Chapter 2 – Foreign Soil
Lex Christian is the first character who’s an homage to an existing one. This time, it’s Dan Dare, who hopefully British readers will have heard of. For the others, Dan was the hero of The Eagle, the 50s (and 80s!) comic, a square-jawed, stiff upper-lipped space pilot, and absolutely one of the forerunners of Doctor Who – the influence it had, particularly on Terry Nation’s stuff, was immense. The reason he’s in The Dying Days is a vaguely obscure one – the first Dan Dare story in The Eagle is set in 1996 and 1997, so it ‘took place’ at the same time as the book. Reality had caught up with fiction. The irony now, of course, in this age of digital cameras, mobile phones and cloned sheep is that we’re beyond Dan Dare technology – except they have better space travel. The name was Dan Dare’s original name when the strip was being developed.
Everyone reading knew the ‘real’ reason this was the last Virgin book, and all the way through, I play with that. One of the themes of the book is the interplay between ‘real life’ stuff and fiction. I hesitate to say this, but the book has two levels – the narrative, about the Doctor and Benny fighting monsters and also a knowing commentary on the situation. One of the more blatant examples is the Who Killed Kennedy sequence, where a fictional reason is given for Virgin losing their licence.
Veronica Halliwell first appeared (and died) in the Missing Adventure System Shock.
Staines is an idiot. Anyone who’d actually read Who Killed Kennedy couldn’t possibly think it was called I Killed Kennedy. The title is not a question.
Benny, an expert on Mars, finally gets to use her knowledge. She’d visited Mars in Transit, but been possessed at the time. Legacy had Ice Warriors, but was set on Peladon, and she left the Doctor the book before he visited Mars again in GodEngine.
Patrick Moore, a real astronomer, and Bernard Quatermass, from the 50s serials (or, more correctly, the John Mills version from the last serial – the one set around 1997) argue about Martians. In our universe, Patrick Moore would be right. But this is the Who universe, and Bernard’s fears are proved correct.