The Shadow of Weng-Chiang

Roots: McIntee's foreword mentions Aliens and Friday the 13th, and recommends W. H. Auden's Journey Into War as background reading on Shanghai in the 1930s. Seyton drives a Mercedes 500K. There are references to Errol Flynn, Dracula, The Mikado, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, the Marquess of Queensbury, Ren Magritte, Jimmy Cagney, Citrons, the Book of Changes, Studebakers, the I Ching, Bugattis, Orson Welles, Shanghai Surprise, Cardinal Richelieu, Lao Tze, Chow Yun Fat, Bruce Lee, Superman, Dante, Tesla, and Krakatoa. Guns mentioned here include Colt .45s, Webleys, Brownings, Smith & Wesson .45s, Lugers, Walther PPs, .25 Berretas, and Thompson sub-machine guns.

Technobabble: Zero Point energy is the vibrational frequency of the Universe.

Dialogue Disasters: 'Be alert; we need as many lerts as we can get.' Groan!

Dialogue Triumphs: 'A quarry! How very interesting! It looks a lot like Skaro, actually. Or the land outside the Capitol.'

'I understand that single-minded obsession is one of the human species' most dangerous traits.'

Continuity: The Dragon Paths are indicators of the Earth's lines of telluric current. A Zygma beam intersects the Dragon Paths, causing ripples of chronon energy to ripple along them. Hsien-Ko plans to use the nexus point of the Dragon Paths to combine energy from the telluric currents into a chronon feedback powerful enough to reach along the Zygma beam, allowing people to travel safely along it and interrupt it, bringing Greel to China in 1937 and torturing him in order to avenge the death of her father. When a Zygma beam interacts with Earth's electromagnetic field it reacts with it to produce massive discharges of chronon radiation. Its spatial area of influence is directly proportional to the length of the beam. The side effect of the arrival of Greel's time cabinet was thus to slow Hsien-Ko's physical ageing because of this. Hsien-Ko is the daughter of Li Hsen Chang. It also makes her sensitive to the energy of the Dragon Paths; she places samples of her blood into Dragon compasses to allow them to detect the Dragon Paths. She knows of the circumstances surrounding his death, including the involvement of the Doctor, from his letters and journals. She has the blueprints for Greel's organic distillation cabinet.

Magnus Greel first arrived in China on the Tai Shan mountain in 1872. Hsien-Ko had Mister Sin recovered from London and repaired using the spare prototype circuit; the pig's brain matter had decayed, and was replaced. Mister Sin has a targeting system and thermographic vision, and can switch to audio targeting if his visual systems are swamped by excessive heat. The Doctor decapitates Sin, and then K9 uses his blaster to destroy the contents of Sin's head, leaving a blackened charcoal shell.

According to Romana, the Doctor has a reputation at the Academy for being reckless. He again uses the name Doctor John Smith, suggesting that he can't remember his real name because he hasn't used it for so long. He tells Li that Romanadvoratrelunder is a Polish name. It is three hundred years in the Doctor's own timeline since he met Lucas Seyton (Decalog: Fallen Angel). The Doctor owns an original handwritten manuscript of Sun Tzu's The Art of War. He has a telescope in the TARDIS. He has never been to Hebei. To his disgust, he twists his ankle. He can survive temperatures of 200 degrees centigrade for up to three minutes. He stops Greel's Time Cabinet from being drawn to 1937 by materializing the TARDIS where it should arrive, effectively time ramming it (see The Time Monster) and bouncing it back into the Zygma beam.

Romana took the Academy marksmanship trophy for her year. She briefly poses as a nightclub singer, adopting the alias Romy and singing Louis Armstrong's Wonderful World. She has met K9 Mark I on Gallifrey, where he has become something of a celebrity (The Invasion of Time).

K9 cannot identify most of the energies contained within the segments of the Key to Time. He can identify blood types and genetic sequences from a small blood sample. The Doctor parallels K9's neutrino converter with a tachyon resonance filter to turn him into a dedicated chronon sensor. He accidentally damages K9's translator unit in the process and hastily repairs it. K9's casing can lift away from his traction system allowing his front sprocket wheels to engage ledges and thus allowing him to climb stairs, albeit slowly. This is an improvement made to Professor Marius' original design by the Doctor when he built K9 Mark II.

The TARDIS was on route to Haarlagan Three when the White Guardian intercepted it (The Ribos Operation).

The Tracer locates the segments of the Key to Time by detecting sources of chronon radiation. It mistakenly guides the TARDIS to Shanghai in 1937 because it detects the chronon energy in the Dragon Paths caused by Greel's Zygma beam.

It is implied that Henry Gordon Jago sold the Palace Theatre following the events of The Talons of Weng-Chiang as a result of the associated scandal. The Talons of Weng-Chiang is dated to 1889.

The Draconian Empire (Frontier in Space), the Kaldanati, the Lamerdines (Terror of the Autons), the Sauriate Alliance, and the Xatrox all use nitinol.

Links: The Talons of Weng-Chiang. Romana makes a joke about Hyperspace and Vivian Fay is mentioned (The Stones of Blood). Romana recalls using a gun on Zanak (The Pirate Planet). The Doctor recalls dining with Nero (The Romans). There are references to Skaro and the Capitol (The Deadly Assassin, The Invasion of Time). The Doctor notes that he hasn't been in China for centuries (Marco Polo - although this claim was later contradicted by McIntee's own book, The Eleventh Tiger). The Doctor mentions Professor Marius (The Invisible Enemy) and the Blinovitch Limitation Effect (Day of the Daleks). Lucas Seyton, alias the Fallen Angel, first appeared in Decalog: Fallen Angel. There is a reference to the Euterpians' song-lines (Invasion of the Cat People)

Location: London, and Shanghai, 1937.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor visited Shanghai in 1941, where he helped a group of stranded Alpha Centauri. Jesse James taught him how to slip out of handcuffs. He has met Sun Tzu. He took flying lessons from Lindbergh, but never got around to learning how to land. Cleopatra's bodyguard taught him how to use a sword.

The Bottom Line: Despite being touted as a sequel to The Talons of Weng-Chiang, The Shadow of Weng-Chiang is restrained in its links to that story and is all the better for it. As usual, McIntee writes a fast-paced thriller with interesting characters, which benefits greatly from his detailed research into the Chinese setting. The characterisation of the TARDIS crew is spot-on.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke
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