annathepiper: (Book Geek)

The DispatcherThe Dispatcher by John Scalzi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Took me a while to finally get to this, since it’s been sitting around on my computer ever since it was originally released last year. I finally realized I had to sync it down to my phone so I could actually listen to it–which I have finally now done. And I am pleased to report it was quite satisfying.

I’ve generally always liked what I’ve read of Scalzi, although sometimes I like him better as a blogger than I do as a storyteller. In this case, though, I’d heard him do a reading of a chapter out of this at a recent convention, and I liked the premise well enough that I leapt on the offered free audiobook when it was released. Bonus that it was narrated by Zachary Quinto.

Story-wise, I found this to rank pretty high on the list of what Scalzi stories I’ve read (or in this case listened to) so far. The deliberate lack of description on a lot of his characters sometimes leaves me discontent, but in this case it worked well, and contributed to the lean, tight delivery of the story. Plus, given the overall schtick of the worldbuilding–i.e., if you’re murdered, chances are very high you will come back to life at home in your bed–was intriguing and added a dash of interesting philosophical discussion in some of the character dialogue.

Audiobook-wise, I found Quinto’s narration engaging as well. As one would certainly hope with a high-caliber actor, he brought some skill to his reading. Doing audiobook narration is not quite the same thing as a performance in a full-cast storyline, but Quinto did a great job differentiating the characters as he read for them. I was particularly impressed by the changes in his delivery for the female characters, particularly Detective Langdon. None of his changes in vocal delivery were blatant, but they were distinctive, and it was always clear to me who was speaking even when dialogue tags were not provided by the actual prose.

All in all a great little story. I liked it well enough that I’ll be buying the ebook edition, given that I originally got the audiobook while it was available for free. Four stars.

View all my reviews

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Castle and Beckett and Book)
The Tropic of Serpents

The Tropic of Serpents

Acquired at VCON as freebies in my and Dara’s swag bags:

  • Far Arena and Avim’s Oath, by Lynda Williams. SF. These happen to be books 5 and 6 of her Okal Rel Saga, so there’s some question as to whether I could read these without having read books 1-4. I went and found the author’s website, where I learned that this saga is apparently a shared world effort. So I pinged the relevant Twitter address and am informed that I should be able to read these, though I may miss some backstory as a result. We’ll see what happens.

Acquired as a freebie from Audible:

  • The Dispatcher, by John Scalzi. SF. This is Mr. Scalzi’s latest novella release, and as he describes in this post on his blog, it’s currently available as a free audio download from Audible. (A print and ebook edition will be coming later.) I heard him do a reading of part of this at Westercon this past summer, and found it quite entertaining, definitely enough to get me interested in hearing the whole story. Plus, I want to hear how Zachary Quinto handles audiobook narration!

And, acquired as ebooks from Kobo:

  • The Tropic of Serpents, The Voyage of the Basilisk, and “From the Editorial Page of the Falchester Weekly Review”, all by Marie Brennan, all part of her Memoirs of Lady Trent series. I have already plowed through Tropic of Serpents, and have enjoyed it immensely. 😀 Basilisk is Book 3, and chances are high I will be acquiring this in print ASAP. The last title of these three is a Tor.com short, and takes place right after Book 3. I went ahead and snagged it to support the author, even though it can be read on Tor.com here.

50 for the year.

ETA: Whoops, forgot this month’s Tor.com ebook freebie: Range of Ghosts, by Elizabeth Bear. Make that 51 for the year.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Aubrey Orly?)

I received a very nice little holiday card from friend and reader Kaye. Thank you, Kaye! In it, she notes that she’d love to see/hear audiobook editions of my books in 2016.

General public reminder: there IS an audiobook edition of Valor of the Healer, though so far sales of Vengeance and Victory have not yet warranted Carina shelling out to do audio books of those. If you think they should, best thing I can recommend is that you go buy those ebooks and encourage others to do so. And, of course, buy the audiobook edition of Valor and show Carina that there is a demand for this. You can find the audiobook editions of Valor on Audible/Amazon and iTunes. Check the Valor of the Healer page–you’ll see Audible listed on the “Buy the Book” button at the top, and all of the various places I know about on the “Buy the Audiobook” button down at the bottom.

Meanwhile: if there is interest out there for audiobook editions of Faerie Blood and Bone Walker, note that this WOULD be something I’d need to shell out for in order to hire a proper narrator. While it would be theoretically possible for Dara and I to do it ourselves with the equipment we have available in Dara’s studio, we learned from doing even those three-minute excerpts for the Bone Walker soundtrack that that kind of work is very time consuming and intensive. And I do not have the time to do full book-length audio editions myself, not when I also have a full time day job AND need to actually, y’know, write and stuff.

And before I can consider a Kickstarter to raise funds to do audiobook editions of Faerie Blood and Bone Walker, I REALLY need to clear my prior Kickstarter obligations first. So audiobooks in 2016, not really feasible. 2017…. maybe.

If there is enough interest. So if anyone reading this might be interested in supporting audiobook editions of the Free Court of Seattle books, talk to me. If you want more audio of the Rebels of Adalonia books, go talk to Carina!

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: Han Says NO (Han Says NO)

So by and large I’m almost entirely happy with the new releases of iOS 9 and El Capitan. I’ve seen significant performance improvements on both my laptop and my mobile devices. But there’s one big pain point with me still, and that’s Apple deciding in its infinite wisdom to punt audiobooks out of Music on iOS and over into iBooks.

