Beacon 23: The Complete Novel

  • by Hugh Howey
  • Narrated by Ryan McCarthy
  • 6 hrs and 6 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

This work contains the five Beacon 23 stories, originally released in serialized form.
For centuries, men and women have manned lighthouses to ensure the safe passage of ships. It's a lonely job, and a thankless one for the most part - until something goes wrong, until a ship is in distress.
In the 23rd century, this job has moved into outer space. A network of beacons allows ships to travel across the Milky Way at many times the speed of light. These beacons are built to be robust. They never break down. They never fail.
At least, they aren't supposed to.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

It’s dark and it is tragic

This was originally released in eBook as episodes, this is a collection of these episodes to form the full book about Digger and his inner journey on the outskirts of space.

Lighthouses have kept boats safe from crashing into rocks or shore for centuries. Now that we are exploring the outer reaches of space we needed something to keep us safe. The Beacons have become our new lighthouses. Just like the lighthouses of before, each Beacon needs a keeper. Out on the edge of Sector 8 (so close it should be Sector 9) sits Beacon 23. This story is about Beacon 23’s keeper and his struggle with both his inner and some outer demons. This is where we first meet Digger. The keeper of Beacon 23. He is alone at the edge of space with just his thoughts and memories.

Ryan McCarthy did the narration for this collection. Ryan was one of the narrators that an author dreams of. He became Digger. Now if I hear another book read by McCarthy I’m going to have to take a few moments to realize the story isn’t about Digger again. He gave this character a voice and made this book a breeze to listen to. The benefit that McCarthy had was that there really weren’t any other characters to narrate. Only a few people interact with Digger through the whole story – so he really got to dive in head first. Quality was perfect and will be enjoyed by a lot of listeners.

I’ll be the first to admit, I bought this book because it was written by Hugh Howey. I’ll also be the first to admit that I read the summary and thought it sounded a bit like The Martian and I’m still in a Martian induced hangover waiting for another book that I’ll enjoy as much as I did that. Now, while you’re thinking that this does sound like The Martian – there are some differences. Digger has chosen to be where he is. He was not left here, there will be no rescuing.

This single difference allows for some incredible science fiction to be written. Howey explains the premise of the Beacon and he is able to get really into the head of this loner in space. There were a lot of moments where I wasn’t sure what was going to happen to Digger, not as much from space, but from himself.

The story weaves in and out of present and some “history” about Digger. The more and more you find out about his past, the more his present (and his future) makes sense.

The humor in this book was really great. There were parts that had me laughing late into the night while listening to this. To me, the humor was really needed, because there were a lot of dark mental material throughout (PTSD and anxiety to name a few). The book mixed these two so well that I would go from laughing one minute to almost in tears the next.

Don’t get me wrong, the story isn’t upbeat. It’s dark and it is tragic. But I am glad that I read this. Getting to know Digger wasn’t something I knew I wanted to do, but by the end I’m glad that I got to.

Audiobook purchased for review by ABR.

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- AudioBook Reviewer "All of my reviews are on my blog audiobookreviewer dot com"

Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination

Much like light houses in our current world, in the vase sea of space there are beacons to guide ships along safe passages. Digger is the man who monitors beacon 23; it is a lonely job with minimal contact with others. The problem is, spending that much time with only your dark thoughts as company can break a man, or make him crazy.

First, this is 5 stand alone stories compiled, therefore after listening to the first story all subsequent stories will re-introduce you to information you've already learned, making them a little redundant.

At the beginning I had to rewind a few times because the narrator was so intense that I almost felt overwhelmed and confused, and I was worried I was missing things. I grew to appreciate the intensity and commitment of Ryan McCarthy's interpretation of Digger; the narration was the thing that I enjoyed most about this book.

Since each story should stand alone I would expect it to be more eventful, but I found this omnibus to be anti-climactic. I'd never read a book by Hugh Howey before but I've heard a lot of great things and I was very excited for this book, but at the end I felt unimpressed and underwhelmed.

Conclusion: Very strong narration. Good character development through the first two stories, and some of the third but takes a turn after that. I don't think all of the stories are worth listening to, but I don't think it's a lost cause.
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- Claudia H

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-20-2015
  • Publisher: Broad Reach Publishing