The Sword and Laser discussion

331 views
Who's Your Favorite Audio Book Narrators

Comments (showing 1-49 of 49) (49 new)    post a comment »
dateDown_arrow    newest »

message 1: by Charlie (last edited Sep 16, 2011 09:06AM) (new)

Charlie (kidgoldenarm) | 130 comments I posted this here because there isn't a specific thread for Audio Books.

I have started working out a lot lately, and also have a long train commute, so the convenience of listening to a book on audio has become an immense pleasure!

Sometimes I actually have both the ebook and the audio version so I can hit the book both ways.

My recent consumption of so many audio books has now spurred me to bring to the discussion 2 issues:

1) Some books are actually better read aloud

I remember talking to a friend of mine who took a speed reading course and she told me one of the key techniques to increasing your reading speed is to eliminate the "voice in your head" when reading.

Turns out I am guilty of that habit and the reason why I am a plodding reader. When I read, I actually hear a voice or voices reading the text aloud in my head.

And I believe this might be the reason why I have come to really love the style of certain authors (especially at dialogue) because of the way the words ring the ear when read aloud. For instance, Joe Abercrombie's The Blade Itself is truly a joy to hear. The dialogue actually gives me goosebumps of happiness :)

Whereas China Mieville forces me to make a concerted effort to maintain my focus. I don't get the feeling of being told a story with Mieville, it's more like I'm studying/analyzing a paper for school. NOT that it isn't pleasant, but very different.

2) The quality of the audio narrator can make or break a book

My favorite audio book narrators to date are:

Tim Curry (the Abhorsen Trilogy)
Heather O'Neil (The Likeness by Tana French)

And my current man-crush, Steven Pacey (The Blade Itself)

So feedback please! Who are your fav narrators? And what books are definitely better spoken then read?


Tracey, librarian on strike (Stewartry) I haven't listened to too many yet, but: James Marsters reading Harry Dresden is a happy, happy thing.

On Librivox (and I think elsewhere), I've found Karen Savage is a very nice reader - good pace, good tone, pleasant voice, un-silly character voices.

I love Audible for providing a decent-sized chunk of a sample, because I've been able to completely rule out quite a few books that way.

I have an abridged version of Tale of Two Cities read by Tom Baker that I'm really looking forward to - that can't be bad. I hope.

*makes note about Tim Curry*


message 3: by xenphilos (last edited Sep 16, 2011 09:54AM) (new)

xenphilos Wil Wheaton is pretty awesome at reading Little Fuzzy and Ready Player One. The Game of Thrones books read by Roy Dotrice are also pretty awesome. The other book that stands out in my mind is Dune because it plays more like a radio drama.

I have yet to find other outstanding narrators (although I will keep on the lookout for Tim Curry, as I enjoyed his voice acting in a couple of video games).

edit: How could I forget Neil Gaiman! He's also a sublime narrator, though I've only listened to a few short stories. I'll have to make a point of listening to American Gods (already read the ebook) before the HBO series comes out.


Tracey, librarian on strike (Stewartry) xenphi wrote: "Wil Wheaton is pretty awesome at reading Little Fuzzy and Ready Player One. The Game of Thrones books read by Roy Dotrice are also pretty awesome..."

Two more I'm looking forward to getting hold of.


message 5: by Veronica, Supreme Sword (new)

Veronica Belmont (veronicabelmont) | 1035 comments Mod
Moving this thread, Podcast group is only for posting our podcasts.


message 6: by Michael (last edited Sep 16, 2011 11:23AM) (new)

Michael (The_Smoking_GNU) | 177 comments My favorite audio book narrators to date are:

- John Lee (most of Peter F Hamilton's and Alastair Reynolds's books)
- Neil Gaiman
- Stephen Briggs (Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels)
- Jim Dale (US version of Harry Potter)
- Stephan Fry
- Steven Pacey (The Blade Itself)


David | 6 comments I'm reinforce Roy Dotrice (Song of Fire and Ice series). I havn't read the serices, but the audio books are wonderful.

Also, I can't believe no-one has brought up Kate Redding and Micheal Kramer reading Wheel of Time. I wouldn't say it is better than the written book, but it's a lot easier to get through. Especially if you are "re-reading" it and especially especially the middle books.

