Strange story and stranger presentation. I've never been a fan of either Mark Strickson or Turlough and as in my reveiws I felt there were times Mark was brilliant and passable and then times where he was just plain awful. This story and maybe even Mark himself has the impression that Turlough was fond of "hippo" the boy he made fun of in MAWYDRYN UNDEAD. I don't know about you, but to me, he hates Hippo and treats him most unkindly. I"m not even sure that sub plot of him blaming Hippo was ever resolved and was Hippo thrown out. Even calling him Hippo was awful plus the actor wasn't fat IMO. Certainly when he was in THE TOMORROW PEOPLE he wasn't.
I now have the utmost appreciation for Mark since I found out from the interviews on this cd that he is the producer, writer and director for New Zealand company which makes shows not for New Zealand but for National Geographic Channel, Travel channel, Discovery channel, and others. One of the shows he makes is I SURVIVED (but I thought there were British and German versions so maybe he does those too) and he travels worldwide.
In any event, at the start of this sort of messy audio story, I was willing to give it a 0/10 or a 0/5 because the start is rough. It doesn't really follow the conventions of the Comp Chronicles nor any other audio either. It plays with the format and somewhere toward the middle section it gets it right and really has fun with it and makes it worthwhile. At the start nothing is really described in any detail or maybe I wasn't listening closely enough. It was slightly boring at the start but the ideas are really well done: a race that novelizes other races, a sort of parasite trio that latches onto Tegan, Turlough and the Doctor. We mostly get the interaction between Turlough and the Hippo Novelizer, so named by Turlough because the novelizer alien reminds Turlough of Hippo. There's so many things wrong with that I don't know where to begin but it's a nice new idea, novelizer aliens, I think.
These aliens, for me anyway, are indistinguishable from the other aliens in the micro universe (glad for once DW is doing this, a very traditional type story from the 1950s or so, mini worlds) but maybe, again, it's just me not really paying very close attention.
Thus the start of this did not win me over but somewhere mid through it sort of did. Mark does a spot on impersonation of Peter Davison and it's great. Unfortunately, he cannot do a really good Janet Fielding, Tegan, or Australian. I love, LOVE Australian accents and he just blows it entirely. Fortunately, there's not much of Tegan in this and what there is a bit out of character at times...she shuts up when an alien is anti female and anti Australian. Yeah, like that would happen. Mark's Tegan is highly annoying to the ears and it would have been better if he just didn't even try to do an Australian accent or imitate Janet. He fails at both UTTERLY.
The narrative, being told as a narration or novel being written by both Turlough and the alien named or rather nicknamed Hippo, is one of the charming things about this. It plays with the Comp Chronciles format and does so sometimes to the expense of the story, sometimes to the charm of the listener. At other times, the story is muddled and not really clear. The aliens also allow for future possibilities to be told, thus do we really get a happy ending? Is this even "our universe" Turlough, Tegan and Doctor?
The Doctror also acts out of himself but apparently he warned the other aliens not to pull the ringpull puller. Or something.
Overall, this audio is probably a 4/5 or 3/5 or maybe a 7/10 just for stretching the format and being very clever at times while being somewhat muddled at other times.