Reviewed By: JMChurch25
Review Date: 1/24/18 5:52 pm
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The first of a two part audio that concludes in the following story "The Demon Rises", 'The Mind Runners' sees the Fourth Doctor, Leela, and K9 land on the futuristic planet of Chaldera where one gigantic city covers the entire planetary landscape like Coruscant from the "Star Wars" films. The planet however is unfortunately dying and in the process of evacuation due to a lack of resources compounded by a mysterious string of suicides of individuals known as Mind Runners, humans that can quite literally jump into people's minds to see what they see and feel what they feel. With no apparent explanation available and with a murder committed right in front of our team's eyes, the Doctor and co. decide to dig in and help the local authorities investigate the mystery but who or what could be causing this atmosphere of death? Could it be a cult of ruffians that call themselves the Digitals? Could it be the mysterious Mr. Shift? Or could it be connected to a demonic consciousness simply known as the Night Mind that drives all Mind Runners who go near it insane? With plenty of threads to follow, it's not going to be easy especially as a new and yet somehow familiar foe begins to take shape. Written by one of my favorite Who writers John Dorney, 'Runners' plays as the first half of what is essentially a bleak Blade Runneresque murder mystery set in the Whoniverse with a little bit of Inception thrown in for good measure. Chaldera is very much the standard futuristic world / soundscape that you've heard before but it's built up very well and it's interesting enough that you do want to stick through it and see what happens. The concepts of 'mind running', the Digitals, and the Night Mind are also fascinating concepts and there is a lot of world building and exposition in this first part similar to other Fourth Doctor two part audios that really builds them up and delves deep into how they affect the people who partake of them. The cast is perfectly fine with standard performances from Baker, Jameson and Leeson as Four / Leela / K9 and most of the side cast is good as well. None really stand out per se or have any big moments about them worth a specific mention but they all work perfectly in what they are cast in in their various roles and thankfully this audio definitely knows how to twist things around and keep it all interesting. It plays with very standard elements but does so in very different ways in that certain events you are expecting to happen happen but not at the time or in the way you'd necessarily expect. This makes what could've been a very cookie cutter future story surprise you in a lot of ways and it all really flies by in a brisk way to where even if you can sort of see what's coming, you still can't wait to see it in the end. In short, I'm not the biggest fan of futuristic stories as I feel like they've been done to death but 'Mind Runners' honestly surprised me with how much I was enjoying and intrigued by it by the end. If you are in anyway a fan of films like "Blade Runner" or "Total Recall", then this one is an absolute must listen either way but it's still a good little adventure that I'm curious to see the conclusion to in 'Rises'.