Brad Lansky and the Anti-Starc is the second in a series of adventures made by South African producer/ director Dieter Zimmerman, involving an intrepid explorer Brad and his faithful assistant Alex John, who have been together since they earned their wings at flying school. Their idea of 'work' consists of preparing their craft and embarking on a series of hair-raising adventures into the unknown.
In this episode they discover a dangerous new world - one thought to be impossible - which is umbilically connected to the Ambistar Collective, a series of thirteen ambistars. However this world in peril: billions of lives are at stake from an unknown force threatening it. The clue to overcoming this threat lies in an abandoned alien artefact.
In an interview accompanying this episode on the Radio Drama Revival podcast, Zimmerman explained that his interest in science fiction lay in the desire to explore possible worlds, and how human beings dealt with them; hence his work tried to be both imaginative and psychological in terms of its approach. Sonically speaking, Brad Lansky admirably fulfilled this objective: Zimmerman employed a range of sound effects to suggest how threatening these new alien worlds might be, while the music (also by Zimmerman) created a potentially threatening ambience. Both Lansky and John faced great dangers as they tried to overcome the forces threatening their future.
However I have to admit that the production sagged in places: too much time was spent on dialogic exchanges between the protagonists, which impeded the development of the plot. Perhaps Zimmerman might have benefited from introducing other techniques characteristic of the radio dramas genre - for example, a narrator (to guide the listeners' responses, as well as commenting on the characters' behaviour), or the use of asides, where the characters could communicate their ideas directly to listeners. Or perhaps he could have introduced some judicious pruning, and cut the length of the drama down from 100+ minutes into a more manageable 60- or 75-minute format.
Radio drama is a complex medium - although it offers infinite possibilities for experiment (especially in the science fiction genre), it nonetheless depends for much of its success on the old staples of plot and character. I hope that Zimmerman can bear this in mind while penning future episodes of his saga.