Eternity Weeps

Roots: The Bible; aside from all the Noah's Ark themes, Jason's weird journey in the beast as he travels through time is reminiscent of Jonah and the Whale. Outbreak. There are references to Edgar Rice Burroughs, Raymond Bradbury's Martian Chronicles, Pepsi, the Titanic and the Britannic, Monopoly, Burt Reynolds, Dennis Hopper, Kris Kristofferson, Levis, Land Rovers, the Epic of Gilgamesh, Star Trek (Mister Spock), Spike Lee, Quentin Tarantino, Keanu Reaves, "The Twelve Days of Christmas", Blue Oyster Cult's "Don't Fear the Reaper", Paul Weller, James Cameron, Patrick Moore, Lucozade, Pandora's Box, James Bond, Action Man, Bruce Willis in Die Hard, and Cleopatra.

Goofs: It's hard to emphasize this enough, but this story features the eradication of a large chunk of Earth's surface and the deaths of millions of people in 2003. And yet... there are several previous New Adventures set only shortly afterwards in Earth's history and none of this is mentioned. Which is frankly something that the editor ought to have picked up on; as a result, Eternity Weeps feels bizarrely like a continuity sidestep into some alternate timeline, which it clearly isn't meant to be.

Dialogue Disasters: "You hef brought her back, my lovely helicopter, my good friend Chris Cwej, yes?" And the rest of Sven's dialogue.

Dialogue Triumphs: "Paradoxes are impossible."
"I prefer to use the word embarrassing."

Continuity: The Cthalctose evolved on 16 Alpha Leonis One, a planet with an atmosphere of carbon dioxide and seas of boiling sulphuric acid. They resemble three-metre-wide, crystal-armoured sea anemones. They have a well-developed culture, which in terms of philosophy is of approximately the same level as that of the Ancient Greeks. They understand mathematics, chemistry, physics and astronomy, the last of which they base on the tidal movement of the sulphuric acid seas. They live in buildings shaped like coral reefs and leave their dead on the projecting atolls to decompose in the acidic atmosphere. They have little practical technology, despite their scientific knowledge. Realizing that a singularity was approaching their singularity their system and would destroy it, they built the Genesis of Cthalctose, a terraforming platform comprising a series of laboratories, a museum, and a matter transmitter, and carrying the seeds of their race, in their planet's moon, and created Agent Yellow, a terraforming virus designed to transform a planet into a home suitable for the Cthalctose by liberating sulphur from rock and creating sulphuric acid seas and a toxic atmosphere. They placed two pinhead black holes inside the Moon, orbiting each other, feeding off the Moon's mass and providing a massive source of energy. They launched their moon into space, and it eventually reached Earth, becoming Earth's Moon. Jason travels back sixty million years using the time rings to try and persuade them not to send their moon into space, but inadvertently leads them to Earth in the first place. It is suggested, although not confirmed, that the Genesis of Cthalctose inspired the story of Noah's Ark.

The Tendurek Formation is twenty million years old. The drogue stones comprising it are composed of a material that disguises itself at a molecular level, and that consists of sibling particles, pairs of particles linked at a molecular level, in this case via a quantum wormhole; the stones thus form half of a matter transfer system, the other half of which is located on the Moon. The system is part of the Genesis of Cthalctose.

The Doctor can fly a helicopter. He gives Chris the necessary equipment to use one of NASA's own satellites to hack into their database. He creates an antivirus to stop Agent Yellow, made from Chalctose biomatter bonded the force field around Jason's shoe when he returns from 16 Alpha Leonis One. He calls the antivirus Agent Scarlet, but needs Liz's antivirus to complete the cure. He liberates the pinhead singularities from inside the Moon and uses them to sterilize the areas of Earth infected with Agent Yellow, wiping out millions of people in the process. He has a huge plastic bucket shaped like a castle and with the words "Brighton Beach" embossed on the side in the TARDIS.

