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venusian lullaby
author:    paul leonard
isbn:    0 426 20424 7
confusion quotient: 0.205
warning: although 'venusian lullaby' has a low confusion quotient, it is an extremely bewildering book.  venusian place-names, titles and names are uniformly forgettable and unpronounceable.  however, it is an extremely good book in a very rare vein.

Text in this style was contributed by  Paul Leonard .

blue oxygen sky of the third planet: Three billion years ago, Earth did not have the nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere it has today.  Oxygen has powerful oxidative properties (obviously) in forming rust, ageing paper and preventing simpler organic molecules from originating life.  For a little chemistry lesson, oxygen atoms bond very strongly with other atoms, and if they were present on primeval Earth they would have got in the way of all the more delicate chemical reactions responsible for life.  The oxygen in Earth's atmosphere was liberated from carbon dioxide and after life began, as a byproduct of primeval metabolism.  Blue-green algae with a similar photosynthetic process to today's plants took hundreds of millions of years to build up enough oxygen in the atmosphere to dessicate and kill off more primitive life and themselves evolve into life forms which could use the oxygen as an advantage, and not a waste product.  If the Sou(ou)shi found Earth with nothing more than organic chemistry, all the atmospheric oxygen would have still been locked up in carbon dioxide.
russet sun: Russet is a reddish-brown colour.  A russet sun capable of supporting life would probably a small red dwarf.  The largest, coolest red giant stars could also be a dim red colour, but they are also unstable, and remain in the russet stage for a couple of million years at the most; too little time to let the Sou(ou)shi evolve.

dwarf yellow star: If there is such a thing as a yellow dwarf star, the Sun is it; stars much less massive than the Sun are orange or red; stars more massive than it are white or blue, not to mention less dwarfish.

chitin: Chitin is a hard protein material which makes up ants' shells and other surfaces.

sunset: At the present time Venus has some unusual orbital characteristics.  Its period of rotation (243 days) is greater than its year, the period of its orbit around the Sun (224.7 days).  The author alludes to this by giving the Venus of three billion years ago a more Earthlike but increasing period of rotation.  On p.50 it is stated that the day is getting longer by 1/116 of its length every 33 years.  Such a fractional rate of increase is okay for describing changes at about a certain time only; that same fraction is worth a great deal more time now than it was three billion years ago.  The other quirk of Venus' orbit is that it rotates from east to west, in retrograde from most other rotating bodies in the solar system.  Several planetary moons have retrograde orbits, but we can find none with retrograde periods of rotation.  The most likely reason for Venus' retrograde rotation is a collision with a planet-sized body during the formation of the solar system.  A collision between two bodies with different rotations could produce a Venus with a permanently slow backwards rotation, or destabilise the Venus-body's rotation to flip it 180 degrees to rotate the other way.  A decreasing period of rotation would be due to Venus' loss of angular momentum through tidal forces from Mercury and Earth.  If it had a moon to store angular momentum, Venus' period of rotation would be stable.

Susan: Susan left the TARDIS crew at the end of 'The Dalek Invasion of Earth', the previous story.  Although she is an alien, possibly a Time Lady, possibly sterile, possibly the Doctor's granddaughter, she left him to marry David Campbell after defeating the Daleks in 2167 London.

