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)
I was surprised that this was written before the guide to the Galaxy series. If you liked that series you will like its original inspiration.
I've liked Robert Sheckley's humor and invention. I've enjoyed John Hodgman's intelligence and wit. They are a great complementary team. If you enjoy a recording that sounds like it was made on a recycled 49 cent tape cassette: blips, hiss, flutter and wow that kill all the enjoyment of the story; then you'll enjoy this. I've listened with many devices and headphones, and in each case I've had to give up after a few hours. I don't know who decided on the compression settings, but the result is thin, flat, disappointing. Can bandwidth really be so dear that shaving the file size below tolerable fidelity is an economic necessity, or is it simple contempt?
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.
Dr. Nils Rasmussen
Although written beforehand, this book's humor reflects in many ways the prose in "A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", but in a somewhat more mature manner.
The narration performance by John Hodgman on this fish-out-of-water story is second to none, creating the audio equivalent of a page-turner.
Highly recommend for anyone who enjoyed those old 1950's sci-fi radio shows such as "X-Minus One" and/or "Dimension X".
9.8 / 10
First of all the brilliant imaginative story and second John Hodgman's great narration.
It's wittiness, bizarreness and brilliance.
The way he narrated the varied characters that Tom Carmody meets on his travels. It always felt authentic.
It is called the precursor to Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and even though the story is very different they share the same style. So if you love HGttG then you will love this book as well.
This really is a precursor to Douglas Adams, but a more cerebral, acid trip version, less out loud guffawing, more satire and wry pokes at themes that apparently have come around again on the wheel.
Part of me wonders if Douglas Adams was being truthful when he said he had not read it. Everything was there, except perhaps the towel. Still, the real effect of this book is to make you appreciate Douglas Adams even more.
Favorite author: Alexander McCall Smith Favorite narrator: Gerard Doyle Favorite listen : Burton and Swinburne Trilogy
I really loved the story and the narration was great. Additionally, there was preface by Neil Gaiman and a post interview between Gaiman and Hodgman. That was a real bonus. I really love Neil Gaiman presents I get to enjoy things I normally would not have tried. I bought the book because John Hodgman was narrating. The story was universal and timeless. Pun intended.
A lot of people are comparing it to Hitchhikers Guide to the galaxy, which it is on the same vain as far as tone and comedy. I see more the comparisons to Voltaire. I feel like Carmody and Candide had similar journeys. Everywhere they went was "the best of all possible worlds" or was it.
I got this book because of John Hodgman. What is so great about listening to him is when he narrates it is performance. His characterization are both ironic and funny it made the story very entertaining.
Where the prize is not always the prize.
I really loved this adventure. Neil Gaiman really knows how to put together a story with a narrator to get the best of all possible experiences. I definitely recommend this and if you like it then I would suggest Year Zero for narration and Candide for story.
Hilarious. Now I'm searching for all the Robert Sheckley I can get my hands on. This is social satire sci-fi that takes several jabs at American culture of mid-20th century. John Hodgman's narration is superb. He could read obituaries and I'd be rapt.
I live every day as if it will be my last. This is why my clothes are wrinkled. Let's face it. Who wants to spend their last day on earth ironing?
I think that I would like to revisit this book in the future, but my seemingly endless list of things to read may not permit it. This is a book that is short enough and entertaining enough to be listened to again.
My favorite character is the computer whose error sets the story in motion. His soliloquy on the metaphysics of making mistakes struck the right chord.
I liked John (and I'm a PC) Hodgman's perfomance of Tom Carmody. He could easily have slipped into a smirking portrayal of this character, but instead, he turned him into the everyman that I could relate to.
There were a few insights into the human condition and various philosophical and metaphysical discussions. However, if you are looking for enlightenment or an epiphany of some sort, you haven't read the synopsis if this book.
Neil Gaiman has done readers, science fiction fans, and those who appreciate absurdity a great service by bringing this story to the attention of readers and listeners everywhere.
The story is a laugh out loud romp through the physical and metaphysical universe, and the preface and post-reading interview with Neil Gaiman add to the experience.
Neil Gaiman has found another pearl. I laughed my way through this book. I'm making my way through NGP's selections.
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