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Rip-Off! | [John Scalzi, Jack Campbell, Mike Resnick, Allen Steele, Lavie Tidhar, Nancy Kress, Gardner Dozois (editor)]

Rip-Off!

In Rip-Off!, 13 of today’s best and most honored writers of speculative fiction face a challenge even they would be hard-pressed to conceive: Pick your favorite opening line from a classic piece of fiction (or even non-fiction) - then use it as the first sentence of an entirely original short story.
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Publisher's Summary

Audie Award Finalist, Original Work, 2014

In Rip-Off!, 13 of today’s best and most honored writers of speculative fiction face a challenge even they would be hard-pressed to conceive: Pick your favorite opening line from a classic piece of fiction (or even non-fiction) - then use it as the first sentence of an entirely original short story.

In the world of Rip-Off!, "Call me Ishmael" introduces a tough-as-nails private eye - who carries a harpoon; The Wonderful Wizard of Oz inspires the tale of an aging female astronaut who’s being treated by a doctor named Dorothy Gale; and Huckleberry Finn leads to a wild ride with a foul-mouthed riverboat captain who plies the waters of Hell.

Once you listen to Rip-Off! you’ll agree: If Shakespeare or Dickens were alive today, they’d be ripping off the authors in this great collection.

The stories included in Rip-Off! are:

  • "Fireborn" by Robert Charles Wilson
  • "The Evening Line" by Mike Resnick
  • "No Decent Patrimony" by Elizabeth Bear
  • "The Big Whale" by Allen M. Steele
  • "Begone" by Daryl Gregory
  • "The Red Menace" by Lavie Tidhar
  • "Muse of Fire" by John Scalzi
  • "Writer’s Block" by Nancy Kress
  • "Highland Reel" by Jack Campbell
  • "Karin Coxswain or Death as She Is Truly Lived" by Paul Di Filippo
  • "The Lady Astronaut of Mars" by Mary Robinette Kowal
  • "Every Fuzzy Beast of the Earth, Every Pink Fowl of the Air" by Tad Williams
  • "Declaration" by James Patrick Kelly

As a bonus, the authors introduce their stories, explaining what they ripped-off - and why.

Rip-Off! was produced in partnership with SFWA - Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. Gardner Dozois served as project editor.

The full list of narrators includes: Wil Wheaton, Scott Brick, Christian Rummel, Jonathan Davis, Khristine Hvam, L.J. Ganser, Stefan Rudnicki, David Marantz, Nicola Barber, Dina Pearlman, Allyson Johnson, Marc Vietor, and Ilyana Kadushin.

For more books from the authors of Rip-Off! click here.


©2012 Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Thirteen authors, eight narrators--this themed anthology has something for everyone…. Longtime narrators Scott Brick and Stefan Rudnicki rub elbows with Star Trek alum Wil Wheaton and five others. The varied narrators mean that there's no common delivery style, but it's safe to say that everyone involved was having fun." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (380 )
5 star
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4.0 (345 )
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Edmund W. Cheung Playa Del Rey, CA USA 06-06-14
    Edmund W. Cheung Playa Del Rey, CA USA 06-06-14 Member Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Some Great, some good, some to skip"
    Would you listen to Rip-Off! again? Why?

    Yes just for the few great stories. you can tell which ones after the first 3 minutes of listening.


    What did you like best about this story?

    John Scalzi as always. Although Short, this has to be one of his best stories every.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Matt Playa Del Rey, CA, United States 03-10-14
    Matt Playa Del Rey, CA, United States 03-10-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Some great stuff inside"
    Any additional comments?

    There are some really fun stories in here, and some real misses. Overall it was a great introduction to several authors, as well as a reminder of why I love the ones I do.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Meagan Spokane, WA, United States 02-07-14
    Meagan Spokane, WA, United States 02-07-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Had highs and lows"
    Where does Rip-Off! rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Some of the stories were amazing and I wanted more, some were hard to get into and a little bit strange. Short stories can be like that though.


    Would you recommend Rip-Off! to your friends? Why or why not?

    sure - but see the above comment


    What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The narration was really good. It helped the differences between the stories stand out.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Marcello milano, italy 12-03-13
    C. Marcello milano, italy 12-03-13 Member Since 2013

    mr. fletcher

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    "an interesting selection of very different stories"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    I don't think there's anything that needs changing.


    Would you recommend Rip-Off! to your friends? Why or why not?

    Yes, i would recommend it to anyone interested in fiction literature.
    Some of the stories are really little gems, very enjoyable.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The story "Every Fuzzy Beast of the Earth, Every Pink Fowl of the Air" is one of the lightest and funniest things i've ever read.
    It's one of those really adorable stories that leaves you with a smile for the whole day.
    Lovely, simply lovely.


    Do you think Rip-Off! needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    The original idea of ripping off opening lines from famous works is a nice way to kick-off a story, the format does have its merits.
    Some of the stories really deserve a follow up, you definitely want to know what happens next!


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anders Denmark 09-20-13
    Anders Denmark 09-20-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great variety of genres in (Sci)Fi"
    Which scene was your favorite?

    I really enjoyed these stories:
    "Fireborn" by Robert Charles Wilson
    "The Lady Astronaut of Mars" by Mary Robinette Kowal
    "Highland Reel" by Jack Campbell
    "Muse of Fire" by John Scalzi
    "Declaration" by James Patrick Kelly


    Any additional comments?

