Monday, February 14, 2011

Listening to The Skinner.

I have just a few chapters more to listen to of The Skinner audio book. It’s been an interesting and enjoyable experience. I wasn’t entirely sure about the precise old man’s voice Gaminara used for Sable Keech but it’s grown on me and I now think it’s the best of all. I noticed how when Captain Ron first appeared, his first words were flat but, directly after the description of him, Gaminara turned him into a Glaswegian, which made me laugh out loud. Other highlights are the South African Batian mercenaries, a Welsh Golem and a slightly crazy Irish Olian Tay. Of course what he is doing here is trying to make them distinct beyond the ‘he said, she said and it said’ and, in the end, how does a centuries-old hooper speak, or a walking corpse, or a lobster-shaped war drone?

Throughout the reading I’ve picked up on a few mistakes e.g. the first reference to the ‘Spatterjay viral form A1’ came up as ‘AI’, but only once and understandable in the context. More noticeable to me is how by listening to the book I’m hearing more of my mistakes. In the later chapters, when Sable Keech, Boris, Roach and SM13 are limping across the sea on Keech’s AG scooter I’ve written ‘the probe SM13’ rather than the ‘drone’.

Noticeable too has been just how much I remember – knowing precisely what’s coming as each section starts. I also wish there had been a further beat in the breaks between sections.

I’ve also been picking up a lot on where the writing obviously doesn’t flow well enough – often where it’s too abrupt and staccato. I did wonder too if the change in my writing over the years is reflected in the reading time of the books. My copies of them list The Skinner at 16 hours 2 minutes, The Voyage of the Sable Keech at 16 hours 46 minutes and Orbus at 14 hours 45 minutes. Word counts respectively are 149,879, 158,775 & 135,525, which again respectively give word rates per minute of 156, 158 & 153. Um, no definite trend there. Maybe the lower figure for Orbus is simply due to the tense change?

All of this also brings home to me something I read in one of the numerous ‘How To’ writing books I’ve gone through: reading out your writing is a good idea, because if it doesn’t flow easily off the tongue then it isn’t flowing easily off the page into the reader’s brain. I must start doing a bit more of this reading out loud myself.


Disco Stu said...

Glaswegian Captain Ron...not sure about that. What was his voice like in your head as you wrote him?

Neal Asher said...

They were a bit of deep calm rumble from somewhere in the Midlands. The frequent use of 'bugger' locates it somewhere in my parents' birthplace of Derbyshire or thereabouts, but slower, more rural. Thing is, it wasn't that clear to me. I reckon that all readers will have their own opinions on this. I wonder what those reading the book in America would think? Or those reading it in translation?

Disco Stu said...

Your take more or less came across to me. A considered deep voice I would have said.
Being a Nottingham lad I'm familiar with 'bugger' too. 'Bogger off' was common as well.

vaudeviewgalor raandisisraisins said...

the voices in my head sound like these 2 guys talking when i read a book:

they sound so authoritative.

Graeme. said...

With Keech's voice, I also like the way he manages to make it sound somehow synthesised(which it is), like there's effort attached to producing the sound - there's almost a metallic tinge.
In my head, if I had to give him an accent, it would have been German - calculated, measured responses. I think Gaminara manages that without the accent tho'.

Rob said...

I have just downloaded the Skinner Neil, and i must say I am really enjoying it in audio form. I have not read any of your books but plan on doing so now.

Keep up the great work.

Neal Asher said...

Stu, which probably goes back to my comment about the translation. I bet there's someone in France right now thinking the Old Captains sound like a Provence farmer or some such.

Didn't get the full url there, Vaude.

It is very good, Graeme. I like hearing how he riffs off of the descriptions and interractions and decides on the voice. I guess there's a lot more to this acting lark than I had supposed.

Glad to hear the audio books are feeding back in that way Rob. What made you pick them up in the first place? An advert from Audible? I'd also be interested to know how many people are picking up on the books just because of who they are being read by.

Rob said...

The narration by William Gaminara is superb Neil, but I was not drawn to the book because of the narrator.

I joined audiable so that I could have your book The Skinner read to me. I am not much of a fan of reading books as I tend to fall asleep within a few pages of reading them.

Your vision of Sci fi is right up my alley, I love it. You are so descriptive and can set a scene excellently, so much action in your writing.

I was wondering if any of your books, other than the three in this series, will be created in the near future?

I happened upon your Blog through a totally unrelated forum. Wherein they were discussing future technologies and your name came up which I was intrigued by.