cover image Wild: Stories of Survival from the World's Most Dangerous Places

Wild: Stories of Survival from the World's Most Dangerous Places

Clint Willis. Adrenaline Audiobooks, $24.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-885408-51-8

This collection of unabridged excerpts and short stories dealing with nature's perils is a mixed bag. Though each of the pieces is excellent in its own right, the same cannot be said of all the readings or of their sequence. The production begins, after a cloying and needless introduction, with a hilarious excerpt from Redmond O'Hanlon read flawlessly by Sampson. But given the serious tone of the collection's subtitle, O'Hanlon seems an odd choice to start things off. That becomes ever more clear with the ensuing awkward transition to Rohan's sober rendition of an outtake from Norman Maclean dealing with smoke jumpers being burned alive in a Western wildfire. The strangest turn is taken with the inclusion of Algernon Blackwood's surreal masterpiece, ""The Willows."" Though a fictional tale of two canoeists on the Danube being preyed upon by beings from the fourth dimension seems wildly out of place here, it is, ironically, without question the recording's highlight--Sampson is sensational in setting the story's sense of doleful mystery and in portraying its two embattled protagonists. The production's low point comes with Rohan's disappointing take on Jack London's ""To Build a Fire."" Though Rohan is a veteran narrator, he sounds more like a news anchor than a dramatist in this performance of one of London's best short stories. On their own, the other pieces are generally enjoyable, but they simply don't work well as an ensemble. Thunder's Mouth published the trade paperback original in September 1999. (Sept.).