Black Swan Planet

Narrated by: David Swanson
Series: Black Swan Planet Trilogy, Book 1
Length: 8 hrs and 47 mins
4 out of 5 stars (107 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Raka Varoule is a second-rate investigative reporter, traveling between the 27 worlds of the Galactic Empire exposing minor scandals. His big break comes when he weasels his way onto the emperor’s personal star-cruiser to report live, across the galaxy, how the emperor is celebrating his birthday. 

When he exposes the biggest scandal in galactic history, he narrowly escapes with the help of a drug runner, a dominatrix, and a monkey wearing assless chaps. Together, they search for an escape from the empire, a barbarian world outside Imperial control. Then things get weird.

Black Swan Planet is a rare treat of a novel. A satirical science-fiction story told in a unique way, utilizing a variety of perspectives. This story will make both laugh out loud and keep you guessing what will happen next. James Peters has woven a story you’ll never forget, even if you lack mnemonic implants or prescription vibrating undergarments.

“As funny as Hitchhiker’s Guide, but with a plot.” (Agent M.)
“I laughed. I cried. I peed my pants.” (Homeless Guy #2)
“You peed your pants before even picking up the book.” (Homeless Guy #1)

©2017 James Peters (P)2018 James Peters
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Intergalactic funny adventure.

If you could sum up Black Swan Planet in three words, what would they be?

Creative,Amusing,Unpredictable,

What other book might you compare Black Swan Planet to and why?

N/A

Which scene was your favorite?

Anything involving the kooky antics of our Space Monkey.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

The Space-Time Chronicles.

Any additional comments?

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.

16 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Thats just good old fashion fun right there!

i love the shit out of this story. more laughs than a barrel of monkey with all the sci-fi I could shake a stick at. story is awesome and naration is top notch.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic, hilarious romp through the galaxey.

This book is so well written, I'll have to listen to it at least one more time to "get" all of it. It reminds me of the movie "Neigbors" with John Belushi. I will defiantly be looking for more books by James Peters. I believe he is a literary genius. I whole heartily recommend this book. I received the audible version (damn glad I got the audible), and now for the obligatory: This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Fair but has its moments

Fair book but was lost after the landing till almost the end overall story has holes but also funny moments

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent Space Opera!!

It's a cross between Hunter Thompson and Craig Alanson. A hilarious trip for all monkey lovin space adventurers...its absurd, awesome and more from this author and reader please!!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Unique Satirical Science Fiction

“Black Swan Planet” is a unique, interesting, and entertaining take on the satirical science fiction genre. The book is written by James Peters and the audiobook edition is very well narrated by David Swanson. Let me say that it was the cover art, consisting of a chimpanzee in an astronaut suit, that drew me to listen to this book, and I’m glad I did. I like satire and I like science fiction, so it only makes sense that I would enjoy this book, but I almost did not. If you enjoy books like “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy”, you may find this book to your liking. The most difficult part is getting past the first few chapters, and once you do, you will be rewarded with an amazing journey. Once completed, you will forget the early parts and almost believe that you finished a different book entirely. Yes, this book is a gem hidden in some rather hard stone. But once inside, you will not be disappointed.

Satire is often a very fine line and it is not something that is easy to pull off. In some ways, it is even more difficult in the science fiction genre because of its readers’ loyalty. Most either hate satire or they love it. It makes me think of the many satire movies such as Blazing Saddles or Airplane! At times this book’s satire felt over the top, but that was mostly early on during the story setup. While listening to the first few chapters of the audiobook, I nearly set it aside as the story seemed to be obsessively focused around crude humor, drug use, sexual subject matter, and just overly zany antics. I continued listening in a hope that things would change, and if not, it would be discarded to my Did Not Finish (DNF) pile. I believe I can count on one hand the books I have abandoned to this fate. There was a point while listening when the story began to open up like a blooming flower and it became difficult for me to put it down. I asked myself, “what just happened?” The story was going in one direction and it did a one hundred and eighty degree turn and took off. It was like a starship engaging its lightspeed engines, and we were off.

I think what really made me enjoy this book, once the author found his path, was that it had a fair number of emotional scenes which helped to balance out the continuous flow of humor. The author did a good job if telling the story from different perspectives and angles which also added to its depth. At times, the book felt like a blending of the movies Star Wars and Spaceballs. You have your stereotypical hero, an evil empire, a princess or queen, and the somewhat trusty sidekick. The author does a good job of sprinkling elements of the story throughout the book, but like any good mystery, they all come together in the end, and you never saw it coming. Even though at times the humor seemed over the top, there were aspects of what I would call smart humor making me laugh out loud. All of this was wrapped in a story that also was unpredictable and contained quite a few twists and turns. Even though the characters themselves felt like two-dimensional cardboard cutouts, a few were complex and memorable.

The audiobook’s narration by David Swanson was impressive for someone that has only a few titles to his name on Audible; at the time of this review. His ability to clearly voice distinct characters along with various accents was spot on. I do not remember any issues with the production or audio quality. The audio was consistent and did not have any noticeable audio artifacts that needed to be edited out.

