Short Trips: Fly­wheel Revo­lu­tion

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Videogames / Miscellaneous -

Re­lease Date: OUT NOW!

32 min­utes | £ 2.99 ( down­load only) Pub­lisher: Big Fin­ish

Tom Baker fans, re­joice!

Big Fin­ish are bring­ing us even more Fourth Doc­tor ad­ven­tures than ever be­fore, here de­liv­er­ing a triple- load of Who au­dio that show­cases Baker’s won­der­fully ec­cen­tric style. It’s largely thanks to their con­tin­u­ing se­ries of novel adap­ta­tions, which here shift their at­ten­tion to the trio of mid-’ 90s books writ­ten by new se­ries scribe Gareth Roberts.

Star­ring the TARDIS crew of the Fourth Doc­tor, Ro­mana ( Lalla Ward) and K- 9 ( John Lee­son), Roberts’ three Miss­ing Ad­ven­tures did a mem­o­rable job of recre­at­ing the off­beat tone of the Gra­ham Wil­liams- pro­duced era of Who, and the first two adap­ta­tions are out now ( with the third to ar­rive later in 2015). The Ro­mance Of Crime be­gins with the TARDIS ar­riv­ing on the Rock of Judge­ment, a jus­tice sta­tion built into an as­ter­oid where crim­i­nals reg­u­larly meet their end. The Doc­tor and Ro­mana are soon en­tan­gled with an ec­cen­tric artist, a trou­bled in­ves­ti­ga­tor, a mega­lo­ma­ni­a­cal killer and a team of lunk- headed Ogrons, re­sult­ing in a typ­i­cally witty ( and oc­ca­sion­ally vi­o­lent) mix of adventure, es­capes and quick- fire gags.

The English Way Of Death ( also reis­sued in pa­per­back this month) main­tains the kooky tone, but in a more his­tor­i­cal set­ting, as the Doc­tor and Ro­mana visit ’ 30s Eng­land and en­counter a gaseous alien en­tity named Zo­daal with a lik­ing for brain- hun­gry zom­bies and a deadly plan that could de­stroy the world. The comedic tone gets even broader here, with both Baker and Ward giv­ing ster­ling per­for­mances, and the story fea­tures an en­gag­ing set of bizarre plot twists. As with The Ro­mance Of Crime, the bal­ance of frothy com­edy and dark hor­ror oc­ca­sion­ally falls a lit­tle flat, but oth­er­wise th­ese lively adap­ta­tions add up to a nos­tal­gic dou­ble- bill that no self- re­spect­ing fan of clas­sic Who should be with­out.

The third Baker re­lease this month kicks off the lat­est sea­son of Fourth Doc­tor ad­ven­tures, which once again teams him with Lee­son as K- 9 and Louise Jame­son as Leela. The Exxilons sees the TARDIS team get­ting in­volved in a con­fronta­tion on an un­named planet be­tween a race of prim­i­tive war­riors and the tech­no­log­i­cally ad­vanced aliens who are try­ing to help them, but who are also hid­ing a se­cret… Any­one familiar with the 1974 TV story “Death To The Daleks” will soon see where this ef­fec­tive drama is head­ing… The Exxilons acts as a great ex­am­ple of a con­ti­nu­ity- based se­quel, while also find­ing in­ter­est­ing an­gles on the Doc­tor’s regular role in ne­go­ti­at­ing peace­ful con­flict res­o­lu­tions.

Over in the regular monthly re­leases, Mist­fall be­gins a new tril­ogy star­ring the Fifth Doc­tor, Nyssa, Te­gan and Tur­lough, as the TARDIS accidentally re­turns to the mys­te­ri­ous uni­verse of E- Space. The story sees the Doc­tor and his friends ar­rive on Adric’s home planet of Alzarius, 300 years af­ter his pre­vi­ous visit ( in 1980 adventure “Full Cir­cle”), and find a new ex­pe­di­tion of ar­rivals in­ves­ti­gat­ing the planet’s danger­ous ecosys­tem. Un­for­tu­nately, the lethal time of Mist­fall is nigh, and the ex­pe­di­tion is be­ing sab­o­taged… The grip­ping story does a good job of mix­ing sci- fi con­cepts with thrilling ac­tion, and strong per­for­mances from the leads help this kick off the new tril­ogy in a great amount of style.

Fi­nally, Big Fin­ish are also build­ing on their regular print an­tholo­gies by start­ing a new line of down­load- only au­dio short sto­ries. The Short Trips se­ries be­gins with Fly­wheel Revo­lu­tion, a First Doc­tor adventure nar­rated by ’ 60s com­pan­ion Peter Purves set in a bizarre alien junk­yard where an aban­doned robot has to face off against an un­known mon­ster, and where things aren’t en­tirely what they seem… This en­gag­ing, well- crafted tale fea­tures strong prose and ef­fec­tive world- build­ing with a nicely retro edge, while also tap­ping into the themes of co- op­er­a­tion and un­der­stand­ing that are the bedrock of good Who sto­ry­telling. Saxon Bul­lock.

Kicks off the new tril­ogy in a great amount of style

Also out soon: read­ings of the nov­el­i­sa­tion of “Re­mem­brance Of The Daleks” and Eleventh Doc­tor book Tales Of Tren­za­lore.

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