Audible’s “Big Thanks” Sale through December 16: from under $5 to just under a credit, here’s some fantastic picks from the members-only 50% off sale

UPDATE 2016-12-13: I’m “re-using” this post again for Audible’s latest members-only 50% off sale, which ends tomorrow (December 14, 2016) so don’t be confused by last year’s sale end date (December 16, 2015) and miss out. As you can see, there’s quite a bit on sale!

UPDATE 2016-10-10: I’m “re-using” this post for Audible’s latest members-only 50% off sale, expiring today, on science fiction and fantasy titles. All the below are still very much in play, and see the end of the post for new titles since December!

I am getting this out now rather than waiting to put together this month’s full #WhispersyncDeal roundup, because these deals expire December 16th. So, what’s going on? Audible.com’s member-only “Big Thanks” sale gets 50% off the regular price sale on… pretty much everything, including pre-orders. First, a word: 50% of the regular price means the actual “regular price”, not the already discounted member price. This means that quite a lot of the books I’ve had my eye on are still above a credit cost, or even still cheaper the Whispersync add-on way. But! a few looked pretty darned good.

First off, $5.59 for Last Dragon by J.M. McDermott is a steal. It’s an amazing work of fantasy:

Last Dragon Audiobook

Read wonderfully for Iambik Audio by Cori Samuel, who might be familiar to those of you who enjoy the Librivox catalog of public domain works, Last Dragon instantly became one of my all-time favorites, not just of debut fantasy novels but of all time. The book is a disjointed experience, with several timelines bringing out exquisite foreshadowing and a beautiful sense of melancholy, purpose, and atmosphere. At first, the switches between timelines was a bit jarring, but before long I found the rhythm and began to recognize the cues that setting, characters, and events quickly provided. I do not want to say too much about this book other than: listen to it or read it. Zhan is a girl coming of age, leaning to be a hunter in a secondary world of snow, ash, war, and power. What magic there once might have been is largely gone. What gods there are do not seem to listen. Once, dragons lived. But they have all been hunted and killed. So, into this, in a tribal culture, the girl Zhan. Her family is murdered, apparently by her grandfather, and so off on a quest of vengeance into the wider world goes Zhan with her uncle Seth, a fire-breathing shaman. Who can make golems. They meet and hire a mercenary bodyguard; a paladin; a gypsy. They travel through and ahead of the drums of war. It’s just beautiful, menalcholic, a paean to lovely things and dark things.

Okay, now that I’ve got that first one out of the way, there’s a huge, huge pile priced at $5.59 or less, including the entire Iambik Audio catalog, as well as some classics and even some new releases, and a wide swath of titles from Brilliance Audio and Angry Robot on Brilliance Audio as well as pretty much the entire Tor.com Publishing novella line:

A Book of Tongues: Hexslinger, Book 1 | Gemma Files Clockwork Angels: The Novel | Kevin J. Anderson Legion | Brandon Sanderson Raising Hell: A Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter Novella | John G. Hartness

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  • By Gemma Files
  • Narrated By Gordon Mackenzie — $5.59 as are nearly all the rest of Iambik’s titles in this sale; this one’s a ground-breaking Weird western with sex, violence, dust, and competing religions, political machinations, and characters that are anything but easy.
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  • By Kevin J. Anderson
  • Narrated By Neil Peart — If this one sounds “gimmicky”, I can’t blame you: rock band Rush’s drummer teams up with half of the writing team that has continued the Dune saga for more than a dozen books to write a companion novel with the same title as the band’s new album, clearly some weird marketing thing, right? Wrong. Peart is an intriguing book critic in his own right, to begin with, and one of the more fascinating lyricists in rock, and while the novel does bring in many elements of the concept album (caravans, anarchists, clockwork angels, carnies) it’s certainly no mere “paint by numbers” set-by-set recreation. And his narration here is really quite lovely, evoking John Crowley’s performance on Little, Big both in style and (really!) at times, the lyrical substance and phrasing of the book. It doesn’t quite hold up to that level throughout, no, but it’s a lovely little coming of age story whose weaknesses are far overshadowed by its earnest joy in storytelling.
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  • By Brandon Sanderson
  • Narrated By Oliver Wyman — Sure, the regular price is just $4.86, but it can’t really get cheaper than $3.47 (unless you have a time machine to go back to when it was free!) and this really is a fantastic novella of a man (Stephen Leeds) with a multitude of hallucinatory “Aspects” that allow him to master any art, skill, or language. In this first book, he is hired to recover a stolen camera that is purported to be able to take pictures of the past. The sequel Legion: Skin Deep is on sale for $7.47 as well, but that one’s actually still a bit cheaper the Whispersync upgrade way ($4.99 Kindle edition, $1.99 add-on of the Audible edition). If you don’t have quite enough Brandon Sanderson in your life, Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell: A Cosmere Novella and Perfect State are $3.47 each as well. (Bizarrely, the “box set” of these, Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell & Perfect State, is actually more expensive than getting them separately?)
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  • By John G. Hartness
  • Narrated By James Foster for $3.47 — A two and a half hour horror novella from multi-talented storyteller Hartness, whom we’ll see a few more times in this list: “Straight out of the pages of the legendary vampire novel Dracula comes a demon hunter for the modern world. Mina Murray and Jonathan Harker had a son. They named him Quincy. His guardian angel calls him Q. Dracula calls him nephew. Demons call him The Reaper.”

Zoo City | Lauren Beukes Off to Be the Wizard | Scott Meyer Terms of Enlistment: Frontlines, Book 1 | Marko Kloos The Palace Job | Patrick Weekes

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  • By Lauren Beukes
  • Narrated By Justine Eyre — With a cover blurb from William Gibson (“Very, *very*good!”) and an Arthur C. Clarke Award, a World Fantasy Award nomination, and other glowing recommendations behind it (Jeff VanderMeer’s review in the NY Times for example) I had very high expectations for Beukes’s second novel. It’s every bit as “phantasmagorical” and wonderful as billed, with a delicious noir-ish plot set atop a sea of bizarre characters in a transfigured modern world. In Zinzi December’s Joburg lies the slum of “Zoo City”, populated by the Animaled, people whose dark deeds have saddled them with faimilars — in Zinzi’s case, a sloth. Building up from a brief stage setting (Zinzi the drug-debted 419-scammer, Benoit her mongoosed boyfriend, some missing items, some not-so-missing but quite dead persons) and dropping Zinzi into a missing persons case of her own, tracking down the female half of a twin boy-girl Afro-pop duo for the duo’s megalomaniacal producer. There’s African tribal magic; there’s gunplay; there’s a brilliant imagination at work behind it all. It’s beyond a doubt worth the (very low) price and (fairly short) time investment and I highly recommend it. There are a few narration quirks here and there — Justine Eyre does a better job than many who have attempted mainline narration in their non-native accents, but from time to time some phrases slip ever so slightly out of accent. Still, all in all, a wonderful audiobook.
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  • By Scott Meyer
  • Narrated By Luke Daniels — “It’s a simple story. Boy finds proof that reality is a computer program. Boy uses program to manipulate time and space. Boy gets in trouble. Boy flees back in time to Medieval England to live as a wizard while he tries to think of a way to fix things. Boy gets in more trouble. Oh, and boy meets girl at some point. Off to Be the Wizard is a light, comedic novel about computers, time travel, and human stupidity, written by Scott Meyer, the creator of the internationally known comic strip Basic Instructions. Magic will be made! Legends will be created! Stew will be eaten!”
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  • By Marko Kloos
  • Narrated By Luke Daniels — $5.24 each for this Hugo Award nominated (and then withdrawn) military science fiction series is about as cheap as the Audible-only editions will run; the series is cheaper this month via Whispersync upgrades ($1.99+$1.99 each) if you are comfortable with that approach; start with the Kindle edition of Terms of Enlistment (Frontlines Book 1) and step into: “The year is 2108, and the North American Commonwealth is bursting at the seams. For welfare rats like Andrew Grayson, there are only two ways out of the crime-ridden and filthy welfare tenements, where you’re restricted to two thousand calories of badly flavored soy every day: You can hope to win the lottery and draw a ticket on a colony ship settling off-world, or you can join the service.”
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  • By Patrick Weekes
  • Narrated By Justine Eyre — “Loch is seeking revenge. It would help if she wasn’t in jail. The plan: To steal a priceless elven manuscript that once belonged to her family, but is now in the hands of the most powerful man in the Republic. To do so, Loch – former soldier, former prisoner, and current fugitive – must assemble a crack team of magical misfits that includes a cynical illusionist, a shape shifting unicorn, a repentant death priestess, a talking magical war hammer, and a lad with seemingly no skills.” Note: The Kindle+Whispersync package is $3.99+$1.99 so it’s not much more if having both editions is worth some change.

