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Classic Novels: LOGOPOLIS

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Author Topic: Classic Novels: LOGOPOLIS  (Read 268 times)
Vampyros Adric
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« on: January 05, 2011, 02:31:56 pm »


There is something about the Target novelisations that, for Who fans of a certain age, sum up the Doctor Who experience more than anything else. My early teenage years saw me try and assimilate as many of these as I could lay my hands on. There was no DVD and VHS releases were limited to Revenge of the Cybermen and The Seeds of Doom (not bad options but when watched 83 times over school holidays the lustre does fade a little). So Target Novels became the only real access to Doctor Who episodes that were readily available.

Logopolis was my favourite of all of these for a number of reasons. First, it was my first regeneration and there was lots in it about computers (which to a 10 year old was little short of perfection). Secondly, Christopher H. Bidmead went on for pages about Block Transfer Computation, Entropy and the Causal Nexus. It was **** technobable which verged on the obscure and I LOVED IT! Finally, the idea of the story as being part of a trilogy (Keeper of Traken/Logopolis/Castrovalva) and having lots of time lord mythology - I gotta tell you this was the gold standard for me and very little in my life has matched the pleasure of the first time I read Logopolis.

So it was with some excitement that I ordered my copy of the unabridged audio read by my erstwhile hero, Chris Bidmead. Global recession, rioting on the streets of London, A conservative prime minister and rubbish music - it was like being back in the 1980s and I couldn't wait to strap on my Gordon Gecko braces and live it all again.

Whether it was Bidmead's reading style (which sounds not unlike a University lecture), or my own overhyped expectations, I can't really say but I must confess to being a little underwhelmed on first listening. It was a little.. *whispers*...dull! The writing style is a little smug in places and overly verbose in others. Yet my disappoint didn't stretch to turning off. Instead I ploughed on and it did improve somewhat when the travellers arrived in Logopolis. Characterisation was never Bidmead's strong suite and never is this more glaring when introducing new characters such as Tegan. On the plus side, the science geek in me was thoroughly satisfied and the idea behind the central story thread (a universe held together by mathematics) is a wonderful one. The novel gives you time to explore these issues and in that respect it is wonderful.

I love audiobooks for long train journeys and commuting. I like them when I can't sleep. So I get the point behind these series of releases. But in the case of Logopolis an objective review - from this reviewer - is almost impossible. I guess it is like having someone that you really fancied as a teenager (with all the attendant hormonal attachments) and bumping into them in Tesco 20 years later. In a way there is only going to be anti climax. But it still doesn't stop you wanting to go back for a coffee and a bit of slap and tickle just to try and recapture those teenage memories.
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« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2011, 02:41:56 pm »

Only in one of your reviews can a story about space and time end with a comment about sex after a chance meeting in Tesco Tongue

Logopolis is a bit of a Marmite story in general, but for me I am still after all these years undecided. Sometimes I think its a great story and can fully get engrosed but at other times (despite knowing it quite well) I can find myself wondering what the hell is going on. A lot of the audio books take a great story and make them even better which I am sure is the case with this one, but, and probably due to my indifference to the story, its not one that I have ever really sought out.
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Vampyros Adric
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« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2011, 03:00:37 pm »

To be honest I think Bidmead is quite a marmite writer and this audiobook certainly won't turn you around on the story. It's no Stephen Fry/Harry Potter mash up and I think therein lies its central problem. A good audiobook needs the reader to be able to dip in and out (no one is going to sit for 5 hours and listen to it in one go) and this audio release is extremely unfriendly in that respect. I found myself having to jump back chapters to catch up with whats going on and that can't be a good thing.

Glad you liked the Tesco analogy Smiley I always like to give that little bit extra Wink
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« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2011, 03:04:26 pm »

I'm sorry Chris, but I have to issue you with the first Doctor In The TARDIS Facepalm of 2011



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Vampyros Adric
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« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2011, 03:05:37 pm »

I'm sorry Chris, but I have to issue you with the first Doctor In The TARDIS Facepalm of 2011



Tongue

Yey Smiley Thats the first thing i've won all year Smiley Thoroughly deserved as well Smiley
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« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2011, 06:15:13 pm »

I always find with Bidmead, that he had brilliant ideas and brilliant stories, but had trouble translating them well to whatever medium he was using. He also couldnt characterise at all and most of his characters came off very one dimensional. If you could look past all of that then you usually were left with a very satisfying plot.
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« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2011, 11:37:07 am »

I always find with Bidmead, that he had brilliant ideas and brilliant stories, but had trouble translating them well to whatever medium he was using. He also couldnt characterise at all and most of his characters came off very one dimensional. If you could look past all of that then you usually were left with a very satisfying plot.

I totally agree and I think that was the problem with the last season of Tom Bakers Doctor. Bidmead had a strong sense of a good story. He has some lovely, novel ideas but the problem is, he just can't make them dance in the way Eric Saward, Bob Holmes or (laterly) RTD and Moff can do. Logopolis encapsulates all of those issues. If Bidmead had submitted these stories when Andrew Cartmell or Eric Saward had been script editor, I think we'd have had an even better product. Nonetheless, I think this release is still a very interesting piece of Who history and shows a brave attempt to redirect the show Smiley
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