Roots: Water World, Mad Max II, and other apocalyptic visions of future communities. There are references to Joe Pesci, Casualty, Fight Club (Chapter Four is entitled Fight Pub), Henry V, the Sistene Chapel, The Moomins, Raymond Chandler and Philip Marlowe, Dolly the sheep, Batman and Robin, Jiminy Cricket (Pinocchio), Merchant Ivory, and James Bond. Anji recalls stories involving apples including Adam and Eve [which doesn't actually involve an apple] and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. She has seen Jurassic Park. She and Dave saw The Horse Whisperer at the pictures.
Dialogue Triumphs: 'They are an immensely creative and adaptable species. In the time I spent among them, cultures and ideologies rose and fell, whole new areas of science and knowledge were discovered. They fought wars, created nations, and made their first ventures into space. And, in my travels since I left that distant century, I have discovered that adaptable, creative spirit to have continued into space, into the future. Even this far towards the universe's end, it still exists.'
'There's only one honourable thing we can do. Let's break into his office and rifle through his personal belongings.'
Continuity: Hope and the other cities of Endpoint are built on stilts sunk deep into the ocean. The polluted seas of Endpoint are highly corrosive under conditions of extreme cold, it freezes over, separating the water from the heavier elements and providing a valuable source of clean water. The Endpointers are descended from a number of species, including humans. They are stronger than humans, more resistant to toxins and harsh environmental conditions, they are hairless, and an inner lid instead of eyelashes protects their eyes. They have a gland in their brains called the vivactic gland, which releases a hormone cocktail called Kallisti, which makes the Endpointers, stronger and more resistant to toxins, with increased healing capacities. The Doctor hypothesises that this is the result of smart geneware responding to hostile conditions, rather than a naturally evolved organ. Kallisti breaks down into different chemicals as soon as it leaves the vivactic gland, making it difficult to analyse and synthesise. Occasionally, ancestral features occur in their offspring, such as hair, or different skin pigmentations such as blue, from reptilian ancestors. Hope is the largest city on Endpoint. Other cities include Persistence (the second largest city after Hope), Survival, Triumph, Salvation and Victory. Food on Endpoint is largely recycled and includes carbos, protes, vitcliks, stimulikes. Drinks include sulph-shakes, hedeez and caffy (a caffeinated drink). The Endpointers mine gas to provide energy. Hope has a monorail system and dockyards. The Endpointers use masks called Breathers to filter out some of the pollutants in the air. Groups of derelicts live between the city stilts, earning them the name swingers. Endpoint has a system of orbital satellites named SatNet, but due to the dangerous amount of power it requires, it is rarely used.
The system is located near another system, the sun of which is designated the Prime Sun, and which is the centre of a thriving empire. One of its planets is the Imperial Throneworld, currently ruled by an Empress. Prior to the destruction of Endpoint's system, ships regularly travelled to the Throneworld to pay homage. Another relatively nearby planet is A2756, a completely dead planet devoid of civilisation and with no remaining energy or resources.
Silver's real name is Humberto don Silvestre and he was born in the late thirtieth century. He was born crippled and was not expected to live a long life, until his skill at hacking [um, cracking - Ed.] computers was discovered by the authorities his lungs were replaced with artificial ones and he was recruited into the military. Following a serious injury that lost him his hand and one eye, he was cybernetically enhanced and his brain was merged with alien technology, a liquid computer system, which had fallen into human hands. Thanks to his intellect and understanding of computers, he immediately integrated perfectly with the alien technology and disabled all the fail-safes designed by the scientists in order to control him. Following an invasion of Earth in 3006, the desperate authorities used an experimental time device in a gambit to find ways of defeating the invaders. Silver was sent into the future, privately intending not to return, and ended up stranded on Endpoint, where he rapidly established himself as the most powerful man in Hope. A colleague, designated as Grey, was sent back into the past [Sabbath? - see The Adventuress of Henrietta Street]. As well as being superhumanly strong and fast, a diving suit capable of protecting him from the corrosive seas of Endpoint can be sealed around his body, joining onto the cybernetic part and protecting the rest. Despite his weight, he is a proficient swimmer. His chest plate is designed to withstand forces greater than those at the seabed. He can see in infrared and sonar. Anji fires a dart into his human eye, probably blinding it. The Doctor eventually traps him on A2756 by tampering with the controls of the Hypertunnel that he uses to try and invade the Imperial Throneworld.
The Silverati are humans transformed into semi-synthetic beings by a fusion of Kallisti and the liquid intelligence composing part of Silver's brain they have silver-tinted skin and black eyes, as well as enhanced strength and reflexes. They can still feel pain, but are far more resistant to it than humans are. They are programmed to be totally loyal to Silver. Silver creates three-dozen of them from cryogenically preserved humans in the bunker. The Doctor traps them on A2756 with Silver.
