©2005 Alastair Reynolds; (P)2008 AudioText
I love the universes that Alastair Reynolds creates, and the stories he weaves in them so I was a little disappointed to see how short this story was (it's only an hour long, take note of the price as it's probably worth purchasing it rather than wasting a credit). Length complaints aside, this is a great story and I really enjoyed it. It vaguely echoes some of his other work but it's definitely new and interesting material, telling the story of some off-track astronauts, shuttling between brief vignettes of "now" and "not too long ago" with a nice psychological twist at the end to keep you wondering for a while.
That said, this audio version of it verges on terrible. I don't know if it's because I now unconsciously relate John Lee with Alistair Reynolds but the narrator (Tom Dheere) just didn't work for me. He sounded like he'd been challenged to read through the story as fast as possible and, to draw a traffic analogy, treated sentence ending punctuation much like a speedhump or chicane rather than stop signs or red lights. Additionally, the vignettes are separated by 15 seconds of music. WHY??? It's an audio version of a book, it doesn't need extra music or sounds effects, it just needs someone to read the words! If it's imperative to draw a distinction between separate passages then leave 2 seconds of silence to indicate it or something, don't start introducing lengthy chunks of foreign material where the author never intended them to be!
I really need to start proof reading my Reviews before I post them.
i wanted to like this. but the experimenting with this form of narrative didn't work for more.
I'm a Hard SF & Space Opera-loving, alien android from the future. I bring gifts of SciFi eBooks & accessories for your leader's Kindle. Take me to him/her/it.
‘Aquila Rift’ calls to mind another Reynolds story “Pushing Ice” or Frederick Pohl’s “Gateway” with its plot device- an unreliable alien FTL technology backfiring. Each of those novels are both much longer, and therefore more satisfying to those who found this story disappointingly short. One particular strength here, however, is the well researched and described stellar geography of our 'local bubble’ within the Milky Way- exactly what one would expect from a former ESA research astronomer.
I have to agree that the short length makes the audio format suffer- it would be better offered as part of a collection or anthology edition, and not as this stand alone offering. Also, an awkward musical sample plays between certain scenes in what I imagine are the author’s narrative break points. I found it quite distracting, and each was overly long- several seconds each. They made me wonder if they were struggling to expand the final time length. At just over an hour, it isn’t worth spending an Audible credit on, but for Reynolds fans, it would definitely be worth a cash purchase.
The story was good, and what I'd expect from this author. The narrator, however, seemed to be rushing through it as fast as he could, sounding almost breathless at points, which seemed generally inappropriate for the story.
Written very well
The conclusion wasn't what I expected
I'm leaning more to audio because it gives you a different viewpoint - more like listening to the radio
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