‘The Nox’ by Joe White and Catriona Ward – an ambitious audible drama that overreaches itself.

The good things first:

  • The ‘3D Sound’ technology is very impressive: immersive, complex, and spatial.
  • The cast all act their hearts out.
  • The story has some clever twists and some very tense moments.
  • There is a serious and sophisticated attempt to explore the textural differences between, dreaming, remembering and being awake and how those states can become harder to distinguish from one another in the Arctic dark after your circadian rhythms have been disrupted.

The things that overwhelm the good things.

  • The podcast format is annoying. I don’t see the point of it. Why not just chapters? It was a distracting waste of time.
  • The 3D sound effects are pushed beyond their limits. Much of the story takes place in the dark, with minimal dialogue and no descriptive text, leaning entirely on the ‘3D sound experience’ to let the listener understand what was going on. It worked but only some of the time and eventually became an obstacle to comprehension rather than an aid to storytelling.
  • The ‘Am I awake or am I dreaming?’ theme was carried so far that even the main character didn’t know the answer and, by the end, I no longer cared.
  • The pacing of the final few chapters, sorry, episodes, felt slow to the point of being tedious. I hung on the end but I didn’t get any value from the last ten per cent of the story.

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