The Infinity Race
Roots: There are references to Kate Winslet, Florence Nightingale, Dracula, James Bond, Flash Gordon, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Batman, Harrods, Asda, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, Boris Karloff, Monty Python, Manchester United, Cheers, and The Wizard of Oz. Fitz is familiar with Alien [he's seen it in the TARDIS cinema].
Continuity: Sabbath left the boat on the TARDIS console at the end of Time Zero, knowing that he might need to enlist the Doctor's help. The Doctor notes that he doesn't know how Sabbath got into the TARDIS (see Camera Obscura). Sabbath adopts the alias Count Toriman de Vries of the House of de Vries in order to enter the Regatta. He smokes cigars. A ring on the middle finger of his left hand controls a transmat device. The Jonah is part sentient and cannot run its engines indefinitely without going mad. The Jonah contains apparatus for restraining unwanted guests by dropping black tubes from the ceiling to ensnare them; Sabbath activates this mechanism by commanding, restrain. Sabbath plans to use the infinity controlling forces on Selonart to streamline the universe into a single timeline (see Time Zero). He is captured by the vengeful Warlocks and taken to Demigest, where he is tortured, but he appears to escape when the Doctor disposes of the Warlocks.
Early on during earth's interstellar expansion, a human colony ship landed on Demigest; shortly afterwards, contact as lost and a second ship sent out to the colony. A single survivor of the second expedition, Trudeau, fled in an escape pod, knowing that he couldn't survive but desperate to warn Earth of what he had found. He recorded an oral log, which was later transcribed into a book, The Black Book of Demigest. Demigest is a primal planet, where space and time never established order, described by the Doctor as a stagnant pool full of primeval universal forces, an elemental cancer, sentient perhaps, soaked into the bines of the planet. The original colonists were infected by this force and transformed into the Warlocks of Demigest, undead ghouls with various powers, including the ability to change size, and superhuman speed and strength. Their arcane knowledge is able to allow Sabbath to survive being killed, and to theoretically allow him to control the Infinity forces unleashed on Selonart (although Fitz disposes of one by trapping it in the infinity effects of the timebergs). The Warlocks can survive nuclear explosions. The Empire quarantined the Demigest system. Following the events on Selonart, the Doctor travels to Demigest and gives the Warlocks a box containing the infinity effect, forcing them to change and effectively destroying them.
The original inhabitants of Selonart discovered a way to enter infinity, becoming one with the universe, and transformed their planet into a mechanism for doing just that. They left the planet as a gift, arranging for any future inhabitants to be genetically engineered by exposure to the planet so that their physiology is altered, preparing them to enter infinity also. The timebergs produced by the oceans of Selonart are a means of bridging the past and the future and between space and time. The Selonart natives are actually human colonists, genetically altered by their time spent on Selonart; this change takes two or three generations, with the third-jen Bloom the most transformed. The Selonarts have square heads, earning them the derogatory nickname blockheads from human visitors. Selonart is entirely covered with water, except for two cylindrical stone towers on which the colonists built their towns; these are known as alpha marina and beta marina. They are actually antenna, the fossilised remains of previous timebergs used by the original inhabitants to entire infinity. Selonart no longer has any native life, although the human colonists imported insects. Attempts to introduce marine species from Earth into the oceans failed (see Goofs). The water on Selonart possesses unusual properties; once its molecules are disturbed, they release a type of null force that reduces drag and inertia.
The Doctor dislikes diving because he doesn't like the constriction of being cocooned in a diving suit. He knows the legends of Demigest, although he has never read The Black Book of Demigest.
Links: Sabbath met Banard in orbit around Proxima II (from The Face Eater). The Doctor doesn't carry aspirin in the TARDIS (The Mind of Evil [sort of - the painkiller in that story that he claims might kill him is never actually identified]. The Doctor uncomfortably recalls Sabbath taking his heart out (The Adventuress of Henrietta Street).
Location: London, Demigest and Selonart [post-2982 - an Emperor rules the Empire, numerous colonies have declared independence, and Earth appears to have been re-terraformed. (See So Vile a Sin].)
Future History: Human colonists first landed on Selonart seventy years earlier. The Empire has quarantined Demigest, and access is forbidden to all but the Empire's inner core of Galactic Cartographers. The extra-planetary class submarine Gallant has been used in the deep-water croesium mines of Balax 3 and in a lightning raid on the sub-marine temple complex of Amphi-Khalesh, a planet inhabited by genetically altered water-breathers. The surface of Mars is devoid of water [which contradicts Beige Planet Mars]. There was recently a civil war on Cygnus, when the warring rebels had nuked their own seas rather than giving up their plesiosaur farms. The Greer colonies are part of the Empire, as is Proxima Centauri.
In the alternate time line caused by the events of Time Zero, after Sabbath left the Service (The Adventuress of Henrietta Street), the secret society spent the centuries trying to track him down with the intention of assassinating him. According to their legends, Sabbath became humanity's final enemy when he claimed I will end history. They have been mapping appearances by Sabbath and the Doctor throughout this period, especially during the invasion-heavy late twentieth century. Major Kallison is shown a top-secret file containing photographs of all of the Doctor's past incarnations. This secret society never formed in the original time line. The Doctor claims that the events on Selonart shake up the time lines, restoring things to normal. Major Kallison officially works for the Imperial Security Service (ISS), of which the service is presumably a part (see The Adventuress of Henrietta Street).
The Trans-Global Selonart Regatta takes place every five Earth years. Entrants in the fourteenth Trans-Global Selonart Regatta, who largely represent political groups of humans within or outside the Empire, include the Mikron Conglomerates, the Western Hub consortium, the Bronstein Union of Socialist Systems, and the Proudhon confederation.
Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor helped crew a yacht during one of the early Trans-Global Selonart Regattas.
The Bottom Line: After the recent strong run of novels, the mediocre The Infinity Race is a considerable disappointment, particularly given Messingham's previous Zeta Major and The Tomb of Valdemar. The first person narrative is undermined by poor characterisation of both Fitz and Anji, and the supporting characters are utterly forgettable.