Gag This Man

I like the idea of audiobooks.

It’s like taking multi-tasking to a new level. Work and play combined, or play and play. In an ideal world, you should be able to listen to a book as you do your dishes, or grocery shopping, cramming more into an already hectic world.

But for one thing.

Audiobook publishers insist on using really BAD narrators.

Fantasy books seem to be a particular victim. I recently got Robert Jordan’s Wheel Of Time on audiobook, thinking I could revisit this series without wading through all 11 books again. It feels like such a chore now….

To my utter dismay have been unable to listen to them because the narrator is terrible. A really thick, clipped, over enunciated Amercian accent. I think he must be reading from an auto-que as there are incomprehensible pauses which alter the pitch and rythym of the reading, making it impossible to follow without cringing. Shouting seems to equal drama, so most of the time I’m adjusting the volume constantly. He lacks any kind of sensitivity or nuance for the material.

In short he seems to be some kind of Brian Blessed wannabe. But without the talent. It really ruined what I thought was going to be a fantastic experience. I’m bitterly disappointed.

So I do some research and find out this guy, Michael Kramer is a respected audiobook narrator who has won awards. WTF??

I thought it might just be the American accent that bothered me, but that doesn’t apply as my favourite audiobooks ever are read by an American. James Marsters. He reads the Dresden novels and if Mr. Kramer has won awards then James Marsters should be winning the friggin’ audiobook Oscars. If you don’t believe me, checkout his work here.

Nothing short of genuis. They are on constant rotation all the time. Which has left me with a backlog of audiobooks to listen to. However, now I’m really afraid to listen to any of them just in case they are as bad as Mr. Kramers.

To make matters worse I see this chump, Michael Kramer has just finished my beloved ‘The Devil You Know,’ by Mike Carey. I shudder to think.

If I was an author, I think I would have a clause in my contract forbidding that man to read any of my work.

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  1. January 23rd, 2010

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