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< 10.2 - Retribution
10.3 - Ministry of Peace >

10.1 - Velandra

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User Rating:
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Acting Rating:
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Replay Rating:
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Reviewed By: NannaSallyReview Date: 12/30/16 1:17 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

Set in Season One, Blake has been having recurring nightmares concerning Velandra, a girl he remembers assisting to escape a ‘Political Rehabilitation Centre’ (mind reprogramming installation). They were stranded in a swamp, and she….died horribly. But Blake also finds Travis taunting him in his nightmare.

Gan is the team member who recognises that Blake is so haunted by the nightmare that he finds he must return to the planet in the dream – Velar, to discover the truth behind his memories. The crew are not very happy about it – Blake even acknowledges that they have become used to following his apparent whims.

Avon unsuccessfully tries to dissuade him from going down to the planet. Gareth gets the tone and timbre just right when he voices this conversation. He goes down to the planet by himself and tries to find out more since the events which must have happened at least five years ago. After he teleports back with more information, he takes Cally, Gan and Vila to try to find the ruler of the planet - Velandra's father...and they find themselves in the swamp Blake remembers.

What is the truth behind this dream? Who was Velandra and why was she in the Centre? Where did the swamp monsters come from? How does Travis fit in this dream? And what has happened to the planet Velar since the Federation became interested in it? Will knowing the truth rid Blake of the haunting nightmares?

This is rather a strange story, another based on a dream – a very disturbing dream. However, if we remember how much Blake’s memories had been tampered with by the Federation it is not surprising that he should be haunted by dreams of events either based on reality or truly imaginary – perhaps some of the conditioning lurking in the background.

There are a few continuity problems with some of these episodes. Here we are told that Blake had been captured while trying to bring down the Rehabilitation Centre here, reprogrammed and then sent back to earth. However, in The Way Back we were told he had been captured when a political meeting was raided and 20 people were massacred – and Blake shot Travis, maiming him. Here also Blake says the massacre occurred the first time he was arrested. A bit confusing in all.

I really do like these audio adventures as you know, and I recently spoke to Big Finish by email and was told there will be new episodes in 2017, so I hope some continuity research will be undertaken by the script editors. I guess when we talk about fiction it is a bit pedantic to go on about continuity after 35 years and more, but we dedicated fans are a hard group to fool and we do tend to hold on to the bits and pieces…….

Stephen Greif is terrific as Season One Travis – I do like his voice and he is convincingly menacing. Gareth Thomas was always a great actor although his voice did not always hold up – he is a bit hoarse here but his skill in changing voice between characters is still evident.

The sound effects and music are good, helping us to see the market, the resistor with a bomb, the militia and the horrors of the swamp and Rehabilitation Centre.

Altogether a pretty good story, but not one of my favourites. Again an insight into Federation ways and means of dominating cultures.


One thing about these tales, even though I feel invested in the (fictional) characters, and I certainly feel unhappy about the way the Federation operates, they do make me think in greater detail about the place and purpose of Freedom Fighters - Terrorists? It again points out that so many of those harmed are civilians no matter the intention of the resistance groups. As part of the purspose of fiction is to make us think, this is certainly successful for me at least. And with the news everyday telling us of more and more incidences of terrorism it is truly topical and may well stay that way for some time to come.

Thank you for joining me today, the last day of 2016 - I will be off having Family Fun tomorrow, but will return on Monday, January 2nd with the next installment of these reviews.

Nanna Sally Nelson - who is not particularly political, but that might change if I lived in a truly dictatorial society.


PS one funny little item: the bird sounds in the swamp includes a galah with its unmistakeable 'ullo' call - something that is not an unusual sound in the countryside round where I live.
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
6
Plot Rating:
5
Acting Rating:
7
Replay Rating:
6
Effects Rating:
7
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: Queen DragonReview Date: 4/21/15 10:31 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

I found this story rather muddled, and there were a few points where I must confess that I didn't really know what was going on. Some aspects, notably the giant wolves, we're just plain silly, and while I find the whole issue of mental conditioning in the Federation fascinating, the way it was dealt with here didn't add much to the existing material. (Another Big Finish play, Logic, deals with the subject matter in a far more coherent and interesting way.) I was, however, delighted to hear Stephen Grief's Travis again.