“Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles”
by Michael Moorcock
read by Clive Mantle
produced by AudioGO/BBC Audiobooks (2010)
Approx 11 hours

While anxiously awaiting the Christmas return of Dr. Who on television, I have to get my fix.  This time around I dive into a Dr. Who audiobook that is unlike any other.

First of all the length.  This one is just about 11 hours where most Dr. Who audiobooks tend to be from one to three hours in length.  So I was strapped in and ready for a good long run.  This story would have easily taken an entire season to run.

The next feature that makes it unique is the writing.  Michael Moorcock is a well know award winning author of science-fiction and fantasy, and I have heard his name bandied around in sci-fi circles, but I’ve never picked up one of his stories until now.  This story takes the Dr. Who universe and seems to pop it into a more surreal almost absurd series of events that seem to blend the writing styles of Douglas Adams and P.G. Wodehouse.  At times the story is a humorous romp through the multiverse and at others a bit of a humorous whodunit.   Needless to say this is a fun book featuring the 11th Doctor and his companion Amy Pond.

The reader Clive Mantle does a great job of delivering the story through this audiobook.  In some cases the characters are over the top and Mantle voices them just that way.  From his vocalizations you can nearly picture the faces of the characters.  Superb delivery.

At times this story reminded me of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” with Amy pod as Alice and the Doctor as the White Rabbit, and there are a couple of hatters that do seem mad.

In the beginning it at first seems as though the Doctor is out for a bit of sport as he and Amy join the Terraphiles, a group of humans in the far future obsessed with recreating Earth’s distant past and reenacting medieval Earth sports.  By the far future I mean about 50,000 years into the future, so you have to forgive if they get some of the sports wrong.  There’s a version of, I’m thinking Rugby, where the ball is an arrow and the bowmen/archers shoot the arrow and catch it.  I did say they didn’t quite get it right.

As it turns out, though, the Doctor is trying avoid the collapse of the Multiverse from the mysterious “dark tides” that have begun to appear.  The Doctor and his new friends compete in a Grand Tournament in the Miggea star system, which lies on the border of parallel realities. The prize of the contest is an ancient artifact called the Arrow of Law, sought also by the Doctor’s old foe Captain Cornelius and his crew of space pirates.

With the multivers on the verge of collapse the Doctor, Amy and the Terraphiles have to team up with the space pirates to try to save all of existence.  With some fun moments, the theft of a gawdy hat, and some strange sports, this is one adventure with the Doctor that you won’t soon forget.

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