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View Thread

Favourite volume 10 episode?
Velandra Velandra 40%[2 Votes]
Retribution Retribution 60%[3 Votes]
The Ministry of Peace The Ministry of Peace 0%[0 Votes]
Total Votes : 5
 Print Thread
Liberator Chronicles 10 *Spoilers Thread*
Spaceship Dispatcher
Three new episodes of Blake's 7 to enjoy and discuss Grin

Velandra by Steve Lyons
Performed by Gareth Thomas as Blake and Stephen Greif as Travis

Retribution by Andrew Smith
Performed by Michael Keating as Vila, Paul Darrow as Avon and John Banks as Lang

The Ministry of Peace by Una McCormack
Performed by Paul Darrow as Avon and Jacqueline Pearce as Servalan
Edited by Spaceship Dispatcher on 07 December 2014 15:49:44
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
Really rather enjoyed Velandra this evening, and the main impression I took away was that it felt like Blake's 7 more than some of the previous LC episodes. The way the crew speak and interact seemed in character, and then you have Blake's interpretation of how his fellow rebels feel; its presented in such a way that such observations might be right or wrong, but they feel in character for how Blake would feel about how the others feel - if that makes any sense. From a purely personal and subjective viewpoint, I should say that the subject matter of mind control and the style of mixing dialogue with prose almost at random are two things that don't really do anything for me; but taking the production objectively, the idea of exploring the psychological mechanics of mind control seen in The Way Back is developed extremely well. For most of the play, you have no better idea than Blake of who or what is real and what is artificially created either by the Federation or by his own imagination; indeed, the story concludes in a decidedly open ended way with Blake convinced of one version of events and stating it as fact only as the fictional narrator. This is one of the more intellectual offerings and definately one that I'm likely to listen to again. Gareth Thomas does very well with a demading script, and Stephen Greif plays Travis as though he had recorded these lines in 1978 and they had been hidden away in a vault for Big Finish to find and write a story around them. Super stuff. 9/10.
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
Travisina wrote:

I like them equally, for different reasons. Please could we have an option for that?

No easy options in the universe of Blake's 7... Grin
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
Travisina
I like them equally, for different reasons. Please could we have an option for that?
Twitter: @TravisinaB7
Tumblr: tumblr
There's no point being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes
 
guiser
Spaceship Dispatcher wrote:

Stephen Greif plays Travis as though he had recorded these lines in 1978 and they had been hidden away in a vault for Big Finish to find and write a story around them.


I smiled when I read this bit of your review. It really is uncanny, isn't it? And Velandra really is in 9/10 territory for me as well (maybe higher!).
 
BradPaula
I loved Retribution because of the superb acting of Michael Keating. I wasn't impressed with Velandra one bit and I must listen to The Ministry of Peace again before commenting on it. But the best story of the three for me was Retribution.
Zil: Oneness must resist the Host.
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
Have just finished listening to Retribution and it joins Velandra as a favourite straight away! This narrative style works well for me, with the production being essentially a drama with Michael Keating (in the first person, as Vila) providing a linking dialogue that recalls the order and context of events; complimenting rather than clashing with the drama. He performs two roles in this story, as both Vila and the main villain; this he does wonderfully well imo! But the main selling point of this audio for me is the raport between Michael and Paul Darrow as Vila and Avon, bouncing banter off each other just as they did on screen; the writing in this regard too is spot on. Something else that fitted both the story and general atmosphere of Blake's 7 as a show was the mine setting, which is not only engaging and easy to visualise but is also familiar from classic SF drama of the era whether it be Dr Who, Blake's 7 or other classics like Edge of Darkness or The Jensen Code. The plot is just right for fifty minutes, and it keeps within its own parameters to hold the focus on the characters and the adventure. It was nice to have some plausable back-story for Vila, filling in part of his life pre-rebellion without creating weighty continuity issues. Great performances all round; another winner - 8/10
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
guiser
I've commented on these audios elsewhere, but I'll just do so briefly again.

I liked all 3 audios very much, but I've voted for Velandra as the best. Not enough was made of the way the Federation tampered with Blake's mind and the possible lingering effects, either in the show or fanfic, so, for me, this is a welcome subject for an audio and an outstanding audio it is too.

Re "Velandra", I'm not at all sure about the reality of Velandra herself, who IMO could be an aspect of Blake (it is noticeable that he doesn't seem to remember her face). Velandra may, in Blake's mind, be the Blake that did not break.

