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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

enik1138
-at-popapostle-dot-com
Puzzle
Novel
Written by Sean Dalton

(The page numbers come from the 1st printing, paperback edition, published February 1995)

 

The Eden Advance group discovers an ancient subterranean city.

 

Read the full summary of Puzzle at the Making of Timelines Yahoo Group

 

Notes from the Earth 2 chronology

 

Alonzo is walking around in this story, but Julia is still concerned about his "recently-healed" leg, so the story must take place shortly after "Water", where he begins walking without crutches again.

 

Didja Know?

 

Sean Dalton is a pen name used by author Deborah Chester.

 

Didja Notice?

 

On page 2, Zero's head is again attached to the ATV to navigate the vehicle.

 

Page 4 reveals that the hard-copy map of the region used by Devon was hand drawn by Yale from probe information and the government's orbital surveys of the planet.

 

On page 4, Alonzo answers Devon's question of what he has found with, "Nada, querida." This is Spanish for "Nothing, dear."

 

Page 5 reveals that the group has encountered animals similar to antelope recently. On page 24, Morgan mentions goldbucks, seeming to be a reference to these antelope-like creatures.

 

Several times in the book, Uly is referred to as being 10 years old. This is incorrect, as he was 8 years old (not counting hibernation time during the 22-year trip to G889) in "First Contact" Part 1 (and is also stated as such later in "The Enemy Within"). True is 10 years old, possibly the source of the author's confusion.

 

True still has her pet koba and the other members of the group are even aware of it. No mention is made of the danger of its poison claws. However, the koba does not play an important role here, so it could easily be ignored to make the story fit into continuity. It would seem that early plans for the TV series must have included True keeping the koba for an extended amount of time.

 

Page 13 reveals that the group has a number of electric fans to help cool the air around them when they make camp.

 

Gaal is mentioned a few times in the novel, with the impression that he's still alive and could choose to threaten the group again. However, since Alonzo is back on his feet again, this story must take place some time after "Promises, Promises" where Gaal seemingly meets his doom at the hands of the Terrians and in which Alonzo is still crippled. As such, the reader may want to substitute "penal colonists" still lurking about when the Eden Advance characters mention Gaal, in order for this story to fit into continuity.

 

As he stops Uly and True from squirting each other with their precious and minimal supplies of water on page 23, Danziger refers to Uly, saying, "Spoiled little--" before Devon cuts him off. Obviously, he was about to call him a "spoiled little brat" or something along those lines, which doesn't sound like the Danziger we know from the TV series.

 

As the stampede of what the group comes to refer to as buffaloes through their camp comes to an end, Danziger shoots one of the stragglers on page 27, saying they need food. But he and Walman already shot two down during the stampede on page 25! Why couldn't they make use of those instead of killing a third? The earlier two animals were trampled as the stampede continued, so I suppose it's possible the bodies were useless by the end of it.

 

Page 36 refers to Yale as a Teacher, with a capital T, and mentions that Devon knows that Yale is outdated as far as robotic teachers go, but she's too fond of him to let him go. From elements of the TV series, Yale is more than just outdated, the entire Yale series was recalled decades ago due to malfunctions that allowed the former criminals to go against their programming and rebel. It is implied in the series that Devon's Yale cyborg is the only Yale left in service.

 

On page 37, Julia remarks that they recovered some of their medical supplies from the Grendlers a few weeks ago, but they still do not have any cytokine tabs. Cytokines are protein molecules that act as messengers between cells and aid in immuno-response. The particular interaction with the Grendlers mentioned by Julia here is not chronicled in any of the TV episodes.

 

On page 38, Devon mentions Dr. Vasquez. Vasquez was Uly's original doctor, as stated in the early chapters of the "First Contact" novelization. He is still on the slowly approaching colony ship and Devon expects to be reunited with him when the ship arrives at New Pacifica.

 

On page 40, Alonzo tells Devon he found a road of sorts about 7 klicks from their current location. A klick is military slang for "kilometer".

 

On page 41, Alonzo calls Julia "querida". This is Spanish for "dear".

 

Throughout the book, Devon (and others) are making announcements to the group over their gear, implying everyone has gear which they wear at virtually all times! Even when the members of the group are in relatively close proximity in camp and a simple shout could gather them all together for an announcement, Devon seems to use gear instead.

 

Page 52 reveals that the standard Grendler greeting sounds similar to "Hey!"

 

The Grendler the group meets in Chapter 3 is able to speak and understand a bit of English and the humans don't seem surprised by it. Perhaps this Grendler is one of the ones who learned some of the phrases taught to the Grendlers by Gaal, as he mentions in "The Man Who Fell to Earth (Two)". It's also possible that the Grendlers from whom the group recovered some of their medical supplies (as mentioned above) was also able to communicate in English to a degree.

