Back in 2003, when the idea of Doctor Who coming back on television seemed unlikely, Big Finish engaged in a rather interesting experiment. They created a series of audio dramas "unbound" from the constraints of the show's regular continuity, asking "what if?" a fair number of scenarios had taken place. The first of which, penned by Marc Platt and titled Auld Mortality, explored what might have happened if the Doctor and his granddaughter Susan had never left Gallifrey. Then, in early 2005 just as New Who was getting ready to air, Big Finish returned to that Doctor and Susan with a sequel, one that took the tropes of the First Doctor era, and turned them on their head.
In 2015, Big Finish Productions took a bit of a gamble when they released the first set of Third Doctor Adventures with actor Tim Trealor stepping into the shoes of Jon Pertwee's legendary incarnation of the Time Lord. The result was a success that has spawned a range of stories with Trealor acting alongside Katy Manning, herself reprising her role of companion Jo Grant from the early 1970s. And yet, for fans of this era of Doctor Who, there has perhaps been a sense of something missing without the inclusion of the fuller UNIT team. So it is that Big Finish once again has rolled the dice to an extent with two more characters from the era finding themselves portrayed by new performers in this, the fifth volume of the series, as well as the addition of another figure making their debut in the range. It's a lot, to be sure, but does it work?
In the last seven decades, there's been a lot written on the subject of UFOs. Both for, and against, their existence, government cover-ups, where they're coming from, and any number of other topics along the way. Despite all the volumes published, and the words written within them, it seems at times that the people involved often get left behind, swept up in the debates around the topic. Going some way to rectify that is Ryan Sprague's 2016 book Somewhere In The Skies with its decidedly "Human Approach to an Alien Phenomenon."
2019 marks the fifteenth anniversary of the release of The Day After Tomorrow. Co-written and directed by Rolland Emmerich in the midst of his being the modern "master of disaster," it was a sizable hit in cinemas and a TV re-run staple. How well has it aged though?
The end of 2017 saw the release of the first volume of The First Doctor Adventures, a set that reunited the members of the case who played the original TARDIS crew in the docudrama An Adventure in Space and Time. Perhaps aided by David Bradley having also just played the First Doctor on television via the Christmas special "Twice Upon A Time," the set was well-received. So it was no surprise that a second set soon followed in its footsteps, recorded at roughly the same time. How would this second set work out as it tried, once more, to recreate the feel of those ambitious early years of Doctor Who?
All stories start with a simple question: "What if?" That is especially true of the alternate history genre where writers imagine versions of history where things might have been different. In it, writers have presented everything from Axis victories in the Second World War (such as The Man in the High Castle) to JFK avoiding an assassin's bullet (such as in Bryce Zabel's Surrounded by Enemies). Human spaceflight, which has seemed grounded for so long, has also been a topic popular with writers such as Stephen Baxter with his tale of a 1980s Mars mission in Voyage. Few, however, have been as compelling or convincing as The Calculating Stars, the opening salvo in Mary Robinette Kowal's Lady Astronaut series.