food machine: Invented by David Whitaker as a set piece used in 'The Daleks' (aka 'The Mutants', 'The Dead Planet', 'The Survivors'), the TARDIS food machine produced little white food bars flavoured from an EM-like spectrum of flavours.  The dials on the machine were spun to read the code to the desired flavour.  KD/NB is spaghetti bolognese.  In the novelisation of 'The Daleks', or whatever it is, XL4 285 J is bacon and eggs, despite the apparently different syntax.
spaghetti bolognese: Spaghetti of a style named after the northern Italian city of Bologna.  What's it like? (Text submitted by Paul Andinach) The spaghetti itself is unremarkable, it's the fact that it's served with bolognese sauce that makes the difference. Exactly what bolognese sauce is like varies depending on which restaurant you're at, but minced meat is usually a major ingredient.
Brighton rock: Brighton is a seaside town on the English Channel, west of Beachy  Head and the Strait of Dover.  The cliffs of the South English seashore are white because they're chalk.  Obviously the food bars are white and look chalky. (Text submitted by Conrad Feinson) Brighton Rock (or indeed Blackpool Rock) is a hard, slightly chewy white or pink candy sold in long round sticks. It usually has 'Brighton' (or indeed 'Blackpool' ) written all the way through it. (Sorry, couldn't let that pass, I live there (Hove, actually :) )
(Text submitted by Allen Robinson) It's also a reference to the film version of "Brighton Rock" (based on the novel by Graham Greene), in which William Hartnell played an associate of the leading character, who was played by Richard Attenborough.  (Text also supplied by Daniel F)
Fablon: Synthetic material used domestically in cheap tablecloths, curtains and wallpaper; industrially in loading belts, and so forth.
Coal Hill School tie: As a tradition, Ian wears the tie associated with the school he teaches at.  Usually the Old School Tie is a relic of one's own school days, and not of one's students.  The tie becomes useful in 'The Web Planet', when it is dipped in acid and disintegrates.
Chianti: Wine produced in the Siena region of Tuscany, in northern Italy.

everlasting matches: First used by the Doctor in David Whitaker's 'The Daleks' novelisation.  Whether or not their reappearence here validates the alternative continuity of the novelisation is unclear, because the Doctor may be explaining the matches to Ian and Barbara for the first time.

the Serpentine: Engineered pond in London's Hyde Park.  It's long, thin and curved, and is thus serpentine.

neutronium counter: This is unclear.  The Doctor could be referring to the radiation meter last seen in 'The Daleks'.  A 'neutronium counter' is probably just a bit of technobabble, as neutronium is a kind of strange matter found in neutron stars.  In a supernova explosion at the end of a massive star's life, the stellar core is compressed so intensely that atoms become so crowded that electrons collide with their atomic nuclei.  The electrons' negative charges cancel the positive charges of the protons in the nuclei, and the resulting incredibly dense matter has no charge and is made of neutrons.  In episodes of Star Trek this matter is known as neutronium or, in alloy, carbon-neutronium.  It is impossible to scan through neutronium.  The doomsday machine in the classic Trek episode 'The Doomsday Machine' and the surface of the Dyson Sphere in the Next Generation episode 'Relics' are both made out of forms of neutronium.

three billion years: In England in the mid-Sixties this number was more likely to be expressed as 'three thousand million'.

that probe they sent last year: The first Earth space probe to visit Venus was Mariner 2, which passed 34,758 km (21,598 mi) from Venus on December 14, 1962, transmitting about 65 million bits of data about the planet back to Earth. This data indicated not only that the surface temperature of Venus is about 400 degrees Celsius, but also that atmospheric temperatures show little difference between the Sun-lit and dark sides of the planet.  Mariner 2's data also indicated that the planet's magnetic field is either nonexistent or extremely weak.

fifth sphere of harmony:
antiunometric force:

Morphoton: City on the planet Marinus in 'The Keys of Marinus'.  It was here that the TARDIS crew met their first real bug-eyed monsters.
Sense-Sphere: Setting of the serial 'The Sensorites'.

as high as Shetland ponies: 66 cm at the shoulder.

monstrous shaghorn (sic): A Venusian Shanghorn was an object of derision for the 3rd Doctor.  He once warned Jo that on no account should one keep a perigosto stick close to it.  A Shaghorn is, apparently, even funnier.
two-headed klak-kluk: This one barely got in.  Invented by Barry Letts in the script for 'The Paradise of Death', a barely-canonical 1993 radio serial.  The adaptation was done to put a radical alien spin on a boring old proverb: '..You'll swallow a klak-kluk and choke on a menian dust-fly.'  With the klak-kluk's two heads, according to the Doctor, '..it never knew whether it was coming or going.'  It needed the two heads to look out for packs of pattifangs, or so the Doctor claims.  If he really believed that, the 3rd Doctor was a Lamarckian and was wrong.  Evolution is a lottery, even on Venus; a klak-kluk can't just grow another head to keep an eye out for the pattifangs.  Somehow, mutations have to be often enough and the single-headed klak-kluks successful enough for two animals with two-headed genes to mate and produce a viable offspring which is better suited to running away from pattifangs than the one-heads are; if it doesn't know whether it's coming or going, being able to see predators is countered by the disadvantage of not knowing which way to run.  Hence the theory: klak-kluk herds are mostly made up of single-headed animals, but they breed a few especially with two heads to keep an eye out for pattifangs.  At the first sign of predators all the klak-kluks with one head each run away, leaving the two-heads to bang their heads together and lie dazed on the sand, waiting to be devoured.  When the Doctor arrived on Venus to see the klak-kluks, the only ones that couldn't run away from him had two heads.
pattifangs: Venusian pack-hunters, also invented for 'The Paradise of Death'.

