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Author Topic: "PREDATOR: If it Bleeds" Unabridged Audio Book - CD  (Read 530 times)

Voodoo Magic
Oct 30, 2018, 02:55:10 PM
Topic on: Oct 30, 2018, 02:55:10 PM
I wanted to share a look at the PREDATOR : IF IT BLEEDS Unabridged CD Audio Book that became available maybe a half dozen months go. (Pictures are down below).

Admittedly, I know CDs are old school, and I could have just purchased it digitally, but there's just something about owning an item physically, something I can hold, add to my shelf and to my collection (even though I do ultimately burn CDs into MP3s for personal listening use.)

Also, I know I am guilty of being a little late to the "If it Bleeds" party, but it's always been on my 'reading list', especially considering the great reviews this collection of short stories has received.  But since I'm on the road a lot, I've skipped the book form entirely, and will experience these stories for the first time in the form of audio.

Now the CD case itself consists of a well constructed and durable, thick plastic. The front cover of the printed graphic insert features the profile of a helmeted Predator with his gauntlet knives, almost identical to the cover of its novel counterpart. Turn it over to the back cover, and the standard credits can be found. The graphic insert is only printed on one side, so there are no graphics or information found on the inside of the case.  But what that insert could have really used is a directory printed on its flipside. Why you ask?  Read on:

Inside the case is 10 Audio CDs, well stacked with a protective soft styrofoam ring. Each CD is individually numbered, but here's the rub... none of the discs actually contain an indication of what stories are on them. Considering this is a collection of short stories, and individual printing did indeed occur on each CD, how hard would it have been to list the stories featured on each disc, allowing the listener to easily find their favorite stories for future repeat listening enjoyment?  That, or a lack of directory, is a major oversight... and ultimately requires the owner to create his own directory (if he or she ever plans on revisiting these stories again.)

Fortunately, the audio clarity appears to be very well recorded and crystal clear.

----

Into the stories itself, I've only listened to Devil Dogs by Tim Lebbon so far, which was a very enjoyable story and a great first impression. Simply it was an excellent kick-off to this audio experience!  And considering this story featured a female protagonist in the form of Captain Halley, I am so glad to hear this story read by a female voice (who can handle some nifty accents I might add!)

Interestingly enough, towards the end of the story..

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

So overall it was a great start, and I'm looking forward to continuing this journey....

Devil Dogs: {Disc-1}
 Story: B+ (8.5/10)
 Reading Performance: B+ (8.5/10)
 Audio Quality: A+ (10/10)

« Last Edit: Oct 31, 2018, 05:11:43 PM by Voodoo Magic »

Saith
Oct 31, 2018, 02:38:17 AM
Reply #1 on: Oct 31, 2018, 02:38:17 AM
Real Nice!

Thanks for your View & Insight regarding this product, I'm sure many here will appreciate that.

True, digital is a very easy option in the climate of purchase today but like yourself I have a penchant for physical items as well. Sure I could buy an album on iTunes though I'd rather grab it in CD, Vinyl, Cassette or even all of them.
Having once been relying heavy on download for the Predator/Alien omnibuses, using CBR files and whatnot, proud to say that I own all of them on my bookshelf now.

Back to topic,
I agree Devil Dogs is a great start & the next story (should of course this format indeed follow its novel counterpart) was actually my favourite.
Well, truth be told there are a couple of favourites!

Looking forward to any further thoughts, if you wish to share them.

Cheers,



Voodoo Magic
Oct 31, 2018, 02:56:53 PM
Reply #2 on: Oct 31, 2018, 02:56:53 PM
@TonyPope - Much like you needing to obtain the omnibuses in printed form, I wonder if that tangible need we have is a generational thing... i.e. future generations raised strictly in a world of digital ownership will have no such desire to own material formats. That desire will not even exist perhaps.

But I digress. Thanks for your kind words!  ;D

____________________


The listening journey continued on (Disc 1-2):

Unabridged short story collections on audio CDs have been known, on occassion, to be compiled out of order when compared to its printed format from which it spawned.  I suspect it's done to efficiently use disc space, as well as to prevent spoken stories (whenever possible) from being spread across multiple discs, minimizing the reader from changing a CD mid-story and experiencing a jarring interruption. 

Now it's early yet, but so far, the order of short stories in this Audio Book CD Set seem to mirror the order established in its novel from where it was read.  After a very promising start with the short story "Devil Dogs", the deeper journey into Predator lore continued with Stonewall's Last Stand by Jeremy Robinson.

As the new story began, I noticed a troublesome trend. As the story title was read, followed by a crediting of its author, the name of whom who was doing the reading was left unannounced. Yes, as before with "Devil Dogs", this mysterious voice actor remained in complete anonymity.  With a whopping 16 voices credited for these recordings, it would certainly be nice to match the name with its reader for each story. (That sorely needed yet non-existent directory rears its ugly head yet again.)

Fortunately, none of this affects enjoying these stories and "Stonewall's Last Stand" does not disappoint.  It takes place in darkness, a humid night during the American Civil War where a Predator seems to have been drawn to the heat, and the bloodshed between the North and the South. This tale was riveting, and an excellent change of pace from the previous tale told in the coldness of space. The story conjures up quite the visual, which can be maximized more than a novel can, if you dare listen to this one in the dark.  While the voices the reader conjures up tend to be either a precise hit or a distracting miss, he handles the accent of the protagonist, a southern Confederate General, extremely well.

