‘Plague of the Cybermen’ (Book/Audio)

 

‘PLAGUE OF THE CYBERMEN’

Please feel free to comment on my review.

Cybermen with the Eleventh Doctor

‘Plague of the Cybermen’ is a great audiobook to listen to with the novel!

This ‘Doctor Who’ adventure is good and features a chilling atmosphere with the Eleventh Doctor facing his metallic foes – the Cybermen! The story is well written by Justin Richards who’s very good at telling his ‘Doctor Who’ story with BBC Books. He’s had a long association with the series in books.

The story is also superbly read by actor David Warner in the audiobook. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting David and asked him to sign the CD cover of the ‘Plague of the Cybermen’ audiobook at the ‘Cardiff Film and Comic Con’, March 2014. Nick Briggs also provides the Cybermen voices in this tale.

This story is about the Eleventh Doctor visiting the village of Klimtenberg on Earth during the 19th century. There’s a mysterious plague going on as people are being infected with a ‘wasting disease’ that somehow kills them and then brings the dead back to life from their graves. Disturbing, is it not?

The Doctor knows something is wrong and he with the help of school teacher Olga Bordmann goes to investigate what’s up with this strange plague. Pretty soon he meets the Plague Warriors – who turn out to be Cybermen. The Doctor’s determined to stop them at whatever game they are playing.

I enjoyed reading the ‘Doctor Who’ novel with the audiobook in the background. The book is divided into 18 chapters with a prologue at the start. The audiobook is divided into six CD discs and it covers approximately over 5 hours 24 minutes. It’s also an unabridged reading of the tale by David Warner.

David Warner in ‘Plague of the Cybermen’.

David Warner is fine actor to read this story with such clarity and quality. I’m very glad to have met him at conventions in Swansea, Cardiff, Birmingham and Folkestone. I’ve seen him appear in the two ‘Star Trek’ movies, ‘Star Trek V: The Final Frontier’ and ‘Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country’.

I’ve also seen David work with Patrick Stewart in the ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ two-part story, ‘Chain of Command’. He’s done a number of Big Finish audios in ‘Doctor Who’ including ‘Circular Time’ (my favourite) and he has appeared in the new series TV episode, ‘Cold War’, with Matt Smith.

It was great to chat to David about his work in ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Doctor Who’ at conventions. David was happy to sign ‘Plague of the Cybermen’ for me, but warned me before I heard it that he found it hard work in reading it for audio. I took that in consideration before I read and listened to the story.

After finished reading and listening to ‘Plague of the Cybermen’, I thoroughly enjoyed it and David reads it so well despite the struggle he seemed to have with it. He reads well for the Eleventh Doctor in this adventure and having worked with Matt Smith in ‘Cold War’, this shouldn’t be a surprise here.

David Warner knows what Matt looks and sounds like when performing him. Granted he doesn’t give an exact impersonation of the character, but the tone for the Eleventh Doctor is evident. David emphasises the youthfulness of the character as he balances the humour as well as the seriousness.

Since David Warner also played the Unbound Doctor for Big Finish lately, it helps. I like how the Eleventh Doctor interacts with the villagers of Klimtenburg in order to save them from the Cybermen. This story takes place after the Doctor lost Amy and Rory in ‘The Angels Take Manhattan’.

In this adventure, the Doctor gets a temporary companion in the form of Olga Bordmann. Olga is a school teacher in the village of Klimtenberg and looks after the children. She helps the Doctor with unravelling the mystery of the plague by telling him what’s going on and joins him on the adventure.

Together the Doctor and Olga discover in the Cybermen’s tomb-like honeycombs in the story. Olga has 19th century views and sometimes doesn’t get what the Doctor’s going on about with modern terminology and even questions his ways. She’s really good to fit in the role of companion in the tale.

It is surprising Olga didn’t go on travelling with the Eleventh Doctor in the TARDIS. She rather prefers to stay with another character, Klaus, whom she seems to have fallen in love with at the story’s end. Then again, I wished there were more adventures with the Eleventh Doctor and Clara for us to enjoy.

I found the Cybermen didn’t say much in this story when I read and listened to it. There’s plenty of atmosphere and action-packed feel when the Cybermen reawaken from their tombs; attack the Doctor and battling the villagers. This something Justin Richards writes pretty well in the novel itself.

But I expected the Cybermen to say more than what they said. The Cybermen voices by Nick Briggs are correct and superb as they come from the new series Cybermen in ‘Rise of the Cybermen’/’The Age of Steel’. But most of the Cybermen’s dialogue takes place in the last three chapters of the story.

I did like the honeycomb tomb for the Cybermen in the story. It reminded me of ‘The Tomb of the Cybermen’ as well as the Borg featured in ‘Star Trek’. It was disturbing when there was a boy with the body of the Cybermen that talks with a cyber-voice. It’s awesome I will admit, but still disturbing.

I really enjoyed reading and listening to ‘Plague of the Cybermen’. The audiobook is really good and I’m pleased my CD cover of the story is signed by David Warner who reads it very well. It’s a creepy chilling atmospheric story featuring the Eleventh Doctor who makes a new friend in Olga Bordmann.

It was also great for the Eleventh Doctor to have an adventure fighting Cybermen in this. I wish the Cybermen had more to say compared to the amount of dialogue they actually had in the story. But the cool concepts of the Cybermen including their honeycomb tombs do make up the shortcomings.

‘Plague of the Cybermen’ rating – 8/10


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2 thoughts on “‘Plague of the Cybermen’ (Book/Audio)

  1. Timelord 007

    Excellent review Tim, blimey you met David Warner another amazing actor & I’m surprised he didn’t think he read this well because i loved his narration of this story, for me The Eleventh Doctor incarnation never engaged me much but gems like this superbly written adventure proves with good writers the Eleventh Doctor can feature in good story’s.

    Brilliantly reviewed Tim, you summed this up brilliantly in your excellent review.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Simon.

      Very pleased you enjoyed my review on ‘Plague of the Cybermen’.

      Yes David Warner is an amazing actor and I’m very pleased I’ve met him a few times at conventions lately. I always seem to have genuinely pleasant chats with David at conventions. Yeah it is surprising that he didn’t think he read well for this adventure, but at least he’s honest in his approach to acting and I’m glad I found his reading engaging to listen to whilst reading the ‘Plague of the Cybermen’ book in my hand.

      I agree, the Eleventh Doctor can be an acquired taste when it comes to watching the stories from his TV era. But I’ve grown to like Matt Smith over the years. I’ve noticed a trend with Eleventh Doctor stories that they can be good in book and audio form but not so much in TV form. I’m surprised that’s the case and wonder why it can’t be matched in both TV and other mediums.

      Many thanks for your comments, Simon. I look forward to when I get to hear/review ‘The Eleventh Doctor Chronicles’ by Big Finish someday.

      Tim. 🙂

      Like

      Reply

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