Book Review – Borrowed Time by Naomi A. Alderman

It’s an exciting time to be a Doctor Who fan. Brand new Doctor Jodie Whittaker has the eyes of the world on her for the new series. But first, let’s take a step (ahem) back in time…

For their latest release BBC books have chosen one of the best New Series Adventures. Borrowed Time is a brilliant, clever and thought provoking Doctor Who story.

It’s clear from the first few chapters that Alderman has nailed the mannerisms and relationships of the 11th Doctor, Amy and Rory. It really is spot on. And years after reading the original I remember it more as an episode than a book.

The story focuses around Andrew Brown, your typical professional for whom there are ‘not enough hours in the day’. When two mysterious gentlemen approach him with the option of adding extra hours to the day he takes up their offer. However, nothing is as it seems and soon things turn sour. Luckily for him our mad man in a box arrives and fun and frolicks ensue.

The best parts of the book for me were the way Amy gets drawn into the ‘extra hours’ scam and then gets found out by Smiths Doctor ‘Oh Pond, what have you done?’

My other highlight is the whistle stop lesson in macro economics and compound interest. As strange as it may sound this feels like a big denunciation of the corrupt bankers that crashed the economy. After all, the best science fiction has always had something to say about the real world. This is a great example of that and Alderman gets a big thumbs up from me for that.

The narrative is so streamlined and punchy that it’s really easy to get lost in this story. It’s a powerhouse of a book that is definitely worth picking up for some nostalgic Matt Smith action and adventure before everything changes.

Borrowed Time by Naomi A. Alderman is available now from BBC Books.

Doctor Who: Borrowed Time https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1785943723/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_iqJuBbFV8Q6YW

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Twenty Years of Bernice Summerfield.

It’s hard to believe it’s twenty years since the first Big Finish Benny story ‘Oh No It Isn’t!’ was released. Things have changed a lot since and Big Finish have gone on to produce numerous other series and gone from strength to strength.

Benny, however remains as popular as ever, thanks in no small part to the writers and of course the fabulous Lisa Bowerman.

Benny has actually been around for much longer than that. She was first introduced by her creator Paul Cornell in DWM #192 in 1992. Love and War followed shortly after in October 1992. And the rest as they say is history…

A consistant output of novels or audio stories has been maintained since then and we are shortly being treated to four new releases from Big Finish celebrating the 20th anniversary at the end of this year.

‘Treasury’ is an audiobook collection of short stories and will be read by Lisa Bowerman and Andrew Cartmel. We also have two anthology releases in the form of ‘The Story So Far’ parts one and two featuring contributions from some of the best writers to have contributed to Benny over the years. Lastly, another audiobook collection titled ‘In Time’. This one features new stories but from different periods of Benny’s life.

We really are being spoilt by Big Finish. It got me thinking about what makes Benny so popular and I realised that it’s because she’s flawed and down to earth and very relatable to normal everyday people. She drinks and wisecracks her way through some really difficult and challenging situations and has lost a lot along the way. She’s always brave and even when frightened manages to find the courage to carry on. She’s a real modern day superhero. In fact, you could say she’s the original female time travelling superhero…

Long live Bernice Summerfield.

Head over to the Big Finish site now to pre-order the new releases.

https://www.bigfinish.com/hubs/v/doctor-who

Book Review – Kill Or Cure by Pixie Britton

I’ve read lots of zombie stories over the years. I’ve read lots of stories with a dystopian setting. When a book like this pops up for review I am always looking for something different that will set it apart from others.

Kill Or Cure is a different and exciting take on the genre. There’s not a generic zombie survival character in sight. We are dealing with real people with emotions and the sense of loss and danger is tangible throughout the entire book.

Alyx is the hero of the book who sets out to find a cure for her infected Brother. She’s a great lead character and her bravery and the difficult decisions she has to make were the highlight for me. Alyx is believable and well drawn and the author makes it easy to see the world from her point of view.

Theres also some really emotional sections to this story and its definitely a book i’d recommend to someone looking for something different new in this genre.

Check it out now on Amazon.

Kill or Cure https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1788038487/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_wGBsBbQZMVHDM

Book Review – One Way by S J Morden

I’ve got a bit of an obsession with Mars. It seems I’m not the only one because so many TV Shows, films and book use Mars as the setting or focus of their story.

