The Doctor and Ace arrive on the rainforest world of Kar-Charrat, where expatriate Time Lord Elgin has become the librarian of the largest storehouse of knowledge in the universe. Elgin eagerly shows the Doctor his latest innovation: a wetworks facility which has assimilated all of this knowledge into a single consciousness. The Doctor is alarmed by this development, as it means that any invading force could take over the facility – and with it, all of the knowledge of the universe. Elgin admits that some races have tried to do exactly that, including the Daleks, but none have been successful. But the Doctor and Ace quickly learn on a first-hand basis that the Daleks haven’t given up – they intend to take over the library of Kar-Charrat and use the wetworks facility to create a new, all-knowing, all-powerful breed of Daleks. But the Daleks don’t achieve the desired results, even when the Doctor is forced to help – and everyone soon discovers that an even greater power than the Daleks exists on Kar-Charrat…a power which, if unleashed to rid the world of the mechanical invaders, could also exact revenge on a Time Lord guilty of enslaving Kar-Charrat’s indigenous creatures.
Cast: Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Bruce Montague (Chief Librarian Elgin), Louise Falkner (Bev Tarrant), Alistair Lock (Dalek voice), Nicholas Briggs (Dalek voice), Daniel Gabriele (Rappell), Nicholas Briggs (Cataloguer Prink)
LogBook entry and TheatEar review by Earl Green
Review: I was somewhat unexcited by the first two of this story’s four episodes. I mean, Daleks waiting in the shadows, preparing for the Doctor’s arrival, kidnapping and duplicating his companion, and doing all sorts of nasty, convoluted things…hey, if I wanted to hear that, I would just listen to Resurrection Of The Daleks without watching the TV screen. But in part three things begin to get far more interesting, with the revelation of a consciousness whose body is, for lack of a better explanation, the most common and vital substance found on any world whose surface is covered by a rain forest. The cast moves things along nicely, and one notices that in this new audio medium, where time – taken up chiefly by spoken words – is of the essence, the Daleks are suddenly talking a lot faster than they used to, which is fine by me.
The Emperor Dalek is featured in this story, though it sounds more like the Emperor as featured in 1967’s Evil Of The Daleks than it does the Emperor-Dalek-with-Davros-inside of 1988’s Remembrance Of The Daleks. Thankfully, gleefully, joyously, Davros not only fails to appear in The Genocide Machine, but he doesn’t even get a mention. That works for me – Davros was so obnoxiously over-the-top in his final appearance on TV in ’88 that I don’t miss him here. The Daleks, left to their own devices, are the cunning, bloodthirsty Daleks of the 1960s (rather than the ineffectual, can’t-do-anything-without-Davros breed of the 80s), and in the course of this story they actually return to their menace of nearly four decades ago, slaughtering most of the people who happen to be present at Kar-Charrat’s library.
Things I could’ve done without: the Dalek duplicate of Ace (the whole duplicate thing was badly used in 1984, and was just a little hard to swallow at times here), and a slowly undulating piece of music that went entirely against the grain of the mass-extermination scene. This is a scene that screamed out for music that kicked the walls down…instead, it got an inappropriately somnolent, almost new-age treatment which stuck out like a sore thumb. On first listening, my immediate thought was: “I’m listening to the violent deaths of dozens of innocent people. Why am I hearing Yanni in the background?”
It’s always good to hear Sylvester and Sophie strut their stuff once more – after all, The Fearmonger, their last outing, set a new standard for the Audio Adventures – but I’d rather hear them in a story that doesn’t seem like, at best, an average entry from the John Nathan-Turner years of the TV series.