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Doctor Who: The Natural History of Fear

(Big Finish Monthly Range #54)

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  338 ratings  ·  30 reviews
Unknown Binding
Published February 2004 by Big Finish Productions
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Average rating 3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  338 ratings  ·  30 reviews

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Sep 08, 2016 rated it liked it
This is an eighth Doctor story with Charley Pollard and C'Rizz as the companions, and is #54 in the Big Finish main range.

A society where asking a question is punishable by personality overwriting/editing and the people have roles but no names. There's little or no individuality and the only diversion is the constant public broadcasts of the memories of the Doctor and his friends. But there's individuals here that are speaking with some particularly familiar voices ...

Dark and depressing for
Jun 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Confusion and altered personalities and a dystopia, oh my!
Helena Štěpánová
Sep 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Not an easy audio to listen to and definitely not your typical Doctor Who. Heck, it's barely a Doctor Who at all. Still, if I absolutely had to choose one favourite DW thing, this would be it.
A dystopian vision of a totalitarian regime, that's only one of the many facets to this story, though it's the one to set the tone and the mood.
On other levels, this is very a much a meta-Who, an homage to the show's long and rich history, as well as a reflection of the Doctor's role as a popcultural icon
Devin Harvey
Aug 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: big-finish
This audio was another one of my favorites. The random announcements from Light City and the whole setting gives it almost a "Big Brother" or "1984" vibe, which is quite eerie. It starts off a little confusing and somewhat slow, but it quickly gains momentum and turns into an eerie tale with an amazing plot twist. It took a couple listens, but it has quickly grown on me!
Nicholas Whyte
I thought that The Natural History of Fear was going to be rubbish as well, as it seemed that we must find out eventually that there is some secret plan that the Doctor and companions are working on. But it didn't come, and didn't come, and so the eventual revelation of What Was Really Going On totally subverted my expectations.
Sep 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I keep listening to it again and again and I'm still mesmerized and captivated by it, by its pacing, characters, literary style, rhythm, plot twists, construction, vision, all of it. It's poetic, creepy, startling, symmetrical, hypnotising, absolutely awesome.
Kelly McCubbin
Nov 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is hard to review. "The Natural History of Fear" is incredibly ambitious playing almost acrobatically with shifting narrative, but it leaves me a little cold by the end. Essentially a riff on "1984", it tries to style itself into something else and almost gets there, but not quite.
Absolutely astonishing sound design, brilliant performances and a startling twist at the end leave me impressed, but not terribly moved.
I waver between 3 and 4 stars here, but I'll round up to express how much I
Justin Godwin
Oct 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: big-finish
I love it when Big Finish does experimental.

The first time I listened through this story, I remember thinking "I know the Doctor's going to get out of this and get to his next adventure." but it wasn't all that simple, and I love it. This piece takes hope away from its listeners, minute by minute until the gut punch right at the end. What's more, it's a story that could only exist in an audio format.
Oct 28, 2019 rated it did not like it
DONG - This is the voice of Big Finish - DONG - Welcome to our worst story - DONG - Today is bad writing day - DONG - Read our nonsense and weep - DONG - Our writers are out of ideas - DONG

Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
Well, this was a lot better, if very, very confusing much of the time. Basically, the three regular voices - Charley, C'rizz and the Doc are heard playing a succession of characters, as the bodies they are in are wiped of memories and reprogrammed when they run afoul of the 1984-esque city state they live in. It's a mish mash of that aforementioned dystopia, a dash of V For Vendetta and a smidgeon of metafictional pomo-lite. In short, I am not deeply impressed by the plot, even though many fans ...more
Sep 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio-book
I did enjoy this. It was nice to listen to a story that was so different from all the others. Paul McGann did a really great job in this. The only short fall was that the dystopian society was so closely modelled on 1984. Given how many different dystopia and alternate realities Philip K Dick has come up with it would have been nice to have seen them have had a bit more originality in the story. The different twists and turns were very good, each episode revealing more but it was a bit confusing ...more
Jun 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio-drama
A highly experimental story. It's important to understand that we're dealing with an unreliable narrator here, which makes for a difficult tale. The Doctor, Charley, and new companion C'Rizz arrive in Light City -- your typical utopian dystopia -- and upset the status quo to an alarming degree.

