Palace of the Red Sun
Roots: Alice in Wonderland. There is a misquote from Rudyard Kipling's If. There are references to Mary Poppins, Errol Flynn, the Eiffel Tower and the Empire State Building.
Continuity: Esselven is presumably an Earth colony, and has a monarchy system. It apparently has twelve kingdoms, although Hathold apparently ruled the entire planet [his kingdom may have been the largest]. These kingdoms include Aldermar. Other locations on Esselven include the ice valleys of Corthane. Esselvenian literature includes The Princess of Aldermar, by Retorian Mellenger, a romance story of the Chevallion era. The planet used as a refuge by Hathold does not rotate and is enclosed by an opaque force-shield. It orbits a white-dwarf star. The unnamed planet is one hundred and seven kilometres in diameter [Green-8 says this about Esselven, but he thinks he is on Esselven and is clearly talking about the planet]. The Esselvenians are technologically advanced, creating the shield, using robots as a labour force, and creating the Autonomous Photonic Simulations system on the planet. They engineered the planet to make it habitable. The refuge planet gardens include species such as Rethlonium flowers and long-stemmed Altruista violets, which are used on Esselven as flowers of mourning, which are only displayed inside during times of death. The woods on the dark side of the planetoid contain fungoid species and trees bearing fruits called lochees. Animals living in the woods include dogs and slith worms.
The Doctor disguises himself as one of the Gardeners, the large wheeled robots that tend the planets gardens.
Peri dons an ankle-length lacy summer dress from the TARDIS wardrobe. During the school holidays back home, she used to drive a tractor and on one occasion, a combine harvester.
The TARDIS still has a Fault Locator, which can be set to run a complete systems check.
Collapsium is a metal used to line safe walls. An explosive with a one-megaton yield can rupture it, but the contents would be destroyed.
Deltor 5 is the habitable moon of a gas giant located in the outer system of Zalcrossar.
Links: Dexel Dynes first appeared in The Ultimate Treasure. The Doctor tells Peri that he used to wear a long scarf.
Location: Esselven and the unnamed refuge planet, the 2980s and the 3480s.
Future History: By the 2980s, Glavis Judd's Protectorate includes twenty star systems. Judd was born on Zalcrossar and worked his way up through the military until he became World President. The first planet he conquered was Gadron, on which he first sowed the seeds of civil unrest in order to paint himself as a saviour. His last conquest is Esselven, but he considers it incomplete when the royal family escape to their refuge world, where due to the temporal discrepancy caused by the shield around the planet, five hundred years pass during the decade that Judd searches for them. Hathold dies when a radiation leak occurs, leaving his descendants, who forget their origin and become scavengers living in the woods, whilst the robot Gardeners' programming degenerated over time, causing them to enslave anyone in the garden who wasn't a Lord. The APS system was left running, with the holographic characters effectively becoming the Lords, one of them eventually developing sentience. Following Judd's attack on their planet, they returned to Esselven to rule with Green-8, a Gardener that had also developed sentience. Thanks to the intervention of the Doctor, who brought time inside the shield back into synchronization with the rest of the galaxy, Judd (and reporter Dexel Dynes) emerged from the shield five hundred years later, c3480, to find that the Protectorate collapsed after Judd disappeared. He is imprisoned as a lunatic on Esselven by Green-8 and the descendants of the scavengers.
The company Interstellar News that Dynes works for in the 2980s is located on Plexar. It has become Stellmedia by the 3480s.
Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor has visited the four-dimensional maze of Madross Prime. He purchased a set of garden furniture in Salisbury in 1985, which he now keeps in the TARDIS. He has met Rene Descartes.
The Bottom Line: Dire. With the return of Dexel Dynes, Bulis once more reaches the depths that he plumbed with The Ultimate Treasure. The plot is predictable (including the trademark Bulis twist), the characters dull, and the Sixth Doctor barely recognizable. The subplot of the sentient robot learning about the world is recycled straight from the author's A Device of Death and Judd is a ridiculously clichéd and uninteresting villain.