The Beam: Season 1 : The Beam

  • by Sean Platt, Johnny B. Truant
  • Narrated by Johnny Heller, Tara Sands, Ralph Lister, Ray Chase, R.C. Bray, Jeffrey Kafer, Chris Patton, Rachel Fulginiti
  • Series: The Beam
  • 18 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

A sci-fi political thriller set in a terrifyingly real future
When all of humanity is connected, the center of the web is the seat of true power.
The world's old political borders have dissolved. The NAU is civilization's carcass, a nation ruled by two political parties: Enterprise, the sink-or-swim party where each party member has no one else to blame for their starvation or astronomical wealth; and Directorate, whose members have a guaranteed safety net but can never rise above their station.
Every six years, an election determines the NAU's future. The process is called Shift, and the next one is approaching. With humanity intertwined by way of the Beam—a hyper-advanced version of the Internet that serves every whim and need—Shift is the be-all and the end-all. More than an electoral method, it is the future's political discourse.
In the midst of tumultuous politics, some players are making their own moves. Doc, a black-market nanoenhancement vendor, discovers a disturbing trend of upgrades among his clientele. Nicolai, political speechwriter for the head of Directorate, struggles to find his independence in a life that is supposed to be devoted to the Party, all the while unaware of his own terrifying connection to the Beam. And Kai, an escort and assassin as lethal as she is flexible, becomes embroiled in the machinations of her top clients—because after all, the political elite choose only the best to warm their sheets at night.
And through it all, a shadowy group is pulling strings behind the scenes, guiding Shift exactly where they want it to go. Their identities are unknown to all but a few, and anyone who stumbles upon them by accident—or, worse, learns their true goal—is swiftly disposed of. But if their power goes unchecked, they will shape the fate of millions for years to come …
Plug your mind into The Beam. It's been waiting for you.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Dystopian SF with a very heavy hand...

This is not a bad story, but it is constantly undermined because the authors make it very clear that they believe their work to be Gritty and Relevant and Political (yes, the capitals are implied), by hitting you over the head with these points repeatedly. At times, the lack of subtlety is distracting to the point where I caught myself actually rolling my eyes while listening.

It is as if the authors took the typical Young Adult dystopian SF tropes and turned them up to 11, sprinkling liberally with random sex and strings of profanity that sound like they are drawn from South Park (seriously: there is a minute long sequence where a character describes everything around him as excrement, using the word dozens of times).

As a result, there is never a chance for the story to breathe. Not only do you get the simplified political divisions of Hunger Games-style SF, but, in case you missed it, there are repeated monologues about the nature of said political system. Ominous new technologies are described, and, in case you missed them, characters repeatedly tell you how ominous they are. Cliches also abound in the characterization, especially the women: the two main female characters are a moody diva and a sex-crazed hooker. These issues may be less apparent in the book, but in the audio, they are obvious and repeated.

Some of the readers (mostly the women) are good, a couple are horrible (oh man, the guy who reads the role of "Doc" is painful!). The story is never bad, and there is some fun world building, but I expected a lot more given the glowing reviews.
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- Ethan M. "On Audible since the late 1990s, mostly science fiction, fantasy, history & science. I rarely review 1-2 star books that I can't get through"


I know I have found a great book when I have trouble taking my headphones out to sleep at night, then spend portions of my day thinking about the story and its characters. The Beam was fully immersive, full of detail and realistic actions in a sci-fi world. To me, this is a hallmark of great sci-fi; the ability to make me believe in the story and its characters actions/thoughts/responses.

On the surface, it seems like just a dystopian future story with a lot of 'gee, that's cool' tech and projections of future advancements in interconnectivity. When one digs a little deeper, however, a plethora of nuanced commentaries explode out of the earbuds. Really good sci-fi has classically been a vehicle for allegorical commentary on current socio-economic realities. The Beam delves into humanity's reliance on tech, as well as the near spiritual reverence we have with the newest and best, projecting this outward over 80+ years.

One reviewer mentioned that it seemed like the book was trying to hit us over the head with these commentaries, and I don't necessarily disagree at points. It does get a *little* heavy handed occasionally. The vast majority of the listen is really quite restrained in that department.

The performances were fantastic- I know for many of us who are used to single narrator works, seeing 8 or so names listed might be off-putting. In practice it is not.

This is not a YA work and is clearly directed at a mature audience. Lots of profanity, sex, violence, and a few scenes of pretty serious torture. If you're sensitive to such things, you may want to avoid this listen.

An excellent listen, well worth a credit and your time. Season 2 is already in my queue.
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- Charles

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-17-2014
  • Publisher: Podium Publishing