The essence of a truly null-Earth logic may never be as clearly defined as in this novel-length package of interplanetary surprises. Ride The Wormway To No-Wonderland. Consider this marooned astronaut. His spaceship and supplies are swallowed in one gulp by something from beneath the featureless plain of an unknown world. The natives are not hostile but incurious. He fathers a child without ever touching the mother. It's when he does physically create his true offspring that he gets his most startling surprise.
©1974 Neal Barret Jr. (P)2014 David N. WIlson
I read the publisher's summary for this and it sounded bad but a friend promised me it was good and worth the read and I'm glad I took their advice. The summary is not wrong in what the book is about but it makes it sound... awful. And it isn't.
The book opens with Andrew as the only survivor of some sort of interstellar accident. He got to his life pod and his life pod got him to this planet. From there it covers his adventures on the planet as he discovers about the planet and its population, revealing more and more of the planet right up until a nice climax.
The book itself is a slow burn and a bit difficult to go through in the first half. It has no real narrative drive, in that Andrew just ambles about from one thing to the next without any real overarching reason. This to me was possibly the biggest problem with the book and if it wasn't so short I may have been inclined to give it up. but I'm glad I didn't. Andrew doesn't really have a "I want to leave this planet" drive, or have a mission, like John Carter in Princess of Mars does (another "thrown onto a strange world" book that actually does have a narrative drive). he has curiosity that keeps him going, and I guess that is what kept me going. Curious as what the world was like. And also the snarky humour, which I always enjoy.
The world itself is interesting. The aliens are humanoid, but not straight "earth like creatures" that you sometimes see. while reading through the aliens actually had an otherworldly feel to them. While different they reminded me in some ways of the Piggies from Speak For The Dead and in other ways of the alien in Solaris. As more and more is revealed (the first half is a bit of a slog to get through) about the world it gets more and more interesting.
The narration was really good. Each character has distinct voices and characteristics. The story was clear and carried well. The snarky humour was also conveyed well by the narrator.
Overall, thoroughly enjoyable.
Somewhere in the middle of the pack. The story itself is where this fell short but the performance that accompanied it gave it enough to make it an enjoyable listening experience.
I would recommend it to friends just because it's an interesting perspective both of the main character and the world that it exists on.
My favorite scene was probably Andrew's first encounter where he was attempting to follow someone who had no interest in him whatsoever. The narrative would detail him getting absorbed in something then looking up to see where the being had gotten and he'd catch up and repeat the process.
No, it was entertaining and whatnot and there were some elements that made me think about how I'd react in the situation, but those reactions were mild.
I received this audiobook through a giveaway by the narrator but that fact has not altered my view on either the story or the performance. I will be looking for more of Jeff Hays narrations, and keeping Barrett in mind though perhaps making sure the story better fits what I'm looking for before taking subsequent dives.
Classic Science Fiction
The narrator - dry, nearly emotionless, in the first person. A very unlikely hero.
The final scene in which all is revealed.
The story is a offbeat tale of a Castaway on a foreign planet. Story was engaging and moved at a good pace. Reminds me strongly of Robert Heinlein's work (which I love).
Remak- the character tho curious struggles with understanding Andrew (our Castaway) yet evolves into a warm caring hero.
Hays narration was a little on the dry side. Not a bad thing, and I believe to be intentional and reflects the main character's personality.
Remak and the New Person.
Ian M. Walker
I have never read the print version. I'm certain I would have enjoyed it but it wouldn't have been brought to life as this was.
A plot point toward the end which I cannot reveal.
No extreme reactions, no, just a desire to continue.
I thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook.
As a fellow narrator I'm likely to hear things some audio listeners may not. So, there were a few clicks I picked up which initially made me hesitant. This is only because my ears have become trained for them, however, and I quickly forgot about them as I became more and more absorbed in the story.
Jeff Hay's voices were terrific! They absolutely lent more immersion to the experience and helped create the tapestry of this (seemingly) bland world our protagonist finds himself marooned on.
By the end, I was wanting there to be a sequel but I have learnt that, since the author died some time ago, it isn't likely. The book doesn't NEED a sequel, but I just wanted more of it.
The main character was very interesting. the story almost seemed like a coming-of-age (again) story in how he learned how to deal with all of the newly acquired problems he faces in his adoptive society.
I guess, I definitely wouldn't stop them from reading it, but I am kind of stringent in the books I recommend to friends.
I kind of like how the author got around the communication problem at the beginning of the book, but I would have thought this would have been better explained at the end of the book.
[QUASI SPOILER ALERT] Considering how minimal the majority of the book is, the best scene in the book was the birth of Andrew's son. The only way to get the audience to understand how much latent emotional baggage Andrew was carrying around was to show it to the reader directly.[/SPOILER] The narration of this scene was also handled quite skillfully.
Yes, this book wasn't very long and I never felt that it was dragging or anything. That being said, I always listen at x1.5 speed, so your opinion might differ if you listen at regular speed.
"As colourful as the setting."
Other reviews promised a humorous antagonistic dealing with a bizarre set of circumstances.
Two ironic comments later and it settled in to an at times disturbing short story with all the pace of a bicycle with seized brakes.
The narration was as flat as the overly described stones so prominent in the landscape.
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