Kevin J. Anderson @ “From My Ear to the Keyboard” an essay about audiobooks

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Kevin J. Anderson @
the Sci-fi Guest Editor over at this month is Kevin J. Anderson. For that position he’s written an essay entitled “From My Ear to the Keyboard” which is about his relationship with audiobooks. Here are a few choice lines:

I have read fine literary masterpieces that simply don’t do well in an audio format. The sentences are too burdensome, the metaphors too heavy to grasp without straining, the self-referential convolutions too tortured for any listener to make heads or tails of the plot. Unfortunately, I tried to read Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment as an audiobook.

On the other hand, I listened to Larry McMurtry’s magnificent Lonesome Dove, an indescribably amazing and engaging book that seemed to go on for an infinite number of cassettes that consumed months and months of commutes to work. The conversational tone, the folksy narrator, and the clear and compelling writing swept me along so that I felt I was actually there in the Old West. This, too, is the way I’ve read most of the thrillers by Dean Koontz, the science fiction of Orson Scott Card. And I’ve recently reread Frank Herbert’s Dune, Dune Messiah, and Children of Dune, books that I have read many times already, but the spoken performance adds an entirely new character to these familiar classics.

Coincidentally, telling stories aloud—writing them by speaking the words instead of typing them—is my preferred method of creation. I have written most of my hundred or so published novels while on long walks with tape recorder in hand. I like to sink down into the story, become so immersed in what’s happening that I forget about the actual words; I forget about the mechanics of preserving my thoughts. I simply think up the sentences and dialog—and talk. It’s as if I’m telling you, the reader, the story that is playing so vividly in my head.

To read the whole essay, and Anderson’s picks, check it out HERE.

Posted by Jesse Willis

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