Included below are two Doctor Who audiobook reviews from two new contributors to the site, click on the images for bigger versions. Special thanks to AudioGo.
Audiobook read by Neve McIntosh
Review by Gemma Kendrick
This is the audiobook offering of the novel Dark Horizons by author J. T. Colgan, beautifully read by Neve McIntosh (Madame Vastra in A Good Man Goes To War) in her dulcet Scottish tones; tones that lend especially well to the Scottish setting of the story.
Unabridged, the audiobook comes in at a whopping seven hours long, a feast (or a trial, depending how you look at it) for any Who fan. Luckily, the story here gets off to a quick enough start to be able to gain, and thankfully keep, the listener’s interest.
In this story, without the Ponds in tow, it’s up to The Doctor to get himself into trouble; something that, unsurprisingly, he manages before too long – quickly getting himself pulled into the ensuing drama despite the fact he only wants to play chess and have some tea. Jenny Colgan manages to capture the spirit of the Eleventh Doctor here with aplomb and the Viking characters are engaging if a little too modern for their setting at times.
The story blends the historic with the spacey~wacey of Doctor Who quite nicely, and the narrative is rich and interesting, if occasionally feeling as though its trying a little too hard. If youre expecting the pace or romp of an episode you may be a little disappointed here, as it can be slow at times, but for a relaxed afternoon’s listening (or perhaps a couple of afternoons!) it’s just what the Doctor ordered (excuse the pun).
Audiobook read by John Leeson
Review by Richard Parker
Audiobooks are an odd concept to me. There are books, of course…ordinary, papery things; one of which I shall read if the fancy should take me. And there are audio plays. But audiobooks? Something only the 2.4 kids-on-a-long-car-journey demographic should ever endure, surely? But, no, here’s me, listening to a brand new novelisation of The Androids of Tara.
Doctor Who fans love to justify their obsession; in this case with literary allusions to something called The Prisoner of Zenda which is either a book or a play or a film which I’ve never experienced and never will either. Not after Tara.
Author David Fisher tries hard, to be fair. He attempts to flesh out some of the background of Tara and justify the central fault of the story: that the constitution of Tara is, even by British Empire standards, so barmy that it undermines the entire story. Added details about the economy of the planet being devastated by plague, forcing a drastically reduced population to innovate and repopulate by using android technology is all very interesting, but sadly does nothing more to make me care about the characters or their circumstances than the dreary television version.
John Leeson does his best with the vocals. Not unnaturally he gives us the full on His Master’s Voice treatment when vocalising K9; which jars a little as he represents every other character with subtle cadence changes of his own voice, thankfully and wisely avoiding any kind of Tom Baker impersonation.
Tara’s main problem is one which can’t be fixed by a change of format. The story itself is, quite simply, boring. There are many Doctor Who stories which would benefit from a brand spanking new novelisation. City of Death springs to mind. Given the opportunity, why on earth would you pick The Androids of Tara?