Audiobooks, radio-drama and polls

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Last poll is over and for a majority of fantasy readers (as precise as the sampling can go with 9 out of 12), Tolkien seems to be the usual introduction to adult fantasy. I don't think it should come as a surprise but still with that many choices these days one can wonder as to why it's still the case. I also think that it's a good enough recommendation for a first novel in the genre but probably not the best.


My next subject of interest (and poll based on it) is audiobooks. I have listened to a couple of them so far and I was usually satisfied. I don't feel that listening to one is the same as reading a book (mainly because of the pace I think) but anyway I don't really consider the comparison when I do it. In a normal day, I have time to read on the ferry (a short 15 minutes crossing) while going to work and coming back home, at least 45 minutes to 1 hour during lunch break, on occasion during the evening and a very indeterminate time before going to sleep. That's great but I also have to walk 20/25 minutes from the boat to the office. Meaning? 40/50 minute while my only source for a fantasy world immersion is my mp3 player and so came the audiobooks.

As I said, even if I don't feel that it's totally the same as having the book in your hand, still it's a good experience if you concentrate a little on your hearing. Pondering this and considering my discussion about an audiobook I listened to with someone who read the novel, I can safely say that the end the result is almost the same for me, that I've gone through the book effectually. So far I only reviewed one book that I listened to instead of picking up the real thing. It was Elantris by Brandon Sanderson. The quality of the narration was good. I'm listening right now to Acacia by David Anthony Durham and Midwinter by Matthew Sturges should be the next on the list.

One of the few problems coming up sometimes is the quality of the narration... well in fact everything comes back to this. It can really ruin a good book (sometimes more so when a guy speaks for the feminine characters or vice-versa) but in the other hand it can also give a kind of flavour boost to some characters. Moreover, just a little detail but at least you usually get to hear the right pronunciation of a name (with fantasy names it's a must!). I know that it can be more annoying to "rewind" a missed passage and it may be longer to listen to for fast reader than reading the physical book but it's not really a competition. So in the end, I wouldn't exchange a good old book for his audio counterpart but I'm glad they exist and you should try it.

By the way, speaking of audiobooks, since Eion Colfer's And another thing... was a big part of SFF actuality lately, something else came back to my mind (as well as my latest kick ass moment). The first "audio book" I actually listened to was the radio-drama of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. utThe sound quality wasn't top notch b this audio act was incredible for the time it was recorded (way better than the awful movie made from the book). Maybe the fact that Douglas Adams series is actually quite great in my opinion has something to do with it. Anyone else had the chance to listen to it?

I also discovered that radio-drama was not extinct (I know, we are in the twenty-first century so it's not actually coming from the radio anymore). Warbreaker and Elantris by Brandon Sanderson were released by GraphicAudio as "a unique audio entertainment experience that features a full cast of actors, sound effects and cinematic music". I have not tried any of their titles but I look forward to do it someday. And I ask again, anyone tried one?

Now aside from wanting to hear your thoughts on your experience with audiobooks or radio-drama/audio entertainment experience, I will ask you my next poll :

Have you ever listened to an audiobook?


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