This one needs to be listened to at least twice -- a second time after the paradigm-shifting fourth part calls into question everything from the first three parts.
Christopher Buchanan
A vintage 1984 with a bouquet of 12 Monkeys, some Blade-runner spice and a slight Matrix after taste. I absolutely loved this one. It was another experimental, trans-dimensional set up with a great deal of weirdness and sound play that worked out to great affect in this one. The title sequence even works into the story and when the Light City bulletins popped up it gave me a chill. Paul McGann and India Fisher are absolutely brilliant in this. Love, love, loved it! Great listen.
Sara Habein
Apr 09, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio
This was pretty good, though definitely an atypical Doctor Who audio in that the Doctor and Charlie are not really themselves for most of it. Eighth Doctor loves to lose his memory, doesn't he? In some ways, the TV episode "The Beast Below" got a memory-wipe storyline down better, but at the same time, this audio has more time to go deeper and establish the society in which the story occurs. This is more of a 3.5 for me.
Aug 27, 2014 rated it liked it
This is an unconventional story. People who sound like the Doctor and his companions are part of a big brother type society. They are doing the worst thing possible, asking questions. It's a clever story that has some very good twists. The only reason I gave it 3 stars was that I felt that there were an awful lot of unanswered questions at the end. All the actors give great performances. A good listen.
Mar 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
Big Finish's work can get a bit repetitive. Doctor arrives on a planet, bad guys show up, run down some tunnels, explosion, off to the next adventure.

This one's different. This play really uses the format to its utmost. And it's really, really good. Listen to it without getting spoiled.
"Eternity in a snowflake...
Is it me? Or is it you pretending to be me?"

Ending's got my head in a bit of a spin. Fantastic Performances in this. Paul McGann gives me the happy shivery chills! :) (Performances w/a capital 'P', mind you. It's important.)

I really enjoyed this one.

Noah Soudrette
Apr 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio, doctor-who
A stunningly ambitious story from Jim Mortimore that has more twists than a twizler. This is Doctor Who/1984 with a dash of insanity thrown in. There are many thematical layers here (reincarnation, identity, etc). It's too much to cover in a small paragraph. Try it for yourself.
Debra Cook
Mar 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
The Doctor and Charley are on a planet that surprises its people from asking questions or knowing their history. They got made into citizens of the state and fight to gain their individual identities back. Confusing in the beginning but makes more sense as the adventure goes on.
Dec 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: doctor-who, plays, british
In Light City, a prole can remember details from the Information which have not yet been shown, about the three characters the Doctor, Charley and C'rizz, and is brought before the Editor for daring to ask Questions, a terrible Thought Crime.
Apr 16, 2016 rated it liked it
A bit better than the previous pair in the series. Plopped straight into a Brave-New-World riff without explanation. Interesting but far from my favorite entry.
Sep 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Still in the vein of very odd stories. Wish Goodreads allowed 1/2 ratings for a 3.5.
Jul 19, 2013 added it
Shelves: doctor-who
happiness through acceptance

productiovity through happiness
Oct 18, 2014 rated it did not like it
I guess that was supposed to be a twist ending but by the time it came around I honestly didn't care anymore.
Anne Barwell
Feb 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio-play, wish-list
Brilliant with a lot of social commentary and digs at the series itself. Loved the twist at the end - I need to go and relisten knowing that now. It sheds a different light on the whole story.

Auden Granger
Dec 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Do you ever listen to an audiobook and just squeal occasionally because it's wonderful?
Feb 18, 2015 rated it liked it
Dystopia. Plot twists. Personality revisions. Weird music. Unanswered questions.
rated it liked it
Jul 27, 2018
Alex Leathard
rated it did not like it
Jan 04, 2018
rated it it was amazing
May 08, 2013
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Jim Mortimore is a British science fiction writer, who has written several spin-off novels for popular television series, principally Doctor Who, but also Farscape and Babylon 5.

When BBC Books cancelled his Doctor Who novel Campaign, he had it published independently and gave the proceeds to a charity – the Bristol Area Down Syndrome Association. He is also the writer of the Big Finish Doctor Who

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