Venusian Lullaby

Roots: The Doctor's everlasting matches first appeared in David Whitaker's novelisation of The Daleks, Dr Who in an Exciting Adventure With the Daleks.

Goofs: Ian's escape from the petrol forest is very implausible (as Jellenhut says: 'Don't question miracles. They happen').

It's never properly explained how the Doctor escaped dying in the shuttle crash.

Both the Venusians and the Sou(ou)shi seem unaware of the existence of Mondas (The Tenth Planet) or Planet 5 (Image of the Fendahl). The Venusians could be forgiven for thinking that Mondas was a moon, but the Sou(ou)shi have no excuse. [Maybe Mondas only became Earth's twin planet after this time - another possible explanation is given in The Quantum Archangel. Planet 5 might have been removed from history retroactively by the Time Lords' time loop.]

Technobabble: 'Lines of antinometric force.' Bit-loop neurotransmitters. 'Hydroluminous thermal distribution'. 'monopsiopsychosemiotic'

Dialogue Disasters: Pown(ow)ri: 'Then I regret, Doctor, that we have no alternative but to kill you. I take it we have your permission?'

Dialogue Triumphs: The Doctor: 'Our custom is to shake hands rather than to grip the neck.'

'I greet you, Ian Chesterton of the Doctor-budling Susan I hope that your birth-pains have faded.'

The Doctor: 'Venus is quite inhabitable at the moment and will be for - let me see - another fifty years at least.'

Ian describes his and Barbara's desire to return home: 'We've had some fantastic adventures. I've seen and done things I could never have seen or done on Earth, not if I'd lived to be a hundred. But it's not having the choice.'

The Doctor: 'They're not taking them to Earth.'
Barbara: 'How can you be so sure?'
The Doctor: 'Have you ever seen a fossilised Venusian in one of your museums?'

The Doctor: 'Don't you think that the fate of a whole planet of sentient beings is more important than the fate of one person?'

Barbara: 'I am not Susan! Nor am I a piece of her, whatever you've told the Venusians. Neither is Ian. We're people - people who are travelling with you, and through no choice of our own. You have a responsibility to us. If you can't get us home, very well. But at least you can look after us in the meantime. Or if you won't - if you're too busy with your "mysteries" - then we'll just have to look after ourselves.'

Trikhobu: 'I used to shout at Dharkig, sometimes. He didn't like it either.'

Ian on the Doctor: '[He's] basically good, but bad-tempered, mischievious - sometimes I don't trust him.'

The Sou(ou)shi: 'We are sorry to have temporarily delayed your death in this way. We regret any inconvenience we may have caused you.'

Every passage which discusses the differences between human and Venusian culture.

Continuity: Three billion years before the twentieth century, Venus is capable of supporting life, including human life. Venusians are big enough that humans can ride easily on the backs of adults. Venusian civilization is already at least three million years old by this point. The Venusians' bodies have five-fold symmetry; they have five eyes, mouths, tentacle-like arms, legs and eyes. Each leg ends in a star-shaped hoof and each arm ends in a five-fingered flower-like hand. Their skin is bark-like. Their mouths are y-shaped and filled with teeth. The Venusians reproduce by mating in groups in the bud-ponds each year at least two females are required to create a fertile union. They reproduce by budding. Their budlings are blind and are not active out of water. Budlings have tiny membranous rotors, which they can use to fly. Their blood is purple Venusians have very good hearing.

Venusians are allergic to all free metals except gold and, to some extent, platinum and titanium, all of which are rare on Venus. They have dart-guns which fire wooded darts with iron tips (which poison them). Because of this allergy, they use a golden-coloured wood native to Venus to make buildings and even guns. They eat the memory centres of the brains of their dead in order to remember them (this involves absorption of the memories of whoever's brain they are eating). Eating the brain of a dead Venusian imparts some of their memories to the eater. It works on Venusians, humans and Time Lords. They believe that when they die, they go to Dhallgohidhall, meaning the Land-which-is-no-land. The Venusians regard punctuality as a virtue, especially at funerals. A generation is about 33 years.

