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Friday, 20 December 2002 - Reported by Shaun Lyon
Big Finish has released information about a few forthcoming releases. First, the revised cover illustration for Short Trips: Zodiac, the first of their hardcover Doctor Who anthologies due out on December 23, is now online; click the thumbnail below left for a larger version. The cover (artist unknown at present) replaces a mockup cover released earlier by Adrian Salmon; the illustration was changed, as explained by producer Gary Russell, to better match the photomontage cover illustration seen on most Doctor Who book releases (as opposed to artwork). Also, title of the second Short Trips book from Big Finish is Short Trips 2: Companions. Meanwhile, new details are available for the February and March 2003 audios: February's Nekromanteia by Austen Atkinson stars Peter Davison, Nicola Bryant and Caroline Morris, and features guest appearances by Simon Williams (best known as Group Captain Gilmore in the season 25 serial "Remembrance of the Daleks") and Glyn Owen (who played Rohm-Dutt in season 16's "The Power of Kroll"); while March's The Dark Flame by Trevor Baxendale features Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred alongside Lisa Bowerman returning as Bernice Summerfield. The cover blurbs for both are listed below. Finally, a new Desk Calendarwill be out for the new year; the 15-month calendar features, as before, illustrations from selected BF covers. Click on the thumbnail below right for a larger version.

NEKROMANTEIA, by Austen Atkinson
In the depths of space a little known district harbours a terrible secret. Long known as a place of death, it claims thousands more lives as a great corporate space-fleet goes to war. As the fleet screams out in fear and pain, an irresistible voice calls out to three travellers and a macabre mind sets a deadly trap.
        The Doctor, Peri and Erimem face the terrors of Talderun and the wrath of a corporate empire as they struggle to understand the hideous secret of the domain of the dead  a district known in legend as Nekromanteia.
        Starring Peter Davison (the Doctor), Nicola Bryant (Peri) and Caroline Morris (Erimem), with Simon Williams (Paul Addison), Glyn Owen (Harlon), Gilly Cohen (Jal Dor Kal), Kerry Skinner (Cochrane), Ivor Danvers (Marr), Kate Brown (Tallis), Nigel Fairs (Rom) and Andrew Fettes (Salaysian).

THE DARK FLAME, by Trevor Baxendale
A thousand years ago, the evil Cult of the Dark Flame infiltrated every star system in the galaxy. In the history books the Cult is legendary, its despotic leader a terrible memory. But for some the Dark Flame still burns. For some, its horrifying power is the ultimate goal. All that is required is for the right people to be in the wrong place and time.
        An archaeologist and his robot are on the poisonous world of Sorus Alpha, where they will uncover a hideous relic. The Doctor and Ace are on their way to the deep space research centre Orbos, where Professor Bernice Summerfield is soon to start the countdown to universal Armageddon.
        Four acolytes of Evil. Three mad scientists. Two companions. One Doctor.
        Starring Sylvester McCoy (the Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace) and Lisa Bowerman (Bernice Summerfield); further cast TBA. Directed by Jason Haigh-Ellery.