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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

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  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • 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

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

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...

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.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • cde
  • Vienna, VA United States
  • 02-21-13

Anthology done right.

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

For my SF loving friends it is a yes.

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

It was a themed anthology. There are a host of these but the theme matters.

What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

I like the diversity of the narrators. Every story got it's own narrator. This is how to handle anthologies. Short of a different one for each story alternating narrators would help differentiate the stories.

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

Mike Resnick's Damon Runyon inspired story was my favorite. Why isn't there any Runyon on audible?

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Teresa
  • BEACON, NY, United States
  • 01-14-13

I'm not usually a sci-fi fan, but ...

If you could sum up Rip-Off! in three words, what would they be?

A fun read.

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

Stephen King, when he goes deeper into sci fi.

Have you listened to any of the narrators’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Each story had different narrators, and yes, I'd heard some of them before. Can't remember who off hand.

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

No. I commute with it.

Any additional comments?

Some of the stories will stay with me forever. The one about the lady astronaut. And the one about what happened when God created the earth. Interesting heartfelt writing.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Clever idea that didn't work as it should have

Rip-off starts with an awesome concept-- take the first line of a book and use it to write a short story in a different vein. There are some top-shelf authors here and they got to choose the lines to start with. But you won't recognize most of these opening lines, so the concept falls a little flat from the get-go. Some of the stories are humorous, some dark, some pensive, but none of them are really good or memorable. None of them showcases the talents of the authors; you wouldn't go looking for books by them based on these stories.

The narration is great, though, since these talents are also top-shelf. They can't make dish water read like cream soda, however.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Free sci-fi podcasts give you way better stories.

Would you try another book from the authors and/or the narrators?

I was really disappointed in this one. I am a big fan of John Scalzi, and I usually love short stories. However, these stories are at best not bad. Some of them are just plain hard to listen to. I couldn't finish it.

What was most disappointing about the authors’s story?

It's a series of short stories that take the first line of a classic story, and use it as a launching point for a new story. The lesson here is it's not always wise to stand on the shoulders of giants, and then jump off.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

A couple of the narrators did not actively annoy me. That's sadly the best thing about this book.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Rip-Off!?

The second story was the worst. Everything was painful to listen to in that.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

The SciFi is hit-or-miss, mainly miss

What did you like best about Rip-Off!? What did you like least?

The Concept. Most of the authors involved are well known and I like their other books. So they pick a first line of some other novel to base their short piece on. Sounded interesting with an interesting group of authors, and the narrators looked good, too. Only about half of the stories are SciFi. Well, written stories, but uninteresting to me. If I wanted to read about 1920's Chicago or prewar Germany, I would look in period fiction. I am not saying this is bad writing, just not Sci-Fi.

Would you ever listen to anything by the authors again?

I won't be buying any more with this format, but these are great authors, so yes. BTW, the listen button just gave too little information on this book to make a decision.

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

Narration was fine, though it was WIL WHEATON that mislead me. ("WIL WHEATON!" shouted like Sheldon on TBBT.) I love his narration and I probably wouldn't have bought it if his name hadn't been on there with Resnick and several others. WIL WHEATON!

Any additional comments?

I am a pretty hard core Sci-Fi reader. So these shorts that had fantasy, period fiction, with a touch of real science fiction just didn't do it for me. I can tell you that most of the writing was good, though I didn't make it all the way through the book. So take my rating stars based on your leanings.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • joan
  • YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, NY, United States
  • 06-01-13

Some of the stories are pretty good

...but the rest ... not so much. In some they seem to try too hard to make their stories fit the theme - taking a first line from a great book and winging it from there. Frankly, I was unimpressed, even though there were tales by some of my favorite authors.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Did not wow me

This book was fun, there are a couple of stand-out stories here, but overall it didn’t really wow me.

It is definitely worth listening to if you have any favorite authors with stories in it.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

I was not impressed

Not a lot to say here. Most of the stories were mediocre, a few were awful. None really memorable or particluarly enjoyable. As you can tell, I was somewhat disappointed by this anthology. Not my cup of tea.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful