The Wheel of Ice

Roots: There are references to The Simpsons (“Cowabunga!”), Charles Dickens, Logie Baird, The Beatles, Morecambe and Wise, Volkswagen Dragonflys, and Einstein.

Goofs: The Doctor explains to Zoe about static electricity, mirrors and Daleks here, but she should already know that as she watched the repeat of The Evil of the Daleks at the end of The Wheel in Space.

Continuity: Arkive is an alien Artificial Intelligence containing the surviving records of the planet Home, which was destroyed by an exploding star, creating Earth’s Solar System in the process. Arkive was damaged and became trapped in the ice moon Mnemosyne. She creates the Blue Dolls: artificial, blue humanoids modelled on female human toddler Casey Laws. She later creates the Blue Soldiers, which are adult sized blue plastic constructs. The Blue Dolls ultimately gain sentience.

Allohistorical lures can be sent back in time to manipulate history. The Time Lords consider them to be unethical.

Titan-sharks live in the hydrocarbon seas on Titan: they resemble Earth sharks.

The Kystra were alien traders whose civilisation reached its era of Embodiment five or six billion years earlier.

The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe all don spacesuits here. They eat on board the Mnemosyne Cincture. The Doctor sleeps here. He claims to have already seen some evidence that some Silurians survived (see The Silurians). His pockets contain a piece of yellow chalk.

Jamie plays the string instrument that Sam made and later plays a set of bagpipes. He used to skim stones on Loch Tay. He has caught a salmon in a Scottish lake. He can’t swim.

Zoe is reading Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, which she borrowed from the TARDIS library. She gives Phee Laws a jumpsuit.

The TARDIS can detect Relative Continuum Displacement Zones. It can also detect Pedleron Particles, which indicate that an object has travelled through time. The TARDIS has an automated defence system, which is currently disabled. The TARDIS’ translation system is a database of all known galactic languages and their families.

The Talsiccian Family is a group of languages that is very ancient and almost extinct.

Links: There are various references to The Wheel in Space, including mentions of Bernalium and the Pull Back to Earth movement. Spaceships mentioned here included Eldred ion-jet scows (The Seeds of Death), old British Mars probes (The Ambassadors of Death) and Demeter rockets armed with Z-bombs (The Tenth Planet). The Doctor notes that he has been a museum exhibit (The Space Museum). He tells Jamie that people will one day be able to live in warmth and light on Pluto (The Sun Makers). Jamie recalls fighting Yeti in Tibet (The Abominable Snowmen), and visiting the Moon (The Moonbase) and the Land of Fiction (The Mind Robber – Zoe also mentions the Karkus). There are references to Li H’sen Chang (The Talons of Weng-Chiang), Cranleigh’s Black Orchid (Black Orchid), Victoria, the Great Vampires (State of Decay), and T-mat (The Seeds of Death). The Doctor mentions Taranium and the Daleks’ Time Destructor (The Daleks’ Master Plan).

Location: The Mnemosyne Cincture, Mnemosyne, Enceladus, and Titan, in orbit around Saturn, [the late twenty-first century]; London, 1890; England, 14th July 1930 and the nineteen-sixties; Home, circa five billion years BC.

Future History: MMAC (Malenfant-IntelligeX Modular Autonomous Component) is an artificial intelligence housed in a robot body. International Space Command is based in Geneva and has full access to UNIT’s records. The Planetary Ethics Committee monitors moral behaviour on space stations. Bootstrap, Inc is a mining consortium which built the Mnemosyne Cincture to mine Bernalium. It is the very first mining colony in orbit around Saturn. There are methane extraction plants on Titan.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor once had a caravan holiday in Wales. He met the founder of Bootstrap, Inc. He rides a scooter. He can ride a horse. He has met Jonathan Swift. He claims to have visited Roswell in 1947. He has met Walter Scott.

The Bottom Line: Well written, hard sci-fi, with plenty of fanwank to keep the hardcore fan entertained. Baxter’s characterisation of the regulars is excellent and the plot rattles along in a very satisfying manner.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke

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