Hugo Award nominees in audio, 2015 edition

From an audiobooks standpoint, I don’t have too much to say about this year’s Hugo Awards controversy. However, I do want to cover the nominees in terms of what’s available in audio, even though this listing is already out of date as nominees are disqualified (for prior publication, etc.) or withdrawn. Here goes, starting with the Best Novel nominees:

  

  • Ancillary Sword, Ann Leckie (Orbit US/Orbit UK) — read by Adjoa Andoh for Hachette Audio
  • The Dark Between the Stars, Kevin J. Anderson (Tor Books) — read by Mark Boyett for Audible
  • The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison (Sarah Monette) (Tor Books) — read by Kyle McCarley for Tantor Audio
  • Skin Game, Jim Butcher (Orbit UK/Roc Books) — read by James Marsters for Penguin Audio
  • The Three-Body Problem, Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu (Tor) — read by Luke Daniels for Macmillan Audio
  • Lines of Departure, Marko Kloos (47North) — read by Luke Daniels for Brilliance Audio [withdrawn by the author]

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Review: The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss

[Editor’s Note: A warm welcome to new AudioBookaneers contributor James Alexander! Ahoy and avast!]

The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss

The Slow Regard of Silent Things
By: Patrick Rothfuss
Read By: Patrick Rothfuss for Penguin
Series: The KingKiller Chronicles, Book 2.5
Buy: [IndieBoundDownpour | Amazon | Audible]

Review by James Alexander:

It is rare for a book to begin with a direct challenge from the author to the reader. “Don’t read this!” Patrick Rothfuss practically screams at us in the foreword to The Slow Regard of Silent Things, a spin-off novella set in the world of The Kingkiller Chronicle. After such a jarring introduction it’s hard to come away with any other attitude than “challenge accepted” but it is advice you should heed.

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April Whispersync Deal Roundup: SF by Jack Campbell, Gregory Benford, Larry Niven, and Greg Bear; Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones, The Hunger Games, Bob Mayer’s Area 51, Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, historical fiction, non-fiction, and more

Whew! It’s April, and while some deals from March are still valid, here’s this month’s roundup of (mostly) new deals. [Editor’s note: Since this series continues to draw some new readers/listeners who may be unfamiliar with Whispersync for Voice, in brief: after (or at the same time as) buying the Kindle edition you can add on the narration if an enabled Audible edition exists, often for a steep discount on even the member/credit price.]

I’ll start with Monthly Deals for $3.99 or Less listings:

 

The Last Passenger by Manel Loureiro , Andrés Alfaro for $1.99+$1.99 — Nazi cruise-ship time travel. “Reporter Kate Kilroy accepts an assignment to travel on the Valkyrie, a German ship veiled in secrecy for decades after it was discovered adrift in 1939 with only one passenger aboard, a baby boy named Isaac Feldman. Obsessed with understanding his origins, Feldman has spent a small fortune restoring the Valkyrie to try to solve the mystery. Assembling a team of experts and sparing no expense, he aims to precisely recreate the circumstances of theValkyrie’s doomed final voyage. Little does Feldman or his team know that the ship has an agenda of its own. As the Valkyrie begins to weave its deadly web, Kate realizes that she must not only save herself, but the world as she knows it.” Continue reading

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March Whispersync Deal Roundup: Pierre Grimbert, Oz Reimagined, The Palace Job, Invisible Cities, Libba Bray, Anne McCaffrey, Diana Gabaldon, Harry Turtledove, Ursula K. Le Guin, and more

I was planning to hold off posting this until March 13, because I know of a nice set of books that will be going on sale, but I’ll have to settle for updating it after March 13 instead, due to some nice deals to pass along which expire on March 11, which is, er, tomorrow. Ah, the life of a bargain hunter.

So I’ll start with those soon-to-expire deals, valid through Wednesday, March 11, taken from the Whispersync enabled titles among the 175 Kindle Books for $1.99 Each:

UPDATE 3/13: SEE THE END OF THE POST FOR A HUGE LIST OF FREE KINDLE TITLES WITH WHYSPERSYNC UPGRADES THIS MONTH!

