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Publisher's Summary

Award-winning actor Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Castle, The Rookie) brings to life a snarky artificial intelligence you won't soon forget. Don't miss his hilarious performance in a story perfectly crafted for sci-fi fans of The Martian, Red Dwarf, and We Are Legion (We Are Bob).

They thought this was just another salvage job. They thought wrong. 

An AI overseer and a human crew arrive on a distant planet to salvage an ancient UN starship. The overseer is unhappy. The crew, well, they're certainly no A-team. Not even a C-team on the best of days. And worse? Urmahon Beta, the planet, is at the ass-end of nowhere. Everybody expects this to be a long, ugly, and thankless job. 

Then it all goes disastrously wrong. What they thought was an uninhabited backwater turns out to be anything but empty. Megafauna roam the land, a rival crew with some terrifyingly high-powered gear haunts the dig site, and a secret that will change humanity forever is waiting in the darkness.

Stuck on this unmapped, hostile planet, lacking resources, and with tech built by the cheapest bidder, the salvage crew must engineer their way to payday...and beat Urmahon Beta before it kills them all.

©2020 Yudhanjaya Wijeratne (P)2020 Podium Audio

Critic Reviews

"Yudhanjaya Wijeratne's ingeniously crafted The Salvage Crew starts with a comforting science-fictional familiarity, before using its A.I.-co-authored idiosyncrasies to hurtle headlong into the gravity well of its considerable ambition. A novel of meteoric energy, flaring brighter and brighter as it falls further into its world." (Indrapamit Das, Lambda Award-winning author of The Devourers)

"A classic sci-fi adventure wrapped around a deeply philosophical core. With skillful plotting, interesting details, and a motley crew of humans and A.I., it's a story that embraces its meta-origins...with an ending worth waiting for." (S.B. Divya, Hugo and Nebula Award-nominated author of Runtime and Machinehood)

"With animation and wry humor, Fillion introduces listeners to OC, an artificially intelligent yet poetic overseer...with tenderness and sorrow [he] conveys OC's dawning realization that their mission has turned into a nightmare. Fillion's talents are undeniable...." (Audiofile Magazine)

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What listeners say about The Salvage Crew

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Rats, I got sucked in and wasted a credit

When am I going to learn not to believe the gushing reviews where the rest are just poor? Believe the bad reviews for this audiobook, the gushing reviews are plants. This is a bogus listening experience, through and through. Storyline is interesting, at the start, but goes NOWHERE worthwhile. Nathan Fillion is one of my favorite actors, but so poorly directed and produced in this that I'm sad he squandered his talent on this effort. Sadly, I'm now a little burned on listening to anything else he might narrate in the future. (that kinda ticks me off about this book, too) I was going to give up and get my credit back, multiple times, but held out in the hope that, suddenly, the good reviews were going to be realized and something interesting or good or ...worthwhile was going to happen. No joy, No fun. No good. Want to waste a credit? Go ahead and buy this audiobook and experience what I, and so many others, did. Otherwise... there are SO many better choices, keep looking, this is NOT the book you are looking for...!

97 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • YL
  • 11-03-20

Promising First Half, Then a Mess

Fillion’s performance is good. He does get whispery at times, but the writing he’s conveying is problematic enough I don’t know what else he could have done. The writing starts off good and holds steady until after the halfway mark, staying straightforward and entertaining like a Haldeman or Scalzi. Then the author loses it. At first seeming to try to mimic surreal authors like Bear or Yoon Ha Lee (whose skills at the abstract are awesome). But, in the end just coming off as alternately a tad intoxicated then impatient. Then he skips forward to a finish that makes all written/read so far feel disconnected, irrelevant.

If he continues with more books—and sticks to the straightforward style he did well with at the start or polishes his skills with the abstract—the tales could be great.

94 people found this helpful

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Shiny....

I was sold at Nathan Fillion...

I never expected the book to be this good though. I loved every hilarious second of it and Nathan’s delivery only added to Wijeratne’s already incredible prose. I’d love more of this though I am guessing it won’t be a series. Movie? TV Adaptation. PLEASE?

46 people found this helpful

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Starts At The Top Of A Hill And Only Goes Down

I was quickly engaged in the story, finding it funny and interesting, but it started slowing down about a quarter of the way in and by the last quarter of the book, I was ready for it to be over. Fillion does a great job and should consider doing more books, but I found the story just sort of wandered off into the distance and never found its way back.

37 people found this helpful

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Boring concept, and the narration didn't help

Nathan Fillion is a fine actor, just not a good voice actor.
Story is not fun nor entertaining, I felt like I have to force myself listening to find something interesting. And I was disappointed.

Reading other reviews, either I have a unique taste, or a lot of bot are writing reviews.

