I thoroughly enjoyed this novelisation/audiobook of `Doctor Who - Castrovalva'!
This is another richer in-depth exploration and experience of a story that begins the new era of `Doctor Who' with such style and quality unlike any other. It explores more of the world of Castrovalva, describing the ins and outs of recursion and the occlusion to greater detail.
`Castrovalva' was novelised by Christopher H. Bidmead, the original author of this tale. It was published in 1983, a year after the story's initial transmission in 1982, and is Chris' second contribution to the Target range of novels.
This book has been turned into audio and is read by Peter Davison the Fifth Doctor. This is 4-disc CD set with the four episodes on each disc. There are 12 chapters in the book with 3 chapters making up for 1 episode. So 3 chapters times 4; equals 12 chapters.
I bought the Target novel at the Up-Close 'Doctor Who' exhibition (now no more) in 2008. I eventually bought the audiobook at a Swansea in 2010. After enjoying listening to 'Doctor Who - Logopolis'
, I wanted to enjoy a similar experience with `Doctor Who - Castrovalva'.
I've read `The Fact of Fiction' article on `Castrovalva' in an issue of `Doctor Who Magazine'. I was able to pick up certain points and changes in the visualisation of the story from watching `Castrovalva' in the 'New Beginnings'
DVD box set. This gave me a better understanding of the story.
The story picks up from 'Logopolis' and starts with Adric saying, "He's changing! The Doctor's regenerating!", before we have a dynamic action opening sequence where the Doctor and his companions are escaping. It was pretty exciting to listen/read to, especially with Peter narrating.
Chris Bidmead writes a delightfully in-depth novel of a story introducing the Fifth Doctor. His use of language and development of characters is impressive as I tapped into the minds of Tegan, Adric and Nyssa. Chris does well in describing the ins and outs of recursion and the structure of Castrovalva.
Peter Davison was a joy to listen to. He's a great narrator and this was the first time I heard Peter reading an audiobook and would go on to read 'Doctor Who - Earthshock'
. Peter kept me captivated and I love how he does the voices for Tegan, Adric, Nyssa and the Master as well as the Doctor.
Recursion is very strong theme and I did an IT course with one my modules being about recursion. I found it a confusing, but with the help of an IT teacher/lecturer, I was able to get an understanding of what recursion is with the use of some examples such as burgers and pizzas.
There's some lovely additional dialogue in an extended scene between Nyssa and Tegan where they're trying to find the index file. I really like Tegan defining an ancestor and Bidmead's use of a picture of hand drawing a hand. Art is also a special theme in this story in connection with recursion.
I really like how Chris utilises the Escher theme of depicting Castrovalva and has dedicated this book to Escher. He's delved into the integral workings of the occlusion and builds up the tension and drama of something frightening. I don't fully understand Escher's, but it's by no means invigorating.
The scenes where Adric is connected to the Master's haldron web graphic. It emphasises how much Adric suffers and the theme of Block Transfer Computation continues from `Logopolis'. l found Adric insecurity about Nyssa and Tegan interesting, portraying his arrogance and immaturity.
I really enjoyed how Nyssa and Tegan's friendship is portrayed in this story, as Bidmead plays dialogue out between them when trying to escape Event One and getting to Castrovalva. Tegan's bossiness is balanced as well as Nyssa's calm, reassuring presence.
Bidmead depicts well how the Doctor recovers from his regeneration. There is a sense of confusion in the Doctor's mind as he tries to figure out who he is. The previous Doctor moments and names of previous companions are missing from the book which I found a little disappointing.
There are more corridors of the TARDIS and Bidmead introduces the Zero Room describing it in detail, as well as the architectural configuration. The tension builds in how Nyssa and Tegan jettison the rooms and they wonder if they'll jettison the console room in the process.
The paradise of Castrovalva is very soothing to read and puts you under a false sense of security. I enjoyed reading/listening to the Italian-like atmosphere of Castrovalva and how the characters of Ruther, Mergrave, Shardovan and the Portreeve are portrayed.
The background music and sound design are the same ones for the `Doctor Who -Logopolis' audiobook. This is because both stories are in a continuous vein and BBC Audiobook decided to use the same music and sounds as both stories are linked together by the same author.
`Doctor Who - Castrovalva' is a great audiobook wonderfully narrated by Peter Davison. Experiencing these classic Fifth Doctor stories in book/audio has been great and I highly recommend listening to more of these including 'Doctor Who and the Visitation'
and 'Doctor Who - Black Orchid'