Martin Jarvis reading Good Omens was a lot of fun. I never was able to get into reading this book, but the audio book made it come alive.


message 8: by Tamahome (last edited Sep 16, 2011 11:49AM) (new)

Tamahome | 4310 comments Stephan Rudnicki is the sexiest narrator with the deepest voice. Also good is his friend, Harlan Ellison. He just did a Brin story for Lightspeedmag.


message 9: by Nicolas (last edited Sep 16, 2011 12:27PM) (new)

Nicolas (Nimoloth) | 23 comments I'm really enjoying the Discworld novels narrators : Nigel Planer and Stephen Briggs.
Their range is impressive and they really make the books come alive. You almost forget it's a one-man performance.


Ryan (Sweeneyowns) | 43 comments I agree with alot of you people mentioned above, like will wheaton, james marsters, michael kramer, kate reading.

Also Scott Brick is a great one, and he has alot of scifi stuff. one of my first audio books i picked up on a whim was spin and he blew me away, a great book and he made it and sold me on audio books

My favorite book is american gods and I am listening to gary guidall and hes real good.

a good narrator can make or break a book. I now make sure to listen to a sample first because it drives me nuts to listen to anyone less then good. especially if its long it becomes a real drag. I've listened to some that by then end no matter how good it takes me forever to get through it.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 1757 comments I love Jim Dale and he also recorded The Night Circus which I'm downloading to listen soon.

I've had good experiences with Wil Wheaton (on 2x speed), James Marsters, and Bronson Pinchot (very surprising if you only know him as Balky!). But I'm fairly new to audio.....


Philip (heard03) | 380 comments Another vote here for Jim Dale, Tim Curry, Roy Dotrice, and Steven Pacey.

William Dufris helped make Cryptonomicon a home run for me.

Nick Podehl is a big part of why I like Patrick Rothfuss so much.

Michael Beck- you may remember him from The Warriors movie(insert sound of empty glass bottles clinking together) He does an incredible job narrating many of John Grisham's books.

And Simon Vance, who rocked it reading Stieg Larsson's The Millennium Trilogy and Naomi Novik's Temeraire books.


message 13: by Tom, Supreme Laser (new)

Tom Merritt (tommerritt) | 696 comments Mod
I agree with the mentions of Wil Wheaton. Not only is he a good experessive reader, but for some reason, I find him the easiest to maintain focus. I listen a lot when I drive and often I have to use the 30-second skipback function because my mind wanders, or I get an a traffic situaton that demands my focus.

For some odd reason this almost never happens when Wil Wheaton is reading. Perhaps he is also the voice inside my head.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 1757 comments Tom wrote: "I agree with the mentions of Wil Wheaton. Not only is he a good experessive reader, but for some reason, I find him the easiest to maintain focus. I listen a lot when I drive and often I have to use the 30-second skipback function because my mind wanders, or I get an a traffic situaton that demands my focus.

For some odd reason this almost never happens when Wil Wheaton is reading. Perhaps he is also the voice inside my head. ..."


The voices! I think the reason I like him so much, beyond the crush I had on him when I was 11, is that he reads conversationally. Other readers are performing and sometimes the elevated, melodic speech makes me sleepy.


Anne Schuessler (anneschuessler) | 637 comments I have only "read" three audiobooks so far, Fuzzy Nation, Little Fuzzy and am currently listening to Bill Bryson narrating his own At Home.

So far, Wil Wheaton is a definitive favorite. I'm not sure whether it's because it was my first audiobook or because I really liked the story, but I'm inclined to say that it's mostly because Wil is a damn good narrator. He gets the fine balance between adding personality to the characters without making it a one man theater play.

Like Tom said it's really easy to focus on his narrating and it never gets boring or you get distracted by something else. But I'm looking forward to listening to other narrators. I've listened to a sample of John Glover reading the 13th Dresden Files book and it sounds really good (I know people like James Marsters a lot, too, but just from the samples I liked John Glover a little bit better). But I guess I'll have to read the other eleven books first to get to it (read the first one, so that's done).


