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Mission Earth 1: The Invaders Plan

L. Ron Hubbard, read by a full cast. Galaxy, unabridged, 17 CDs, 19 hrs., $29.99 ISBN 9781619865402

Strong production values and a talented cast of 85 bring to life the audio edition of the first volume of Hubbard's Mission Earth series. The author's introduction, read in a deep, welcoming voice by Stefan Rudnicki, informs the listener in great detail about the satirical nature of the story. The story that follows is a sci-fi adventure with echoes of Hubbard's early pulp fiction writings. The 85 cast members of this production work hard at bringing the story and its 127 speaking parts together to make an entertaining tale. Actor Jim Meskimen portrays the not-so-bright narrator of the story "Soltan Gris," keeping the story of the alien Voltarian's internal political corruption and ultimate plans for the planet Earth moving at an energetic pace. Whether pushing through lengthy descriptive passages or interacting with his fellow performers, his narration is the cornerstone of the audiobook. The end result is well-produced, well-acted, and listenable. A Galaxy paperback. (Jun.)

Reviewed on 05/19/2017 | Details & Permalink

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The Most Dangerous Place on Earth

Lindsey Lee Johnson, read by Cassandra Campbell. Random House Audio, unabridged, 9 CDs, 11 hrs., $40 ISBN 978-0-451-48398-0

In a wealthy California neighborhood, a middle school case of cyberbullying leads to tragedy. Three years later, the now-high-school-aged kids are each dealing with their own stresses and personal issues: average student Dave suffers from his Asian parents' insistence that he get straight As and become a doctor; Abigail falls into an affair with a predatory teacher; troublemaker Damon goes to mandatory drug rehab and struggles to get his life together. Campbell's narration is empathetic, layered, diverse, and nuanced. Every character has a distinctive voice, and her acting is spot-on, even when multiple characters are having a conversation. Her choices are well-thought-out and astute: in the initial chapter on cyberbullying, her voice is neutral and factual, which makes the horror all the more chilling. A Random House hardcover. (Jan.)

Reviewed on 05/19/2017 | Details & Permalink

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