The oldest Venusian writing goes back 100,000 generations (over 3 million years). Venusians have never heard of the Daleks [who have yet to be created]. They are lead by the Night Council, which is commanded by the Presidor. The Tower of the Night Council is the only building left from the time of the Goldenworkers. The Inarihibi Venusians are famous for their Alabaster-age granite temples.

The Venusians use globerollers for long-distance travel between cities. A globeroller is essentially a single huge wheel with a pentagonal platform (deck) halfway up. The globerollers have masts, presumably for balance, and are wind powered. They also have land yachts. A mossocular is a moss-based camera. The didhabhir is the position-of-speech-making, which involves a Venusian positioning its eyes to form a perfect five-pointed star. The nenetif web is fine enough to be invisible, but its strands can cut through flesh with ease. They use cuttershells as thrown weapons. They also use harpoons.

In the prologue, Dharkig recalls aspects of his life - commanding a quarter of the world, ordering the bringing out of the dead for remembering from the Cracdhalltar inferno, (Cracdhalltar being a city) the death of the Isles of the Ancients. Huyaot (the ancient art of) is a way of telling the future (or clairvoyance)that was practised in Cracdhalltar. Bikugih, Inarihib, Conorihib, Martahig, Burijianit and Ujannonot are Venusian cities. Regions of Venus include the village of Lijonallall, Hidarateg Peak, which overlooks the Bikugih Plains, Piniheg hill and Brehigu hill are both near Bikugih.

The petrol forests between Conorihib and Bikugih (in which trees grow which produce fruit containing petrol) catch fire and burn down every night. Mole-like creatures called tree-moles live in these marshes and dig below the surface to their nesting chambers to avoid periodic fires. Venusian food includes roast grifharji, juldha, pekatisi, tongue-bread, nightfish, and kirimbi-nuts. Nijij are best eaten whilst still alive and their brains help nervous tissue to regenerate.

Venusian writing is pictogramic. They write using their own blood, which runs down a groove in the claw of their writing-finger. They regard punctuality as a particular virtue. They use 75-string guitars, and pentaclaviphoniums. They measure the passing of time using time-crystals, watch-like devices with three plates, which change colour rather than number as the day progresses.
by means of a change of colours rather than by numbers. They measure height (or distance) in ojotti (humans are about one tenth of an ojotti). Their currency includes wooden geometric shapes such as pyramids, dodecs and cubes. They have a game called cog-o-cog.

Martian wildlife includes the stickwalker, a biped which walks on water. Extinct Venusian animals include the monstrous shaghorn, the 2-headed klak-kluk (see The Paradise of Death), and the harpoon-beaked pattifangs. A dihilrahig is quite short and broad, and a transport box for a dihilrahig can fit in a human, who can't sit upright but can move sideways several feet. Ghifgihoni (which have rotors and can fly, and also have five legs) are animals which are used as carrier pigeons. The Venusians use kigfih, giant insectoid creatures, to draw carts. Other flora and fauna include chedhanhig trees, nijij (which are sometimes kept in tanks, so may be aquatic), cajingu, grifharji, and fehiliju mosses. Venus has bosifghal forests and beghi paddies.

Prior to the Sou(ou)shi invasion, the Doctor estimates that Venus will be able to support life for another fifty years; knowing this, the Venusians have become divided into the Acceptanceers, who await the end of their civilization with dignified resignation, and groups that want to find ways to survive. These groups include the Rocketeers, who seek to abandon their home world and travel to Earth, as well as the Below the Sun Believers, the Magnetologists, the Water-breathers, the Volcano People, and the Cave-makers. The eruption of the volcano that destroys the Sou(ou)shi ship throws a shroud of dust into the atmosphere that will extend their time by another one hundred generations (at least ten thousand years). Because of their inability to use metal, the Rocketeers have been unable to build a working rocket - all their prototypes explode on take-off.

The Inarihibi Death Inspectorate is a squad of Venusians sent by the Emergency Council of the City of Inarihibi assigned to control the population, and thus prolong the city's survival as the end of the Venusian civilization approaches. They do this by killing the populations of entire villages with irontips (darts). The Emergency Council believes that those they kill are no longer useful.

