Tuesday, 2 September 2014

The Volcanis Deal

The Doctor and Turlough are on the planet Volcanis, where there are lots of volcanoes. That sounds to me like a proper sensible Terry Nation name for a planet.

Beneath his feet the ground heaved and split, gushing boiling mud and glowing lava. Flames licked round him with a heat so fierce that if the insulation in his white frock coat and cricket whites had failed for even a second, he would have been roasted alive.

It is good to know that the Doctor wears sensible clothes for the environment. I don't know why cricket players need their clothes to be volcano-proof, but then I'm only a cat. The Doctor thinks about space travel for a few paragraphs which are interesting and add depth, even if they are tangential to the story itself.

During the first few centuries of space travel, ordinary men had only been able to reach the planets of their own solar system.
In time, these had been fully developed, and it seemed that exploration had reached a dead-end because of the enormous distances which separated the sun from even the nearest stars. The Doctor was musing on this. He had no such restrictions.
He had made contact with hundreds of alien races on thousands of planets, in many different time dimensions, which had been colonised many light-years from parent Earth. But countless billions of worlds still remained unvisited.
No two worlds were alike. Many were terrifying; all were fascinating. And to a seasoned traveller like the Doctor, the proposition of landing on any new planet always made him inwardly cautious but deliriously happy.

The Doctor and Turlough investigate the planet briefly before the Doctor says "Not much here, Turlough. Let's push on, shall we?" and he wants to go to another planet - or possibly a star, it's a bit confused - called Ilium.

Just before going back into the Tardis, the Doctor throws his cricket ball away, which serves no purpose in the story other than to explain what's going on in this picture. It doesn't, however, explain Davo's mighty chin in the picture.

The Tardis takes off and then the writer gives away the fact that they have never really watched Doctor Who before writing this story.

The Doctor, now wielding a cricket bat, was consulting his astro-charts, and thinking of a recent West Indies Test Match at Lords.
They left Volcanis at a comparatively slow speed.
It wasn't until they were in deep interstellar space that it was safe for the Tardis to break through mil lions of faster-than-light barriers. From then on, the automatic computers took over navigation, until warning lights on the circular console informed them that they were approaching Ilium.
The Tardis suddenly slowed to normal speed time, about a hundred million miles beyond the orbit of Ilium's outermost planet.

Gamma Longcat wants to know what lions have to do with lightspeed barriers, but we don't have time to ponder that mystery because it is at this point that the story goes completely mad and the Doctor's cricket bat turns into a snake.

Snake! It's a snake! Oh, it's a snake!

The Doctor wrestles with the snake for a moment before it turns back into a cricket bat. He has a cup of "Indian blend tea" and has just concluded that he imagined it - even though Turlough saw it too - when "the Tardis fire-deterrent sprinklers" shoot "red hot slivers of metal" on the floor.

"Either I'm going crazy, or something is happening to my Tardis!" said the Doctor, then he heard Turlough shouting to him. His companion was gazing at him, his eyes bulging in horror.
"Turlough, what is it?" asked the Doctor taking a step towards him.
"Some - something terrible has happened to you, Doctor. You've grown two heads!"

Dun-dun-dun! That seems like the place to put a cliffhanger to me.

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