THIS STORY TAKES
PLACE BETWEEN THE
"THE COLONY OF LIES."
RENAISSANCE OF THE
DALEKS & WETWORKS
BIG FINISH CD#7
RELEASED IN APRIL 2000.
The library on Kar-
Charrat is one of the
wonders of the
Universe. It is also
hidden from all but a
few select species. The
Doctor and Ace
discover that the
found a new way of
storing data - a
wetworks facility -
but the machine has
attention, and the
Doctor soon finds
himself pitted against
his oldest and
deadliest enemies -
The Genocide Machine
How do you follow Remembrance of the Daleks?
I don’t know. However, I do know that you do not (double-underlined in red) follow it with Dalek story so bland that it makes Death to the Daleks and the rest of the generic Daleks in the jungle / Daleks in the desert / Daleks in a quarry stories which plagued the early 1970s look like inspirational efforts.
This a little harsh, perhaps, nonetheless it still rings true. Mike Tucker’s Genocide Machine really isn’t a bad story by any objective standards, but objective standards don’t really apply when we’re talking about Daleks and the seventh Doctor. Many have used the word ‘traditional’ to describe this play, and that’s perhaps the kindest word that fits. There is nothing new or innovative to be found in the story here, just generic Dalek bumph.
Furthermore, given how well they fared in Jonathan Blum’s Fearmonger, the Doctor and Ace are both bitterly disappointing here. Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred both do very well with what they are given, but the material they have to work with doesn’t feel like it has been tailored to their characters – they could be any old Doctor and companion team. I find this very surprising indeed considering just how well Tucker has handled these two characters in print recently.
Of course, The Genocide Machine does have its moments. There are snippets of humour to be found throughout (the ‘silent’ librarian running joke, for instance, is particularly humour) and the idea of the library on Kar-Charrat storing all the knowledge of the universe in its wetworks facility is certainly an interesting concept. In the end, these wetworks prove to be the story’s saving grace as Tucker’s B-plot concerning the ‘phantoms’ reveals that Chief Librarian Elgin may actually be no better than the Daleks, finally allowing McCoy to get his teeth into some idiosyncratic, morally-outraged ranting!
What’s more, the story’s shortcomings are made up for quite amply by the sheer quality of the production. Big Finish have done a masterful job to date of recreating the sounds of the television series, right down to the proper TARDIS materialisation sound, and here they excel themselves with not only Nicholas Briggs’ pitch-perfect Dalek voices but apposite Dalek sounds; every hum and beep is remarkably redolent.
At the end of the day, The Genocide Machine came as a real disappointment to me. If approached without prejudice, it really isn’t bad at all, but when given the explosive combination of the seventh Doctor and the Daleks to play with, I expected fireworks from Tucker, not wetworks.
Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2006
E.G. Wolverson has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
This story’s production code suggests that it takes place after the preceding seventh Doctor / Ace release, The Fearmonger. Given that it was penned by Mike Tucker, we believe that it best fits into things shortly after the novel Storm Harvest, which he co-wrote with Robert Perry, but before the rest of the Perry / Tucker post-Survival adventures.
Not bound by the constraints of the television series (where for ease, more than anything else, generally saw the Doctor and the Daleks encounter each other in subjective chronological order) Big Finish decided that as they were releasing a different play from a different Doctor each month, then the stories could be released in the order of the Daleks’ point of view, so that the listener could hear their over-arching plan slowly unfold. Therefore, though from the seventh Doctor’s standpoint the events of The Apocalypse Element took place in his personal past, for the Daleks they take place after this story, as does The Mutant Phase which, confusingly, took place even earlier from the Doctor’s perspective.
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