Tamahome | 4310 comments The narrator for Mote in God's Eye is friggin' awesome. L. J. Ganser?


Kevin Xu (kxu65) | 915 comments I love Stephen King reading his own work, especially the first two Dark Tower, which makes it that much more epic in scale.


Ray | 35 comments Based on his performance of The Wise Man's Fear (I read The Name of the Wind in print), Nick Podehl gets the top spot. He has a large repertoire of distinct voices and even does a decent job of females. He pronounces nearly all names the way I would as well.

Steven Pacey is a very close second for his performance of the First Law trilogy and for the same reasons as Podehl.

Roy Dotrice gets the bronze for his performances in books 1,2,3, and 5 of A Song of Ice and Fire. He has fewer voices than Pacey and Podehl but he still does a masterful job.


message 19: by Charlie (last edited Sep 21, 2011 05:40AM) (new)

Charlie (kidgoldenarm) | 130 comments Ray wrote: "Based on his performance of The Wise Man's Fear (I read The Name of the Wind in print), Nick Podehl gets the top spot. He has a large repertoire of distinct voices and even does a decent job of fem..."

Nick Podehl is quite good. I was honestly a little taken back when I first heard him (thinking his narration style a bit too modern), but once I found how versatile he was and the way he could really capture Kvoth's mannerisms, it totally rocked.

Steven Pacey is just a brilliant actor period. And he seems to have a comedic timing that is just a joy to hear. The book already has plenty of moments that made me laugh out loud, but joined with Pacey's voices, intonations, and I swear I was rolling on the floor laughing. I could actually "hear" Gloktor sardonically smirking at me at times.

Pacey is the BEST! I have actually started looking for other audio works just to hear more from him.

And also cannot rave enough about Tim Curry. Damn he is badass.


terpkristin | 2649 comments My faves have already been mentioned. Rudnicki, Dotrice, Redding, Kramer and Fry are the ones I know off the top of my head. Sometimes, too, the narrator works for the book, but may not work so well for other books. I like to read the Andy Carpenter books and the narrator for those, Grover Gardner, has the perfect voice for the books. But if he were reading something fantasy, I'm not sure I'd like him quite so much.

I'm not digging the guy who narrated The Drawing of the Three, Frank Muller. His voice is too....breathy for me.


Andrew (adrew) | 426 comments Nicolas wrote: "I'm really enjoying the Discworld novels narrators : Nigel Planer and Stephen Briggs.
Their range is impressive and they really make the books come alive. You almost forget it's a one-man performance."


This. These two do an exceptional job.

Will echo Anne with Bill Bryson narrating some of his own books does a great job. Believe he did 'A short history of nearly everything' which was a fun listen.

Fry is great with the Potters (prefer the UK to Jim Dale US versions), and Hitchhikers and various others he's done.

A lot of the others have been mentioned (Tim Curry etc.), and really for me it comes down to the suitability for the text. Eg. Wil Wheaton doesn't blow me away as a narrator but he paired up so well for Ready Player One, and was rather decent in Fuzzy Nation.


Josiah (JosiahVilla) | 1 comments Michael Page and Pacey. Best Served Cold and Red Wolf Conspiracy are the standouts.


Charlie (kidgoldenarm) | 130 comments Ha! A brilliant little comic giving a critique of Roy Dotrice on A Game Of Thrones audio.

http://www.tor.com/blogs/2011/09/comi...


Derek Knox (snokat) | 274 comments Really enjoy Will Patton, especially when he reads James Lee Burke.


message 25: by Al (new)

Al | 159 comments I'd like to add a shout out to Frank Muller. Haven't heard him on the Drawing of the Three but he was a mainstay of the old Recorded Books company which seems to have migrated into Audible and gave me many many enjoyable hours.


Wayne McCoy (GeekWayne) | 11 comments I miss Frank Muller. I remember actually listening to books I wouldn't normally be interested in because he was the reader.


message 27: by db (new)

db | 8 comments I like the English accent of Rosalyn Landor, especially in Kazuo Ishiguro's, Never Let Me Go.


