Summer of Love

Posted in Audio by - August 20, 2018
Summer of Love

Released October 2006

One of the most fascinating aspects of the ongoing adventures of Bernice Summerfield is that they unfold with equal weight and continuity within both the audio and written mediums, events in each completely dependent upon and interwoven with the other. And while sticking only with one medium does not preclude any understanding or enjoyment of what is occurring, it does mean that certain characters and smaller character moments that have the chance to come into focus in the more intimate stylings of prose are often sidelined or eliminated altogether for the bigger audio adventures. Simon Guerrier interconnects the two more than ever before with ‘Summer of Love,’ however, seeing the return of both Adrian and Bev to the fold while also introducing the Martian-turned-Yasodi Hass and the Bernice-obsessed Doggles to the vocal world as the Braxiatel Collection struggles to carry on without Braxiatel in charge.

The term ‘adult’ has many different meanings when applied to themes and stories, and it can quite liberally be applied to ‘Summer of Love’ as all of the characters become more and more compelled to have sex with anyone around them. What starts off as moments of unshrouded innuendo quickly escalates to sexual encounters and eventually an orgy, and yet somehow this carnal fixation never devolves into a juvenile mess despite the rather farcical setup. With even poor Joseph affected as he tries to give Bernice a sensual massage and eventually reveals that other drones and he have been recording the erotic encounters to pass on to others for their own pleasure, nobody is safe from what Bernice discovers to be a virus trying its best to spread, and Bernice being the one trying to resist the urge as everyone else gives in is a nice character beat that shows an immense determination and maturity, especially since she does not even get the chance to have her wanted encounter with Jason when he briefly returns to the Collection.

‘Summer of Love’ is not all comedy and inconsequential sex, however, and though the explanation of this behavioural change that amusingly causes a sudden decrease in applications to leave the Collection is linked to the planting and speeding up of the growth cycle of Simpson’s thinweed to keep the ground together, it’s the continuity with events that have occurred and that are yet to come that carries the story all the more successfully. Peter is now living with Adrian and Bev due to the unpredictability and danger of Bernice’s chosen lifestyle, and Bev is trying her best to keep the Collection from literally falling apart now that Braxiatel and his manipulative ways are gone. With time jumps manifesting around them, Bernice must again come to terms with her on-and-off relationship with Jason that is more open than she might care to accept, and Adrian is quite literally tearing himself apart as he tries to avoid the advances of other women to stay true to Bev who is putting on quite the strong public persona.

In the end, ‘Summer of Love’ will probably forever remain something of a divisive entry. On the one hand, it successfully brings to life the Collection and its many denizens who have been absent from the audio range either altogether or for far too long, and it’s unquestionably a rollicking ride from the beginning to end. Yet as it balances its crude and more immature moments with others that feature intelligent scheming and thoughtfulness, the obsession with inconsequential sex nonetheless makes this a somewhat less substantial reintroduction to the Collection than another theme or fixation may have allowed. Still, there are certainly elements brought up that will certainly play out in the future such as the Draconians gearing up for war, and so it will undoubtedly remain an important piece in the franchise’s overall mythology.

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