The Incrementalists - a secret society of 200 people with an unbroken lineage reaching back 40,000 years. They cheat death, share lives and memories, and communicate with one another across nations, races, and time. They have an epic history, an almost magical memory, and a very modest mission: to make the world better, just a little bit at a time. Their ongoing argument about how to do this is older than most of their individual memories. Phil, whose personality has stayed stable through more incarnations than anyone else’s, has loved Celeste - and argued with her - for most of the last 400 years. But now Celeste, recently dead, embittered, and very unstable, has changed the rules - not incrementally, and not for the better. Now the heart of the group must gather in Las Vegas to save the Incrementalists, and maybe the world.
Editors Select, September 2013 - There are two reasons I’m excited about The Incrementalists. The first is that it’s about a secret, ancient organization that manipulates individuals in order to make the world just a little bit better. The second is that it’s co-narrated by Ray Porter, whose performance made Peter Cline’s 14 the insta-classic it turned out to be. Splitting the narration duties with Mary Robinette Kowal makes perfect sense, as the book’s perspective shifts between Phil, a member of the organization, and Renee, a new recruit. This is just the kind of quirky, contemporary sci-fi I look forward to. Chris, Audible Editor
©2013 Steven Brust and Skyler White (P)2013 Audible Inc.
"Secret societies, immortality, murder mysteries, and Las Vegas all in one book? Shut up and take my money." (John Scalzi)
"Watch Steven Brust. He's good. He moves fast. He surprises you. Watching him untangle the diverse threads of intrigue, honor, character, and mayhem from amid the gears of a world as intricately constructed as a Swiss watch is a rare pleasure." (Roger Zelazny)
Love this site! I have a very busy job, so listening to audio books enables me to keep up on great stories!
Any narrator(s) that can be on the same page! One character from one narrator has some sort of sophisticated European accent and the same character from the other narrator has her as an old Granny. How can you possibly keep it straight and better yet, take it seriously? Why did no one point this out?
Because this story was about big ideas and wasn't broken down for the rest of us, I felt nothing for these characters.
There were too many ideas in this book. It's a great concept, but poorly constructed. I never felt invested in these characters. The narration ruined it, and I'm actually a fan of both these voice actors! So disappointing. I should have listened to the reviews. I'll be requesting a refund.
There's always something to read in my purse
This book is being sold as a secret society molding human history through the mists of time/sort-of time travel story, when in fact it's just another 'we were meant for each other' sappy love story with a thin veneer of 'we have this amazing way of transferring memories from one human consciousness to another over the last 40,000 years, but that's just a plot device.' SOOOO disappointing. I kept listening waiting for the good stuff to kick in, and it never does. I don't know who decided on this bait and switch marketing approach but it's really lame.
The narration isn't awful.
I don't know how this book got such a high rating. This story might have been better if it made any sense. I like a good sic-fi, but this story is way out in left field and, maybe I'm showing my ignorance, but I just didn't get it at all.
The narrators were both good and probably the only reason I kept listening.
I didn't have any desire to listen to the last 5 minutes.
The story was all over the place; it couldn't keep my interest and I had no desire to finish it.
I don't know
When I chose this book, I was expecting to hear about the world of the Incrementalists and tales of their endeavours to make the world a better place. Instead, the actions of the Incrementalists were no more than hinted at all through the book. As intriguing as the premise was, the development of it was patchy in most places and was not much more than the backdrop to a rather mawkish romance.
The narrators were okay but they had a disconcerting practice of using different accents for the same characters. Mary Kowal portrayed the character Jimmy with a French accent while Ray Porter gave him a gruff American accented voice.
The descriptions of the practice of the Incrementalists and how they work was intriguing but this book was unable to satisfy the need for a story with substance to match the premise.
