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The Emperor of Eternity by Nigel Robinson
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I actually rather liked "The Emperor of Eternity." It's not the best in the Companion Chronicle series, by a long chalk - but it's got a very evocative historical setting, great music and sound design, and shock of all shocks, I enjoyed Deborah Watling's reading.

That's a stunner because I've been extremely critical of The Great Space Elevator, with one of my chief criticisms being her voice. I hereby rescind that particular critcism. Her voice has clearly aged -why wouldn't it? (We're a bit spoiled, I think, by a couple of actresses who still sound like they're in the '60s or '70s). But she's a good narrator and if she's a little shrill sometimes, well, Victoria was always a little shrill.

I think my big critcism on this one is that I'm not sure why Frazer Hines was the guest voice. He's good, but he really doesn't have much to do as Jamie. Why not make one of the Chinese characters - Li, perhaps most obviously - the guest voice? Seemed strange to me.

I certainly understand all the criticisms of the violence and the unusual setting for a second Doctor story, but I rather like something "out of the ordinary" every so often (please see: "Frostfire"). Again, not a favorite of mine, but this is a pleasant way to while away an hour. ( )
  saroz | Jun 8, 2010 |
Nigel Robinson's The Emperor of Eternity sees the TARDIS materializing in China in the third century B.C. after a collision with a meteor-- which strangely, we don’t get to see, but is rather reported to us after the fact. The TARDIS crew have more important things on their minds, though, as they discover that a nearby village has been massacred, and there are rumors circulating that the barbarians want to assassinate the emperor, Qin Shi Huang-- and the villagers the TARDIS crew has encountered (from a non-massacred one, obviously) think that they're barbarians, and they kind of have a point where Jamie's concerned.

This has the dubious distinction of the being the dullest and most frustrating Companion Chronicle I've heard thus far. As I listened to the CD, I was frequently groaning over "surprise" or "mysterious" moments that were no such thing to an intelligent listener, or sighing in frustration at scenes that went nowhere as characters did nothing. I guess the upshot of this was that by the time I was done, I felt like Qin really was the Emperor of Eternity.

You can read a longer version of this review at Unreality SF.
  Stevil2001 | Mar 26, 2010 |
The Emperor of Eternity, unfortunately, didn't really satisfy me. It's a straight historical tale of Two, Jamie and Victoria ending up in the China of Emperor Qin in 210 BC, penned by Nigel Robinson who is rather far down my list of favoured Who writers. His prose is not as flat here as it sometimes has been, but he clearly doesn't understand how to write for audio - dramatic incidents happen off-screen, peculiarly paced switching between direct and indirect speech, and also totally fails to convey the on-screen characterisation of the Tardis crew - I'm in the middle of the Victoria stories at present in my rewatch, and basically Robinson makes Victoria too stupid and Jamie too smart. In the extra track, Deborah Watling tries almost successfully to convey that she understood what was going on, while the production team compliment Robinson on how well he conveyed the sort-of samurai setting (further comment unnecessary I think). ( )
  nwhyte | Mar 21, 2010 |
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