From: Kelly Marsh
Location: Everett, WA
While I am certain a lot of people buy audio books to use while they are driving, walking, working out, and so on, I find that I am a great deal more immersed in a book if I sit quietly somewhere, with no distractions, and simply read the damned thing. Under the influence of a good author, I can see, in my mind's eye, the things that are happening.
I recently was able to download, with much anticipation, and for free, a couple of books by one of my favorite authors, which I had not read, and started to listen to one, only to quickly find the experience was much lacking. I found myself distracted by minutiae. Pronunciation, and so on. Kind of like when you see a movie based on a favorite book, and nothing is the way you had pictured it. Repeatedly. So it keeps taking you out of the movie, and keeps trampling your suspension of disbelief.
Most of all, though, I found myself getting bored, just sitting and listening to someone read. I suppose I could listen while driving, but I think at that point I might be a greater menace to my fellow motorists than are the people who habitually talk on their phones while doing so.
To qualify this, however, I should say that I am incapable of becoming absorbed in a book while other media are on. Television, music, all serve as insurmountable distractions.
Random sounds of actual nature are not a problem. Surf and gulls, a babbling brook and wind through the trees, a crackling fire... (I mean the real thing, not the recorded, repetitive stuff)
Anyone out there agree with me? Or am I just a hopeless anomaly in our technological world?
Oh, and by the way, Greg, I don't wish to adversely affect in any way your sales in whatever medium profits you. (Not that I could actually do so) I'm just saying that this particular medium doesn't work for me. So, no offense, huh? :)
From: Greg Bear
No offense. Though I hope you're reading this on paper!
Location: Montreal, Canada
I like to listen to them in bed before falling asleep (under-pillow speaker). Strangely enough, this will sometimes PREVENT me from falling asleep, whereas if I try to read a book in bed I immediately fall asleep (crushing my glasses). I purchase about 3 audio books a year from Audible.com.
Incidentally, I just finished the hard cover of Mariposa, and since I also just ordered a Kindle, I'll be looking forward to reading Hull Zero Three on it. The reasons for my Kindle adoption are (a) compact format, and (b) ability to search: I'm bad at names and sometimes need to look back to see who a particular character is. With a paer book, this can be a challenge.
Thank you for your books! I got hooked with EON years ago and haven't left since.
I've only ever listened to one audio book, I Am Legend by Richard Matheson. I have also read the print version and enjoyed it much more doing so. Is one bad experience enough to decide that I don't like audio books? I don't know, maybe I'll try again some day, but for now I'm happy to stick with print.
I do listen to music, though, while reading. Usually what I'm reading dictates what I listen to. For sci-fi it's ambient electronica with a kind of spacey feel. I started doing that to drowned out the distractions on the train on the way to work in the mornings. I found if I picked the right sounds it could even add to reading experience. Now I never read without my mp3 plugged into my head.
From: Jon Kroll
Location: Ann Arbor Michigan
I have read a lot of Greg Bear's book, but I have also listened to several. Via iTunes/iPod I have listened to Blood Music, Moving Mars, and Quantico. I absolutely loved them. The main thing I picked up on is that the readers are actually doing a performance. All of the audio "performances" I have heard of Greg Bear's works have been outstanding. Frankly I wish there were more works by Greg Bear available in audiobook. Eon would be nice :-)
Keep up the great work.
Best regards, Jon K
From: Greg Bear
I can imagine trying to sleep while listening to UNDER THE DOME...
From: Greg Bear
I deeply appreciate the work of these fine readers. I attended a panel event featuring professionals who create audiobooks at Comic-Con a couple of years ago--very enlightening.
Location: L-burg KY
It all depends on the audiobook. The one for War War Z, while missing sections, had a few embellishments and improvements. The different characters were actually voiced by different actors! It's practically an audio play, some parts where people scream were really unnerving. I think there is a future for this sort of thing now that it can be distributed online.
From: Greg Bear
Indeed. A couple of my novels were dramatized this way. Great fun!