So, like every other Amazon user I’ve been bombarded with ads for Audible for a little while. They’re tedious and overwhelming and I’ve generally ignored them. But since I’ve started listening to audiobooks whilst I run (or at least, using eBook apps like Kindle to read to me), I finally had cause to consider it more seriously. The free month trial sucked me in and I kicked off with Tigerman, the latest book from Nick Harkaway – an author I’ve respected and admired since the Gone Away World blew my mind a few years back.
It was a wonderful experience.
OK, listening to the audiobook whilst running wasn’t quite as relaxing as nodding off to it as I did as a child, but at least I didn’t have to rewind the tapes the next day to find where I’d dropped off so I could pick up the story again. But it’s amazing how you can lose yourself in a story in a way I’ve not been able to with music (not when exercising, anyway) for years. The voice acting by Matt Bates (this guy, I think) added a dimension to the reading I didn’t quite remember from the audiobooks of my youth… an additional pleasure, perhaps one I can appreciate more having grown accustomed to text-to-speech engines reading stuff to me in a robotic monotone (although Microsoft’s Cortana TTS engine is substantially better than Apple’s iPhone one).
It’s reawakened a love of the audiobook and – having planned to cancel the Audible trial, and gotten as far as hitting ‘cancel / due to the cost’ – I’ve found myself being sucked in by a three month at half price offer. We’ll see if I stick with it beyond that, but Mike Carey’s ‘Girl with all the gifts’ is next on my list and – as an added incentive, to make use of my one credit (audiobook) per month, I need to run through it over the weekends. With a run time of 13 hours, that means at least 120km clocked up on the roads in September…!
Also inspired to find the kids some good audiobooks to listen to…!
I’ve just finished reading the first three graphic novels in the Unwritten compendium. The series is the latest output of genius British comic book writer, Mike Carey, whose Lucifer and Constantine comics series are favourites of mine, and whose Felix Castor novel series is one of the only bits of dark urban fantasy I’ve read (and loved).
The Unwritten follows Tom Taylor, son of a writer whose works span 13 novels of children-friendly-fantasy starring a ‘Tommy Taylor. The stories are reminiscent of a hybrid version of Philip Pullman’s ‘Dark Materials’ stories and JK Rowling’s Harry Potter. Mike – at the point I’m at – hasn’t revealed enough of what’s going on for us to fully understand the scope of his universe, but the underpinning premise is – our stories define our culture, and become real. In Carey’s universe, literally so, but the metaphor is a fascinating one.
I’m not going to write too much as its almost impossible to tell too much of this story without giving away spoilers. The essence of the story is one of Tom’s journey of self-discovery as he comes to understand his father’s role in defining the culture of an era in a psycho-cultural battle against a shadowy cabal of evil storytellers and manipulators of history.
I will tell you it is an absolutely spectacular bit of storytelling. Carey’s pacing, characterisation and careful and rigorous creation of story structure makes every story in the series an absolute delight. I hope he’s slightly more cheery in real life, though, as despite the occasional, well-executed bit of humour – these books are bleak. Hint of silver lining to be sure, but a lot of cloudy sky.
Disclaimer: I’ve not met him or have any particular bias to say that he’s awesome, so I can assure you these views are my own, but my brother is working with Mike on a movie. Don’t think I can say more than that for now…
…is the next film from Slingshot, and I didn’t even realise that the website is up! Well, ish, you can register for more info… but expect blood curling trailers to follow…
… for those who don’t know, it’s a teen horror movie featuring zombies aplenty. And apparently an inhaler (I’ve only seen a few outtakes). It stars Alex Pettyfer, the actor from the Stormbreaker film a few years ago.
Clearly Tormented will be awesome (but not for the squeamish)… so there are three films awaiting release from the Slingshot stable to look forward to in the next year or so: Faintheart, French Film and Tormented… and more in development, including movies from comic book legend Mike Carey and comedian David Baddiel.