During my trip this past weekend I finished listening to Anne McCaffrey’s The Dolphins of Pern. The version I heard was narrated by Mark Rolston. Let the slagging begin.
I try to review audiobooks in two ways. From a technical point of view, and then from a content point of view. Technically, this audiobook was really sub-par. First of all, Audible didn’t have it in their highest quality format, so it sounded rather muddy. Second, Rolston was reading like a fiend…like he got X dollars to do the job and wanted to get it done as quickly as possible. If there are chapters in this book, I don’t know about them, and in fact even when a scene changed from one side of the planet to the next, Rolston didn’t break his cadance. He read the whole thing as fast as he could without a single pause. It was *really* hard to follow at times. Add in the fact that the titular dolphins speak in their own strange lingo and it just turned into 9 hours of aggravation. DO NOT BUY THIS AUDIO VERSION!!
Now, as a book…well, in all honesty its hard to be fair reviewing it for content when it was so hard to hear, but I just don’t like the direction McCaffrey is taking Pern in. Technology has returned to the planet, and the residents are building radios and computer terminals and it just ruins the feel of Pern, for me. That’s a highly personal opinion, though. I just like Pern as a fantasy world. But beyond that, there didn’t seem to be much of a story here. It was more a big long vignette focused on the dolphins and how they’re reintroduced to Pern society. I find it really hard to believe that the dolphins have been talking to the people they’ve saved from storms for 2500 years and only now did someone think to talk back to them, but oh well.
All in all, a major disappointment. I’ll go back to the early periods of Pern history next time, I think.