It also featured Stacy Townsend and Ssard, a human and Ice Warrior respectively, who had travelled with the Doctor in the Radio Times comic stories. This novel was the second BBC Books novel to feature a crossing of two different ranges, following the previous month's Mission: Impractical.
It is 3999. An artificial planetoid, Micawber's World, is hosting the Intergalactic Olympic Games, and athletes from all the worlds in the Galactic Federation are coming to take part. But when the Doctor and Sam arrive, murders soon begin...
The Doctor finds himself drafted in to examine some bizarre new drugs that are said to enhance the natural potential of the competing athletes. But what is their real purpose? Why are members of the Security Forces disappearing randomly? And just why is Chase Carrington, manufacturer of the drug, so protective of his company's secrets?
Watching and waiting, at the very heart of Micawber's World, is a race of parasites the Doctor has fought before. The Wirrn have come to the Milky Way from Andromeda, determined to spread their seed throughout a whole new galaxy, and it seems to Sam that the Doctor's hands are too full to pay their threat full attention...
to be added
- Eighth Doctor
- Sam Jones
- Kyle Dale
- Stacy Townsend
- Susan Dallion
- Chase Carrington
- Susan Dallion
- Duchess of Auckland
- Green Fingers
- Miles Mason
- Torin Chalfont
- Jolyon Tuck
- Phillipa Iley
- Jean-Paul Cartwright
- Ed Salt
- There are notes pertaining to the Seventh Doctor in the Galactic Federation database referring to Peladon, the Ancient Diadem and the planet Pakhar.
- There have been terrorist threats from Galaxy 5 and the Free Rasta VI.
- Susan Dallion is Quartermaster Sergeant in the Space Security Service.
- Livista, Tyrexus, the Phylox system, Coscos, Salostopus, the rimworlds of Golos and Vysp are all part of the Andromedan Galaxy.
- Earth is the centre of the Galactic Federation.
- Terrorists and criminals are imprisoned on the planet Desperus.
- Liasici was destroyed in a war "years ago" by the Argolin.
- Sam mentions Mu Camelopides moon.
- Kolpasha is the Fashion capital of the Federation.
- Stacy Townsend is working in an office on the planet Antares.
- Ssard works at the Martian Commission on Io.
- Iota 9 is a small colony world on the other side of Sauron.
- The Church of the Way Forward does not approve of inter-species breeding.
- The Foamasi can fit into human sized bodies despite their size.
- Jadeans are genetically engineered, and cannot have their minds read by telepaths.
- The Teknix are a cloned species, bald and very efficient.
- The Foamasi Ambassador says he works for Martians, Pakhars, humans, Cantryans, Chelonians, the Tzun, Lurmans, and Vegans, but won't work with the Daleks.
- Cows have been exported all over the galaxy.
- Security officer Gar is a V'orrn.
- Other species mentioned include Doradan, Hiind, Morrain, Parad and Saurian.
- Sam recalls to herself being chased by Daleks, Zygons and Psionovores.
- Sam meets a Meep.
- Morogs are squat humanoids from Pindant.
Titles and offices
- The Guardian of the Solar System is mentioned by numerous people. The Doctor explains to Sam that the Guardian's role in the Galactic Federation is analogous to that of US President Bill Clinton's role in the United Nations in 1997.
- This is the first "crossover" novel of the EDAs, crossing characters from the Radio Times comic strip with novel characters and events.
- In his introduction Gary Russell notes that the Wirrrn were spelt with three Rs in the novelisation of The Ark in Space, and continues the tradition throughout this novel.
- There were at least two alternate covers for this novel:
- The name Room 101 is a reference to a room of the same name from George Orwell's Nineteen-Eighty Four. In fact one line in the novel states "Room 101.1984".
- The Doctor last encountered Ice Warriors en masse in PROSE: The Dying Days.
- The Wirrn first appeared in TV: The Ark in Space.
- The Foamasi first appeared in TV: The Leisure Hive.
- The planet Golos is mentioned in AUDIO: Bang-Bang-a-Boom!.
- Sam mentions, "Only magicians could take me to Victorian London (PROSE: The Bodysnatchers) or twenty-second century Borneo". (PROSE: Alien Bodies)
- The Doctor states, "I've never had a faith, as such. I had a House. (PROSE: Lungbarrow) And a birthsign. (TV: The Creature from the Pit) And a Chapter to be loyal to." (TV: The Deadly Assassin)
- Sam recalls leaving the Doctor in PROSE: The Longest Day and seeing him again in PROSE: Dreamstone Moon, and her time spent away from him in PROSE: Seeing I.
- The Doctor states he saw the birth of mankind as single celled amoeba, which is probably TV: City of Death.
- The Galactic Federation, Space Security Service and Guardian of the Solar System all first appeared in TV: The Daleks' Master Plan.
- Sam has encountered Psionovores. (AUDIO: Minuet in Hell)
- The Discontinuity Guide to: Placebo Effect at The Whoniverse
- Gary Russell's Strange Matter: Placebo Effect, author notes via Internet Archive: Wayback Machine
- The Cloister Library: Placebo Effect