on 8 November 2012
Now, this NEW SERIES tie-in audiobook is refreshing.
Darren Jones' exclusive story, DOCTOR WHO - SLEEPERS IN THE DUST, combines the well-worn plotting device of an alien invasion (not Earth, though) and a paradox in time, and, for this reviewer, it succeeds in encapsulating the joie de vie of the NEW SERIES, fleshing out the characterisations of our venerable Time Lord and his erstwhile time-travelling companions, Rory and Amy.
The big question is which one of them will fall, if not all of them.
Recounted in the `first person' of Rory Williams, Arthur Darvill, once again, competently - with some relish it would seem - reads/performs Jones' tale of a quarantined planet, Nadurniss, and how tampering with time has over-arching consequences resulting in loss of those held most closely.
"Don't go out there", said the Doctor.
By the time the TARDIS materialises on Nadurniss an interplanetary mission, a joint mission between humans & the Nadurni to determine if a millennia long war had calmed the planet ready for re-colonisation, had been inexplicably infected. Naturally, as it always happens in the DOCTOR WHO storytelling universe, the infection results in one of the TARDIS's crew becoming `poorly' too but who it is? Well, regrettably (and stupidly, really. The fault of AUDIOGO's Project Editor, John Ainsworth?), the CD's reverse cover synopsis reveals who that individual was. Well, it's Amy.
Echoing Ridley Scott's film, ALIEN, the infection results in a `living carcass' being used as a host to a parasitic bacteria entity - a Prokarian - that has the ability penetrate anything & everything - even within the planet's dust and sand.
"You're a genetic pick-pocket, Mordox", said the Doctor.
Following the infection of his companion, the Doctor and Rory embark on a journey to defy the boundaries of time to discover the cure for the infection before the gestation period of the alien within Amy eventually kills her.
Their journey back in to the planet's history is truly fascinating and thoroughly entertaining, preciously written, balanced and paced throughout that draws you into the race against time (even though there is a time machine handily available - with a bewildering capacity to be piloted exactly when and where required which I hope will be reassessed within the television series itself as it is becoming tiresome - for our heroes to utilise.
"I'm not in the habit of punching Hitlers", said Rory.
The resolution may be complex for younger listeners (pre-teens) to understand (but it is reassuring that the AUDIOGO audiobooks are no longer `talking down' to their audience with a patronising tone) but is nonetheless satisfyingly creative and, yes, scientifically plausible. Think of the resolution as akin to ingesting garlic (with its active compound, diallyl sulfide) as prevention method of irritating mosquitoes and `midges' or even pathogenic and spoilage microorganisms.
Rewardingly for listeners, Jones' audiobook is littered with reference to the Doctor's past adventures; from his third incarnation's trips to Peladon, his sixth's financial intervention on Thoros Beta, and a recent (temporally speaking) journey to `kill Hitler'.
Overall, DOCTOR WHO - SLEEPERS IN THE DUST is highly recommended, either as download (ideal for your iPod, by the way) or single-disc CD, tightly written and entertainingly read ensuring that fans will be able to bridge the gap between `two parts' of SERIES 7.