tower overlooking the whole of London: The GPO Tower seen in 'The War Machines' wasn't completed in November 1963 when Barbara left Earth, so that's out unless she's having a premonition.  There are very few high outlooks on London in general.  Which tower is being spoken of is unclear.

kid cousin John: This could be Johnny Chess, the rock star whose godfather is the Doctor from 'Timewyrm: Revelation', if it wasn't for Keith Topping making damn clear that Chess is Ian and Barbara's own son.
petrified forests: Skaro has petrified forests as a result of the neutronic war.
deserts of brown rock: In 'Marco Polo' Ian crossed the Gobi Desert in China.
mountains of blue glass: Arbitan's island, the setting for the first and last episodes of 'The Keys of Marinus', is surrounded by a sea of acid; the surface is covered with glass hills and points.
chimerins: A chimera is an unreal creature of the imagination; a mere wild fancy, like the tissue of lies Ian's getting away with.
poisonous free metals: All metals are poisonous to the Venusians except gold, platinum and titanium.  minerals are essential to Earth-based life on the cellular level in nerve impulse transmission and cellular transportation.  Venusian life would seem to be highly oxygen-based; metal in the body would corrode and clog up the pathways in which they're necessary on Earth.  So how does the Venusian nervous system work?

the Tribe of Gum in 100,000 BC: The first destination of the TARDIS after 1963 London in 'An Unearthly Child', the serial also known by the names of the two phrases in boldface in the previous line.

gunpowder: 10% sulfur, 15% charcoal, and 75% saltpeter (potassium nitrate).  The chemical element potassium is a soft, light, silver white alkali metal, indicating either faulty writing or extreme caution on the part of the Venusians in preparing their explosives.

Hammer-flies: presumably distinct from menian dust-flies.

petrol forests: Apparently Venus has forests which replenish enough gasoline every night to burst into flames every day at high noon.  This is getting a bit ridiculous.

Er - I don't think there is one [explanation for the petrol forests]. Like the Universe itself, they just are. I don't think I even explained how Ian got out alive...   I think he fell down a coal-hole.

Alabaster-Age: Period of Venusian history patterned after the human iron-, bronze-, copper- and stone-ages.  Alabaster is a kind of gypsum, hydrated calcium sulphate.  It's used in architecture.  What with gunpowder and alabaster, and armed with the knowledge of the role of sulphur in Venus' current lack-of ecosystem as sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere and sulfuric acid rain, we can speculate that Venusian life was dependent on sulfur.  Calcium, however, is another alkali metal and presumably also deadly to the Venusians.

Close your north eye, my little ones..: Variation on the translation of the Venusian lullaby the 3rd Doctor furnished in Episode 3 of 'The Dæmons'.
Covent Garden: The Royal Opera House in Covent Garden at the intersection of Bow Street and Floral Street, north of the Strand in London.

monopsiopsychosemiotic: I beg your damn pardon!  It's bad enough we can't understand the venusian words in this book, but the least you could do is leave us the english!  To be briefly conjectural, the Doctor has suspicions about the Sou(ou)shi; whether he thinks they're vampires yet or not isn't made especially clear by this word; matter of fact, neither is precious little else.  Psio indicates psychic power, which both the Venusians and the Vampires are adept in.  Psycho - speaks for itself, vampires don't always have the same grip on reality as the rest of us.  Semiotics is the study of signs and meanings.  So the Sou(ou)shi have psi-powers, they're criminally insane and they can fiddle with signs.  Don't forget the quantum explanation of vampirism and psi-powers the 5th Doctor furnished in 'Goth Opera'; that could explain the semiotics bit if the Sou(ou)shi's metamorphosis is more imagined on the quantum level than solid.

