Kaldor City: Occam's Razor
"That's what I am, not who I am."
By Lance Parkin
When I was co-writing the Benny solo New Adventure, Beige Planet Mars, I said it was set in the Doctor Who universe when the Doctor wasn't looking. Everything was just a bit earthier than the BBC would let you get away with at five o' clock on a Saturday evening: people swore and went to the loo and had lewd acts performed upon them, by a giant hamster, at one point in fact.
Well, Kaldor City is obviously set in the Doctor Who universe when even Benny isn't looking - everything is much faster, funkier and seedier. There are names and voices familiar from Chris Boucher's TV stories - Doctor Who, of course, but also Blake's 7 and even Star Cops. But this isn't an exercise in nostalgia - this is twenty-first century stuff, this is for the John Woo generation.
I could point out that there's some clever worldbuilding going on - the society seen in The Robots of Death and Corpse Marker is being developed further. There's a real sense of place, and it doesn't fall into that common SF trap of a completely homogeneous planet, where everyone knows their place.
But that would be doing a very funny, pacey script a disservice - what you remember are the characters, all of them, from Russell Hunter's increasingly paranoid and desperate Uvanov, to Brian Croucher's dopey class warrior, Cotton. There's a luxuriously large cast, and they're all great. As you might expect, it's Paul Darrow's Kaston Iago who steals the show - a barmy 'security expert', who's presence makes people feel rather less safe than they did before.
And it's so beautifully made - listen to it on headphones to really appreciate the skill that Alistair Lock has brought to the production. From the funky title music to the beautifully cynical ending, this is a class act. It's a crowded market place, but Kaldor City really does deserve your support.
Lance Parkin is the author of a number of Doctor Who reference works and novels, including The Infinity Doctors.