The Truth Is out There (The X-Files Series Book 2) by Jonathan Maberry

Posted September 1, 2016 by michaelhicks in Reviews / 0 Comments

The Truth Is out There (The X-Files Series Book 2) by Jonathan MaberryThe Truth Is out There by Jonathan Maberry
Narrator: Bronson Pinchot, Hillary Huber
Series: X-Files (Maberry) #1
Published by Blackstone Audio Inc on 16 February 2016
Length: 13 hrs and 5 mins
Genres: Media Tie-In, Science Fiction
Format: Audiobook
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Fox Mulder and Dana Scully are back in a chilling collection of all-new tales of dark secrets, alien agendas, terrifying monsters, and murderous madmen. Edited by New York Times best-selling author Jonathan Maberry, The Truth Is out There features original stories by best-selling authors Rachel Caine, David Wolverton, Hank Philippi Ryan, Kelley Armstrong, Kami Garcia, Greg Cox, and many others.

©2016 Jonathan Maberry (P)2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

ABR received this audiobook for free from the in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect our opinion of the audiobook or the content of our review.

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The X-Files: The Truth Is Out There is the second prose anthology in IDW Publishing’s series edited by bestselling author Jonathan Maberry.

As a long-time fan of The X-Files, going back to the pilot episode in 1993, I’m delighted by the resurgence and interest in the on-going investigations led by FBI Special Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully (aka, The FBI’s Most Unwanted), and the anthology format provides readers and audiobook listeners with plenty of interesting new cases from various writers. However, while I mostly enjoyed my time with The Truth Is Out There, I can’t help but feel that it is a weaker anthology than its predecessor, Trust No One. There are several stories that stand out as being incredibly strong, but there are also a number of mediocre entries, and one, “We Should Listen To Some Shostakovich,” that is downright awful.

Kelley Armstrong and Jon McGoran get the book off to a strong start, the latter presenting a really interesting story of time travel. Bev Vincent’s “Phase Shift,” was easily the highlight of the anthology for me, and centers around a house and its inhabitants confronted by a strange anomaly. This is a really good story with a strong, and strongly executed, premise, the ending of which highlights the particular darkness one may confront in such an odd situation. Sorry for being vague, but this is a good one to go into blindly.

Hank Schwaeble brings a welcome dose of ludicrousness to the table with “Male Privilege,” where the men of a small town have suddenly grown breasts. Over the years, The X-Files has shown considerable elasticity in the nature of its premise, ranging from ultra-serious to straight-up goofball comedy, and “Male Privilege” runs to the latter end of this continuum, feeling a bit like a Darin Morgan tribute. On the other end of the continuum then, is Sara Stegall’s “Snowman,” a terrific conspiracy and monster caper involving a search for missing Marine’s in the wintry woods of Washington, and reunites Mulder and John Doggett. Props to Stegall for bringing Doggett, an X-Files alum who has been underserved in the latest renaissance of The X-Files, back into the fold for a brief time.

Glenn Greenberg’s “XXX” revolves around murder on a porn set, which sounds like Mulder’s dream case but is nicely understated and provides some solid twists. As somebody who has read several titles by Tim Waggoner in the past, I was excited to note his inclusion in this anthology and expected a solid effort from him. Thankfully, “Foundling,” did not disappoint and revolves around Mulder and Scully discovering an abandoned baby in an eerily, and suddenly, empty town.
Of the fifteen stories comprising this anthology, the above-mentioned are the ones that really stood out to me. Unfortunately, “We Should Listen To Some Shostakovich,” by Hank Phillipi Ryan, stood out as well, but for entirely different reasons. Set in 2017, the story is far out of continuity with the series and its recent reboot and features a married Mulder and Scully who are expecting a child. I could have given this premise a pass, but Ryan’s characterizations are so out of synch with the character, and the central mystery surrounding numerology and a painting of the composer Shostakovich making its way to their apartment door, is so lackluster it barely feels like an X-File at all. Not much happens aside from the intrepid FBI agents staring at the painting and Googling stuff.

Those who listened to the previous anthology will know what to expect in terms of narration. Bronson Pinchot and Hillary Huber return, and take turns narrating individual stories depending on who the central point of view character is. If it’s primarily a Mulder story, Pinchot delivers a fairly flat voiceover, which turns even more monotone during Mulder’s dialogue in an effort to capture actor David Duchovny’s performance. Overall, though, Pinchot seems flatter in this anthology than he did with the previous one. Huber does solid work, which struck me as an improvement over her prior turn with these characters and their stories. Unfortunately, neither know how to pronounce the name of Frohike – long-time fans will know the Lone Gunman’s name is said “fro-hickey” and not “fro-hike” as it appears in print.

On the production side of things, there’s little to complain about. The sound quality is fine and the narrator’s maintain consistent tones and levels in their work. For whatever reason, the introduction by Lone Gunman actor Dean Haglund, which appears in the print volume, was not recorded (which is a shame, as I would have liked to have heard it).

