The 8th Doctor and Lucie Miller crash a garden party, ride Pterodactyl-like creatures and meet Miss Marple in this lovely audiobook adventure.
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This audiobook kicks off mid-action with The 8th Doctor and his trusted companion Lucie Miller aboard a spaceship in hot pursuit of a time-tech thief who, despite being an extra-terrestrial, is called Dr Zimmerman. Zimmerman, played by veteran actor Nigel Havers (sans Doctor Who connection, but avec Sarah Jane Adventures connection – see the screenshot here below), has inadvertently lead a bunch of time-eating, Vortisaur-riding Tar Modowk warriors to the spaceship as well, and escapes, leaving Doc and Lucie to fend for themselves.
Soon they discover that (a) Zimmerman has aged 30 years and is now happily married to Rachel, played by Marple star Julia McKenzie, whose birthday garden-party is happening right then and there, and (b) there’s something very odd going on with the local temporal energy, which in turn is luring the Tar Modowk out of the Vortex and onto the lawn.
Looks like they have no choice but to crash the party.
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I liked this story, once I realized that my media player wasn’t broken, but I could have liked it better. Four times at least I opened my phone and checked to make sure that it wasn’t skipping tracks. For the first 15 minutes I was convinced that I had missed most of the story and was inadvertently hearing the conclusion first. That pissed me off.
Of course in the back of my mind part of me realized that I was okay and this was how it was meant to be, but the annoyance was still there. When the story finally settled down and got going with its proper tale it was quite enjoyable.
The characters were well portrayed, Zimmerman especially was able to make me like him even after what he had done to the doctor and Lucie at the beginning. His wife was equally likable and I love the twist that she knew most everything that was going on and why. It’s a situation seen often in real life. Two people who have such an open relationship still manage to avoid talking about all the cards on the table.
We start to encounter more issues again when the thing everyone is searching for comes into play. Like a good character, objects of focus need to be developed and explored, so that we care about them when the time comes. Because of the cold open and the abrupt change in pace, we never even learn about this thing until late in the third act, and by then it’s too late to care let alone understand what it is and why it’s so important. It would have also have been nice if this object tied back to the first part of the story that we didn’t experience. Then again maybe it did and I just missed it. I’m not sure, and that in itself is a problem.
As a side note, I’m not a huge fan of the little taglines with the headhunter showing up at the end of all these stories. It’s like the Missy afterlife thing in Peter Capaldi’s run. It feels forced and there’s not enough of it to make us care about some overarching story that is going to hit us in full force at some point. It needs more, and should have at least a remote attachment to the story we heard, or it needs less, and happen every other or every third episode. As it is, I get it, and I’m bored already. No need to keep reminding me. I feel like it gets in the way and doesn’t add anything as it stands. I’m glad that it seems this plot will be moving on a bit now.
The setting, characters and Foley more than compensate for the plot device not showing up until late, but unfortunately the confusion it brought me just reminded me of the confusion I had when I first started the story. I can’t help but think that this will be better upon second or even a third listen, but for now I’ll just give it a, “Wish I had recorded the first half”, 3.3