seventy degrees north:

the Great Vampires: A race of giant bat-like space vampires which terrorized the early universe during the time of Rassilon.  The Great Vampires seeded the universe and all of our vampires are descended from them.  The Time Lords built a fleet of bowships and drove them through the hearts of all but one of the vampires, which escaped into E-Space as the setting for 'State of Decay'.

not cross-fertile: Susan's imagined statement implies that, as a Gallifreyan, although she cannot interbreed with humans (possibly contradicting Matthew Jacobs' screenplay for the 1996 Doctor Who TV Movie) she is fertile and can bear children (possibly contradicting the Cartmel Masterplan as described in Marc Platt's 'Cat's Cradle: Time's Crucible' and 'Lungbarrow').
I won't grow old: This seems to confirm that Susan is a Time Lady.  It doesn't confirm/deny that she has a regenerative process.

Twenty-five years: No disrespect intended to the late Jacqueline Hill, but Barbara Wright must be older than 25.  Ms Hill was at least 30 when she took the role.  And since when has the Doctor, however old he is at the time, been a good judge of a woman's age?

Close your eyes - or three of them at least: The 3rd Doctor's translation of the Venusian lullaby 'Klokleda partha mennin klatch' from 'The Dæmons' Episode 3.  He got a laugh.

unknown sonic device: Reference to the sonic screwdriver.  Its first onscreen use was in 'Fury from the Deep' towards the end of season 5, whereas this story is set near the beginning of season 2.  Although the 1st Doctor was never seen to use the sonic screwdriver, nobody's going to say conclusively that he didn't have one.
hyperdimensional crystals: These crystals bear resemblance to the futurite crystals in 'Ghost Devices', which I coincidentally am reading at the moment.  The hyperdimensional crystal concept dates back, at least, to the Star Trek novel 'How Much for Just the Planet?'.  'How Much?' is better than most Trek books, and the explanation of dilithium crystals describes them as having hyperspatial or temporal structure as an extension of their molecular structure, making them an ideal medium for the matter-antimatter reaction.  In this instance the Doctor uses the Aveletian crystals to dissipate the energy of re-entering the Venusian energy through time.

hot rain: The rain is probably acidic rather than just warm.  Venus currently has a serious acid rain problem; the rain is pure acid; extending the problem into the past with reduced seriousness provides a link with the present.

moment in the mines: Confused by his assumed Venusian identity, Ian is probably remembering the amoebic Slyther, the Daleks' alien guard-dog, from the Bedfordshire mines in 'The Dalek Invasion of Earth'.

Piccadilly Line.. Leicester Square: The Piccadilly Underground Line starts at Heathrow Airport to London's west, runs through the downtown and runs off to the north-east to Cockfosters.  Leicester Square is an intersection with the Northern Line.  Although in the novelisation of 'The Daleks' Ian lived in Paddington in West London, owned a car and didn't teach at the Coal Hill School, there has never been any evidence of his living on the Piccadilly or Northern Lines.  In 'An Unearthly Child' he and Barbara used his car to follow Susan home to Totters Lane.  If he didn't live near Coal Hill (and wouldn't have if he brought his car to work) he didn't use the Tube to get there, although Shoreditch is on the Northern Line at Old Street.

a train whose last stop was hell:

The last time I saw something like this:In Episode 6 of 'The Dalek Invasion of Earth' Ian tried to defuse the bomb the Daleks intended to use to remove the Earth's core.  He later diverted it so it detonated in a side-shaft rather than falling through the Earth's crust.

the size of St Paul's Cathedral:Saint Paul's is 169 m long, 55 m wide across the west facade, and 34 m high on the outer walls.

marketing manager: The Doctor's talking about cigarettes.  He had recently given up smoking after being beaten senseless by a Cro-Magnon man while indulging in a pipe.  Yes, smoking is hazardous to your health.

pentaclaviphonium: Hybrid musical instrument.  A pentagon is presumably the Venusian version of a triangle, a bent metal, erm, rod which produces a tone when struck.  A clavichord is an early piano-like instrument.  A euphonium is a tuba-like ..brass.. instrument.  Combining elements of percussion, the piano and the brass section, a pentaclaviphonium is probably a right mess and it's no wonder Podsighil's afraid of it.

stuck in the TARDIS door: In 'Eternity Weeps', Chris Cwej flew a military helicopter through the TARDIS doors while being menaced by a deadly plague and tossed about by a nuclear explosion trying to destroy same.  Evidently the Doctor had been working on the TARDIS doors since a Venusian got jammed between them.

