STAFF PICK: The Passengers by John Marrs

Title: The Passengers
Author: John Marrs
Narrator: Clare Corbett, Roy McMillan, Tom Bateman

Modern life is so strange.  I have an amazing phone app from my grocery store that, based on my past purchases sends me discounts, and seems to know when I’ve run out of shower gel, laundry soap, and cookies. Very, very creepy, but very, very convenient. Can you even imagine life now without phone apps, online DNA tests, or driverless transit systems like London Thameslink or Vancouver’s skytrain?

Many people are frightened of the growth of AI, which has lead to a growth in the popularity of dystopian literature, TV, and film, including shows and movies like Black Mirror, Ex Machina, and novels such as The Test.  I feel that there is nothing scarier (and more entertaining) than listening or reading something that you can actually imagine happening. I don’t generally find horror books scary, but a horror or thriller, set in modern times, involving normal day to day things? Nothing scarier.

The Passengers is such an all-encompassing, terrifying read. This listen is set in a society – not far from our own – where self-driving cars are now the norm. Considered to be safe, self-driving cars are used by everyone without issues.

One evening, eight people:  a faded TV star, a pregnant young woman, an abused wife fleeing her husband, an immigrant, a husband and wife, and a suicidal man, are traveling in their self-driving cars as usual. Suddenly, the doors lock, the destination changes, and all manual controls are disabled. Then a voice speaks, “You are going to die.”

From hidden cameras in their cars, their panic is broadcast to millions of people around the world. This situation is now a reality show with a twist. The public gets to choose which of the eight to save, which means killing the remaining seven….

What I love most about this listen is the way in which you feel like you are in the audience of the reality show.  During the book, the “voice” gives us more information about the eight people. Because of this information, the perception of the public changes, and suddenly the people who seem like they should stay alive become less deserving once we hear more about them. I started actually thinking about who I would kill first, and changed my mind over and over about who I felt should be saved. Much like Marrs’ other books, there are plenty of twists and turns that keep you listening and guessing right up until the end.

The audio production for this book is amazing. There’s a number of awesome narrators, and a barrage of sound effects, which adds to the idea that you’re listening to a reality show that’s happening live. It really adds to the drama of the situation.

If you’re a fan of writers such as J.G Ballard, or TV shows like Black Mirror, this is very much the listen for you! I’m now binge listening to the rest of John Marrs’ back catalog, and keeping away from all robots… 😉

Publisher Summary:
You’re riding in your self-driving car when suddenly the doors lock, the route changes and you have lost all control. Then, a mysterious voice tells you, “You are going to die.”

Just as self-driving cars become the trusted, safer norm, eight people find themselves in this terrifying situation, including a faded TV star, a pregnant young woman, an abused wife fleeing her husband, an illegal immigrant, a husband and wife, and a suicidal man.

From cameras hidden in their cars, their panic is broadcast to millions of people around the world. But the public will show their true colors when they are asked, ‘Which of these people should we save?…And who should we kill first?’

Read more and sample the audio →

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Twin Sisters Pen an All-Too-Plausible Dystopian America

Did you know today is National Siblings Day?

National Siblings Day was first recognized in 1998 and celebrated on April 10 every year since. Today we celebrate the strong relationships and unique bonds between siblings, and what better way to do that than honoring siblings who have written a book together?

Today we are featuring a wonderful fantasy audiobook, The Rule of One, written by twin sisters, Ashley Saunders and Leslie Saunders, and narrated by Karissa Vacker. The book started as a screenplay and eventually evolved into a novel, with Leslie, the younger of the pair, writing Mira’s chapters, and Ashley writing Ava’s.

In The Rule of One, identical twins Ava and Mira are secretly and illegally residing in the United States, which has instituted a strict one-child policy. Ava and Mira are trying their best to masquerade as the same person so their secret remains undiscovered. Unfortunately, it only takes a moment for their cover to be blown and their whole world turned upside down. What, exactly, will the twins have to endure to stay safe?

The Saunders sisters are currently developing their book into a TV series with producer Ginger Sledge (Where’d You Go, Bernadette, Miss Congeniality). The sequel to this book, The Rule of Many, is slated for release in the spring of 2019, so make sure to keep an eye out for it!

Publisher Summary:

In their world, telling the truth has become the most dangerous crime of all.

In the near-future United States, a one-child policy is ruthlessly enforced. Everyone follows the Rule of One. But Ava Goodwin, daughter of the head of the Texas Family Planning Division, has a secret—one her mother died to keep and her father has helped to hide for her entire life.
She has an identical twin sister, Mira.

For eighteen years Ava and Mira have lived as one, trading places day after day, maintaining an interchangeable existence down to the most telling detail. But when their charade is exposed, their worst nightmare begins. Now they must leave behind the father they love and fight for their lives.