One Way by S J Morden is the latest. But rather than a straight forward sci-fi adventure we get a ‘Murder Mystery on Mars’. It’s fast paced and gripping from the start. Trying to solve the mystery of who is bumping off members of the crew is great fun and will keep you guessing until the end.

The problem is, everyone is a suspect. The team responsible for setting up the first permanent Mars base is made up of convicts, criminals and lunatics. I’d be surprised if someone somewhere hasn’t already picked the film rights up for this story.

Great stuff for sci-fi fans and murder mystery fans but also people who enjoy big, bold blockbuster stories with colourful and interesting characters.

Check it out now on Amazon.

One Way https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1473222567/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_7WpsBb7JKGXWN

Audio Review – The Coming of the Martians from Sherwood Studios. Adapted by Nick Scovell

The War of the Worlds has had many adaptions in film, audio and music over the years. I’ve been an avid consumer of most of them. What could this new adaption give us that we haven’t had before? The answer…plenty.

The first thing that struck me when I started listening to The Coming of the Martians was the professionalism of it all. The direction and acting. The sound design and the writing. I’d love to hear this in full surround sound as it’s supposed to be experienced. It’s recorded in Dolby Pro Logic II and I imagine it would be spectacular to be heard with a good audio set up.

A special mention must be made for the attention to detail to the source material. Particularly the martian sounds. The groans and wails are absolute terrifying in audio and gave more than a few jump scares.

Spielberg came close with his 2005 film adaption but this release knocks it out of the park. Anyone who is familiar with the original novel will appreciate how it has been brought to life here.

The casting is top notch and believable. Colin Morgan is predictably brilliant as George. Ronald Pickup and Nigel Lindsay put in great performances and Dan Starkey as Ogilvy is perfect. It was also nice to hear a small part from the one and only Lisa Bowerman who is my favourite actress. Bowerman also directs and as usual absolutely nails it.

I can’t fault anything about this release, in fact it surpassed my expectations. Nothing about this adaption seems tired or overdone and if anything it was a little too realistic. The sound of the Martians will be etched on my brain for weeks to come.

If you like great story telling and professionally produced soundscapes you will love this release. Check it out now via the Sherwood Studios website. It’s released in physical form on the 30th July and pre-orders get you immediate access to the download.

http://www.sherwoodsoundstudios.com/

Book Review – Kill River by Cameron Roubique

Here I go again, I’m going to jump right into this review and say it’s really good. I enjoyed it so much I’m really going to push it.

Call me overexcited but this is an 80s slasher masterpiece. For fans of Halloween and Friday the 13th there are big nods to the genre. The characters are likeable and the soundtrack is fabulous.

Can a book have a soundtrack I hear you ask?. Yes it can. Vivid 80s pop music at its best. Particularly good use of Girls Just Wanna Have Fun which I don’t think I’ll be able to hear ever again without thinking about this book.

When you really like a book and you just can’t get enough of it you are really under pressure to review it. As a reviewer this is something I have to do time after time. I got sucked into this cleverly plotted story and thought it was never gonna give me up.

Very scary and atmospheric in parts with a creepy new masked killer. Special shout out to the cover art which is perfect in every way.

Great stuff from Roubique. I’d love to read more of this authors work.

Kill River https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07B4C5CKY/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_J1NpBb0X4MPYR

Audio Review – Time in Office by Eddie Robson (Big Finish)

It’s taken me a while to get around to this story. I’ve had my eye on it for a long time as Eddie Robson is one of my favourite writers for Big Finish.

This is a fantastic story. It’s overflowing with ideas and packed with so many references, nods and winks that make it an absolute joy to listen to. It really is a labour of love.

The script is so well put together and the story so perfectly plotted that it leaves the cast plenty of scope to have great fun with it. There’s a tangible sense of what a great time they are all having. The chemistry between Davison and Fielding is particularly fabulous to hear. Louise Jameson is brilliant (when is she not?).

This is easily for me the most enjoyable fifth Doctor story to date. I can’t wait for the next listen, and the one after that and the one after that; well…you get it.

Check it out now from Big Finish.

https://www.bigfinish.com/releases/v/time-in-office-1260