The Seventh Bride | T. Kingfisher Timebound | Rysa Walker Rules for a Knight | Ethan Hawke The Man Who Folded Himself | David Gerrold

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  • By T. Kingfisher
  • Narrated By Kaylin Heath — Originally self-published and then re-edited and re-published just last month by Amazon’s 47North, “T. Kingfisher” may be better known to you as children’s author Ursula Vernon: “Young Rhea is a miller’s daughter of low birth, so she is understandably surprised when a mysterious nobleman, Lord Crevan, shows up on her doorstep and proposes marriage. Since commoners don’t turn down lords – no matter how sinister they may seem – Rhea is forced to agree to the engagement. Lord Crevan demands that Rhea visit his remote manor before their wedding. Upon arrival, she discovers that not only was her betrothed married six times before, but his previous wives are all imprisoned in his enchanted castle. Determined not to share their same fate, Rhea asserts her desire for freedom. In answer, Lord Crevan gives Rhea a series of magical tasks to complete, with the threat ‘Come back before dawn, or else I’ll marry you.’ With time running out and each task more dangerous and bizarre than the last, Rhea must use her resourcefulness, compassion, and bravery to rally the other wives and defeat the sorcerer before he binds her to him forever.”
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  • by Rysa Walker
  • Narrated By Kate Rudd — An award-winning young adult science fiction trilogy for $5.24/each: “When Kate Pierce-Keller’s grandmother gives her a strange blue medallion and speaks of time travel, sixteen-year-old Kate assumes the old woman is delusional. But it all becomes horrifyingly real when a murder in the past destroys the foundation of Kate’s present-day life. Suddenly, that medallion is the only thing protecting Kate from blinking out of existence. Kate learns that the 1893 killing is part of something much more sinister, and her genetic ability to time travel makes Kate the only one who can fix the future. Risking everything, she travels back in time to the Chicago World’s Fair to try to prevent the murder and the chain of events that follows. Changing the timeline comes with a personal cost – if Kate succeeds, the boy she loves will have no memory of her existence. And regardless of her motives, does Kate have the right to manipulate the fate of the entire world?”
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  • By Ethan Hawke
  • Narrated By Alessandro Nivola — Yes, that Ethan Hawke, with his third novel, this time an all-ages story weaving philosophy and knightly virtues via a letter from a knight to his children: “It is 1483, and Sir Thomas Lemuel Hawke, a Cornish knight, is about to ride into battle. On the eve of his departure, he composes a letter to his four young children, consisting of 20 virtues that provide instruction on how to live a noble life and on all the lessons, large and small, that he might have imparted to them himself were he not expecting to die on the battlefield. “Why am I alive? Where was I before I was born? What will happen to me when I die? Whatever well our lives are drawn from, it is deep, wild, mysterious, and unknowable….” Rules for a Knight is many things: a code of ethics; an intimate record of a lifelong quest; a careful recounting of a knight’s hardest won lessons, deepest aspirations, and most richly instructive failures; and an artifact, a relic of a father’s exquisite love.”
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  • By David Gerrold
  • Narrated By Charles Bice for Iambik Audio — “The Man Who Folded Himself, written in 1973 (and reissued by BenBella in 2003) is a classic science fiction novel by award-winning author David Gerrold. This work was nominated for both Hugo and Nebula awards and is considered by some critics to be the finest time travel novel ever written.”

The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch | Philip K. Dick (R)evolution: Phoenix Horizon, Book 1 | PJ Manney To Honor You Call Us: Man of War, Book 1 | H. Paul Honsinger

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  • By PJ Manney
  • Narrated By David de Vries — A highly-anticipated debut this year from futurist PJ Manney: “Bioengineer Peter Bernhardt has dedicated his life to nanotechnology, the science of manipulating matter on the atomic scale. As the founder of Biogineers, he is on the cusp of revolutionizing brain therapies with microscopic nanorobots that will make certain degenerative diseases a thing of the past. But after his research is stolen by an unknown enemy, seventy thousand people die in Las Vegas in one abominable moment. No one is more horrified than Peter, as this catastrophe sets in motion events that will forever change not only his life but also the course of human evolution.” Note: The Kindle+Whispersync upgrade path is actually a bit cheaper, at $2+$1.99.
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  • by H. Paul Honsinger
  • Narrated By Ray Chase — “The Terran Union is engaged in a vast interstellar war against the Krag Ruthless aliens intent on exterminating humankind. In 2315, the wily Max Robichaux is given command of the USS Cumberland, a destroyer with state-of-the-art capabilities but a combat record so bad, she’s known as the “Cumberland Gap.” Capt. Robichaux’s first mission: to take his warship to the Free Corridor, where the Krag have secretly been buying strategic materials, and to seize or destroy any ships carrying enemy cargo. Far from the fleet and under enforced radio silence, Max relies only on his determination and guile…and the support and friendship of his chief medical officer, the brilliant Dr. Sahin. Because even as he deals with the ship’s onboard problems and the stress of carrying out her risky assignment, Max and the doctor discover that the Cumberland and her misfit crew are all that stands in the way of a deadly Krag attack that threatens to end the war – and humanity – once and for all. A far-future story in the tradition of “ships of wood, men of iron” novels, To Honor You Call Us and the Man of Warseries combine the adventure of exploration, the excitement of war, and the dangers of the unknown through the eyes of a ship and her crew.” Note: The Kindle+Whispersync price for this is $3.99+$1.99, so a couple quarters more and you’d get both editions.

Ink Mage: A Fire Beneath the Skin, Book 1 | Victor Gischler Brilliance | Marcus Sakey Lord of All Things | Andreas Eschbach,Samuel Willcocks (translator)

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  • By Victor Gischler
  • Narrated By Fiona Hardingham — another quite recent release from 47North and Brilliance Audio, this one a fantasy: “In the first installment of the A Fire Beneath the Skin trilogy, the city of Klaar has never fallen. No enemy has ever made it across the Long Bridge or penetrated the city’s mighty walls. Even when a powerful invading army shows up at the gates, the duke and his daughter, Rina Veraiin, are certain that it poses little threat. But they are cruelly betrayed from within and, in a horrific spasm of violence, the city is brought to its knees.”
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  • By Marcus Sakey
  • Narrated By Luke Daniels — “In Wyoming, a little girl reads people’s darkest secrets by the way they fold their arms. In New York, a man sensing patterns in the stock market racks up $300 billion. In Chicago, a woman can go invisible by being where no one is looking. They’re called “brilliants,” and since 1980, one percent of people have been born this way. Nick Cooper is among them; a federal agent, Cooper has gifts rendering him exceptional at hunting terrorists. His latest target may be the most dangerous man alive, a brilliant drenched in blood and intent on provoking civil war. But to catch him, Cooper will have to violate everything he believes in – and betray his own kind.”
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  • By Andreas Eschbach, Samuel Willcocks (translator)
  • Narrated By Nick Podehl — Winner of the 2012 Kurd-Laßwitz-Preis: “They are just children when they first meet: Charlotte, daughter of the French ambassador, and Hiroshi, a laundress’s son. One day in the playground, Hiroshi declares that he has an idea that will change the world. An idea that will sweep away all differences between rich and poor. When Hiroshi runs into Charlotte several years later, he is trying to build a brighter future through robotics. Determined to win Charlotte’s love, he resurrects his childhood dream, convinced that he can eradicate world poverty by pushing the limits of technology beyond imagination. But as Hiroshi circles ever closer to realizing his vision, he discovers that his utopian dream may contain the seeds of a nightmare — one that could obliterate life as we know it. Crisscrossing the globe, from Tokyo to the hallowed halls of MIT to desolate Arctic islands and Buenos Aires and beyond — far beyond — Lord of All Things explores not only technology’s dizzying potential, but also its formidable dangers.”

