Doctor Who: Time Lord Victorious THE MINDS OF MAGNOX Review - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Doctor Who: Time Lord Victorious THE MINDS OF MAGNOX Review

Matthew Kresal seeks the answer to a Grade 1 Classified question.

It's safe to say that we are well into the throes of Time Lord Victorious at the moment. Indeed this reviewer has tackled several audio dramas connected to the arc already. Those have been from Big Finish and feature Paul McGann's Eighth Doctor for the most part. Now, though, there's a new player on the audio scene for Time Lord Victorious with BBC Audio releasing the audiobook exclusive The Minds of Magnox.

Notice I said "audiobook" there. Minds of Magnox isn't the full-cast audio dramas we've had from Big Finish but a single reader narrating. That fact isn't at all a bad thing, given who that reader is: Jacob Dudman. The young actor has been proving himself a versatile talent in the last couple of years, and his reading of Magnox is no exception, from his surprisingly close Tenth Doctor voice to his compelling Ood voice as the temporary companion Brian. There's also a wide-cast of original to this story characters Dudman voices, all separate and recognizable from one another. Anchored by his Tenth Doctor and Ood, Dudman proves himself to be one of the rising stars of Doctor Who's spin-off media at the moment.

It also goes a long way that The Minds of Magnox is an intriguing story. Set in a society that values information above all else, to the point of using it as currency and people take alcohol-like shots to help introduce themselves in bars, it's the kind of high concept idea that Doctor Who has specialized in doing. Indeed, it's a compliment to writer Darren Jones that this adventure very much captures the feel of the late-Tennant era on TV, when his section of Time Lord Victorious is taking place. The setting, of course, is only part of what's so intriguing.

That would be where Jones ties into Time Lord Victorious as a whole. What the Doctor is up to, seeking the answer to a question he dare not tell anyone but whom he wants to ask, builds a bit of tension, as does the consequences that come along with it. Brian, too, has come a long way since I last encountered him in the Eighth Doctor audio He Kills Me, He Kills Me Not. Indeed, hearing him get to be the companion here for all intents and purposes is fascinating, given what Jones has him do. That said, for the first time in taking in the arc (and keeping in mind the novel The Knight, The Fool, And The Dead has yet to come out in the US), I did wonder just where things fit in on a couple of occasions, especially late in the running time. This might be the first time in the arc where having prior knowledge might be a requirement.

On the whole, despite perhaps not being quite as standalone as claimed on the tin, The Minds of Magnox is another solid entry in the Time Lord Victorious arc. Dudman proves himself once again as a reader, with his takes on the Tenth Doctor and the Ood capturing their on-screen performers alongside a cast of new characters. With Jones giving him an intriguing high-concept story to read, and with some effective use of sound effects and music, it's a different sort of audio tale for this event and a welcome one at that.

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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