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VINE VOICEon 5 March 2014
Right away, I will say that Shockwave is one of the TOP THREE entries in Destiny of the Doctor, only behind the likes of Death’s Deal and Vengeance of the Stones. The prose of James Swallow is beautifully detailed whilst remaining coherent, the levels of emotion & wonder are plentiful without going overboard, all the characters are three-dimensional and used prominently, and the plot is unique, refreshing and a far-cry from other escapades in the Destiny series.

For this Destiny outing, the threat is not an alien menace or an insidious scheme. Rather, it’s a supernatural disaster. In the far future, the inhabitants of Tarsus Six are desperately fleeing for their own survival. Their sun – Tarsus Ultra – has collapsed. A cataclysmic ‘Shockwave’ is now rippling through deep space, destroying all in its path. The Doctor and Ace must help Captain OhOne navigate the spaceship Obscura to safety, but is that the REAL reason why the Doctor is here at this particular point in time?

James Swallow has truly produced one of the most imaginative Doctor Who tales I’ve been subjected to. Not just out of the Destiny range, but Doctor Who audiobooks in general. Of course, the Destiny tradition of being faithful to the atmosphere of the individual Doctor’s era (along with fantastic original music & sound-effects) gives the end result such power, but the space-setting has been utilized superbly in this race for survival. There’s real tension, moments of paranoia, moral dilemmas, questions of faith, trust/betrayal and all manner of juicy sub-plots to indulge in; all managed through the perfect pace and a sufficient supply of twists-&-turns.

Sylvester McCoy’s Seventh Doctor was the most-manipulative incarnation of the Time Lord, using his vast cunning to play his enemies and even his friends. Although undeniably still a Doctor that was brave & compassionate, this particular version of the Time Lord was the most devious. Even manipulating beloved companion Ace, despite him having her best interests at heart! It’s a very grey and questionable aspect of the character, which proves perfect for Swallow’s story.

The Doctor does indeed wish to help people survive the Shockwave, but his ulterior motives are part of what he deems is for ‘the greater good’ (which becomes apparent in the ‘Destiny’ grand scheme). This creates a terrific conflict for later on, especially with Captain OhOne (greatly performed by guest Ian Brooker), whose nobility, pride & honesty make him a tremendous character to admire, and his interactions with the Doctor and Ace are one of the constant highlights of Shockwave.

Speaking of Ace, BOY does she shine here! Perhaps the most troubled companion to ever travel with the Doctor, Ace certainly merits a lot of sympathy. But despite her background and issues, Ace is a companion who’s eager to learn, with a familial
bond to the Doctor (affectionately referring to him as ‘Professor’), and plenty of courage, capabilities and kindness to her credit. Ace remains a valuable asset to the Seventh Doctor, and her own sub-plot with the mysterious NineJay is just pure gold.

Of course, it does help having Sophie Aldred reprise her role of Ace, embodying the youth and enthusiasm of the companion. As an overall narrator, Sophie stands above most as being exceptional. Her Scottish impersonation of Sylvester McCoy is very good indeed, and her enthusiasm in telling the story and interacting with Ian Brooker does James Swallow’s story absolute justice.

Like the other chapters in Destiny of the Doctor, Shockwave works perfectly as a stand-alone adventure (even with the linking ‘surprise’). But it just so happens that Shockwave is one of the most important chapters in the entire series, with a strong continuity reference to the previous six episodes, and an important plot-element that factors into the ‘big scheme’ of the entire saga. All the more reason why Part 7 just can’t be missed!

The only criticisms I have against Shockwave is that it doesn’t quite have the same impact as (say) Vengeance of the Stones or Death’s Deal, but it’s definitely in the same league. In Destiny of the Doctor, parts are either good (at worst), great (on average) or absolutely mandatory. Shockwave is one of those Destiny audiobooks that is virtually perfect. If you don’t choose to follow Destiny of the Doctor all the way through, then Doctor Who fans should at LEAST check out Shockwave. Absolutely essential from start-to-finish.
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on 22 March 2017
great as ever
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on 17 September 2013
`Shockwave' successfully manages to achieve the authentic feel of Sylvester McCoy's tenure as the Doctor as well as provide a story that is new and a little different for the Seventh Doctor. It would be all too easy to assume from the opening stages that this audiobook would be a pretty standard story typical of the Seventh Doctor's era. It soon becomes something more akin to more recent Who. It has several similarities to `The Impossible Planet', `42' and `The Rings of Akhaten'. It may, on occasion, take a bit too much influence from these though.

There is no alien menace in this story. With an exploding sun threatening to engulf a world and the ships escaping from it, this is Doctor Who does a disaster movie. The story essentially involves the Doctor and Ace attempting to rescue the final escaping vessel, the Obscura, from destruction at the hands of the eponymous shockwave sent forth from the dying sun.

This story probably lends itself to the format of this series better than most. The technique of narrating events from the perspective of a particular companion works exceptionally well here. The Doctor spends a fair amount of time lurking as a presence in the background whilst Ace is left to push the story on not knowing quite what the Doctor is up to or might be planning. This certainly captures the style and atmosphere of many of the Seventh Doctor television adventures. Sophie Aldred's performance of Ace certainly portrays all the character traits that make this work. She projects the ideal balance of naivety, positivity and faith in the Doctor.