The dream seems to build on itself over time in reaction to events, so I am a bit suspicious and I don't really buy Travis being involved in Blake's interrogation. I'm also not convinced that these dreams were implanted by the Federation, because where is the evidence? However, I think it is possible that reality and psychological symbolism are so mixed up in Blake's dreams that an element of both may be present. I love this kind of ambiguity!

My second favourite is "Ministry of Peace" which is also top notch and benefits from a re-listen. PD is on really good form in this one. Also, Avon's cynical narrative is priceless! However, that said, Una's portrayal of Avon is actually quite nuanced and complex. Great Avon characterisation by Una, I think. Poor Emmet is betrayed by a friend. Not a good thing for Avon to be mulling over in light of subsequent events! Avon despises the federation second-tier officials who would sell out anything to keep their positions. Interesting! Avon implies that some things may be worth fighting for, but by the end seems to have change his mind? Really? By the end, Avon still thinks Emmet is innocent, but on the other hand that there are no good men. Nice ambivalent Avon there!

I don't think Avon can really make up his mind what he thinks about idealists. Interesting that he mulls over Emmet and the events on Speranza for a time (trying to decide what he thinks about Blake by using Emmet as a proxy, perhaps?). Good that the audio shows that Avon has some empathy for others (even if he rarely shows it). Not the jolliest audio though, I must say, and I was left a bit depressed at the end!

Actually, the only real problem I had with this audio was the Servalan coda. I was a bit confused by it. I mean, when exactly is this taking place? Much later, I would assume? Too much of a time leap for me! The sleeve notes say that this coda was the producer and script editor's idea, not Una's and I think they should have left the writing to her, quite frankly!

Lastly, but no means leastly, there is "Retribution", the Avon & Vila one. I enjoyed this greatly and I bet this will be a lot of people's favourite. There is nice character writing (and dialogue) for Avon and Vila in this slightly more conventional adventure. I think there is also foreshadowing for the episodes Blake, Orbit and "Shadow" (actually!) in this one if I remember rightly. Certainly, it did not escape my attention that Vila is betrayed by a friend who turns out to be a bounty hunter! [cf the betrayal in "Ministry of Peace" ]. Also, I really do enjoy audios with Avon and Vila bantering and bickering, though the relationship is not really the focus of my interest in the show.

All in all, I think this may be my favourite of the box sets because all of the offerings are of a high quality, provide food for thought and are very close to my taste and interests.
Edited by guiser on 06 December 2014 22:33:22
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
Thanks for sharing your thoughts Guiser, I'm looking forward to Ministry of Peace even more now! Indeed, the episodes that have Paul and Michael together really do work especially well from the angle of trying to recapture the on-screen spirit and raport of the original show.

Last night, after coming offline, I was thinking about the Velandra again and was struck by how similar the story structure and ideas are to another classic show: The Prisoner. The mind control themes, psychological duelling with someone you are not even sure is real, the whole surreal and mildly psychedelic style of story telling, the place that you can't escape from and always return to even when you think you have left it behind, the ally that appears from nowhere and that you lose again before ever you find out if they were real or sent to trick you; it made me smile to think of Blake and Travis in this story as number 6 and the latest number 2...
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
Have now also listened to Ministry of Peace and found it quite strange to be honest! In terms of the writing, it felt all wrong to have so much script in a story with only one performer (Jacs scenes don't interact until the bizarre ending) as Paul is a good reader but definitely not a vocal artist with a range of different voices; much of the time, the lack of "Avon said" and "replied Emmett" prefixes and suffixes to the dialogue left me with no idea who was talking. On the plus side, the central concept of a planet that has fallen to the rebellion however briefly was worth exploring and was handled here quite well. The mystery of the chemicals plant was a surprise development and the action there was not too far removed from the style of the tv series. Something though that really didn't work for me was this alternate version of Avon complete with angst, moralising and strong, emotionally driven opinions of people and political views; where has the logical, detached Avon that we all know gone? When he uses Blake's name to incite an uprising of factory workers, even if he does intend to use it as an escape diversion, it made me laugh out loud for all the wrong reasons! Besides which, that whole aspect of the plot didn't add up; why should the conspiritors panic? Why attack anyone from Blake's crew when they're not close to anything and you will only involve them in your plot when they would not otherwise have known about it? And why take your captives to the very place you abducted them to stop them from finding? And as for the ending, what was all that about?! Avon casually ringing Servalan up to ask her about what happened? Was that some sort of dream sequence or has someone at Big Finish towers completely lost the plot? And for what its worth, imo the Crimean analogy at the end was also extemely childish. Play with the fictional politics of the B7 universe all you want guys, and there's plenty of it, but please leave thinly veiled statements about current affairs in the real world alone. Una should stick to the fun stories she excels at, and the producers should stick to producing. Plenty that's okay here, but for me a decent story is over shadowed by lots of bad judgement creatively; but I'm still going to give 7/10 for the concept, some really good authentic lines, and a very good reading by Paul Darrow.
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
Now that I have listened to them all, time to vote in the poll...