 

And, really, there’s tons, tons more afoot, from classic science fiction (Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, read by Dick Hill) to epic fantasy novellas (The Shadow of Elysium: A Shadow Campaigns Novella, Book 2.5 by Django Wexler, read by Richard Poe) and more. TONS MORE! MOAR!

As I mentioned, I thought to check out the Tor.com novellas as well, which are all well worth picking up, and found that, yes, of course, they’re all on sale, even the pre-order listings for next year are on sale. So… Yeah. Sorry, wallet. Sorry, year-end budget planning. You’re welcome, 2016 version of me. While The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps is $4.72 (UPDATE 2016-12-13: $8.50) in this sale (I mean, come on, it’s one of the best books of the year, people!) most/all of the rest of the line actually comes in under $4 as well. Here they are, in publication order:

The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps | Kai Ashante Wilson Witches of Lychford | Paul Cornell Sunset Mantle | Alter S. Reiss

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  • By Kai Ashante Wilson
  • Narrated By Kevin Free — “Critically acclaimed author Kai Ashante Wilson makes his commercial debut with this striking, wondrous tale of gods and mortals, magic and steel, and life and death that will reshape how you look at sword and sorcery. Since leaving his homeland, the earthbound demigod Demane has been labeled a sorcerer. With his ancestors’ artifacts in hand, the sorcerer follows the captain, a beautiful man with song for a voice and hair that drinks the sunlight. The two of them are the descendants of the gods who abandoned the Earth for Heaven, and they will need all the gifts those divine ancestors left to them to keep their caravan brothers alive.”
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  • By Paul Cornell
  • Narrated By Marisa Calin — “Traveler, cleric, witch. The villagers in the sleepy hamlet of Lychford are divided. A supermarket wants to build a major branch on their border. Some welcome the employment opportunities while some object to the modernization of the local environment. Judith Mawson (local crank) knows the truth – that Lychford lies on the boundary between two worlds and that the destruction of the border will open wide the gateways to malevolent beings beyond imagination. But if she is to have her voice heard, she’s going to need the assistance of some unlikely allies….”
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  • By Alter S. Reiss
  • Narrated By Christopher Price — “With a single blow, Cete won both honor and exile from his last commander. Since then he has wandered, looking for a place to call home. The distant holdings of the Reach Antach offer shelter, but that promise has a price. The Reach Antach is doomed. Barbarians, traitors, and scheming investors conspire to destroy the burgeoning settlement. A wise man would move on, but Cete has found reason to stay. A blind weaver woman and the beautiful sunset mantle lure the warrior to wager everything he has left on one final chance to turn back the hungry tides of war.”

Binti | Nnedi Okorafor The Last Witness | K. J. Parker Of Sorrow and Such | Angela Slatter

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  • By Nnedi Okorafor
  • Narrated By Robin Miles — “Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs. Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares.”
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  • By K. J. Parker
  • Narrated By P. J. Ochlan — “When you need a memory to be wiped, call me. Transferring unwanted memories to my own mind is the only form of magic I’ve ever mastered. But now I’m holding so many memories, I’m not always sure which ones are actually mine anymore. Some of them are sensitive; all of them are private. And there are those who are willing to kill to access the secrets I’m trying to bury….”
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  • By Angela Slatter
  • Narrated By Marisa Calin — “Mistress Gideon is a witch. The locals of Edda’s Meadow, if they suspect it of her, say nary a word – Gideon has been good to them, and it’s always better to keep on her good side. Just in case. When a foolish young shape-shifter goes against the wishes of her pack and gets herself very publicly caught, the authorities find it impossible to deny the existence of the supernatural in their midst any longer; Gideon and her like are captured, bound for torture and a fiery end. Should Gideon give up her sisters in return for a quick death? Or can she turn the situation to her advantage?”

Envy of Angels: A Sin du Jour Affair | Matt Wallace The Builders | Daniel Polansky Domnall and the Borrowed Child | Sylvia Spruck Wrigley

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  • By Matt Wallace
  • Narrated By Corey Gagne — “In New York, eating out can be hell. Everyone loves a well-catered event, and the supernatural community is no different, but where do demons go to satisfy their culinary cravings? Welcome to Sin du Jour – where devils on horseback are the clients, not the dish.”
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  • By Daniel Polansky
  • Narrated By Corey Gagne — “A missing eye. A broken wing. A stolen country. The last job didn’t end well. Years go by, and scars fade, but memories only fester. For the animals of the captain’s company, survival has meant keeping a low profile, building a new life, and trying to forget the war they lost. But now the captain’s whiskers are twitching at the idea of evening the score.”
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  • By Sylvia Spruck Wrigley
  • Narrated By Tim Gerard Reynolds — “The best and bravest faeries fell in the war against the Sluagh, and now the Council is packed with idiots and cowards. Domnall is old, aching, and as cranky as they come, but as much as he’d like to retire, he’s the best scout the Sithein court has left. When a fae child falls deathly ill, Domnall knows he’s the only one who can get her the medicine she needs: mother’s milk. The old scout will face cunning humans, hungry wolves, and uncooperative sheep, to say nothing of his fellow fae!”

The Shootout Solution: Genrenauts Episode 1 | Michael R. Underwood The Drowning Eyes | Emily Foster Patchwerk | David Tallerman

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  • By Michael R. Underwood
  • Narrated By Mary Robinette Kowal — “Leah Tang just died onstage. Well, not literally. Not yet. Leah’s stand-up career isn’t going well. But she understands the power of fiction, and when she’s offered employment with the mysterious Genrenauts Foundation, she soon discovers that literally dying onstage is a hazard of the job! Her first assignment takes her to a Western world. When a cowboy tale slips off its rails and the outlaws start to win, it’s up to Leah – and the Genrenauts team – to nudge the story back on track and prevent a catastrophe on Earth. But the story’s hero isn’t interested in winning, and the safety of Earth hangs in the balance….”
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  • By Emily Foster
  • Narrated By Robin Miles — Coming January 12; my goodness, how empty December has been without these weekly releases! It’s like the “oh, it’s the last Tuesday of the month again, isn’t it, that’s why I don’t have a new Tor.com novella?” writ large, with an extra week to wait for folks to recover from New Year’s Eve. Anyway, 2016 gets off to a Miles-narrated start, with beautiful cover art by Cynthia Sheppard and this story of ships, raiders, magic, and women.
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  • By David Tallerman
  • Narrated By Tim Gerard Reynolds — January 19 — “Fleeing the city on the TransContinental airship, Dran Florrian is traveling with the Palimpsest – the ultimate proof of a lifetime of scientific theorizing. When a rogue organization attempts to steal the device, however, Dran takes drastic action. But his invention threatens to destroy the very fabric of this and all other possible universes, unless Dran – or someone very much like him – can shut down the machine and reverse the process.”

