The Cambridge Geek

Cosmic Love with Madam Xandra

Madam Xandra runs the most popular phone-in show on Pleasure Sphere 64, a hedonistic space station with all the bodily delights you can imagine (and some you can't). Her show focuses on sex, relationships and identity, and attempts to solve the listeners' questions about how best to deal with interspecies dating, or whether your existence as an easily replaceable clone means you don't have any worth as a person.

Not knowing much about this (it was a single series, back in 2015), I went into it expecting a slightly sexier version of Solutions to Problems, but it actually does something very different.

Xandra is hosting her regular show, with special guest Dok, an Araxian warrior from the gladiatorial pits, when the pleasure sphere is invaded by the Morfickians. They have a worrying tendency to forcibly re-educate people having too much fun, as their god, the all-important "Mr. X" doesn't like to see species enjoying themselves. They've hit the station with an acoustic bomb, leaving Xandra and Dok, in the sound-proofed studio, the only ones not unconscious.

Now Xandra and Dok have to fight their way through hordes of alien warriors to save the station, and find out why they in particular have been targeted.

This is fun. It's a mostly light drama, with the shows split about half and half between the adventure to save the day, and Xandra's desire to keep answering (pre-recorded) callers' problems, while hoping the broadcast gets through to anyone still awake. It has something of a taste of Barbarella or the Fifth Element, with a vibrant setting and the electro-dildos to match.

Unlike STP, the calls here are rather more sincere, and tend to work as an analogy to real-life a bit more directly. Whether you enjoy that or not is probably heavily down to personal preference. I found it a bit too close to a standard relationship advice podcast for my taste, but can't fault it for its desire to give a sex/love-positivity angle.

There's also a very well done development of the battle-forged friendship between Xandra and Dok, with Dok's initial dislike of "smutty lady" being well tempered over the ten episodes. The personalities of everyone involved have a couple of layers.

Excellent cast and soundscape, with full voices for the callers, other people on the station, and the baddies. Overall an impressive production, and one worth a listen.

Score 4

Tagged: Audio fiction Dramedy Cast Fictional show Science fiction Serial