Wednesday 22 November 2017

30 Discs Hath November #22: The Empire State

Bernice Summerfield 7.6:
The Empire State
written by Eddie Robson

Why do I get the awful feeling that I'm eventually going to spin the disc that opens the next season and find out that the cliffhanger and the whole situation on the Collection was resolved in a novel that's probably out of print?

I know this is a very specific whinge but I do find it irritating how the novel and audio series were intertwined and neither was exactly the primary source for major events. The box set era had novels, which I did read, and those were all side stories to the events of the audio. You could happily ignore the books and you'd get a complete experience just from the audio stories. In this era, not so much. I'm practically certain Doggles appeared in Summer of Love for the very first time in the audios but we're supposed to know him because he was in the books.

Right, now I've whinged about the overall structure of the Bernice Summerfield series in this era let me get on to my whinge about the overall structure of the audio series in particular because that's sort of where that all came from.

If this is a season finale then I'm a Dutchman (I'd say Chinaman but a: racist and, b: actually some distant Chinese heritage on my father's side so not the best way to make my point). We carry on from Summer of Love and The Oracle of Delphi as Bernice goes to dig up the Stone Of Barter that she found out about from the Oracle under orders from Bev at the end of Summer of Love. So far so good, halfway decent structure. Unfortunately this mission takes her far from the Collection and into a rather separate adventure that only really gets back to the point at the end without taking us back to the Collection and the situation this has all been intended to resolve.

I just know its going to have been dealt with in a bloody book.

Anyway, the Stone Of Barter was meant to be in a place called the Empire State, a lunar colony that was wiped off the map by an explosion a century or so back. As the story begins, Bernice finds herself disorientated and standing in a suddenly revived and fully populated Empire State. Bernice is confused and looking for a women called Maggie with whom she was working on the dig to find the Empire State. Maggie, meanwhile, has struck up a friendship with a man called Rand, the person who originally blew up the colony. Its not that the mystery of how the colony came back is uninteresting (though the presence of a magic stone at the centre of it means it isn't the most complicated mystery either) but the very tight continuity of the last two stories rather led me to believe the season would conclude with a conclusion.

However, much like The Oracle of Delphi, this story contributes to the general arc of the season only at the very end after a pretty much separate adventure concludes. Well, that and in various video messages from Jason Kane updating Benny on the situation back at the Collection.

A situation I can only hope, but do not necessarily expect, to hear resolved when I get to season eight. 

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