    Getting to hear some wild idéas/stories from some great authors in a fun way. I don't regret buying and listening to Rip-off, as I have learned about a few other writers and want to listen to some of their other works.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julius Butcher Overijse, Belgium 09-11-13
    Julius Butcher Overijse, Belgium 09-11-13 Member Since 2011
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    Story
    "Good stories mixed with bad ones"

    The idea of "ripping off" famous stories by taking their first sentences seemed interesting, so I bought Rip-Off! I finished the book with mixed feelings. There are some great stories in it. Scalzi hits the high bar as he usually does, I liked The Muse of Fire the most. I had some good time with The Red Menace (by Lavie Tidhar) and The Big Whale (by Allen M. Steele). There were OK stories with nice twist at the end, like Writers' Block (by Nancy Kress), and there were OK stories, which were pleasant to listen to without having big endings, like The Lady Astronaut of Mars (by Mary Robinette Kowal). Then other stories were waste of time, I gave up on some of them after five minutes, for example Karin Coxswain or Death as She Is Truly Lived (by Paul Di Filippo).
    So, do I suggest this book? Yes, if you have fair tolerance towards books with good stories mixed with ones going nowhere.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ambrose Trenton, NJ, United States 05-29-13
    Ambrose Trenton, NJ, United States 05-29-13 Member Since 2011

    Software Designer & Armchair Philosopher

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    "A Good Sampler"

    The problem with a collection of short stories is that just as you are really settling into a story you like, it is over. On the other hand, the ones you don't like require shortened suffering. I only skipped one story in this collection--the Coxswain one--because I don't care for ugliness for the sake of ugliness, where the author seems to think it is a dare to see how much filth you'll put up with when it has very little, if anything, to do with the actual story. I'm not squeamish, but I don't like pointless crap.

    Most stories in this were "meh," and I liked a few well enough to wish they didn't end so quickly. The main value I see in this book, and doubtless why some authors participate, is discovery. You can get a sampling of each author's style and potentially find some you want to read full works from. Not a bad deal all told.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Springfield, MO, United States 03-08-14
    James Springfield, MO, United States 03-08-14 Member Since 2010

    New grandpa. Married 35 great years. Drink Batch 19,Tsing Tao, and Bohemia. Read Card, King, Hobb, Sawyer, Sci-Fi, Historical Fiction.

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    Story
    "I CARRY A HARPOON"

    Soliloquy On Ducks?
    There are some really good stories included in this collection and some really bad stories in my opinion. Having read some of the other reviews, this is a very subjective thing. Some of the stories I thought were horrible, others loved. This is an original anthology, which are never as good as a best of anthology. Don't get me wrong Dozois is the best editor out there and he is a great writer. My theory is when an editor does a original themed collection, then he contracts with writers and gives them the rules. He is not going to insult a popular writer by turning done his story, so he is stuck with whatever he gets. In a best of he choses among stories already written and published. There is one writer included who seems to get in all of these original collections, whose stories are always painful to listen to. I will not mention this writer by name as the last time I did someone, went into my history of reviews and sabotaged me. If you get the collection and you hear a story that includes a soliloquy on ducks in the middle of it, you will know who I am talking about.

    AGGRESIVE FISHING
    One of the best things about anthologies his hearing from authors you have never heard of before. My favorite story was by Mary Robinette Kowal, who I have never heard of before. Her story "The Lady Astronaut of Mars" is a very touching story and is very believable. It touches on some very true subject matters that astronauts may be dealing with in the future. Allen Steele, Tad Williams and Mike Resnick write some very funny stories and these three stories are worth the price of the anthology.

    ALMOST BLONDE ANNIE
    The Big Whale by Steele is very funny and should by enjoyed by all, but will be especially enjoyable if you have read Moby Dick. HIS MISTAKE WAS, HE BROUGHT A GUN TO A HARPOON FIGHT.
    Tad Williams does a rewrite of Genesis, involving God's daughter. Thanks to her trees are upside down, fish swim in the sea and not the ground, etc...
    Mike Resnick has some huge LOL moments in his Noir story. In this story the names of the characters are hilarious by themselves. You will meet Almost Blonde Annie, Snake Hips Levine, Loose Lips Sally, Bodacious Belinda. and Bedroom Eyes Bernice just to name a few.
    Robert Charles Wilson's story Fireborn is included in Dozois 30th Best of the Year Collection.

    Most of the narrators are good, there were a couple I did not care for, but as a whole they were good.

    GUNS ARE FOR LOSERS

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Teresa BEACON, NY, United States 01-14-13
    Teresa BEACON, NY, United States 01-14-13 Member Since 2011

    I am a long-time listener to audible books - commuting, hiking - love 'em! Especially historical fiction and thrillers!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    ratings
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    "I'm not usually a sci-fi fan, but ..."
    If you could sum up Rip-Off! in three words, what would they be?

    A fun read.


    What other book might you compare Rip-Off! to and why?

    Stephen King, when he goes deeper into sci fi.


    Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Each story had different narrators, and yes, I'd heard some of them before. Can't remember who off hand.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No. I commute with it.


    Any additional comments?

    Some of the stories will stay with me forever. The one about the lady astronaut. And the one about what happened when God created the earth. Interesting heartfelt writing.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven RIVERVIEW, FL, United States 02-15-13
    Steven RIVERVIEW, FL, United States 02-15-13
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    "Only One Worth It"

    The only story in this that was worth the read was "The Lady Astronaut of Mars" by Mary Robinette Kowal. It was done in the style of Ray Bradbury and it was an EXCELLENT tribute to the author.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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