Review: Vienna: Big Finish Audio: 2.1: Tabula Rasa

VIEN0201_tabularasa_1417Vienna wakes up in a strange bed… with a strange man… and an even stranger case of amnesia…

James Goss’s audio plays often deal with questions of identity, digging deep into the roots of the characters involved to give new insights into their personalities. This time, things are a bit different: we’re in more of a Cube environment, where the various protagonists don’t know who they are, what they’re doing there, or what’s been happening to them.

The story is one that’s been done quite a number of times over the years: we’ve had amnesiac Star Trek crews and Doctors among others. Usually either aliens have caused the amnesia, or the leads have done it to themselves (cf Human Nature etc.) for reasons that we aren’t yet privy to; it would be unfair to reveal which (if either) is the case here, or to go too deeply into the details of the story.

John Ainsworth joins the crew as director for this box set, and there’s definitely a different energy to the story. Tabula Rasa means a clean slate, and to an extent, there seems to be a lot of wiping of the slate clean in this story. There were certain elements to Vienna Salvatori that seemed essential but they’re gradually disappearing: the idea that she killed anyone who knew her name was a clever concept for a one-off appearance, but doesn’t work in the long term. The Memory Boxes were useful during the first series (and could have helped here) but aren’t mentioned (nor is Vienna’s ship AI). The stories themselves often employed complex narratives, but despite a few twists, this one is surprisingly linear with a convenient set of flashbacks midway through.

Verdict: A change in pace and style from previous tales makes for a different sort of Vienna story. 7/10

Paul Simpson

Click here to order the Vienna Series 2 Box Set from Big Finish



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