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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CDVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I really enjoyed "Journey Into Space - The Host". I had never heard any of the "Journey Into Space" series before, so had no idea what to expect. I was very pleasantly surprised. Sometimes science fiction can be so divorced from current technologies and knowledge that you have to learn the setting of a story before you can really relax to enjoy the story itself. Other times science fiction can use current technologies and buzzwords in imaginative ways, or just stretch those existing bits a little beyond how they are today, but combining them in a way that sounds possible. With that type of science fiction you can go straight to enjoying the story. That's what "Journey Into Space - The Host" does - it takes technologies and buzzwords, extrapolates them, combines them in imaginative ways, then wraps a story around them. I know not all reviewers agree, but I thought it was really well done and I enjoyed it a lot. The acting may not have been brilliant, but hey, it's science fiction. If you were brought up on Lost in Space, Star Trek etc, then the acting in this isn't any better or any worse.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CDVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
A 2009 attempt to kickstart a revival of Charles Chilton's hit 50s radio series after an earlier one-off revival the previous year (Frozen in Time), without Chilton's input as writer Journey into Space plays rather like a busted pilot for a show that its producers didn't quite have enough confidence in - which, in a way, is exactly what it is. Part of the problem is that it's neither retro enough to ride a wave of nostalgia or modern enough to be cutting edge, falling back into solid old-fashioned sci-fi. It's not that it hasn't been updated, more that there's the feeling that it's all been done better before, its story of the rather blandly drawn crew of the Ares, en route back to Earth for maintenance, encountering a long lost spacecraft that has absorbed its crew into its artificial intelligence never delivering much in the way of surprise. The slightly forced performances of the voice cast don't always help, with some of the worst problems of `radio acting' manifesting themselves from time to time with the distinct feeling it's all being delivered script in hand with the actors never quite convincingly interacting as a crew. It's not bad, and there is some fun to be had with the crew of a research ship in hybernation while the insurance company tries to get out of paying to bring them back to Earth, but it's just not really good enough to stand out for those unfamiliar with the original show.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 17 May 2010
Format: Audio CDVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
You might think radio is the least favourable media for sci-fi: No pictures of rockets, no special effects of aliens... In fact, audio, like text, allows the use of the best special effects available - your imagination. Orson Wells certainly proved that with his infamous War of the Worlds broadcast more than half a century ago.

Of course, your mind can always use some help and here the BBC production team come to your aid with added sounds effects that lend atmosphere and context without ever detracting from the action or plot. The acting is good too, delivering with genuine feeling what could be, in less capable hands, clinched or stilted dialogue.

If you've read all the Dan Dare and can't wait for the next series of Dr Who, this will keep you satisfied, being similarly British and just a bit retro.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 30 April 2010
Format: Audio CDVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The quality of the recording is of the usual excellent BBC quality - fun sound effects and very 'deep' male voices with lots of tonal quality.

That said the storyline was very predictable; now I'm not sure if this is because this theme has been done to death in the intervening years since it was written, or that its a simple flat ploy script.
There are no twists and surprises; so that makes it ideal for gentle listen when in transit (or stuck in transit if in the UK)

The media is well presented and colourful, but this audio media would allow multiple stories on one disc, so its a bit bulky to carry a few around. Personally I'm surprised the BBC doesn't sell them on a USB flash drive or micro media capable of being plugged into a mobile phone, or player, which would have other uses afterwards.

Now what to do with this disc now?
You would never listen to it again?
Ah - Hospital Library perhaps?
Excellent.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CDVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Sci-fi of the 1950s has an edge of authenticity lacking in contemporary examples of the genre. It conveys the wonder, mystery and fear of pre-space age society, a time when space was a real unknown, as likely to threaten as to enthrall. By contrast, our iPod society casually re-tweets new images of previously undiscovered galaxies and accepts the degradation of sci-fi into cheesy self-parody.

Journey into Space is pure, pre-space age sci-fi, imagining what's 'out there'. It captures the excitement, trepidation and fear of the uncertainties beyond our own world, and the story and performances ripple with tension. The Host is a taut, atmospheric, eerie tale of a cognizant computer virus which delivers some truly creepy moments. Written and played refreshingly straight and camp free, with strong performances from Toby Stephens, David Jason and an excellent supporting cast.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CDVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
An opening much like Alien: The crew of a spaceship returning to Earth are awoken from cryo-sleep when the ship automatically changes course to respond to a distress signal. The origin of the signal is questionable and could be a trap from a man long dead. I found it easy, while listening to this dramatised sci-fi story, to forget it was audio only. This may be because the visions of the sci-fi films I have seen that have a similar feel to this lend their images easily to this story, or; the mixture of great sound effects and the aptly honed voices of the actors blend well together to create a believable scene in the mind's eye - I think it's most likely a mixture of both.
I really enjoyed this. 4 stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 11 May 2010
Format: Audio CDVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I like the production of this audio book. The acting is first class and the sound effects are great and really help to draw you into the story. But I found the story too short and it felt to me to be rushed. It starts with the crew of a spaceship which is returning to Earth being awakened after receiving a distress call. They go to investigate and meet an old enemy. This all takes place within the first few minutes without much of a "who's who" of the crew. The story then continues at a good pace with the aforementioned quality, but very soon it is over and I was left wanting more. But then I guess it is a serial...