KD/NB is the TARDIS food machine code for Spaghetti Bolognese. The Doctor has removed Susan's door from the TARDIS. It can also produce wines of different vintages (still in the forms of bars, of course). The TARDIS also has a room full of chairs which includes a section of wall which folds down to become a candlelit table for 2 (it has a four-foot candelabrum screwed to its surface). There is also a machine that cuts and sets Barbara's hair. Temporal grace protects against psi-weapons. The TARDIS has a neutronium counter. Two Venusians unsuccessfully try to kick it to pieces.

The Doctor is able to pilot the TARDIS to Venus circa three billion years BC, because it is closer to the origin of the Universe than 1963 and therefore plotting coordinates is in some way more stable. The process is still difficult however, since the TARDIS shakes badly during the journey and something goes bang inside the console. Trikhobu is able to calculate a formula that allows the Doctor to steer the TARDIS.

Barbara is having problems adjusting to different days, she had to set her watch 11 hours forward for 22nd Century London (The Dalek Invasion of Earth). When Barbara got her job at Coal Hill, her dad took her out for a celebratory Italian meal at a restaurant called Vincenzo's. She eats part of Dharkhig's brain at his funeral, thus gaining some of his memories. Trikhobu tells her that they will dilute (fade) over time. She receives a serious chest wound, above her right breast. It's past the second Christmas since Ian and Barbara have been gone from their own time.

Ian has a kid cousin called John, who's into rockets. He knows something about rockets and more than the Venusians about orbital mechanics and upper atmospheric densities. Ian isn't sure whether or not he likes Italian food. He has always found the London Underground to be an uncomfortable method of travel. He is familiar with heliograph code. He lies to the Rocketeers about Earth, to prevent them from trying to colonize, and bases his description of its hostile surface on Skaro (The Daleks) and Marinus (The Keys of Marinus). He thinks of the tribe from An Unearthly Child as the Tribe of Gum [an often-used alternative title for the story, but not a phrase used on-screen presumably therefore Ian came up with it himself]. He is badly burnt by a fire in the petrol forest, but is healed by a salve provided by Jellenhut. He eats Inikhut's brain, thus absorbing some of his memories. He has shoes made for him from the skin of a dead Venusian by one of that Venusian's offspring.

The Doctor's pockets contain a ballpoint pen, a household thermometer, an oil cap for a car with some oil still in it, two silk hankies (one red), an inch-long everlasting stubby yellow candle, a box of everlasting matches that produce a lemon scent when lit, and the invite to Dharkig's remembering, which he has had for some time. He is also able to produce a hand-held mirror, and an 'unknown sonic device' [the sonic screwdriver from Fury from the Deep], which he uses to crack the launch code sequence of the Sou(ou)shi landing craft in record time. He also notes that humans and Gallifreyans aren't cross fertile (i.e. - Susan & David can't have kids) - [this may only be true of loom-born Gallifreyans - see Lungbarrow] and Susan won't age for hundreds of years (see Legacy of the Dalek). His mind is complicated enough to disconcert Pown(ow)ri into withdrawing his psychic probe, and is apparently hyper-dimensional. To simplify introductions to the Venusians, he introduces Ian and Barbara as Susan's budlings.

The Sou(ou)shi's ship has perfect gravitational control and it causes no atmospheric displacement. They look like humans, but too pink, with eyes too round and fine golden fur on their torsos. When they are in feeding mode (their true physical form), they change appearance to become 15 foot tall, with huge serrated jaws, four arms ending in triple scimitar blades and legs like iron pistons. When they are going to kill, they transform into larger killing forms, with snouts, tusks and razor-sharp claws. This form is an illusion projected by the Sou(ou)shi's psychic abilities, but appears to be solid. They aren't strong enough psychically to kill within the TARDIS. They consume the mind energy of dying species without space travel and use their bodies to start life on habitable but uninhabited worlds, where new life develops based on that species' genetic code. This is how they "save" doomed species. In effect, they are psionic vampires.. Previous races they have devoured include the Philotirians, the Aveletians, the Signortiyu, and the Gowenn One of these races was humanoid, but dwarf-sized with three eyes.. They have considerable psychic abilities - including psi-probes and psi-weapons. They have neural amplification fields, which use someone's nervous system to put them in severe pain.

