The Stones of Venice
Audio / February 29, 2016

Released March 2000 ‘The Stones of Venice’ is the first Big Finish script penned by Paul Magrs, and his typical imbuement of more magical and fantastical elements into the world of Doctor Who transitions easily to the audio medium. Set in a futuristic Venice that is facing destruction by sinking, the plot takes a very genuine possibility but tinkers with the underlying reason by having it be due to a curse set upon the city and its ruler Orsino by his lost lover Estrella. This is eventually explained to be the result of alien technology, but for the purposes of the story it is treated as a magical cause, magic carrying great weight throughout the tale. So, too, however, does a sense of surrealism. The fact that the people of Venice are knowingly staying in a doomed city and meeting their end just to have one final party, that the gondoliers have somehow evolved into amphibious creatures, and that there is a strange fog that can somehow rearrange the layout of the city at random all remind of just how strange and yet still relatable the worlds of Magrs can get. Magrs is also quite adept at instilling humour into…

Sword of Orion
Audio / February 29, 2016

Released February 2001 Paul McGann’s second Big Finish outing brings his Eighth Doctor and new companion Charley face to face with the Cybermen, themselves making their audio debut. Following the successful transition of the Daleks and Ice Warriors to the audio medium, expectations were high even before release; however, whereas the Cybermen on television frequently lurked in the shadows until a surprise revelation partway through a story (in the many stories that did not have ‘Cybermen’ in the title, at least), heavy promotion of their return as well as the cover artwork make this type of reveal impossible in ‘Sword of Orion.’ Overall, ‘Sword of Orion’ borrows several storytelling ideas from previous Cybermen adventures, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The usual slow reveal is still in place and, ironically, knowing that the Cybermen are going to inevitably make an appearance without knowing exactly when adds to the tension and atmosphere rather than detracting from them or making it seem like the story is providing filler or treading water. This actually ends up being one of the story’s greatest strengths. The structure of the story is quite routine by Doctor Who standards and begins as something dangerous is out…

The War Doctor – Infernal Devices
Audio / February 29, 2016

Released February 2016 Infernal Devices, the second of Big Finish’s box sets to explore the shrouded and darker incarnation of the titular Time Lord, picks up his tale at an undetermined time following the conclusion of Only the Monstrous with the Time War at or near its height and with Time Lords and Daleks alike willing to do whatever it takes to win outright. Infernal Devices features a slightly different format and tone than the preceding release in that the stories, although connected, are much more standalone, each focusing on a unique and powerful weapon as well as the consequences- both intended and not- that such power can have. The Tenth Doctor briefly but emotionally recalled some of the travesties of the Time War in his final episode, but it is during this set of three stories that listeners are afforded a glimpse of just what types of schemes and powers are truly involved. The Time Lords have forsaken their stance on non-intervention and are actively spearheading counterattacks and pre-emptive attacks against the Daleks, seemingly unconcerned about any repercussions the universe at large may feel and in a very real sense mirroring the Daleks themselves. John Dorney’s ‘Legion of the…