You could argue either way about where audiobooks actually belong. That’s not the part that pisses me off. The part that pisses me off is that since the vast majority of audiobooks I have are the full-cast audio Doctor Who adventures from Big Finish, I’ve set up a bunch of playlists so that Dara and I can listen to these in release sequence when we’re on trips. So, for example, I’ve got a “Fourth Doctor Season 1”, “Fourth Doctor Season 2”, etc.

Now, as of iOS 9, the playlists I’d set up don’t sync to my phone anymore. Even though I’d set them to do that. And since iBooks is not set up to deal with playlists, this means I have no way whatsoever to recreate that ordered sequence and to be able to know which adventure Dara and I should listen to next.

I see a few different things I can try to do to deal with this, none of which are optimal.

One: Rename all the audio adventures so that it’s obvious what the listening sequence should be.

Two: Get into the settings on each adventure and change the media type to ‘Music’ so they’ll show up in the Music app. Which would also lose me the ability to keep track of where I left off listening to any given adventure, which is after all THE ENTIRE POINT of my downloading them from Big Finish in audiobook form to begin with.

Three: Keep a running list of the listening sequence in Notes or in a file on Dropbox. In other words, an externally managed playlist, which, again, I SHOULD NOT HAVE TO DO BECAUSE I HAD THAT FUNCTIONALITY ALREADY GRR.

Four: Find a third-party app to manage my audiobooks if possible.

I’m willing to pay for a third-party app if a good one exists. Failing that, I’m probably going to grumpily keep a running list in Notes as to what the listening sequence should be, since that seems like the least amount of effort involved.

But does anybody out there know of good audiobook managers for iOS? Sing out if you do! And if you’re also an audio listener on iOS, you might consider going to Apple’s feedback page for iBooks on iOS and expressing your displeasure how they’ve broken things.

Mirrored from angelahighland.com.

annathepiper: (Alan and Sean Ordinary Day)

I shall now send out props to userinfommegaera as well as userinfoirysangel, both of whom highly recommended the audiobook editions of the Amelia Peabody novels!

Having now listened to the audio of Book 1, I can say, oh my yes, Ms. Barbara Rosenblat does a delightful job. Her voice and accent are perfect for Amelia, very brisk and efficient, yet with a touch of refinement and humor; moreover, she’s pretty decent at varying her reading to account for other character voices. She was excellent at differentiating her Amelia Voice from her Evelyn Voice, and she wasn’t bad either with most of the male voices. It helped a lot as well that she was pretty good with accents, too, which was very helpful for French and Italian side characters in the story. I liked her rendition of Walter’s voice, which sounded suitably youthful yet still male, and her voice for Lucas had this foppish sort of almost-lisp to it that added a whole new dimension to that character for me.

About the only voice of hers at all that I took any issue with was Emerson’s–but on the other hand, given that Elizabeth Peters describes Emerson’s voice as a resounding bass, there’s only so much a woman reading the story is going to be able to do in order to approximate him. She did do a rather neat thing with Emerson’s lines, though: delivering them in a very gruff and raspy sort of tone which struck me as odd at first yet quickly grew on me. It might not necessarily be swoonable by modern standards per se, but it was absolutely in character for Emerson, so I have to give Ms. Rosenblat huge props for that.

It’s probably a lovely measure of how well I enjoyed her narration of the story that I plowed through it pretty much as non-stop as possible, on the way to work, through most of my work day that particular day, and on my way home as well. Highly, highly recommended for Amelia Peabody fans, and I’ll definitely be getting more of these. I can’t wait to hear how she reads for Ramses!

Final note: I bought the audiobook off of iTunes, and did notice multiple audiobook editions of several of the books in the series, done by different narrators. Barbara Rosenblat was the one I listened to, so doublecheck for her name if you go looking to buy one of these audiobooks yourself!

Mirrored from annathepiper.org.

annathepiper: (Alan and Sean Ordinary Day)

I shall now send out props to userinfommegaera as well as userinfoirysangel, both of whom highly recommended the audiobook editions of the Amelia Peabody novels!

Having now listened to the audio of Book 1, I can say, oh my yes, Ms. Barbara Rosenblat does a delightful job. Her voice and accent are perfect for Amelia, very brisk and efficient, yet with a touch of refinement and humor; moreover, she’s pretty decent at varying her reading to account for other character voices. She was excellent at differentiating her Amelia Voice from her Evelyn Voice, and she wasn’t bad either with most of the male voices. It helped a lot as well that she was pretty good with accents, too, which was very helpful for French and Italian side characters in the story. I liked her rendition of Walter’s voice, which sounded suitably youthful yet still male, and her voice for Lucas had this foppish sort of almost-lisp to it that added a whole new dimension to that character for me.

About the only voice of hers at all that I took any issue with was Emerson’s–but on the other hand, given that Elizabeth Peters describes Emerson’s voice as a resounding bass, there’s only so much a woman reading the story is going to be able to do in order to approximate him. She did do a rather neat thing with Emerson’s lines, though: delivering them in a very gruff and raspy sort of tone which struck me as odd at first yet quickly grew on me. It might not necessarily be swoonable by modern standards per se, but it was absolutely in character for Emerson, so I have to give Ms. Rosenblat huge props for that.

It’s probably a lovely measure of how well I enjoyed her narration of the story that I plowed through it pretty much as non-stop as possible, on the way to work, through most of my work day that particular day, and on my way home as well. Highly, highly recommended for Amelia Peabody fans, and I’ll definitely be getting more of these. I can’t wait to hear how she reads for Ramses!

Final note: I bought the audiobook off of iTunes, and did notice multiple audiobook editions of several of the books in the series, done by different narrators. Barbara Rosenblat was the one I listened to, so doublecheck for her name if you go looking to buy one of these audiobooks yourself!

Mirrored from annathepiper.org.

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