The Highest Science
By Gareth Roberts
Adapted By Jacqueline Rayner
The Highest Science is based on the Virgin New Adventure book of the same name that came out in February of 1993. The book was really good and highly regarded in Doctor Who fandom. It was one of the few books during the early part of the New Adventures from Virgin that felt like a Doctor Who story but kept that cutting edge and explored new avenues for The Doctor that could not be done on TV let alone on a BBC budget during the late 80’s which was nonexistent.
I really enjoyed The Highest Science as a book. It was clever and a bit complex. When it was announced to be an audio adventure I had my doubts. Since it was a complex story and hard to follow at times you had the benefit of reading the page over again. With the audio you have to try and go back a track and listen to it again and some of those tracks are longer than the part you want to listen to. I did find this particular audio adventure hard to follow at times. It seemed like they were trying to cram a lot into two hours and I did say earlier this was complex. It might have benefitted The Highest Science to be a three disc story.
The Bernice part of the story was pretty enjoyable. I really did enjoy her and Rodomonte flying around and meeting up with the other people from Earth that were transported from a music festival. It was good that they kept the part of Benny being the lady from the song. Plus the music for Rodomonte was pretty cool and definitely had a sixties feel to it. I really like having Lisa Bowermen as Benny. I know she had her own series with Big Finish years ago but I did not listen to them at all. So it is good to have her adventures with The Doctor on audio to give us fans of her from the book series a version that we can hear and get a hint of what she is like rather than trying to imagine from the written page.
I really enjoyed the more manipulative and darker 7th Doctor. One of the best things was that they made the 7th Doctor more mysterious and you didn’t really know what his true motives were and his motives for his companions. Big Finish has done a good job with the 7th Doctor stories in the main range taking its cue from the Virgin Book series. But the Virgin Doctor was darker and lot more mischievous in his dealing with the megalomaniacs and aliens he had to deal with. Sylvester McCoy does a great job with the darker story and it is really great hearing this type of Doctor and I am looking forward to hearing more of this 7th Doctor in future Novel Adaptions. It was good to hear at last the Chelonians. This turtle like creature was a fan favorite from the New Adventures and is one enemy that I’m surprised hasn’t made an appearance in the new series.
The ending will surprise most of the newer fans and some of the older fans who did not bother reading the books. It is not one that you would expect The Doctor to do and it puts into question if there really was another way. It was a bit shocking and you had to feel sorry for those that it affected.
While I enjoyed the book better than the audio The Highest Science did have some good points to it. It was entertaining and gave fans of the New Adventures a new take on one of the better books in the series. But pay attention as it is a hard one to follow and unfortunately that is a downfall for me.
Grade C +