Posted 21st of December 2007

Kaldor City: Death's Head

Cover of the Second CD.

Review by Julia Jones.

Another helping of mayhem and murder from Kaldor City, this time scripted by the man who originally created the setting and several of the characters, Chris Boucher. As one might expect from Boucher, the script is littered with acidly witty dialogue, something the excellent cast make the most of.

We open with a lecture on psychostrategy from Carnell. Carnell is as smug and patronising as ever, which means he's quite happy to explain to his employers all about how the latest strategy worked, and why it's their own fault it didn't work quite as they'd wanted. Well, almost all--after all, a psychostrategist has to keep some secrets, doesn't he?

So what is the connection between a rebel arms cache in an isolated research station, and an attempt on Uvanov's life? With Carnell involved, there has to be one; but with Carnell involved, the answer is likely to be on the baroque side. One or two people die along the way, and sometimes there's even a smidgen of justice to their deaths. In the end, nothing very much has happened after all, but it's happened very entertainingly. Boucher deftly weaves together several plot strands, each providing a glimpse of the harsh reality that is life in Kaldor City while advancing the story.

This episode is self-contained, and the script does unobtrusively work in some backstory, but I think it requires familiarity with the first CD in the series for full enjoyment. One of the strengths of Kaldor City is the characters, and they're changing under the pressure of the events they're caught up in. No heroes here, they're selfish, flawed, even sociopathic--and very, very real.

As before, a great script and mostly excellent acting. Russell Hunter and Scott Fredericks are spot on in their return to their original roles as Uvanov and Carnell. A special mention for the editing, which does a stunning job of showing Carnell's manipulation of events.

Great fun, and well worth the money. If you like your sf dark and political but with a sense of humour, you'll want this series.

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