Aldred seems to put a lot of effort into her impersonation of the Doctor but the Scottish accent she affects sometimes sounds more comical than like Sylvester McCoy. Her 9J (and I assume she is also playing that role) is superb though. She quickly helps create a very believable character despite the somewhat unbelievable situation surrounding 9J. The dialogue between Ace and her certainly feels like there are two actors involved.

The Eleventh Doctor makes his expected appearance as he does throughout the series. This time he actually appears to give his former self a mission, much as he did in the previous story, `Trouble in Paradise'. It becomes much clearer in this story that he is working to some obscure agenda, although we are no closer to knowing what that is. This audiobook does manage to stir more interest in what appears to be the thread running through the series.

Although occasionally predictable this is a well paced and tense story (the soundtrack and audio effects greatly add to the atmosphere and tension) and it is a good choice to represent the Seventh Doctor and Ace well for this anniversary series.
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on 15 July 2013
A spoiler-free review.

Truly, I had hoped that the word `faith' would not become a central theme in DOCTOR WHO - DESTINY OF THE DOCTOR: SHOCKWAVE as it's been an over conceit within the McCoy/Seventh Doctor stories, and it's a lazy device as it attempts to seed itself into your heart & conscience. "Writers, enough is enough, I get it"; the damaged Ace's relationship with the manipulative Time Lord is layered, confused and only defined by him holding a broken mirror up to her.

So, `faith'? Is it key to James Swallow's seventh chapter to the `loosely' linked 50th anniversary audiobook series from AUDIOGO (in association with BIG FINISH PRODUCTIONS)? Yes, tangentially.

Like a feral cat unsuccessfully climbing across a blackboard, the McCoy DOCTOR WHO theme music aurally screeches uncompromisingly that transports the listener to the late 1980's and the death throes of the series as it struggles to consolidate its 25-year broadcasting history against cynical BBC Executives and a disenchanted, dwindling TV audience. At the time of season 25, Sylvester McCoy was homing his character with the series' writers germinating the concept of a Doctor playing a dangerous `long game' with the universe & reality itself, whilst Sophie Aldred's Ace enjoying the revelry of traversing space:time untainted by her past and future. For her, yes, by the time of SHOCKWAVE, she's grown, strengthened by the Doctor's confidence in her but remains pliable and with a morality that defines her enduring humanity.

The Doctor: We're here to rob a bank vault.

It transpires that the Time Lord is seeking a message from the future that is embedded within the culture & myth of Tarsus Six, a planet on the verge of disintegration courtesy of their galaxy's exploding star/sun. Heralded as divine artefact by the planet's religious cult, `The Senders', the "Voice of Stone" holds the key to how an individual's life is at the very core of a civilisation's continued existence and how that one life must be sacrificed to retain a balance within the universe and time.

The story, as you'd expect, tests Ace's compassion - a mirror that held up to the listener - and threatens the destiny of Tarsus Six evacuees as they desperately flee from the pending star/sun's shockwave.
Along with DESTINY OF THE DOCTOR `chapter three', SHOCKWAVE represents the most easily accessible, non-convoluted storyline to date, very linear and character-led, performed with dexterity by Aldred (her `yoofful' Ace realisation sounds as if she had recorded the script back in 1988 for future use and not actually in 2013) and Ian Brooker, supported by a suitably chaotic effects soundtrack (by Matthew Cochrane) and an astringent music score (by Daniel Brett) that, like the incidental music of the McCoy era from the likes of Jeff McCulloch, jars and conflicts with the performances throughout.

In her performance, for DOCTOR WHO CLASSIC SERIES purists, Aldred's Seventh Doctor's Scottish lilt may be too broad if not stereotypically all tartan-and-haggis but, overall, it's highly effective, measured, calming especially when set against the desperation of Brooker's Tarsus Six's pressured Commanding Officer.

Very listenable and inoffensive, and maybe a suitable introduction for NEW SERIES fans who haven't ventured into the Seventh Doctor's televised episodes, and with an interesting plot-device link to Neil Gaiman's SERIES 6 episode, SHOCKWAVE is ultimately rewarding.
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This is the seventh episode in the 11-episode overarcing storyline on the `Destiny of the Doctor'. These audio stories were released in 2013 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, and feature eleven stories, one for each of the Doctor's incarnations to that point, as told by one of his companions. These are a bit like the Companion Chronicle stories in that regard, having the tale told and acted by one of the Doctor's companions, and generally one other main actor. In this case, Sophie Aldred narrates the story, both telling the story, and narrating the Doctor's part and other parts, as well as acting her own character of Ace, the Doctor's companion. The other actor featured is Ian Brooker, who does a great job as the rather stern-sounding but commanding Captain of the Obscura space vessel.

The Doctor has landed the Tardis on Tarsus Six, a planet facing obliteration as their sun has collapsed. The Obscura is the last vessel leaving, and some will not make it. Some have stayed by choice; the Senders believe that the sun's shockwave will not kill them, but will help them transcend to a better place. Fair enough, says the Doctor, but they have no right to make others face that same choice. He and Ace get onboard the Obscura; Ace isn't sure why they don't just leave in the Tardis, but the Doctor has something he needs to do first.