28 people found this helpful

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Meh (Nothing much happens)

An average crew on an average assignment face an average experience.

Nathan has to learn to modulate his volume and enunciated the last words in his sentence.

How was this missed in production? Were they star struck? I guess I am picky but, I had to crank up the volume to listen to the audible. Result? His first words blare through the speakers. Then he reads the last sentence or two of a paragraph in faint whispers. Nathan also has a tendency to swallow the last word or two in a sentence so that they are unintelligible.

Those simple correctable errors made the audible so distractingly frustrating I could only listen for short periods.

24 people found this helpful

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Bought it because of Nathan Fillion, quite surprised by the story

The blend of sci-fi and Buddhist theology was an interesting mix that I didn’t think would work,but works surprisingly well in this survival sci-fi comedy. The author’s way of writing helped to create a clear picture most of the time, however there were parts that became hard to follow, but that also could have due to narration. I will say most of the poetry went right over my head but that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it. Nathan Fillion does a tremendous job portraying the cynical, snarky AI, but it was hard to follow some of the extended conversations between characters because he doesn’t change his voice much when changing characters. Very excited to see where this series goes, seems like the author left it open for a sequel. Would recommend to anyone who enjoys the colony survival game Rimworld, and anybody who wants a break from the typical sci-fi human savior stories. It’s mainly a story about being put in a bad situation and trying to make the best of it written from the perspective of a cynical poetic AI.

24 people found this helpful

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Nathan Fillion IS the cosmos-weary AI

This was really entertaining and original - I loved the episodes of AI poetry wonderfully performed by the salvage master himself - Nathan Fillion. A perfect karmic mashup of voice and story. Exactly what makes an audiobook great.

14 people found this helpful

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Loved it

First of all, Nathan Fillion is perfect for this. Second- the story itself was quite an enjoyable ride. Fun, thought provoking, and highly imaginative.

13 people found this helpful

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If you like a little poetry with your sci-fi

This was a very nice book to listen to, with the narrator adding a lot to the poetry. I did find myself pausing the book occasionally after a poem, just to think on it a bit.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Fishamatician
  • 10-30-20

Fantastic, really enjoyed it.

Can't wait for more from this author and Nathan Fillion did a great job narrating it.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Arazmus
  • 01-20-21

good sci fi, nice take on first contact

good book, gets fairly predictable in the mid to end. performance was great, a tad quite for driving but awesome other than that

3 people found this helpful

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  • bojan
  • 11-12-20

Nothing like the blurb.

It's plodding, at times aimless, and despite the blurb, neither hilarious nor exciting.
It's, at heart, a story of a depressed AI (ish) Overseer, continuously disappointed and frustrated by the humans it oversees.

The characters are two-dimensional at best, and the entire thing reads like it was made up as the book was written.

Fillion's narration is somewhat jarring, as he tends to start a sentence clearly, then rattles off the rest in a quick and mumbled manner. He does this a lot.

This is not hard Sci fi, and it does not deal with overcoming technical difficulties with ingenuity, like The Martian. It lacks the humor and charm om the Bobiverse books.
Mostly stuff just sort of happens, and culminates in an unsatisfying, predictable manner.

I've listened to the book from start to finish, just to see if it goes anywhere, and the truth is: it barely goes anywhere.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Edgar Davids
  • 01-26-21

Refreshing.

Really enjoyed this book, Sci fi can sometimes veer into the life stories and personal challenges of its characters making it more about life in general than the escape I personally was looking for. This book delivered on escapism whilst keeping the struggle at the core. The narration is good once you get used to it as it can be a little mumbled at first, the central character held my interest. Happy with this one.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-03-21

Strong overall, but a little confusing.

An excellent performance from Nathan Fillion in a story that had me constantly wondering what was going to happen next. There are a few shock moments, and generally, the plot is quite strong.

Admittedly, I found some of the universe/AI talk very difficult to follow, and some conversations between them I end up losing who is speaking at what time. I did find the final moments slightly underwhelming, but equally, it has left the story somewhat open for your own conclusions/thoughts or a hefty sequel.

Overall, I would say I found the beginning-mid section quite strong, but it fell off slightly as it came to a close. Despite this, it is certainly worth a listen.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Stubbsy
  • 10-31-20

Dire

Bloody awful. Waste of a credit. Bloody awful, a waste of a credit. Avoid and watch some paint dry instead.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Wookieboy
  • 08-16-21

A refreshing, at times comical, survival story.

Other than the sultry tones of Nathan Fillion, I wasn't sure what to expect from this story. The blurb suggests a comedy on par with Red Dwarf and Hitchikers Guide, and I guess there are elements, but it surprised me with something much deeper. It's philosophy. It's sometimes poetry. It's often funny but, it is not a comedy.

