Audible SF/F NOTE: moved to The AudioBookaneers
The release week for June 19 brings even more summer big-idea science fiction, led by two much-anticipated novels. The first (though how do you pick between them?) is Existence by David Brin, Narrated by Kevin T. Collins, Robin Miles, and L. J. Ganser for Audible Frontiers, concurrent with its hardcover and e-book release from Tor Books. At 32 and a half hours, it’s no lightweight, combining several point of view characters along with multiple “non-fiction” tracks as Brin follows the story of an alien artifact and the future of humanity and Earth. In early reviews, there’s an in-depth and balanced review at Far Beyond Reality, and an overwhelmingly positive review at io9.


Second (or 1-B, or 1-A, or whatever) is The Long Earth: A Novel By Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter, Narrated by Michael Fenton-Stevens for Harper Audio, concurrent with its hardcover and e-book release from Harper. A much smaller bite than Existence at 11.5 hours, it concerns the idea that many alternate worlds and Earths exist, and that people can learn to fairly easily step between them; the principle storyline follows an expedition into The Long Earth. “The first novel in an exciting new collaboration between Discworld creator Terry Pratchett and the acclaimed SF writer Stephen Baxter, The Long Earth transports readers to the ends of the earth - and far beyond. All it takes is a single step… .”

The first of two more novels I’ll note above the “read more” link is The Reckoning By Alma Katsu, Narrated by Laurel Lefkow for Simon & Schuster audio: “Alma Katsu delivers the highly anticipated follow-up to her haunting novel (The Taker) about an immortal woman learning firsthand that the heart wants what the heart wants … no matter how high the stakes.”


The second is The Mists of Avalon (1982) By Marion Zimmer Bradley, Narrated by Davina Porter for Recorded Books — collecting the previously released 4-part 1993 recordings into one nearly 51-hour audiobook, currently available for one credit. “In this epic work, Bradley follows the arc of the timeless tale from the perspective of its previously marginalized female characters: Celtic priestess Morgaine, Gwenhwyfar, and High Priestess Viviane.”


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The absolutely mammoth release week for Tuesday, May 23, is led for me by the much-anticipated and well-regarded 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson, narrated by Sarah Zimmerman for Hachette Audio, out concurrently with its publication in hardcover and e-book by Orbit. At 19 hrs and 15 mins, it seems a pretty good length for exploring a science fiction world (not too long, not too short). Over on Scalzi’s Whatever blog, Robinson talks about the Big Idea behind the novel, there’s an official site which lets you build your own asteroid terrarium, and here’s the publisher description: “The year is 2312. Scientific and technological advances have opened gateways to an extraordinary future. Earth is no longer humanity’s only home; new habitats have been created throughout the solar system on moons, planets, and in between. But in this year, 2312, a sequence of events will force humanity to confront its past, its present, and its future. The first event takes place on Mercury, on the city of Terminator, itself a miracle of engineering on an unprecedented scale. It is an unexpected death, but one that might have been foreseen. For Swan Er Hong, it is an event that will change her life. Swan was once a woman who designed worlds. Now she will be led into a plot to destroy them.”


The Alchemist of Souls: Night’s Masque, Book 1 By Anne Lyle, Narrated by Michael Page for Angry Robot on Brilliance Audio — Length:15 hrs and 9 mins — Out just a bit earlier this year in print and e-book, read by Page, the narrator of the (deservedly) award-winning audiobook for Scott Lynch’s The Lies of Locke Lamora. Again, there’s a Big Idea piece from the author, and here’s the publisher: “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.”

Seed (2011) By Rob Ziegler, Narrated by Nicola Barber for Audible Frontiers — Length:12 hrs and 45 mins. Seed is Ziegler’s debut novel: “It”s the dawn of the 22nd century, and the world has fallen apart. Decades of war and resource depletion have toppled governments. The ecosystem has collapsed. A new dust bowl sweeps the American West. The United States has become a nation of migrants - starving masses of nomads who seek out a living in desert wastelands and encampments outside government seed-distribution warehouses. In this new world, there is a new power. Satori is more than just a corporation, she is an intelligent, living city that grew out of the ruins of Denver. …”


Out last Wednesday from Recorded Books was All Men of Genius (2011) By Lev AC RosenNarrated by Emily Gray — Length:16 hrs and 57 mins — “Set in a steampunk version of Victorian England, Lev AC Rosen’s acclaimed debut novel, All Men of Genius, follows the fantastical adventures of Violet Adams. Determined to attend the prestigious Illyria College, Violet gains entrance by masquerading as her twin brother Ashton. But continuing the scheme turns out to be difficult - especially when “Ashton” is faced with blackmail, killer automata, and possible romance with a young duke.”

And continuing its almost weekly march upon bigtime backlists, Audible Frontiers this week brings us a wide selection of the works of science fiction author David Brin, in the run-up to Brin’s forthcoming Existence (June 17). The post-apocalyptic 1985 novel The Postman, which indeed spawned the Mel Gibson film, is narrated by David LeDoux:


Also new in audio are: Earth (1990 Narrated by David DeVries and Kristin Calbley), Kiln People (2002) and The Practice Effect (1984, Narrated by Andy Caploe), and Glory Season (1993, Narrated by Claire Christie).

Lastly, also new from Audible Frontiers are the first two books in Tim Akers's Burn Cycle, both narrated by Jay Snyder, beginning with Heart of Veridon: Burn Cycle, Book 1 (2009, Solaris Books):


And continuing with Dead of Veridon: Burn Cycle, Book 2 (2011) — 9.5 hours each, these novels follow “Jacob Burn: pilot, criminal and disgraced son of one of the founding families of the ancient city of Veridon.”


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