Audie Award Finalist, Solo Narration - Male, 2014
Award-winning author, narrator, and screenwriter Neil Gaiman personally selected this book, and, using the tools of the Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX), produced this work for his audiobook label, Neil Gaiman Presents.
A few words from Neil on Dimension of Miracles: "Dimension of Miracles is probably not [Sheckley's] most famous book…. but I think it's probably his best-loved book. It's about the joys and tribulations (mostly the tribulations) of winning the lotterythe galactic lotteryaccidentally. And wrongly. Tom Carmody is awarded a remarkable prize, is taken half way across the universe to collect it, finds himself hopelessly lost, and needs to find his way home again to Earth…to this Earth, not an alternate, weirdo Earth. He's got to get back. And the price is high.
In its style of humorand even in some of the jokesDimension of Miracles is very obviously a precursor of Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Douglas actually hadn't read Dimension of Miracles until very shortly after Hitchhiker came out, when people pointed him to it, and he told me that he found the experience almost shockingit was like reading himself. He was a huge admirer of Bob Sheckley and a huge admirer of this book, and in later life, I had the privilege of introducing both of them.
Now 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 Johnnot just the suave, sensible, sane narrator of this book, but all the peculiar accents and incarnations that he is forced to adopt through herehe does it delightfully, he does it brilliantly, he's really, really funny. And so is this book. Enjoy your journey through a Dimension of Miracles."
Dimension of Miracles is a satirical science fiction novel first published by Dell in 1968. It's about Tom Carmody, a New Yorker who, thanks to a computer error, wins the main prize in the Intergalactic Sweepstakes. Tom claims his prize before the error is discovered and is allowed to keep it. However, since Tom is a human from Earth without galactic status and no space traveling experience, he has no homing instinct that can guide him back to Earth once his odyssey begins - and the galactic lottery organizers cannot transport him home. Meanwhile, his removal from Earth has caused a predatory entity to spring into existence - one that pursues and aims to destroy him. Carmody is on the run, and he ends up transporting from Earth to Earth - different phases and realities of the planet, which of course is not the time or condition he expects.
©1968 Robert Sheckley (P)2013 Robert Sheckley
"Hodgman, probably best known to geeks for his appearances on The Daily Show and his role as the PC in those Apple commercials a few years back, has a dryly intelligent deadpan that wonderfully counterpoints the absurd adventures of Thomas Carmody, a mid 20th-century New York everyman who’s invited to a galactic center to collect a sweepstakes prize." (Locus)
Live in Sydney, Australia. South African heritage. Love audio books. Constant company on my non-stop business travels.
This was a surprise.
In his preface Neil tells us that Douglas Adams (Hitchhiker et al) only read Robert Sheckley after Guide to the Galaxy was published. They have very similar voices in regards to their ideas, playfulness, humour and sheer imagination. Very very similar. One suspect that Sheckley did not get the honour that is his due.
I wonderful romp with the sub-text not that sub and the humour bubbling continuously. Really enjoyable.
A wonderful journey that just makes you want to listen for hours. A must read/listen, actually a must listen by John Hodgman only, he is perfect for this. A very talented man.
All of it!
The narrator made it wonderful - how dare you say he detracted
No, not really
Listen to this book darn it!
This book made me laugh uncontrolably while among strangers in a crowded room. That means it's good.
While it was written many years ago, it's still very well suited to the modern reader. It is funny and pretends to take itself too seriously while doing totally the opposite. The main character is actually quite likable, unlike Arthur Dent, whose suffering you actually enjoy.
Hodgeman knows humor. Something in the way he combines serious and flippant nails it.
I laughed out loud several times, causing people to stare. I'm normally pretty reserved.
this is very much a pre-Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy novel. it has much in the way of the odd ball events and satiric jabs at society etc. that pop up in Adam's work. while i found it very much like HGG and enjoyed it, i did find myself wishing for a little more of the manic Adams movement and wordplay etc. Hodgman is passable as a narrator but could have read with a little more gusto. still all in all good and i do like the ending but a couple scenarios perhaps go on a bit too long. can't give it more stars simply because it is done better by Adams.
The subject matter, style and no-holds-barred whimsey of this book reminds me so much of Adams, I have a hard time thinking that the two were not drinking buddies or something. Hodgman's performance is stellar.
Listening is an absolutely critical life skill. Hearing the stories of others is one of its many rewards.
Well, here's the thing. This book is brilliant, but John Hodgman's reading makes it far "brillianter!" Hodgman is a genius.
The obvious comparison is The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. When you hear this book you will be shocked to discover that a) it came FIRST, and b) it was written by an American. I would say the primary difference is that Dimension has more substance, but less plot. I don't think it could have been sustained in the same way that HHGTTG was.
I loved the dialogues with Melichrone and Maudsley. Sheckley managed to lampoon religion and science and make devotees of either/both chuckle rather than be offended.
The final passage in the book is really rather spectacular. It's a quiet ending, and a significant one. It leaves lots unanswered and yet answers everything it needs to.
So, so many clever and entertaining and, yes, thoughtful passages. I loved it. And John Hodgman really did an amazing reading of it. I will never be able to ready any bit of this work again without hearing his voice.
An avid, omnivorous but critical reader.
Yes, certainly. The reader is ambushed in quite unexpected places with humour but there is also depth and meaning to the encounters the protagonist is subjected to. The imagination that went into this was remarkable. Tom is at times quite surprising. And then there is the prize who may well be the star of the book even though he/she/it has only a few lines.
As many reviewers have pointed out, this book is hauntingly similar in many ways to Douglas Adams' famous 5 book trilogy - "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy". And as a fan of Douglas Adams, the convergence points stood out for me.
Nuanced voices for the characters. They're all good and lend a little more character to the players.
The ending is brilliant and not telegraphed as you might have expected is a less imaginative novel. It would be a spoiler to say more than that the ending will leave you thinking.
There are places where I felt the concepts were explored excessively and if I were reading this rather than listening I'd have skipped ahead. However, the prose is elegant and very obviously the author composed his dialogues very carefully. I was reminded somewhat of Gene Wolf's characteristic polished prose and felt that I would like to go back and admire some of those sentences for the care that went into them. That's one of the weaknesses of an audio book - you enjoy the prose as it passes but you don't easily get to savour it. This is a book where savouring is probably worthwhile.
Not only is this book satirical, smart, and funny, but the narration is wonderfully done. This book has so much wonderful absurdity that is a wonder that Sheckley is able to keep up such good pacing and never allowing it to feel too ridiculous for the listener to not become disconnected. There is the shape shifting prize that picks and chooses when it will be helpful and it is not really sure why this prize would be given away in the sweep stakes. We meet the engineer who created the earth for God and that it wasn't his best work. For anyone who is a fan of Adams or Vonnegut or really great books this one is a must.
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