Big Finish - INTO INFINITY: THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW Review - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Matthew Kresal dives Into Infinity.

Say "Gerry Anderson," and you'll get people mentioning the likes of Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, or Space: 1999. One doubts that the one-off Into Infinity, also known as The Day After Tomorrow, would come to their minds. It certainly wouldn't have come to mind until recently, having first learned of it via an article on 1970s genre TV pilots in the cult TV magazine Chromakey. It was that article that piqued my interest in this audiobook, recently released by Big Finish, of a novelization published back in 2017.

Set in the future, one perhaps not far off, the basic premise is classic Anderson. The lightship Altares departs on its maiden voyage, humanity's hope to escape an Earth that might soon see an ecological collapse. Onboard are two families, the first being the Masters made up of Captain Harry and his daughter, co-pilot Jane. The other family is the Bowen's made up of space scientists Anna and Tom, alongside their young son David. All have their reasons for traveling out into the stars, facing potential disasters and mysteries that will determine their fates, and potentially humanity's own.

Being adapted from a teleplay by Johnny Byrne (who also wrote for both Space: 1999 and Doctor Who), writer Gregory L. Norris had the task laid before him of taking a 47-minute story and making it into a novel. It's one in which he succeeded wonderfully, through greatly expanding upon the background and backstories that Anderson and Byrne laid out in the original. Like with Nigel Robinson's adaptation of the similarly lengthed Doctor Who serial The Edge of Destruction, Norris makes his additions practically seamless with the original, and indeed makes it feel fuller as a result. Though given how firmly the original seems to have routed itself in hard SF concepts, based around Einstein's theory of relativity as it was, it was perhaps an ideal work to receive the treatment that it did. Even so, Norris crafts a solid tale, building upon it without overburdening the original structure.

The audiobook presentation from Big Finish has points of interest all it's own. Robbie Stevens, who is a veteran of both Anderson and Big Finish, does a fine job with the reading of Norris' text. Each of the characters we meet is clear and distinct, be it in accent such as with Captain Masters, or in timbre, as with the two female characters. Benji Clifford offers up both a faithful rendition of Derek Wadsworth's theme but also some new interludes in his style, nicely segueing in and out of each chapter. If there's a criticism to be made, it is perhaps of my expectations as I'd expected something more akin to the "enhanced audiobook" format Big Finish employed in their Doctor Who Short Trips, with more in-story use of sound effects and music. Even so, the presentation is compelling and wonderfully realizes the text.

Indeed, one hopes, given the overlooked nature of the original TV production, that the audiobook might bring new attention to it. With a second novel by Norris published last year and set for an audiobook release, it certainly looks like there are more adventures for the Altares and the families onboard. If it's as well-realized as this one, then I can't wait to hear it.

Into Infinity: The Day After Tomorrow is available to purchase via the Big Finish website.

Matthew lives in North Alabama where he's a nerd, doesn't have a southern accent and isn't a Republican. He's a host of both the Big Finish centric Stories From The Vortex podcast and the 20mb Doctor Who Podcast. You can read more of his writing at his blog and at The Terrible Zodin fanzine, amongst other places. 

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