Lustlocked: A Sin du Jour Affair | Matt Wallace A Song for No Man's Land | Andy Remic The Ballad of Black Tom | Victor LaValle

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  • By Matt Wallace, coming January 26 — “At a goblin royal wedding party, a magical food additive turns the humans in the room into horny, six-foot lizards, and all they want to do is have sex. With anything. For as long as they can. And as lizard love isn’t something that interests the Sin du Jour staff, something must be done, but the building’s magical defenses have kicked in, sealing off access to the outside world.”
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  • By Andy Remic — February 9, the first in an ongoing new series that sees this novella line step into gritty epic fantasy in a big, big way: “He signed up to fight with visions of honor and glory, of fighting for king and country, of making his family proud at long last. But on a battlefield during the Great War, Robert Jones is shot and wonders how it all went so very wrong and how things could possibly get any worse. He’ll soon find out. When the attacking enemy starts to shape-shift into a nightmarish demonic force, Jones finds himself fighting an impossible war against an enemy that shouldn’t exist.” While the narrator isn’t listed at Audible, the Macmillan Audio listing seems to indicate that it will be Tim Gerard Reynolds.
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  • By Victor LaValle — February 16 really can’t come soon enough! I don’t see a formal narrator announcement, but the Macmillan Audio listing leads me to believe that it’s going to be Kevin R. Free. “People move to New York looking for magic, and nothing will convince them it isn’t there. Charles Thomas Tester hustles to put food on the table, keep the roof over his father’s head, from Harlem to Flushing Meadows to Red Hook. He knows what magic a suit can cast, the invisibility a guitar case can provide, and the curse written on his black skin that attracts the eye of wealthy white folks and their trained cops. But when he delivers an occult page to a reclusive sorceress in the heart of Queens, Tom opens a door to a deeper realm of magic and earns the attention of things best left sleeping. A storm that might swallow the world is building in Brooklyn. Will Black Tom live to see it break?”

The Absconded Ambassador: Genrenauts, Episode 2 | Michael R. Underwood The Devil You Know | K. J. Parker  Forest of Memory: A METAtropolis Story | Mary Robinette Kowal

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  • By Michael R. Underwood — February 23: “Fiction is more important than you think. When stories go wrong, the Genrenauts step in to prevent the consequences from rippling into our so-called real world. When a breach is discovered in Science Fiction World, rookie Genrenaut Leah Tang gets her first taste of space flight.”
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  • By K. J. Parker — March 1: “The greatest philosopher of all time is offering to sell his soul to the devil. All he wants is 20 more years to complete his life’s work. After that he really doesn’t care. But the assistant demon assigned to the case has his suspicions because the philosopher is Saloninus – the greatest philosopher, yes, but also the greatest liar, trickster, and cheat the world has yet known – the sort of man even the Father of Lies can’t trust. He’s almost certainly up to something…but what?”
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  • By Mary Robinette Kowal
  • Narrated By Allyson Johnson — Okay, this one’s kind of snuck in here, as this story was first published in METAtropolis: Green Space, the third entry in Audible’s original series, back in October 2013, and has been available standalone in audio since January 2014. Well, Tor.com is putting it out in ebook and paperback on March 8, and as it’s already available for $1.49 in this sale, well. Here you go: “Katya deals in Authenticities, trading on nostalgia for a past long gone. But when she encounters a stranger who calls himself Johnny in the woods – even she can’t say whether it’s real or not.” As an audio work it’s perfectly conceived: Katya sells the telling of this story to a wealthy patron, a one-time-only, guaranteed unique experience. And yes, this came out well before Wu-Tang Clan’s record Once Upon a Time in Shaolin sold its single existant physical copy to a millionaire.

Pieces of Hate | Tim Lebbon Every Heart a Doorway | Seanan McGuire 

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  • By Tim Lebbon — March 15 — Because it rhymes with “pieces of eight”, right? “During the Dark Ages, a thing named Temple slaughtered Gabriel’s family. A man with snake eyes charged him to pursue the assassin wherever he may strike next, and destroy him. Gabriel never believed he’d still be following Temple almost a thousand years later. Because Temple may be a demon, the man with snake eyes cursed Gabriel with a life long enough to hunt him down. Now he has picked up Temple’s scent again. The Caribbean sea is awash with pirate blood, and in such turmoil the outcome of any fight is far from certain.” Also includes a free bonus novelette, Dead Man’s Hand. “In the wilderness of the American West, the assassin is set to strike again. Despite his centuries-long curse, Gabriel is still but a man, scarred and bitter. The town of Deadwood has seen many such men… though it’s never seen anything quite like the half-demon known as Temple.”
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  • By Seanan McGuire — April 5: “Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children: No Solicitations. No Visitors. No Quests. Children have always disappeared under the right conditions – slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere…else. But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children. Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced…they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world. But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her newfound schoolmates to get to the heart of things. No matter the cost.”
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  • By Guy Haley — April 19. No cover art or narrator yet for the audiobook, but the book cover art certainly looks intriguing: Railroads and swords? YES YES YES RAILROADS AND SWORDS. “Global war devastated the environment, a zombielike plague wiped out much of humanity, and civilization as we once understood it came to a standstill. But that was a thousand years ago, and the world is now a very different place. Conflict between city-states is constant, superstition is rife, and machine relics, mutant creatures, and resurrected prehistoric beasts trouble the land. Watching over all are the silent Dreaming Cities. Homes of the angels, bastion outposts of heaven on Earth. Or so the church claims. Very few go in, and nobody ever comes out. Until now….

Hm… You know what else is $3.47 each in this sale? The entire run of Bookburners from Serial Box, written by Max Gladstone, Mur Lafferty, Brian Francis Slattery, and Margaret Dunlap, and read by Xe Sands. Funny thing: these are cheaper directly from Serial Box, and! “the first one’s free” as well. There’s even a mobile app to make it easier to get these stories into your ears as easily as possible. But if another app doesn’t suit you, or sorting out Serial Box’s website for purchasing, and you “just want it in my Audible app, darn it” well, here you go: Bookburners: Badge, Book, and Candle: Episode 1Bookburners: Anywhere But Here: Episode 2Bookburners: Fair Weather: Episode 3Bookburners: Episode 4: A Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Bookburners: The Market Arcanum, Episode 5, Bookburners, Episode 6: Big Sky, on through Episode 10. Over at Serial Box, Episode 13 is already out, with 14, 15, and the season-concluding 16 due out each week before the year’s out:

  
  

Back though to speaking of pre-orders in this ridiculous under-$5 price range, I also found one more Brilliance Audio title to mention — I kind of snuck Marcus Sakey’s Written in Fire up in the rest of his aptly-titled “The Brilliance Trilogy” — that I think just might be eagerly anticipated by a few people. And! One last ridiculously cheap one: $1.39 for a Star Wars audiobook!

Indexing: Reflections Audiobook The Perfect Weapon Audiobook

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  • By Seanan McGuire
  • Narrated By Mary Robinette Kowal — Due out January 12: “The struggle against not-so-charming storybook narratives isn’t the only complicating factor in Henrietta “Henry” Marchen’s life. As part of the ATI Management Bureau team protecting the world from fairy tales gone awry, she’s juggling her unwanted new status as a Snow White, dealing with a potentially dangerous Pied Piper, and wrangling a most troublesome wicked stepsister – along with a budding relationship with Jeff, her teammate. But when a twisted, vicious Cinderella breaks out of prison and wreaks havoc, things go from disenchanted to deadly. And once Henry realizes someone is trying to use her to destroy the world, her story becomes far from over – and this one might not have a happily ever after.”
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  • By Delilah S. Dawson
  • Narrated By January LaVoy — With a regular price of $2.79 and a member price already of $1.95, at $1.39 you’re not saving a ton of money. But, c’mon. This is the Star Wars novelette you have been looking for: full main title theme, sound effects (background cantina noise! punches!) and mysterious VFX as well. Part of the “Journey to Star Wars” series of prequel stories for forthcoming Star Wars: Episode VII. “There are plenty of mercenaries, spies, and guns for hire in the galaxy. But probably none as dangerous and determined as Bazine Netal. A master of disguise – and lethal with a blade, a blaster, or bare handed – she learned from the best. Now it’s her turn to be the teacher – even if schooling an eager but inexperienced recruit in the tricks of her trade is the last thing she wants to do. But it’s the only way to score the ship she needs to pull off her latest job.”

