No, the audio edition is not not better than the print version.
I first began reading this series in school year 7 (1981) when I was told Asimov was going to continue the Foundation stories. They became, and still are, one of my favorite series of novels. I recently decided that I'd like to listen to the series all the way through, in chronological series order, courtesy of the wonders of Audible. I thoroughly enjoyed Prelude to Foundation, as read by Scott Brick, and looked forward to the next.
This story is still as entertaining as it was when it came out. Unfortunately, Mr. McKeever's narration is absolutely horrible. It's like listening to something being narrated by Stephen Hawking. His narration is extremely mechanical; when I first began listening I really thought it was a synthesizer and not human. There are frequent pauses between sentences that are very distracting, as they would definitely not be present in a normal conversation. His monotone style also adds to the difficulty, sometimes making it impossible to know immediately that a new character is speaking.
Looking at the books read by Mr. McKeever, I see that many are children's books. Perhaps his distinct speaking cadence and crisp pronunciation of each word is something that would be very beneficial to a young child. However, for adult fiction, his reading is distracting from the story. He was very prolific, and no doubt very talented, but this read was not his best (I hope).
I'm very glad this was not my first listen to an Audible book. If it had been, I'm sure I would never have chosen a second. I have been happy with the voice talent used in every Audible book I've listened to up until now and I don't really understand how this one "slipped through." As it stands, I'm not sure I will continue forward with purchasing the rest of the books in this series as I see Mr. McKeever also reads Foundation and Earth. Perhaps I will listen to the others and return to print for F&E. Unfortunately, that defeats my purpose for audio books, as I listen to them while I workout.
No, not unless I hear a sample that convinces me he was just having a bad day when he narrated this novel.
If you're considering this as your first Audible purchase: DON'T DO IT! There are many, wonderfully read books available. Don't let this book ruin your opinion of Audible.com. Please, Audible, work with the publisher and re-record this novel and Foundation and Earth. Don't leave them as they are, just because the narrator has passed away.
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