It is confirmed that the Doctor lost his heart in the ambiguous The Adventuress of Henrietta Street. This has resulted in most of the abilities that set him apart from humans becoming dormant, including his respiratory bypass system and his ability to metabolise toxins. He has shaven off his beard. Because of his link to Earth (The Adventuress of Henrietta Street), he finds travelling to a time when Earth no longer exists disconcerting. He provides Fitz, Anji and himself with gold discs taken from the Earthmen in Grimm Reality, which offer some protection from the environment. They extend a microscopic filtration layer designed to reprocess any impurities in the atmosphere. His pockets contain a poodle's woolen bootie (Mad Dogs and Englishmen), a couple of mismatched shoelaces, coins of various denominations, a supermarket reward card, a diamond engagement ring, a gold nugget, a wrapped sweet, an old computer chip, a toy VW Beetle, and an apple core. He also carries a pen-torch. He swears in an alien language that he doesn't understand.
Fitz carries a thought crystal, a present from the grateful people of a faraway planet, which allows people to see into the minds of others (Grimm Reality?).
Although she loved Dave and considered her relationship with him to be the cornerstone relationship of her adult life, Anji was too cynical to believe that they would last and was on the verge of leaving him when he died (see Escape Velocity). She carries one of his hairs, which was his first grey hair - he asked her to pull it out and keep it. She asks Silver to clone him from it, not so that she can have him back, but so that a version of Dave can have a chance to live a full life. The cloned Dave, created fully-grown, remains on Endpoint. On leaving Endpoint, she is able to say goodbye to Dave for the last time, gaining closure and preparing to move on with her life. In return for Silver cloning Dave, she betrays the Doctor by using a device provided by Silver to analyse the TARDIS interior and thus give him access to time travel technology. Anji used to soak in a hot bath after work one day a week, usually on a Thursday when Dave was reading his comics. She is growing accustomed to living without him. She used to go rock climbing as a teenager. A Miss Kemp once told her off at school, for taping a picture of Bros to the inside lid of her desk.
The Doctor has to force the TARDIS to travel to Endpoint he is trying to see how far into the future his ship can go. On materialising, the TARDIS requires some time to recalibrate after the exertion, before she can dematerialise again.
Links: The Kulan killed Dave in Escape Velocity. There are references to Ceres Alpha (Dark Progeny) and Albert (Grimm Reality). The Doctor mentions that he lived amongst humans for many years (The Burning to Escape Velocity). Anji recalls the climactic storm on Hitchemus in The Year of Intelligent Tigers.
Location: The cities of Hope and Persistence on the planet Endpoint, far into the future [at least as late as The Ark and Frontios - the Earth has long since been destroyed and the Doctor notes that they have passed the point where the finite amount of energy in the universe has become too dispersed, and entropy is setting in. He notes that the entire Universe is now cold, and is slowly winding down towards the end of its existence].
Future History: By 3006, Earth has an orbiting Zero G hospital. Unknown aliens invade in 3006 and swiftly seize control of [the Overcities corresponding to] the United States of America [thus bringing the Earth Empire to an end - see Original Sin, So Vile a Sin, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Decalog 4: Dependance Day]. Earth has developed an experimental time machine by this time.
Far into the future, millennia after the destruction of Earth, humans and other species converged in a solar system, and over time became the Endpointers. As resources became scarce, they built space stations and orbital facilities, and began to use the planet A245 (known as Endpoint, because it is the last place anyone would want to go) as a waste dumping ground, and contaminated the ocean-covered planet, polluting both seas and atmosphere. The system was caught in the crossfire of an interstellar war fought between two alien races (one of many such wars to have been started since the fall of humanity), and most of the planets, satellites and artificial stations in the system were destroyed, leaving the system filled with massive chunks of debris and making space travel impossible. The survivors of the system were forced to take refuge on Endpoint, where they were trapped, and used the debris that fell onto the planet to create makeshift cities on stilts above the toxic seas. Amongst the survivors, are the last purebred humans, who remained in secret in a bunker beneath Hope, with hundreds of their number in cryogenic suspension [which is presumably how they were preserved far enough into the future to reach Endpoint]. The Doctor and Silver use technology from the human bunker to terraform Endpoint, removing toxins from the water and atmosphere and rendering the seas safe. There are various empires and factions throughout the universe at this time.
Q.v. Time travel.
The Bottom Line: A solidly plotted, gripping solo debut from Clapham, which features excellent characterisation, a well-realized setting, and in Silver, one of the most complex, charismatic and memorable villains for quite some time - a return appearance would be more than welcome. Above all, this is Anji's book, allowing her to shine properly for the first time and dealing properly with Dave's death.