OK, one last under-$5 to mention which transitions nicely to the still well under $10 listings, which again heavily feature both Brilliance Audio and Angry Robot on Brilliance Audio:

The Serpent: Gameshouse Novella 1 | Claire North Three: Legends of the Duskwalker, Book 1 | Jay Posey Hounded: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book 1 | Kevin Hearne The Last Policeman | Ben H. Winters

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  • By Claire North
  • Narrated By Peter Kenny — The first novella comes in at $4.71, while The Thief: Gameshouse Novella 2 and The Master: Gameshouse Novella 3 are each just $7.07, nearly $3 off the member price. (Meanwhile, her novels Touch and The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August are around $12 each; they are both fantastic, too.) This little series concerns: “In 17th century Venice exists a mysterious establishment known only as the Gameshouse. There, fortunes are made and fortunes are broken over games of chess, backgammon, and every other game under the sun. But those whom fortune favours may be invited to compete in the higher league…a league where the games played are of politics and empires, of economics and kings.”
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  • By Jay Posey
  • Narrated By Luke Daniels — $6.99 for this is, again, fantastic: “The world has collapsed, and there are no heroes any more.His name is Three, a travelling gun for hire in a dying world. He has no allegiances, no family, no ties.Against his better judgment, he accepts the mantle of protector to a sick woman on the run, and her young son. Together they set out across the plains in search of a mythic oasis, attempting to survive the forces that pursue them, and the creatures of the dark.In these dark times, a hero may yet arise.”
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  • By Kevin Hearne
  • Narrated By Luke Daniels — $6.99 each for this highly entertaining, fantastically narrated urban fantasy series set in Arizona: “Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old – when in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer. Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries….” Be ready to fall in love with that wolfhound, “Oberon”, and the way that Daniels brings him to life. While the rest of the series is a bit over a credit cost even in the sale, Two Ravens and One Crow: An Iron Druid Chronicles Novella is available for $7.

The Last PolicemanCountdown City: The Last Policeman, Book 2, and World of Trouble: The Last Policeman, Book 3 By Ben H. Winters, Narrated By Peter Berkrot — $6.99 each for this absolutely fantastic detective series, set in the months that the world spends waiting for a planet-killing asteroid to strike. Winner of the Edgar Award (best mystery) and the Philip K. Dick Award (best original science fiction paperback), the novels blend the two genres superbly, and are narrated absolutely spot-on by Berkrot. Highly recommended.

Gardens of the Moon: The Malazan Book of the Fallen, Book 1 | Steven Erikson Fool's Errand: Tawny Man, Book 1 | Robin Hobb Welcome to Bordertown: Special Edition: New Stories and Poems of the Borderlands | Holly Black (Editor),Ellen Kushner (Editor)

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  • By Steven Erikson
  • Narrated By Ralph Lister and Michael Page — About 30-40 hours each for $8.74 each — wait, no, Book 5 is $5.24, which I suppose makes up for Books 8 and 10 being $10.49. Unholy gods, this is a lot of unholy dark god epic fantasy: “The Malazan Empire simmers with discontent, bled dry by interminable warfare, bitter infighting, and bloody confrontations with ancient and implacable sorcerers. Even the imperial legions, long inured to the bloodshed, yearn for some respite. Yet Empress Laseen’s rule remains absolute, enforced by her dreaded Claw assassins. For Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his squad of Bridgeburners, and for Tattersail, their lone surviving mage, the aftermath of the siege of Pale should have been a time to mourn the many dead. But Darujhistan, last of the Free Cities, yet holds out. It is to this ancient citadel that Laseen turns her predatory gaze. However, the Empire is not alone in this great game. Sinister, shadowbound forces are gathering as the gods themselves prepare to play their hand…. Conceived and written on a panoramic scale, Gardens of the Moon is epic fantasy of the highest order – an enthralling adventure by an outstanding voice.”
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  • By Robin Hobb
  • Narrated By James Langton — Speaking of a huge haul of epic fantasy at $6.99 each: “For fifteen years FitzChivalry Farseer has lived in self-imposed exile, assumed to be dead by almost all who once cared about him. But now, into his isolated life, visitors begin to arrive: Fitz’s mentor from his assassin days; a hedge-witch who foresees the return of a long-lost love; and the Fool, the former White Prophet, who beckons Fitz to fulfill his destiny. Then comes the summons he cannot ignore. Prince Dutiful, the young heir to the Farseer throne, has vanished.”
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  • By Holly Black (Editor), Ellen Kushner (Editor)
  • Narrated By Cassandra Campbell, MacLeod Andrews, Holly Black, Ellen Kushner, Steven Brust, Neil Gaiman, and Dounya El-Mohtar — $6.99 for all of this: “Bordertown: a city on the Border between the human world and the elfin realm. A place where neither magic nor technology can be counted on, where elf and human kids run away to find themselves…. Here are 13 interconnected stories and eight poems – all new work by some of today’s best urban fantasy, fantasy, and slipstream writers: Christopher Barzak, Holly Black, Steven Brust, Emma Bull, Cassandra Clare, Charles de Lint, Cory Doctorow, Amal El-Mohtar, Neil Gaiman, Nalo Hopkinson, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Annette Curtis Klause, Ellen Kushner, Patricia McKillip, Tim Pratt, Delia Sherman, Will Shetterly, Janni Lee Simner, Catherynne M. Valente, Terri Windling, and Jane Yolen. This Special Edition features original music by Drew Miller – including a fully-produced track of the song “Run Back Across the Border” by Steven Brust, with the author himself on lead vocals – and Neil Gaiman reading his own poem, ‘The Song of the Song.'” 

As I mentioned, there’s just tons more Brilliance Audio and Angry Robot on Brilliance Audio at this price level ($6.99). Rather than attempt exhaustive listings and descriptions, here’s a cover gallery and links for most of the dozen or so that most caught my eye going through, including The Lives of TaoNexusvNGiant Thief, Between Two Thorns, Philip K. Dick’s Valis, and plenty of Michael Crichton, and! in the $8-$9 range, The Fault in Our Stars and Steven Erikson’s Willful Child. And more, of course:

Nexus: Nexus, Book 1 | Ramez Naam The Lives of Tao | Wesley Chu The Alchemist of Souls: Night's Masque, Book 1 | Anne Lyle

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  • By Ramez Naam
  • Narrated By Luke Daniels and Mikael Naramore — $6.99 each for the first two books in Naam’s very, very well-received series of the all-too-near-future: “In the near future, the nano-drug Nexus can link mind to mind. There are some who want to improve it. There are some who want to eradicate it. And there are others who just want to exploit it. When a young scientist is caught improving Nexus, he’s thrust over his head into a world of danger and international espionage, with far more at stake than anyone realizes.” A quick note: the Kindle edition of book one at $4.61 (now there’s a weird price for you) offers a $1.99 Whispersync add-on to the Audible edition.
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  • By Wesley Chu
  • Narrated By Mikael Naramore — $6.99 gets you into Chu’s series, on the strength of which he just won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Author: “When out-of-shape IT technician Roen wakes up and starts hearing voices in his head, he naturally assumes he’s losing it. He isn’t. As of last night, he has a passenger in his brain – an ancient alien life-form called Tao, whose race crash-landed on Earth before the first fish crawled out of the oceans. Over the millennia his people have trained human heroes to be great leaders, to advance our species at a rate far beyond what it would have achieved on its own. Split into two opposing factions – the peace-loving, but under-represented Prophus, and the savage, powerful Genjix – the aliens have been in a state of civil war for centuries.”
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  • By Anne Lyle
  • Narrated By Michael Page — “When Tudor explorers returned from the New World, they brought back a name out of half-forgotten Viking legend: skraylings. Red-sailed ships followed in the explorers’ wake, bringing Native American goods – and a skrayling ambassador – to London. But what do these seemingly magical beings really want in Elizabeth I’s capital? Mal Catlyn, a down-at-heel swordsman, is appointed to the ambassador’s bodyguard, but assassination attempts are the least of his problems. What he learns about the skraylings and their unholy powers could cost England her new ally – and Mal his soul.” Note: The Kindle edition of book one at $2.99 offers a Whispersync add-on to the Audible edition for $3.49, for a total price of just a bit under the $6.99 Audible-only price, if you’re comfortable with that approach.

