Another Girl, Another Planet
Roots: There are references to the Verve, Pachelbel, Casablanca, Al Capone, Chanel, Laurel and Hardy, The Epic of Gilgamesh, It's a Wonderful Life, and Mark Twain ("rumours of death").
Continuity: Dimetos is a human colony and has been terraformed. Parts of the planet are geologically unstable. The capital city is called Dimetos City. The planet was originally a mining colony owned by Eurogen Butler Corporation (Cat's Cradle: Warhead, Deceit, Seeing I). When the indigenous population refused to leave for religious reasons, Eurogen Butler decided on a policy of genocide, wiping them out and covering up the fact that they had ever existed. The Dimetans were very strong and resilient, but very susceptible to even minor stun weapons. Karl Csoker, real name Assan, is the last survivor. He has spent many years working for the Bantu Cooperative, who have been experimenting on him, turning him into a shape-shifter and assassin by augmenting him with nanocules. His people had a built-in ability to manipulate their morphic fields, allowing them to change their shape - this allows Csoker to control the nanocule augmentation. They tried to erase his original identity, but it reasserts itself when he sees Lizbeth Fugard, who resembles a long-dead lover.
The Thuban Zone is a conglomeration of many worlds and cultures. It practices large-scale engineering of its stellar system and recently towed the planet Giausar into Thuban space. According to legend, a creature called the Shiga wiped out the Narayayans of Thuba Castelani: the story is the earliest record of Thuban story-making and is contained in the Shahinitarazad Codex from the pre-Aludrai period of early Thuban culture. The Bantu Cooperative believe that the Shiga exists and would make a perfect weapon.
The Jauzans are from Jauza and have recently developed morphic field technology, which they plan to sell. The Bantu Cooperative are acting as intermediaries for them.
Benny started corresponding with Lizbeth Fugard some months previously; they haven't met before until Benny arrives on Dimetos. She gets drunk at Dr Follett's party. She has written a paper entitled Propaganda and Myth, which mentions Robin Hood. She eats a sushi starter made from Alphan rice pods, followed by a Cardellan curry in the Caledonian style whilst in Dimetos City. She has a South Park t-shirt that she didn't know about. Her body is infected with nanocules with a limited lifespan in order to allow her to pilot the Bantu scarab.
Lizbeth Fugard studied ancient civilisations, and wrote a paper on the ancient civilisation on Sekka. Before she met Bernice, she changed her field to industrial archaeology. Unbeknown to Bernice, she did an advanced research thesis at St Oscar's five years earlier.
One of Bernice's tutees is from Tivo, where geometrical shapes have the same cultural resonance as cartoon hearts on Earth.
The Grosvenor Datanetwork is based at Caph Beta IV. Archaeological digs are unnecessary on Kaus Nunki IV, because the Kausians have such complete records throughout their entire history that there are no new facts to discover. There is a spider-faced waiter on Dimetos. Homam is a sapien-Arabic/Denebolan hybrid with retractable stabbing fangs and a jaw that he can dislocate at will. The natives of Mirach have red heads. Jeeerahh is a very rare fruit that is gustatorily hallucinogenic, tasting of whatever the eater wants it to.
Links: There is a reference to Johnny Chess (Timewyrm: Revelation, Byzantium!, The King of Terror). The People are mentioned (The Also People, Down, Walking to Babylon). Benny recalls being tortured by Oscar Steinmann (Just War).
Location: Dellah and Dimetos, 2598.
Future History: Eurogen Butler colonised Dimetos in 2142; it became one of their infamous factory planets. Jebusk and aragonite (The Space Pirates) were mined on Dimetos. In 2147 a pit shaft on the southern continent collapsed, killing between one hundred and two hundred and fifty miners: Eurogen Butler made the area safe with polystene, entombing the victims in the process. Their callous attitude allegedly provoked a riot and general strike in 2149, which was ruthlessly quelled. Eurogen Butler left Dimetos in 2151; a voluntary group of miners and officials remained behind to build a proper colony.
The Bantu Cooperative arose out of the Bantu Independence Group, which formed as early as 2011 with a political movement in Africa. BIG existed as a small holding company in 2044 and in 2067, Olle Ahlin become CEO and set about expanding the group. He died in 2099, but which time BIG had become an organisation of imperialist colonists, sending ships out into space. The BIG became the Bantu Cooperative and spent the 2200s out of contact with Earth, colonising a swathe of the galaxy that Earth was unlikely to be interested in. By 2397, the Cooperative had its first non-human leader, Emah-ji-ji-Ke-gege. The Bantu worlds flourished until it was defeated in a war with an unknown aggressor in 2511; it re-emerged as a purely commercial body in 2543.
Music mentioned includes Relik and Pashar opera.
Unrecorded Adventures: Bernice once visited the holiday planet Alnasl with a young woman named Zavijava Akubens, where she went swimming.
The Bottom Line: Having gone to great lengths to tell us how dull Dimetos and industrial archaeology are, Day and Beech unwisely decide to show us, with a mediocre thriller containing a dash of vague and irritating mythologising thrown in. A huge disappointment, especially after the mind-boggling The Sword of Forever.