The X-Files: The Truth Is Out There provides some solid entertainment over the course of 13 hours, even if it doesn’t quite hit the mark as well as Trust No One did. Still, it’s worth a listen and die-hard fans will find plenty of stories, the majority set during the series initial nine-year run, enjoyable and familiar enough to satisfy their itch for fresh cases of alien abductions, haunted houses, weird science, physics gone awry, and the occasional exploding head or two.

About Jonathan Maberry

JONATHAN MABERRY is a New York Times best-selling and multiple Bram Stoker Award-winning horror and thriller author, magazine feature writer, playwright, content creator and writing teacher/lecturer. His books have been sold to more than a dozen countries.

His novels include the Pine Deep Trilogy: GHOST ROAD BLUES (Pinnacle books; winner of the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel in 2006), DEAD MAN’S SONG (2007) and BAD MOON RISING (2008); the Joe Ledger series of action thrillers from St. Martin’s Griffin: PATIENT ZERO (2009, winner of the Black Quill and a Bram Stoker Award finalist for Best Novel), THE DRAGON FACTORY (2010; now available), THE KING OF PLAGUES (March 2011), ASSASSIN’S CODE (March 2012), EXTINCTION MACHINE (2013); THE WOLFMAN (NY Times bestseller from Tor, based on the Universal Pictures film starring Benecio Del Toro, Emily Blunt and Sir Anthony Hopkins; winner of the Scribe Award for Best Adaptation); the forthcoming standalone zombie thriller DEAD OF NIGHT (Oct 25 2011); and the Benny Imura series of Young Adult dystopian zombie thrillers from Simon & Schuster: ROT & RUIN (2011; named in Booklist’s Ten Best Horror Novels for Young Adults, a Bram Stoker and Pennsylvania Young Readers’ Choice Award finalist; winner of the Cybils Award, the Eva Perry Mock Printz medal, Dead Letter Best Novel Award, and four Melinda Awards), DUST & DECAY (Aug 30 2011), FLESH & BONE (2012) and FIRE & ASH (21013).

Jonathan was an expert on the History Channel documentary on zombies scheduled to air October 26.

His nonfiction works include: VAMPIRE UNIVERSE (Citadel Press, 2006), THE CRYPTOPEDIA (Citadel, 2007 –winner of the Bram Stoker Award for Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction; co-authored by David F. Kramer), ZOMBIE CSU: The Forensics of the Living Dead (Winner of the Hinzman and Black Quill Awards and nominated for a Stoker Award; 2008), THEY BITE! (2009 co-authored by David F. Kramer), WANTED UNDEAD OR ALIVE (2010; Bram Stoker nominee; co-authored by Janice Gable Bashman), and THE VAMPIRE SLAYERS FIELD GUIDE TO THE UNDEAD (2001, written under the pen name of Shane MacDougall).

He writes a variety of projects for Marvel Comics involving CAPTAIN AMERICA, BLACK PANTHER, DOOMWAR, WOLVERINE, DEADPOOL, THE X-MEN, FANTASTIC FOUR, the NY Times bestselling MARVEL ZOMBIES RETURN, MARVEL UNIVERSE vs THE PUNISHER and MARVEL UNIVERSE vs WOLVERINE. All of Jonathan’s comic book collections are released as Graphic Novel collections within a month or two of individual comic publication.

Recent short stories include “Pegleg and Paddy Save the World” (HISTORY IS DEAD, Permuted Press 2007), “Doctor Nine” (KILLERS, Swimming Kangaroo Press, 2008; and reprinted in THE STORIES (in) BETWEEN Edited by Greg Schauer, Jeanne B. Benzel, and W.H. Horner. Fantasist Enterprises, 2009), “Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Greenbrier Ghost” (LEGENDS OF THE MOUNTAIN STATE 2, Bloodletting Books, 2008), “Clean Sweeps” (AND SO IT BEGINS, Dark Quest Books, 2008), “Family Business” (THE NEW DEAD, St. Martin’s Press, 2010), “Like Part of the Family” (NEW BLOOD edited by Patrick Thomas and Diane Raetz, Padwolf Press, 2010), “Zero Tolerance” (THE LIVING DEAD 2, Night Shade Books), “Flint and Steel” (GI JOE: COBRA WARS, 2011), “Saint John”(THE MONSTER’S CORNER, 2011, St. Martin’s), “The Death Song of Dwar Guntha” (Under the Moons of Mars: New Adventures on Barsoom, 2012, Simon & Schuster), and “The Wind Through the Fence” (an original e-story available for all e-readers). His essay, “Take Me To Your Leader” will be included in the nonfiction book, TRIUMPH OF THE LIVING DEAD: Robert Kirkman’s Zombie Epic on Page and Screen edited by James Lowder (BenBella Books/Smart Pop, 2011).

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