Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Pilgrimage to hell


As I noted in Radio drama, I've been listening the GraphicAudio edition of Pilgrimage to Hell, the first book in the Deathlands series.

As to the book, I enjoyed it. I liked the environment and the action of it. I'll listen to more when I get around to it. I can't say the characters, aside from Doc, were that compelling to me. Under the circumstances, I'm not entirely sure if that was a fault of the writing or the performance. I'm guessing it's the writing, if only because I didn't feel like the performance of the "Doc" character was significantly better.

For anyone interested in what the GraphicAudio offers, "a movie in your mind", they say. What it basically amounts to is an audiobook with actors performing the parts along with music and sound effects. I don't believe any changes were made to the book, aside from removing "he said", "she said angrily", etc.

I have to say for this book, it's probably an improvement over what a standard audiobook would have been, although perhaps not an improvement over simply sitting on the couch and devouring the book in an evening.

GraphicAudio also offers a number of other series, DC Comics, The Destroyer, The Executioner, The Survivalist, Texas Rangers and quite a few others. Apparently they've chosen truck drivers as their market, so, as you can see, they're largely focusing on male-oriented material, including quite a few older series of "men's adventure" type novels.

They may be working to move on to newer material. I haven't been following them. Just ran into this recently, but I'd guess this is the direction. I certainly hope they are just expanding and aren't moving away from these "classic" series. Personally, as a dork for these things, I'd like to see that expanded.

I'd like to see the "Edge" books by George G. Gilman, the "Gunn" books by Jory Sherman, the "Traveler" series by D.B. Drumm (a pseudonym for Ed Naha and John Shirley) - which I prefer to the "Deathlands" books, at least so far... - or how about the "Black Samurai" series by Marc Olden... Clearly I could go on a long time, and I haven't read nearly as many of these series as Marty McKee, who I'm sure could name a dozen more off the top of his head.

So, my review is mixed on the results, but more than good enough to follow-up. I love the idea of movies in my mind and in the minds of others. And I'm freaky excited about anything that helps revive some of these series! I'll be continuing and seeing if I like others even more, so I can shout and celebrate even further, wider and louder.


4 comments:

bill r. said...

Did you ever hear the audio book for King's THE MIST? It was a similar idea, but they changed a lot of dialogue so that the characters described literally everything they saw. It was pretty terrible. At one point, when the creatures are flying around the supermarket, a character actually says (paraphrased) "It just crashed into the spaghetti sauce! Prago and Ragu everywhere!"

Neil Sarver said...

You know, I never did get around to it. I've definitely checked it out of the library and some part of me wonders if I didn't even own it at some point. I'm not sure, one way or the other, why I didn't get around to it.

I see what they were trying to do, obviously... I've heard a couple recent radio plays where the action is done in sound effects and grunts, like one is simply listening to a movie action scene without the picture and I don't think that quite works.

On the other hand, I'm not sure this doesn't play out a bit too far in the other direction, wordy and slow, if one is viewing it from the perspective of a "movie in your mind".

bill r. said...

With THE MIST, it was WAY too far in the other direction. Honestly, it's pretty hilarious. I guess I like the idea, and wish it had been good -- I remember being pretty excited about it before I actually listened to it -- but I got a great deal of unintentional humor out of it.

Radio plays are tough to pull off. I haven't heard many recent ones, but it seems to me that a lot of people who try their hand at them nowadays haven't learned the basic rules as displayed in the best of the classic era from the 30s and 40s (of which I've heard plenty).

Neil Sarver said...

It is tricky, and I can totally see why people attempt to make them feel a little more visceral than the classic radio dramas, but what I've heard errs too far in the direction of not narrating the action, which I don't much think works.

But, yeah, having the characters exclaim the action couldn't work much. That's just goofy!

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