After 10 minutes of listening to this book, you'll want to punch the author in the face every time you hear "suddenly".
"Suddenly, Mark looked at his watch. Suddenly, Karen asked what time it was. Suddenly, Mark responded with the current time. Suddenly, Greg announced that the football game was about to start. Suddenly, Karen decided to order some pizza. Suddenly, the pizza showed up, everyone ate their fill, and the team they were rooting for won the game. Suddenly, Greg went home because he had to get up early for work. Suddenly, Mark fell asleep on the couch after one too many bourbons. Suddenly, Karen decided that she should go to sleep too. Suddenly, everyone slept."
I loved this book. Concise and bold science fiction, a dash of horror, a number of emotionally touching moments, humor, and more. This book is well worth the time invested, as is the sequel, Fall of Hyperion.
I really enjoyed Wil Wheaton's performance of this story. He did a fantastic job of conveying emotion as he voiced each character. The one thing that I didn't enjoy was the author's overuse of the word 'said', as in:
"Hey, let's go to the store", Johnny said.
"Sure, I would like to go to the store", Harvey said.
"OK, let's go to the store together!" Johnny said.
"That sounds like a plan!" Harvey said.
"We might want to take some umbrellas in case it rains", Johnny said.
"That's not a bad idea at all", Harvey said.
"I think I remember seeing my umbrella in the back seat of your car", Johnny said.
"No, I just cleaned out the car yesterday and didn't see it there", Harvey said.
"Liar", Johnny said.
"Am not", Harvey said.
"Are too", Johnny said.
Well, you get the idea. Having to hear the word 'said' repeated ad nauseam over the course of *any* conversation in this book was a distraction that took my out of the story. I really wish the author had a book of synonyms handy while writing this book. Words and phrases such as replied, questioned, interjected, interrupted, wondered aloud, stated, inquired, etc. would've been great. Or, hey, perhaps an intelligent reader would intuitively know who was speaking during a conversation without the need to remind readers of who was speaking and the end of *every sentence*.
Bottom line: if you believe that you can get through this book without letting the word 'said' bother you after you've heard it seventeen hundred and thirty eight times (a guesstimate) then you will enjoy this book immensely.
There are few positive things to be said about this audio book.
First, the narrator says everything in the same rushed tone. The different voices he uses are laughably bad. There is very little silence between books (to be fair, I believe that's more of the producers' fault than anything). You may be listening to the end of one story and in the next breath he's on to the next.
Second, the stories are just terrible. Very little actual storytelling, very little "visuals" or descriptions, and everything has a twist ending that you can see coming a mile off. The stories are a bad combination of 50's science fiction schlock and poorly thought-out Twilight Zone episodes.
Third, the audio quality is terrible. There is a high pitched squeal throughout and even other noises (beeping? voices?). I would expect this sort of poor quality from something ripped from cassette and posted on a bittorrent site, not from Audible.
All in all, I didn't finish "reading" this book. In fact, I gave up about 5 hours in. I'll be returning it to Audible.
Yes, but not these stories.
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