I recently listened to the Audible version of Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game. I’ve read this book a number of times. Ender’s Game, Speaker for the Dead & Xenocide are some of my favorite books. While Speaker for the Dead seems to me a somewhat better book than Ender’s Game, it’s the latter to which I’m drawn back to again and again. This is the first time I’ve listened to the audiobook. It’s very well done. I encourage you to give it a listen whether Ender’s Game is an old friend or new to you. This is a brief reflection on the audiobook production itself, not the book. Ender’s Game is great and lot’s of reviews are available; I’ve also reflected elsewhere on Ender’s Game, Just War Theory and literary tools
It’s a funny world in which we live; the voice talent for animated films typically receives much more attention than the animators who’ve worked on the project much longer but book narrators are often barely acknowledged. It’s nigh-on impossible to get a list of the full cast of this audiobook production. Yet they did a fabulous job, even when the voices didn’t match up with my internal sound-image of the voice I expected. Mr. Rudnicki managed this production (according to Mr. Card from an interview at the end of the audio). Mr. Rudnicki has narrated a number of Mr. Card’s books, including the recent Pathfinder series, some of Mr. Rudnicki’s best work. His voice seems so well suited to narrating Mr. Card’s work because of the thought provoking quality of the work; there is a focus on self-reflection of the characters as well a reflection of topics that go on in his work. Thinking through the permutations and implications of time travel in Pathfinder to a level detail I’ve not found elsewhere is a great example. Ender’s constant reflection on himself, his environment and accessing situations and people is another great example. The cadence and tone of Mr. Rudnicki’s voice seems well suited to this kind of reflection.
Joining him is Gabrielle de Cuir, who does a peerless Valentine.
Even more exciting is that she is directing and participating in an audio-play of Ender’s Game, Ender’s Game Alive, where Mr. Card rewrote the book for this format. Given Mr. Card’s beginnings as a playwright and the voice talent of this production (many of whom were also on this version in different roles), this looks to be an exciting development. It’s available now on CD and will be available from Audible October 22nd. Update: I’ve since bought, listened to and loved this new version about which more here.
Other’s in this production are Harlan Ellison
and Scott Brick.
I’m sure there are others I’m missing. It really is fabulous. Now, both Colonel Graff and Major Anderson did not sound like I expected; apparently, I build voices in my mind when I read the dialog. Their performances are great, just different than I imagined.
So, this is another ode to narrators and their craft as it seen in Ender’s Game