Friday, January 1, 2016

Audiobook recommendations, part 1

It's the end of the year, and I normally take a moment "out of the blog" to reflect on the year, perhaps recap my favorite "top ten" posts. As I reach the end of 2015, my major milestone is leaving the University of Minnesota Morris for a new CIO role in St Paul, Minnesota.

One interesting thing about the move is that my commute is now much shorter: twenty minutes instead of three hours! When asked about my drive to/from Morris, I often comment that I listen to a lot of audiobooks, and I could share recommendations with any who asked. In that light, I thought I'd wrap up the year with a few audiobook recommendations.

First, a comment on my audiobook preferences. I like science fiction and strong drama. I prefer full-cast performances over traditional readings, although I listen to both. A year or so before moving to Morris, I discovered Big Finish, which had the license to make new audio stories based on the classic Doctor Who television program. They do other stories too, so it's no surprise almost all of my recommendations are Big Finish programs.

This is a very long list, so I'll split my audiobook recommendations into two posts. Here is part one:
Traditional Audiobooks
I listened to Griffin's Story thinking it was the book version of Jumper, which was made into a movie. I'd heard the book was better. But this is a stand-alone story about one of the characters only introduced in the movie, so is a sort of bridge between book and movie.
A reading of the book that launched the modern vampire and zombie genre. It's a bit dated, but quite good.
An interesting performed audio drama from the Star Trek series, about a young Klingon and his coming to age.
UNIT
A spin-off from Doctor Who, but you don't need to have seen the show to enjoy this. More closely related to X-Files, this is about a military unit that investigates unexplained encounters.
Jago and Litefoot
Perhaps best described as a sometimes-steampunk Sherlock Holmes series. Start with The Mahogany Murderers, then enjoy series 1-2. I haven't listened to series 3 yet, but it's on my list.
Sherlock Holmes
Classic adaptations of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's popular stories. I've only listened to The Speckled Band, and it was very good.
Counter-Measures
About a fictional group in the 1960s set to examine unexplained events. Series 1-2 are quite good, but I recommend you stop there as series 3-4 require you to listen to a story from the Doctor Who range, and that one isn't very good.
The Confessions of Dorian Gray
Using the Dorian Gray character created by Oscar Wilde, this series goes pretty dark. I haven't listened to series 2 yet, but I plan to.
Blake's 7
A continuation of the classic British sci-fi show, about a small group of renegades fighting against an oppressive galactic government. Series 1 is set in season B of the original show, and Warship provides the "bridge" between seasons B and C from the show.
Survivors
A compelling audio series about survival after a devastating plague wipes out almost all life on earth. Not for the casual listener, Survivors features adult content and situations. I'm waiting impatiently for series 4.
Next week, I'll share the rest of my audiobook recommendations.

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