Space Force

SFFaudio Online Audio

BBC Radio 7 - BBC7

Space Force
Starring Barry Foster, Nigel Stock, Nicky Henson and Tony Osoba
Written by Charles Chilton
6 episodes airing Monday, September 15 through Monday, September 22 during the 7th Dimension time slots*

This is the log of Magnus Carter…

Space Force (1984-85), by Charles Chilton, was intended to be a sequel to his previous space opera, Journey into Space (1953-56, and beyond), itself a popular radio series that spawned four sequels of its own (including Frozen in Time which first aired on BBC 7 last April).

I’ve read slightly differing accounts of why the decision was made to create a new series. I suspect the Beeb just wanted something fresh after JIS had spent nearly 30 years in mothballs, and that Chilton was only happy to oblige…by ripping himself off! The result was a scientifically updated but very similar series, with similar themes in play and the same bridge crew character archetypes and personalities, albeit with names changed. Note though that the character “Chipper” Barnet is referred to as being the grandson of “Lemmy” Barnet, a crew member (and “comic relief”) from JIS, and a character much beloved by fans.

Like JIS, Space Force is episodic space opera in the classic sense but with emphasis on high adventure rather than galactic empires and space war (despite its militaristic sounding title).

The story takes place in the far flung future of 2010 when manned trips to the moon are routine. Captain Saxon Berry is traveling there to assume command of the new spaceship, “Space Force”, when strange events begin to happen that will eventually lead him and his crew across the solar system to a first encounter with…well, I shouldn’t spoil the story. Listen to the show to see how it goes!

I recommend this series (a good 3 out of 4 stars) because it is intelligent, appealing and accessible. –This would describe the work of many 20th century British science fiction writers. They had knack for this.– You don’t have to be a hard sf buff to enjoy it, and if you are, it’s still an engaging story (even though you’ve read, seen or heard most of this before). Just creative and clever enough to keep you interested. Besides, it’s the characters that suck you in and hold this series together, as it should be.

Although it’s not listed today, it’s possible that the sequel, Space Force 2, will follow. This is sort of traditional on BBC 7, to pummel you to death with everything in one run, but we love it don’t we. I’ll be sure to check and post an update about this. (Update: Yepsk. Space Force 2 will follow, beginning on Tuesday, September 23.)

*Meanwhile, use the online Listen Again feature to keep up with each daily episode of Space Force beginning tomorrow.

Posted by RC of RTSF

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