Archive for June 18th, 2015
(click the image for credits and view the original site)
There is an interesting statement at the original site, about seeing this view from a ship. My Spec Fic sensibilities took hold, and started spinning off into world building: Is this a normal structure, or manmade – like a giant submersible thing? What would it be like to encounter this from the sea? Encounter the sea from above the cliffs? What would the society living there be like? Any vessels? Caves that could serve as a port? This speaks to me as something principally for a Fantasy setting, but could see it work for science fiction – a crash landing perhaps?
Right, I just mentioned my recent embrace of audiobooks, including getting back to my gaming roots with RA Salvatore’s Drizzt short-fiction anthology “featuring an all-star cast.” (Disclaimer: I picked it up when it was first released – free! – as an anniversary special, celebrating 25 years of Drizzt, before it went to it’s regular price. Each story is also available individually, outside of the antho edition.)
Of all of the audiobooks I’ve listened to so far, not only is this the outlier (the only anthology, at this point), it is also the best example of driving the point home of sampling before committing (whenever possible). Twelve stories, twelve different narrators, and each… different, and not necessarily in good way.
Wil Wheaton and Al Yankovick’s entries stand out as high-bars of the collection, as does Michael Chiklis’s reading.
I had issues with the stories performed by Felicia Day and Melissa Rauch… With Day’s, there were some audio issues in the first part of the recording that detracted from the experience. Rauch’s came from her pacing – getting faster (and with hints of her BBT Bernadette voice coming through) during some of the fight sequences. Both solid performances, don’t get me wrong. Honestly, even with the tech glitches, Day’s is still one of the top entries.
Most of the other performances are solid, but there are two that stand out as frustrating additions. (If you’ve already looked at the comments on the Audible page, you’ll already know where I’m going here.)
The Ice-T entry, Comrades at Odds, was… difficult. I thought the performance was better than some of the Audible comments might lead one to believe. I thought it was generally a good reading, overall. The problem I had, though, was the pronounced inclusion of the “w” in “sword.” Considering the story runs for about an hour and a half, and includes a character exchanging dialogue with a sentient sword, and sword fights, and the same sentient sword lusting for blood, and more swordly swording… hence the label “difficult.”
Honestly, the closest thing to a “lemon” in the collection is the closing story, read by David Duchovny. The reading felt flat, uninspired, and like he would rather be doing anything other than reading about a dying Wulfgar. Maybe it’s his ivy league poetry background… Maybe it’s the direction he was given. Maybe he didn’t feel a connection to the text. At least the story was less than 30 minutes.
Considering I have yet to read any of the Drizzt novels (I know, bad former Forgotten Realms player), it was a good way to reconnect with the genre. I found myself thinking about finally getting around to reading the novels at last, or at the very least, looking hard ad the audio editions.
If you’ve checked my “Year in Reading” page recently, you’ll have noticed I’ve started actively engaging with audiobooks. They are things I’ve known about for years – book on tape, and all that – and I’ve even stocked up on a few, years ago, when iTunes had some on sale (before I discovered the blissful hell that is Audible*), but I had never really listened to any of them, for a variety of reasons. This year, though, with my reading slowing to near glacial progress (courtesy of three kids, aged 3 or younger), I decided to take the plunge and start working through the small library I had accumulated. I’ve already gotten through more audiobooks than I have read this year (in the span of, maybe two months).
I have thoughts on specific titles – those will be separate posts – but the main thing I want to say here, now, is voice my regret that I waited this long to make the leap to listening to audio versions. (My chief concern at this point, is being selective in what works to pursue – namely, good stories and good performances.)
* My thoughts on Audible… On the one hand, it’s an Amazon company. (Enough said, there.) On the other, their “credit” subscription/pricing model is a no-brainer for getting into audiobooks, especially if you’re into epic fantasy (where the book may be anywhere upward of $40+, and 30-40 hours [or more]). I call it a “blissful hell” simply because of the selection (huge).
I have come to a decision about one of my features.. the “Repurposing” series I have been running over the last few years. It’s been a fun thing, and one I’ve enjoyed searching for… but my time to find interesting places (with an interesting collection of pictures combined with interesting backstories) is just something that sucks more time than I can justify at this point in the game.
To that end, I’m (mostly) discontinuing it as it has been done… Repurposing it (ha!) is more accurate. You see, the key reasoning behind the thread’s very existence was for the pictures (and backstories) as possible story fodder for some future point. Instead, I plan on turning it into an “art” platform – things that suggest stories – things that I find cool or interesting from a handful of sites. Just the images, maybe with a brief prompt or question, or snippet of related free-writing.
What this means:
These will NOT be pictures that I have taken (those are reserved for my “Photo Friday” series)
These MAY influence my “Fictional Echoes” series, but only if I feel compelled to work with an image for more than a brief scene – if I start something for a Thursday post and feel compelled to expand on it. (Odds are, those instances would be delayed by a few weeks).
Here’s the challenging part… I need a name to morph the series to. Something pithy, possibly incorporating or playing off the day of the week (Thursday)… any suggestions?