Doctor Who And The Leisure Hive by David Fisher (CD review).
Rejecting a rather disappointing Brighton which has caused K-9 to short circuit in the sea, the Doctor and Romana choose the Leisure Hive on Argolis for a mini-break. As K-9 has been successfully nobbled by the scriptwriters, we don’t have to worry about anyone shouting at him at regular intervals and having to pretend he can glide over gravel. Argolis is, as ever, a bit of a disappointment on the holiday front and probably gets a 2 out of 10 on Trip Advisor.
The planet of Argolis has been almost destroyed in the last great conflict with their current sworn foes, the Foamasi. There is intrigue and manoeuvrings going on here with a machine called the Tachyon Recreation Generator at the centre of it. As the leaders of the Argolin start to suffer advanced aging, the secrets of the past emerge and a terrifying future is envisaged.
‘The Leisure Hive’ is also notable for having a central character who is an interstellar accountant and to his credit(!), he’s not boring. Argolis is not quite the relaxing break envisaged as the Doctor also experiences extreme aging after an unexpected spell in the Tachyon Generator, which luckily he can take. Unlike Number 10, he does not end up hobbit-sized and swinging in a cage but merely acquires a beard, a stoop and arthritis, pretty much like the rest of us.
The Argolin’s history is described in mind-numbing detail at the beginning of the novel and took so long that it actually mimicked the aeons it covered. The short version is that that they are a war-like race who will fight each other if no one else is available.
Without the interminable descriptions and back-story, I think this novelisation would be a lot more fun and considerably slimmer. The actual story is good when stripped down, so a bit of a split-decision on this one. If you can get past the first part, then I think you will enjoy the rest. It’s certainly read with feeling by Lalla Ward and has a selection of memorable moments that will probably make you reach for the DVD to bring those visuals to mind. Beware, your brain does a better job of visualising than the 1980s special effects so it might be better to stick with the audio.
(pub: Audio Go/BBC. 3 CDs 224 minute story. Price: CD: £ 6.62 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-44582-638-7. Download: £ 4.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-44582-637-0)
reader: Lalla Ward
check out website: www.audiogo.com/uk/doctor-who-and-the-leisure-hive-classic-novel-david-fisher-gid-1002379