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Publisher's Summary

The acclaimed BBC Radio 4 space drama arrives in its entirety for the very first time, with a bonus introduction by creator and writer James Follett. The starship Challenger has been on a 115-year-long mission, exploring other galaxies for suitable Earth-like planets to colonise. The present crew of four were born on the ship and have never left it. But when the Challenger attempts to return to the crew's home planet, it discovers that the Earth has vanished!

When they were first broadcast on radio, Earthsearch and Earthsearch II generated a flood of fan letters to Radio Times. Now at last their superb sound is available, digitally remastered for the first time. Also included is an introduction from James Follett, first broadcast as part of BBC7's "Men, Martians, and Machines".

© and (P)2004 BBC Audiobooks Ltd.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • Scott
  • Roseville, CA, United States
  • 09-07-08

Excellent Radio Play

Listening to one good reader is nice, Multiple professional actors reading the script is sheer joy! Much fuss has been made of "loud sound effects". Set your device's equalizer to reduce the treble (thus preserving the normal voice tones) which mainly come, at the last few seconds of each episode, thus can't possibly ruin such a long well produced series. The stories are very fast paced. (explained by the author in the forward as the director's need for 'pace') A very concise summary prior to the next chapter helps if too much time has passed for you between episodes. Part 2 has a bit comedic relief - (a tad of an over used gag.) The major plots are based on several classic science fiction themes. Each episode ends with a cliffhanger or dramatic plot revelation. Also the plot has many great twists and turns. Happily you won't have to wait a week, as original B.B.C. listeners did, for each new episode. I enjoyed it SO much (such a fun, easy to follow and fast paced plot) to listen twice. A great story that I had no trouble following. (Note: I save my 5th star for Shakespeare quality stories.) This story is ingenious, thrilling, well written with a very compelling overarching plot. That should be enough if you enjoy any good writing. The backdrop may be space, computers, and technology, but like any good writing the story itself is based on the human nature of its characters - even the android (human tissue containing to help them think) type computers.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A Wonderful Listen

This is a great story and definitely worth a listen. The story and cast deserve 5 stars. However, the sound effects are a bit loud. No problem for me as I listen in the car during my commute, and when the sounds are too loud (mostly between episodes) I just reduced the volume. I tried different equalizer settings, but those sound effects were just loud. The characters were easily heard to me, and the cast did a terrific job playing their roles. So, don't miss this fun adventure!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Light entertainment!

This audio story is worth a credit, for sure. The story is interesting and very well "acted".

1) There is an intro by James Follet which I can only assume is supposed to be a "bonus"... it's boring. 15 minutes of (poorly spoken) blah blah blah.
2) the "sound effects" are loud and intrusive (and cheap - i.e. the gunfire sounds like tv white noise). When a chapter ends this is indicated by a squawk/whistle sound that is a couple points louder than the story itself. Yes, you can set your equalizer to make them better, but they are still annoying.
3) Interspersed throughout the chapters (more so in the second part) there are sound effects of rain, birds (squeaking), gunfire, and "radio" communications which you can't really hear properly since you'll have the volume turned down so the squawks and screams don't deafen you.
4) The story is broken into "chapters" and each chapter is prefaced with a brief description of what came before and is concluded with the names of the voice actors. If you were listening to it as a novel, this just breaks up the story (but if you were listening to it in parts, it does give you a recap so you can recall what has happened).

Overall, it's like listening to a light and fluffy television space drama show. The voice acting and light entertainment value earn it 4 stars.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Sarah
  • Hamilton, ON, Canada
  • 07-11-09

You can't bring too much critical thinking to this

I really like science fiction - and post-HHGTTG radio play science fiction - so I'm used to suspending my disbelief. But there were a couple of things about Earthsearch that test even the most hardcore sci-fi fans.

The whole premise of keeping the 4 main characters 'sexually immature' - which was central to the plot - was TOTALLY undermined by the fact that they have 'adult' voices. If these 'kids' were supposed to have avoided puberty, how come their voices sound like they're 20-something? Particularly the men: if they hadn't gone through puberty, wouldn't they still sound like boys, rather than men? And are we really supposed to believe they've never (a) seen photos of naked people and (b) seen photos of APPLES?

The production issues that other reviewers complained about didn't really bother me - except for the high-pitched squeaks between episodes - and overall it was a good story, but you've kind of got to commit to not being irritated by some of the more clunky plot devices in order to enjoy it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Terrible production

I’ve listened to over 250 Audible books in the last three years and this is without a doubt the worst production I've listened to. I enjoyed the story, it was original and engrossing, but the quality of the presentation was terrible. Conversations ranged from whispered conversations one moment that required turning up the volume to screaming and yelling with much too loud sound effects and music blasting the next. As well the sound effects all but drowned out the voices at times. Add to that the excessive use of echo to provide a sense of space and muddled voices for many of the computers and it all added up to the most difficult listen I have ever purchased. It’s too bad, I would give the story a solid 5 stars but the production drags it down to a 2 at best.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Stanley
  • Davenport, OK, United States
  • 04-08-06

great story

I really enjoyed listening to this series. Being a long haul truck driver, this was just the right length of time to start and comletely listen to in a 10 hour time frame.
the whole story kept me on edge the whole time.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Truly Epic

Would you listen to Earthsearch again? Why?

Yes. To hear more of all the details involved.

What did you like best about this story?


