The Stealers of Dreams

Roots: Dystopian literature such as 1984, people who take fiction too seriously, an anecdote about an employer who thought that those who took part in Role Playing Games were detached from reality. A piece of garbled fiction that recently turned up is clearly a Harry Potter novel, though Domnic attributes it to Shakespeare. He mentions a show about accountants which is reminiscent of The Apprentice. The tramp makes a reference to wobbly sets, a reference to the classic series of Who. The Doctor asks Domnic 'D'you wanna come with me?' - a clear reference to the trailer for the start of the new series. Rose mentions Batman (presumably the camp 60s version). The Doctor mentions Hitchcock, Proust, Blyton, and Dennis the Menace. The new TV drama at the end is, of course, inspired by Doctor Who.

Goofs: OK, this might be nitpicky, but Domnic thinks that the colony has no indigenous life forms, and yet it's implied that the jungle is natural rather than being created by the colonists. Given that plants are clearly life forms, this makes no sense.

The idea of the human right brain housing the imagination and the left brain housing rational thoughts has no scientific basis.

If the entire population of the planet is 20 million people crammed into a single city, then why do the TV stations need to bounce their signals off a satellite?

If Inspector Waller's career as a police officer is all fantasy, then how does she get enough money to feed herself and pay the bills?

Fashion Victims: Rose comments on the population's one-piece jumpsuits, like in naff old films.

Dialogue Disasters: The White House was big. It was white. And it was a house.

Continuity: The Doctor thinks that using his psychic paper to pretend to pay his hotel bill is justified because he's probably about to save the hotelier's world.

Jackie didn't keep a lot of books around in the flat when Rose was a kid, but Rose did read at school. Rose has trouble pronouncing the phrase "the mighty Jagrafess of the Holy Hadrojassic Maxaradenfoe."

The TARDIS has a scanner in it that can identify micro-organisms smaller than a single proton.

The sonic screwdriver can block a radio signal.

Links: There are references to Autons (Rose), Slitheen and space pigs (Aliens of London/World War Three, and Boom Town). Rose mentions Satellite Five, and the Jagrafess and mentions societies whose technology is being held back (The Long Game). The Doctor uses his psychic paper (The End of the World). The Doctor and Rose allude to their meeting with Dickens (The Unquiet Dead). Jack mentions the Face of Boe (The End of the World/The Long Game). Rose phones Jackie (Rose, Aliens of London/World War Three, and Father's Day), who mentions the events of Boom Town.

Location: Colony world 4378976.Delta-Four, 2775 AD.

Future History: Colony World 4378976.Delta-Four (Arkannis Major) was founded in the 27th Century. The native micro-organisms were smaller than a proton and feed off electrical activity in the atmosphere. When humans arrived, they began absorbing the neuroelectrochemical signals of their brains, prefering the the right-brain area of adult brains that controls dreams. Too much activity and they get bloated, reflecting the energy back to where it came from and creating a feedback loop - amplifying the dream until it becomes reality for the person affected by it. This phenomena was called going "fantasy crazy". The government took measures to ban fiction to prevent this. They banned and burned storybooks, there was a debate whether to allow toys so that children could enjoy their dreams whilst they still could, but it was decided that they should be discouraged to get them into good habits. Toys were banned, but not burnt, and there are still stores of them. One of the later games to be produced was NIGHTMARES, where the object of the game was to find a flat and a good job before going fantasy crazy. The government disbanded itself when the colonists felt that it was no longer necessary.

The old government computers are still intact and connected to the Ethernet, and are able to broadcast an emergency distress signal that overrides all 36 TV channels in the case of a global disaster. Their chips are made from a local vegetable making the chips soft, blue, oily, and peppery compared to chips made from potatoes. The hotels are obliged to provide pills to stop people from dreaming. Their TV consists entirely of news and documentaries (with occasional historical reconstructions), and the reporters usually have cameras that look like floating orbs. There is still fiction hidden on the Ethernet which you can find if you know where to look. The global population is 20 million, all living in a single city. Their music is just a drumbeat, designed to drown out reality in place of fiction. Although the planet has a jungle, it has no indigenous life-forms apart from the micro-organisms.

Unrecorded Adventures: Jack has a story about some armoured sharks and a can opener (possibly Selachians - see The Murder Game and The Final Sanction). He also mentions being out of fuel in the Ataline System with nothing but a traffic cone he'd picked up on a night out. He managed to persuade an old prospector that it was worth the price of a bag of caesium rocks by telling him that it was a crown.

Q.v. Bad Wolf, The Parting of the Ways.

The Bottom Line: A sterling work by Lyons. There is a strong plot, and he manages to portray what is, in effect, an alien society with his usual flare. It isn't anywhere near his best work, but it's head and shoulders (at least) above all but one of the previous new series tie-in novels.

Discontinuity Guide by Stephen Gray

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