A Device of Death
Roots: Isaac Asimov's Robot stories.
Technobabble: The Time Lords have Chronic Resonance Dampers, tachyon mirrors. Human spacecraft have accelerated ion drive tubes & gyronic stabiliser coils. Electrosensitive polymer suspension of metal salts is a robotic self-healing method. Random oscillatory inversion resonator, based on machiavellic principles but also applying retro-spoofism and significant lunar radiance
Dialogue Triumphs: Malf: 'A costume must look lived in to achieve the desired effect. Especially the shoes.'
'A trifle pretentious verging upon the gaudy, perhaps, but you have to admit it has a certain style.'
'Bring his scarf here.'
'Just "noticed"? And you remember the way exactly?'
The Doctor: 'Of course. I must have looked at it for at least eight seconds.'
'The overrides have been, er, overridden.'
Continuity: Gallifrey has a Parachronistic Chamber under the Capitol. They measure changes to the timeline on the Rassilon Scale (Genesis of the Daleks was 4.6). The intended result of Genesis (from the CIA point of view) was millions of worlds saved from "The Dalek Wars". As it was, only thousands were saved from them.
The Doctor's hearts beat at a combined rate of 10 a minute. He has a body temperature of 16 degrees, an unusual blood chemistry, especially the haemoglobin structure. He has a large cranial activity and unusual patterns and frequencies of encephalographic activity. He is also unusually free of microbes and bugs. He claims to be 748. He also claims that his people like showing strong emotions in public, but only when they come from within themselves [He's probably lying or referring to experiences as the Other]. [Some] later TARDIS models have pure mind locks rather than key or touch activated ones.
Multiple torus magno-fusion stacks are old but take up less space as power generators than the equivalent in solar receptors.
Sarah once wrote an article called "The New Computer Generation Gap" about computers becoming redundant and new ones being able to design better models etc. She has been travelling with the Doctor for over a year.
The Tralsammaverians became extinct over 1 million years ago.
Links: Numerous references to Skaro and the events of Genesis of the Daleks as the TARDIS crew regain their memories. Harry mentions the Brigadier. The Doctor mentions the Daleks, the Aztecs (The Aztecs), the Atlanteans (The Underwater Menace, The Time Monster), the London Underground (The Web of Fear), Peladon (The Curse of Peladon, The Monster of Peladon) and the Minoan labyrinth of Crete (The Time Monster) as examples of running around corridors. Sarah and Harry recall Kettlewell's robot (Robot).
Location: The Adelphine Cluster. Probably about 4000AD.
Future History: 1500 years ago, the Adelphine cluster was discovered on the Galactic rim. (a region hidden from the rest of the Galaxy by interstellar dust clouds). Humans terraformed & settled Landor and then spread around the cluster. They came into conflict with the Averonian Union. 30 years ago the disputes became serious and 26 years ago the war started in earnest and polarised the entire cluster into Alliance and Union. Deepcity became the Alliance's main source of arms. 19 years ago, the Union destroyed all life on Landor (population 1.5 Billion). Transmat never caught on in a big way for long because it's vulnerable to external influences.
A force of synthonic robots from Deepcity will contribute significantly to the Daleks' demise. [Until the revelations of War of the Daleks we could have assumed that they produce the Movellans. Presumably, there was another robotic race that slowed down the Daleks' advances - or the Dalek Prime in War was lying about the Movellans].
The Bottom Line: Although it is slow to get started, the plot dragging before the appearance of the Doctor, Sarah and Harry, it soon picks up pace. The centrality of the plot is well concealed. The drudgery of the work camp and the Doctor/Deepcity staff interplay are both refreshing. It's great to see Harry portrayed as a competent doctor and actually use his medical skills instead of being merely a buffoon who gets into trouble.