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159p 'Enemy of the Daleks'

CD audio adventure released May 2009, 4 episodes

Writer: David Bishop
Director: Ken Bentley

Roots: Zulu (the Roarke facility is also named after Rorke's Drift, the setting of the movie.) Shimura sings the Japanese folk song Sakura. Judge Dredd ('plasteen'; Shimura may be named after a Hondo City judge inspector and Dredd's counterpart given his own strip). The names Tarawera and Ashburton are New Zealand locations, while Hex namechecks NZ quiz show It's In The Bag. The Doctor paraphrases King Lear ("as flies to wanton boys are you to the Kisaabya") and quotes The Singing Detective ("Am I right, or am I right?"). Beth's belief that "to destroy a monster you must become [one] is an inversion of Nietsche's popular quotation "he who fights monsters should see to it that he himself does not become a monster."

Intertextuality: By way of explanation for Ace's superior military and combat knowledge, David Bishop reveals that Ace is in part based on the paramilitary New Adventures version.

Fluffs: Captives are apparently "interred" as slave labour (presumably Beth means 'interned', unless she's thinking of something a little more permanent and terminal).

Goofs: If Bliss contains such valuable and endangered species, who decided it would be a good idea to also allow Pirhana Locusts and parasitic metal plants to live there [perhaps they both have a very specific diet?]

Technobabble: Plasteen is a compound resin. Shimura's lab set-up includes an Ormst-Ido accelerator and a gene-splicing array.

Dialogue Triumphs: "Did you ever wonder how the Daleks came to be, Professor? They were created by a scientist seeking to break the deadlock in a war, believing they would save his people [...] The Daleks exterminated them [...] His name became a byword for science gone mad. Is that the legacy you would leave, Professor?"

Double Entendres: "We hunger for Metaaaal!" (that would explain the soundtrack then)

Continuity: The Roarke 279 research station is on the planetoid Bliss, an interplanetary reserve likened to the Galapagos Islands and located outside Earth's galaxy (hornets don't exist in this one) and near an asteroid belt. Many endangered species of fauna and flora are there, including (oddly) Piranha Locusts and Ironweed, a metallic parasitic plant with large thorns and mercury for sap. Both species have been enlarged by genetic engineering - the Piranha Locusts up to five times original size. The research station itself has a meteor shield, an outer defensive grid and electromagnetic locks as well as a medical station staffed by a medical droid, Sistermatic.

The Kisaabya are a new species created from aspects of silkworms and Piranha Locusts, feeding initially on the Ironweed. Once their eggs are hatched in an organic host their larval stage (the Pirhana Locust hybrid) consumes the host's flesh (several times its own weight) before spinning a metal strand cocoon (through which sound can penetrate - Shimura credits the language skills of his creations to his singing to them); the adult form can fly and has an appetite only for metal (it may be inferred after the Black Dalek's fate that certain parts of a Dalek's casing are not polycarbide but a form of metal - perhaps dalekanium?) Despite their vulnerability to most attacks the Kisaabya are nonetheless voracious, and it is the speed of their generation and reproduction and ferocity of their attacks which appear to be the main threat to the Daleks. Individuals darken as they age - the first-born of the swarm is thus identified, and each can lay over a dozen eggs at a time. Shimura created over a hundred specimens, and of these at least the first born is able to breed and create offspring.

Valkyrie units are all-female fighting teams in the Dalek Wars which comprise twenty fighting units and a commissioned officer (Unit Echo Three-Nine includes a sergeant). Their original convoy included ships named the Tarawera, Helena, Fisk and Ashburton (one or more of which may be a hospital ship).

The Daleks are led by a Black Dalek. Their tactics include aerial bombardment followed by ground assault. Overloading the power cells inside a panel below the Dalek mutant in a [Black?] Dalek casing triggers a self-destruct sequence which is large enough in this instance to destroy the whole base. The Valkyries discuss rumours that the Daleks may be using replicants (see: Links) - latest intelligence suggests (and this appears to be borne out) that the Daleks are once again enslaving their enemies.

Ace displays strong tactical and military knowledge, having picked this up during her time with the Doctor, very likely (see: Intertextuality). She is familiar with pulse emitters (guns) and laser perimeter defences.

Unlike Ace, Hex has heard and/or seen It's In The Bag! [Presumably, like Popstars this was adapted for a UK audience as Ace suggests - "after my time". We can't imagine Hex went on a school trip to New Zealand as well].

The Doctor is aware of an atrocity occurring on Bliss during the Dalek Wars, and of his part in it (though perhaps not his actual contribution), so this story is in part him visiting a predestined event in his own timeline. He says his qualifications are in the sciences, mainly. It would appear that he has in part reassessed his decision to not alter history and prevent the Daleks' creation while in his fourth persona (see: Links).

Location: Planetoid Bliss, the Dalek Wars

Q.v.: 'The Doctor's Doctorate', 'Dalek History'

Links: Resurrection of the Daleks (Dalek replicants), Hex mentions St Gart's (The Harvest). The Doctor's "Have I the right?" speech in Genesis of the Daleks.

The Bottom Line: "Is it me or do I hear the sound of history repeating?"

It's loud! And it's traditional. Most of Enemy of the Daleks works, and most of what works does so because of the direction and pacing of the story - a credit to Ken Bentley. Where it gets let down is in the tendency of characters to explain themselves as they apparently flit about dodging giant insects and Daleks, and perhaps the core idea is still a little familiar - giant wasps also being the Dalek's 'ultimate enemy' in The Mutant Phase. At least Hex gets to be a doctor again, although trooper Ace and the agenda-driven Doctor in combo present themselves as something of an anachronism by now.

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