Jackson Lloyd is named after the company who do the repairs for the Housing Association where I live. They are far from my favourite people as I find their work inefficient and sub-standard, so they were chosen as the name of the unlikeable American attached to Torchwood Glasgow. I have several times used the idea suggested by the character of Chaucer in the film A Knight’s Tale to ‘eviscerate’ my enemies in fiction. It is an excellent way of getting revenge on people who annoy me.

Jackson Lloyd is, therefore, an irritating man who has rubbed everyone up the wrong way with his casual homophobia and his patronising attitude to women. I don’t show very much of that in real time. Mostly it is back story in the first couple of paragraphs.

The sequence at the golf course with Jackson being mercilessly teased by Shona and Dougal was a satisfying piece of writing. The relationship between the characters worked well without me even trying, and I think it comes across as an entertaining piece of everyday Torchwood business. I certainly hope it does. It certainly shoes Shona and Dougal, who have had issues with each other in the past, working very well together if only out of mutual disdain for Jackson.

I generally dislike golf courses. You can tell, can’t you, by my disdainful comments in this story. Oscar Wilde called them a good walk spoiled. I have always found them to be places where snobs gather and put up fences to stop other people enjoying their private bit of the countryside. When I looked up the Sandyhills golf course it confirmed all my suspicions with a whole collection of thoroughly snobby rules about clothing and shoes to be worn on the course and in the clubhouse etc.

All Members and Visitors are required to be dressed smartly within the Clubhouse and on the Course. Collarless shirts, even those manufactured by recognised golf clothing manufacturers as well as T shirts, crew necks and turtle necks of any variety are not allowed. Polo necks are permitted. Shirts must be tucked into trousers (and shorts where allowed) at all times.

Rugby/football shirts are prohibited, as are any shirts carrying logos, team colours, slogans, numbers or illustrations on apparel that are not golf related.

All types or colour of denim, paramilitary or camouflage style trousers, combat trousers (multiple pockets), cut offs or tracksuits are strictly prohibited.

Training shoes, jogging bottoms, shell suits, hooded tops are strictly prohibited.

Tailored shorts are allowed on the Course but not in the lounges and dining room Cut-off trousers, Pantaloni types, shorts below the knee and cargo/multi pocketed shorts are not allowed.

Multi coloured shorts are strictly prohibited.

Golf shoes must be worn on the course. Any other type of shoes, including trainers, are strictly prohibited.

Water proof jackets/ trousers are not permitted in the Clubhoue except in the locker room.

Frankly, they’re just ASKING to have a UFO plough through their Fairway.

I was also fairly pleased with the next part of the story when everything starts to go pear-shaped in the Hub. It was one of those stories that wrote itself in many ways. The only bit that I did have a little trouble with was the end sequence. Avoiding making that too sentimental was the problem and it had a couple of rewrites and ended up a little shorter than the first draft.

I don’t actually know ANYTHING about nuclear physics. I looked that up in Wikipedia.

“Cherenkov radiation is electromagnetic radiation emitted when a charged particle such as an electron passes through a dielectric medium at a speed greater than the phase velocity of light in that medium. The charged particles polarize the molecules of that medium, which then turn back rapidly to their ground state, emitting radiation in the process.”

This is almost directly taken from Wikipedia, which presumably already dumbed it down a little so that the sentences made some sort of sense to those of us without Doctorates in physics, but I certainly couldn’t explain it to anyone beyond ‘it’s what causes nuclear reactors to glow blue’. Learning enough about a subject like that to make a character like Toshiko who DOES understand physics sound convincing is the tough part of writing science fiction!

Jackson Lloyd’s ‘dead’ voice asking to be set free, of course, references the scene in Independence Day where the Area 51 scientist’s body is manipulated by the alien. In this case, too, it is the alien using its victim to communicate, but Jackson himself makes his own plea.

“Primum non nocere,” is Latin for ‘First, do no harm’. It is a myth that it is a line from the Hippocratic Oath, but it is not far from the basic tenet of it. Owen’s reluctance to commit what amounts to assisted suicide is perfectly in keeping with both principles. Of course, he HAS used a gun more than once on TV, but in those cases it was self-defence or to protect his colleagues. This is far more cold-blooded.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherenkov_radiation
http://www.physics.upenn.edu/balloon/cerenkov_radiation.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primum_non_nocere
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippocratic_Oath

http://www.sandyhillsgolfclub.co.uk/