The Cambridge Geek

The Earth Collective

Time for some colony world adventures, on Oasus, which is where the remnants of humanity ended up. They left Earth (in a fair state of disarray), and were just about to run out of supplies on their colony ships when they discovered what looked like the perfect planet for them. Having landed, however, they quickly discover it's got one massive flaw.

If they don't stay on the move around the planet to remain in sunlight, The Dark (capitals required) comes to them in the night and does some rather horrible things. So they all live in a massive caravan of vehicles constantly chasing the sun and trying to avoid the slow advance of the dark behind them.

This has lead to a certain degree of social stratification, as the caravan spreads out into 18 segments along its direction of travel. Those with the most money and best vehicles tend to the front, whereas those barely keeping up hang at the back, nearest the danger. When vehicles break down, the others do what they can to repair them, but if someone finds themselves car-less, they must either try and hop a ride with someone else, or slowly make their way back down through the caravan, spending money and possessions to stay alive. It's all a bit Snowpiercer. (An amazing film. I'll have nothing bad said about it.)

These "casts" (as in cast offs), begin to hallucinate a long line of cars, in perfect working order, beautiful and shiny, parallel to the main caravan, and eventually they all go off to meet them. No one's quite sure where this shared delusion comes from, but it's attracted the attention of Joseph, our narrator, and the series follows his investigation into this. He talks to the casts, his friends in security, and even receives some help from someone who keeps interrupting his transmissions, while still doing his job as a repairman.

After the first series of this, I don't find myself terribly enthralled. There's some interesting bits in the central mystery, but the world-building lacks enough detail that I find myself unsure quite how it's all meant to work. I found Joseph to generally be a bit dull to listen to, such that I kept having to rewind to ensure I hadn't missed something important, and generally I hadn't. The delivery is definitely the biggest problem with this. Maybe it's aiming for world weary, but that doesn't make me sit up and pay attention.

The other issue is that the plot tends to swing around without much in the way of connectivity. There's not always a sensible logical flow why people do different things, and it had me wondering if I'd missed an episode here or there, and also reduced my ability to empathise with them. There's some good ideas here, but I think they've been murdered slightly by the execution, such that I'm not likely to go back to the second series.

Score 2

Tagged: Audio fiction Drama Cast Personal recording Science fiction Serial