Book Review – Sarah Jane Smith: Snow Blind

  • Title: Snow Blind
  • Series: Sarah Jane Smith
  • Discs: 1 CD
  • Author: David Bishop
  • Director: John Ainsworth
  • Characters: Sarah Jane Smith, Josh Townsend, Will
  • Cast: Elisabeth Sladen, Jeremy James, Tom Chadbon
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 06/28/2018

Picking up two months after the events in “Buried Secrets” with Sarah fully recovered from being shot, Big Finish’s Sarah Jane Smith audio play Snow Blind has Sarah and Josh taking their promised trip to Antarctica. The play opens with Sarah and Josh getting ready to take a cab to the airport, and has Sarah refusing to answer the phone as she leaves her house. Unfortunately, that missed call was rather important – it’s Will warning her not to come.

Sarah and Josh take a prop plane to Nikita Base, and the plane is piloted by an Australian bush pilot name Jack. During the flight, Jack calls for weather info from the base and finds that it should be fine for landing, but a storm is due in soon. The three arrive without issues, but Jack says something is wrong with the plane, and later says they won’t be able to take off again until he’s able to fix the plane, after the blizzard hits.

At the base, Sarah and Josh meet Dr. Monro and Morgane, and they are reunited with Will. Morgane is a French scientist and drilling specialist. Dr. Monro is the scientist in charge of the project, which is supposed to be on the effects of global warming. Will and Morgane take Josh out to the drilling site, while Sarah stays behind to interview Dr. Monro – not as a reporter, as she’s now retired, but as an investor who wants to know how her aunt’s money is being spent. Monro sounds paranoid and suspicious of everyone.

Meanwhile, at the drilling site, Morgane seems faint and unwell. Will says it’s over-exposure to radiation – meaning the strong and damaging sunlight at the South Pole. She heads back to the base on her snowcat – and Will take Josh to see the local penguins – the first thing to excite Josh since he arrived at Nikita Base. But when they arrive, the penguins are gone. Will looks around, realizes the mountains are also gone and that means the blizzard is past them and moving in fast. They race for their snowcat and return to the base.

Sarah, meanwhile, receives a note to meet someone in the main storage hut. To her credit, she calls Josh and Will to tell them where she’s going, but she ignores their warnings about the coming storm. Sarah gets to the storage hut OK, but she’s attacked by someone wearing a mask.

Will and Josh successfully make it back to the base, but the blizzard is in full swing. The guide line between the main living quarters and the storage hut has snapped in the high winds, or possibly it was cut. However, they are able to raise Sarah on the intercom. Sarah is cold and wet. Will advises her to change into dry clothes and a hat and then to crawl into a sleeping bag to get warm and raise her core temperature. He also tells her they can’t reach her until the blizzard passes over, but she will be safe.

The next morning, everyone goes to find Sarah and she still cannot see anything. Will realizes she’s snow blind – as Josh puts it “a sort of sunburn of the eyeballs”. The condition is brought on by exposure to strong light and UV radiation but is probably not permanent.

Before they can get Sarah to the main building – everything turns to total chaos. The main building bursts into flames. Will and Josh head off to try to do something about the fire and to make sure Morgane and the others are safe. Monro shows up and tells Sarah he suspects Morgane and Jack. Jack arrives, kills Monro, and takes Sarah hostage – after having killed Morgane. It turns out Morgane found ultra-pure uranium under the ice, and she and Jack had partnered to get it out of Antarctica to sell to the highest bidder. But not only are these two willing to sell uranium to terrorists or whoever will buy it – Morgane is working for one of the chapters of the Acolytes of Tomorrow, and the uranium sale is meant to fund their End Days activities. Jack was in it for the money – and decided to cut her out and take all the profits for himself. Jack reveals this to Sarah when she’s his hostage – but she manages to activate the fuel dump for his plane and get out of the plane before it crashes. Plus the crash attracts the authorities.

Will, flabbergasted by everything asks Sarah and Josh if it’s always like this: unveiling a plot to smuggle uranium out of Antarctica, the base burned to the ground, and two of the members of the expedition dead. Sarah and Josh seem to look at each other like, What? As in, well, actually, yes.

Another cute bit is when Sarah is talking to Morgane and later Monro about what was discovered under the ice. Her first thought is “a seed pod” and she asks if it’s hatched yet. When it becomes obvious they each have no idea what she’s talking about, and Sarah asks what was found, they tell her about the uranium. But for the audience, “seed pod” is a reference to the Classic Who adventure, “Seeds of Doom”. Only in Sarah Jane/Doctor Who can smuggled uranium be the less obvious answer to the mystery.

This is a fun adventure. Antarctica is an interesting location for Sarah and Josh, and the entire cast does an excellent job performing the story. The story ends with dialogue between the same unknown characters as in Buried Secrets – a Keeper and her Acolytes who have something to do with the scarlet chapter of the Orphans of Tomorrow. The Keeper decides that sleeper agent Will must kill Sarah Jane Smith. This leads straight into the next story, Fatal Consequences.