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Friday, August 23, 2013

Selenoth still free!

Three of the top 10 free downloads in Amazon's Epic Fantasy list are The Last Witchking (2), The Wardog's Coin (4), and A Magic Broken (8). TWC and AMB are (1) and (2) in Sword & Sorcery, which is encouraging.  And they're all still available for free download today.

In other news, I heard the first 15 minutes of the narrator's recording of A Magic Broken last night and was very pleased by it.  I think he may be a legitimate candidate for reading A Throne of Bones; in order to consider the case more closely, I listened to both readers of the two versions of A Game of Thrones, the newer of which happens to be the #1 bestselling audio book at present.  I put together a sample recording of all three readers and the AMB narrator compares rather favorably with both of the Martin readers, especially considering that the first two samples are final masters while the latter is a rough mix.

As for the Martin audiobooks, I don't like Roy Avers's voice and the quality of the recording is sub-par.  It doesn't surprise me that they elected to redo the books with another reader. Roy Dotrice is quite popular, his voice is obviously a strong one, and the recording quality is excellent, but I very much dislike the cheesy way he verbally gurns and transforms many of the characters into audio caricatures. I much prefer the AMB reader's more subtle approach to differentiating characters, and I suspect his approach to dialogue would be considerably less distracting over the 36 hours that will be required for ATOB.  But one step at a time.

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32 Comments:

Anonymous FUBAR Nation Ben August 23, 2013 9:21 AM  

When's the game coming out?

Blogger Patrick August 23, 2013 9:25 AM  

Is there an order the free books should be read in?

Anonymous VD August 23, 2013 9:42 AM  

When's the game coming out?

Too soon to say. Conservatively, Q1-2014. Sooner if we can pull it together.

Is there an order the free books should be read in?

I recommend AMB, TWC, then A Throne of Bones. TLW is better if you read it after ATOB and SE.

Anonymous Alec August 23, 2013 10:04 AM  

I bought the audio book for Wool when Amazon sold it as a $1.99 companion to the kindle version. It was narrated by a woman, and her over-the-top characterization of the antagonist, Bernard, as a super-creep that sounded like the Wicked Witch of the West ruined it for me. After he appeared a couple of times I gave up on the audio version and just read the kindle version.

Anonymous Difranco August 23, 2013 10:51 AM  

Just saw this on your Amazon Bio as I was looking up a link for The Return of the Great Depression:

"He maintains one of the most popular blogs in the science fiction and fantasy field and is proud to bear the historic distinction of being the first and only member to be formally expelled from the Science Fiction Writers of America."

Comedy Gold right there.

Anonymous Crispy August 23, 2013 11:50 AM  

Wow, 36 hours for ATOB?!

I recently death-marched through a 24 hour long audiobook of the last of the Eragon books. Having a a capable reader (Gerard Doyle) helps enormously, although it's pretty clear to me that Paolini was padding the final book, and/or tired of writing the story.

Neal Stephenson's Quicksilver was also quite long, and I got a chuckle in several places where the reader says in his same narrative voice, "Pages 200 through 205 are elided..." then continues with the story.

Blogger Markku August 23, 2013 11:53 AM  

Wanna hear a good audio book?

Screwtape Letters read by John Cleese

Anonymous Daniel August 23, 2013 12:35 PM  

OT, but for the always on-topic guns...some local guys are hosting the world's first man garage sale tomorrow. Pretty funny ad.

In other local news, an old guy shot an armed escaped felon who had shot a deputy and was holding the man's wife hostage in their own house.

Anonymous Rally August 23, 2013 12:40 PM  

Never tried an audiobook. Just curious though, does one reader read for all characters?

I'd think you'd at least want a female voice for female characters.

Blogger crazyivan498 August 23, 2013 1:21 PM  

I like, Hector am curious as to which of the free books to attempt to read first. Thanks

Blogger Markku August 23, 2013 1:28 PM  

Vox's answer from the other thread:

AMB, TWC, ATOB, SE, TLW.

Blogger rycamor August 23, 2013 2:32 PM  

Rally August 23, 2013 12:40 PM

Never tried an audiobook. Just curious though, does one reader read for all characters?

I'd think you'd at least want a female voice for female characters.


You'd be surprised how seamlessly a dialogue works, even across genders, by a good reader. Just by subtly altering tones, a reader can convey plenty of sex and character distinction without resorting to weird vocal tricks like falsetto.

There are "dramatic readings" of some books with multiple voices and sound effects, but that is a whole different sort of production. You can find a few at librivox.org for free. I think ends up sounding more like radio theater and actually distracts from a well-written story.

Anonymous Anonagain August 23, 2013 2:50 PM  

Wanna hear a good audio book?

Screwtape Letters read by John Cleese


At first it was interesting. By the 5th letter, John Cleese's voice became irritating. I think I would have the same reaction to any narrator. The same voice becomes a continuous, droning signal in my head, and the story itself is lost. Obviously, audio books are not for me. Noises tend to get on my nerves.

Anonymous LostSailor August 23, 2013 3:11 PM  

Still no epub version? Non-Kindle peeps are sad...

Blogger Cane Caldo August 23, 2013 3:14 PM  

The things you are doing in the SF/F world are superb. The fight with SFWA; writing your own books; and best of all promoting other writers.

