As many of you who have stuck around for a while will realize, I am not a big audio listener. Audiobooks have gotten huge in the book blogging community lately and I have felt a little bit left out! They just seem the perfect way to fit more reading in and make otherwise unpleasant tasks an excuse to keep reading a little bit longer. While they’re expensive to buy, my library does have them, so I don’t have any excuses there.
The true problem is that I’m not very good at listening. I never have been. In fact, I tend to tune out sounds the minute my brain starts whirring, so I’ll be listening to something, have a connection in my mind, and then follow the thought tangent instead of returning to the sound. I’m horrible at paying attention on the phone, I hated it when we were forced to read plays aloud in school (I could read the paper version much faster), and I’m even bad at listening to music. I like it, but I hardly ever do it, and when I do I tune out until I forget what I’ve heard.
So, that’s the core of my problem with audios. But, determined to see what I was missing, I decided this week to try again. I’m always a glutton for punishment. I’ve been moving back in a fantasy and sci fi direction over the past few weeks, when I do have a chance to read, so when I saw this post at Fyrefly’s Book Blog I leapt at the opportunity to download Tor short story podcasts. What better way to get myself interested in audio than with a short story I can finish in a day’s walk to and from work?
So far, I’ve listened to the first two, and I thought I’d include a couple of mini reviews.
After the Coup – John Scalzi
This story takes place in the same universe as the Old Man’s War series but with different characters and a different scenario – mostly focusing on a one-on-one battle with a peculiar alien. As with all of Scalzi’s work, I liked this; he narrated it himself and I thought he did quite a good job. It was very funny at times and I had no trouble actually paying attention aside from in the middle of a few conversations. The battle scenes were surprisingly gripping and I was invested in the story – I’d have happily kept listening instead of working.
Overtime – Charles Stross
I’ve never read anything by Charles Stross, so this was new to me. It’s set during a Christmas break while the main character has to work overtime and ends up fretting about an alien invasion. I’m not sure who narrated this one but he had an awesome voice, even when I tuned out I still liked having it in the background! There was a bit of humor here too, but I didn’t get on with it quite as well. The story would be better suited to Christmastime instead of the warm July day when I listened to it!
In summary, I actually think this experiment has been a success, and I’m busy downloading a couple more short stories from collection onto my iPod. There are quite a few on there I’m very interested in, so I’m looking forward to them.