The Cambridge Geek

The Archivist

It's the future, and some form of cataclysm has wiped out a ludicrous percentage of the human race. Nobody's quite sure what caused it, and so they have set up AIs to investigate one of the records of the early days of the event. Those records are the cassette tapes of "Cash" Carmichael, who happened to be recording short personal stories of his life when everything went horribly wrong.

He was on a road trip across the country to deliver one of his friends to their new job. With them came his girlfriend Rachel and a couple of others, one of whom, Nancy, is very excited when they feel an earthquake. A budding geologist, she quickly hunts down the source of the disruption, a huge crater containing a meteor that seemingly appeared without falling from the sky.

An unthinking bit of touching later, she's vanished, leaving the others confused and desperate, with no idea where she's gone. With no phone signal, there's no way of summoning the emergency services, and so the gang start heading for Texas and the last message they've received. Dynatech, one of their employers, has a refuge set up, and so they begin the epic journey through America to find it.

And since it's the end of the world, everything seems to be going a bit wrong. There's ghosts, wild monstrous dogs, religious cults, crazy survivalists, and really painful headaches that steal memories.

This is all told through the cassettes and that is a format that occasionally gets a bit painful. The clunk on and off is run a bit too long, and the first few episodes have some problems with the levels that had me constantly fiddling with the volume switch. This improves significantly in the last third, and that's also where the plot settles down a bit.

I found it tended to jump around, with a whole bunch of plot threads bashed together. Cash is bounced from encounter to encounter, with them frequently cut short and not really connected. Shame, because some of the monologues are rather neat. I was especially impressed with Rachel's tale of her survivalist upbringing.

Gets better as it runs on, but needs serious focus to quite keep up with it.

Score 3

Tagged: Audio fiction Horror Cast Found footage Horror Serial