Reviews  
Babylon 5
DS9 pic
TV Review
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
The Sound of her Voice
First aired (in the USA) 8 June 1998
Episode F25

Bring out your dead...

This isn’t all doom and gloom – there’s a nice comedy sub-plot about Quark and Odo which is predictably enjoyable – but the overall feel of The Sound of Her Voice is one of defeat, discontent, and impending tragedy. Which is how it should be, I suppose, given what happens in the following episode, Tears of the Prophets.

The main plot is the closest thing Star Trek’s ever done to a radio play, as the Defiant races to assist Lisa, a Starfleet officer whose ship has crashed on an inhospitable and remote planet. Slowly dying of oxygen deprivation, Lisa keeps up a constant dialogue over the radio with the ship’s crew, especially O’Brien, Bashir, and Sisko. This gives the chance for a frank discussion of their problems and anxieties, almost as though we were a fly on the wall in their chats with a psychiatrist. It’s not frank or satisfying enough, but particularly by showing how the once-close O’Brien and Bashir have become unable to talk to one another, it creates a much more unpleasant picture of what war does to people than any other episode has managed recently.

My one gripe is the pointlessly Sci-Fi conclusion to the Lisa story, which stretches credibility in a thoroughly unnecessary way. But she’s just a plot device, in the end, to allow for a final scene that is, simply, a wake for Dax before she’s even dead. Bring on the season finale...

Rated 8/10 reviewed by Gareth Wigmore

TV Zone #107 also contains reviews of five Voyager and five more Deep Space Nine episodes
For an extensive interview with DS9's now-departed Terry Farrell, see Cult Times #36

Star Trek
DW - Janus Conjunction
Merchandise Review
Doctor Who
The Janus Conjunction
Written by Trevor Baxendale

BBC Books Price: £4.99
Out 5 October 1998
ISBN: 0-563-40599-6

New ground for the Eighth Doctor

One of the dangers of filling the Eighth Doctor range exclusively (as now seems to be the case) with futuristic/alien novels, is that it will turn into a second-rate Star Trek: The Next Generation. The Janus Conjunction deals with this by treating Science Fiction in the same irreverent way as the Doctor Who tv series used to, as a means of telling good solid adventure stories.

At its heart is a Sci-Fi concept – the relationship between Janus Prime and Menda, and their respective moons – that most ‘real’ Sci-Fi fans and probably all scientists would see as simply nuts. But what the novel is really concerned with is a threat of global destruction, a dangerous villain going slowly mad, the creeping terror of radiation sickness, and giant cybernetic spiders. For once, the sound you can hear isn’t frustrated ST:TNG writers typing out technobabble, but Trevor Baxendale pushing all the right buttons for a thumping good Doctor Who story.

Written in an easy, readable style, this is the kind of well-paced, action-filled adventure that would have made a cracking four-part serial on television. The necessary plot revelations are well staggered throughout the book, and there are several very decent cliff-hangers. Characterization is fairly sketchy, but good enough for the kind of story it is. Importantly though, Baxendale has got the Doctor and Sam exactly right, and also re-introduces the strong moral themes that were a feature of the earliest books in the range – which may seem a little incongruous now, but is nevertheless very welcome.

A light peppering of humour, and careful name-dropping of Daleks and Cybermen (this is 2211, so the references make sense) help to make this a near-perfect traditional Doctor Who novel. The equivalent of episode three is where the pace seems to slow up a little, but it’s more than compensated for by the edge-of-your-seat final chapters. The conclusion is bound to be controversial, but personally, I grinned like a maniac: both elements of it are well overdue, in my opinion, and at least one of them needs to be repeated very soon. I want to say more, but I wouldn’t like to spoil the surprise. Buy the book, and decide for yourself.

Rated 9/10 reviewed by John Binns

 
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