I think I will wait until a complete boxed set comes out!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CDVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I hadn't heard of Jet Morgan before (I'm sure such a name would stick in my mind!), so had no preconceptions about the captain or crew of the Ares other than the spirit of the fifties would no doubt be possessing them from time to time. That could be a good thing; didn't people have good morals in the fifties? (and also some bad ones we all like to forget about). There are only three sure-fire ways to bring a fifties style clean cut sci-fi hero who always knows he's right up to date. The first way is to make him more human (either through self-doubt or moral ambiguity), which doesn't happen here, the second is to knowingly send him up by exaggerating his qualities, not here either but that's a good thing, and the third is to make him appear more modern by association - i.e. inserting modern day terms into the script such as "firewall", gratuitously mentioning the Oort Cloud even though it makes no sense at all to the plot, and balancing out his all male crew with one solitary strong female character. Yes, predictable is the word here, and we haven't even got into the plot yet.

But here's where I do a 180 and start saying good things. Well, almost. The plot is actually very good. Yes, the characters are awful, solitary strong female character aside, but the situation they are in and how they finally manage to resolve it is brilliantly conceived. If this had been a totally blank canvas, I am sure that scriptwriter Julian Simpson would have come up with some well thought out characters and this would have been better for it. And for ambiance, the effects and the music score a ten. The music is especially worthy of mention for the tension that it builds. The acting is (you may be surprised to read me saying) also top quality. It's not the actors' fault they have to work with such two-dimensional characters, so they should actually be praised for making them the best two-dimensional characters they could be.

Can't help but mention how out of place that joke about the entire crew in stasis sharing a virtual space where they do noting but argue about agenda items is - that would have been great for a Hitchhikers-type radio play, but in this just came across as embarrassing. Oh, and there's thirteen minutes of outtakes at the end of the CD, which are not funny in the slightest. Yipee!

I'm being harsh I know, and will get lots of "not helpful" votes because of it, but I don't like to see something that is in some ways so right also go so wrong. It was obvious from the end of this story that a crew had come together with a "premise" ready for further episodes in a series. If that series is made, I really do hope that the writer gives the characters as much attention as he gives the plot. He's better than what he was given to work with, and this play suffers from him trying to be too true to it.
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VINE VOICEon 23 June 2010
Format: Audio CDVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Like other reviewers,I hadn't heard "Journey Into Space" before,it says on the notes on the CD,that the female character,Edie Harper,played by Jana Carpenter was added to give a more modern feel to the stories and she arrives on the CD,just when you're thinking its getting a bit too male based for sci-fi.

The modern day topics mentioned by the characters in the drama work well,computer viruses,downloads,with the familar sci-fi theme of cygro sleep work really well in this drama.

Leading character,Captain Jet Morgan is played with incredible gusto and the right arrogance by Toby Stephens,the varying accent of Russian JJ.Andrew played by Basher Savage,brings back fond memories of Checkov,in the orginal Star Trek.

The timing of one hour of this drama seems right too as it ends at just the right time,the sounds affects are excellent,closing ones eyes,you could be listening to the new Doctor Who.

I really did enjoy the bloopers at the end,the drama was perhaps lacking in humour at times but nice to hear the cast had so much fun making it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 25 April 2010
Format: Audio CDVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I remember listening to "Journey into Space" when the original story was broadcast, and I still have the paperback, so I was interested to see how a more recent story around the same theme would be, and in the form of an audio CD.

I have never tried an audio CD of any sort other than pure music before, so it was interesting to try this at several levels.

We are used to science fiction these days where there is precious little story, virtually no acting, but very impressive CGI scripts - and now, 3-D to boot. How would studio-based radio drama hope to compete?

It does so very well, in my opinion.

I listened to the CD both at home, on earphones, and also in the car.

I found it excellent. The story stands up well and the stereo sound effects are - well, clearly sound effects - but they add to the story.

There's a storyline that includes computer viruses and what seems a good albeit necessarily simplistic understanding of the workings of complex computer systems, so the story is not let down. There is good humour in the story and we would all want a very verbose adversary such as the Host.

This story in this form reminded me that science fiction is best enjoyed in the head, not as visualised by someone else. I enjoyed the out-takes that are included at the end of the story.
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