The Sou(ou)shi once hunted on brown plains under a russet sun, i.e. on their own planet. They are incapable of lying, and so hide their true intentions from their victims by telling them only part of the truth. They cannot kill without the permission of their victims. The Sou(ou)shi keep examples of the art of cultures they devour. The Doctor describes them as monopsiopsychosemiotic, which apparently means they are a group mind. They clearly spend some time planning their strategy, as they design their spacecraft to resemble a Venusian budling in order to reassure the Venusians. When their ship is destroyed, the Sou(ou)shi survive as bodiless psionic energy [possibly due the number of mm'x crystals in their ship] and bind to the lifeless rocks of Earth, knowing that life will develop there eventually [it has been suggested that they become the Sentience from Nightshade if so, they lose their memories of their origin by then, since the Sentience doesn't know where it came from. After three billion years, this is not impossible].

Mm'x crystals have some strange properties which enabled the Doctor to escape death in a shuttle. The Doctor pockets numerous mm'x crystals for future use [he pockets possibly thousands, again hinting at dimensionally transcendental pockets]. When they were approached by the Sou(ou)shi, the Aveletians' sun was dying and they lacked space-travel. They used mm'x crystals in their sculptures. Mm'x crystals are capable of absorbing energy and disposing of it by multi-dimensional displacement it is suggested that this effect can displace people in time and space.

Links: Several references are made to Susan's departure, which preys heavily on the Doctor's mind, and other events in The Dalek Invasion of Earth. Susan's face has only just faded from the scanner. Brief mention is made of An Unearthly Child, The Aztecs, The Reign of Terror, The Daleks, The Keys of Marinus (Ian compares Bikugih with Morphoton) and The Sensorites. The Venusians and various aspects of their culture are mentioned in many other stories. The Doctor asks Pown(ow)ri if the Sou(ou)shi are related to the Great Vampires (State of Decay, Blood Harvest, Goth Opera). The Doctor says that he really ought to carry an umbrella at all times, as he never knows when he's going to need one (clearly he only remembers this when he becomes the seventh Doctor).

The end of the story links into the beginning of Decalog: The Book of Shadows (as when the TARDIS finally leaves Venus, the Doctor wants to obtain gold for Susan's wedding ring and mentions Aristea of Alexandria). Jellenhut sings a Venusian lullaby similar to that sung by the Doctor to sooth Aggedor in The Curse of Peladon [the Doctor himself is not present, but has been to Venus before, which is presumably where he learnt lullabies and Venusian aikido].

Location: Venus c. 3 Billion BC.

Unrecorded Adventures: There is mention of the Doctor and Susan's previous visit[s] to Venus. The Doctor claims to have known Jilet Mrak-ecado of the clan Poroghini, one of the most respected Philosophers on Venus, for almost 200 years on and off. The last time he met Susan was with him. Other old friends include Dharkhig and his daughter Trikhobu. He says that on his first visit to Earth, he met a marketing manager who sold a poisonous product [cigarettes - perhaps he was trying it out when he lit his pipe in An Unearthly Child] and, despite having to put health warnings on, he still sold the product by using association. people bought it even though they new it might kill them. The Doctor and Trikhobu land on, but don't visit, several planets whilst returning to Venus from the Sou(ou)shi spacecraft in the middle of this adventure. They, together with Barbara and some Venusian children, spend some time in the TARDIS before coming back to pick up Ian (Barbara has had time for her chest wound to heal and to acquire a sun-tan). The Doctor has met Aristea of Alexandria. The Doctor's control over the TARDIS is gone by The Rescue, so he presumably loses the formula somewhere before then. He intends to attend Susan's wedding with Ian and Barbara, but we don't know if he gets there or not. [Legacy of the Dalek strongly suggests not].

The Bottom Line: As an attempt to create a genuinely alien civilization, Venusian Lullaby succeeds admirably. Despite numerous chases, captures and escapes for the TARDIS crew the book flies by, carried along by the attention to detail of Venusian life and the intriguing nature of the Sou(ou)shi. Think of this as The Web Planet done right.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke and Stephen Gray

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