As part of the Doctor Special Releases for 2012, Big Finish have included a whole range of titles for all tastes and pockets. Released in October, a whole month early, is the Jonathan Morris story Voyage to Venus which is the first of two single disc tales for the Sixth Doctor plus Jago and Litefoot. Maybe we’ll get more next year?
This story apparently fits straight in after the fourth J&L boxset; I haven’t heard that but I was certainly not hampered in my enjoyment. How was this Ken Bentley directed story? Why not read on for my review…
The Jungles of Venus
To most people who apply labels, Doctor Who is more fantasy than fiction in that it breaks a lot of rules when it tells a tale. Classically, e.g. Edgar Rice Burroughs, Venus in fantasy is full of lush jungle a setting preposterously postulated simply due to the dense cloud cover.
In fiction we know Venus to be a blasted wasteland, but fortunately we are not bound by that!
This is the Venus of jungle beasts that we learn The Doctor once visited with Jamie and Victoria (not the queen!) and studied martial arts. This was a few decades in the future – please don’t try to explain to Jago!
In our far future, Earth is desolate having been destroyed by climate change. This Venus is inhabited by green furry females with the men reserved solely for breeding. Great food factories pump oxygen into the air and in recent years lush vegetation and a cornucopia of flora and fauna have appeared much to the puzzlement of the Venusians.
We learn of ancient inhabitants of Venus, the destiny of some of the human race, the need for music and the powerful negative emotions of fear and revenge. On some levels this is all classic material though well wrapped in lots of enjoyable details. To speak of wrapping, I could easily have imagined this to be a Christmas subscriber special (update: and it was almost going to be, confirmed in the November podcast), a thought I had mid-way through that I was reminded of near the end. You will have to listen to find out why!
The whole piece was slightly tongue in cheek but found something for all three of our heroes to do and I really enjoyed it. For £1 on download until the end of 2012 or as part of the bundle, treat yourself!
The psuedo-intellectual musings
The title Voyage to Venus is also that of a CS Lewis novel using the planet as home to a new Garden of Eden and exploring Christian beliefs relating to the fall from grace of Adam and Eve. I wonder if any of that was in Jonathan Morris’ head when he wrote this. One day I will ask him and get back to you!