Benny tells Jason that she is pregnant, but she's lying; for this and many other reasons, they get divorced here. Benny and Jason use the Time Rings (Happy Endings) to travel to Dogubayazit, 2003, to search for the Ark of Ages, a.k.a. Noah's Ark. When brought together, the rings can be used to contact the Doctor. Benny gets "a nasty little rash" shortly after arriving in Turkey, which she has never visited before. She wears a blouse and original snakeskin Liz Lewitt pumps, which soon wear-out whilst she is searching for the Ark, and changes into a shirt and hiking boots. The Doctor gave her an AmEx Platinum Card as a wedding present, with an enormous amount of money on it. She drinks whiskey. She gets shot in the side in Iran and kills her attacker. She and Jason were once stranded in South Africa when a number of villages were struck by an Ebola outbreak. Benny has several Bruce Springsteen albums. She kept a chemical garden when she was a child.

Jason can apparently fly an aeroplane. The Doctor advised him to write his problems down and get his anger out of his system in this way, which he tells Jason works for him. Jason once charged a Denebian for sex in a dirty flophouse on Deneb Seven. He's started to find sex with Bernice boring, and recognizes it as a sign that their marriage is failing. He holds Chris at gunpoint to force him to help him rescue Bernice. He gets shot in the arm on the Moon. When Jason was young, the one thing he believed in was C. S. Lewis's The Magician's Nephew, which he read over and over again, memorizing whole passages; he identified wholly with Digory and fantasized about having a girlfriend as tough and sensible as Polly. His copy was the only thing he had left when he left Earth, and was forced to hand it over, along with his cash, ID and shoes when he was mugged on Denaria VII. He uses one of the Doctor's personal force field emitters to survive the environment of 16 Alpha Leonis One. The Astronomer Royal places him in suspended animation for over a thousand years while he considers what Jason has told him.

Chris is racked with guilt about the fact that he couldn't do anything to save Roz, and is becoming increasingly unstable as a result; he keeps calling people Roz, and seeing her when she isn't there. He receives sulphuric acid burns to his arm during the Agent Yellow outbreak.

Liz is investigating the Cthalctose base on the Moon. She works with, and is in love with, Silurian Imorkal, who works for NASA alongside her [and is presumably from the Earth Reptile colony seen in The Scales of Injustice]. She becomes infected by Agent Yellow, and dies quickly but painfully as a result. Before she dies, she creates a serum that inoculates against and cures Agent Yellow, which she gives to Chris and Jason, protecting them.

The Doctor deletes the TARDIS swimming pool to prevent the spread of Agent Yellow inside the TARDIS. There is a telepathic connection between the TARDIS and the time rings.

Links: Benny and Jason married in Happy Endings. There are references to Jason's abusive father (Death and Diplomacy). Roz's death and funeral were in So Vile a Sin. Benny recognizes Liz Shaw from the Silurian Earth Blood Heat. She also mentions Lethbridge-Stewart, whom she met in No Future and Happy Endings.

Location: 6 Alpha Leonis One, c6,000,000,000BC; Dogubayazit, Turkey, and Iran, Earth, 2003; the Moon, 2003.

Future History: There is a Lunar Colony by 2003. There are border skirmishes between Turkey and Iran. Brice Springsteen is the President of the USA. Agent Yellow destroys Turkey, the Sahara, much of Asia, and parts of Africa and Europe.

The Bottom Line: "You aren't a fan and you know the climax of my performance, and you want me to alter the ending?" Virtually Doctorless and focusing on the disintegrating relationship between Benny and Jason, this is often seen as a trial run for the post-The Dying Days New Adventures, although it's worth noting that not a single one of them manages to be quite as dark and depressing as this. Mortimore has a reputation for writing death on a biblical scale, but this takes apocalyptic writing to new levels, as millions of people die horribly all across the world. Against this backdrop, we get the bickering between Benny and Jason becoming genuine and quite spiteful arguments, the meaningless death of Liz Shaw, and Chris being barely aware of what is going on around him as he continues to suffer from Roz's death. As is usual for Mortimore, Eternity Weeps is extremely well written, but it's no joy to read.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke
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