Jonathon Morris’s Chase The Night was released with Purgatory 12, and in some ways follows the same pattern: with exotic world-building and substantial peril but for this release, the focus (if there is one) is Romana. Beyond looking for deep insights (the plague of being a reviewer) Chase The Night is another strong release in the Fourth Doctor Adventures, at least the equal of its companion.
Chase the Night
The world-building is covered in the synopsis:
The TARDIS lands in an alien tropical rainforest at night where the Doctor, Adric and Romana discover a set of rails stretching through the undergrowth. These tracks carry a long-crashed spaceship that’s been converted to run along them like a train.
The ship has to keep moving because only the night-side of the world is habitable. The sun on the day-side burns so hot that everything on the surface is turned to ash.
But the stress and strain of the constant movement is beginning to take its toll on the ship. Parts are starting to break down, and the relentless heat gets ever closer – but the greatest danger may be on the inside…
In some ways Chase the Night is the story of survival but at what costs? The spaceship come train is run under very autocratic lines, everything is marginal and everything is falling apart. It’s well-constructed and well portrayed and manages to split the TARDIS team into four groups instead of the conventional two.
Jonathan also manages to place all four into what seem to be inescapable death situations all at the same time, any one of which might have suited a story on its own. Gripping stuff!
The story also draws lines between the Time Lords and the ship’s crew. When push comes to shove, priorities are clear – save our own, everyone else is secondary. This allows for much soul-searching as Romana realises she is seeing much of her own personality played by the captain of the doomed ship-train.
And doomed it is. Jonathan avoids a just in time rescue and finds a different resolution. It’s well thought out balances happy with realistic.
Not only is the story good, but (as tends to be the way) the cast and direction make this work well. Jane Asher is Pilot Dena (the leader of the ship-train) and her performance is one of many that brings this story to life so well.