The Blue Blazes | Chuck Wendig Empire State: A Novel | Adam Christopher The Age Atomic | Adam Christopher Hang Wire | Adam Christopher
Seven Wonders | Adam Christopher Carpathia | Matt Forbeck vN: The First Machine Dynasty | Madeline Ashby Giant Thief: Tales of Easie Damasco, Book 1 | David Tallerman

ROW 1: The Blue Blazes By Chuck Wendig, Narrated By Patrick Lawlor; Empire State: A Novel and The Age Atomic By Adam Christopher, Narrated By Phil Gigante; and Hang Wire By Adam Christopher, Narrated By Luke Daniels

ROW 2: Seven Wonders By Adam Christopher, Narrated By Nick Podehl; Carpathia By Matt Forbeck, Narrated By Ralph Lister; vN: The First Machine Dynasty and iD: Machine Dynasty, Book 2 By Madeline Ashby, Narrated By Christina Traister; and Giant Thief: Tales of Easie Damasco, Book 1Crown Thief: Tales of Easie Damasco, Book 2, and Prince Thief: Tales of Easie Damasco, Book 3 By David Tallerman, Narrated By James Langton

Between Two Thorns: The Split Worlds Series, Book 1 | Emma Newman Koko Takes a Holiday | Kieran Shea Valis | Philip K. Dick Tor.com: Selected Original Fiction, 2008-2012 | John Scalzi,Sylvia Day,Brandon Sanderson,Charles Stross,Ken MacLeod,Brit Mandelo,Rachel Swirsky,Meghan McCarron
Congo | Michael Crichton Sphere | Michael Crichton Jurassic Park: A Novel | Michael Crichton Eaters of the Dead | Michael Crichton

ROW 3: Between Two Thorns: The Split Worlds Series, Book 1Any Other Name: The Split Worlds Series, Book 2, and All Is Fair: The Split Worlds Series, Book 3 By Emma Newman, Narrated By Emma Newman; Koko Takes a Holiday and Koko the Mighty By Kieran Shea, Narrated By Hillary Huber (NOTE though that the Kindle+Whispersync price is just $1.99+$3.49 for book one); Valis By Philip K. Dick, Narrated By Phil Gigante [NOTE: See the huge list of PKD books at $5.24 earlier in this article!]; and Tor.com: Selected Original Fiction, 2008-2012 with stories by John Scalzi, Sylvia Day, Brandon Sanderson, Charles Stross, Ken MacLeod, Brit Mandelo, Rachel Swirsky, and Meghan McCarron (among others), Narrated By Luke Daniels, R.C. Bray, Amy McFadden, MacLeod Andrews, Kathleen Gati, Cassandra Campbell, Jill Redfield, and Gideon Emery

ROW 4: Michael Crichton a-go-go! Congo Narrated By Julia Whelan; Sphere and Jurassic Park: A Novel Narrated By Scott Brick; and Eaters of the Dead Narrated By Simon Vance; AND: There’s still more Crichton at $6.99 including The Andromeda Strain Narrated By David Morse, The Terminal Man Narrated By Luke Daniels, and Rising Sun: A Novel Narrated By MacLeod Andrews.

The Emperor's Soul Audiobook Zombie Spaceship Wasteland Audiobook War Horse Audiobook

The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson, Narrated By Angela Lin for Recorded Books is Sanderson’s Hugo-winning and World Fantasy-nominated novella from late 2012: “New York Times best-selling author Brandon Sanderson is widely celebrated for his Mistborn Trilogy and contribution to the final three books of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. In The Emperor’s Soul, a Forger named Shai can copy and re-create any item by using magic to rewrite its history. After being condemned to death for attempting to steal the emperor’s scepter, Shai is given one final chance. She’ ll be allowed to live if she can create a new soul for the emperor, who hovers near death.” Note: At $6.99 this is only just a bit cheaper than the $4.99+$2.99 Kindle+Whispersync price.

Zombie Spaceship Wasteland: A Book by Patton Oswalt is read by the author, and I really enjoyed it; also includes some PDF illustrations from the book: “Oswalt combines memoir with uproarious humor, from snow forts to Dungeons & Dragons to gifts from Grandma that had to be explained. He remem­bers his teen summers spent working in a movie Cineplex and his early years doing stand-up. Readers are also treated to several graphic elements, includ­ing a vampire tale for the rest of us and some greeting cards with a special touch.”

War Horse by Michael Morpurgo, Narrated By John Keating is the celebrated story of war, redemption, and a hero’s journey. It’s also the basis of one of the great stage plays of this new century — no, seriously, you have to see War Horse staged if you get the chance, the puppetry is simply amazing. “In 1914, Joey, a beautiful bay-red foal with a distinctive cross on his nose, is sold to the army and thrust into the midst of the war on the Western Front. With his officer, he charges toward the enemy, witnessing the horror of the battles in France. But even in the desolation of the trenches, Joey’s courage touches the soldiers around him and he is able to find warmth and hope. But his heart aches for Albert, the farmer’s son he left behind. Will he ever see his true master again?”

Goblin Secrets | William Alexander Sparky's First Space Adventure: The Spacers Series, Book 1 | Mike Teale Great Americans in Sports: Drew Brees | Matt Christopher Space Taxi Audiobook

Okay, four more $6.99 titles to send along before another bump in price, this time all focused on the “kids” section. I’ll start by cheating and including a big pile of books by William Alexander as just “one” entry, but if you’re going to pick up just one, go with Goblin SecretsGhoulish Song is also here, as are his “young reader science fiction” books Ambassador and Nomad, all read by the author.

Sparky’s First Space Adventure: The Spacers Series, Book 1 By Mike Teale, Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki is maybe not one for your kid’s bedtime, but it’s one I think they’ll have a blast listening to, complete with alarm sound effects. I haven’t heard Rudnicki have this much fun on a narration in a long time! “Space is a fun and scary place. Join Sparky and his fellow spacers as he goes on his first space adventure to help Professor Hubble, the orbiting space telescope. Will the Debris Brothers, the space rubbish pranksters, mess up the mission? Will Sparky make it through the extremely hot and dangerous reentry window?”

A big, big stack of Matt Christopher’s sports books are well-priced in the sale, but two from his non-fiction series “Great Americans in Sports” (Great Americans in Sports: Drew Brees and Great Americans in Sports: Blake Griffin, both read by Alden Ford) are down in this price range.

And one more kids title here (don’t worry, I cover a couple more young reader series later!) which is Space Taxi: Archie Takes Flight by Wendy Mass and Michael Brawer, barrated by child actor Eason Rytter, and it begins a fun little series: “Archie Morningstar learns a big family secret and helps save the universe. All before breakfast! up at midnight. But today is Take Your Kid to Work Day, and Archie is finally allowed to ride along in his dad’s taxi cab. He has been waiting eight years, eight months, and eight days for this moment to arrive. But he’s about to discover his dad is no ordinary cab driver…. In fact, he drives an intergalactic space taxi!”

