Roots: Werewolf stories. HALF are inspired by animal rights activists and direct-action campaigners. One of the worlds of the Chronos system is called Trantor, which is the name of a planet in Isaac Asimov's Foundation series. The idea of the TARDIS returning to the same place to continue the adventure comes from The Ark. There are references to Lindt chocolate, Disneyland, Babylon 5, Alice in Wonderland, Swan Vestas, the Titanic, Manhattan, Thunderbirds, Neighbours, the Sydney Opera House, Panorama, Sir David Attenborough, The Bill, Prime Suspect, Gordon the gopher, Batman, Woolworths, Panorama, Duplo, Gandhi, and Lord Cardigan. The Doctor's everlasting matches first appeared in David Whitaker's novelisation Dr. Who in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks.
Goofs: Given that the Doctor and Sam are clearly not where he intended to be, why is the Doctor so sure that he's landed on Kursaal before it was built rather than on a completely different planet?
The Doctor's account of his lessons for the Mars-Venus Shuttle Flight don't make sense. Firstly, he says that he forgot that Uranus spins on its side when Uranus is nowhere near any sensible route between Mars and Venus. [The training takes place further out in the solar system, away from the traffic-heavy space around Mars, Earth and Venus]. Secondly, having said that he had paid for ten monthly lessons, he remembers his instructor telling him "same time next week, Doctor?"
Sam's eyes change from being blue to being green back to being blue, though this could be a side-effect of the Jax virus.
The Jax apparently waited for humanoid life to return to Saturnia Regna before coming back to life. However, the book establishes that there were humanoid inhabitants of the planet before Kursaal was brought up by the Gray Corporation.
The Doctor is described as being tall, which is not an accurate description of Paul McGann.
Technobabble: Medium-range quadrodatum compression on a tightly focused premium-subspace frequency.
Dialogue Disasters: Sam swears: "Gordon Christ!" and then she apologises about her language, which is particularly odd because she later thinks a proper swear word.
'Double poo with extra poo on top.'
Dialogue Triumphs: Cockaigne: 'I hope you don't live to regret it.'
The Doctor: 'If I live, then I will have nothing to regret.'
Continuity: Gray Corporation, owned by Maximilian Gray, owns the planet Saturnia Regna and several other planets in the Chronus system. Graycorp and heads a consortium of major Chronus financial houses who want to convert the planet into Kursaal, a Class Two leisure world. The brochure for Kursaal calls it Kursaal, the Pleasure Planet of a Thousand Worlds. The corporation legally bought up the planet from the local subsistence farmer colonists. The original plan was to divide the planet into sections, each one based on a different culture from the Chronus System. These include an ice world; a technological city block; a desert world full of nomadic dwellings; a sea world; plantations stripped from Cenima; a patch of Golden Desert taken from Apang; jungle from Chawaran; and a section where all the water was drained from the northern-hemisphere lakes on Trantor in order to get the chemical balance right. For its first few years, it struggled because of huge development debts. However, it was then scaled down designed around a series of white-knuckle space rides and themed leisure holidays. Attractions include the WaterPark, the ActionPark, the SportsPark, ZooPark (which contains the Jax Drones), FestivalPark, and the ThemePark. The ThemePark is based around the cultures of the Chronus system including a ride telling the history of the Jax. There are foxes [brought from Earth] on several planets in the Cronus system, but they are gradually being hunted to extinction.
HALF, which stands for Helping All Life Forms are a protest group who have been disrupting and sabotaging Gray Corp's work on Saturnia Regna for three years because they want the planet's native life forms preserved. They have lots of non-humanoid members, including piscines, reptilians, fish, monopodes, a Brascan hermaphrodite and several Ermorgans. They have recently murdered several InterPlanetary Media staff.
