Doctor Who: Snake Bite Audio CD – Unabridged, December 6, 2012
Elsewhere by Dean Koontz
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- ISBN-10 : 1408468360
- Audio CD : 1 pages
- ISBN-13 : 978-1408468364
- Product Dimensions : 5.75 x 0.43 x 5 inches
- Item Weight : 3.07 ounces
- Publisher : BBC Books; Unabridged Edition (December 6, 2012)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #13,481,902 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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As with most of the others in this range it's a complete story that runs for just over seventy minutes [approx], on one single cd. The only breaks in it being the usual cd chapter ones.
Minimal sleeve notes give copyright details and advertise other Eleventh Doctor audios.
This has been billed as the last one to feature Amy and Rory. And it will also be the last Eleventh Doctor one for now, given that next year's releases will involve a different Doctor each month.
This story is read by Frances Barber, who played Madame Kovarian [the woman with the eyepatch] in some of the 2011 episodes of the show.
It starts at a research facility where two scientists are experimenting with creating wormholes. The fact that the TARDIS arrives in the middle of this leaves Amy and it stranded a long long way away. In a very strange place. And the Doctor and Rory desperate to find a way to get both of them back.
Nobody is quite prepared for what else they find there. And the threat that it poses...
This is very much a story in three acts. But whereas some of this range have slightly lost pace after excellent openings, this one really does manage to keep going nicely. The changes in the story come at just the right point to keep the momentum going.
Even the though nearly all the first third is four people standing in a room talking, it's very compellingly written and the dialogue does keep you hooked.
The two main settings of the story are good science fictional creations. The place where Amy ends up being well realised through some good sound design. And what is found there being a very interesting creation.
The characterisation of the Doctor does stand out. But the two main supporting characters also have a lot of depth.
Frances Barber does a good reading, her narration getting quite involving. She never exaggerates the voices of the regulars, nor the supporting character voices that she comes up with.
The ending is a bit abrupt, but that's the only minor complaint. This is a very good listen. And one of the best in this range. This run of them finishes on a real high.
Being an old-school "Doctor Who" fan, I often find that the fast pace of new series episodes means that the plot unfolds rather too quickly for my liking. However, that is certainly not the case with "Snake Bite". Writer Scott Handcock really takes his time, so much so that we are about halfway through the 70-minute CD before Amy, stranded on a distant alien world, encounters the planet's occupants. This delay means that the snake in the title and on the front cover is something of a spoiler. It is about as long before the Doctor and Rory stop talking with the scientists on the gigantic Jörmungandr space station and actually get on with the business of rescuing Amy. It's always good to have some interaction between "the boys", but the first half of this story strikes me as low on incident, even by classic "Who" standards.
Reader Frances Barber (who played Madame Kovarian, AKA the Eye Patch Lady, in Series 6 ) also gets off to a bad start, with some awkward delivery. Crucially, at the very beginning of her narration, she hesitates over the name Doctor Elehri Mussurana (which is understandable, since Handcock has given her some very long words to say), pausing after the word "Doctor" as though she is about to announce the series title. She soon recovers, though, providing decent imitations of Matt Smith (the Eleventh Doctor) and Arthur Darvill (Rory), a not bad Karen Gillan (Amy), and really relishes the hissing snake voices and descriptions of their serpent tongues.
These creatures are not to be confused with the Skishtari from AudioGO's Fourth Doctor miniseries Serpent Crest , another reptile race with an unfortunately similar affinity for wormholes, as is pointed out by the Doctor within the narrative. Nor, in case you were wondering, do they have any connection with the Mara.
I understand that "Snake Bite" is the final audio release to feature the Ponds, so savour that fact. It's just a shame that the story itself couldn't have had a bit more bite.
Scott Handcock's story is solid enough, but the essential story beats of Snake Bite are a little too stock to make this particularly memorable. It's basically your average 'aliens attempting to escape a doomed world by invading another' scenario, and the plot depends a lot on both convenience and the bad buys being really bad. Frances Barber's reading is enjoyable, complete with Scottish lilt for Amy, but ultimately neither of the Doctor's companions get much active input into the story, with Rory in particular seeming to do nothing than ask the occasional 'whats that Doctor?' line.
By no mean bad, this is a straightforward but ultimately unspectacular Doctor Who runaround. Possibly the best (and most amusing) side of the play is hidden in the backstory (MILD SPOILER WARNING), as the listener tries to work out quite how a couple managed to become man and wife without one of them realising that the other is actually an giant alien cobra wearing a mask. One can't help thinking of the honeymoon without the mind boggling.