Lethbridge-Stewart: The Showstoppers
Nuzzink in ze vorld can schtop me now!’
There’s a new TV show about to hit the airwaves, but Colonel Lethbridge-Stewart won’t be tuning in. With the future of the Fifth Operational Corps in doubt he’s got enough to worry about, but a plea from an old friend soon finds Lethbridge-Stewart and Anne Travers embroiled in a plot far more fantastical than anything on the small screen.
Can charismatic star Aubrey Mondegreene really be in two places At The same time? What lengths will ailing entertainment mogul Billy Lovac go to in order to reach his audience? And is luckless journalist Harold Chorley really so desperate that he’ll buy into a story about Nazi conspiracies from a tramp wearing a tin foil hat?
There’s something very rotten At The heart of weekend television, and it isn’t all due to shoddy scripts and bad special effects.
- The Showstoppers was the sixth novel in the Lethbridge-Stewart series, released by Candy Jar Books in 2016.
- The story was commissioned as a pastiche and blending of Dr Strangelove and Doctor Who (hence the introduction by the son of Peter George, writer of the book Strangelove was based on and the film’s novelisation). Nothing Can Stop Me Now! New Lethbridge-Stewart cover unveiled. The two key links are Schädengeist’s plan to get everyone to rush into his bunker for experimentation (Strangelove being obsessed with a bunker for breeding humans in) and Mondegreene’s cover story of being a ‘method actor’ who plays multiple roles, a joke about Peter Sellers.
- The book opens with a confused note from the Ancestral Earth Museum about this story being found in “the Great Northern Desert”. This is a nod to the Dr Strangelove novelisation, in which aliens have written a similar introduction about documents found in the post-nuclear Desert.
- The real-life near collapse of London Weekend Television forms the backdrop to the story.
- Travers and Evans are watching the second day of riots in the Battle of the Bogside in chapter 3.
- They’re later caught watching The Flower Pot Men.
- Lovac refers to Lew Grade and ATV.
- The TV show BLIMEY shows several parodies of contemporary ATV adventure serials and Pertwee-era Doctor Who, including the tortured military acronym (ala UNIT). The villain’s roar of “Nuzzink in ze vorld can schtop me now!” is a joke At The expense of The Underwater Menace.
- When describing Mondegreene as a racist, Samson makes a joke off the title of Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.
- It turns out in the world of Doctor Who, the CIA did have a mind control method that’s blotted out by tin foil hats.
- Hannsen tells the colonel and Travers about Operation Paperclip and how Nazi scientists gathered by it were used in CIA mind control experiments. This is the first time Lethbridge-Stewart’s heard of it and he’s suspicious about how accurate it is.
- Travers and Lethbridge-Stewart know about the use of Nazi scientists but are unfamiliar with Paperclip. In real life, Paperclip had been partly exposed in late 1946
- At the end of the story, Lethbridge-Stewart learns he’s being promoted to brigadier so he can run HAVOC. (The Invasion)
- Travers refers to Quark remains from Mutually Assured Domination.
- HAVOC still haven’t completed their move to Dolerite Base. (Moon Blink)
- Bill Filer is mentioned as a US intelligence contact. (The Claws Of Axos)
- Lethbridge-Stewart briefly thinks a “blowhard like Scobie” is going to be put in charge of HAVOC. (Spearhead from Space)
- The bunker doors have been constructed from dwarf star alloy the CIA has. (Day of the Moon)