The world of Tyler's Folly is not all it seems... at least according to the story of a bedraggled archaeologist that authorities pull out of the ocean. Has Bernice really been inside the planet's interior?
The Also People is helpful, as the introduction mentions, but not essential.
Pg 6 "Even the TBIIG can't be trusted to find a suitable agent." The TBIIG (Tiny, But Interesting Interest Group), were seen in Oh No It Isn't!.
"By treaty we're forbidden to interfere in that part of space." The Also People.
Pg 10 "Her passage to Tyler's Folly had been arranged by one Professor Divson Follett, Head of Archaeology." First seen in Dragons' Wrath.
Pg 19 "The Nightmare Begins!" This may or may not be a reference to the Dalek Masterplan episode of the same title.
Pg 28 "Let me guess. You've found another Spear of Tuburr." The Sword of Tuburr appeared in Legacy and GodEngine.
Pg 32 "Took his lead from the early colonial scientist-explorers like Joss McFinney and Gustav Urnst." Urnst appeared in The Highest Science.
Pg 56 "I only know this particular symbol because I've seen it used to mark the trail to the public toilets on Youkali." Return of the Living Dad.
Pg 64 "I can use yogic techniques to withstand temperatures that 'd kill off Arcturan sun-dogs." We saw an Arcturan delegate in The Curse of Peladon.
Pg 83 "Earth scientists have always considered a stable Dyson sphere to be impossible, in practice. But I've been to one, in another galaxy. It's inhabited by the People." The Also People.
Pg 88 "Well, maybe you'll prefer the sequel. I'm calling it Fear and Sloathes in Las Vegas." The Sloathes first appeared in Sky Pirates!.
Pg 94 "Most of the smaller Space Fleet vessels are designed to function underwater. [...] My father told me" Return of the Living Dad.
Pg 99 "There was this hearing. You know Stanturus? [...] Pretty much brought down the Tharnian government while she was at it." Dragons' Wrath.
Pg 102 "Humans were famous for eating their parents on hatching. No, wait. That was the Metatraxi, wasn't it?" The Metatraxi were Samurai-like insectoid aliens created by Ben Aaronovitch and Andrew Cartmel for their rejected version of The Ultimate Adventure and were intended to appear in Season 27.
Pg 122 "Katastrophen found himself reminiscing about life in the hell camps of Darvilleva-Q." Not a continuity reference, but rather an intriguing namecheck. It's almost certainly just that, and not a comment on working conditions in the early days of Virgin publishing, given that Lawrence Miles's first book was edited during the Rebecca Levene era.
Pg 129 "The story holds that before mankind walked the earth, the world was ruled by giants. [...] It is said that there was a great calamity, and the giants were driven underground." This is foreshadowing for the later Gods arc in the Benny NAs.
Pg 160 "I was tortured, Kommander. Did you know that? I was tortured by your ancestors." Just War.
Pg 173 In Down Among the Dead Men, Professor Summerfield had warned about the dangers of jumping to conclusions about alien cultures" Benny's bestseller, mentioned frequently throughout the NAs.
Pg 189 "We fought a race of aliens. Insects from C-Mita-C-Mita-Rho." The Also People.
Pg 229 "The piglet people of Glomi IV have a thing about human culture." Death and Diplomacy, Burning Heart.
Pg 239 "Constable Aposta had backed up her account of the Stanturus three affair." Dragons' Wrath.
Pg 265 "She just knew, like she'd known when she'd left Jason up on the glass plains of the moon" Eternity Weeps.
Pg 277 "She'd felt something similar in the Elysium system, in the early twenty-sixth century." Parasite.
Pg 288 "Bernice was tortured by these people, lifetimes ago." Just War.
Pg 291 "I travelled to planets like Yemaya and Vo'lach Prime, the graveyards of extinct alien races said to have visited and influenced the human race millions of years BCE." SLEEPY, forward reference to Ghost Devices.
"I even visited a dead world at the centre of the galaxy, which legends claim was the birthplace of the very first humanoid civilization." This is very likely the remains of Gallifrey.
Pg 294 "But they were using my memories as a template, so I suppose it's not surprising that the Folly ended up having so much in common with Ordifica. That's where I was born, you see." Ordifica is later mentioned in Ghost Devices and features in Interference.
Pg 308 "In case you've forgotten, we have a treaty with a certain well-known species in the galaxy that says we can't interfere with events there." This treaty is with the Time Lords, as mentioned in The Also People.
Pg 309 "Bernice visited the Worldsphere a while ago." The Also People.
"Believe me I've got people closer to her than the TBIIG." We find out later that one of these "people" is Joseph, Benny's porter.
Pg 310 "If I was responsible for letting loose an ancient archetypal evil, I'm sure I'd have the best of reasons. [...] Oh, something to do with the future cultural development of the entire universe. It'll all make sense one day, believe me." Foreshadowing for the Gods arc.
OLD FRIENDS AND OLD ENEMIES
The People and God.
NEW FRIENDS AND NEW ENEMIES
Ash Juliandis, Lucretia Scannon.
Pg 224 F. Nils Kryptosa, a legendary explorer, mentioned in Beyond the Sun, appears here, albeit reconstructed in pink liquid form.
- Pg 68 "Things fall faster when you're underground. Not slower." This isn't true.
PLUGGING THE HOLES [Fan-wank theorizing of how to fix continuity cock-ups]
- This is a subtle hint that Benny is rewriting the narrative.
FEATURED ALIEN RACES
Pg 1 The People.
Pg 19 The Tashwari, previously mentioned in Oh No It Isn't!.
"Except the damn Goll - pardon the language - but they're too stupid to have myths." The Goll were mentioned in Oh No It isn't!.
Pg 46 A giant squid.
Pg 72 A mutant blood-sucking dragonfly.
Pg 76 A giant lizard, with multicoloured fins and horns.
Pg 77 A pterodactyl.
Pg 78 Woolly mammoths.
A sabre-toothed tiger.
Pg 109 Exploding shellfish.
Pg 117 Gugs, cavemen-like inhabitants of the Inner World.
Pg 183 Buffo Frogs, flying lizard-like aliens who can inflate themselves to vast sizes. The one we see here has been force-bred to become a living dirigible.
Pg 186 The Tribe of Lilith, yeti-like creatures. (The thirteen Eldest are also yeti, but of a much older breed, as described on page 220.)
Pg 195 Mammals with stunted limbs.
Birds that had turned into balls of sharpened feathers with little or no muscle tone.
Pg 196 A manta ray.
Pg 197 Fluid apes.
Pg 206 Giant bats.
Pg 259 Amazing Stories robots.
Pg 1 The Worldsphere.
Pg 7 Tyler's Folly (both within the planet and on the surface).
Pg 10 Dellah.
Pg 36 A bathosphere.
Pg 155 Flashbacks to one year ago and eight months ago, both presumably on Dellah.
IN SUMMARY - Robert Smith?
Down has a lot to recommend it, but ultimately it's not a very pleasant reading experience. There's comedy that works, a wicked plot twist at the end and the only actual character Lawrence Miles ever created in Lucretia, but it's easily 50 pages too long and what it does to Bernice leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. It's still absorbing reading and a very pivotal book for the Benny NAs, it just isn't very much fun.