It’s that time again.
As with the earlier Omega Factor, Big Finish appends their incipient full cast audio series of Survivors* with an audiobook recitation of Terry Nation’s original novel. Appropriately enough, Big Finish pulls in heroine Abby Grant herself, Carolyn Seymour, whose icy tones leave this reading sounding for all the world like Anne Robinson about to eliminate the Weakest Link…
* though unlike The Omega Factor, the audiobook comes posthumous to the already released Series One.
Without getting too deep into the particulars of the story, a nasty bit of governmentally-produced weaponized bacteria is accidentally released into the general population. At first documenting the rapidly exponential spread of the virus, the story quickly moves into a more personal arena, as we follow wife and mother Abby Grant through her own bout with the plague and convalescence…and then the “fun” begins.
Awaking to a strangely unfamiliar, far less populous world, Abby must make due with what resources are still available and operable in her search for her missing son (who may or may not still be alive).
As she begins to encounter other survivors of this unintended chemical warfare, Abby finds both allies…and enemies, both from roving scavenger types and more insidiously, from those who would restore and reorder society in their own image. Fascism, eugenics and worse come into play, and “all things dark and hideous” becomes the effective Anglican hymn of the day…
The bottom line is, this is a standard, I believe unabridged audiobook reading.
If you’ve seen the teleseries with Ian McCulloch, this will be some very familiar ground you’re trodding upon. A fairly faithful adaptation of Nation’s novel, the 1975-77 series walked this very same turf, with the same characters in the same situations, but with the added boost of being a full cast recording, as it were.
Fans of Italian “video nasty” horror got the soon-to-be iconic star of Lucio Fulci’s Zombi 2 (“Zombie”), Luigi Cozzi’s Contamination and Marino Girolami’s Zombi Holocaust (“Dr. Butcher, MD…he makes house calls!”) in the lead, and the fellows got to choose between two lovely ladies, both Lucy Fleming and…well, Carolyn Seymour herself, as one’s personal preferences may dictate.
While grim and dark and suffused with a sense of futility and hopelessness, nonetheless something about the live action pulls the recipient out of themselves and offers, however unintentionally, a measure of hope – a sense of basic human interconnectedness that may somehow show through all the atavism of a global pandemic and societal collapse and restructuring into a far more primitive, feudal paradigm.
But with audio, under a single reader…and particularly one as chilly toned and prim-sounding as Seymour’s delivery herein?
Even for someone as Decadent and gothically inclined as myself, I’m sorry, but this is just a bit too dark.