I like the story. Brust and White created a very vivid and engaging world with extremely dynamic characters and mysterious circumstances. We're thrown headlong into the conflict earlier than perhaps we're strictly comfortable, but trust me, it's entirely in keeping with the plot to do just that. The basic concept of the story is fascinating, and makes me want to know these characters more and more as the book goes on.
But there is a single overarching issue that simply jars during the performance: It's done as a paired male/female team of readers, Ray Porter and Mary Koval are both excellent readers, but Koval's reading seemed oddly divergent from Porters in multiple, repeatedly-frustrating ways. It's clear that the two readers never talked to one another and each did their own "thing" in assembling the character voices and even in pronouncing the names.
Porter manages to characterize Rin adequately, which is hard for a man with a deep voice to do. Her flippant tone comes across very well. Koval's Rin was almost TOO flippant, almost whiny, and so glibly sarcastic at times it made me want to spank her. But Koval's Phil was delivered in a very odd vocal style that made it sound like everything Phil said was a laconic sneer. It didn't fit the character, and seemed that Koval was struggling with making him sound MALE enough or something. But that's only the beginning of how the vocal choices rankled over time.
Porter's characterization of Irena was as a Russian, or at least Eastern European accent. Koval's voice for Irena was elderly British. Either would have been okay for the character, but flip-flopping between the two was annoying and made it hard to follow some of the dialogue. Ditto the two different voices for EACH of the characters -- Porter portrayed Jimmy with a tenor American accent, Koval with a gruff French accent, Porter's Oscar had a Germanic voice while Koval's was a deep vaguely-English.
The portrayal of Ramon was the most annoying. Neither reader's accent matched the other, and Koval clearly thought his name was just "Raymond" without the "d" at the end, it coming out "Raymin" when she pronounced it, his voice not having much of a regional accent at all. Whereas Porter pronounced it as if it were Spanish, "RahMON", the accent on the SECOND syllable, and gave him a slightly put-upon Spanish flavor.
If either reader had done the entire book him or herself, the performance would have been fine and equally-acceptable. Swapping back and forth, however, implies that the readers should have been put in touch with one another so they could at LEAST come to an agreement on accents and pronunciations. Multiple readers NEED to collaborate, or the result is a mishmash that makes it clear that they did NOT, which detracts from the performance as a whole.
It's a good book, made a bit tedious by the lack of communication between the readers. The listener has to work too hard to associate two different vocal styles with each character and differences in how their names are pronounced in some cases.
The authors set up a great backstory/concept about a secretive group that tries to make the world better over long spans of time. But then these cool characters in their interesting group never actually get around to do any of the beneficial work that underpins their stated reason to continue existing and continue being a group. All they did was bicker and have dramatic battles of words. The same exact general plot could have just as easily been applied to a bookclub of catty country club wives. It was disappointing to have a great setup with a grand purpose, and then all I got was petty bickering.
Perhaps. Both of them have very nice voices (easy to listen to, expressive, etc). Ray was definitely the better of the two. Mary's portrayal of male characters was very odd and done in a way that almost sounded intentionally campy.
The big problem I had, however, was that both actors had to voice all the characters...but they didn't use similar accents for the same characters. For example, the character Irina is voiced by Ray as speaking English with a Slavic accent, but the same character voiced by Mary just sounded like an old lady with a standard American accent. It got very confusing at certain points.
I can't imagine this being a movie. Maybe a Seinfeld-like "movie about nothing".
If two narrators are sharing the work, please coordinate your accents for the various characters. It was really distracting.
I love the dialogue among the characters. The two lead characters are especially wonderful.
There's a tiny bit of unexplained stuff around the way reincarnation works and how Celeste breaks the rules but largely it's self consistent and a whole bunch of fun.
There are two narrators and it's great fun to hear each of them interpret the voices of the same characters. I've listened to this one more times than any other audio book I "own" and still enjoy it tremendously.
Excellent futuristic scifi, this book delivers. Interesting premise, I enjoyed the characters, want to retread this one. Will look for other books by these authors.
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