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Audio Book Review


Doctor Who
The Companion Chronicles
The Invasion of E-Space


Author: Andrew Smith
Read by: Lalla Ward
Big Finish Productions
RRP: £8.99 (CD), £7.99 (download)
ISBN: 978 1 84435 486 3
Available 31 October 2010

Trapped within the universe of E-Space, the Doctor, Romana and Adric are searching for a CVE, a Charged Vacuum Emboitment - the gateway back to our universe. It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack... Then, seemingly by pure chance, a brand-new CVE rips into being before them. Its makers are the Farrian, a warlike race who possess the technology to break into E-Space. But they have come to invade and plunder this new territory, and the riches of the planet Ballustra are their first target...

Aside from a few short stories, classic Who’s 18th season has hitherto been untouched by the writers of licensed fiction, perhaps because of the interconnectedness of the serials therein, which include not just one but two trilogies (well, one and two-thirds of a trilogy to be precise). The Invasion of E-Space bucks the trend by taking place during the E-Space trilogy, in between the serials State of Decay and Warriors’ Gate. It is written by Andrew Smith, who penned the first adventure in the trilogy, Full Circle, which introduced us to Adric, CVEs and the whole notion of Exo-Space. The writer taps into a key element of the trilogy - indeed, of Season 18 as a whole - by depicting the dramatic formation and exploitation of a new CVE.

Smith writes the fourth Doctor out of most of his first episode owing to injury, and he writes K-9 out of the story altogether by the need for repairs, allowing a closer focus on the second Romana (Lalla Ward) and Adric, characters who didn’t get very many scenes together on television. The Doctor becomes more active in Part Two, during which Romana and Adric are somewhat pushed to the sidelines. The Doctor’s scenes in Part Two are narrated by Suanne Braun as the Ballustran investigator Marni Tellis, who is rescued by the Time Lord. Braun (who played Hathor in Season 1 of Stargate SG-1) sounds, a little off-puttingly, rather like the first Romana, Mary Tamm.

Sound designer and musician Howard Carter lends an epic feel to the story, which features a massive spaceship passing through an even more massive rift in the fabric of space. However, the wrong version of the title music is used - it should have been Peter Howell’s arrangement, which made its debut in Season 18.

All in all, though, this disc, which also contains nine and a half minutes of interviews with the cast and crew, including Ward, Braun and Smith, is worth making Extra-Space for in your CD collection.


Richard McGinlay

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