The Monsters Inside
Roots: Scum. There are references to Ambre Solaire, Bob Hope, ET, EastEnders, The Muppets, Big Brother, and Jerry Springer. One of the aliens described on Page 63 fits the description of the Masters from the BBC dramatization of The Tripods. There is a reference to Meeps, which first appeared in the Doctor Who Weekly comic strip Doctor Who and the Star Beast.
Goofs: Flowers says that the prisoners get royalties on intergalactic sales of technology, and then later mentions that humans still haven't travelled to other galaxies. Other stories set near to this time period strongly suggest that the second statement is the correct one.
Several times, Rose looks for the zips that are the telltale sign of Slitheen duplicates, but in Aliens of London and World War Three, she saw Slitheen duplicates who had no visible zips until they started unzipping their suits.
Ecktosca tells the Doctor that Slitheen do not break their fast for weeks at a time because their digestive systems are superior to those of humans, but since he's taking about his species he should have said Raxacoricofallapatorians.
How can three of the planets in the Justicia System have a circular orbit around the three suns? Especially since the closest planet is said to be only 100 million miles from the suns. For that to be possible, the suns would have to be so close that they collide with each other to make a single star. Flowers' comment that the chances against it are billions to one is ridiculously optimistic about how likely it is.
Where do the Slitheen get their golden zips from? Also, how do they expect to be able to unzip their skins when they are disguised as globs (which clearly don't have hands).
Technobabble: A warp-hole in space can be created by generating a gravity wave that is faster than light. This is allegedly due to gravity making things heavy, so you need light to counter it. [Surely that deserves to be at least on the shortlist for the most ridiculous piece of pseudo-science in Doctor Who's history.] "Assuming a gravity bend of 96 per cent in system space, what would the tangential warp offset register?" The Doctor bluffs that he's programmed a hyper-destronic pulse into the nitrogen feeder. An offset gravity pulse fed to the warp relay will make it difficult to travel through one of the warp holes.
Dialogue Disasters: When asked if he knows much about gravity acceleration, the Doctor replies: 'Not masses.'
Dennel: 'I think we're out of the forest.'
Rose: 'But not out of the woods.'
Dialogue Triumphs: The Doctor: 'Take a giant leap for humankind, and nine times out of ten you squash whatever's beneath you.'
When told that escape is 'next to impossible', the Doctor replies: 'I'm often next to impossible.'
Rose tells Dennel, 'The Blathereen won't eat us', prompting the relieved, 'They won't?' to which her not very reassuring reply is, 'Nope. They'll just kill us.'
Don Arco: 'She's blown up worlds. She's massacred millions. She's run a talent agency on Hastus Minor. You think she can't get herself out of a bush?'
The Doctor: 'Making cock-ups at the right moment is a skill!'
Continuity: The Blathereen are another criminal family from Raxacoricofallapatorius and are old enemies of the Slitheen. Raxacoricofallapatorians sleep in sticky nests. By 2501, Raxacoricofallapatorians have refined their compression field technology to the point where they can hide inside the skins of thin humans. The compression fields can be affected by a flame coming close to the skin-suit, causing the portion of Slitheen affected to swell up. Poppito trees are native to Raxacoricofallapatorius.
The Justicia System has three suns. and six planets. All but one of the planets have near-circular orbits. Justice Alpha is 100 million miles from the suns, Justice Beta at 148 million miles, and Justice Gamma at 201 million. Justice Prime has an elliptical orbit taking it way out from the other planets. The atmosphere of Justice Prime is almost pure nitrogen. Staff are granted leave to visit local pleasure satellites. Red flowers grow on Justice Alpha. Justice Alpha has lower gravity than Earth. The Globs are spherical grey globules about the size of a football; they are biomachines that prevent violence from prisoners by sticking to them and thus immobilizing them. They can also caution offenders, pulsing with ashen light as they generate painful waves of energy. The Doctor suggests that the system is at the edge of the galaxy.
Nesshalop is a Sucrosian, a bloblike species whose skin is the consistency of sticky toffee pudding who sit in custard-like splats of fluid, and have three stunning blue eyes at the end of frangible marzipan stalks. Yahoomer resembles an orange woolly mammoth with four trunks. Blista is a green skinny reptile with a domed forehead, big webbed feet, and a skin that is covered in glistening black nodules.
The Doctor and Rose are both served with twenty-five year prison sentences for trespass on Justice Alpha. A low-level implant is planted in the Doctor's brain in order to keep tabs on him. The Doctor knows Rose's Mum's phone number, which starts 020 7398.
Rose makes her first trip to an alien planet here. She wears jeans, a red T-shirt, and a white jacket. Jackie often commented that she thought Mickey would end up in prison. Rose plays poker whilst in prison. When she was thirteen, she had a boyfriend in the school year above her who was a genius at starting food fights, She suggests that she owns a credit card, which is in a bag in the TARDIS, and is wearing earrings and has some lipstick on her.
The TARDIS has a handbrake that prevents it from being moved (see The Gallifrey Chronicles). Using the sonic screwdriver when its batteries are almost flat is unwise, as it excites all sorts of stray molecules.
Hastus Minor is a planet on which Ermenshrew once ran a talent agency. The New Washington System is eighteen point nine light years from Justicia and has twelve planets, four of which are inhabited.
Links: This story is set after Aliens of London/World War Three and before Father's Day. The Slitheen first appeared in Aliens of London/World War Three. Rose mentions her first meeting with the Doctor (Rose). There is reference to Kraals (The Android Invasion) and Martian body armour (the Martian Ice Warriors were first seen in The Ice Warriors). The Slitheen mention a rumour that the compression units were recovered from the wreckage following World War Three and placed in a secret storage facility (a reference to Van Statten's bunker in Dalek). Callis Fel Fotch's teleport device is similar to Margaret's from Boom Town.
Rose mentions having visited space stations (The End of the World)
Location: Justice Alpha, Justice Beta, and Justice Prime in the Justicia system, 2501 AD.
Future History: By 2501AD the Justicia System is a vast prison for criminals from Earth and other planets. It utilizes experimental punishment regimes including historical reconstructions and heavy labour, with prisoners on Justice Alpha forced to build pyramids, work in mines, and row galleys. This is partly to encourage tourism, which generates revenue. The SCAT-house, an acronym of Species-led Creative and Advanced Technologies, is located on Justice Prime and is designated for the imprisonment of non-human criminals, who are put to work on scientific and technical projects to generate revenue for the System. The SCAT-house is run as a business, and the inmates get a 0.00137 royalty on intergalactic [sic] sales. It was the first part of the system to be a prison. Justice Beta is the site of a Detention Centre for juvenile prisoners. There is a Middle Eastern jail colony on Justice Gamma and acid plantations on Justice Epsilon.
The SCAT-house's security is maintained by globs which swoop down from the roofspace and immobilise (or occasionally attack) any prisoner trying to escape, access an area which he, she, or it is not allowed into, or trying to harm a warder or another prisoner. On occasion they will force a prisoner to travel to a particular area of the prison. Projects underway at the SCAT-house include: a device to suppress and confine solar flares (using compression fields) in order to terraform planets close to stars and allow space traffic to pass nearer to suns; hydroponics; gravity acceleration, in order to bend space and allow ships to travel into deep space between the galaxies.
About the time of their attempt to destroy Earth, the Slitheen's family fortunes went downhill (c.f. Margaret's comments about being tried in her absence in Boom Town). Their old firm went bankrupt and the family turned to chizzle-waxing. By 2501 their fortunes are at an all-time low; following the defeat of the Blathereen they intend to repair the gravity warp generator to rebuild their criminal empire.
A peace conference is due to be held in the New Washington System in 2502AD.
Unrecorded Adventures: Rose mentions having visited more than one space station, and having visited spaceships. She made the Doctor spend a day off watching old episodes of Eastenders so that Rose could catch up on some storylines she'd missed.
The Bottom Line (prosecution): 'It's not magic, is it?' Rather disappointing in its style. It seems that Cole has taken the "aimed at 12-year-olds" mantra for the ninth Doctor books to dumb down his writing style. The plot is based on ridiculously silly non-science, and has lots of scenes that just made me want to put the book down and do almost anything else, despite a decent plot and good characterisation.
The Bottom Line (Defence): Witty and engaging, The Monsters Inside is one of Cole's best novels, and is massively entertaining. The technobabble plot recalls The Pirate Planet, and the uneasy alliance between the Doctor and the Slitheen results in some great character moments. Probably the best of the first crop of Ninth Doctor novels.