The Jax are a legendary race of the Chronus system who are believed to have died out over a thousand years ago. They were, in fact, a virus that injects enzymes to convert another life form into a Jax. Humanoids infected by the Jax virus came to Saturnia Regna and built "the cathedral" on the planet, complete with a visual information system. The humanoids were killed off by wolf-like creatures native to the planet, who became carriers of the Jax virus - turning into werewolf-like humanoids. They went into hibernation until humanoids returned. Regna became their homeworld: they were worshipped by the other species in the Cronus system, who they eventually transformed into Jax. They are capable of reproduction only by infecting other humanoid life-forms. Moonlight acts as a catalyst for the transformation and makes it permanent. The were thought to have existed on fourteen planets in the Cronus system and apparently died out over a thousand years earlier. They are bipedal, with wolf-like heads and opposable thumbs and had a technologically advanced society, evidence of which has survived throughout the Cronus system. They have been hibernating beneath the surface of Saturnia Regna for a thousand years, until the colonists arrive and give them fresh humanoids to infect. When a corpse is infected with the Jax virus, it begins to transform into a mindless, savage Jax-like drone. When a living being is infected, the transformation requires moonlight in order to take full effect. In addition to the Drones there is a Pack Leader, who does all the thinking. Left for long enough without a pack leader, the Drones will become real wolves. When a Drone is killed, it will revert to the appearance of the original host, whilst a Pack Leader will retain its lupine form. The Jax symbol is thirteen bright stones in a crescent shape.
Fodorans have yellow hair and blue skin. Brascan hermaphrodites look like orang-utans in boiler suits. Emorgans are humanoid aliens. Haxalians rotate their forehead antennae as a sign of agitation. Caballans are long-faced and have horselike nostrils. They have hind legs with hooves. Geomyde are rat-headed humanoids with fluffy brown cheeks which Sam compares to giant chipmunks. Angorans have pink fluffy hair. We also see Ogrons (Day of the Daleks, Frontier in Space) and Alpha Centaurians (The Curse of Peladon, The Monster of Peladon).
Sam's mum once replaced the Greenpeace magazine clippings at the bottom of her knickers drawer with wallpaper offcuts. Sam thinks that this was the last time she had a good sulk. Her dad thinks that her mum's evening classes are all prewar Freudian mumbo-jumbo. She refers to Galileo as "the guy who discovered America", but she may be just teasing the Doctor. She claims that haemoglobin is the word she finds most difficult to spell. When she was in Year Nine, Sam held hands with John Govan on the way back from the Coal Hill disco. En route, she snuggled up to the fake-fur collar of his overcoat. They sat on the bench outside Woolies and he failed to take her hints about having a snog. Sam later told her friends that he is a rotten kisser. Her room in the TARDIS has a tall oak wardrobe. She has an uncle Norman, who does an embarrassing party piece. She failed Year Seven biology. Her eyes are blue (as in The Eight Doctors rather than green as in Alien Bodies). She once tried to set up a Coal Hill Friends of the Earth group. She once had a trainee or supply teacher called Mr Bisham who was Australian and eight years older than her. She liked him because he represented wild Australia, where she'd always wanted to go, despite not having been further than France. Her friend Melissa probably did fancy him, but she fancied anybody from south of Dover. The teacher left after three months. She is so helpless with computers that when her dad bought her a mouse mat, she asked whether it was for Windows or Mac. She has never been in an interrogation room before. She has taught herself to palm objects. When she was little, her mum had a dog called Plato.
Sam's dad used to work for the Blood Transfusion Service, and one of the few things she remembers him approving of was when she went down to the community service and gave blood. [This may be a memory from "Dark Sam", as "Blonde Sam" appears to have got the political activism that defines her character from her parents.] The worst swear word she's ever heard her dad use was "oh cripes" when Melissa Donoghue fainted when giving blood, and illegitimi nil carborundum when people were getting at Sam. He knew a lot of Latin, thinking it useful for doctors, and once asked Sam's headmaster why they didn't teach it at Coal Hill. Sam wears her favourite pair of Caterpillar boots here. She used to keep Greenpeace magazine clippings at the bottom of her underwear drawer, until her mother threw them away and replaced them with wallpaper offcuts. She once held hands with John Govan on the way home from the school disco, but failed to get him to kiss her. Her dad drives an Astra, in which he gave Sam driving lessons. She went shopping for party clothes with her mother when she was thirteen. Sam has an Uncle Norman. She still hasn't told the Doctor about the Tractite she killed in self-defence (Genocide). She failed Year 7 Biology. James Watford was one of her classmates. She did a geography project on Greenpeace. She has a friend name Melissa and has never visited Australia. She is starting to fancy the Doctor, but denies it. She bites her nails. When she was little, her mother had a dog named Plato. Sam becomes infected by the Jax virus but fights off the infection with help from the Doctor.