Velandra imo was the best production because its so very clever and creative, but my favourite is Retribution as its just so much fun to hear Vila and Avon together again and also because Michael Keating is my favourite reader in the Liberator Chronicles range.
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
guiser
Spaceship Dispatcher wrote:
Last night, after coming offline, I was thinking about the Velandra again and was struck by how similar the story structure and ideas are to another classic show: The Prisoner. The mind control themes, psychological duelling with someone you are not even sure is real, the whole surreal and mildly psychedelic style of story telling, the place that you can't escape from and always return to even when you think you have left it behind, the ally that appears from nowhere and that you lose again before ever you find out if they were real or sent to trick you; it made me smile to think of Blake and Travis in this story as number 6 and the latest number 2...


I see that you are not averse to spoilers!

The Prisoner! Why didn't I think of that! That is an interesting comparison. I haven't watched a lot of scifi tv, but I've seen this. It seems to be the kind of subject that appeals to me. I'm not sure I remember the details of the show well enough to analyse any parallels in depth myself, though.

Spaceship Dispatcher wrote:
Something though that really didn't work for me was this alternate version of Avon complete with angst, moralising and strong, emotionally driven opinions of people and political views; where has the logical, detached Avon that we all know gone? When he uses Blake's name to incite an uprising of factory workers, even if he does intend to use it as an escape diversion, it made me laugh out loud for all the wrong reasons!... And for what its worth, imo the Crimean analogy at the end was also extemely childish. Play with the fictional politics of the B7 universe all you want guys, and there's plenty of it, but please leave thinly veiled statements about current affairs in the real world alone.


I can understand your dislike of this interpretation of Avon, but Una clearly thinks that the personality Avon displays to the world isn't the whole truth about him and I think that is a fair enough reading. He projects an air of coolness and logic a lot of the time, but his actions don't always seem that logical to me. I mean, look at his behaviour in Rumours of Death or Blake.

Indeed, Avon displays a greater range of emotions than Blake does, for all that Blake is seen as the emotional one. You may see Avon differently, but I don't see this Avon as all that far-fetched. It is well within the spectrum of fan interpretation (and Una was, I understand, an old fangirl).

To be honest, I didn't notice the Crimean parallel until you pointed it out. There was nothing really blatant that I could see (unless you know different!), so I don't really have a problem with that.

The only other thing that struck me was that the name Emmet seemed very familiar in this kind of context and I eventually realised that it was the name of some Irish nationalist martyr (who took part in a failed rebellion). I'm not sure whether the details of his life contain any parallels with the audio Emmet, other than the obvious!

Oddly, I didn't have a problem telling who was who in the audio, though, unlike most people, I had a lot of problems telling Del Grant and Tarrant apart in the latest BF full-cast audio Scimitar!
Edited by guiser on 07 December 2014 22:15:12
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
guiser wrote:

I can understand your dislike of this interpretation of Avon, but Una clearly thinks that the personality Avon displays to the world isn't the whole truth about him and I think that is a fair enough reading. He projects an air of coolness and logic a lot of the time, but his actions don't always seem that logical to me. I mean, look at his behaviour in Rumours of Death or Blake.

Indeed, Avon displays a greater range of emotions than Blake does, for all that Blake is seen as the emotional one. You may see Avon differently, but I don't see this Avon as all that far-fetched. It is well within the spectrum of fan interpretation (and Una was, I understand, an old fangirl).

