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Audio Drama Review


Bernice Summerfield


Starring: Lisa Bowerman
Big Finish Productions
RRP: £10.99
ISBN: 978 1 84435 421 4
Available 31 July 2009

Cluster worlds are one of the great mysteries of space. The archaeologist who solves the mystery would become rich and famous overnight, but Bernice Summerfield just wants to leave. She and Peter are stranded on Absence, a cluster object settled by a cartel operating beyond human space. It’s an artificial world where everything is at a premium and nothing comes without a price, and Bernice is almost penniless. Reclusive entrepreneur Lamarque Aslanides is leading a mission to explore the interior. For Bernice it could mean a long and painful period of separation from her son, but the money would pay for their passage off this world. As the expedition descends into madness and death, they discover that they are not the only ones interested in the mysteries at the heart of the cluster...

With Benny (Lisa Bowerman) and her son Peter (Thomas Grant) separated, as one of them descends into the largely uncharted interior of Absence while the other is left behind to flip burgers on the not much more hospitable surface of the cluster world, Daniel O’Mahony’s story turns the spotlight on Peter, giving the actor a chance to shine. Though not as experienced as the performers around him, including Trevor Littledale (who took over the role of TIM from Philip Gilbert in the audio series of The Tomorrow People) as the driven Lamarque Aslanides and Rachael Elizabeth (WPC Abi Sharpe in Coronation Street) as the enigmatically shallow Cindy, Grant makes the most of his chance to do more than Peter’s usual sulking and growling.

The environment that O’Mahony has created is also fascinating. Cluster worlds are described as planet-sized objects that have spontaneously fused together from the detritus, junk and flotsam left behind by space travellers. Wreckage from both human and alien space vessels and stations are conjoined, often at bizarre angles. Physical factors such as gravity do not remain constant from one section of the interior to the next, as the explorers discover.

Some of the characters inhabiting this strange world are just as sinister as the cluster itself - especially the ones that are not entirely human...

So, did this audio adventure win me over? Well, you know what they say: Absence makes the heart grow fonder.


Richard McGinlay

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