Science has been responsible for some of our greatest achievements and some of our biggest fears. As technology starts to catch up with our science fiction, we are forced to deal with issues once thought privy only to our fictional characters, and makes us wonder what we might do in the same situations as our fictional heroes and villains.
Immortal Beloved is an example of the moral conflict of one such technological advance in its infant stages, the art of cloning. The Doctor and Lucie arrive on a planet to find two forbidden lovers ready to commit suicide for the love they share for each other, but they are delayed by the Doctor and the arrival of ‘chariots’.
It is a world steeped in myths about the ancient Greek gods, yet clearly is neither ancient Greece nor Earth. In reality the remnants of a spaceship that crash landed on the planet long ago has been breeding clones of themselves, strictly for the purpose of extending their life span by transferring the older bodies brains into the younger copies of themselves at the appropriate times.
This clash of morality and the excellent way these truths were held back in the opening of the play really make it stand out as the best of the three audio plays presented this year so far. Its only flaw is the fact that with the time allotted of about an hour it leaves you asking for some more of the story, although the questions are of that dubious nature that are brilliant when pulled off properly.
The moral issues are pushed throughout, and it seems that like most other sciences that have results that border on miraculous, the results are not always what they seem. Freewill as always is a factor, as the younger cloned copies of the older rulers rebel due to the fact that they were of course not raised in the same environment and situations that the rulers were, while we are also shown clones that will gladly walk to the gallows for the glory of serving the gods.
Immortal Beloved seems the most adult and less juvenile of the series so far, with some very light hinted sexual content and a plot full of aspects that warrant serious debate.
I hope that the rest of the series continues more along the path shown here, as it is more in line with the deeper and more poignant plots shown in the earlier runs of Big Finish audio plays.