City is at war with itself. The old dictatorship has been
crushed, but the population have turned on each other. The
army cannot stop the fighting, only clean up the mess. Bernice
and Jason try to assess the damage to the local museum. Prized
relics are missing, and even the kids on the street seem to
know more about who took them than the museum's curator. They
struggle to find answers amid the farrago, but all they unearth
are more questions...
City is a fairly obvious metaphor for Iraq. Like that troubled
country, it has recently been liberated from dictatorship,
yet the situation is far from peaceful. Various ethnic groups
vie for control, while much of the populace regard the peacekeeping
forces as invaders rather than saviours. So far, so familiar.
However, writer Simon Guerrier latches on to a lesser-known
fact about Iraq: that it was the cradle of human civilisation.
Similarly, Trib City is described by Bernice (Lisa Bowerman)
as one of the oldest civilisations in the galaxy - yet tragically
many of its relics have been lost, stolen, damaged or desecrated.
inventive means by which the writer distinguishes his metaphorical
morality tale from the many that have before involves the
use of a translation device devised by Jason (Stephen Fewell).
This device - which, in a neat bit of cost-cutting casting,
speaks with a simulated voice based upon Jason's own - is
used to relate some of the atrocities that have taken place
over the years. As it describes the horrors, its dispassionate
tone works more effectively than any cheesy, sentimental acting
could have done.
the way, our heroes learn something about the value of moving
on as opposed to enshrining the past, while curator Enil (Claire
Carroll) tells Bernice that she has no right to criticise
the running of her museum when the Braxiatel Collection is
hardly the most transparent organisation in terms of its admissions
with the last few offerings in this series of audio dramas
and books, the supporting cast of staff at the Braxiatel Collection,
with the exception of Jason Kane, once again don't get a look-in.
However, there are hints of developments to come as Jason
tells Benny that he believes Adrian Wall and Bev Tarrant have
been "carrying on" - presumably following their mission together
in the short story Reparation, in the anthology A
Life Worth Living. The repercussions of another
tale from that collection, Sex Secrets of the Robot Replicants,
also come into play...
I am in danger of hyping up this CD - which, at just 56 minutes
in duration, is one of the shortest audios in the Bernice
Summerfield range - into something greater than it truly
is. However, Guerrier and director Gary Russell have managed
to pack a lot of treasures into their brief hour.
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