The Doctor no longer has an umbrella. He brings Sam to Saturnia Regna after showing her the brochure, "Kursaal, the Pleasure Planet of a Thousand Worlds", but arrives five years too early. One of his canine teeth is shorter than the others. He and Sam change into medical clothes consisting of jumpsuits and surgical smocks. He hasn't yet allowed Sam to drive the Volkswagen Beetle in the TARDIS (see Vampire Science). He impersonates Dr Kepesk. Kadjik breaks several of his fingers with an axe. He has told Sam that he never forgets a route that he has committed to memory, and says that he doesn't always remember to commit it to memory in the first place. His pockets contain a conker on a piece of frayed brown bootlace, a pair of marigold gloves, a browning apple core, and a round tin of travel sweets containing everlasting matches (see the novelisation of The Daleks). Both he and Sam have torches. Later on, his pockets contain various scraps of paper, a pair of coloured gloves, two marbles, and a pencil torchlight. Following the bomb attack, his heart rate is seventy percent below human normal, breathing a quarter of human normal, and his temperature abnormally low by human standards.
The TARDIS Information System contains information about the history of Kursaal. When Sam asks the Doctor if it contains any information about her future, he claims that it's full of useless information, not very well indexed, and anyway he could only afford the abridged version. [This evasiveness may be partly a reaction to events in Alien Bodies.]
Archaeologists have recently discovered sulphur mines on Jagrat.
Links: The Doctor remembers having an umbrella, a reference to the one that the Seventh Doctor used to carry. The Doctor isn't fond of hospitals, he says that he supposes you could call it birth trauma (The TV Movie). Sam remembers killing a Tractite in self-defence (Genocide), and she still hasn't been able to tell the Doctor about it. The Doctor mentions having taken a medical degree several lifetimes ago (The Moonbase). Saraband uses a flitter (Original Sin). Sam thinks that she hasn't been so helpless since she was locked up by the Daleks on Skaro (War of the Daleks). Visitors to Kursaal include an Alpha Centaurian (The Curse of Peladon, The Monster of Peladon, Legacy) and some Ogrons (Day of the Daleks, Frontier in Space, The Romance of Crime). A medical team think that there is at least a fifty percent chance that the Doctor is human, and an actor in the Jax History ride says that he's half-Alsatian on his mother's side (both references to the half-human line in The TV Movie). There are references to Mo and Mikey Clunes (The Eight Doctors). Sam recalls being imprisoned by the Daleks on Skaro (War of the Daleks).
Location: The planet Saturnia Regna in the Chronus System five years before Kursaal is completed and fifteen years later [the date isn't specified, but the system appears to be principally be an Earth colony].
Future History: By this point, technology includes comms links that show the location of those connected to it, planetary sat-links are standard communication technology, and there are devices that use a submedia carrier and are never out of contact over a direct line of three to five kilometres, even underground. Notesheet technology is used for writing things down, but power fluctuations can throw up all the annotations. Interplanetary newsfeeds are broadcast in a three-dimensional format and viewed via a cube which you can turn around to see the other side of somebody or something. Saraband has never heard of French or the Titanic.
Crime Report is an InterPlanetary Media news programme.
Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor says that he was once told that you can't teach a man anything, you can only help him to find it within himself. He attributes it to Galileo (whom he met in The Empire of Glass). When the Doctor was training for his Mars-Venus shuttle certificate, he paid upfront for ten monthly lessons, each lesson taking an entire day. His instructor was Frajnar Kumbolo, an old soldier from the original Dalek wars. Halfway through his first lesson, the Doctor forgot that Uranus spins on its side and misjudged his route between the delta and gamma rings. He tried to adjust at the last minute but pulled out into the path of a fleet of solar yachts and then across the bow of a Mars freighter. Finally, he crash-landed into a caldera on Umbriel. The Doctor says that he hasn't been to Chawara for at least 300 years.
The Bottom Line (prosecution): 'Don't you know a werewolf when you see one? A novel that could have done for werewolves in Doctor Who what Vampire Science did for vampires, Kursaal is a squandered opportunity. It's competent at best and populated almost exclusively by characters who are either unlikeable or unmemorable or both. It also, significantly, marks the point at which Sam first starts to really grate.
The Bottom Line (Defence): 'There are no protected species on this planet.' Kursaal is, quite frankly, forgettable. There are werewolves, there's a leisure world, there are a couple of actual characters for parts of the novel, and there are a few chase sequences. Kursaal might have worked extremely well had it been a TV script in the traditional Doctor Who format, but it's too sparse to fill a novel.