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Publisher's Summary

Audie Award Finalist, Original Work, 2014

In Rip-Off!, 13 of today’s best and most honored writers of speculative fiction face a challenge even they would be hard-pressed to conceive: Pick your favorite opening line from a classic piece of fiction (or even non-fiction) - then use it as the first sentence of an entirely original short story.

In the world of Rip-Off!, "Call me Ishmael" introduces a tough-as-nails private eye - who carries a harpoon; The Wonderful Wizard of Oz inspires the tale of an aging female astronaut who’s being treated by a doctor named Dorothy Gale; and Huckleberry Finn leads to a wild ride with a foul-mouthed riverboat captain who plies the waters of Hell.

Once you listen to Rip-Off! you’ll agree: If Shakespeare or Dickens were alive today, they’d be ripping off the authors in this great collection.

The stories included in Rip-Off! are:

  • "Fireborn" by Robert Charles Wilson
  • "The Evening Line" by Mike Resnick
  • "No Decent Patrimony" by Elizabeth Bear
  • "The Big Whale" by Allen M. Steele
  • "Begone" by Daryl Gregory
  • "The Red Menace" by Lavie Tidhar
  • "Muse of Fire" by John Scalzi
  • "Writer’s Block" by Nancy Kress
  • "Highland Reel" by Jack Campbell
  • "Karin Coxswain or Death as She Is Truly Lived" by Paul Di Filippo
  • "The Lady Astronaut of Mars" by Mary Robinette Kowal
  • "Every Fuzzy Beast of the Earth, Every Pink Fowl of the Air" by Tad Williams
  • "Declaration" by James Patrick Kelly

As a bonus, the authors introduce their stories, explaining what they ripped-off - and why.

Rip-Off! was produced in partnership with SFWA - Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. Gardner Dozois served as project editor.

The full list of narrators includes: Wil Wheaton, Scott Brick, Christian Rummel, Jonathan Davis, Khristine Hvam, L.J. Ganser, Stefan Rudnicki, David Marantz, Nicola Barber, Dina Pearlman, Allyson Johnson, Marc Vietor, and Ilyana Kadushin.

For more books from the authors of Rip-Off! click here.

©2012 Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Thirteen authors, eight narrators--this themed anthology has something for everyone…. Longtime narrators Scott Brick and Stefan Rudnicki rub elbows with Star Trek alum Wil Wheaton and five others. The varied narrators mean that there's no common delivery style, but it's safe to say that everyone involved was having fun." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.7 out of 5.0
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  • 4.0 out of 5.0
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  • 3.6 out of 5.0
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  • Story

Brilliance mixed in with not so much

Overall the concept is great. The reality was that it turned out very uneven. I enjoyed it, and if they ever decide to do something like it again, I'll probably buy it. Met some interesting authors I hadn't read and now will - and a couple I certainly won't.

Still - I enjoyed it and recommend it. Just be ready for the potholes in the road.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Some Great, some good, some to skip

Would you listen to Rip-Off! again? Why?

Yes just for the few great stories. you can tell which ones after the first 3 minutes of listening.

What did you like best about this story?

John Scalzi as always. Although Short, this has to be one of his best stories every.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • DrPunchman
  • Playa Del Rey, CA, United States
  • 03-10-14

Some great stuff inside

Any additional comments?

There are some really fun stories in here, and some real misses. Overall it was a great introduction to several authors, as well as a reminder of why I love the ones I do.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Meagan
  • Spokane, WA, United States
  • 02-07-14

Had highs and lows

Where does Rip-Off! rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Some of the stories were amazing and I wanted more, some were hard to get into and a little bit strange. Short stories can be like that though.

Would you recommend Rip-Off! to your friends? Why or why not?

sure - but see the above comment

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

The narration was really good. It helped the differences between the stories stand out.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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an interesting selection of very different stories

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I don't think there's anything that needs changing.

Would you recommend Rip-Off! to your friends? Why or why not?

Yes, i would recommend it to anyone interested in fiction literature.<br/>Some of the stories are really little gems, very enjoyable.

Which scene was your favorite?

The story "Every Fuzzy Beast of the Earth, Every Pink Fowl of the Air" is one of the lightest and funniest things i've ever read. <br/>It's one of those really adorable stories that leaves you with a smile for the whole day.<br/>Lovely, simply lovely.

Do you think Rip-Off! needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

The original idea of ripping off opening lines from famous works is a nice way to kick-off a story, the format does have its merits.<br/>Some of the stories really deserve a follow up, you definitely want to know what happens next!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great variety of genres in (Sci)Fi

Which scene was your favorite?

I really enjoyed these stories:<br/>"Fireborn" by Robert Charles Wilson<br/>"The Lady Astronaut of Mars" by Mary Robinette Kowal<br/>"Highland Reel" by Jack Campbell<br/>"Muse of Fire" by John Scalzi<br/>"Declaration" by James Patrick Kelly

Any additional comments?

Getting to hear some wild idéas/stories from some great authors in a fun way. I don't regret buying and listening to Rip-off, as I have learned about a few other writers and want to listen to some of their other works.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Good stories mixed with bad ones

The idea of "ripping off" famous stories by taking their first sentences seemed interesting, so I bought Rip-Off! I finished the book with mixed feelings. There are some great stories in it. Scalzi hits the high bar as he usually does, I liked The Muse of Fire the most. I had some good time with The Red Menace (by Lavie Tidhar) and The Big Whale (by Allen M. Steele). There were OK stories with nice twist at the end, like Writers' Block (by Nancy Kress), and there were OK stories, which were pleasant to listen to without having big endings, like The Lady Astronaut of Mars (by Mary Robinette Kowal). Then other stories were waste of time, I gave up on some of them after five minutes, for example Karin Coxswain or Death as She Is Truly Lived (by Paul Di Filippo).
So, do I suggest this book? Yes, if you have fair tolerance towards books with good stories mixed with ones going nowhere.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A Good Sampler

The problem with a collection of short stories is that just as you are really settling into a story you like, it is over. On the other hand, the ones you don't like require shortened suffering. I only skipped one story in this collection--the Coxswain one--because I don't care for ugliness for the sake of ugliness, where the author seems to think it is a dare to see how much filth you'll put up with when it has very little, if anything, to do with the actual story. I'm not squeamish, but I don't like pointless crap.

Most stories in this were "meh," and I liked a few well enough to wish they didn't end so quickly. The main value I see in this book, and doubtless why some authors participate, is discovery. You can get a sampling of each author's style and potentially find some you want to read full works from. Not a bad deal all told.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Ted
  • Lancaster, PA, United States
  • 07-24-13

A Personal Yuck!

I did not like any of these stories. BUT... They may be quite good. Good, like art, is in the beholder's fantasy. I'm not a fantasy story type of guy. Maybe I own the problem, after all there are a bunch of well selling authors here and at least a few readers whom I've enjoyed elsewhere.

Wish I hadn't bought this. The premise sounded cool so I tried... reeeeely.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Some delightful must-reads(listens) on here!

Would you consider the audio edition of Rip-Off! to be better than the print version?

N/A

What other book might you compare Rip-Off! to and why?

None come to mind, other than compilations of short stories variously over time, but none with this particular take on the themes.

Which scene was your favorite?

The takeoff on the bewitched TV show was first rate and very humorous- as well as poignant, oddly enough...<br/>

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

There were several- but I wont spoil it for you! ;)

Any additional comments?

I highly recommend SCIFI fans to this book- but a warning: There is some fantasy here as well. For some that's a good thing, if you don't like fantasy then there are a few stories that will grate on you.<br/>

2 of 3 people found this review helpful