 

For some reason, Morgan seems to be the primary go-between for interactions with the Grendlers. Is this due to his interaction with one in "A Memory Play"? Wouldn't Bess be a better choice since she also developed a trading relationship with one in "Natural Born Grendlers" and she is much more trustworthy than her husband.

 

The large energy rifles carried by Eden Advance are known as Mag-Pros, firing magnetic projectiles, "concentrated electro-magnetic vortices with tremendous velocity and impact." (See "Earth 2: Interactive Broadcast Companion", formerly posted on the official Earth 2 web site when the show was first airing on NBC.) On page 55 of this novel, Devon seems to be carrying a Mag-Pro pistol, which may the type of pistol also used by Morgan in "A Memory Play".

 

Page 62 reveals that Alonzo has grown familiar with the local constellations in the night sky and seems to refer to one of them as the dragon, with a glowing red planet as its eye. That would also suggest there is a red planet within the solar system of G889.

 

Page 62 states that Alonzo is 70 years old. But in "Natural Born Grendlers", Alonzo stated that he is 109-110 years old.

 

Page 62 also reveals a bit of Alonzo's past, stating he'd been a belt pilot, among the asteroid belts, doing scouting for mining companies. The asteroid belts referred to are probably the ones lying between Mars and Jupiter or the similar Kuiper Belt extending from the orbit of Neptune outward, 30-50 astronomical units from the sun.

 

Page 63 reveals that the Terrians refer to Alonzo as Starstrider. On page 106, they refer to Danziger as Firestriker, due to his having used a Mag-Pro rifle to kill one of the buffaloes, which had been forbidden to them.

 

Page 66 reveals that something called salt fruit is a dietary necessity of the Terrians. Somehow Alonzo knows this, but this fact is not revealed in any previous (or subsequent) story.

 

On page 71, Alonzo says, "nada". This is Spanish for "nothing".

 

Page 75 refers to the electro-binoculars used by Eden Advance as jumpers. This is confirmed by the "Earth 2: Interactive Broadcast Companion".

 

On page 81, Yale remarks that the architecture of the lost city they've found is reminiscent of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. By this, he is probably referring to structures of mud bricks and stone. 

 

Page 92 refers to the TransRover's wheels as being gigantic, but I would hardly call them that. The Rover itself is also consistently described in the novel as being very large, but it's not really. It may be that early information on the series provided to the author suggested a larger vehicle than what finally was designed for the TV series.

 

On pages 105-106, Danziger also has a visit by the Terrians in his dreams, as does Devon on page 107. Normally, only Alonzo can interact with the Terrians via dream.

 

Page 107 refers to a Terrian's staff as a lightning stick.

 

On page 123, Uly remarks to True, in the lost city, that she was staring into space like she'd had her mind wiped. This is probably a reference to the type of blanking of memories that was done to some criminals such as Yale, to make them cyborg Teachers.

 

On page 125, when True no longer remembers what she did inside one of the buildings in the lost city, Uly tells her she was acting like she was geared out. This is probably meant as a reference to the virtual reality function of some types of communications gear, which allows the wearer to experience an illusory reality. The VR gear was introduced in "Natural Born Grendlers".

 

Page 138 refers to Uly's old wheelchair as a Mag-Lev chair. "Mag-lev" is short for "magnetic levitation". Uly and True later use the chair to lift themselves to the top of a barrier in the lost city. But Uly's wheelchair as seen in "First Contact" Part 1 had wheels on it and did not seem to have hovering capability.

 

Realizing the lost city is actually a humongous tomb, Uly remarks that it's like the Valley of Kings in old Egypt. The Valley of the Kings is a real world archaeological site where the Pharaohs of the Egyptian New Kingdom (16-11th Centuries BC) were entombed.

 

Throughout the novel, Baines and Walman are presented as the only "secondary" members of the group. This may be another instance of the author working from pre-production notes for the series, before the characters of Magus, Cameron, Denner, Mazatl, and Eben were added to the pilot script.

 

Although the Terrians don't seem to live in cities now, the novel suggests they may have thousands of years ago. The tomb the group has discovered (the lost city) may have been for one of their ancient kings.

 

On page 216, Danziger scans the strange metal/stone substance that has been found in places around the lost city and realizes it is orstanium, a space-made alloy. This appears to be a fictional alloy invented for the novel. The presence of orstanium in the tomb suggests that the Terrians either had some kind of space-based technology in the past or they had trade with a space-faring civilization thousands of years ago.

 

Unanswered Questions

 

Besides the traps, is the lost city haunted? It seemed that a couple of times, True had a co-habitating personality in her head with her, which she later could not remember. It is never explained.

 

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