All right. We’ll go ahead and bump up to the $8-$9 range here for some titles I think are well, well worth the price:

Wylding Hall | Elizabeth Hand The Slow Regard of Silent Things: Kingkiller Chronicle, Book 2.5 | Patrick Rothfuss Willful Child | Steven Erikson The Fault in Our Stars | John Green

Wylding Hall By Elizabeth Hand, Narrated By Jennifer Woodward, John Telfer, Dan Morgan, Emma Fenney, Simon Victor, Kris Dyer, and a full cast really is a special book and audiobook; it’s set up like a documentary transcript, and the full cast audio production is absolutely superb. In Wylding Hall, a British folk band sets out to record their next album at the sprawling country home “Wylding Hall”, getting out of London and away from its distractions. Years later, the surviving members of the band try to sort out what happened that fateful summer, when the lead singer disappeared into the secrets of the Hall and was never seen again.

The Slow Regard of Silent Things: Kingkiller Chronicle, Book 2.5 By Patrick Rothfuss. read by the author expands the story of Auri while Kvothe is out adventuring and we wait, patiently I swear, for Book 3.

Willful Child By Steven Erikson, Narrated By MacLeod Andrews sees this master of dark epic fantasy give sarcastic space opera a go: “These are the voyages of the starship A.S.F. Willful Child. Its ongoing mission: to seek out strange new worlds on which to plant the Terran flag, to subjugate and if necessary obliterate new life-forms, to boldly blow the… And so we join the not-terribly-bright but exceedingly cock-sure Captain Hadrian Sawback and his motley crew on board the Starship Willful Child for a series of devil-may-care, near-calamitous and downright chaotic adventures through the infinite vastness of interstellar space.”

The Fault in Our Stars By John Green, Narrated By Kate Rudd hardly needs any introduction I suppose? It’s the heartbreaking story of two teenage cancer patients who meet and (against both of their better judgement, knowing the likely terminal natures of their respective diseases) fall in love.

Who Fears Death | Nnedi Okorafor  Death of a Citizen: Matt Helm, Book 1 | Donald Hamilton The Word for World Is Forest | Ursula K. Le Guin

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  • By Nnedi Okorafor
  • Narrated By Anne Flosnik — Simply put, one of the great books and audiobooks of speculative fiction literature. Here’s what I wrote about it back in 2010: “This book is a journey, and it is at times an intentionally uncomfortable one. Set in a (far?) future subsaharan Africa, racially-based genocides continue between the Nuru and the Okeke. An “Ewu” girl (the result of the rape of an Okeke by a Nuru man) is given the name Onyesonwu — “Who Fears Death”. This book has magic — in particular: shape-shifting, and traveling to The Wilderness, the space where spirits go after life — and sand, and violence — though this is not a book “about” magic, or sand — and scenes which are both unsettling and gripping. The narration from Anne Flosnik here is quite primal; we feel the pain and, as often, anger of Onyesonwu and her companions and adversaries. Okorafor’s world is one where some technology remains — portable computers with maps, water collection devices — but this is not at all a book about technology. It is about people, and in particular the roles of women (and men) in a highly tribal culture. There are ruins — old, paved roads — but this is not a book about the past. It is also not a book about the future. It is a book which is quite present, and is highly recommended to readers with an interest in something beyond the beaten path, whether coming from an interest in fantasy or more mainstream fiction, and the willingness to travel on unfamiliar and rocky ground.” Note: The prequel The Book of Phoenix, read by Robin Miles and just out earlier this year, is $9.97.

The Antelope Wife by Louise Erdrich, read by the author is a beautiful synthesis of Native American (specifically Objiwa) mythology and top-shelf magical realism, “an unforgettable novel about the irrevocable patterns set in motion by certain fateful acts. A soldier deserts the cavalry during a cruel raid on an Ojibwa village to chase a dog bearing on its back a baby on a cradle board strung with breathtaking blue beads. Generations later, a fast-talking trader kidnaps a silent and graceful woman from a powwow. In a haunting recreation of a native tale, the woman is part antelope – hunter and hunted change identities and nothing is ever the same for those involved.”

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  • By Donald Hamilton
  • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki — Most of the dozen or so Matt Helm thrillers are $8.73 in this sale, and it all starts here: “Matt Helm, one-time special agent for the American government during the Second World War, has left behind his violent past to raise a family in Santa Fe, New Mexico. When a former colleague turns rogue and kidnaps his daughter, Helm is forced to return to his former life as a deadly and relentless assassin.”
UNABRIDGED
  • By Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Narrated By Kevin Pariseau — “The planet Athshe was a paradise whose people were blessed with a mystical awareness of existence. Then the conquerors arrived and began to rape, enslave, and kill humans with a flicker of humanity. The athseans were unskilled in the ways of war, and without weapons. But the gentle tribesmen possessed strange powers over their dreams. And the alien conquerors had taught them how to hate….”

OK! We are nearly done! Another quick-hitting gallery to highlight a few handfuls of titles just barely under $10, so if you’re on an annual credit plan or something with a really low credit cost, you’re not saving much, but if they really catch your eye, and you’re often short on credits anyway…

Never Knew Another: Dogsland, Book 1 | J. M. McDermott Made to Kill: A Novel | Adam Christopher Lock In (Narrated by Wil Wheaton) | John Scalzi Fahrenheit 451 | Ray Bradbury
Dawn: Xenogenesis, Book 1 | Octavia E. Butler Shower of Stones: A Novel of Jeroun | Zachary Jernigan Half-Resurrection Blues: Bone Street Rumba, Book 1 | Daniel José Older The Summer Prince | Alaya Dawn Johnson
Echo | Pam Muñoz Ryan Where the Hell is Tesla?: A Novel | Rob Dircks The Dinosaur Four | Geoff Jones Fireships: Reaches, Book 3 | David Drake

ROW 1: Never Knew Another: Dogsland, Book 1 and When We Were Executioners: Dogsland, Book 2 By J. M. McDermott, Narrated By Eileen Stevens (a pair of fantastical fantasy novels); Made to Kill: A Novel By Adam Christopher, Narrated By Dan Bittner (a robot detective in a post-war Hollywood that never was); Lock In (Narrated by Wil Wheaton) and Lock In (Narrated by Amber Benson) By John Scalzi — and speaking of Wheaton reading Scalzi, Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas; and Fahrenheit 451 By Ray Bradbury, Narrated By Tim Robbins (there are some cheaper audio editions, but being read by Tim Robbins is quite a bonus)

ROW 2: Several books by the great Octavia E. Butler including Dawn: Xenogenesis, Book 1 read by Aldrich Barrett, Wild Seed read by Dion Graham, and her collection Bloodchild and Other Stories read by Janina Edwards; Shower of Stones: A Novel of Jeroun By Zachary Jernigan, Narrated By John FitzGibbon, a fantastic follow-on to his debut No ReturnHalf-Resurrection Blues: Bone Street Rumba, Book 1 By Daniel José Older, read by the author, which is a breath of fresh air in a sometimes stale urban fantasy subgenre (note though that the Kindle+Whispersync price is $7.99+$3.99, so a couple more bucks for both editions if you prefer); and The Summer Prince By Alaya Dawn Johnson, Narrated By Rebecca Mozo and Lincoln Hoppe

ROW 3: Echo By Pam Muñoz Ryan, Narrated By Mark Bramhall, David de Vries, Andrews MacLeod, and Rebecca Soler (out just earlier this year, a fantastic production of music and magic); Where the Hell is Tesla?: A Novel By Rob Dircks, read by the author (also out earlier this year, a comedic science fictional take on the discovery of a “lost” journal of Nikola Tesla being hidden by a shadowy government agency); The Dinosaur Four By Geoff Jones, Narrated By Nick Podehl (just released last week; what more do you need than the title and cover of this one?); and quite a few audiobooks from author David Drake including All the Way to the Gallows read by R.C. Bray, Cross the Stars: Hammer’s Slammer’s Series read by Jay Snyder, Northworld: Justice: Northworld, Book 3 read by Scott Aiello, Igniting the Reaches: Reaches, Book 1Through the Breach: Reaches, Book 2, and Fireships: Reaches, Book 3 read by Ray Porter, Patriots read by Marc Vietor, and The Military Dimension: Mark II read by Stephen Bel Davies

