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Solar Max and the Seven-Headed Snake Mother single work   short story   science fiction  
Issue Details: First known date: 2002... 2002 Solar Max and the Seven-Headed Snake Mother
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Benny supervises a dig in the tundra of the planet Terra Roxa, accompanied by two young students and a botanist named Sarger from a world where all women were wiped out by a genetically engineered virus. Terra Roxa's auroras are referred to in legend as the snake-mother of the Universe, and the planet's history is based around igo, an extinct coffee hybrid said to induce powerful hallucinations. The drink was used in political klatches until civilisation on the planet fell apart. The planet is currently at solar maximum, and the auroras are stronger than at any other time. When one of her students is injured in an accident, Benny sends them back to town, but she remains at the dig, confident that she can deal with Sarger. Sarger is contemptuous of Benny's interest in the little details of ordinary life, considering them unimportant -- and when he finds some remnants of the igo plant at the dig, he puts it in the fire without telling Benny, and both of them inhale the hallucinogenic smoke. They are attacked by a carnivorous yale, and Sarger fights it off; he then assaults Benny, considering that she has become his property since he saved her life. As Benny fights him off, they both begin to hallucinate, and Sarger, who had wanted to see beneath the skin of the Universe to the truth underneath, sees Benny as the snake-mother and runs screaming into the tundra. Benny recovers and makes her way back to town, where she finds that the solar flares have knocked out the nuclear reactor's safety systems, causing it to explode. In the midst of the devastation, she settles down to make herself some coffee, knowing what Sarger never understood: it's the little details of life that make up the Universe.'

Source: ( Sighted 19/5/11


  • Doctor Who spin-off work. The Doctor is not a character.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon A Life of Surprises : A Short-Story Anthology Paul Cornell (editor), Maidenhead : Big Finish Productions , 2002 Z1780267 2002 anthology short story science fiction

    'Professor Bernice Summerfield, interstellar archaeologist, adventurer, romantic and drinker, has had either one very big life or a number of only slightly smaller ones.

    'This anthology contains stories from many times and places across her long career, ranging from the starkly dramatic, through the thrilling, to the hilarious.'

    Source: ( Sighted: 19/5/11

    Maidenhead : Big Finish Productions , 2002
Last amended 8 Jul 2019 13:11:40