"These are terrific books by great authors that I handpicked from the Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX), matched up with just the right narrators and personally produced. I hope you'll enjoy them as much as I do. Check them all out here..."--Neil Gaiman
In Neil's words: "The challenge for me with a book this funny, this strange, this perceptive was to try and find a narrator who was as iconic, somebody who could deliver the goods, somebody who could give you a book like this as it deserved to be given. And the first, and the last, and actually the only person to come to mind was John Hodgman. So I asked John, and he said yes! And he did it; he pulled it off. Listening to John—not just the suave, sensible, sane narrator of this book, but all the peculiar accents and incarnations that he is forced to adopt through here—he does it delightfully, he does it brilliantly, he's really, really funny."
In Neil's words: "When I heard Robert Blumenfeld reading, I knew we had found the perfect narrator, and I’d like to think the opinionated, critical and controversial author of Jurgen would think so too. Jurgen may be the most famous of James Branch Cabell’s books: It was certainly the one that put him on the map, when, in January 1920, the New York Society for the Prevention of Vice took his publisher to court for violating New York’s anti-obscenity law. Suddenly, Cabell went from an admired but semi-obscure author of literary satiric fantasy in historical novels, to the guy everyone was reading because he was banned."
In Neil's words: "The High Place is what happens to the story of Sleeping Beauty when told as a cautionary – yet somehow rollicking – fairy tale. Our hero – if 'hero' we may call a man who’s just murdered each of his four wives – is the elegant and aristocratic Florian de Puysange. Florian is everyone’s dream of an amoral protagonist, all elegance and flourish, witty and urbane, a complete cad who acts on every pleasure it occurs to him to desire and he gets away with it. UNTIL it all comes due. I know that without Cabell’s work – and perhaps this book in particular – I wouldn’t be the same writer I am today, and I’m sure this holds true for many of my colleagues."
In Neil's words: "After a first round of very strong but not quite perfect auditions, I told the actors that 'the most important thing with Cabell is being able to deadpan a joke. These books are written by a Virginia gentleman who is capable of making the dirtiest of dirty jokes with a straight face, and who is writing high fantasy and poetry, too.' We needed someone who could get all of that in. Robert Blumenfeld captured the accent and wit of a man who corresponded with H.L. Mencken, Sinclair Lewis, and in his lifetime counted Mark Twain among his fans."
In Neil's words: "The Privilege of the Sword is read by author Ellen Kushner and other luminaries you may recognize. Casting Felicia Day is a coup for me - incredibly satisfying as an audiobook producer, not just because Felicia's an incredibly talented actress, but also because the quality of her performance matches the voice Ellen Kushner hears when she thinks of Lady Katherine. And that's equally true for the other voice actors: Katherine Kellgren, Nick Sullivan, Joe Hurley, and Barbara Rosenblat."
In Neil's words: "It's really important for me to find the voice that comes closest to the voice in the author's head. For this book, that turned out to be Suzy Jackson - someone who sounded young, but not naive; someone who could catalogue the sharp-detailed Imp's carefully observed daily life, but also convey the blurred edges of her reality."
In Neil's words: "Victor Bevine manages to convey three aspects of Vincent's personality: the womanizing hedonist he was in life, the now-dead fellow trying to control his rising panic who realizes his one-night-stand knows today is his mother's birthday, and, ultimately, the loving, heroic, family man who undertakes a bit task for the sake of his unborn son and - incidentally - the rest of humanity. That's a tall order for any narrator."
In Neil's words: "This is the first place all the Eszterhazy stories have been collected together, including 'The Odd, Old Bird,' which was not part of the print edition. If you love fantasy, if you love alternate worlds, or if you just love stories well-told, that's who Avram Davidson is - someone who knows a great deal more than you do and is damned if both of you aren't going to have a great time in Scythia-Pannonia-Transbalkania."
In Neil's words: "Viriconium is 3 novels and a short story collection. It's gloriously ambitious, as if we are imagining an alternate version of someplace that may be London, even if it is a punk-sensibility London in a post-apocalyptic future. It's as if Mike Harrison remembered a place that will never exist, or at least not for millennia, and fleshed it out with art and legends and glorious gods hiding amidst the population. Simon Vance (the Millenium trilogy) is the gold-standard of narrators, and I’m thrilled and proud to have him. He’s brilliant."
In Neil's words: "Anita is an almost forgotten novel by one of the finest UK writers. It works on two levels. The stories are a product of the 1960s - they come out of a swinging world and a 'Georgy Girl' time, and Keith Roberts, then a young art director, has captured that feel. At the same time, it's about a teenage witch being brought up her Granny. He writes about her falling in love, getting her heart broken, about change and growing up and compromise, about what magic is and how you can lose it sometimes and how you can get it back."
In Neil's words: "Swordspoint is a fairy tale of sorts, but a fairy tale for grown-ups, as if Jane Austen wrote fantasy. It’s an imaginary world where the characters are real people: a Vanity Fair of aristocrats, rogues, orphans, and heroes; a book where the best swordsman in the land can make more money dueling at private parties than he can as a knight-errant. Several key scenes are dramatized and in those soundscapes you'll hear the cadences of the marketplace, the music of the drawing rooms and, of course, the ring of steel drawn from scabbard.'"
In Neil's words: "In Steve Sherrill's fiction, the Minotaur is alive and relatively well, working as a short-order cook at a greasy spoon in North Carolina called Grub's Rib. The novel covers two weeks in M's life, from his home at the Lucky-U trailer park - where he repairs cars in his spare time - and back to Grub's Rib, where M has a crush on an epileptic waitress named Kelly. After we heard Holter Graham's audition for the book, Steve had this to say: 'Holter's handling of the Minotaur's grunt was PERFECT. Exactly what I heard in my head.'"
In Neil's words: "I chose The Land of Laughs because I love Jonathan Carroll's books and want to bring them to as wide an audience as possible. In this book, we learn about the fragile balance for some people between fiction and reality, and the dangers of retreating into a beloved book. I suspected the character of Thomas Abbey would be both a challenge and an opportunity for the right narrator. Edoardo Ballerini conveys a certain wistfulness and vulnerability underneath Abbey's grumpiness. He is a perfect guide for this journey."
In Neil's words: "There's a general consensus that Pavane is one of the great alternate history novels. I read one story from Pavane when I was nine, in an English science fiction monthly magazine and it scarred me. It was the first time a short story made me cry. It was Keith Roberts' masterpiece: profound and still remarkable. I love the way the narrator, Steven Crossley, subtly but definitely distinguishes each storyteller from the others, so that the unified whole really is more than the sum of its parts."
In Neil's words: "Light indeed shines through the three braided plot strands. In the audiobook, the strands are united by the talent of the narrator, Julian Elfer. Elfer's energy and attention to small moments illuminate the entire work. Part of the delight of a novel like this, for science fiction fans, or just for people who like good books, is watching the department of science fiction known as Space Opera be polished up, dusted off, and reinvented for the future. It's a dark book, but there's a lot of light in here too. Enjoy."
In Neil's words: "Alina Simone uses her life as material to tell stories that are funny, heartwarming, tragic, often all at the same time. Her subjects, whether music, religion, Russia, or family, are conjured and dissected with warm humor and sharp eyes. Probably it's a really good thing she never became an international rock star: she wouldn't have written this if she had. As far as casting a narrator, well, this one was easy. Alina Simone is a singer-songwriter, and a writer, and a traveler. This is her first audiobook, and she reads it as well as she writes."
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