Audie Awards 2014 Winner and Finalists for Science Fiction

I am a fan of audio books, and the AUDIE AWARDS offer a great selection of audio books considered to be the latest and greatest. Sponsored by the Audio Publishers Association, a not-for-profit trade association that advocates the collective business interests of audio publishers, the Audies is the premier awards program in the United States recognizing distinction in audio books in a wide variety of categories. and spoken entertainment.

This year’s winners have been announced and following is a description and information about the finalists in the Science Fiction category and its winner, Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold, read by Grover Gardner.

CAPTAIN VORPATRIL’S ALLIANCE
Vorkosigan Saga (chronological), Book 15
Lois McMaster Bujold
Read by Grover Gardner
16.75 hrs. • Unabridged • © 2013

From Audiobook Reviews: Grover Gardner gives a top-notch performance of another book in Bujold’s long-running Miles Vorkosigan saga, this time starring Miles’s cousin, Ivan. The complicated plot involves a forced marriage, a girl on the run, politics, romance, intrigue, action, and humor, all of which Ivan gets involved with against his will (except for the romance part). Gardner showcases Bujold’s humor and creates charming, scared, or annoyed characters, by turn. He places a slight tension in his voice for action sequences. This is a fun, complicated caper performed in a seemingly effortless manner by a total pro.

EXTINCTION MACHINE
Joe Ledger, Book 5
Jonathan Maberry
Read by Ray Porter
15 hrs. • Unabridged • © 2013

From Audible.com: In Extinction Machine, the fifth Joe Ledger book by Jonathan Maberry, the DMS must go up against someone – or something – in search of new technology that could bring about world war.

The President of the United States vanishes from the White House. A top-secret prototype stealth fighter is destroyed during a test flight. Witnesses on the ground say that it was shot down by a craft that immediately vanished at impossible speeds. All over the world, reports of UFOs are increasing at an alarming rate. And in a remote fossil dig in China dinosaur hunters have found something that is definitely not of this earth. There are rumors of alien-human hybrids living among us.

Joe Ledger and the Department of Military Sciences rush headlong into the heat of the world’s strangest and deadliest arms race, because the global race to recover and retro-engineer alien technologies has just hit a snag. Someone–or something–wants that technology back.

MADDADDAM
Margaret Atwood
Read by Bernadette Dunne, Bob Walter, Robbie Daymond
13.5 hrs. • Unabridged • © 2013

From Audiobook Reviews: Earnest, cynical, scathing: With these varied narrative approaches, Bernadette Dunne, Bob Walter, and Robbie Daymond perfectly capture the complexities of Atwood’s last installment in her MaddAddam Trilogy. The first section of the audiobook provides a clear-eyed, nearly (maybe not quite) hopeful view of this postapocalyptic world so as to pull the listener in, regardless of any familiarity with the two previous titles. Subsequent sections dramatize all the horrors of human nature with harsh realism and suspense. All three narrators offer taut performances with grab-you-by-the-throat vocal energy, driving dialogue, and brutal momentum. Together, the three narrators create a dizzying, somewhat impressionistic, portrait of a future that contemporary humankind seems to be preparing itself for.

THE MARTIAN
Andy Weir
Read by R.C. Bray
11 hrs. • Unabridged • © 2012

From Audiobook Reviews: R.C. Bray’s deep,gravelly voice blends well Mark Watney’s first-person account as he struggles to survive on a desolate Mars after his crew left him behind. Though he finds ingenious ways to survive despite so many things going wrong, he needs to hang on for almost two years before Earth can launch a successful rescue mission. Bray deftly executes the split viewpoints, first person for Mark and third person for those on Earth trying to rescue him. However, a second narrator for the third person would have made more sense because Bray so perfectly captures Watney and listeners spend so much time with him. By the time the point of view switches to Earth, Bray IS Watney, and hearing him as anyone else is distracting.

SHAMAN
Kim Stanley Robinson
Read by Graeme Malcolm
15 hrs. • Unabridged • © 2013

From Audiobook Reviews: In this sci-fi world, the line between humans and nature is blurred beyond distinction, but narrator Graeme Malcolm’s cadence is steady as a heartbeat. His deep bass gives reserved power to a story that glimpses how we lived 30 thousand years ago. For Thorn, the shaman master, Malcolm uses growling, occasionally animalistic, tones, which are particularly effective when Thorn delivers a blistering admonition to younger male tribe members about the power of the female spirit. Malcolm gives Thorn’s apprentice a wavering voice that brings the uncertainty of their futures into stark relief. As delivered by Malcolm, this tale of survival is as shocking and coarse as it is sublime and powerful.

PROTECTOR
Foreigner Sequence 5, Book 5
C.J. Cherryh
Read by Daniel Thomas May
13.5 hrs. • Unabridged • © 2013

From Audiobook Reviews: Narrator Daniel Thomas May navigates Cherryh’s complicated science-fiction universe with aplomb. He introduces the intricate political world that threatens to impinge on noble Cajeiri’s upcoming eighth birthday plans. Distinct accents and voices help listeners follow Cajeiri, his extended family, and human Bren Cameron. May uses an emotionally controlled style to differentiate the Atevi aliens and humans. This formal style sets off the world building. Unedited breathing noises are occasionally distracting. May compliments Cherryh’s dense science fiction with a commanding performance.

 

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