The Price of Paradise

Roots: Gaia theories, the Blake's 7 episode 'Trial', Marvel's Ego the Living Planet. Shulough's spaceship is named the Humphrey Bogart. There are references to Franz Ferdinand, Alien ("in space... no one can hear you yawn"), the AA, Jarvis Cocker, Kevin Costner, Argos, Star Trek, Superman, PG Tips, Tarzan, Horlicks, and Spider-Man. The Doctor quotes Hamlet.

Goofs: The Laylorans and Shulough's crew speak the same language.

If the presence of Rez on Laylora is enough to provoke a reaction that threatens the entire ecosystem, then so too presumably is the presence of Kendle's corpse, but there is no mention of them taking him with them at the end.

Dialogue Triumphs: "I just don't like guns. They stop people thinking."

"Life hurts. Things change, people come and go, nothing lasts. But if you don't engage with people, if you don't allow yourself to care... Well, if you do that, then you're not really alive, are you?"

Continuity: Laylora is the legendary Paradise Planet originally discovered by Maurit Guillan. It is one of at least five planets orbiting a class-three star. A cloud of debris and meteorites forms an almost impenetrable barrier to the five inner planets from outside the system. Laylora has shorter days than Earth. Laylorans are humanoid, but with three fingers and a thumb on each hand, eyes that are slightly rounder than a human's, flatter noses, and gently pointed ears. The ancient Laylorans worshipped their planet as a goddess and sacrificed people to her; by the time of this story, they have left this bloody past behind them hundreds of years ago and live a quiet, nomadic lifestyle, no longer dwelling in the buildings they once constructed. Laylora's ecosystem is so perfectly in balance that it reacts to alien life forms like body reacts to infection. As such, it is impossible for humans or other non-Layloran species to remain on the planet, without causing a fatal "anaphylactic shock" which would destroy the planet. The Laylorans drink jinnera, a coffee-like hot drink with a hint of chocolate flavour made from the leaves of the jinnen bush. They use dried jinnen seeds to make a sleeping potion, and eat the peach-like jinnen fruit. Because jinnera has relaxing properties, more than two cups of it can kill, as it relaxes the heart to the point that it stops. The Witiku are large hairy bipeds with four arms ending in vicious, sharp talons, and have a distinctive, musty odour. They are actually Laylorans transformed by their planet to fight "infection"; jinnera reverses the transformation. Aside from creating the Witiku, Laylora also reacts to "infection" by releasing an electro-magnetic pulse, which damages or destroys approaching spacecraft. The Laylorans call their sun Saxik, the Fire Lord. Glasnoberries grow on the planet. There are cream-coloured sea birds on Laylora, and also birds called mylans. There are also numerous insect and other animal species, including some butterfly-like creatures. Trisilicate crystals are found in abundance on Laylora. Laylora has two moons.

The Doctor connects Rose's MP3 player to the TARDIS's navigational controls and hits "shuffle" to chose a random destination. He uses the sonic screwdriver to track a distress signal. His pockets contain a couple of yo-yos, a packet of boiled sweets, a pack of playing cards, a conker, a toy car, a banana, and a cricket ball. It is again hinted that the Doctor's pockets are dimensionally transcendental (see The Runaway Bride). He has heard of Laylora. He speed-reads Guillan's diary. The Doctor believes that confused people are more likely to reveal useful information and deliberately makes a habit of keeping people off-balance. He constructs a power regulator out of odds and ends. He carries a pair of tiny electronic night-vision binoculars. He flies the Humphrey Bogart in Laylora's atmosphere.

When it comes to men Rose, like her mother, likes a nice smile. She always found Mickey's youthful energy and relentless cheerfulness attractive. Mickey had a selection of classic Hollywood westerns on DVD and made Rose watch some of them. Jackie has a CD of the soundtrack of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat starring Philip Schofield. Rose dislikes camping, having tried it with some school friends at a very muddy summer rock festival [probably Glastonbury 1996 or 1997]. She eats an orange-coloured vegetable soup on Laylora, as well as salad and vegetables. Rose had a history teacher at school named Mrs. Cooper. Rose prefers tea to coffee. She has a half-empty packet of Polos in her pocket. Mickey once gave her a lecture on the art of the rugby tackle. Rose suffers a cut to her forehead here.

Mickey's gran used to live in an old terraced house with a coal cellar; he used to play in it until he got locked in by mistake, after which he never went near it again.

Links: This story must take place at some point between The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit (there is a reference to the Ood) and Fear Her. Rose recalls her recent visit to Rome (The Stone Rose). The Humphrey Bogart is powered by trisilicate (The Curse of Peladon, The Monster of Peladon). There are references to the TARDIS slipping sideways in time (Rise of the Cyberment/The Age of Steel), kronkburgers (The Long Game, The Resurrection Casket), the Moxx of Balhoon (The End of the World), Cybermen, Axons (The Claws of Axos), Zygons (Terror of the Zygons), Draconians (Frontier in Space), and Rose hiding in a cupboard in 10 Downing Street whilst it fell down around her (Aliens of London/World War III). The Doctor refers to his final edit of Hamlet (see City of Death). He recalls visiting Brighton (The Leisure Hive).

Location: Laylora, the late twenty-fourth century.

Future History: Maurit Guillan discovered Laylora fifty years before the events here (in the early twenty-fourth century), His ship, the SS Armstrong, was found drifting out of control and out of power at the edge of Draconian space with the entire crew dead and traces of trisilicate in the hold. This, and Guillan's diary, started the legends of Laylora, the Paradise Planet. There were many attempts to find Laylora following this, until the novelty wore off.

The Earth Empire has apparently recently fought a war.

By the late twenty-fourth century micro-fusion generators have been banned on most civilized planets due to the highly toxic waste that they produce.

Retro-gaming is popular in the fifty-eighth century.

Unrecorded Adventures: At the start of the story, the Doctor and Rose are waiting for the TARDIS' navigational systems to reset themselves after a comet chase. The Doctor bought a collapsible snooker table in the fifty-eighth century. The TARDIS once took the Doctor and Rose to Clacton in winter time, where they persuaded an Italian ice cream man to open up his shop and sell them 99s.

The Bottom Line: Quite pleasant, although living planets aren't terribly original. The nature of threat means that there is no real villain, which is quite refreshing at times, but does rather cause the second half of the novel to flounder. Still, Brake's writing continues to improve with every successive novel, and The Price of Paradise remains entertaining throughout.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke
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