Nathan Fillion clearly loves this story and he demonstrates flawless understanding of authorial intent in his narration. Compelling and entertaining, comical and thoughtful, this story was such a break from the norm.

At only one point did I feel the story stagnated but it was brief. The narration is interdispersed with occasional complex poetry so, be prepared but don't fixate on understanding the prose, it isn't essential to the story. Enjoy it or let it flow over you, there's action and drama aplenty!

Plot: Following the trials and triumphs of a mismatched, underfunded crew on what appears to be a simple salvage op, the crew and their sentient, once-human AI, called an overseer, stumble on something that has much wider consequences, for them, the company and humanity as a species.
The sarcastic and esoteric AI must try his best to keep the crew alive while they work together (occasionally) to make sense of the situation and make the best of what grim existence can be had out here amongst the alien flora and baffling fauna.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Khaine17
  • 12-23-20

Interesting ideas

I like how it is told, the central characters perspective is unique. What they find on the planet is disturbing, and speaks to some old uncomfortable questions.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-21-20

Predictable and only really saved by Fillion

As other reviewers have said the story is predictable, slow, meandering and badly paced. Without Fillion's performance there would be little to recommend it.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Runabout 66
  • 11-24-21

A little wierd

This is a book listened to in long bursts, not for dipping in and out of.

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  • THOMAS
  • 11-16-20

Disappointing

This begins as a slightly wry, somewhat comic look at a future in which AIs have been developed by encoding humans, but becomes a dark, dystopian tale that, to be honest, I’m disinclined to even finish. The problem is a kind of narrative entropy at work: once the narrative is confined to a planet and a base on that planet, all the energy comes from destruction.

I would guess that Martha Wells’ Murderbot series might have been something of an inspiration, but where the energy that drives her narrative comes from personal development, in this narrative there is very little such synthesis at work.

To sum up, I wouldn’t bother with this one.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Benjamin Robert
  • 11-09-20

Great story with acceptable narration

This is a great book, and Yudhanjaya Wijeratne has been added to my list of authors to track for new releases. The narration does suffer from a bit of odd cadence - but it's pretty on-brand for Nathan Fillion and bumping the playback speed to 1.10x was enough to offset any difference in taste.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Joanne
  • 10-31-20

Good but not great

This book is ok it’s not great. the pauses between sentences are a little jarring but I liked the story. Worth a listen

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anthony
  • 12-11-20

Good but not great..

I picked up this book as a Nathan Fillion & sci fi fan. Nathan was great, though there were some words I just couldn't make out even passing back over them several times. For me, he was the best part of the book.

The story was interesting enough, I made it to the end so it's not a bad book. It just felt like the story lacked polish. It felt like a first draft that hadn't quite resolved flow and momentum issues. It felt like there should have been more depth that never arrived.

Despite being critical, I enjoyed it. It's good, just not great. If you're a sci fi nut, you probably need to try this book. If you dabble in sci fi, there are other books that I would more highly recommend.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-04-20

very enjoyable book

I deeply enjoyed this story and its tale through the unknown, guided by mystery and shades of darkness shall the reader follow

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-30-20

FANTASTIC!

Fillion's performance is truly excellent and Yudhanjaya's story was flawlessly written. The combination? Perfection.

1 person found this helpful

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  • luvfromjuniper
  • 09-14-21

AI poetry and first contact

Unusual scifi, did keep me guessing.
I often enjoy poetry but found some of the poetry in here (I believe software generated, the author described?) infuriating and excruciating. Not all, mind you. And it was a clever concept.
I liked the characters, would have liked a bit more humour instead of just darkness for most of the second half of the book or so.
This audio narration on a number of occasions I couldn't understand and had to keep replaying or turn to the kindle version I own to understand what on earth was said. I even tried slowing the whole playback down but that actually made it worse. It was like the narrator was slurring or just plain being lazy in their enunciation. That's wasn't even counting when I couldn't figure out who said what because they didn't pause or change tone or hint that something had changed, when in the text it clearly had. Even commas are there for a reason, not just entire paragraph breaks!
In saying this, I would buy this book again, and try others from the author. I'd really hope for a different narrator, though ;)

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  • Ben H
  • 07-13-21

Stop whispering, Fillion!

The first 95% of the story didn't match the ending. bizarre. poor performance that meant I was constantly rewinding to hear a whispered word or when I zoned out.

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  • jonathan Davis
  • 05-27-21

I liked this a lot

If you like imaginative SciFi that doesn’t take itself too seriously but tells a good story well - try it

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  • Ian
  • 04-21-21

Great story. Equally great performance

Great story it reminded me a little of the Bobiverse
Nathan Fillion did an outstanding job bringing the characters to life.
Only wish there was a book 2
Really! Write another one. NOW