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Audio Review: Doctor Who - Song of Megaptera 
13th-Jun-2010 06:53 pm
Song of the Megaptera (Doctor Who: The Lost Stories) Song of the Megaptera by Pat Mills

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Not a bad story, by any means, but one that doesn't fully live up to its potential.

On the plus side: Space whales are cool. Time-travelling space whales are particularly cool. Peri gets to be wise-cracking rather than whiny, and has a couple of particularly funny lines. ("I'm not delirious, I'm an American!" was hilarious for reasons that I can't fully explain.) There's some rather good double-act repartee between a pair of hapless security guard characters.

On the minus side: Mills seems never to have met a bit of technobabble he didn't like. Throwing around words like "dark matter", "event horizon", "hyperstition" and "techno-shaman" is presumably supposed to give a nice shiny science-fictional verneer to what is otherwise basically a whaling story, but it never seems like the author has thought particularly hard about what it all means or how it works. Not to mention that it leads to ridiculous lines of dialogue like, "No! It's a fungoid lifeform! Lasers have no effect!" The fungoid techno-shaman whale hunter represents a potentially fascinating alien culture, which is not explored in much depth. Although this may be for the best, since Mills ultimately seems determined to expose him as just as greedy and morally dubious as the big industrial space whale hunters. (Which made me wince a bit, since Mills drew from Polynesian and Native American whale hunting cultures in creating the character. I don't think that Mills intended to do anything other than subvert the audience expectation that this character would turn out to be a kind of noble savage. But still...)

Entertaining, but flawed.

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15th-Jun-2010 05:32 am (UTC)
I thought it was generally OK but felt the captain and first officer both started off rather flat in their delivery and neither improved much - I've noticed this before with Big Finish plays using actors who are not used to standing in little booths.
15th-Jun-2010 02:17 pm (UTC)
They certainly were very forgettable characters (literally - when the first officer reappeared after a short absence, I had to stop and try to remember who he was). I'd put that down to the cliched nature of their roles, but when you consider how much more Susan Brown made of the equally cliched role of Chief Engineer, I think you must be right.
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