Breaking Bubbles is the 2014 multi-story release for the main range and consists of four stories for the Sixth Doctor and Peri. These multi-story releases often turn up something interesting and follow no consistent formula. Some have a vague arc, some a theme, this is in parts a showcase for writers new to Doctor Who or even Big Finish altogether. With four stories the listener is likely to find something they like even if not every story is ideal for them. How well do these four stories stand up?
LM Myles started things moving with Breaking Bubbles the title story of the collection, which gives us a prison transport ship with lots of holographs to confuse things. The villain of the piece is the Empress Valtris and while the Doctor solves problems by being logical and clever, Peri gives the story a resolution by persuading the Empress that there is a better way forward than bloodshed and violence.
It is good to get a more noble ending for a change and this adds an extra dimension to a fun story.
Talented actor (and massive fan) Mark Ravenhill wrote Of Chaos Time The a well scripted tale in which the Doctor experiences time out of order. He needs to stop a weapon of temporal destruction from exploding and once you get your head behind the construction the story works well. It may not be the most original idea but the writing was tight though did rather focus on the Doctor.
Una McCormack is on a bit of a roll and wrote An Eye for Murder. Una wrote for last months New Adventures of Bernice Summerfield and has also written for the tenth Liberator Chronicles due later this year. That and a best-selling Star Trek novel. This story is set in an all-woman Cambridge College at the very outbreak of World War II. As though tensions between various political factions weren’t enough there is also the little matter of the strangely powerful alien artefact. Thankfully for everyone crime writer Sarah Perry has arrived with her assistant, The Doctor!
I particularly liked the tidy ending and the way the artefact had side-effects that rendered it less useful than might be desired.
[pullquote]Did I mention the gnomes?[/pullquote]
And then Nev Fountain gave us The Curious Incident of the Doctor in the Night, a story that gave us insight into autism, sadness, a central figure other than the Doctor and garden gnomes. Did I mention the gnomes? It is really worth listening to the extras to get the full background to the writing and casting of this superbly executed story which is up there with Peri and the Piscon Paradox for inventiveness. Not only does it have a well-written take on the novel / play of the similar name but also ends up telling us something about the Doctor’s own personality. Did I mention it also has garden gnomes?
For me a solid collection with a glorious fourth story. This marks an interesting point in the year’s releases and avoided doing a 15 theme. Even though it was released on the month of the 15th anniversary of the main range it hasn’t played to that (as far as I can spot) and has put me in the mood for Peri’s return later in the year.