RogerBW's Blog

Julian Simpson Radio Plays 26 February 2020

After having enjoyed the recent radio plays based on The Case of Charles Dexter Ward and The Whisperer in Darkness, I sought out earlier audio drama written and directed by Julian Simpson.

Fragments [2007] is the earliest of these works. Why did a girl murder her elderly neighbour? And particularly, why did this happen in the village of Pleasant Green, where everything is perfect?

The Listener [2008] plays with false memories, and an idea that's been borrowed for a recent action film. Some of it doesn't entirely hold together but it's still effective.

Bad Memories [2011] is a ghost story dealing with electronic voice phenomena; the ending is a little too pat but the getting there works well enough that I didn't mind.

I found Kokomo [2013] the weakest of these pieces, with a negotiator sent in to deal with the people who've set off a highly damaging computer virus. The resolution relies on far too many things to happen just so, in a way that couldn't reasonably be expected.

After I'd written the first draft of this, Radio 4's Dangerous Visions re-broadcast Blackout [2016] – a one-woman account of societal collapse following a loss of all computers, perhaps in the wake of something like the events of Kokomo. (Read by Simpson regular Nicola Walker.)

Mythos [2018] consists of three stories rooted in the power of folklore, with plenty of time-bending and a particularly callous Occult Secret Service that I shall probably steal for my games.

Fugue State [2018] gives us another reference to Pleasant Green though with different events, and some material referred to in the later Lovecraftian works; while none of these is intended to be in direct continuity with any of the other material, this comes pretty close. But it stands on its own.

Simpson's a fine writer and he's gathered a reliable cast who have learned the sort of thing he wants and can deliver it well. There are certainly recurrent themes, particularly about the untrustworthiness of reality or what's claimed to be reality, but they're well-handled and don't always come to the same resolution; what's more, these plays don't feel like a frustrated TV writer marking time, but like works written specifically for the audio medium. (Simpson also writes and directs television.)

I downloaded most of these from Simpson's web site, but they've since been removed. So if you're interested you probably shouldn't point a web browser at http://web.archive.org/web/20180508100634/juliansimpson.uk/index.php/radio/ because that might be regarded as naughty. At least some of them are on the Internet Archive, though.

See also:
The Case of Charles Dexter Ward
The Whisperer in Darkness

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

Search
Archive
Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio audio tech aviation base commerce battletech beer boardgaming book of the week bookmonth chain of command children chris chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup covid-19 crime cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi economics espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 essen 2018 essen 2019 essen 2022 existential risk falklands war fandom fanfic fantasy feminism film firefly first world war flash point flight simulation food garmin drive gazebo genesys geocaching geodata gin gkp gurps gurps 101 gus harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo 2019 hugo 2020 hugo 2022 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life javascript julian simpson julie enfield kickstarter kotlin learn to play leaving earth linux liquor lovecraftiana lua mecha men with beards museum music mystery naval noir non-fiction one for the brow opera parody paul temple perl perl weekly challenge photography podcast politics postscript powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha python quantum rail raku ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs ruby rust science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance the weekly challenge thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel type 26 type 31 type 45 vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1