Robert Silverberg is by far my favourite author, but the Book of Skulls wasn't at all what I expected. I thought it had to do with a search for the secret of immortality, but it actually dealt with a bunch of neurotic teenagers in search of some meaning in their useless lives. Along the way they have a number of graphic homosexual experiences that weren't to my taste at all. This is considered to be a classic, but you really have to be in the mood to stomach it. Try listening to The Tower of Glass, Lord Valentine's Castle or anything else by Robert Silverberg instead. However, Stefan Rudnicki does a magnificent job of reading a number of these works. His resonant voice is perfectly suited to Robert Silverberg's prose.
No improvement possible. The reading grabs your emotions, and doesn't let go.
Y es I would love to acquire audio versions of what in my opinion are his greatest works: "In the heart of the country." "Waiting for the barbarians and "The Life and times of Michael K." How about it, Audiobooks?
A bang-on performance. As an expatriate South African, I admired the credible and realistic way he handled the various South African accents.
A harrowing emotional experience, but well worth tackling. I detected a number of nuances that I had missed the first time I read it, when it was initially published. Also, a powerful movie - starring John Malkovich.
This is a classic of South African literature by South Africa's finest writer, who for reasons known on only to himself has emigrated to Austraiia. - a must read.
I have just finished listening to "The Tower of Glass". and I strongly recommend it everyone, whether a science fiction fan or not. Some time ago I lost myself in the three
original Majipoor works. I found that I was discovering a number of nuances and
insights, particularly about the alien characters, from the readings, even
though I had read the print editions several times (ten-eleven in the case of
LVC!). Some of RS's books (although not all, unfortunately), are "read" by
writer/actor/director Stefan Rudnicki, who has a magnificent, booming, rasping,
gravelly voice that is perfectly suited to RS's prose. Just imagine what he
could do with "Lord of Darkness," although some judicious editing might be
Rudnicki's performances are not simple readings of the narrative, nor are they a
dramatic interpretation, but something entirely different. I believe that he
has invented a new vocal art form. I have heard things in "Tower of Glass" that
I had missed in previous readings, and which interested, fascinated and
terrified me. For instance, what would happen if God turned his back on
Humanity, and Humanity turned on God, as this is a story about androids and
their creator. For God, read Krug the entrepreneurial billionaire who invented,
manufactured and marketed androids, and androids as the end result of Human
The description of this story sounded intriguing, and it was fairly short (just over an hour) so that it can be completed in one sitting, which I like. However, I could not make head nor tail of it because of the amateurish production. The quality of the sound was BAD, and the reader read at race horse speed, and swallowed many of her words. She sounded like a twittery teenager. For ease of comprehension, the reading should be at a medium pace, with all the words crisply and clearly enunciated, and no fancy vocal gymnastics. Particularly with deteriorating hearing, such as I have, it sounded like a lot of gobbledegook. I don't want to appear sexist, but there are very few women who can do a half-decent job of reading. I gave up listening after ten minutes. Maybe a younger person, used to contemporary youth-speech, would have got more out of this story.
This is an early example of an SF classic, and for that reason alone is worth a listen. The theme is that of a group of people on a Generation Starship, who do not realize that they are in an enclosed metal vessel, nor do they know where they are headed. It is an intriguing concept, although it has been done better by other writers (particularly Brian Aldiss) as this story tends to peter out anti-climactically towards the end.end. The reader did a satisfactory job of narration.
I cannot agree at all with the other reviewers. "Solaris" may be considered to be a classic, but I don't think it should be described as science fiction, just because it was set on some other planet. For me, the theme was the difference between appearance and reality, and how the world is perceived by a disturbed mind. All along I expected an explanation to be forthcoming, like a mind-controlling alien influence, or something in the air, but it just fizzled out into nothing. It brought to mind the movie "Shutter Island".
However, the narration was the worst I have ever heard on an audio book. It turned a difficult-to-follow plot into an incomprehensible mish-mash. I couldn't understand anything the character Snout mumbled. The narrator swallowed many of his syllables, dropped his voice at inappropriate points, and was unable to articulate letters such as "R", almost as if he had a speech defect. Narrators should be aware that you don't lose the dramatic impact of a story if you e-nun-ciate clearly.
Anyone who enjoys sf novels about the exploration of huge and mysterious artifacts from the vastness of deep space, should avoid "Spindrift" and listen to Arthur C. Clarke's "Rendezvous with Rama", which is a classic of the genre, instead.
I have read Lord Valentine's Castle in its print form at least seven or eight times, and it is one of my all-time favourite novels, even though I am a hard core sf fan rather than a fantasy fan. Now that my eyesight is deteriorating, I rely heavily on audio books, and the three audio Majipoor books currently available have added a a new dimension to this wonderful series. Superbly done, beautifully read by Stefan Rudnicki, who brings life to the alien voices. Strongly recommended for new Silverberg fans as well as long-time fans.
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