Good stuff.

Anonymous Jimmy August 23, 2013 3:21 PM  

Couldn't agree more about Dotrice; just got done reading AGOT - and I'm a huge fan of the show - but it was a grating experience from beginning to end. Bizarre characterizations, inconsistent pronunciation, etc etc. I don't expect I'll listen to Book 2.

Anonymous VD August 23, 2013 3:51 PM  

Still no epub version? Non-Kindle peeps are sad...

Download for free, download Calibre for free, and convert to epub. Piece of cake.

Blogger Markku August 23, 2013 3:59 PM  

At first it was interesting. By the 5th letter, John Cleese's voice became irritating.

If I were simply sitting and listening, I probably wouldn't do many more than that (perhaps 7 or 8 letters) in one sitting. Rather, usually I put them on headphones, and do other stuff that doesn't require much thought. Like driving, bicycling etc.

I've listened to that entire audiobook in one go that way. And not even lost concentration at any point, provided the other activity is at the right balance of providing sensory feed but not requiring thinking.

Blogger Markku August 23, 2013 4:07 PM  

One more thing, people. If you drive long distances, get an audio Bible that you can fit in an mp3 player in its entirety. You may think you aren't really listening, but you'll be surprised how much your mind absorbs of the verses and their context, allowing you to remember them much more efficiently when you happen to need them.

Anonymous Anonagain August 23, 2013 4:19 PM  

I've listened to that entire audiobook in one go that way. And not even lost concentration at any point, provided the other activity is at the right balance of providing sensory feed but not requiring thinking.

That makes sense. I suppose the very purpose of an audio book is to allow one to engage in menial activities while listening to the story, not as a replacement for being quietly engrossed in the reading of it.

I might give it another go while housecleaning.

Blogger Markku August 23, 2013 4:46 PM  

I suspect the problem is that when you are reading, you are taking information in at exactly the pace your brain wants to process it. When you are listening, it comes at a constant pace that is unlikely to match it. Your brain can't go to full idle, but it cannot run at capacity either, and it starts to get annoyed by the situation.

But when you have another task at hand, together they provide enough activity.

Anonymous rycamor August 23, 2013 4:52 PM  

Markku August 23, 2013 4:07 PM

One more thing, people. If you drive long distances, get an audio Bible that you can fit in an mp3 player in its entirety. You may think you aren't really listening, but you'll be surprised how much your mind absorbs of the verses and their context, allowing you to remember them much more efficiently when you happen to need them.


So true. Especially for those of us with verbal-auditory minds. I actually remember audiobooks just about as well as I remember printed ones. And yes, it does help when you have a physical task at hand. I almost miss the days of my hour+ commute to work just for that fact.

Blogger Markku August 23, 2013 5:06 PM  

As an example of what it means to be a master narrator, check out book 4, from 4:00 to 5:00. I absolutely love that "with the... other two persons". I can practically hear what Screwtape is thinking, how he is quickly going through different expressions in his mind for God the Father and the Holy Spirit, such that he can manage to get out of his mouth. But he is a stuffy, scholarly old demon, so he doesn't want anybody to know that he just did that.

But the text only said "with the other two persons". And there was no movie script to clarify what the character is thinking. So, how did John Cleese know to do it? Because he managed to get so well in character instead of just reading words from the paper.

Blogger Markku August 23, 2013 7:45 PM  

This particularly amuses me because I remember a teacher mentioning the phenomenon a long time ago. There was a question, the answer to which was Jesus, and a student answered "it was- well I don't remember his name [said really fast and with awkward annoyance]."

It was perfectly obvious that he hadn't mysteriously forgotten the name Jesus, but rather realized that he can't actually get it out of his mouth, just a little bit too late. Had he had time to think before opening his mouth, he would have pretended not to know the answer.

And what impresses me is that John Cleese, whom I have no reason to assume a Christian, noticed this very subtle thing in the text.

Anonymous cheddarman August 23, 2013 9:43 PM  

I've heard Outlaw-x, talk on Nate's show a couple of times. He would be an excellent voice for a characacter like an old centurion or tribal chif


sincerely

cheddarman

Anonymous cheddarman August 23, 2013 9:45 PM  

outlaw-x nararrating scripture would be awesome as well


sincerely

cheddarman

Blogger Positive Dennis August 24, 2013 2:11 AM  

How can Selenoth be free as long as the provinces are not assured of their freedom?

Anonymous Anonymous August 24, 2013 1:51 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Anonymous Anonymous August 24, 2013 1:58 PM  

Thanks for the free books. Haven't read any of you stuff yet, but in the queue on my Nexus 7.

Blogger Nate August 24, 2013 3:08 PM  

whoever reads the MHI books... is the best ever.

also... i will repeat myself.

women should never... ever... narrate audio books.

Blogger Nate August 24, 2013 3:22 PM  

whoever reads the MHI books... is the best ever.

also... i will repeat myself.

women should never... ever... narrate audio books.

Anonymous LostSailor August 26, 2013 12:48 PM  

Still no epub version? Non-Kindle peeps are sad...

Download for free, download Calibre for free, and convert to epub. Piece of cake.


Geez, you mean you're making us work for free books? Okay, done and done. I even paid for them since I missed the free weekend...

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