The creature telling this story, a security unit tasked with protecting a planetary survey team, calls itself "Murderbot." It's depressed and withdrawn, and Kevin R. Free performs the character perfectly, giving its voice languid tones and a slow-speaking pace, layered with an unsettling tension that hints at dangerous rage. There are similar subtle notes in the other... Read More
In a shocking, realistic near-future, society lives and dies by a digital feed--a pervasive and personal curation of information that is supposedly private and secure. P.J. Ochlan narrates as lobbyist Dag Calhoun becomes swept up in a thrilling conspiracy in which the lauded feed falls under the control of a shadowy organization. Ochlan's straightforward narration complements... Read More
Mia Barron narrates this sci-fi tale of newly minted engineers and life partners Adda and Iridian's struggle against a pirate ship's Artificial Intelligence. Barron's delivery, though matter-of-fact in tone, makes the struggle completely believable and highly entertaining. The mysterious AI has gone mad and is trying to kill all the station residents and shoot down ships trying... Read More
Robin Miles narrates the story of a young woman who is the first of her people to be accepted as a student at prestigious Oomza University, located far across the galaxy. A slight sense of detachment filters into parts of Miles's narration, but she skillfully balances the expected coming-of-age story of a young woman leaving home with the unexpected survival story due to a... Read More
With distinctive accents and an engaging tone, Robin Miles continues the story of Binti, a Himba girl and mathematical genius who is the first of her people to attend the prestigious intergalactic Oomza University. After a year away, she is returning home, along with the flat-voiced Meduse jellyfish-like alien, Okwu, she befriended after she helped prevent tragic war with its... Read More
Narrator Dan Bittner throws himself into this science-fiction adventure with the enthusiasm the story begs for. Cade Sura grew up certain that his older brother, Tristan, is the Paragon who will reclaim the galaxy from the evil Praxis Empire. When Cade ends up in Tristan's place, he has to lean on his misfit crew of friends to save the day. Bittner's narration is bold and... Read More
Narrating military science fiction requires a muscular performance, a good range of energy for the action scenes and technical descriptions, a connection with the story's moments of humor, and a broad catalogue of voicings to represent the diverse cast of military, civilian, and alien characters. R.C. Bray delivers. He's terrific in the role of Joe Bishop, an affable soldier... Read More
For the past 10 years, Manhattan and most of the Northern Hemisphere have suffered under perpetual darkness. The city rots as sin and corruption run rampant. As daylight finally begins to break through, a serial killer's rampage throws the city into chaos. Narrator Paul Heitsch portrays small-town cop Jon Phillips, who attempts to stop the serial killer and avoid becoming... Read More
Generations after humans have left their planet to a new species, a villager named Lobey is searching for a lost love. This short novel is narrated by Stefan Rudnicki in low, rumbling tones that evoke oral storytelling. His steady pace and resonant tone highlight the dreamlike quality of Lobey's odyssey and the story's blend of traditional mythologies and elements of... Read More
Brittany Pressley narrates this bone-chilling thriller set in 1997 and many possible futures. Shannon Moss, an agent in the secret Deep Time program, recounts her investigation into a multiple murder case in her past. At the same time, she's racing against the destruction of mankind, called the Terminus, which comes closer every year. The plot is complex, and descriptions of... Read More
Narrator Wil Wheaton's amiable, engaging performance perfectly suits author Scalzi's blend of snarky dialogue and twisty plot. Part near-future sci-fi and part police procedural, the story follows FBI agent Chris Shane as he investigates the suspicious death of a professional athlete. Hilketa is a wildly popular sport played by "threeps"--robot-like machines controlled by the... Read More
Narrator Nigel Patterson faced a few challenges when taking on Anna Kavan's novel. First, the story is hard to classify. Is it science fiction? Maybe. Dystopian avant-garde? Yup. Sometimes difficult to follow? Indeed. Patterson does a great job keeping listeners engaged as the story shifts from a looming ice apocalypse to dream sequences and a bizarre love story. It's a... Read More
Peter Ganim's considerable experience narrating stories set in the Middle East makes him an obvious choice for this science fiction collection set in Iraq. His accurate pronunciation of the Arabic words sprinkled throughout these stories is a key part of listeners' feeling transported to another country. Ganim deploys his considerable range to capture the colorful characters... Read More
In the near future, a shady organization sends eight convicts and one tyrannical overseer on a high-risk mission to Mars. What could possibly go wrong? Narrator William Hope is a good match for protagonist Frank Kittridge. Frank is a relatively decent everyman, wearily resigned to a life sentence for murdering his son's drug dealer. But then comes the unlikely chance to build a... Read More
It has to be difficult to provide the voices for an entire city. Yet that's just what narrator Robin Miles does wonderfully in this mystery set aboard the space station Cuidad de Cielo (City in the Sky). Complicating matters is the fact that this outpost, a jumping-off point to the stars, is populated by outcasts of many nationalities who are seeking new lives. So, in addition... Read More
Narrators Daniel Thomas May and Caitlin Davies breathe life into the large cast of Burke's debut science fiction. Humanity spreads to the stars and colonizes a planet named Pax, with each generation facing new challenges, including sentient plants and an alien civilization. The story's abrupt leaps forward in time can be jarring, but May and Davies both excel at utilizing... Read More
A great advantage to having an author perform her own audiobook is that she knows what characters are thinking. The strongest feature of Mur Lafferty's narration is the insight she brings to the way lines of dialogue should be spoken and where emphasis should be placed in sentences. Lafferty's voice is clear, and her pacing is good, but her range is limited, and she makes... Read More
Heath Miller narrates a story that is equal parts scathing social commentary and hilarious send-up of music competitions. In order to prove to the rest of the galaxy that they are sentient and avoid complete annihilation, humanity must compete in an interstellar grand prix of song--if the band chosen to represent them can make it to the competition. Miller shines as the... Read More
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, two familiar rogues become embroiled in a quest to save civilization from certain doom. Marc Thompson, Daniel José Older, and January LaVoy co-narrate a story that spans 20 years and 12 (or so) parsecs. Having three narrators helps to keep the story's three timelines distinct: Thompson narrates the bulk of the story, which takes place... Read More
After THE FORCE AWAKENS revitalized Star Wars and launched a new film trilogy, THE LAST JEDI arrived as the thoughtful, challenging second chapter. The novelization, and the audiobook in particular, further enriches the story. Top-notch production values, ambient sound effects, and the iconic orchestral music immediately immerse the listener in a galaxy far, far away. And Marc... Read More
There's nothing like military science fiction to challenge a narrator. Take, for example, this first audiobook in the Breaker of Empires series. Its privileged protagonist, Sikander North, comes from the colony of Kashmir (think India), and he must battle to earn his place on the CSS HECTOR, an Aquilian Commonwealth (think Britain) starship. The HECTOR is assigned to protect an... Read More
The GraphicAudio people outdid themselves with this story of T'Challa, the Black Panther, ruler of the hidden African nation of Wakanda. Narrator Ken Jackson knows how to build suspense, as does the rest of the cast, especially Zeke Alton, who plays the role of T'Challa with just the right touch of heroism and imperious attitude. The special effects are fantastic, but the real... Read More
Julia Whicker's debut novel portrays a new Dark Ages set 500 years in the future, when a harsh religion is combined with magic and science is anathema. Narrator Caitlin Davis adopts a conversational tone that contrasts with the story's murders, beheading, and general violence. She tells the story primarily from the point of view of Aurora, a girl who is victimized by her family... Read More
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