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Ender's Game Alive: The Full-Cast Audioplay MP3 CD – Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged
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The folks at Skyboat Media have breathed new life into an old format: the radio play. Ender's Game author, Orson Scott Card, has rewritten the novel from ground up as an audio play. I've been pretty excited about this new art form (or, at least a form pushed to new levels) ever since I became aware of the project. This is a first rate audio play.
Be fully immersed. Don't go into this like it's an audio book. You'll look for the narration to tell you where you are in the story. Here, it's done with sounds and theme and dialog and a little monologue, but not straight out narration. Let me emphasize the quality of this production. One way to bring this out is how I rip and experience this. I typically listen to audio books while mobile so I rip them. I often "save space" if I own CDs of audio books, I'll rip them at 128 Kbps. After all, spoken word doesn't have the same level of complexity as a symphony. Not this production. I rendered it with a lossless codec although around 320 variable bit rate mp3 would be fine. I listened to most of it on Grado SR 80s (quite decent cans). This is an amazing experience. They use left and right channel well with a large sound stage even while being immersed in the sound. You feel as if you're in the dialog, a part of the conversation and the action.
While content is king and the best production can't make up for bad story or lousy acting, what really sets Ender's Game Alive apart is a focused script of a great story (not a slightly edited text to account for being read aloud), terrific actors and narrators and first rate production value. They are truly boldly going where, oh wait, that's another franchise... they are pushing the edges of the audio play to new levels and Ender's Game Alive shows off the audio play at its finest.
For full review: wp.me/p2XCwQ-nw
Because MP3 CDs are not the same as typical CDs, this may or may not work in your CD player - it depends on your device. But if you have a media player (and who doesn't?), loading the MP3s into iTunes or your media player of choice is a snap on PC or Mac. The disc comes in a DVD case with a jacket, and has 21 tracks in 192 kbps, which - though compressed - sound quite clear.
Now that the meta stuff is out of the way, the actual audioplay is fascinating. Rather than a straightforward read of Ender's Game (since Rudnicki's read was so solid), the audioplay incorporates material from Card's other pieces in the Enderverse, such as some of the prequels and short stories. In some respects, the play weaves a more complicated tapestry than the novel does and gives backstory that even seasoned EG veterans might not know.
While I can't say I agree with all of the casting choices (just like in the recent movie, Ender is too old), I wouldn't say that anyone involved does a bad job. This is far and away one of the best productions of this story available (besides the novel itself). While I would certainly recommend this to fans, I would not submit this as my choice for anyone's first exposure to the story. As one might expect, the novel (and Rudnicki's read) take pride of place.
If you're a fan of the story, give this a listen. Though it does not measure up to the source material or Rudnicki's original read, it beats the movie and the graphic novels by a long shot. With its intriguing music, plausible foley work, and diverse cast, the audioplay paints a vivid picture of the scifi classic we all know and love.