Time to help fill out the Index! I've listened to so much Doctor Who lately, I'm limiting myself to those stories still remember clearly, so hopefully I won't wind up flooding the board with too many threads.... Which brings me to ...ish, the Doctor Who story with just the worst title.
Was this the first time the franchise dived into the idea of sapient concepts? It was my first exposure to the trope, and I swiftly noticed it appearing again and again and again in future stories. Which... might be annoying, I suppose, but I liked it -- the idea of living ideas is something that works well in audio format, where you don't have the visual component that aliens would require in the TV show. So these creatures, really, can only be brought to life, such as it is, in a nonvisual medium.
And for a first, or at least early foray into this idea, I think '...ish' works very well. Weaponized language, eh? What an idea. This is one of those stories I like less for the execution than the ambition. Really, they shouldn't have been able to pull something like this off. But they did! Neat.
I’m not sure it’s the first example of Doctor Who (or at least Big Finish) tackling sapient concepts. I believe Whispers of Terror from what I can remember does something along the lines of it.
I do feel, issues with it’s overall story aside, it’s probably the perfect story for the always verbose Sixth Doctor. I remember thinking Dr Evelyn Smythe would have been a perfect fit for this one although I do think in hindsight Peri works just as well. If only to show the contrast.
Besides, I always like when Doctor Who tackles the idea of their being higher entities whose motives and even their general form are completely incomprehensible to us mere mortals. Gives the Doctor Who universe a much needed sense of scale.
A highly complex tale, which deserves at least two or three listens (perhaps if not more) to get your head around it. Even after several listens, I am still not entirely sure I fully understand the plot. Perhaps a story that is a little bit too clever or one that needed another episode?
Baker is good in this. Whilst I like Sixie and Peri, I was not entirely sure why they didn't use Evelyn here. It is set in an academic environment, which is more suited to her character. A bold and inventive story, not sure it hits all the right notes.
Would have worked as a 12th Doctor Story I feel...
'Well now I know you're mad. I just wanted to make sure."
....Whilst I like Sixie and Peri, I was not entirely sure why they didn't use Evelyn here. It is set in an academic environment, which is more suited to her character.... Would have worked as a 12th Doctor Story I feel...
I think using Peri (as much as I dislike the character) works well here, simply because she's so out of her element: it allows her to function more simply within the story, simply asking questions, allowing the Doctor to dominate the mystery-solving. When Evelyn is present, she tends to serve more as a deuteragonist than the more supportive roles the TV companions tended to slot into.
As for the 12th Doctor... yeah, definitely. I feel like he'd be a perfect fit for most 6th or 7th Doctor stories... God, we really need some 12DAs, huh?
Extraordinary, unique, weird, funny, witty, uncompromising, glorious: did Phil Pascoe ever write for Big Finish again? I don't think he did. I'm not sure - Scherzo, Red and Year of the Pig aside - BF were ever quite this experimental again. I love this story, and I thank you for reminding me how much I need to listen to it again.
An excellent story that sits in the high-brow section of DW audios. The use of (very complicated) language is central to ...ish and Colin Baker et al excel in delivering a highly entertaining, and slightly confusing, story.
Did I fully understand it? Nope, but it doesn't really matter. 8 out of 10.
Wound up (accidentally) giving this one a re-listen as I go through all the "overlooked" early MRs. Reading my earlier comments, I don't think I quite enjoyed the story as much now as I did then, but I have listened to a great many more audios in the past year and a half.
The main thing that strikes me about this story is just how much fun it is, and how much fun everyone involved seems to have had making it. Colin Baker is having the time of his life, reveling in Sixie's pomposity (and a linguistics conference is just the absolute perfect venue for such behavior) and just from the dialog, alone, it's clear that the writer was practically giddy writing this script.
Quote of the story: "You insane, stupid boy! Don't you have the faintest comprehension of what's at stake here!"
It's a bit of a shame,then, that ...ish marks writer Phil Pascoe's only major contribution to the Big Finish library (his only other credit being for a Short Trip). I feel an odd kinship with the man, as I, too, am fascinated by linguistics and am overfond of alliteration.
And the humor is seriously on-point. From little details like naming the AI, "Book," to censoring words with bleeps... it's genuinely funny. And the conceit of a word of infinite length having a meaning so hyperspecific that no one would be able to understand it is a great "big SF" idea. It reminds me of some of the metaphysical stuff JMS did in Babylon 5, with Minbari religion, and the process of existence being a process of the universe trying to understand itself.
The other part of the quote of the story: "Yes: a lexicographer's lackey is going to bring about the disarticulation of all language!"
Easily among the all-time greatest villain boasts in all of Doctor Who. Just fantastic stuff.
Where ...ish stumbles a bit on this repeat outing is, I think, that it's slightly too abstract, which makes the plot a bit confusing due to the plot requiring too much explanation. With the complex ideas at play here, I think the story would've been stronger with a simpler and more easily comprehensible conflict. The misdirection in the slow unveiling of the mystery also means that the conflict here isn't even properly articulate until the end, where it all sort of tumbles out at once.
That said, other aspects of this story are more enjoyable to me this time 'round. Specifically: Peri. In the last year or so, it feels like every time I comment on a story with Peri, I wind up lambasting the character. ...ish makes it clear, I think, that Peri suffers from Flanderizarion: when Big Finish started Peri was just another, relatively generic companion. She was into botany and a bit sarcastic, but otherwise just a vehicle for exposition and cheap stakes. But enthusiastic, and excited and interested to see what she might see on her journeys with the Doctor. And then, at some point, that changed, and Peri became a bitter, deeply incurious misanthrope, who resents her time on the TARDIS. I much prefer the earlier version, generic though it may be. It was nice, listening to ...ish, to have a Peri who actually seems to want to be there, and interacts with other characters as though she genuinely cares about their lives. It is, in a word, refreshing.
well, there I stand. On balance maybe I'd rate ...ish about the same now as I did then. It's a really fun story to listen to, but lacks a certain something. Good, but not quite great.
Happened to listen to ..ish the other day and really enjoyed it. Book was particularly well realised. Again, quite complex so I was happy to let some of the intricate detail slide, but i wasn't left with the feeling that it was complicated for complexity's sake. I had the feeling that if I had gone deeper, there would have been more for me to explore.
One thing that still bothers me (I think because its also used in the trailer) is when Peri is talking to Warren and Artificial Intelligence is mentioned and they both say: "What other kind is there." As if its the end of a well known and funny joke. Annoys me too much that
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