In the year 3060, the Slithergees, a race of obsequious
alien slugs, wish to occupy one of the moons of the human
colony Puxatornee. The President faces a tough decision: accept
the alien presence, or risk full-scale war. In the year 3090,
the Doctor and Mel find that Puxatornee has changed dramatically...
Like Big Finish's previous release, Project: Lazarus,
this is very much a game of two halves. But the question is,
which of the two CDs, marked "Black" and "White", should you
listen to first? The answer to that is either one, because
this bold experiment in storytelling has been ingeniously
crafted so that the end of each CD leads directly into the
other. There isn't a definitive start or a definitive ending.
In fact, you could go on listening to this adventure several
times over, picking up further nuances every time.
chose to listen to the White CD first, for no better reason
than, when viewed from left to right, white comes before black
on the front cover. Once into the Black CD, however, I found
myself wishing I'd listened to that one first. And perhaps
that's the whole point - a major theme of this story is that
whatever your personal circumstances, the grass always seems
greener on the other side of the fence.
Jonathan Morris has developed an idea he first used in his
Doctor Who novel Festival of Death, that of
the time travellers experiencing the adventure out of sequence
and meeting people who already know them, even though from
the travellers' point of view they have yet to meet. There
is a degree of repetition involved, because events told on
one CD are mirrored, though not precisely duplicated, on the
other. Therefore, whichever CD you listen to second will seem
slightly less interesting, because it is less of an unexplored
territory than the first one. (One little thing that Big Finish
could have done in the interest of variety would have been
to put different trailers on the end of each CD, instead of
repeating the same ones as they do.) Acknowledging the feelings
of déjà vu that his listeners will experience, Morris has
named his planet after Punxsutawney, the setting of the Bill
Murray time-loop comedy Groundhog Day.
writer's sense of humour is also evident in his presentation
of the Slithergees (played by Daniel Hogarth), who make outrageous
demands on the people of Puxatornee, while all the time adopting
a "mock humble" mode of speech. The fact that they are blind
and need sight guides to describe what is going on around
them also helps the storytelling process of this audio adventure.
However, there is an uncomfortable anti-immigration ethic
underlying the depiction of these aliens, and terms such as
"positive discrimination" are used like dirty words.
reservation aside, Flip-Flop may be flipping unusual,
but it certainly isn't a flop.
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