The only problem I have with this story is...

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Regardless, with two stories down, this Audio Book so far has been quite a delight!  Now, be warned, as this excitement level in this story starts ratcheting up, you'll be abruptly asked to change to Disc 2, so have that second CD ready!

Marching on...

Stonewall's Last Stand: {Disc-1,2}
 Story: B+ (8.5/10)
 Reading Performance: C+ (7.5/10)
 Audio Quality: A+ (10/10)

« Last Edit: Oct 31, 2018, 08:22:48 PM by Voodoo Magic »

Voodoo Magic
Nov 07, 2018, 08:26:12 PM
Reply #3 on: Nov 07, 2018, 08:26:12 PM
The listening journey continued on (Disc 2-4):

The sequence of short stories in this Audio Book CD Set continued in the same order established in its novel form, which led me to the fantastic third story titled Rematch by Steve Perry, so thrilling I fear this collection of short stories may have hit a crescendo only a third of the way in.

Nine years after the events of the novel "Predator Turnabout" (not essential reading here, just go in knowing the main protagonist and his wife survived a previous encounter with a Predator), a retired couple find themselves hunted by a Predator again. And what follows is a taut, tense, cat and mouse hunt that is spectacularly dramatized by a fitting, well cast voice performer. Very gripping.  This one pulls you in, and certainly is a recording I'll revisit again and again.

Rematch: {Disc-2}
 Story: A (9.5/10)
 Reading Performance: A+ (10/10)
 Audio Quality: A+ (10/10)[/i]

--

Up next was May Blood Pave My Way Home by Weston Ochse, where we follow the fictional Lieutenant Providence Pope and the 10th Cavalry Regiment as they pursue the army of real life Mexican Revolutionary General Pancho Villa.  During their chase, Pope encounters some Predators which have aligned themselves in a very surprising way.

A story that starts out slow, but really picks up steam during the small yet meaningful battles towards the end of the tale, I was pleased to read the author was not looking to alter actual historic events. However Pope's flashbacks of pursuing a life away from war, with a woman whom he can't remember her name, feels unearned and ultimately leaves you with an uneven story. Fortunately the vocal performance carries it through.

In May Blood Pave My Way Home: {Disc-2,3}
 Story: B- (8/10)
 Reading Performance: B+ (8.5/10)
 Audio Quality: A+ (10/10)


--

Unfortunately, the next story has a sobering drop in quality, and its a steep one. The short story Storm Blood by Peter J. Wacks and David Boop takes place during the events of the true life, devastating storm "Hurricane Katrina".  Considering this real tragedy took place merely 13 years ago, and claimed more than 1,800 lives, it certainly feels inappropriate and too soon to use as a setting for a Predator story.

Putting the questionable insensitivity aside, after listening to a cobbled story about a National Guard squad, a mysterious boy, an amateur reality show titled "Cryptozoid Crackdown", a huge wolf-like beast called the Rougarou, and a overly calculated twist ending meant to shock and surprise, this story sadly misses its mark.

Storm Blood: {Disc-3,4}
 Story: D+ (6.5/10)
 Reading Performance: B (8/10)
 Audio Quality: A+ (10/10)[/i]

--

Finally, this round of listening ends on an up-note, but tempered at best.  It's the Last Report from the KSS Psychopomp by Jennifer Brozek, a story of a crew of deep space salvagers that believe they have stumbled upon the best score of their life. Unfortunately, as they board a lifeless ship, unbeknownst to the crew, a Predator lies in wait.

What ends up to be a very similar story to its first entry - the vast surperior "Devil Dogs", the unavoidable comparisons becomes this story's  undoing, ultimately resulting in an average experience. It's not at all helped by a vocal performance that unintentionally sounds almost comical, when attempting to dramatize certain voices like the character Emery.  She would have done herself a much better service by just reading it straight.

Last Report from the KSS Psychopompby: {Disc-4}
 Story: C (7.5/10)
 Reading Performance: C (7.5/10)
 Audio Quality: A+ (10/10)[/i]

--

Over... but not out.

« Last Edit: Nov 09, 2018, 03:22:33 PM by Voodoo Magic »

Saith
Nov 08, 2018, 06:00:19 AM
Reply #4 on: Nov 08, 2018, 06:00:19 AM

Awesome!

Great to hear your thoughts & opinions.
Keep it up!

As a fan, don't be afraid to tell us what you really think. Because of... Well...

Your word is your word & no one is right to say "you are wrong".

All we can do is disagree.

And don't worry.
While some stories may seem a bump in the road others are a shining diamond, deep in the dark underground.

Cheers!



Voodoo Magic
Nov 08, 2018, 01:30:14 PM
Reply #5 on: Nov 08, 2018, 01:30:14 PM
Thanks!  Once I'm through, I plan to compile it and create a helpful CD directory for anyone who purchased this.  It's something I would have appreciated, that's for certain.   :)


 

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