Another Life

Roots: Predator (the appearance of the Bruydac). There are references to Tango, Big Issue, Gene Pitney, Tesco, Vectra, Cinderella, Snow Patrol's "Chasing cars", Colgate, Star Trek, Tolkien, The Lancet, Christian Malcolm, EastEnders, the Michelin Man, Sainsbury's, Sunday Worship, Radio 4, Men's Health, Radio Times, Pedigree Chum, the Keystone Cops, M. C. Escher, Wrangler, British Medical Journal, the Guardian, Inspector Clouseau, Ikea, Waitrose, Teletubbies, David Bailey, the Incredible Hulk, The X-Files, Trisha, Skoda, Alanis Morissette, AutoCar, OK!, Match of the Day, David Blaine, and the Beatles' "Maxwell's Silver Hammer".

Continuity: The Bruydac is seven-feet tall, bipedal and binocular with a ridge of bony protrusions running back over its skull from the bridge of its nose. It has thin arms that end in long, thick, dirty claws, and a gash-like mouth at the bottom of its flat face. The Bruydac warrior's ship contains equipment for implanting control devices into the spines of humans: the warrior can transfer its mind into any human fitted with a device, although apparently only one at a time. Jack kills the warrior by firing a harpoon through its immobilised physical form and then getting Gwen to drown him to death whilst it possesses him, giving it nowhere else to go. Bruydac is apparently the name of its home planet. Humans possessed by the Bruydac develop a spinal-fluid deficit, causing them to murder other people and drink their spinal fluid. The creatures produced by humans controlled by the Bruydac resemble starfish: one of them grows to enormous size and fills a bathtub. It has several long, coarse-skinned arms, and a central mouth in its body that extrudes a proboscis-like tube. The creatures limbs secrete digestive fluid that can burn through leather.

Weevils are usually dressed in "half-clothing" when they first come through the Rift.

Torchwood doesn't know where the Bekaran come from. Owen describes them as ugly. Toshiko found Owen's Bekaran scanner on eBay whilst browsing for shoes.

Jack orders still water in Casa Celi. His favourite boots are a standard issue pair for non-jumping personnel, with ankle-bracing, leather soles, and instep support: the sole of one gets eaten through here when he steps on one of the starfish creatures. Presumably in order to try and find the Doctor, Jack has recently asked Toshiko to do a search for UK hospital examinations and autopsies referring to binary vascular systems. He suffers arm wounds from the creature's digestive juices. His wounds tend to heal within half an hour: he once put a shirt back on over a knife wound and had to have the material cut out again. He has started wearing a new watch, which is an American military watch from the 1940s, waterproof, with a twenty-four hour display. His RAF cap was made by Tranter the Hatter in Jermyn Street, St. James, during the war. He has several identical blue cotton shirts. He was once given lessons in piloting a Bruydac battle cruiser. He gets a Bruydac control device implanted in his spine and is controlled by the alien until he drowns to death and it dies. He notes that 2146 was a bad year for him [was he on Earth? See The Dalek Invasion of Earth].

Although he hasn't specifically asked her to, Gwen has kept Jack's inability to die a secret from the other team members. She feels that she has yet to figure Ianto out. Gwen orders lemonade with ice and lemon in Casa Celi. It is a "couple of months" since Gwen first became aware of Torchwood. Jimmy "Mitch" Mitchell is a former colleague of Gwen's. Inspector Morrison was one of her superiors. She never attended an autopsy until she joined Torchwood: she refused to give Owen the satisfaction of looking squeamish at the time, but ended up throwing up at home that night. She likes driving the SUV. She gets a cut above her hairline here.

When Owen first joined Torchwood he found everything so alien that he drove home and threw up every night for eight nights. Owen once found a bream in the Hub's water basin and cooked it in the Hub's kitchen, briefly earning him the nickname "Harry Ramsden". He has recently been playing the virtual reality computer game Second Reality. He uses the avatar Glendower Broadsword, but doesn't realise that Broadsword is a female character until Tosh points it out to him. He recently installed some arcade games in the Hub, including Zombie Death, Asteroids, and a pinball machine themed around Bat Out of Hell. Owen recently bought a Boxter, but really wants a Honda $2000 GT. He once visited the Cardiff Bay Wetlands Reserve with an ex-girlfriend. Owen gets a Bruydac control device inserted into his spine and is possessed by the alien until he is knocked out and it flees into Jack's body: apparently because he is unconscious, it cannot flee back into him when Jack dies. The implant burns out when the Bruydac Warrior dies. Owen drinks Coke in Casa Celi.

Dr Megan Tegg is Owen's old girlfriend: he walked out on her in London six years earlier when she wanted to get married. She has recently moved to Whitchurch in Cardiff. She and Owen used to have kebab-throwing competitions in Woodrow Road. They lived together in a flat in Balham. They bought Hawaiian Seductions in the Kington Club. They first slept together at the college ball. Owen knows very little about wine: Megan tried to teach him to become an oenophile. Owen claimed that he wanted to travel, after he met a girl named Esther from New Zealand, which he and Megan discussed one August bank holiday in Hyde Park: Owen used it as an excuse to break up with her, but only moved as far as Sidcup. Owen tries to recruit Megan into Torchwood, but she ends up being possessed the Bruydac and falls to her death from a partially-completed tower block.

Toshiko keeps a Rubik's cube on her desk that she can complete in less than a minute: Owen keeps messing it up to try and annoy her, but she always completes it again every time. Tosh improves the Second Reality software interface, making the VR environment vastly more realistic when Owen uses it.

Ianto lives in Radyr. Lisa (Cyberwoman) used to go for pub lunches with her friend Trish: afterwards Ianto could always tell if she had been smoking because he could smell it on her hair.

The Bayside entrance to the Torchwood Hub is disguised as a tourist information centre. The Hub was based on rebuilding existing underground vaults from Victorian times. Torchwood has a small submersible.

Rhys has Matrix Reloaded on DVD. Gwen bought him the complete The Prisoner on DVD for his birthday. He works with a man named Barry, and a woman named Lucy who has been telling him about a new diet theory (see Slow Decay). He sometimes drinks with a friend named Dutch Arthur at Dempsey's.

Links: Boom Town (The Blaidd Dawg nuclear research facility). The first three Torchwood novels take place between Ghost Machine and Cyberwoman. Jack's inability to die was first revealed in Everything Changes. The Weevils first appeared in Everything Changes. Operation Goldenrod was first mentioned in Border Princes, as was Owen's Bekaran deep-tissue scanner. Ianto briefly panics when Owen mentions cybersex (Cyberwoman). There is a reference to UNIT. Gwen recalls the meteorite crash (Day One). The Torchwood Autopsy Room contains an enterotome made of duralinium (Colony in Space).

Location: Cardiff, late 2007.

Unrecorded Adventures: Jack took the team to Casa Celi café after dealing an alien Cyclops in Pontprennau. The team trashed a robot in Pontypridd. They trapped an alien radiance sprite in a mirrored box a few weeks ago. Since Gwen joined, they have dug up fragments of an alien transportation shell in the foundations of a new supermarket [which is possibly a reference to Greeks Bearing Gifts, if the first scene featuring the regulars in that story takes place some time before the rest of it].

The Bottom Line: Some interesting (and much needed) character development for Owen, but the padded plot makes Another Life the weakest of the first three Torchwood novels. The Bruydac isn't terribly interesting and the virtual reality subplot feels like very old hat.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke

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