Tag Archives: audiobook

Michael Hogan, narrating METAtropolis

METAtropolis by Jay Lake, Tobias Buckell, Elizabeth Bear, John Scalzi, & Karl Schroeder

In the Forests of the Night by Jay Lake

METAtropolisI truly love this book.  I’ve listened to it twice and read it once and every time I discover something new that I didn’t take notice of before.

And I love it when two concepts coincide between different METAtropolisbooks I read.  In the Forests of the Night takes an excerpt from the fictional “Bacigalupi Lectures” which describe the rise of many tiny “secret societies”  made up of just two people sometimes, where people trade among themselves and use knowledge to get what they need, truly trusting few but connecting to many.

I’ve also been reading Paolo Bacigalupi.  The Wind Up Girl and Pump Six are set in a future that is post-climate change and strikingly similar to the world described by METAtropolis.  On Wikipedia you can learn that Bacigalupi’s works are considered to be part of the biopunk genre and perhaps METAtropolis is too.

METAtropolis was designed as an audio book, not for print, and the narrators turn it into a completely different experience than if you are reading it.

Michael Hogan, taken from WikipediaWhat makes this such an amazing work of art, this short story, is the tone and depth given to it by narrator Michael Hogan.  I know and love him from Battlestar Galactica, and the beautiful job he does on this story is astounding.  It’s as if he’s reading a poem.  His voice sounds like he should be a legendary western character akin to Clint Eastwood or John Wayne.

This time it’s not the different voices for different characters that makes the narrator stand out, but instead his darkly melodious voice and the seriousness with which he goes about his task.

You can listen to this AMAZING short story by the late Jay Lake on his website, www.jlake.com.


XOM-B & the best zombie books

XOM-B by Jeremy Robinson

(Pronounced zom-BEE)

XOM-BThis futuristic zombie romp is a pretty fun and action-filled ride.  Zombies show up immediately and the constant action keeps you interested through most of it.  A surprise around each corner and the right length, 11 hours of listening time, makes it a well-rounded futuristic thriller.

The back of the audiobook case says “XOM-B is a wildly inventive zombie novel with a high-tech twist that will keep listeners guessing until the very last sentence.”  I have to admit, this is totally true.

World War Z by Max Brooks was by far the best zombie book I’ve listened to (nothing like the movie, it’s written in report style by different people after the zombie crisis has passed), and the Day By Day Armageddon series by J.L. Bourne was addictive in the way that The Walking Dead is (huge compliment), so XOM-B comes in at #3.  I’ve attempted to read one or two others but gave up because they sucked, plain and simple.  (I’m open to suggestions!)

Freeman, the main character of XOM-B, is a fully grown 16-day old man so we know he’s not normal.  He and his protector proceed to fight their way through a dangerous world of endless zombie hordes, set in the 2080s if I remember right, and he takes along a woman friend named Luscious.  I will only say, even the cheesy parts, like that name, are explained as totally rational when you find out the secrets of the book.

RC BrayThe narrator, R.C. Bray, must be given props too because I always knew which of the characters were speaking.  I would imagine that the perfect book to narrate is one with no more than 5 or 6 speaking characters, or even fewer, so that his or her repertoire of voices is never exhausted.

An audiobook becomes a totally different work of art than the book, and an exceptional narrator, of which there are many, brings it to a new, sometimes better level.  I would probably never read this book in print, but an audiobook is essentially an audio drama when the narrator does different voices for different characters, and it very much adds to the depth of the world that the author originally created.

It’s not a deep thinker, but I recommend this energetic fast-paced fun audiobook.

(Update:  Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and its sequel are now #2, ahead of the Armageddon series, in regards to my favorite zombie books.)

Free sci-fi audio dramas

Artwork by Philippa Jones, from The Drabblecast website
Artwork by Philippa Jones, from The Drabblecast website

Creature is a short story by Ramsey Shehadeh that has been made into an audio drama.  It has wonder, hope, despair, mystery… all that.  The description is rich, the story daring, but what so fascinates me about this story is the author’s ability to think outside the box, to go to a totally difference place…  to simply come up with this content.

Below is a link to The Drabblecast website where you can listen to Creature as well as tons of other short stories that have been made into beautifully produced audio dramas.  The host’s half-whisper half-growl voice is perfect for reciting these crazy stories.  Some have other actors joining in, and there’s the perfect amount of music and effects (not too much to be a distraction).  If you like this sort of thing, check it out.