The Dalek Factor

Roots: In his foreword, Christopher Fowler mentions Star Trek, Time Tunnel, Lost in Space, Quatermass, the Pathfinders serials, A For Andromeda, Thunderbirds, The Prisoner, Day of the Triffids, and Simon Clark's Night of the Triffids. The Doctor mentions Key Largo, various Greek Gods, Silent Night, and Percy Shelley.

Dialogue Triumphs: 'Loneliness. The progenitor of eccentricity.'

'Earth. A little blue-green world populated by a quarrelsome race of beings. Infuriating but imaginative. Territorial to the point of psychosis. Pragmatic yet ineffably spiritual. My, my I wonder what happened to them?'

Continuity: The Doctor wears trousers and a white shirt. It isn't specified which incarnation this is. The hive adopts the form of the First Incarnation, the Doctor noting that he knew him long ago. He's developed a habit of rhyming his sentences, which annoys him. He is suffering from amnesia and cant remember his name, who he is, or why he is on the planet. He adopts the alias Professor because he likes the ring to it. [Perhaps this is a reference to Ace's habit of calling the Doctor "Professor" - ed.]

The Emperor Dalek on the unnamed planet matches the description of the Emperor from The Evil of the Daleks. It is referred to as "an Emperor", suggesting that there is more than one. The Daleks have been working on the planet to find ways of implanting the Dalek Factor into other life forms so that will become Daleks on a fundamental level and conquer environments that the Daleks cannot reach. They give every single life form on the unnamed planet this Dalek-heart, including the Hives, the apes, the leeches and the vegetation. Their overall plan included re-engineering the psyche of captured Thals and covertly returning them to their home worlds, where they will sire young that will also carry the Dalek-heart; at a given time, when there are enough of these Dalek-hearted Thals, the Daleks will remotely activate the dormant mind and the Thals will start to think and act like Daleks. Their plan ultimately fails, because the Dalek-hearted life forms that the Daleks create on the planet consider themselves superior to the Daleks in that environment and therefore try to exterminate the Daleks, forcing them to quarantine their citadel and the planet. The Daleks have been known to drain the energy of entire stars. When the Daleks withdrew from liberated planets during their war with the Thals, they seeded them with millions of tiny mines powerful enough to maim and kill. Senior Daleks display the imperial purple blaze on their shells.

The Thals mount Search and Destroy missions to hunt for remaining Dalek forces and sleeper pods. They eat sugar and fondant Dalek novelties on Freedom Day, presumably a celebration of the end of their war with the Daleks. The Varian shuttle party was involved in a notorious incident in which they wiped out a party of Thal children on a field trip whilst hunting for Daleks because they believed them to be booby-trapped simulacra. There are Thal colonies including the mining planet on which Jomi grew up. Sweet life is a Thal oath.

Grimps are hard-shelled creatures that live on the rock faces of the mining planet on which Jomi grew up. They have two dull-brown, clam-like shells that nip tightly together but allow they eyes to extend from the top on tiny stalks. The creature inside the shell is warm blooded with soft cream-coloured fur and a child-shaped face with large brown eyes.

The unnamed planet is located in the Quadrille, a system of four worlds. Eighty percent of the planet's surface is covered in ocean, the remainder is swamp and jungle with a temperature between 35 and 40?C and high humidity. The planet is prone to rain and thunderstorms.

The hives consist of small insects with an inbuilt telepathic ability. When they target their prey, they swarm, clustering together tightly to form a replica of the body of an individual that their prey will find non-threatening. They lay their eggs of their young in their prey by injecting their larvae into the skin. All the butterflies on the unnamed planet are venomous.

Links: The Evil of the Daleks (the Dalek Factor). The Thals were previously seen in The Daleks, Planet of the Daleks, and Genesis of the Daleks.

Location: An unnamed planet in the Quadrille, date unknown [possibly between Dalek Empire II: Dalek War and Dalek Empire III the Daleks haven't been active in this sector of space for generations and the Thals believe them to be wiped out, which would fit in with their withdrawal to the Seriphia Galaxy at the end of Dalek Empire II: Dalek War. There are also hints that this is far in the future when humanity's influence in the galaxy has waned, consistent with that story].

Future History: This sector of the galaxy hasn't encountered Daleks for two generations. Thal Search and Destroy missions have been under-way for eight centuries.

Unrecorded Adventures: It isn't clear how long the Doctor has been on the unnamed planet, but it is implied that he has repeated the cycle of events seen here numerous times. There are hints that he had a companion with him when he arrived who was exterminated by the Daleks.

The Bottom Line: A magnificent end to the Telos Novellas, and by far the best of the Daleks' three appearances in print to date. * Clark keeps the Daleks off-stage for most of the book, but creates the feeling that they are constantly lurking just out of sight from the start. The amnesiac Doctor works surprisingly well considering how many times we've seen it before and the first person narrative is used to great effect, especially when the twist is revealed.

*This review was written before their appearances in I am a Dalek and Prisoner of the Daleks, though this is still the better book.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke

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