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Stargate Atlantis: Zero Point by James Swallow

01/01/2009. Contributed by Sue Davies

Buy Stargate Atlantis: Zero Point in the USA - or Buy Stargate Atlantis: Zero Point in the UK

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CD. pub: Big Finish ISBN: 978-1844353491. 70 minute CD. Price: 9.99 (UK). 8.99 download). voice: David Nykl.

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As Radek Zelenka is normally the counterpoint of cleverness to the main character of Rodney McKay in 'Stargate: Atlantis', it is a surprise to find him centre-stage as the 'action man' of this audio story. With a dramatic two-handed opening, this is essentially part 'Companion Chronicle' and part play. The character of Radek is a sidekick to Rodney and mainly comes up with the science bit that is probably utter gibberish. Much like the chap from the control room in Stargate SG-1, Radek is not allowed too many lines per episode in case he asks for a rise. Now that 'Stargate: Atlantis' has finally sunk back into the waves, he will at least have been the star of this audio.

Sent on a supposedly routine mission on the Apollo, Radek spends time conversing with Captain Helen Sharp who is keen to ditch the supposed thrill of space travel and get home to the regular air force and her kids. Even Radek finds the routine of mapping and more mapping a distinctly less than exciting duty. What he needs is a challenge and without the back-up of resident genius of Rodney McKay. Luckily for us he gets that wish when the Apollo is slammed into by an energy force created by strange creatures that look like manta-rays in space. Thinking that the energy wave will dissipate, they hope that Atlantis can rescue them by sending them some puddle-jumper transports. But Atlantis is about to be hit by the continuing pulse ands everyone there is going to die without Radek coming up with an award-winning plan.

David Nykl reprises his role as Radek Zelenka in this worthy play and narrates the part with his cute Czech accent. He conducts a dialogue with himself as McKay that works well despite the accent. He also lapses into occasional Czech, which is presumably not for translation. Sharon Gosling directs and so she should, being the author of the Guides to both 'Stargate: Atlantis' and editor of 'Stargate: Atlantis' official magazine. James Swallow provided the script and offers a good old-fashioned SF story which whilst not being very original would not shame itself as a TV episode.

There are five minutes of extras at the end consisting of an interview between (I think) Sharon Gosling and David Nykl. This was recorded mid-season of Season 5 and before the show was cancelled. I enjoyed this audio. It was a toned-down play and offered a different viewpoint of a minor character. It doesn't have the same urgent dynamic that is harder to do when there are just two of you but it was a good listen.

Sue Davies

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