Jack Daniels, General Custer, and Moby Dick.

Dialogue Triumphs: 'That's the nature of uncovering the truth. It's like condensation on a mirror. Wipe it away and you're stuck with your reflection whether you like it or not.'

Continuity: The alien ice creature is extra-dimensional in origin and has a crystalline form. The Stormcore brought the creature to Earth, where it became trapped and alone. It is not sentient but self-aware and motivated, and is trying to reach out to humans in search of intelligence to control its raw emotion, but destroys them on contact. It can control ice and use it to increase its mass. It is vulnerable to heat. The creature can infect humans and devour them [by freezing their tissues and restructuring the ice crystals into its own form]. Alcohol is protective against it, as it depresses the freezing point of the body. It cannot detect low levels of heat and is inert in liquid form. The alien creature is attracted to the TARDIS, and is able to jam the Doctor's telepathic link to the TARDIS. The Doctor eventually traps it in a lake to render it inert, and uses electrolysis to separate its own crystals from the ice crystals, to form one large inert crystal.

Parker and Melody are humanoid aliens. They have been stranded on Earth since at least the early 1960s, by the loss of the Dimensional Phase Multiplexer of their ship after the US military shot it down. The CIA, who designated it Prism, captured the drive. The Prism was redesignated Stormcore during the 1970s. They joined the CIA and have been searching for either the Stormcore or another way off Earth ever since. They knew of the Doctor during his exile, and deduced that he was not on Earth by choice. Their eyesight is better than a human's.

The Doctor has ridden the London tube during rush hour and considers it to be filthy and cramped. He thinks that he must have driven a snowmobile in a previous life [his third incarnation] but realises that in fact he hasn't. His blood can be safely transfused into humans. He drinks twelve single malt Scotches with water to protect himself from infection by the creature. He notes that he is usually prefers ginger pop (see The Android Invasion). He can purge the alcohol from his system at will.

Leela has never seen snow before. She wears furs from the TARDIS wardrobe. An old feast-fire story of the Sevateem tells of a mighty hero who sought to find away around the Tesh's barrier (The Face of Evil), and tried to walk around it, keeping it always to the right; they passed through grasslands with herds of wild beasts, and eventually reached an icy wasteland and gave up, returning home. The hero refused to eat on the return journey, giving his ration to the others and asking for their forgiveness he died before they got back. Leela has used nets to trap large grazers in the forests, the armour plating of which makes them safe from crossbows and spears.

The CIA (or at least Parker and Melody) owns a graviton distortion sensor, which the Doctor is able to use as an imprecise detector of the TARDIS.

White Shadow knows of UNIT and the Doctor, as do the CIA (The Devil Goblins from Neptune).

Links: There are references to Neeva and Horda (The Face of Evil), the Sandminer and Vocs (The Robots of Death)

Location: Melvin Village, New Hampshire, the USA.

The Bottom Line: A solid first novel from Forward, which focuses primarily on characterisation, to great effect. Leela's first encounter with snow is well handled, and both she and the Doctor are captured expertly.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke
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