ASIDE:  In what way was 'Venusian Lullaby' an inspiration for Jim Mortimore's 'Eternity Weeps'?  I get the feeling that the early drafts of Mortimore's book may have had more to do with Venus than the Cthalctose.

I've been accused of ripping Jim off (Genocide for Blood Heat, Dreamstone Moon for Lucifer Rising), but this is the first time it's happened the other way round -- all I can say is, there was no conscious borrowing. But we work closely together, read each other's work, etc, so it's likely that ideas will cross over from time to time.

the Set: This may be a reference to the Suo(ou)shi hive mind, but it may also suggest that the vampires are influenced by the Osirian Sutekh, who is big on death himself.

in orbit: Volcanic ejecta and the remains of the Sou(ou)shi ship should never go into orbit; they should sift out of the atmosphere witin six months to two Earth years.

January 1965: The first episode of 'The Rescue', which follows directly from this book, was first broadcast on January 2, 1965.
Susan's wedding: As far as we know the Doctor never goes; John Peel's 'Legacy of the Daleks' might decide it one way or another.
Aristea of Alexandria:

(Text from DWM #221, Craig Hinton interviews Paul Leonard)
    "My real name is Paul Hinder, and I have written a number of short stories as PJL Hinder.  But I've never liked the name - it has echoes of 'hindrance' and 'hindsight' - so when Virgin asked whether I wanted the name Paul Hinder or PJL Hinder, I threw them completely by saying I wanted Paul Leonard, from one of my middle names.
    "When I heard about the advent of the Missing Adventures, I decided to try that format.  I had a brilliant idea about Venusians, put together a proposal in two weeks, and sent it off.  That was odd because my first proposal took five months, and during that period it became too long and too complicated - everything and its mother crept in!  By only taking two weeks, the proposal for Venusian Lullaby was more coherent and much tighter.
    I don't really consider myself a Doctor WhoFan.  I watched it when I was twelve or thirteen - Jon Pertwee and early Tom Baker - but after that I stopped.  It was my fellow inhabitant of Bristol, Jim Mortimore, who suggested I wrote a Doctor Who book, and I thought he was mad!  But he talked me into it, lent me books and videos..."
    For someone who wasn't a fan, he luckily managed to hit upon a title buried in the traditions of Doctor Who.  "I remembered that Jon Pertwee was always making comments about the Venusians, about lullabies and the like.  I tied that in with an idea I had about a really alien culture - something I had always wanted to write about - and anchored it  at the same time as Book of Shadows, Jim's short story in the first Decalog.  And the result was Venusian Lullaby.
    Paul is a member of the same writers' group as Jim in Bristol: what benefits did he get from the group during the writing of the book?  "Great support from fellow writers.  As well as Jim, the group also contains members of the Bristol science-fiction group, and the book gained a lot from the input of non-Doctor Who , mainstream science-fiction people, as they pointed out things that were more interesting than the first thing that had come to mind."
    So, what is the easiest thing about writing a book?  "The final edit," he stated.  "It is definitely much more fun than writing.  ... And the hardest thing?  Definitely the middle.  I start thinking 'Oh my God - I've got to make the rest of the book fit in with what I've just written!'  By this point, the first half has drifted away from the original outline and you realise that you've got to get to the end of the book and tie up the differences.  I had a total panic over Venusian Lullaby - it lasted a month - and yet the second half ended up just like the outline anyway.
    "I'm reasonably proud of Venusian Lullaby.  It has got its flaws, but nothing fundamental - a few scenes could do with being rearranged, and the Venusians' names are too long...

Copyright  Eric Briggs  1998 and thanks to Paul Leonard for contributing! 1