The Year of Intelligent Tigers
Roots: Tarzan, The Jungle Book, The Island of Doctor Moreau. The entire novel is packed with classical musical references, and is structured accordingly (verses, bridges, etc.). There are quotes from Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Robert Browning's The Pied Piper of Hamelin, and references to Asterix and 2001. Karl jokes that he hasn't become a decomposer yet, which may be a reference to Monty Pythons Decomposing Composers song.
Dialogue Triumphs: The Doctor's response to Quick's plan to destroy the storehouse: 'Are you some variety of pyromaniac? What is the problem with Homo sapiens that everything has to end like the 1812 overture? Was some ghastly mistake in DNA replication made in your early evolution? Or is it just that your tiny porridge-like brains have trouble grasping solutions more complex than smashing things with rocks?'
Continuity: The tigers of Hitchemus are not related to Earth tigers, despite sharing their appearance. They are not mammals, and they lay eggs. They have two hearts. They have two symmetrical tridigital pads on each foot, effectively providing them with two thumbs. Their fur consists of soft raised spines, three of which protrude from each of the tiny scales that make up their skin. This scale structure makes them prone to dehydration, hence their fondness for swimming. They lack nipples. Additionally, their DNA uses a different transcriptional code to anything found on Earth. Their genome contains mechanisms for shuffling genes around and for activating and suppressing genes for intelligence in response to Hitchemus' changeable climate. Each generation of intelligent Tigers can then use the storehouses to bring the weather system back under control for the next generations of stupid tigers. It is suggested that this cycle of intelligence and stupidity is a survival trait, since they aren't intelligent for long enough to industrialise and thus threaten their small continent. A previous generation constructed the planetary weather system, including the nodes, which are ubiquitous on the continent, and the two storehouses. The storehouses are also designed to teach the next intelligent generation about their history and the weather system. Each generation adds to the wealth of knowledge within the storehouse; the current generation intends to add knowledge of human music, since they are the first generation to make contact with another intelligent species. The Tigers' numbering system is different to that used by humans. They have either do-names, such as Bounce, or like-names, such as Tailbend. They do not have a single leader, but rather elect a leader to deal with specific situations. They normally feed on Runners, large flightless birds that live in herds on the plains.
Hitchemus has only one continent and seven-eighths of its surface is covered by ocean. It has a single, ringed moon and shares its system with a gas giant. Its sun is called Beta Canum Venaticorum, or Chara. The moons distance from Hitchemus is responsible for the planets dramatic climate changes. It is on the edge of Earth's explored space. The nearest Earth colony is Chi Bootis, which has a military base. Very few Earth animals are allowed on Hitchemus those that are include Horses. Spiders are also present, having found their way on board the colony ships.
The Doctor can play the violin, harpsichord, flute, transverse cello, harp, banjo, theremin, and wobbleboard. He also buys a trombone and a collection of ocarinas whilst on Hitchemus. However, although he can play anything composed by somebody else, he lacks the talent to improvise music. He first discovered that he could play the violin whilst serving on board the ship Sarah Gail in 1933 (see Links), and spent some time practising it at a Buddhist temple in Thailand during 1962. He claims that he can only get drunk when he wants to, and doesn't get a suntan or sunburn. His hair grows faster than that of a human. He can see a force shield that is invisible to human eyes. He claims that he has been a prisoner so many times that he literally cant remember how many. He's had a piece of music on his mind for over a century, but can't work out what it is, which prompts him to join Karl's orchestra.
Fitz saw Jimi Hendrix perform several times during 1967. He can just about play Day Tripper on a banjo. Whilst in the band Jam Tomorrow, he uses his stage name of Fitz Fortune again and plays his Fender Telecaster. Sam tried to teach him about global warming and holes in the ozone layer, but he got them confused. He wrote a song about the Doctor some time ago, before they met Anji, but cant think of a last line.
Anji dreams about Dave. She still has difficulty understanding the Doctor, especially when he joins with the Tigers.
Links: The Doctor's time spent at sea in 1933 was first mentioned in Eater of Wasps. Whilst on board the Sarah Gail, he read a newspaper report of the wasps attacking a train outside Arandale. He carries a photograph of Miranda in his wallet (Father Time). Anji muses favourably on the lack of killer triplets (Earthworld). Gidi and Lvan, mentioned here, were among the planets sampled on Professor Tryst's CET machine (Nightmare of Eden). Fitz recalls listening to I Am the Walrus with Maddy (Revolution Man) and working in a garden centre in West Wycombe (The Taint). Whilst lying about all the revolutions he helped with, he mentions the Caxtarids (The Room with No Doors).
Location: Hitchemus, sometime in the future [during Earth's Colonisation period].
Future History: There are Earth colonies on Gidi (a.k.a. Beta Coma Berenices), and Lvan, which has a college. The first humans to arrive on Hitchemus were hunters, who killed several Tigers. The colony on Hitchemus has a University and policemen called Waytes. When the colonists proper arrived, the first scientists took further Tigers away and experimented on them. Hitchemus is on the edge of explored space, and Besma has heard tales of sleeper ships, suggesting that this is during Earth's expansion period. In addition, large spaceships use T-Mat (The Seeds of Death). It must also be before the Overcities are built, since there is an Academy of Music in Nairobi.
Unrecorded Adventures: Whilst trapped on Earth, the Doctor collected newspaper clippings of unusual events, and often deliberately sought them out. He arrived at the Thailand temple after having gone in search of a dragon, a search which lasted twenty-five years and took him across China, Indochina, and Siam. He apparently found it, although what happened is not elaborated on.
The Bottom Line: One of the best EDAs for some time, Tigers is a masterpiece. It has a lyrical quality that suits the musical themes, and fleshes out the TARDIS crew giving Anji in particular some much-needed character development. The tigers are one of the best alien races to grace the BBC books range, with refreshingly original motivations and a well-rounded cultural background.