Indexing (Audiobook) by Seanan McGuire, Mary Robinette Kowal

Indexing AudiobookIndexing

by Seanan McGuire, Mary Robinette Kowal
Series: Indexing, #1

Unabridged Audiobook, 13 hours
BrillianceAudio, 2015
It could easily be argued that I’ve said enough (if not too much) about Indexing. So I’m not going to talk about the story, the writing, and so on, beyond this: not listening to this episodically like I read it, highlights strengths and weaknesses. For example, it’s minor, but the way she has to re-introduce the cast in every episode gets pretty tiring when you hear them all minutes apart — but you don’t really notice at all when you read them every 2 weeks.

The book as a whole is developed better and more fully than I realized initially — the whole thing is a lot more connected than I realized. I’d been intending to kick back and read the whole thing sometime to see how it held together, and I’m glad I got the chance to with the audiobook. It’s really a much stronger whole than I realized.

The main thing I want to talk about is Mary Robinette Kowal (that’s three audiobooks in a row from her, I have to take a break before I just assume that every audiobook is by her). She was fantastic. Her Sloane wasn’t anything like the Sloane in my head, but far superior. The rest of the team was spot on — but the best was Henry. The little inflections of her voice when Henry was closest to her Story, when she was at her most Snow White-ness, added so much to McGuire’s words. I really couldn’t believe how much more I got out of it through her interpretation of the character. Just outstanding.

If you haven’t read the stories or book yet, I do recommend them — but if you get the chance, go with the audio instead. A recommendation I never thought I’d say about any book and audiobook.


4 Stars


The Absconded Ambassador (Audiobook) by Michael R. Underwood, Mary Robinette Kowal

The Absconded AmbassadorThe Absconded Ambassador

by Michael R. Underwood, Mary Robinette Kowal
Series: Genrenauts, Episode 2

Unabridged Audiobook, 3 hours and 25 minutes
Macmillan Audio, 2016
Read: April 8, 2016
I really don’t have much more to say about the audiobook that I didn’t say about the original, but I wanted to get something up — so if this seems largely familiar, it is. But not entirely …

Working as a Genrenaut was like being a member of a theater troupe run by a burnt-out hippie who melded Devising with MBA management: the ideas were outlandish and random, but the execution was 100% corporate.

The second episode in Michael R. Underwood’s Genrenauts delivers on the promise of Episode 1, and demonstrates that his special alchemy of Leverage + The Librarians + Quantum Leap + Thursday Next (just my current guess at his secret recipe) has legs — and will hopefully go a long time.

Leah has had about a week to get used to this new reality since her adventure in Western World — a week filled with meetings, reading assignments and trying to wrap her head around things. In the meanwhile, everyone at Genrenauts HQ is trying to prepare for the next breach (in the midst of a spike of 15% over the norm, for your corporate types), probably in Romance World. Which obviously means it’ll be pretty much anywhere else, like say Science Fiction World.

The station of Ahura-3, in the space opera region, to be specific. I’m sure the similarity between the name of the station and a certain Communications Officer is a huge coincidence. Ahura-3 is everything you want in a space station — it’s a melting pot of very-alien-looking/acting aliens, it’s a culture to itself, with strategic location, and very delicate intergalactic politics.

Leah’s excitement about being in “honest-to-goodness, Sally Ride is my homegirl zero-g” space was infectious (especially in this format). But even more fun was the amount of SF references Underwood fit into half of chapter 1 — truly astounding, and didn’t feel forced or overcrowded. He deserves a tip of the cap right there. But the fun’s not limited to the references and allusions — it’s in the alien cultural practices (and appearances), the various factions (human and otherwise), businesses, and just watching the whole Science Fiction World thing at work.

Mary Robinette Kowal did another bang-up job. I’m still not crazy about her voice for King, but I listened to this one using my earbuds instead of my car speakers and she’s much easier to hear with that voice that way, so it doesn’t bother me as much. I liked her alien characters a lot. Shirin and Leah are great (I think I like the audiobook take on Shirin better than the one in my head when reading, actually)

Good way to spend a little time — very entertaining all around.


4 Stars

The Shootout Solution (Audiobook) by Michael R. Underwood, Mary Robinette Kowal

The Shootout SolutionThe Shootout Solution

by Michael R. Underwood, Mary Robinette Kowal
Series: Genrenauts, Episode 1

Unabridged Audiobook, 3 hours and 25 minutes
Macmillan Audio, 2015
Read: March 23, 2016

I thoroughly enjoyed the story about Leah Tang’s introduction to the wonderful and crazy world of the Genrenauts — and it’s sequel — when I read it last November. When heading out for a road trip, I figured it’d be a good distraction from the road for my wife, son and I. It’s a fun story, filled with characters you want to root for on an adventure that we all would like to take. I mean seriously, a rocketship ride to the Old West? Sign me up.

For me, this time it was a little easier to grasp the explanations given for what the team is up to — the new reality (better, realities) that Leah finds herself in this time out. Partially because I already knew it, partially because I find that kind of thing easier to digest when I hear it (so why don’t I listen to more audiobooks?)

On the whole, I was really impressed with Kowal’s narration. My wife and I weren’t crazy about her characterization of King — the voice was hard to understand, I really didn’t think it matched the description Underwood gave. I had virtually no other complaints — and in fact, really enjoyed her work. It was a little hard for me to deal with the fact that it took nearly three-and-a-half hours to get through, I’m used to spending a lot less time with Underwood’s works (most of them, anyway). But I did appreciate being forced to soak in the world, think about things a bit more than I would have on my own.

I was hoping we’d get through the second installment as well, but we weren’t able to squeeze that in. I’m curious what Kowall did with some of the characters we meet there, and hope I can figure out a time to get to it soon.

If you liked the novella — or if you think you’d like the book, but haven’t gotten around to grabbing it, the audiobook is well worth the small investment of time and money.


4 Stars