In the Blood
Roots: 28 Days Later (a blood-borne virus that causes uncontrollable rage), social media (especially Facebook and internet trolling). There are references to Kate Bush, Tigger, Gwyneth Paltrow, Royal Doulton, Volkswagen, The Apprentice, The Snow Queen, Skype, Toblerlone, SETI, James Bond, Smash Hits, North by North-West, the Beatles, David Bowie, Harry Potter (parseltongue), Homes Under the Hammer, the Beano, Little Britain (“computer says ‘no’”), and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Donna has a subscription to magazine.
Goofs: On page 282, “Your Type 40!” is misspelt “You’re Type 40!”
Dialogue Triumphs: The Doctor on humans: “You’re a tiny species! Why the need to constantly sub-divide?”
“Why would I want to travel with someone who’s great at everything? That would make me look absolutely awful.”
“They renamed basic species empathy as “political correctness gone mad”, and the world’s never been the same since.”
“Why is nobody harder to explain to than ruddy scientists!”
Fief says to the Doctor “Some people are so ill at ease with the universe they live in that they run away. They steal away and they run and bounce about it and never cease to give themselves endless distractions, cause themselves endless trouble in case they accidentally have to stop and think about things. I don’t suppose you know anybody like that?”
Continuity: Gully escaped from the ship on Cadmia because the effect of being shot with the Time Reaver guns gave him plenty of time to consider all possible escape routes. He can regrow severed tentacles and survive being frozen in liquid nitrogen. There are poisoned needles in the tips of his tentacles. He is using humanity to breed Rempaths because he can sell them as weapons, generating anger and rage in both the civilian population of the enemy and an armies own troops. He is crushed to death inside the tunnel carrying the filament through the Earth’s core.
The Rempaths are from the Rafirax system. They are tiny organisms transported in the blood of their hosts, but are transmitted through the internet or other suitable technology. They feed off emotional energy, specifically anger, which produces hormones that they feed on. They turn the anger on itself, spawning and re-spawning and causing a feedback loop in the host that eventually kills it, allowing them to burst out and back into the network. They cause humans to have fatal heart attacks. They can be eradicated from the host by altruistic acts. The Doctor uses Fief’s earpiece to make the human race suggestible, then encourages them to commit acts of altruism, eradicating the Rempath infestation of mankind.
Cadmia has sound fields. The Cadmians are bulky humanoids with yellow, owl-like eyes. They are an agrarian vegetarian society and have evolved out of an adrenal response, meaning that there is no violence on Cadmia. They are partially made of sound and are raised in sound fields that bind them together. They wear earpieces that tune them into the same frequency, promoting suggestibility. They welcome all visitors to Cadmia. Instead of having parties, they celebrate their unity and oneness. They drink honeyed waters on Cadmia.
The Doctor has an alarm clock in the TARDIS, which he used to time a skipping race with Donna. He eats Toblerone here. He drinks detox tea in the health retreat. He tells Donna that the TARDIS really likes her. He carries an old mobile phone with an aerial. He has very acute hearing. He uses the TARDIS’ chameleon arch (Human Nature/The Family of Blood) to make some of his blood human in order to give Donna a blood transfusion after she becomes infected with Rempaths.
Hettie has been Donna’s friend since they attended Belmon Primary school together. They once went to a yoga class together. Hettie has a husband named Cam (short for Cameron), and they have twin girls.
Donna drinks wine with Hettie and champagne on the aeroplane. She has sugar in her coffee. She likes tea, as well as marmite. She eats plantains in the Brazilian jungle. She deliberately makes terrible tea for the Doctor on purpose so that she doesn’t get asked to make it all the time. She has unpaid parking fines. She accidentally eats deep-fried silk larvae in Seoul, and later eats vegetable soup and corn bread in the health retreat. Mrs Higgins was one of her school teachers. Donna and Wilf have the same blood type, A positive. She hates needles and faints whilst giving Wilf a blood transfusion.
Al and Sylvia are friends of Wilf. Wilf gets infected by Rempaths here, but is cured when Donna gives him some of her blood, despite her fear of needles. He does the Metro crossword every morning.
The TARDIS contains a long corridor lined with ornately carved, wood-latticed Arabian doors, and a carved stone staircase. The sonic screwdriver has new dampers.
According to the Doctor, the fourth phase rising of the nineteen golden Osirius horned moons is “glorious”.
Links: Gully previously appeared in Time Reaver. There are references to the events of Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead, after which this story takes place. The Doctor gave Donna a TARDIS key in The Sontaran Stratagem/[tv]The Poison Sky/tv] Donna mentions her wedding, Lee and Nerys (The Runaway Bride). In a nod to the Ninth Doctor, the Doctor winces when Donna tells him he’d need a leather jacket to be a maverick policeman. The Doctor notes that he has a spare hand (The Christmas Invasion, The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End). The sonic screwdriver was seen to work on barbed wire in The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances. Donna mentions Rose. The Doctor mentions Skaro.
Location: London, Seoul and Brazil, 2007.
Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor and Donna have just visited a spa, where she received a massage from a magnetron robot: it exploded when she inserted her credit card into a slot in its body. The Doctor once left the TARDIS in the middle of the Old Kent Road for a fortnight when he and Donna went to the Great Exhibition. The Doctor once worked as a potter. He visited Seoul during the Silla dynasty. He recently made a trip a planet called Lafayette to visit an old friend in hospital and didn’t allow Donna to go with him. A Visigoth gang hung around inside the TARDIS for months recently, lighting fires.
The Bottom Line: “What on earth is this compulsion... this desire to cause misery and shame for others in the internet?” Colgan writes the Tenth Doctor and Donna perfectly, and the plot – which is inspired by the appalling behaviour of some people on the internet – works extremely well. Pitting the Doctor against Gully means that the novel nicely complements Big Finish The Tenth Doctor Adventures, adding to the triumphant return of the Tenth Doctor. Recommended.