This Week, along with my normal reviews, I will be presenting my roundup posts for The Armchair Audies. If this is the first time you’ve heard of the Armchair Audies, the process is pretty simple. Myself, and a bunch of other bloggers have decided to listen to audiobooks nominated for the Audio Publishers Association prestigious Audie Award. The categories I have listened to and reviewed were Science Fiction, Fantasy and Paranormal.
For each category, I will post the list of nominees, with a link to my review. Then I will offer evaluation of category overall. I will be picking which title was my favorite, which title I would vote for if I was a judge, and which title I feel will win. Also, I will include titles for each category that I feel were overlooked. Make sure you check out The Armchair Audies home page at The Literate Housewife.
Today’s Category: Fantasy
Rumo & His Miraculous Adventures by Walter Mors
Narrated by Bronson Pinchot
Narrated by Katherine Kellgren
Audible Inc./Brilliance Audio
Narrated by Marc Vietor
Narrated by Khristine Hvam
Narrated by Edoardo Ballerini
I choose to start with the Fantasy Category because, in my opinion, it is the most competitive category. All Five of these titles I highly recommend, and would be happy with any of them as a winner. There is also a lot of diversity here. My only surprise with this category is that outside of maybe Rumo, there is no Epic Fantasy titles. You have a modern fantasy, a young adult fantasy, a futuristic science fiction tale, and a mash up parody. In a year with long awaited Epic Fantasy series releases by George R.R. Martin and Patrick Rothfuss, I expected to see at least one of these type novels nominated for an Audie Awards.
My Favorite: The Automatic Detective by A. Lee Martinez
Of all the titles nominated, my favorite would be A. Lee Martinez’ The Automatic Detective. This novel is the perfect blend of narrator and content, with Marc Vietor’s robotic delivery perfectly suited to the main character, Mack Megaton, who is in fact a robot. Yet, the reason this title would not get my vote, if I was a judge is a simple one. This is not a Fantasy. This is a noir style tale of a Robot Detective who breaks away from his programming to uncover a conspiracy that threatens his futuristic city. It contains many classic science fiction tropes, and almost no fantasy whatsoever.
My Vote: Rumo & His Miraculous Adventures by Walter Moers
While I absolutely loved Rumo, I also had some small problems with it. It’s a bit too long, causing some dragging moments, and some of the voices created by Pinchot and the production team are, while appropriate, a bit annoying. Yet, I would vote for this title simply because of the risks the production takes in order to present the best audio version of this book possible. Not every risk they take pays off, yet the majority does, and combined with Pinchot’s splendid narration, makes for a rewarding listening experience.
Who Will Win: Land of Laughs by Jonathan Carroll
Edoardo Ballerini gives a beautiful reading of this highly accessible, literate Fantasy. I feel there are many reasons this title will win. It is a rare, neglected gem, finally brought to audiobook format through Neil Gaiman’s ACX production company. Gaiman’s advocacy of audiobooks and contributions to the community can only help this title. Yet, most importantly, it is a Fantasy novel that will appeal to people outside the genre. There are no messy elves, or bothersome fairies, and the magic isn’t prevalent or flashy. It is just a story full of recognizable people in a strange, almost Twilight Zone like situation.
Some Overlooked Titles: