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Listen to the Signal: Short Stories, Volume 1

Narrated by: Rob Dircks
Length: 4 hrs and 40 mins
5 out of 5 stars (15 ratings)
Regular price: $14.95
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Publisher's Summary

Back when I started this project, I was thinking what the heck, writing a few short stories will keep me fresh, let me try things I might not try otherwise, act as a sketch book of my story ideas: the funny, the weird, the scary, the sappy, and sometimes all of that mashed up together. 

Well, two years later, I had no idea how proud I would be of this body of work, and how genuinely psyched I am to be sharing these stories with you in this format. Going through these again for production, I felt like a proud papa, gathering up all my little babies, or like I was collecting a bag of gems. 

Wow, I just wrote “bag of gems” in all seriousness, like it’s a totally everyday phrase, like I might find myself out on horseback in some medieval European country and have the need to reach into my little leather sack for a gem to purchase an entire village.  

©2019 Rob Dircks (P)2019 Rob Dircks

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never want them to end.

man I just love Rob's writing and narration. so many great stories and ideas oh, I can't wait for the next full book.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Fun and thoughtful Sci-Fi

I love Twilight Zone and Dark Matter. But this is different and a welcome addition. Dircks has a much more fun and sometimes softer style, but he doesn’t lose that mind-bending twist and turn feeling. Really well done. Narration and overall audio packaging is solid.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • DJ
  • 03-04-19

Great series of listens for short trips.

Knowing how much I've enjoyed delving into Rob Dircks mind scratching and humorous novels, I was psyched to discover this collection of short stories - all less than a half hour. They're perfect for when I'm waiting at the doctor's office or on a shorter car ride. I was a big fan of the TV series, The Twilight Zone and these have that same feel, leaving me with something to chew on for a while. One of my favorite stories was Dako - a bit of a mind twister with a lot of heart. Totally worth the purchase!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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awesome book!

loved these stories! definitely kept me entertained! you must check out ALL of his books!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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The Perfect Road Trip Listen

This is probably the perfect road trip listen. You get small digestible stories to help pass the time, but almost all of the stories are built around a bigger question. This bigger question leaves you and your stinky car-mates with something to talk about while getting another bladder buster and sack of Twizzlers at the Gulp n' Go.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great collection.

This is a great collection of short stories. Every one different and very entertaining. Rob is also a great reader.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Best Mix of Sci-Fi and Realism Yet

These short stories mix the most entertaining twists of plot with a truly realistic point of view by the characters. I guess the phrase I'm looking for is 'real speak' in fantastic situations. Rob's stories have amazing plots with last minute twists and zings that I find extremely refreshing in the genre. No top-heavy slogging serious fantasy themes, these stories develop serendipitous flashes of inspiration into realistic "what ifs". I also find that despite some stellar narrators doing his audio work that Rob tells his stories best.Every quip or exasperated sound is perfectly rendered in his narrations.

I mentioned "real speak". The characters speak in terms you'd expect to hear real people caught in the same situation within real life, so if realistic expression of frustration (i.e.occasional expletives NOT deleted) bother you, then perhaps Rob's books are for someone else. For me, the characters' realistic expressions are the very things that engender suspension of disbelief and bring the stories to life. I heartily recommend this book of short stories with great introductions to each explaining where the ideas for them originated. Please get this book and enjoy it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Philip K. Dick . . . with a Sense of Humor

This review is for the audiobook version of Listen To The Signal: Short Stories Volume 1 written and read by Rob Dircks. Let me start this by saying that I am a fan of short stories and even short story collections. I don't believe that everything written, especially in fantasy and/or science fiction circles, has to be part of a trilogy or longer series. I like stories that end, except for the Lord of the Rings. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Christopher Tolkien "unearths" something else JRR never got around to publishing in his day.

I've read and enjoyed all of Dircks work released to date and this collection of short stories will feel familiar to anyone who's already read (or listened to) his Telsa books, You're Going to Mars, or The Wrong Unit.

I find most short story collections to be . . . a little uneven. Usually, you get a mixed bag, in terms of quality, with only a couple of above average stories tossed in. Listen to the Signal is a minor exception. There are no stinkers here, but the stories do range in quality from good, to very good, to very very good.

The best way to describe this collection is to say that it's like Philip K. Dick, but with a sense of humor. You've got stories about aliens, robots and AI, time travel, the effects of living in space on human DNA, and even a yarn about a candy crush clone, all in one package. These stories are a reminder that even though life may be resembling a science fiction future, life is still precious. Also, life is funny. Unless you <spoiler>get bit on the rear by an evil tick</spoiler>. Then it's not funny, it's terrifying.

Given that these are literally short stories, I can't review too much without spoiling them individually. I'll settle for talking about my favorite story from Listen.

My favorite story in this collection centered a character who hates his job (relatable, right?). In a world where the singularity has already happened, he spends his workdays teaching AIs to be more human (not as relatable, but interesting). This story managed to be humorous, relevant (this is an actual job you can get now), and touching.

Before and in between stories, Dircks provides insight into his creative process and shares some of the experiences that resulted in each work. I enjoyed this peek behind the scenes.
Not every author should also handle narration chores for their books (except for Neil Gaiman -- he should always narrate his books). That said, Dircks does an admirable job reading his text. There was a distinction between his expository interludes and when he was actually performing that felt natural and I appreciated that as a listener.

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

1 of 1 people found this review helpful