• by Catherynne M. Valente
  • Narrated by Heath Miller
  • 13 hrs and 46 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Severin Unck's father is a famous director of Gothic romances in an alternate 1986 in which talking movies are still a daring innovation due to the patent-hoarding Edison family. Rebelling against her father's films of passion, intrigue, and spirits from beyond, Severin starts making documentaries, traveling through space, and investigating the levitator cults of Neptune and the lawless saloons of Mars. But her latest film, which investigates the disappearance of a diving colony on a watery Venus populated by island-sized alien creatures, will be her last. Severin is a realist in a fantastic universe.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Unexpected and tons of fun

I bought this audiobook because I'd listened to an interview with the author in which she mentioned that this book had space whales and, well, I'm not about to pass that up.

The book was weirder than I'd expected, theatrical in tone and post modern in theme, the story is told through transcripts and radio announcements, interviews and gossip columns. It constantly and consciously shifts in tone, from a noir detective story to gothic horror and more, as characters argue over what, exactly, the story is. All of this makes sense of course, since they're all movie folks and a woman has disappeared without a trace.

All of this can make the audiobook hard to follow at times, but the narrator is really good, with a fittingly theatrical, smooth voice and, when he switches up tone to suit a genre, there's an entirely new level of humor that I don't think you'd get from reading the book.

So, recommended! Just focus on the space whales and you should be fine!
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- Kate

A Failed Illusion

I'm going to have to give this review in three parts because, whatever else this book is, it is full of extremes.
The first thing I will mention is the writing. The author does a great, one might even say beautifully lush job, of describing the world and sensations the characters experience in it. The language is a delight to the senses and a clever joy to the mind.
The second part is the narrator. I'm not sure how, but they managed to find the perfect narrator for this one. I believe he could read recipes from a cookbook and make them sound intensely interesting. Pairing this narrator with a narrative that is so gorgeously sensual is a master stroke.
The third part is the story, which is separate from the writing. Unlike the writing, which dances through your mind with an almost hypnotic grace, the story was ripped into shreds and scattered about in order to hide its flaws. Let's disguise fiction as reality, throw in some opium generated sequences, combine them with a huge helping of Dues ex Machina and see if we can misdirect the readers attention away from the fact that the core story was likely written by a child on a sugar high. It isn't simply the fact it lacks any attempt at cohesion or even the fact it actively changes the story as you listen, yet one cannot ignore that even the author in attempt to finally come up with an ending that, in some vague fashion, has a prayer of making sense, throws up her hands and literally has cartoon characters explain things to the reader. The explanation is simplistic and made as if to children, which is about complexity of the entire drug induced hallucination.
At the end if the day I would say if you delight in language and the complex joys one can derive from it, then get this one. If, however, you want a story worthy of your time steer well clear of this one. There are better fish in the Venusian sea.
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- G. Parish

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-26-2015
  • Publisher: Dreamscape Media, LLC