Reviewed By: NannaSally
Review Date: 12/12/16 1:25 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.
The Fifth volume of Liberator Chronicles starts with an unusual story with not a lot of action. It centres around an extra character, Pol Astat Constable, who is a Mid Grade Fixer – she searches for and repairs lines in computer code. The Liberator crew - and Orac - want to know more about a project she was working on.
Pol is an ‘Ordinary’ woman, living and ‘Ordinary Life’ with an ‘Ordinary Husband’. She is unhappy that Blake and his rebellion have stopped the addition of supressants added to the water and air in her dome. This story investigates, among with other things, parts of Federation control of the Social Strata - enforcing strict relationship rules. But this is not all the truth of Pol’s life.
Avon has abducted Pol and taken her outside the Dome – something most citizens rarely do. Memories are opened, barriers broken down. He helps Pol to remember a past event – with very disturbing results.
It is a very sinister story, about the nature of living in a totatlitarian society – that it is possible to justify standing by while others are violenty abused in public, that ‘ordinary’ people can be manipulated into becoming spies and even killers within their own social groupings.
What is Pol afraid to remember? Why? What does it say about the Federation? And how will the Federation resolve the danger that has been released? The ending of the tale is even more horrifying - if that is possible.
The music and sound effects add to the atmosphere of fear and apprehension. Again, there is no lag between narrative and sound effect – I really think this is due to a difference in the work of the Sound Engineer and the Director's style in different stories.
The writing is very interesting and detailed - a lot told in a few sentences. It also causes speculation about the actual time the series covered - after all, to fit in all the adventures we have so far it had to be more than 4 Season - or even 4 years. Mention of time in the series only ever says 'all the years' not a specific time.
Paul Darrow as Avon is the only regular cast member to have much to say and is his usual skillful self, with a very brief appearance by Jenna (Sally Knyvette) and Servalan (Jacqueline Pearce). Louise Jameson as Pol is a wonderful guest star. She plays her part easily and well – offering techinical detail to the story and the background narrative. The sense of horror as she recalls the events and remembers her part in them, and then the realisation of what she is prepared to go through to keep her nightmares at bay are skillfully portrayed.
It is interesting that this story takes up several ideas that many FanFic writers have pursued since the end of Terry Nation's series – control of the population by marriage rules, ‘voluntary’ memory adjustment. Blake’s 7 was never a story of hope realised and as Big Finish produces more episodes the underlying truth of the determination of the Federation to control every aspect of the citizens life is appalling. The original TV series touched on these issues, and Terry's work is built on here. These continuing tales put the B7 universe on a par with '1984', 'Farenheit 451' and 'Brave New World' - and I expect they will be considered classic literature in times to come.
This is a fantasy, fiction, but we cannot help but be aware of incidents in modern history where totalitarian regimes act with similar intent – we read it in the news and hear it on the web, and fear it in our political systems.
So - I continue to recommend purchase of these volumes - they are satisfying on many levels, not all the episodes are full of action and adventure - some prod us to think of what our society here on Earth is heading for if we are not prepared to stand up and take part.
Thank you for reading
Nanna Sally Nelson - who voted in the last election here in Oz and can say she was counted.