Saturday, March 25, 2017
      ( 3:23 PM ) posted by Setsuled  

Like nearly all Science Fiction and Fantasy franchises, Doctor Who has made its share of Lovecraft references, both directly and indirectly. The 2010 Seventh Doctor audio play, Lurkers at Sunlight's Edge, injects an extraordinary number of references (more, I suspect, than I caught) to turn into a commentary on Lovecraft himself. An entertaining story for a Lovecraft fan, I was nonetheless a little annoyed by its simplistic psychoanalysis, though I suppose it's better than plush Cthulhus. Why must people relentlessly take the fun out of Lovecraft? Well, maybe it's a sign of how effective Lovecraft is that people feel the need to make him feel safe with ironic jokes and merchandise.

The story picks up from the excellent Death in the Family with the Doctor (Sylvester McCoy), Ace (Sophie Aldred), and Hex (Philip Olivier) materialising in Alaska where they encounter a sanatorium and a research team investigating alien artefacts. A professor named August Corbin (Alex Lowe), I think based on Joseph Curwen from The Curious Case of Charles Dexter Ward, is leading the investigation which calls to mind At the Mountains of Madness. At the sanatorium is a patient named CP Doveday, based both on Charles Dexter Ward and on Lovecraft himself, though Michael Brandon, who plays Doveday, makes the questionable choice of making Doveday sound like a stevedore.

Like many Lovecraft stories, Doveday finds he has nightmares with more reality to him than he has courage to contemplate and the ultimate horror inherent in them is the knowledge that he himself is not human. Doveday doesn't have a lot of experience with women, finding he regards them as something like an alien species. He tells this to Ace before falling for her. I guess that's a cute idea, if you really must have a cute idea in Lovecraft, though the two never have much chemistry, mostly for Brandon's wooden and oddly cheerful performance.

Meanwhile, the Doctor and one of the other professors are trying to get their hands on a Golden Key, apparently based on Lovecraft's "The Silver Key" which I happened to have been reading again recently. Pretty much any time I feel nostalgic about anything I think of "The Silver Key".

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