Slaughterhouse-Five | Kurt Vonnegut Breakfast of Champions | Kurt Vonnegut Bluebeard: The Autobiography of Rabo Karabekian (1916-1988) | Kurt Vonnegut Deadeye Dick | Kurt Vonnegut
Lakota Woman | Mary Crow Dog,Richard Erdoes The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time | Mark Haddon So You've Been Publicly Shamed | Jon Ronson The Forgotten Garden | Kate Morton

ROW 4: A great selection of Kurt Vonnegut audiobooks: Slaughterhouse-Five Narrated By James Franco, Breakfast of Champions Narrated By John Malkovitch; Bluebeard: The Autobiography of Rabo Karabekian (1916-1988)By Narrated By Mark Bramhall; and Deadeye DickNarrated By Sean Runnette; as well as Jailbird Narrated By Richard Ferrone; Fates Worse Than Death: An Autobiographical Collage Narrated By Richard DavidsonSlapstick Narrated By Adam GrupperWampeters, Foma & Granfalloons Narrated By Joe BarrettHocus Pocus Narrated By LJ GanserPalm Sunday Narrated By Tom Stechschulte; A Man Without a Country and While Mortals Sleep: Unpublished Short Fiction Narrated By Norman Dietz; Look at the Birdie: Unpublished Short Fiction Narrated By Christopher E. Welch;  and! at $7.08, Timequake Narrated By Arthur Bishop; and! at $7.47 We Are What We Pretend to Be: The First and Last WorksNarrated By Colin Hanks, Oliver Wyman, and Suzanne Toren

ROW 5: Lakota Woman By Mary Crow Dog and Richard Erdoes, Narrated By Emily Durante; The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time By Mark Haddon, Narrated By Jeff Woodman; So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed By Jon Ronson, read by the author; and The Forgotten Garden By Kate Morton, Narrated By Caroline Lee

Lastly, here’s some that are just barely over $10, only mentioned due to just how highly I recommend them:

Babel-17 | Samuel R. Delany Moxyland | Lauren Beukes The Man in the High Castle | Philip K. Dick The Creative Fire: Book One of Ruby's Song | Brenda Cooper

UNABRIDGED
  • By Samuel R. Delany
  • Narrated By Stefan Rudnicki for $10.48 — This is one of the great all time works of science fiction, read by one of the masters of the audiobook form, with excellent production touches to boot: “Babel-17, winner of the Nebula Award for best novel of the year, is a fascinating tale of a famous poet bent on deciphering a secret language that is the key to the enemy’s deadly force, a task that requires she travel with a splendidly improbable crew to the site of the next attack.”
UNABRIDGED
  • By Lauren Beukes
  • Narrated By Nico Evers-Swindell for $10.49 — Beukes’ 2008 debut: “What’s really going on? Who’s really in charge? You have NO. F***KING. IDEA. In the near future, an art-school dropout, an AIDS baby, a tech-activist, and an RPG-obsessed blogger live in a world where your online identity is at least as important as your physical one. Getting disconnected is a punishment worse than imprisonment, but someone’s got to stand up to Government Inc. – whatever the cost.”
UNABRIDGED
  • By Lauren Beukes
  • Narrated By Christine Lakin, Terra Deva, Sunil Mohatra, Robert Morgan Fisher, J. D. Jackson for $10.50 — “A criminal mastermind creates violent tableaus in abandoned Detroit warehouses in Lauren Beukes’s new genre-bending novel of suspense. Detective Gabriella Versado has seen a lot of bodies. But this one is unique even by Detroit’s standards: half boy, half deer, somehow fused together. As stranger and more disturbing bodies are discovered, how can the city hold on to a reality that is already tearing at its seams?” (Meanwhile, The Shining Girls: A Novel is $12.24, another full cast production, another amazing book and audiobook.)
UNABRIDGED
  • By Philip K. Dick
  • Narrated By Jeff Cummings for $1.049 — Finally adapted (and it’s adapted fairly broadly) for the small screen by Amazon, Dick’s alternate history masterpiece of a world where the United States lost World War 2: “It’s America in 1962. Slavery is legal once again. The few Jews who still survive hide under assumed names. In San Francisco the I Ching is as common as the Yellow Pages. All because some 20 years earlier the United States lost a war – and is now occupied jointly by Nazi Germany and Japan. This harrowing, Hugo Award-winning novel is the work that established Philip K. Dick as an innovator in science fiction while breaking the barrier between science fiction and the serious novel of ideas. In it Dick offers a haunting vision of history as a nightmare from which it may just be possible to awake.”
UNABRIDGED
  • By Brenda Cooper
  • Narrated By Yetta Gottesman — At $10.36, this first book in Cooper’s “Character-driven, social science fiction inspired by the life of Evita Peron” gets things kicked off with a bang. “Ruby Martin expects to spend her days repairing robots while avoiding the dangerous peacekeeping forces that roam the corridors of the generation ship the Creative Fire. The social structure of the ship is rigidly divided, with Ruby and her friends on the bottom. Then a ship-wide accident gives Ruby a chance to fight for the freedom she craves.” And another Cooper title, Mayan December, read by Allyson Johnson, is also at this price.

The Blade Itself | Joe Abercrombie Before They Are Hanged | Joe Abercrombie Last Argument of Kings | Joe Abercrombie Best Served Cold | Joe Abercrombie

Lastly! (Well, almost done.) Joe Abercrombie’s “First Law” novels narrated by Steven Pacey for $10.38 each? Yes. The Blade ItselfBefore They Are Hanged, and Last Argument of Kings tell the stories of Logen Ninefingers, infamous barbarian, Captain Jezal, dashing officer, Inquisitor Glokta, cripple turned torturer, and the wizard Bayaz, set amidst war and political intrigue; Best Served Cold sees the action a bit more focused on one story of revenge. Another fantastic book in the series, Red Country is $12.74, so depending on your credit situation it might still be something of a good deal for you.

 

And, really finally, and back to the bargain basement prices, I need to glance further through Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and see which ones are enough of a bargain to pick up now; quite a few at $3.47 and my kids are big fans. Speaking of my kids favorite series and $3.47, Luke Daniels reads several of Winter Morgan’s Minecraft adventures, starting with Quest for the Diamond Sword: A Minecraft Gamer’s Adventure.

—-

Okay! That’s a lot of on-sale audiobooks. Which ones did you pick up? Which ones do you recommend the most? You’ve got 3 days and counting. Tick-tock!

UPDATE 2016-10-10: Here’s some new titles since December which also fall into the 50% off sale, currently ongoing through tonight on science fiction and fantasy titles, starting with a group of the nearly all fantastic Tor.com Publishing novella line — and keep in mind that quite a few of the 2016 titles were already included in my wrapup from last year, as pre-orders were included — and a few others out from Macmillan Audio, starting with some of the shorter ones for $3.77 each:

The Jewel and Her Lapidary | Fran Wilde A Whisper of Southern Lights | Tim Lebbon House of the Rising Son | Sherrilyn Kenyon

UNABRIDGED
  • By Fran Wilde
  • Narrated By Mahvesh Murad
UNABRIDGED
  • By Tim Lebbon
  • Narrated By Scott Sowers
House of the Rising Son (Series: Dark-Hunter, Book 23)
UNABRIDGED
    • By Sherrilyn Kenyon
    • Narrated By Fred Berman

Next a couple more from that same category at $7.08 each:

Return of Souls | Andy Remic Pride's Spell: A Sin du Jour Affair | Matt Wallace

Return of Souls (Series: No Man’s Land, Book 2)
UNABRIDGED
    • By Andy Remic
    • Narrated By Tim Gerard Reynolds
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