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Collected Works

by Nick Wallace

Other authors: Jonathan Blum (Contributor), Simon Bucher-Jones (Contributor), Sin Deniz (Contributor), John Fletcher (Contributor), Simon A. Forward (Contributor)12 more, Mags L. Halliday (Contributor), Steven Kitson (Contributor), Mark Michalowski (Contributor), Ian Mond (Contributor), Kate Orman (Contributor), Lance Parkin (Contributor), Philip Purser-Hallard (Contributor), Eddie Robson (Contributor), Dale Smith (Contributor), David N. Smith (Contributor), James Swallow (Contributor), Nick Walters (Contributor)

Series: Bernice Summerfield: Big Finish Anthologies (VIII), Bernice Summerfield: Big Finish (46)

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I was not so impressed with Something Changed, the last collection of Bernice Summerfield stories I reviewed, but this is much better. Gender balance is marginally improved (two out of twenty-three stories by women, as opposed to none out of fifteen in Something Changed). Also, the stories seem to gel together much better, with a linking theme the visit of the mysterious alien Quire to the Braxiatel collection in the continuing absence of Braxiatel himself. They are all set during Season 7 of the Bernice Summerfield audios, which I listened to years ago but don't seem to have written up. If I had to pick three particular highlights they would be Jonathan Blum's "Lock", from Peter's point of view; Simon A. Forward's "Grey's Anatomy" with the return of Mordecan; and Phillip Purser-Hallard's running "Perspectives" which revisit the alien Quire at different points of the narrative. For once, an anthology that is more than the sum of its parts. ( )
  nwhyte | Jun 17, 2018 |
I've said it before (I think), but in any case, I'll say it again: the best Bernice Summerfield stories are the short-story anthologies. They're works of art, they are, taking shorts by various writers about various characters and managing to blend them into a coherent whole. Collected Works spans the events of the audio dramas in Bernice Summerfield's seventh season, picking up after the events of Professor Bernice Summerfield and the Crystal of Cantus, and ending around the time of The Oracle of Delphi. (See the timeline for more details.)

This book does everything I like about the Bernice anthologies, giving a strong, character-based focused to Benny and the other residents of the Braxiatel Collection, the fallout from The Crystal of Cantus proving a strong hook to hang a lot of stories from. I especially liked the renewed focus on Bev Tarrant (who has really benefited as a character in general from the prose anthologies) and, surprisingly, Parasiel. (Bev especially does well in "The Cost for a Collection" by Ian Mond.) As a result, it's hard to single out any particular favorites; it'd be like claiming chapter 4 was the standout bit of a novel.

That said, there are some strong ones: Wallace's frame story and "Work in Progress" provide a great start, the latter especially haunting in light of what I know is to come in the series' future. Simon A. Forward's "Grey's Anatomy" brings back Mordecan from Professor Bernice Summerfield and the Bone of Contention and  Doctor Who: The Sandman, who I like, and it was an enjoyable story in its own right. Eddie Robson's "The Two-Level Effect" is a fun look at Jason Kane with a cheeky Doctor Who nod, and Hass (the gaseous life-form turned gardener) gets a good turn in "Let There Be Stars" by Mark Michalowski. Dale Smith ties up many of the book's (and, in general, the seventh season's) threads with the chilling "Mother's Ruin." And, of course, I liked Philip Purser-Hallard's recurrent "Perspectives," about a strange group of futuristic historians visiting the collection, a whole lot. No one does this thing quite like Purser-Hallard can-- I like it when my aliens are genuinely alien, and these ones technically aren't even aliens!

Picking out favorites feels like cheating, though. This is another Bernice Summerfield collection with scarcely a weak link, and I continue to love the way the series weaves between media-- each format lends strengths to the others, and Collected Works plugs right into the heart of the seventh season.
  Stevil2001 | Nov 25, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Nick Wallaceprimary authorall editionscalculated
Blum, JonathanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bucher-Jones, SimonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Deniz, SinContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fletcher, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Forward, Simon A.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Halliday, Mags L.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kitson, StevenContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Michalowski, MarkContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mond, IanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Orman, KateContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Parkin, LanceContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Purser-Hallard, PhilipContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Robson, EddieContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Smith, DaleContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Smith, David N.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Swallow, JamesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Walters, NickContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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