  

Pierre Grimber’s Secret of Ji series: Six HeirsThe Orphans’ Promise, and Shadow of the Ancients for $1.99+$1.99 each, all read fantastically by the great Michael Page. I’ve talked about these books quite a few times — classic “big party” epic fantasy in a big secondary fantasy world, with some uniquely French twists up to and including metric time. Matt Ross translates this best-selling and prize-winning series, a process I enjoyed talking with him about a while back. Here’s the pitch for book one:

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The AudioBookaneers pick their favorite audiobooks of 2014

Well, it’s (past) that time of year again: time for Dave and I to look back on a year in listening. We laughed, we cried, we cheered, we jeered, we stayed up well into the night for these audiobooks. It seems like every year calls for a slight wrinkle in presentation, but this year it’s a familiar one: our audiobooks of the year, runners up in both new audiobooks of new books and new audiobooks of previously published books, and our favorite “new to us” listens of the year. (And, mostly because it helps give me closure on the year in listening, some mention of those books we wish we had been able to get to in 2014.) But enough preamble! On to…

AUDIOBOOK(S) OF THE YEAR:

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer Authority by Jeff VanderMeer Acceptance by Jeff VanderMeer

Dave and I are unanimous on this one, and have been for months and months, since the towering opening line of Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation hooked us and drew us ever deeper into the mystery of Area X: Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy (Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance) by Jeff VanderMeer, read by Carolyn McCormick, Bronson Pinchot, and Xe Sands for Blackstone Audio. From McCormick’s turn on the first-person journal account of “the biologist” on a doomed expedition into the unknown in Annihilation, to the surreal absurdity of spooks and scientists through the voice of Pinchot as “Control” in Authority, to the moving performances of both Sands and Pinchot in Acceptance, the answers and unanswered and the unanswerable all coming together. Dave’s reviews: AnnihilationSam’s reviews: Annihlation, Authority, and Acceptance.

RUNNERS UP, BEST NEW AUDIOBOOK OF A NEW BOOK:

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With a Little Help From My Fae Friends – REVIEW: Silverblind

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Silverblind
by Tina Connolly, read by Rosalyn Landor for Audible
Length: 10 hours, 3 minutes

It’s still very much a man’s world, but the times are slowly a changing. Women are allowed to pursue academic profession, but are still prejudiced against when applying for field jobs. So Dorie Rochart does what anyone who is half-fey would – she makes herself look like a man (Dorian – a nice touch!), and gets the gig. From there on, she reunites with her childhood friend and adopted cousin Tam (who doesn’t realize it’s Dorie underneath all that Dorian), they’re off hunting basilisks and wyvern eggs, and also saving the world with mythology-based science. If this sounds a bit like Indiana Jones, well, it certainly put me in mind of the man with the hat, with the caveat that the University never seems very far away from where the majority of the field work takes place. There may be no hat and fedora, but there continue to be wicked (and perhaps misunderstood) fairies, mythical beasts, adventure, friendship, and romance. In short, Silverblind is a very fun time. Continue reading

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February Whispersync Deal roundup: PKD, Marie Brennan, Walter Mosley, Ken MacLeod, Theodore Sturgeon, Robin Hobb, and more

Well, February’s well past half over, so as usual it’s beyond past time to get this month’s Whispersync deal roundup put together. So here we go!  [UPDATE: Since this series has drawn some new readers/listeners who may be unfamiliar with Whispersync for Voice, in brief: after (or at the same time as) buying the Kindle edition you can add on the narration if an enabled Audible edition exists, often for a steep discount on even the member/credit price.]

First, from the Monthly Deals for $3.99 or less listings:

  

The Man in the High Castle and The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K. Dick, read by Tom Weiner, and A Scanner Darkly read by actor Paul Giamatti for $2.99+$3.99 each — three fantastic PKD audiobooks on the cheap!

