Time Lord Victorious continues this month, in several different formats, but starts with this one-hour audiobook. Now while I prefer full cast audio drama, I have no issue with a good audiobook, and thankfully Jacob Dudman does a good Tenth Doctor and has a good enough range for the rest of the characters, plus reading the prose. All that being said, is it actually any good? Let’s find out!
The Doctor travels with Brian, the Ood assassin, to the planet Magnox, one of the greatest receptacles of knowledge the universe will ever know. The Doctor needs to ask a vital question, but the answer is Grade 1 Classified! In order to gain an audience with the Minds of Magnox themselves he must take a dangerous test. Is he smart enough to get through?
Meanwhile, Brian gets involved with the criminal fraternity and is given a job: to assassinate the Minds of Magnox. However, others also have the planet within their sights…
*spoilers appear from here on out!*
The story is quite a fun one, and makes sense given the place The Doctor is in, having dramatically altered the history of the universe and sentenced the Kotturuh to extinction and all. He is on Magnox because he wants to use the deep knowledge bank of Magnox to ask the question: “Did I do the right thing?”. The question is too “high level” for the regular computer, so he and a Magnoxan named Peschell end up going to the Minds of Magnox themselves after The Doctor passes their test.
While all this is going on Brian The Ood is wondering around Magnox and meets Wim, who as it turns out is in on a conspiracy to destroy the Minds of Magnox due to their arrogance and turning a blind eye to a dangerous warship that is heading towards the planet. Brian agrees to assassinate the Minds of Magnox (after passing a violent test and talking about his background with the “Lesser Order of Oberon”, which was nice to hear about), and with the help of Wim and Magnoxan bigwig Obble he arrives in the chamber featuring the five Minds just as The Doctor is being laughed at for asking his question. The Doctor and Brian argue over the latter’s mission to kill the very things the former wishes to use, but then the warship arrives and it contains the last group of Kotturuh, who wish to ask how they can become immortal again, and how they can kill The Doctor.
In the end Brian successfully kills the Minds of Magnox under the false pretence that he was going to use his killer ball to forcefully retrieve the information. The Doctor doesn’t have time to be mad as the Kotturuh decide to “re-judge” the planet, by which they mean destroy it entirely, so he, Brian, Peschell and Wim, plus a few hundred Magnoxans, escape the planet. The Doctor drops Peschell and Wim off on a planet named Islos, only able to apologise about what happened to Magnox and the vast majority of its people. Peschell is hearing none of it though, and chews him out a bit, but The Doctor re-joins Brian and basically says that he doesn’t need to get an answer to the question because “The Time Lord Victorious is right, and he’ll do anything to prove it”, or something to that degree, anyway. We then get a flashforward, as Peschell, now a grandmother and the “Oracle of Islos”, is visited by the Eleventh Doctor, who wishes to make some sort of amends for his past self’s deeds by giving Peschell a harddrive with roughly 3% of Magnox’s archive on it. He’s coy about who he is, referring to The Doctor as if it was someone else, but Peschell soon figures it out, accepts the gift and bids him farewell.
There’s something really weird about David Tennant’s face in this picture, and I can’t quite place what…
Not much, if I’m honest. The first 15 minutes or so are quite slow going, and some of the voices blend together a bit, but that’s the nature of a single-reader Audiobook. It’s not very substantial or really adds much to Time Lord Victorious, mind you… Definitely on the fringes of the story strand.
Obviously this is a part of the Time Lord Victorious series, so it connects quite heavily to those! Apparently this specifically takes place a few chapters into the soon-to-be-released book “All Flesh is Grass”. Peschell’s Oracle business on Islos eventually becomes the famous Islos Archive that appears in the Daleks! web animated series, which was also part of the TLV story.
The Eleventh Doctor says he is soon going to face his end on Trenzalore, which is why he’s trying to tie up all lose ends, so that puts this story close to his final TV story “The Time of The Doctor”.
The Minds of Magnox is a good hour of Doctor Who fun. It doesn’t further the core Time Lord Victorious strand too much, but it does connect to a few things and gives us more background to Brian the Ood. It was the part of the TLV story I was looking forward to the least (well, apart from the rather naff looking Daleks! animation…) but it turned out to be one of the better ones. Good fun.