Jackson is an astronaut testing a prototype interstellar craft in deep space. When he returns home, there's no one to greet him. Earth has fallen silent. Now he must decide: stay in orbit, watching a dead planet roll slowly by beneath his windows, or land on Earth and fight for life.
©2015 Peter Ronald Cawdron (P)2016 Peter Ronald Cawdron
Brian's Book Blog
Jackson is returning from deep space where he was testing a brand new prototype interstellar spacecraft. On his return, he tries to radio home, but no one answers, Earth is silent. Jackson isn’t sure if his radio is broken or if there is a darker problem to blame.
The narration of Free Fall was done by Jeff Hays, and he does a superb job. Hays is able to voice Jackson in such a way that the reader actually feels for him. The story was short and to the point, but that didn’t stop Hays from being able to shine in his narration.
Any author who can write a sharp and to the point short story like Free Fall that actually makes a reader feel something must be doing something right. Free Fall really made me feel hopeless for Jackson, and then hopeful again, then hopeless. The cyclical take by Cawdron really took a toll on me, making me glad that the audiobook was only an hour long.
The key to writing a good short story is skipping most of the character development, but still showing the reader who someone is by their actions. I didn’t have hours of being told who Jackson was and why he was chosen for this mission. But I did quickly find out that he cares a lot, and that he is someone who does things methodically. I’m always amazed when an author can accomplish this — and believe me, Cawdron does.
If you liked books like Andy Weir’s The Martian or Hugh Howey’s Beacon 23 then this book is for you. Also, if you have a couple bucks, and area looking for a quick, hour-long audiobook that is full of emotion and sharp writing — you can’t miss with this book.
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I first read this excellent book some months ago in Kindle format and was very excited when I learned that it was now available as an audio book. My thanks to the author, Peter Cawdron, for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.
The story is short but the impact, like his protagonist's earth landing, is huge. In the most human and compelling way, Peter Cawdron charts his astronaut's joy of Homecoming then the realisation that something is terribly wrong. No answer from Houston, no stations on the radio - then a single voice, crying for help. All is read by the narrator, Jeff Hays, with a subtle energy which perfectly reflects the text.
This is not so much a zombie story as one of inner strength, of hope against all odds and, above all, of humanity when everything is ripped apart. Some scenes are inevitably unpleasant but it is the beauty of both the prose and it's imagery which really resonate The book will stay with the listener/reader long after the last page is turned.
I've listened to a lot of audio books on Audible, but this was the first novel / novella I've listened to. At first, the narration sounded strange to me, because it wasn't too usual guide kind of book I was used to listening to, but I quickly got adjusted and was totally sucked in to the world Peter Cawdron had created. It's definitely worth the $6. I know this is kind of like a prequel to another book, but I hope he also has a chance to continue this story line.
I own 494 Audible Audio books. (See my Stunned Look) That can be a good or bad thing. Either way I'm always entertained and enlightened!
It's one of the better stories. Four stars only because it was so short.
The astronaut. My favorite line was "who put a red-neck in space?!"
Yes his encounter with a child zombie
I read this on Kindle about a year ago, I think. I really wish he'd expand this story to a full sized book. Also based on its short length it wouldn't hurt to offer it as free or less than a dollar.
It's an interesting story and I liked the narrator's voice.
A unique sci-fi story line that I hadn't heard before
No, I haven't
This is a great little story, well worth a listen. It begins as one story and ends up introing into a whole other plot about the end of the world. Very original, like all of Peter Cawdron's books.
For a Zombie book, this was a good one. I actually have not read any others. This was originally published with the Z Chronicles as a zombie themed anthology. While it had many authors I like, I didn't get the book because I love sci-fi, dystopian, and many others, I do not necessarily like zombies. However the chance to get this book as an audio, from one of my favorite authors, I could not pass up. I am glad I didn't. The astronaut stuck in a space shuttle all alone gives me the chills, then when he starts orbiting the earth and not seeing the lights of cities, I was scared with him! From this point on it is a tale of bravery and courage. Both the hero and the seven year old heroine, have to overcome fears to rescue each other. Absolutely a do not miss book!
I was given a free copy in exchange for a fair review. If I hadn't received a copy, I would have purchased it anyway.
I read and loved this short story in "The Z Chronicles" (terrific anthology, get it if you like zombies), so I jumped at the chance to listen to the audiobook. I love how he narration brought the story to life. This story was a fascinating concept that I had never considered. I hope the author continues the story, I would love to see find out what happens next!
I always enjoy Peters work and this story is no different. I would be extremely surprised if it were a standalone novel as I am definitely left wanting more. That is the only reason I have given it 4 stars instead of 5. Because I was not ready for the story to end at that point. I felt that we were barely getting started.
Say something about yourself!
I am a huge fan of Peter Cawdron, and although this was only a short audiobook, it would easily be in the top 5. This was designed as a short story to introduce the world of 'Z is for Zombie's' for those that don't know it, or give a bit of back story for those that do. And as always, Peter Cawdron has not failed to deliver, giving us a brilliant and exceptional story, with a great lead character, and some really interesting and inventive side characters. There are also the Z....
This is a great short story, introducing readers to Hazel and the Z is for Zombies universe for those that haven't heard of it, and for those that have, giving us some really great back story. Although Hazel is an obvious choice as a favourite character, I will have to run with Jackson for this story, for plain bravery, courage, and stupidity :-)
He is truly courageous as you will hear, but you have to wonder about how bright he is to.
However, his story is brilliantly written by Cawdron, and its a fast past, fascinating thrill ride as usual that makes you wonder what is going to happen at the end. Cawdron is such an exceptional writer that the only really disappointing thing about this story is the length, as you are always wanting more.
Cawdron never disappoints with his characters, and the characters in this story are no exception, the living and the undead.
Jackson is a great character in this story, from Astronaut in space, ready to come in, confused at the start with what is happening, to... Well, you will just have to listen and fine out, but needless to say, Jeff Hays does a really brilliant job of bringing him to life throughout the various stages of his tale. Im not sure if its Jeff Hays doing the voice of 'Hazel' later in the story, she only has a minor part, and the voice is way to female sounding. Overall, Hays adds a great deal to the suspense that Cawdron generates with his words, whilst eliciting other emotions as well, such as humour, compassion, and just plain fear.
Hays really gets into this role, and you almost believe that he is going through this experience in some parts of it he sounds so strained. Its well read.
This is a shorter story - a lead in to his 'Z' Series and an introduction to Hazel, so its easy to listen to all in one go, and its worth it. The suspense builds with the story, and if you were to break it into sections, your would lose the momentum and the thrill that Peter builds with the story, and that Jeff Hays adds in his telling.
I would highly recommend this audiobook - as with the rest of the series, 'What we left Behind' and 'All Our Tomorrows; All these books are clever stories, written with one of the most prolific genres at the moment, however, Peter Cawdron does something the other don't, instead of using lots of blood and gore, he uses clever characters, skilled writing, some gruesome bits, but mainly just exceptional talent to relay a thrilling story rather than cheap theatrics.
And Free Fall is no exception - spend the credit or the small amount of money to get this title and the others - they are worth every cent!!
Not much science fiction, more of a muncher story. No explanation s as too how the situation came about nor any character development
I listened to a lot of audiobooks, on my way to and from work. This was one of the shorter ones, and thoroughly enjoyable.
When he was in space, looking forward to going home.
Left me wanting more.
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