Paulo Limp (paulolimp) | 46 comments Yeah, definetely Wil Wheaton. I've listened to just a handful of audiobooks so far, but nothing has matched his performance on Fuzzy Nation. Now I'm listening Ready Player One, and he also does a wonderful job. It could be he's the voice inside my head as well. :)

I wonder, though. Did Alan Rickman (Professor Snape) voiced any audiobook? It surely would be something.


Ray | 35 comments Paulo wrote: " I wonder, though. Did Alan Rickman (Professor Snape) voiced any audiobook? It surely would be something. "

Alan Rickman has narrated for two books on Audible, The Return of the Native by Thomas Hardy and Nelson Mandela's Favorite African Folk Tales (where he joins various actors/narrators.)


Sam | 32 comments I'm not sure if I can single out John Lee as an great narrator, or if it is the Hamilton writing style that I enjoy, but I find the combination very pleasing. Something about the accent and the pacing and the story really allows me to escape into the story. Despite the length, they don't seem as long. Lee doesn't do a lot of voice inflection for different characters or really get very dramatic, but I really enjoyed the Pandora Star/Judas Unchained duo, and have recently started the Void series which reminded me of this narrator.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 1757 comments Sam wrote: "I'm not sure if I can single out John Lee as an great narrator, or if it is the Hamilton writing style that I enjoy, but I find the combination very pleasing. Something about the accent and the pac..."

I just listened to John Lee do Ulysses and I thought he was great.


David | 6 comments I just had my first "Do I know this narrator?" experience. I was driving home and listening to Gilgamesh and Gilgamesh was crossing the Waters of Death. All of a sudden I had a flashback to the "lobstrosities" of the Dark Tower Series. The more I listen, the more I realize that it's the same person reading the book. All of a sudden Gilgamesh sounds like Roland to me. He even starts to look like Roland in my head. Weird, I know.

Anyway, I forgot to mention George Guidall as a favorite narrator above. But he is definitely one of my favorites now. I am looking forward to listeing to more of his stuff. Might be time to listen to Dune or the Incarnations of Immortality (Piers Anthony).


AndrewP (AndrewCa) | 1212 comments I have not listened to that many audio books, but the one that stands out is Simon Vance. Not sure if he has read any S&L stuff but I listened to Assegaiby Wilbur Smith and he did a fantastic job with many European and African accents. He can also differentiate (correctly) between different British dialects of class or location.


message 34: by Michael (last edited Oct 06, 2011 09:37PM) (new)

Michael (The_Smoking_GNU) | 177 comments Sam wrote: "I'm not sure if I can single out John Lee as an great narrator, or if it is the Hamilton writing style that I enjoy, but I find the combination very pleasing. Something about the accent and the pac..."
I really enjoyed that particular combination, too.
Good, but not as good as the afore-mentioned pairing the Revelation Space books by
Alastair Reynolds narrated by John Lee.
I even prefer John Lee to Roy Dotrice when it comes to the Series-Which-Must-Not-Be-Named.

Andrew wrote: "I have not listened to that many audio books, but the one that stands out is Simon Vance...."
Simon Vance does an excellent job on Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy.


Sam | 32 comments Michael wrote: "Good, but not as good as the afore-mentioned pairing the Revelation Space books by
Alastair Reynolds narrated by John Lee."


I noticed that he read several of Reynold's books and thought it would be good opportunity to pick up something from an author that has been on my to-read list for awhile. Perhaps this will be good place to start.


Daniel Eavenson (DannyEaves) | 103 comments David wrote: "I just had my first "Do I know this narrator?" experience. I was driving home and listening to Gilgamesh and Gilgamesh was crossing the Waters of Death. All of a sudden I had a flashback to the "..."
I wish the original guy had lived long enough to finish the series. Frank Muller was Roland for me. George Guidall does a fine job but Frank Muller sticks in my mind.


message 37: by Larry (last edited Nov 01, 2011 02:32PM) (new)

Larry (WellEnough) | 3 comments I really enjoy Scott Brick.


Quasar | 32 comments Some stand out for me. James Marsters reading the Dresden Files, Stephen Fry reading Harry Potter, Roy Dotrice reading A Song of Ice and Fire, Kate Reading reading Codex Alera.

I've also liked Derek Jacobi reading a range of things.

