Roots: There are references to Gainsborough, Ucello, Ivan the Terrible, Faberg eggs, Barbie, Napoleon, Cleopatra, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Turgenov, Chekov, Lucifer, the OK Corral, Hammer Horror, Louis Quatorze, Moses parting of the Red Sea, Pegasus, Frankenstein, Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, Shakespeare, Beauty and the Beast, Hawley Griffin, Dracula, Stalin, Alexander the Great, the Caesers, Coca-cola, From Here to Eternity, The Rocky Horror Show (doing the Time Warp), the 1812 Overture.
Dialogue Triumphs: 'I tried warning him that curiosity killed the cat, but he just said, "yes, but at least it saved the mice."'
'You know, this lack of communication is entirely counter-productive. Which is generally a bad thing, unless of course you're in the business of manufacturing counters.'
Continuity: The Magellans are effectively living stars; Aphrodite's parent was seeded in the Greater Magellanic Cloud. They travel the universe and occasionally congregate in groups for exchanges of energy and experience or simply for company. Aphrodite's parent committed a great crime amongst its people by having a child. As punishment, the Magellan was split into heart and mind, each trapped in humanoid form and exiled to Earth in different time zones; the mind is Razum Kinzhal, the heart is Dusha. Dusha is pure emotion; when her emotions are unleashed by Alexander's death, the resulting energy creates an inferno that incinerates Vorman. Their daughter Aphrodite was contained; the Magellans gave her Paraiso as a home, an extra-dimensional location with the lake to provide a gateway to the universe. The lake can only be triggered by Aphrodite's DNA. The Magellans closed the gate on the times to which her parents had been exiled. She is humanoid; her physical body frames an empathic mirror created by the Magellans as part of their attempt to contain her, meaning that she reflects and amplifies the emotions of those around her. Dusha creates good luck for those around her, as do her descendants; the Doctor hypothesizes that she has in some way removed the random factor from genetic inheritance, as a result of which her descendants all physically resemble her and also bring luck to those around them. The reunion of Dusha and Kinzhal would trigger a rebirth of their original form, causing a tremendous fusion of mass and energy that would come from the Earth itself, destroying the planet and converting it into the Magellans' new celestial body.
Bugayev suggests that the Doctor is an alien capable of changing his features and form, a theory that fits in with the Doctor's own suspicions about himself.
Garudin breaks three of Fitz's fingers with a small hammer whilst torturing him. Trapped in the nineteenth century, Fitz spends time in Napoleon's service.
Trix adopts the alias Patricia Atherton, an antiques dealer from Covent Garden. Trix can read a little Cyrillic. Aphrodite's lake clothes Trix in a burgundy gown, high-waisted and decked with dark flowers and ribbons, and a hooded velvet travelling cloak. Trix once stole a sports car. Whilst in nineteenth century Russia, she adopts the alias Natasha Milanova. She later borrows a platinum blonde wig from Aphrodite for use in the year 5000.
Operativnaya Gruppa Rasvedkoy Obyedinyonnih Natsiy (or OGRON, for short) is the Russian branch of UNIT.
Misl Vremya means thought time. It allows the operator to transfer his or her mind into the mind of a person in another time zone and witness events through their eyes. Garudin is sufficiently well practised in its use to allow him limited control over that person and eventually to transfer his mind into their body, taking full control. In order to work, the system requires a focusing artefact from the relevant time zone; the operator's mind travels along the timeline of the artefact. By planting half-sovereigns on people, Garudin is able to use the Misl Vremnya to take control of them whenever he chooses.
It is confirmed that Magnus Greel was Chinese (The Talons of Weng-Chiang). Once a Zygma beam snaps, the Doctor equates the effect to dropping a few nuclear warheads in a thousand different times at once. The safe limit for time travel using Zygma energy is two hundred years for an average human mass. One of the weapons developed by Greel was a psionic device designed for subversion, which was captured by Kinzhal and redeveloped.
Links: The Talons of Weng-Chiang - there are references to Magnus Greel, Zygma energy, and the Icelandic Alliance. Fitz uncomfortably recalls his note to the Doctor telling him, Meet me in St Louis (The Burning, Escape Velocity). He also remembers Siberia (Time Zero).
Location: Moscow, Sverdlovsk and surrounding areas, 1812, 2024, and 5000.
Future History: By 2024, the Moscow waste management system has been modernized, with organic microfilters reprocessing sewage. Robotic recon drones are used for reconnaissance.
Aphrodite found medals belonging to Kinzhal in the forty-second century.
By 5000AD, haemotherm capsules are used by soldiers to fend off extreme cold. Neural scalpels are used as a means of interrogation and torture. PacBloc is the military/political force loyal to Greel, and his lieutenants including Mogushestvo. Parts of the continental rail network were resurrected centuries earlier. Greel's forces used antimatter shells during the war, but spared technological centres such as Moscow so that they could make use of them. Sverdlovsk has extended up to a hundred kilometres in every direction from its original centre by the year 5000, but many of the outer districts have been abandoned since the war and have fallen into ruin. PacBloc forces use Stepperiders and Locust aircraft. Locusts are too small to carry pilots, and are instead computer controlled and loaded with bombs and missiles. The Alliance forces use Thor battle tanks and Fenrir reconnaissance tanks.
Razum Kinzhal's division overran Greel's fortress c4999AD and secured his Zygma technology for themselves.
Unrecorded Adventures: Colonel Bugayev has met the Doctor before during the early nineteen-seventies, when the Doctor was in a different incarnation (probably the Third or Fourth Doctor), apparently whilst both were working for UNIT. During their encounter, Bugayev, Zhelnin and some of their colleagues were exposed to low-level temporal radiation on a cellular level; some of them died within months due to accelerated ageing, whereas others, including Bugayev and Zhelnin, had their life-spans unnatural prolonged. Whatever the circumstances, Bugayev doesn't blame the Doctor.
The Doctor is an old friend of Razum Kinzhal, having defended the complete Magellan and its daughter Aphrodite at their trial. It isn't made clear whether this took place prior to the events of The Ancestor Cell, or if it happens at some point in his future.
The Bottom Line: 'Love! Only one of the most destructive forces in the universe.' Like Forward's previous ]Drift, Emotional Chemistry boasts great characterisation, Forward impressively managing to juggle a large number of characters and make the reader care about most of them. However, unlike Drift it also has a fascinating, detailed plot which moves along at a cracking pace, and along with Shell Shock makes it clear that Forward is a writer likely to go far.