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Publisher's Summary

There had been a battle. The berserker had met some terrible opponent, and had taken a terrible wound. A cavity two miles wide and 50 miles deep had been driven in by a sequence of shaped atomic charges, through level after level of machinery, deck after deck of armor and had been stopped only by the last inner defenses of the buried unliving heart. The berserker had survived and crushed its enemy, and soon after, its repair machines had sealed over the outer opening of the wound, using extra thicknesses of armor. When Hemphill sees the blasted cavity, what little of it his tiny spacesuit lamp can show, he feels a shrinking fear greater than any in his memory. Stopping on the edge of the void with his arm instinctively around Maria, he is stunned by the realization of just what fighting the berserker means. They have already come an hour's journey from the airlock, through weightless vacuum inside the great machine. Hemphill, his pistol ready, has a bomb, and 200 feet of cord tied around his left arm, when he recognizes the once-molten edge of the berserker's great scar for what it is: the damned thing has survived a level of attempted destruction that not only had hardly weakened it, but rendered the bomb Hemphill carried under his arm only a pathetic toy.
© 1998 Fred Saberhagen; (P) 1998 Blackstone Audiobooks

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.4 out of 5.0
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    38
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Performance

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
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    12
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Story

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
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  • Overall
  • Jeffery
  • Bel Air, MD, United States
  • 12-30-07

My Best First Audible Book

My original plan was to get the three free books and cancel before they month was up. Then I got hooked. "Berserkers: The Beginning" was one of my first listens. I had read one or two of Fred Saberhagen's Berserker books years ago and like them, but never spent the time to track down and read them in any organized fashion as I did with Alan Dean Foster’s books, David Brin's books, etc. I am hooked now and a platinum member. This was an excellent Berserker book, and probably the best of the lot that I've listened to:

Berserkers: The Beginning (*****)
Berserker Planet (*** 1/2)
Berserker Man (*** 1/2)
The Berserker Throne (*** 1/2)
Berserker Blue Death (****)

As you can see, I liked them all. If Audible offered a 1/2 star, I would have given the three listed as three stars three and one-half stars. Blue Death was also very good. All are worth a listen.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Daniel
  • Pearland, TX, USA
  • 11-08-03

The way it was written

Perhaps the narration style was a bit dry, but in fact, that's how the book was written. I picked up this recording by accident, having confused it with the Bolo series by Keith Laumer. The concept is similar: war machines gone out of control and surviving through the ages to wreak havoc on later generations. It's an imaginative concept, leading to interesting stories by both authors. Getting back to this book, though, Saberhagen packages a bunch of short stories as historical research by an objective narrator. The characters' thoughts and actions are there, but are often minimalized. The short stories were probably written at different times and collected into this work. I say this because the style seems to change from time to time.
So, did I like it? Let me first say that THIS BOOK IS NOT THE BEGINNING of the series - it was published later and meant to capitalize on the success of the series. It provides some backstory and context for the other berserker stories. I liked it as a survey work, not as a story in and of itself. This book should be read AFTER one or more of the other Berserker books. I think the narrator did a decent job given the material, but ask yourself whether you would prefer to read a history book yourself, or have it read to you? Having said that, I did listen to the book all the way through again, and enjoyed it despite the fact it got rather slow-paced in places.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Vikram
  • valley stream, NY, USA
  • 03-13-04

Loved it. Great stories, fast action

This is actually a bunch of short stories which have no relation to the series itself. These are comic book stories that I can only compare the The Animatrix DVD which was a series of stories based on The Matrix series.

Not worth the original asking price of $50 but well worth the subscription price of audible. I actually listened to this 2 times I loved it so much.

Within 20 seconds of the first story you are deep in the heart of the Berserker story. There is no buildup. Each 30 minute story takes you directly into a short story involving a battle with a Berserker. These are the stories that a full novel would leave out. For example, the story of a Berserker who wasnt fully completed, captures a human who then tells it that its purpose is to make humans laugh.

If you remeber the TV series AMAZING STORIES then you will understand this audible release.

Overall I loved it. Just keep in mind that the characters are not too important but the story is. There is even a sad story which is based on the old Greek legend of Orpheus and his trip to hell to get his lover back.

You'll get a basic idea of where the Berserkers came from, their size, their power, and the battle that they wage against all life. Not needed to to understand the series but a great set of stories to further advance the concept. Could be read before or after any of the books in the regular series

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Corey
  • Glenview, IL, USA
  • 10-17-03

Not very compelling, but doable

First thing anyone should note: This is a collection of short stories... NOT a full length novel. The description of this book contains a snippet from the book and does not inform a prospective buyer that this book is a collection of short stories. Secondly, as the reading is somewhat unemotional, I think that it takes away from the feeling that should be conveyed. Overall I think the stories themselves are clever and fun and this audiobook should probably not go against the author or the content. I think it would have been a lot more enjoyable had the reader had a little more emotion while reading. Is it worth $50? Definitely not. Is it worth a book credit? Sure, as long as there isn't something better you can find. Otherwise I might suggest buying the book itself.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Joe
  • Yakima, WA, United States
  • 06-05-14

Great book abuse!

Would you consider the audio edition of Berserkers to be better than the print version?

Read the printed book, I've done both.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Several short stories, no favorite.

What didn’t you like about Barrett Whitener’s performance?

If you like plenty of time to think between sentences, this guy is for you. He takes periods seriously. Pause between almost all sentences as long as many pause between chapters. He is articulate, but ......... you ................ may ........... find............ the................ pauses............... a................ bit .............. much.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Not really, but I read these when they came out long ago.

Any additional comments?

Really good stories that are the predecessors of Terminators.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Harry
  • Virginia Beach, VA, USA
  • 07-02-04

Great Maybe Not BUT...........

I have read the vast majority of these stories in this collection. While the narrator may leave something to desire, the storys and their organization is brilliant. I highly recommend that anyone who likes classic sci-fi get this audiobook. While I would not recommend an outright purchase, if you have a premium subscription this audiobook is well worth a one book credit. Download - listen - enjoy, I do not think you will be disappointed at least not to badly.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

The performance did this book wrong

I read all of these stories as a kid so for me this was a nostalgia purchase. I love Saberhagen's work as one of this really great minds of science fiction and fantasy, though the Berserker stories tend to be more like morality plays in the tradition of Star Trek. The problem with this is that I think Barrett Whitener was the wrong person to read it. His narration often sounded like the dialogue and his attempts at different inflections and voices usually fell flat.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A Great Series by One of the Great Syfy Authors

Where does Berserkers rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

In the top 10%. (I've listened to over 500 books since Books On Tape began offering them in the 1980s. The writing is tight, solid and moves you along. Each major character shines out.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The Berserkers ... since they are the consistent theme throughout the series. They change and adopt and evolve as Bad Life ... humans .... fight them for survival

What about Barrett Whitener’s performance did you like?

Seamless. You aren't listening to him ... you are in the scene.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I wanted to finish it quickly ... but not to force myself to listen to it in one sitting. My wife has other ideas for my retired time.

Any additional comments?

Listen to or read Saberhagen.

  • Overall
  • Story

most painful narration, constant long pauses

narrator speaks haltingly , says sentence or two then pauses for two seconds, constantly. playing at faster speed did not help

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

A beautiful world of horrible acts

This novel was a great way to pass the time while driving. The chapters are separate stories taking place in the same universe the Fred builds for us.