For parents or younger readers, this book contains a hefty amount of sex, drugs, and crude adult humor. I would in no way recommend it for younger audiences. This book really is intended for mature readers and even many of those may be blushing at some of the subject matter covered. The book includes some religious satire what may offend some, however, I do not think this was the author’s intention. If you are at all offended by any of the above, I recommend you find a different book to listen too.

In summary, for a book I was about to discard to my Did Not Finish (DNF) bin, Black Swan Planet gets recognition for being a book that surprised me the most. The story and the author’s ability to lower the level of satire made for a fun and enjoyable listen. It is not the type of book I would listen to all the time, but Mr. Peters makes me think twice when I feel like giving up too early on any book. For those who are going to listen to the book, I leave you with one thing. Beans, beans, and more beans…

Audiobook was provided for review by the author/narrator/publisher.

Please find this complete review and many others at my review blog.

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1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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many weird things - but kept me interested

This story is kind of like a Dr. Who episode starring Benny Hill and Monty Python and written by Douglas Adams. Interesting - all British. A lighthearted sci-fi story. When it started I wasn't sure it would be that good and keep my interest but it surprised me and definitely did. Every couple chapters it seemed to change direction but then all came together nicely at the end. Open for a sequel - I'd be glad to check it out.
I requested this copy of the audiobook and have voluntarily left this review

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Unusual but highly entertaining

Quite colorful and It s not for evrey one but II Loved the humor, the clever plot and did not see it coming how earth got tangled in the story. great narration !!!!

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Backwater planets and space travelling monkeys

When Raka Varoule gatecrashes a party held by the Emperor, broadcasting something he shouldn't, he has to go into hiding on a backwater planet. That planet is 1960's era Earth. But something is wrong, as the technology on this planet it advancing quicker than it should - someone is illegally bringing alien tech to the planet, and Raka wants to know why. Also, unbeknownst to Raka, the Empire is trying to pull itself because of his actions. He has set in motion something that will have a huge impact for Earth, the empire, and himself.

Black Swan Planet is a fun, if not slightly juvenile in humor, romp across the galaxy. It's engaging and entertaining throughout, keeping up a high pace, and providing some fun satire.

Narration by David Swanson is really good. He provides a large number of character voices, filled with emotion and excitement. He brings the book and the characters to life. He is well paced, clear and enjoyable to listen to.

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Satirical romp through space and time.

The first thing that grabbed my attention was the cover art: a blunt-smoking chimp wearing an astronaut's helmet who appeared to mock me with a sly, poo-slinging grin. Needless to say I was intrigued. It turns out to be a fantastically funny romp through space and time -- a satire full of adventure that entertained me from start to finish. Well developed characters have plenty of attitude and some surprising secrets! David Swanson lends this story a unique voice with his narration. Definitely glad I picked this one up and recommend it to anyone looking for a jolly good time!

(I requested this free review copy audiobook and voluntarily posted this unbiased review.)

1 person found this helpful

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  • Norma Miles
  • 05-30-18

A stupid plan is better than no plan at all.

This deliciously silly book is written from the point of view of one Roka Veroule, famous through the 27 planets of the Galactic Empire as an intrepid investigative reporter. But his live streamed videoing of the birthday celebrations of the Emperor exposes rather more of the Emperor than he'd anticipated, so Roka makes an hasty escape in the Emperor's own cruiser, accompanied only by a dominatrix, an Imperial drugs dealer and a nauseous and naughty chimpanzee. In a desperate bid to outwit the pursuing ships, the small crew head out of Imperial civilization in hope of disappearing to one of the barbarian worlds. And they find earth...

As well as often being hilariously funny, in a mostly slapstick and potty humour way, the action is fast paced and observations insightful. The characters are brightly colourful, like comic heros, but still have a depth and reality - very memorable. The story is pretty good, too, and the unexpected really does take the reader completely by surprise. Somehow, the talented narrator, David Swanson, is able to convey all of this in his excellent performance - his reading is fast paced, but not too fast, every protagonist has an individual and appropriate voice and he exudes a slightly satirical undertone through the entire narration.

Although very different in content, the book is reminiscent of the marvellous Harry Harrison stories in it's explosion of on page presence. I'm sure most S.F. fans would enjoy the glorious fun of Black Swan Planet which, combined with the excellently fitting narration, make this a five star audiobook. My deep thanks to the rights holder who, at my request, gifted me with a complimentary copy, via Audiobook Boom. I loved it and I know that some of the scenes will stay with me for a very long time.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for C. Rowlands
  • C. Rowlands
  • 05-07-18

Monkeying around in space

I was not familiar with this author before getting this book, but the premise seemed like an interesting one, even if at first it did seem like it might be trying a little too hard to be quirky or whacky. Thankfully, the author managed to avoid that potential pitfall quite well and without losing too much humour from the ongoing story managed to nicely add depth and personality to his main characters once they end up on a 'barbarian world' that is actually a mid 20th century Earth that obviously has no idea about the larger galactic empire around them.

On the whole, the narrator does a good job with this book, giving most characters a suitably distinctive voice, the one notable exception would be a particular accent that really didn't work very well at all.

Overall, this was an enjoyable listen and the author has created a well-realised world that I hope he returns to in subsequent books.

[Note - I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.]