Kaldor City - Overview

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Update: there's a sixth episode available now, Storm Mine. I haven't heard it yet, but intend to get it.

Kaldor City is an audio drama series that will appeal to fans of dark, political sf with a sense of humour. Careful, complex plotting, witty dialogue and superb acting create a picture of a corrupt society that is about to face a challenge to its very existence--with no guarantee of success. All this and some brilliant action sequences too. If you've missed the sort of sf the BBC used to do, you'll want this series.

The series expands on characters and a setting first created for the Dr Who story Robots of Death. It also uses at least one character from Blake's 7, the psychostrategist Carnell from the episode Weapon, plus material from another Dr Who story of the Tom Baker era. It's not a BBC product, but uses the original characters and setting which are copyright to the scriptwriter for the TV sources, Chris Boucher. As you might expect with those antecedents, it's not a series where you can expect each episode to end happily, or even tidily. There's an overall story arc, with each episode building on the previous one, and an impressive cliff-hanger at the end of episode 4. Nevertheless, it's possible to enjoy the first CD as a standalone play, so it's well worth trying the first to see if you like the style--you won't be left dangling, needing to buy the next CD to find out how the story in episode 1 is resolved. Episodes 2 and 3 are also reasonably self-contained, although it will pay to listen to the CDs in order.

It's not necessary to have seen the TV episodes Robots of Death and Weapon, or read Chris Boucher's Dr Who novel Corpse Marker (a sequel to Robots of Death) to enjoy this series, as most of the necessary backstory has been included in the CD series. It's still worth doing so if you have the opportunity, as you'll have a better idea of what the background is, and there are some jokes you'll miss otherwise. Unfortunately, I feel that it will be difficult to follow episode 5, Checkmate, without having seen the other Dr Who story used for inspiration, but naming the story would be a major spoiler.

Yes, I liked it--a lot. It has what I want, a strong script performed by an excellent cast. Since this is audio, it's also possible to have high quality special effects on a low budget; but unlike most current TV sf, the effects are there to support the script, rather than being the most important aspect of the show. I'm tired of "sf" commissioned by TV executives who think that flashy FX, skimpy costumes and big tits/muscles are all that's needed to satisfy an audience. Nothing wrong with those, as long as they're the icing on the cake, but all too frequently the cake is a cardboard mock-up there only to display the icing. Kaldor City is written and produced by people who obviously feel the same way I do. It's the real thing, and worth every penny of the price. (Updated 10 October 2003)

Episode 1 - Occam's Razor

Episode 2 - Death's Head

Episode 3 - Hidden Persuaders

Episode 4 - Taren Capel

Kaldor City's own website

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