Its not really that I dislike Una's interpretation of Avon, but it just felt non-authentic to me. Of course, one explanation might be that Avon is recounting the story in the first person and is colouring the descriptions and impressions he describes with the knowledge of hindsight; that in regard to recounting how he felt actually at the time, he is an unreliable narrator. An example for me would be when he meets the woman in the cells for the first time: his reaction is very much along the lines of 'she is Federation', 'I dislike the Federation', 'therefore I dislike the woman', 'ergo everything she says is a lie' and he then builds his views on where they should go from there based on the fact that her story was false. Okay, it turns out that it was. But at the time, Avon had no reason to dismiss the tale without checking up on it further; he disregards what could be vital intelligence and leaves what might be an ally locked away without (as far as Avon would know at the time) a hope of release. Now he might be describing how he thought he felt, based on what he later learns about her involvement in the plot; but if he is accurately describing how he actually felt on meeting her, then it comes across as emotionally driven prejudice based on a political view and not the individual. That would be more Blake's line than Avon's normally.
Edited by Spaceship Dispatcher on 08 December 2014 14:35:58
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
guiser wrote:

Oddly, I didn't have a problem telling who was who in the audio, though, unlike most people, I had a lot of problems telling Del Grant and Tarrant apart in the latest BF full-cast audio Scimitar!

I don't have Scimitar yet, but I did find that Steven Pacey's voice has changed and become similar to Tom Chadbon's while listening to LC9 recently!
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
Has anyone else listened to these and got views or a favourite?
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
Lentila
I have! I think this is a very strong box set. I voted for Retribution because you can't beat a good Avon and Vila story - but I liked the other two as well. SD and Guiser - your comments are very interesting, and I agree with much of what you say.

I would give Retribution a 9/10 - good story, good characterisation, great performances. And I love the sky-suits. I want one! Plus we run into one of Vila's old partners in crime. Always glad to get a bit of Vila's back-story.

Ministry of Peace - 8/10. I like political stories. Paul Darrow is particularly good, and I don't find the characterisation of Avon incorrect. We all have different views, of course - but I don't see Avon as being as cynical or self-serving as he makes out. I don't even see him as a naturally logical person. I think that is just a constraint that he puts upon himself. Also, I think he is attracted by the idealism of Blake and others like Blake. I also enjoyed the author's determination to have every crew member on stage at some point, even though she didn't have the relevant actors. For me, this works (though it shouldn't, and clearly doesn't for every listener). I loved Avon's little sigh just before he has to speak to Vila. And I enjoyed hearing Avon's thoughts about his crewmates, and how they were likely to react in any situation. I do agree that Servalan's dialogue seems to hang in a timeless void. I don't think it adds a great deal to the story.

I didn't actually think of Crimea, whilst listening to the audio. But I don't mind "thinly veiled references to current events in the real world" myself. I think that is one of the purposes of science fiction.

Velandra - 7/10. The effects and repercussions of Federation mind control - both crude and subtle - is a theme that is definitely worth exploring. Not one of my favourite themes, though, because it's hard-going for my poor old brain. Steve Lyons has led me into a quagmire on several levels and I don't have much idea what is going on! I will have to listen to this audio several times. I was particularly chilled by the suggestion that the "Liberator" and crew were a figment of Blake's imagination as he remains, forever, in the re-conditioning centre. And I hadn't thought of The Prisoner. Interesting.
 
Spaceship Dispatcher
Lentila wrote:

I didn't actually think of Crimea, whilst listening to the audio. But I don't mind "thinly veiled references to current events in the real world" myself. I think that is one of the purposes of science fiction.

Completely agree about referencing the real world being important; however my original comment said:

"...please leave thinly veiled statements about current affairs in the real world alone..."

Because for me there's a difference between referencing and making a statement about something; the dialogue at the end of MoP could almost have been word for word from a speech by President Putin or one of his ministers on the Crimea crisis and to me was too much like "Big Finish think Russia is like the Blake's 7 Federation" for comfort. Just my feeling on listening to it, I don't expect anyone to agree with me!

Re. the sky suits - yes, they were excellent! Don't know how practical they would really be, but they were a good addition to the episode. The dialogue that results from the decent was intense, but it was also a situation that did not need lots of special effects sound and so left the actors' performances at the forefront of the scene.

And I too found the suggestion that the Liberator and its crew were a hypnosis generated fantasy to be very thought provoking and something that actually made me sit up and listen all the harder...
Edited by Spaceship Dispatcher on 11 December 2014 09:58:13
Reversing the polarity of the neutron flow. I bet that means something. It sounds great.

Blake's 7: Trojan Horse (s4 fanfic) - Blake's 7: Through the Needle's Eye (s2 fanfic)

Spaceship Dispatcher's fanfic site
 
Inquisitor
What I like about Retribution is that Vila is a spanner in the works for the deal between 2 big crime organisations, not matter how you carefully you might plan something, some random element can always interfere with your plans
 
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