The Secret World Chronicle: The Journal of John Murdock

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Secret World, January-June 2012
The Secret World Chronicle is a novel series set firmly in the realm of superhero science fiction, focusing on a diverse group of characters trying to save the world from the threat of the Thulians.
A mixed series of novels and podcasts, some of the podcasts contain material not found in novels. This is the case with the two-part story "The Journal of John Murdock." According to Murdock's bio on the website, he is "once a proud soldier with a distinguished career, John was inducted into one of the many rumored “Meta-soldier” projects .... (he) went through even more brutal training until he became “uncooperative”, and was “dismissed” from the Project. What followed is known to very few; the only concrete facts are that John is no longer affiliated with the United States government in any way, and there is no trace of the Facility where he had been experimented on." Murdock is an outsider; in this story he reflects on the circumstances that made him a wanted man,
The scenario sounds promising; but for some strange reason I felt strangely detached from the story. The writing - by Mercedes Lackey and Cody Martin - is taut yet incisive, giving listeners an insight into Murdock's state of mind. Even for those unacquainted with The Secret World Chronicle (and I count myself among them), the podcasts allow us to understand what makes him tick, and how he finds it difficult to relate to the world around him. Perhaps the problem lies in the narration: Veronica Giguere is undoubtedly a talented performer, who makes good use of the pause to sustain the listeners' attention, but perhaps the story might have been better suited to a full-cast dramatization, or at least a reading by two people, as a way of differentiating between different narrative levels. Perhaps this might have been logistically as well as financially difficult to implement, but perhaps the podcasts might have proved more engaging as a result.
Nonetheless, as with any undertaking of this kind spread over a long time, I must pay tribute to the talent, enthusiasm, and sheer energy of the various creative personnel. I hope the series continues for a long time to come.