This is a great story. Ace and the Doctor are very well written; Sophie Aldred does a fantastic job recreating the young exuberant Ace, and she does a fine job in her interpretation of Sylvester McCoy's rather idiosyncratic voicing of the Seventh Doctor. The story itself is intriguing; the end of Tarsus Six leads the story and is a focal point throughout, but there are more layers to the story. And we do, of course, find another clue in the overarcing storyline that links the eleven stories of the Destiny of the Doctor together. It's all adding up to something rather interesting, and I look forward to the Eighth Doctor story.
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on 22 February 2015
I must confess, I haven't been subjected to much of Sylvester McCoy's Doctor, but listening to his exploits here in Shockwave certainly makes me want to check out more! James Swallow writes a superbly colourful and imaginative story, which features the Doctor and Ace trying to save a spaceship from a supernova. There are many developments to the plot and characters, along with some great sub-plots for Ace and the whole Destiny saga itself.

Sophie Aldred is back as Ace and the story's narrator and she's amazing. Such a joy to listen to, and she has great interactions with Ian Brooker. Highly recommended to Seventh Doctor fans and Doctor Who fans in general!
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VINE VOICEon 21 September 2014
The 7th Doctor and Ace arrive at Tarsus 6, a world about to be consumed by an exploding sun resulting in a huge shockwave but The Doctor insists that they aren't there to stop it or help the people of Tarsus 6. The 7th chapter in the ongoing Destiny Of The Doctor series is one of the better audios in the series so far and the highlight for me is waiting for the cameo from the 11th Doctor. The much overlooked 7th Doctor who for me anyway had a poor start on tv but gradually improved over time is at his manipulative best here. As usual he knows what's going on but doesn't tell anyone else which frustrates his companion Ace. A decent reading from Sophie Aldred who amusingly slips into a Scottish accent to try and impersonate the 7th Doctor as we come to the end of the classic series Doctors in this ongoing hit and miss series.
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Seventh in the 'Destiny of the Doctor' series of talking books. This is a range of audio stories featuring a different version of the Doctor each month. They are all new and stories that haven't appeared in any other form before.

Although they stand on their own, there is a linking theme which is building to something that should be resolved in the final story. Casual listeners should be able to get into this without having heard any of the earlier releases, though.

This one runs for just over an hour, and is complete on a single cd. It's basically one long episode. The only breaks in it are the usual cd chapter ones.

Minimal sleeve notes give a few details about the era of the show from which the story comes, and advertise other bbc Doctor Who products.

Each of these is read by an actor who played a companion to the Doctor on tv. They read in the third person, and voice all the characters save one, which is done by a guest actor.

This story is read by Sophie Aldred, who played Ace alongside Sylvester Mccoy's Doctor back in the day.

It sees the TARDIS arrive as the inhabitants of an alien system evacuate their world in the face of their star collapsing. As ever, the Doctor remains enigmatic and doesn't tell Ace why they are there. On a ship load of evacuees that faces a race against time to get to safety, can they survive? And will what the Doctor is up to go according to plan?

It's a matter of faith...

You quickly get used to Sophie Aldred's reading, and she proves to be a good narrator. Her attempt at doing the Seventh Doctor's accent is perhaps a little too strong, but she does a very good job at making Ace sound exactly as she did back in her tv stories.

The sound design is quite excellent from the off and makes you feel as if you're in the middle of things. Which is enhanced when the narration describes some of the forces of nature that Ace witnesses.

It's almost half way through before you find out what is really going on, but you are kept hooked up to that point. This revelation does come at just the right time to take the story in a different direction. And it does keep a few surprises back.

It is a strong character piece, and all that happens is driven by the actions of the characters rather than the needs of the plot. The resolution does feel in keeping with the era, also.

The linking theme in these could get repetitive, but again it manages to be a little different to before and quite fun with it.

A solid and professional production, which is well in keeping with the era of the show it represents, and an excellent listen. Well worth getting
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on 7 September 2014
This is a great release and feels as if it could have been televised. This is a great celebration for the Seventh Doctor read by Sophie Aldred who played the great Companion Ace. This is an excellent release.
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on 18 July 2013
I didn't expect much from what is now a very dated-feeling era of Doctor Who being recaptured in audio form, but I am delighted to be proved wrong. This is a beautiful story, charged with genuine emotion and an excellent performance from Sophie Aldred. Ace is full of youth, the Doctor (while more Scottish than he's ever been before) is callous yet kind and original character Nine Jay is wonderfully realised. The dynamic, and slight suspicion, of the Doctor/companion pairing is realised perfectly. Even the ghastly synth-y style music of the time is used well, adding an alien feel and capturing emotions behind the narrative instead of getting in the way, as it tended to do back in the 80s. The story works well alone, and also as a part of the ongoing Destiny of the Doctor story which is oh-so-slowly coming together. All involved should be very proud of this, and it may very well be the best in the series so far.
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