Branded as traitors, hunted as fugitives, and pushed to discover just how far they’ll go in order to stay alive, Ava and Mira rush headlong into a terrifying unknown.

Read more and sample the audio →

New to Audiobooks.com? Get a free audiobook when you sign up for our one month free trial. Digital audiobooks make audible stories come to life when you’re commuting, working out, cleaning, cooking and more! Listening is easy with our top-rated free audiobook apps for iOS and Android, which let you download & listen to bestselling audiobooks on the go, wherever you are. Click here to get your free audiobook!

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Nebula Award Finalists

The Nebulas, a prestigious science fiction award, has just announced the list of finalists for 2017, and the ballot is out of this world! Take a look at the full list of novels under consideration, with the results to be announced in May. I’ve already devoured all of them, and have no idea how they will ever decide. Give them a listen for yourself here, and feel free to leave your thoughts below!

 

Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly

“Trust no one with anything especially in Amberlough City.”

From author Lara Elena Donnelly, comes a debut spy thriller, Amberlough, where a gay double-agent schemes to protect his smuggler lover during the rise of a fascist government coup

Combining the espionage thrills of le Carré with the allure of an alternate vintage era, Amberlough will thoroughly seduce and enthrall you. Listen to a sample.

 

 

The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss

 

“Now it is up to the monsters to finally triumph over the monstrous.”

Based on some of literature’s horror and science fiction classics, this is the story of a remarkable group of women who come together to solve the mystery of a series of gruesome murders–and the bigger mystery of their own origins.

Listen to a sample.

 

 

Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory 

 

“Hilarious, heartfelt and brimming with humanity.” -Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, author of The Nest

Harnessing the imaginative powers that have made him a master storyteller, Daryl Gregory delivers a stunning, laugh-out-loud novel about a family of gifted dreamers and the invisible forces that bind us all.

Listen to a sample.

 

 

The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin

“She has seen the evil of the world, and accepted what her mother will not admit: that sometimes what is corrupt cannot be cleansed, only destroyed.”

The remarkable conclusion to the post-apocalyptic and highly acclaimed trilogy that began with the multi-award-nominated The Fifth Season. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly suggest you drop everything and get on that immediately.

Listen to a sample.

 

 

Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty

 

“It was not common to awaken in a cloning vat streaked with drying blood.”

A space adventure set on a lone ship where the clones of a murdered crew awake with with no memory of how they died, and somehow must find their murderer — before they kill again.

Listen to a sample.

 

 

Jade City by Fonda Lee

“FAMILY IS DUTY. MAGIC IS POWER. HONOR IS EVERYTHING.”

Award-winning author Fonda Lee explodes onto the adult fantasy scene with Jade City , an epic saga reminiscent of The Godfather with magic and kungfu, set in an Asia-inspired fantasy metropolis. Lose yourself in this tale of family, honor, and those who live and die by the ancient laws of jade and blood.

Listen to a sample.

 

Autonomous by Annalee Newitz

From award winning tech-journalist and io9 founder Annalee Newitz comes a highly anticipated science fiction debut, 

Autonomous will pull listeners into a dark and dirty world that feels, at times, a bit too familiar to readers today. And underlying it all is one fundamental question: Is freedom possible in a culture where everything, even people, can be owned?

Listen to a sample.

 

 

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STAFF PICK DEAL: The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss

Oh my goodness, this is an absolute treasure of a book. The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss tells the story of monstrous women: characters from classic literature who were barely considered noteworthy, infused with lives and voices all their own. While the respectable Mary Jekyll and the untameable Diana Hyde begrudgingly explore what it means to have a sister so unlike yourself, they are joined by Catherine, the unlucky creation of Doctor Moreau; Justine, the would-be bride of Frankenstein’s monster; and Beatrice, the tragic daughter of the botanist Rappaccini. The women adventure throughout Victorian London with varying degrees of enthusiasm, trying to unravel the mystery of a secret society of alchemists that seems to hold the answers to each of their respective origins.

The book is narrated with all five distinct voices telling the same story, often interrupting themselves and each other in the margins to let us know exactly how vexing the process is. Goss manages to weave this together with a simple elegance that masks how ambitious and nuanced the writing style truly is. They bicker as fiercely as they support each other, in a way that feels purely human and heartwarming.

These “monstrous” women, all by-products of men with too much power and too little humanity, are brought together by the need for answers about their origins, and stay together with the bond of chosen family. With them, we walk through familiar male-dominated worlds of classic sci fi and horror, reanimated by the vibrancy, agency, and aspirations of these five beautifully well-rounded, engrossing characters who have finally been given the space to flourish.

And, until February 11th, The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter is on sale! You can get this book in a BOGO with Himself–another charming, quirky mystery that draws inspiration from classic folklore. Jump on the deal here, under “Inspired Fiction”!

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