Shining Darkness

Roots: I, Robot (especially the film). There are references to Trisha, Jeremy Kyle, The Pussycat Dolls, Girls Aloud, Heat magazine, Scooby Doo, The Wizard of Oz, Walking with Dinosaurs, Delia Smith, Star Trek, Rambo, David and Victoria Beckham, The Wombles, Wife Swap, Miss Marple, Hercule Poirot, Oscar Wilde, and Romeo and Juliet.

Dialogue Triumphs: “Welcome! I’m Enchikka, High Priest of What We Believe Today.”

“Stop thinking of someone as being like you and it means you can start treating them differently.”

Weiou on the mechanet: “Generally, it’s just full of nerds and losers complaining about how machinekind’s not as good as it used to be, or circulating rumours about “organic agendas” and nonsense like that.”

Continuity: Robots, referred to as Mechanical Intelligences, comprise a large part of the sentient population of the Andromeda galaxy. The Lipanov rating is a measure of machine sentience; any machine with a rating of forty or more is usually considered sentient. Inhabited planets in the Andromeda galaxy include Dallendaf, Poopop, Chao (which has forests), Cita, and Pasquite. Mother was constructed in the research laboratories of Meeta-Corin. Meeta-Corin humaniform servitors, model DF181B, have a Lipanov rating of 23. The Karris System includes a red giant sun, two gas planets, and a small, human-suitable planet inhabited by the primitive ape-like Jaftee. The Jaftee collect religions. The Pew System has a binary star and sixteen planets with very erratic orbits. The Sentilli System has a black hole as its primary and thirty-six planets, most of which are uninhabitable.

The Lotapareen are from Lota and have three legs, three arms, three fingers on each hand, a lizard-like skin, and an oval-shaped head with two wide, saucer-like eyes either side of a stumpy snout. They evolved from highly communal herbivorous ancestors. The word “human” translates into Andromedan as a term for bipedal, bilaterally symmetrical mammalians. Other species seen or mentioned here include the Bindir, Hajaveniakii, Lagacteons (which don’t have hearts), a being that resembles an upright anteater studded with drawing pins, a creature that resembles a squishy bedside table with a crown of glinting metallic eyes, a being that resembles a yellow elephant, a racoon-like creature, a creature resembling a huge armadillo, . The Temple Beast is a large tentacled monster on Karris.

The Cult of Shining Darkness believes that machine intelligences cannot be truly regarded as sentient and should not have the same rights as organics. They are killed here when the Doctor foils their plans to take control of all robots in the Andromeda galaxy.

The Doctor has a peanut in his pocket, which he gives to Cherumpanch. He also carries a peanut. He hasn’t been to the Andromeda galaxy for a very long time and is largely unfamiliar with it. He boosts the range and power of The Sword of Justice’s sensors and transmat.

Donna likes art. She has put up with ginger jokes her entire life and once slapped a guy for comparing her to a Duracell battery. The Jaftee briefly worship her as the Ginger Goddess. She eats something that resembles a fish pie but tastes like a cheese sandwich on board the Dark Star.

Napir Prime is mentioned in The Rough Guide to the Isop Galaxy, and apparently boasts friendly robots.

Links: Donna mentions Pompeii (The Fires of Pompeii), the Racnoss (The Runaway Bride) and Ood (Planet of the Ood). She recalls unfriendly robots including the robot Santas (The Runaway Bride) and those on Planet 1 (The Doctor Trap). The Doctor mentions Barbara the vending machine (Sick Building). The Doctor refers to a line from City of Death.

Location: Uhlala, on board the Dark Light, on board The Sword of Justice, Karris, Junk, on board The Torch in the Sentilli System, and Pasquite, all in the Andromeda Galaxy [possibly during the twenty-first century].

Unrecorded Adventures: Assuming that she isn’t making it up, Donna claims that she and the Doctor encountered the Jant, who planned to hollow out Callisto.

The Bottom Line:All this organic supremacist stuff’s a bit old hat, isn’t it?” A rather obvious message about blind prejudice is wrapped up in a bazaar of world-building that just about works by bombarding the reader with information. Just don’t analyse the plot too closely, or it stands revealed as a B-movie chase/quest affair that Terry Nation would be proud of. Michalowski proves to have the best characterisation of Donna of any the three writers in this batch of novels.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke
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