I haven't read the print version, but Kirsten Potter's reading was wonderful.
The writer! Her enthusiasm and admiration for her subjects: the people, the science, the cultures and the ocean itself, made the book completely engaging. I could practically feel the hissing of the foam on my skin. She put me there.
Non-fiction can be on the dry side. The combination of Potter's narration with Casey's prose made this book lively. Potter's performance is terrific and she's got one of the best voices that I've ever heard performing an audiobook.
Moving Mountains of the Sea
This is a subject matter that interests me and I've read a lot of books on oceanographical topics. This is one of the really good ones. The pacing is great. The descriptions of the locations are sumptuous, adventure-travel porn of the highest order. And Casey really connects with the people she covers. I'll be looking for more books from her. And I will be looking to hear more from Potter as well.
Not the audio version. Perhaps if I'd read it, I would have preferred it. Most of my friends are not fans of speculative fiction or biopunk or the new weird or whatever this book falls into. So I only recommend genre books when I think they are exceptional: Perdido St. Station, The Wind-up Girl, Finch. I don't think this book will be appealing to someone who is not already dipping pretty deeply into the F&SF pool.
It was very stilted. The character she is performing is an unreliable narrator if ever there was one, someone who has been infected by mysterious spores and undergoing transformation into something probably not human, so I understand what she was trying to do. But as a directorial decision, it failed. One scene in the book is treated pretty much the same as the next, one word in a sentence is treated pretty much the same as the next. It did not draw me in at all. It was especially disappointing compared to Oliver Wyman's reading of Finch, which was so charged and so engaging. Granted, McCormick was reading a very different book.
Go back and listen to Finch again.
I'm a fan of Vandermeer's and I may well prefer the print version of this book. I loved Finch, LOVED IT. This book? No. We are offered narrator's vision of events which she presents as a biologist's POV. There's a lot of biology speak that doesn't ring true. Perhaps she was never actually a scientist and that is the point. But I don't want to read a book full of pompous delusional blathering. Sure, I want to know the secret, want to know what area X is and what the authorities think they are doing about it. But it's not pressing because I don't care about the character. I don't know that I'm interested enough to continue with the series.
I'd only recently taken up mushrooming. Meant to learn about mushrooms for years, and finally joined the Connecticut Valley Mycological Society. I'm a nature freak, always have been, but I didn't know much about fungus until I got involved with the club. The east coast is not the mushroom mecca that the west coast is, but you can still find almost all of the species covered in the book, if not in such astonishing abundance (less so with the droughts that are hurting us all where ever we are).
I've had a taste of the way your heart pounds when you find a flush of chanterelles or trumpets, sprinted under the canopy to pounce on a king bolete (as if it could run away). So to listen to the buzz of finding hundreds of them, oh my!
This was the right book at the right time for me.
When the author gets lost trying to navigate through the fallen trees on a burn site.
He sounded like the kind of guy you'd go mushrooming with.
It made me hungry for MUSHROOMS.
I actually listened to this while I was out in the woods looking for mushrooms. Found a nice big flush of Hydnum repandum with my earbuds in!
It was jaw dropping and terrifying. Stephen King should quit and start writing for Sesame Street because this truth is so much more frightening than any fiction. I often listen to books when I go to bed, and dear god, the dreams I had when I fell asleep when this book was running! But it is also encouraging, in that somebody must have our backs, because it is a flipping miracle when haven't been blow to kingdom come a dozen times over.
Characters? This was nonfiction. I wish it was fiction.
Rescue workers who head back to save people even when doing so is likely to kill them. All those guys! How can you not be moved? In the big karmic book, it offsets those douchebag politicians who are too cheap/stupid to budget safety measures and the military narcissists who think atomic weapons are a good idea. But karma doesn't necessarily save our ridiculous ape species from extincting ourselves.
He was clear, had good pacing, and almost matter of fact.
The rescue workers. See above "favorite characters.
Read this or listen to it. While we are all sweating it, what with the economic collapse and all the gun violence and the poisoned water and compromised food supply and fracking and what all, you owe it to yourself to learn about the ways we seem to be determined to hasten our own extermination.
Yes. It works on many levels so you can approach it from different angles.
