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Classic Novels: THE BRAIN OF MORBIUS

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Author Topic: Classic Novels: THE BRAIN OF MORBIUS  (Read 297 times)
Vampyros Adric
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« on: March 12, 2011, 11:46:04 pm »


Strap yourselves in for a review where i bare my naked soul to the world (not literally, that would be frankly hideous for you). But first, we'll have the chat from the back of the box in case you are wondering what all this hullabaloo is about...

Why do so many spaceships crashland on Karn, a bleak, lonely and seemingly deserted planet? Are they doomed by the mysterious powers of the strange, black-robed Sisterhood, jealously guarding their secret of eternal life? Or does the mad Dr Solon, for some evil purpose of his own, need the bodies of his victims? And more especially, the body of Doctor Who..

The scientists at CERN are busy, spending hours and hours bashing lots of little particles together in the hope of either (a) creating a big, black hole through which we'll all be sucked, leading to a parallel universe where Spock will have a beard and Sulu will have a scar (that's enough of that) or (b) discovering the 'Genesis' particle that represents the basic building block of everything. Why (I hear you cry) is this imbecile of a reviewer telling us this? Has he finally gone mad? hit the wine? Or worse? Well, dear friends bear with me and I shall reveal all..

For me, the Brain of Morbius novel is the Doctor Who Genesis particle. It was the very first experience with Doctor Who that I can really remember. A particularly far-sighted baby sitter, when I was 6, knew that I liked sci-fi (and liked sci-fi herself) so she brought it round and read it to me at bedtime. And so began one of the most enduring love affairs I have ever known. This story ranks second in the list of 'Greatest Story Ever Told' (Apollo 13 comes first and Christmas comes a disappointing 3rd).

The writing is a masterclass in simple storytelling. Terrance Dicks does not mess about when telling stories - he gets right in there and lets you know exactly what is happening. He uses his words as a builder uses breeze blocks; to ensure a rigid structure and solid foundations to his story telling. Yet this novelisation is more than just an artisan's product. It is a little bit special, sprinkled with something magical. Perhaps the magical ingredient lay in its origins. As those of us with a fondness for trivia will know, The Brain of Morbius, credited to Robin Bland on the screen, was in fact a Terrance Dicks/Bob Holmes Hybrid script. Dicks took his name off the TV series for reasons of extreme grumpiness at being extensively re-written. There is some embellishment from the original script but these are wonderful additions given depth and colour to the backstory. A lesser writer might have been tempted to use the book to put his side of how the story should have been. But Dicks knows his job, and that is to provide a faithful record of the story until the DVD is invented and we can all watch it.
 
A word about the actual production. In other Classic Novels, Tom Baker's stentorian tones have been somewhat over powering and at times, downright bombastic. In this audio book, however, they are perfect. He does a wonderful job of bringing the story vividly to life. You can hear his Doctor ripple through the recording but you also get flavours of Morbius and Solon (matching up to the amazing Philip Madoc is no easy task but Baker does it with aplomb). Perhaps because the story is so over the top, even Baker realises that he has to rein himself in - and he does it with spectacular success.

If you like Audiobooks to take you on the daily commute, or help you through bouts of insomnia or even to make up for crushing loneliness then this will satisfy you completely. It is a marvellous novel, coupled with marvellous narration. And for me, it was the first time that this strange, eccentric but heroic figure of the Doctor saved the day so it was always going to be a tiny bit special.
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« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2011, 10:19:14 am »

Where did this review come from? I don't remember seeing it before.

I was only watching this yesterday. Its been ages since I tucked into a Tom Baker. However, this is another audio that I have no experience with. You havent let me down with your reviews so far though, so I shall rectify that immediately Smiley
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« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2011, 10:27:26 am »

It is a brilliant novel and beautifully realised on the Audiobook. There is something so evocative about that cover, it still sends shivers down my spine! Definitely worth the few quid Amazon now charge (i think this is available for about a fiver!)
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« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2011, 10:37:00 am »

This one is still in my pregnancy pile, so I will get around to it but I havent yet. I love the TV story so I imagine I will love this just as much.

At the rate I am listening to these my baby will be coming out quoting Doctor Who Tongue
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« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2011, 10:28:12 pm »

I love the cover for this!

The audio I was a bit 'meh' about, but then I was the same with the TV story. Its great in its own way but not one of my favourites. Still very enjoyable though so I would still say you should give it a listen
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« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2011, 10:08:05 am »

I love the cover for this!

The audio I was a bit 'meh' about, but then I was the same with the TV story. Its great in its own way but not one of my favourites. Still very enjoyable though so I would still say you should give it a listen

I think for me it's a tangible link to the very first time i realised how amazing Doctor Who was. So i suspect my review is a bit slanted in that respect Smiley
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« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2011, 11:37:02 am »

I love the cover for this!

The audio I was a bit 'meh' about, but then I was the same with the TV story. Its great in its own way but not one of my favourites. Still very enjoyable though so I would still say you should give it a listen


I think for me it's a tangible link to the very first time i realised how amazing Doctor Who was. So i suspect my review is a bit slanted in that respect Smiley

Well everyone has their favourites and everyone is always fond of their first few stories, even if they aren't so great. I do like this story, but it's a bit middle ground for me. Its not Fear Her or The Twin Dilemma, but its no Caves or Human Nature either.
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