And though I generally avoid abridged I really like Tony Robinson reading Discworld books.

Its interesting, my ears generally prefer British readers for some reason.


Dave Girling (BigFriendlyDave) | 7 comments Really enjoyed James Marsters reading Dresden Files, though for some barmy reason, only the first 4 books are available on Audible UK - Also enjoyed Allyson Johnston and her rendition of the main Honor Harrington series - less enamoured by Peter Larkin's reading of "Crown of Slaves", one of the side novels of the Honorverse, simply because of big differences in the pronunciation of names common to both series. Oh for the love of a good pronunciation guide.

Again, would love to comment on Wil Wheaton, if only Ready Player One were available in good old Blighty.

And for some non-fiction goodness, can't go wrong with Professor Brian Cox (not the actor) reading his own book "Why does E=mc2"?

Dave
- definitely a Gryphon Highlander


Nelson Gibson | 4 comments I think all my favorites have already been said but just to add to the +1s.

Nick Podehl in The Kingkiller Chronicles
Roy Dotrice in A Song of Ice and Fire
James Marsters in The Dresden Files series
Steven Pacey in The First Law series
Neil Gaiman
Simon Vance in The Millennium Trilogy
John Lee in Fall of Giants and World Without End

and a couple off the wall ones:
Samual L Jackson in Go the Fuck to Sleep
Tina Fey in Bossypants


John Bullock (beagrie) | 120 comments Having listened to the Song of Ice and Fire series, I have to throw a mention to Roy Dotrice. The one that he didn't read (A Feast for Crows, I think) was very jarring, and even by the end of the audiobook I still hadn't gotten used to the new voice.

That said, my favourite narrator by a huge margin is Stephen Fry He's read a few things, but probably most well known is the [UK] Harry Potter series. If you've never heard Fry read a book, pick your favourite Harry Potter novel and track down his reading of it, it'll be worth it.


Tamahome | 4310 comments Stefan Rudnicki, Scott Brick, & Simon Vance pick their favorite books:

http://www.sffaudio.com/?p=31913


Jim (kskryptonian) | 202 comments I really enjoyed Smallville's John Glover reading Jim Butcher's Ghost Story. There was this fun weird moment where I thought Lex Luthor's dad is Harry Dresden. It was a fun headspace to be in for a while.


[Redacted] | 11 comments I'm listening to Lolita right now narrated by Jeremy Irons. He is utterly brilliant.


Andrew (adrew) | 426 comments Ed wrote: "I'm listening to Lolita right now narrated by Jeremy Irons. He is utterly brilliant."

Those that have been stage actors I find tend to make good narrators. He did a fantastic job in the Lion King back in the day.


message 46: by Joshua (last edited Nov 05, 2011 12:19PM) (new)

Joshua James (josh_w_james) | 5 comments I have enjoyed everything I've listened to narrated by Frank Muller, and as someone else previously mentioned here, I've sought out books that I probably wouldn't have picked up normally, but did simply because he was the reader.

I also LOVE the versions of the Hitchhiker's Guide series read by Douglas Adams himself.


Kevin Xu (kxu65) | 915 comments Ed wrote: "I'm listening to Lolita right now narrated by Jeremy Irons. He is utterly brilliant."

I am creeped out by Jeremy Irons because he has done so many roles as a villain, and he looks like a villain himself.


Dave Girling (BigFriendlyDave) | 7 comments Kevin wrote: "Ed wrote: "I'm listening to Lolita right now narrated by Jeremy Irons. He is utterly brilliant."

I am creeped out by Jeremy Irons because he has done so many roles as a villain, and he looks like ..."


you'll never be creeped out by Mr Irons once you've seen - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GF6ou...

Aah - the joys of UK kids tv :)


message 49: by Kevin (last edited Nov 05, 2011 06:05PM) (new)

Kevin Xu (kxu65) | 915 comments Dave wrote: "Kevin wrote: "Ed wrote: "I'm listening to Lolita right now narrated by Jeremy Irons. He is utterly brilliant."

I am creeped out by Jeremy Irons because he has done so many roles as a villain, and ..."


That video crepped me out even more than any of his villain roles ever did.


back to top