The way the story moved back and forth between Fan's uncomfortable, often frightening experiences and the mythologizing of those experiences by the residents of B-More.
He was not awkward with characters who were children or female. He moved seamlessly between the characters, and kept the story flowing even as the mood changed.
Reg! To finally meet him!
I don't have the print version, YET. You bet I'll get it now.
Perdido Street Station. Because it is weird and wonderful and disturbing and haunting.
Have not had the pleasure.
Oh holy fuck no. It took me weeks. I had to go back and listen to chapters a couple of times. I will listen to this again and read it too. I don't usually do that. I'm an impatient person. But this book got under my skin. Ambergris is hardly a place you'd want to visit, but it kept pulling me there.
Last fall I took up mushroom collecting. I joined a mushroom club. I'd been wandering through the woods for ages, but now I was doing it with a purpose. I had "Finch" loaded on my iPod in July when I went on a club (Connecticut Valley Mycological Society. Amazing group. Amazing people.) foray, a group mushroom hunt.After the foray, I headed up to RI for a family reunion (happily not thermonuclear). On the way, I stopped at a spot I'd seen vast numbers of chanterelles in Exeter. Sadly, it was dry dry dry with only a couple of dubious Russulas, so i headed on to Jamestown and a relaxed dinner with the family. Slept fitfully on a lumpy couch that can only have come from some proto IKEA. It was in a high-ceilinged room with open windows on all sides and there was a delicious sea breeze.
I fell asleep listening to "Finch". On the one hand, the book is detective noir, on the other, it's fantasy of the "new weird" stripe. I think. I'm a bit vague on what counts as new weird. The thing is, China Mieville can only write so many books and my jones for more like "Perdido Street Station" has led me in all kinds of directions, many of them in various science fiction and fantasy subgenres. (Biopunk ahoy!) I'd ignored such things since the 70's when I glutted myself on New Wave (before that meant music made by guys with shoulder pads and eyeliner.) Some fun stuff has been written in the last thirty years. So yeah, genre fiction. Dunno if I should thank Mieville or blame him.
So I was dozing on the lumpy couch, the air is cool, heavy and soothing. There's a fog horn moaning in the distance. (When the wind is right, you can hear a bell buoy, but just now it's not.) I'm exhausted, but too creaky to sleep well on the lumpy couch. I put in the earbuds and start listening to "Finch".I drift in and out of sleep. I am tired but the couch is lumpy. The story is fascinating, but my body is weary. I listen and I dream and my dreams weave with the narrative because it is all mycological.
Finch lives in a city controlled by sentient and malevolent fungi. The story is full of fruiting bodies and spores. The mushroom masters grow buildings and cities, they speak in moist tones with mouths full of gills. They infect humans and have an extensive organic underground monitoring system, a spy network secret police made pf mycelium.
I'm thinking that Vandermeer watched the sh*t out of a bunch of Paul Stamets vids. It would be cool to go foraging with him, to do mushrooms with him. Because in the book he's kind of focusing on the creepy aspect of fungi and there's so much more. If there is a holy trinity for macro biota, it's animals + plants + fungi. You can't pull any of those out of the equation.
Finch would creep me out more if I was mycophobic. It's hard to fear the gray cap overlords when your dreams have you cutting them off at the ankles to pop them in your basket so you can bring them home to ID to see if they might be tasty.
I'm obsessing on mushrooms now, even so this is one scary book!I wrote that back in July. It took me a couple of weeks to finish Finch. Goddamn, I loved it. Jonesing for more real bad. DAMN YOU AUDIBLE, WHY DON'T YOU HAVE THE OTHER AMBERGRIS BOOKS‽‽‽‽If I have any beef with "Finch", it's that I want MORE. It's the first in the series that I've "read". I'll go and get myself copies of "Shriek: An Afterward" and "City of Saints and Madmen". I would like them as audiobooks, would like them read by the same reader, Oliver Wyman, but you don't get what you want. Such is life.
I was thinking I would not want to live in Ambergris, but it might just be a world less dangerous than our own. If you are the kind of person who reads books simply to be comforted, give "Finch" a pass. But if you demand more from a novel, let the spores infect you. Feel the mycelium that is Finch growing through you like a Cordyceps, paralyzing you, exploding into your mind.
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