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Pretty Fucking Badass: Dave Reviews Ancillary Sword

Ancillary Sword
By Ann Leckie, performed by Adjoh Andoh
Length: 11 hours, 44 minutes

There’s a scene somewhere toward the middle of Ancillary Sword that I can’t get out of my head, despite having listened to the audiobook a couple months ago. Visiting a space station, newly appointed fleet commander Breq comes across a station guard with a civilian in an illegal choke hold, rebukes the guard, and orders him to stand down or face immediate consequences. It turns out that this is standard procedure for the Imperial force on the station when dealing with such undesirables.

You might’ve guessed where I’m going with this: it’s kind of impossible for me to think about this book and that scene in particular without thinking about Eric Garner’s death. Continue reading

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January Whispersync Deal roundup: Frontera, The Thirteenth Step, Bitterwood, Katia Fox, The Lives of Tao, Embedded, and much, much more

With less than 10 days left in the month, perhaps it’s time to finally get the January Whispersync Deal roundup out into the world. [UPDATE: Since this post has drawn some new readers who may be unfamiliar with Whispersync for Voice, in brief: after (or at the same time as) buying the Kindle edition you can add on the narration if an enabled Audible edition exists, often for a steep discount on even the member/credit price.]

First, a handful of currently running Kindle Countdown Deals that will bump back up in price soon:

 

The Thirteenth Step: Zombie Recovery by Michele W. Miller, read by Gabrielle de Cuir for $0.99+$1.99 — Zombies are not typically my bag, yet somehow I’ve read or otherwise heard or gotten to a lot. I wasn’t expecting too much from a self-published book, but de Cuir as narrator piqued my interest enough to check it out and I ended up enjoying this quite a lot. While there are some “staples to the point of trope” of the genre here (motley cast of characters assemble! bring in zombies! scare and run! sometimes we lose somebody! oh by the way some other human survivor’s are either going psycho, or trying to reinstate the 50s!) there’s also some really unique wrinkles, the main one being that for some reason, alcoholics and others with an addiction gene have some level of resistance to being detected by the zombies. There’s also the “THANK GOD SOMEBODY FINALLY” character who has actually read Max Brooks, and we get the fun of comparing notes a bit between fiction and (this fictional) reality. Also, on that “motley crew” this one has a lot going for it. It’s diverse in age, race, gender, sexuality, nationality, disposition, goals. And de Cuir brings it all to life, with some additional nice production touches such as radio static effects, that really take this audiobook up a couple notches. Even if you’re reading this after the countdown deal has expired, it’s still quite a bargain at $3.99+$2.99.  It’s a refreshingly original wrinkle in the zombie apocalypse subgenre — who knew that Alcoholics Anonymous would be ready for this? Continue reading

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The 33 most missing audiobooks of 2014

Three thousand two hundred sixty-seven. That’s how many science fiction and fantasy audiobooks were added to Audible.com’s US listings alone in 2014, and the larger number of new speculative fiction audiobooks — which include GraphicAudio, independent (for example The Maze of Games and Eric Flint’s “Islands”), and other titles not available at Audible (for example Cory Doctorow’s Homeland and Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free), physical-only releases, podiobooks, and English-language audiobooks released in other countries, to name a few, not to mention the many sf/f titles shelved under “Fiction” or “Mysteries and Thrillers” or of course young adult and young reader titles —  is nearly impossible to catalog. (I tried, as usual, this year with the release week coverage, but even so missed quite a lot.) And, of course, while The AudioBookaneers focuses on science fiction and fantasy, there were quite a few fantastic books without dragons or spaceships in them this year, too.

First, a warning. This article is a long over-wrought mess. Second, before I get to those “most missing in audio” books which came out last year and did not make it into audio at all, I’ll start with highlighting a few that actually did come to audio, albeit overseas:

A Man Lies Dreaming | [Lavie Tidhar] The Islands of Chaldea | [Diana Wynne Jones]

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