Which character – as performed by Full Cast – was your favorite?


Any additional comments?

The production values are very high. The pace of the unfolding of the plot is brisk.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Blast from the 80s that stands the test of time

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I remember this story well from my childhood, it had a feel to it that was both mythical and science fiction at the same time.

On a generation starship on a deep space mission, four young adults have been raised and moulded by the sinister onboard computers who have moulded themselves as "guardian angels". The crew return home to Earth to find a mystery ... where has it gone?

Returning to this classic, I was prepared to find it quiet tame and quaint, but it's one of those rare beasts, a story which has stood the test of time well.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I always remember finding Angel 1 and Angel 2 quite unnerving. There have been evil computers before, but they usually operate in secret. Having two such computers scheming together was very different, and really helped frame the story well.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Excellent serial

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

Well worth the credit one of the best space dramas of its time

What other book might you compare Earthsearch to and why?

Can't think of any

What does Full Cast bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The different voices make the story much better than any book

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

No extreme just made me smile Very Hi Tech for the time

Any additional comments?

Nope Enjoy

  • Overall
  • Nighthawk
  • birmingham, United Kingdom
  • 04-19-11

very entertaining and a bit vintage

Very nice story with some interesting turns - part 1 has silly noises between acts, [and its annoying] that disappear in part two. Still that was radio of the day so ... thoroughly enjoyable.

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  • Overall
  • Wendy
  • 08-22-06

Stands up to the test of time

I loved this series when it first came out, later I bought the tapes, but as someone mentioned, they were edited down. This version is complete with James doing a little intro. Dispite the story sometimes being a bit too child like it has just captivated me again for the past two days. And the price... Did I mention that its over ?60 on CD at amazon? Its a bargain here!

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Patrick
  • 05-23-06

Let`s Find Earth Together..

Simply great fun!! Well written and extremely well dramatised and read by a fine company. It`s what`s good radio - plays and audiobooks are about. I simply loved this from start to finish - I wish I heard the original radio broadcasts, and as thus, this is a good advertisement.. Anyway, sound effects etc and the quality of 'vocal' drama is well represented here - an absolute triumph - how I wish there was more!!!

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-03-06

earthsearch suprisingly good

I got this on the strength of a friend having raved about the series 20 years or so ago. Its episodic format is reminiscent of Doctor Who but the story line is good and the whole concept of the story was sound. Some aspects have been covered in other stories by Bova and Asimov but this is a different spin. If you like radio drama, Blake's Seven or Doctor Who you will probably like this.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Ann
  • 05-12-08

Worth every penny

Well, I say that, I actually chose it as my free sign-up title ! However, it was this title that actually made me sign up in the first place. Very difficult to get easily, and I especially wanted this radio production.
It's what I'd hoped it would be. Genuinely chilling and absorbing, the cliff-hangers are very well-timed and although it is a little dated, it was still very enjoyable. I'm not a sci-fi fan at all, but I'd heard so many good things about this that I had to get it. And I'm very pleased I did.
The only possible negative point is that the different characters have differing voice levels, which can make you mess about with the volume level for ages. The intro especially, is much louder than the rest of the programme.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Ms. Sl Wilson-dickson
  • 08-29-13

Classic and in a league of its own.

I initially listened when they came out on the radio when i was 12 years old. Now, at age 43, they still are gripping and simply classic. Forget Dr. Who, Star Treck, or any of that. Beacause i'd heard these, nothing else ever matched up since so i was so excited to find them on audible...and both o them to, i'd not properly heard all of Earthsearch 2 until now. Had been searching for them for years! This is the real deal, the ultimate sci fi, space travelling time traveling journey, and is years ahead of its time in terms of the sound effects and pictures it creates in your mind as you listen. The characters are brilliant and aaah...just get it!!! It is the best sci fi listen i gurantee. I introduced my boyfriend to them, and my young sons too, and they were all hooked very quickly. It appeals to all age groups. The plot is genious. If they had an erthsearch 3, 4, 5, i'd listen to them all with eager excitement.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Tashifan
  • 01-04-13

Great fun

Yes it is a bit dated, but I have really enjoyed listening to each episode in my bath.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Peter
  • 10-18-12

Great fun, improves as it goes on

Initially it sounds very dated, a bit wooden in fact, but stick with it as the adventure unfolds and the characters develop. Great fun and lots of cliff-hangers.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Lee Grant
  • 08-31-11

Great performances in this space drama

I'd not encountered Earthsearch before - I think I'm a few years too young to have noticed it on its first orbit.

It's not as polished as Hitchhikers nor of the calibre of Doctor Who but it is worth some attention. I particularly enjoyed the performances on the main actors who convey the drama and narrative in a powerful way.

The FX are basic but they certainly don't detract.

If you're a fan of the BBC Radio 'Lord of the Rings' then you're in the a treat as most of the cast for Earthsearch featured in LOTR.

Thoroughly enjoyable and I would love James Follett to write a third series - I'd love to know how they're all getting along.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • John
  • 06-02-11


Great story well worth a listen. I have listened to it several times and it never grows old. Excellent......

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • William
  • 04-16-11

A BBC classic

I remember the original broadcast on BBC but as the way of things I missed a lot of episodes.
I have really enjoyed reliving the series. A dated format but has the advantage of full production values (a full cast of actors) and the wonderful BBC sound effect department.
I will be listening to it again soon.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful