Monday, 26 November 2012

Doctor Who The Wheel of Ice by Stephen Baxter audiobook

Following close on the heels of JP Colgan’s novel, we have The Wheel of Ice, but sci-fi hard-hitter Stephen Baxter.
This, I am delighted to say, features possibly my favourite TARDIS line-up: The Second Doctor, Jamie and Zoe. And what’s more, this being a second Doctor story, it is read by the wonderful David Troughton, who, as I have said here before, does an uncanny impersonation of his father. Things are let down somewhat by him having to supply not one but two Scottish accents during the course of the story. It’s not that it’s hard to tell the difference between them, more that they are not… great! However, this is really just a minor criticism. 
The story itself is everything you would expect from a writer like Baxter. It contains some breathtakingly huge sci-fi concepts. The central idea is simultaneously incredibly ambitious and mind expanding in scope and concept and, well, same old same old. 
What I mean by this is this: I made a comment in the review of Dark Horizons about the central idea of the story being one that has been used, in my opinion, too many times in Who and in sci-fi in general. This book really does just take that same idea and dresses it in different clothes.
This is not to say, of course, that it is a bad book. Baxter is an amazingly good writer. As well as being able to communicate complex ideas and give the reader a true sense of the scale of the things he is describing, he also tells a rattling good adventure yarn. His characterisations of the main characters are spot on. I think there was a minor continuity error in there somewhere, but to tell the truth I didn’t write it down at the time and have forgotten now, so I suspect it wasn’t that important (well, I know it’s not important at all, but you know what I mean!).
So, in summary. This is Big Concept sci-fi of the like we don’t normally see in a Who story. I wasn’t convinced it would work if I was being honest, but it most certainly does. 

This is well worth your trouble.

The Wheel in Space is released by AudioGo.

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