Series: X-Files (Maberry) #2
Published by Blackstone Audio Inc on 16 February 2016
Length: 13 hrs and 5 mins
Genres: Alternate History, Media Tie-In, Mystery/Thriller, Paranormal
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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.
I have to admit I have mixed feeling about Vol 2 of the Xfiles. Usually I know when I love an audiobook or didn’t care for it: I either didn’t want it to end or I couldn’t finish it or I had to force myself to listen to it. And I am an official Xfiles geek from wwaaayyy back so it was a no-brainer to volunteer to preview this very professionally executed addition to the Xfiles franchise. However, the quandary I find myself in, as I type this review, is one of mixed feelings. Let me explain.
This collection of 15 short stories, edited by the talented Jonathan Maberry, is a collection of “episodes”, most being a tad over an hour long but a few are in the 40 min range and each written by a different author, that are self-contained episodes reminiscent of the tv series. That is to say they are not focusing on “the over-arching alien conspiracy” but are investigations by Mulder and Scully where they are investigating an apparent locomotive mummy or the murders of a mafia organization in connection with an organ donor or a possible time-traveling assassin. All of the stories were interesting and, more importantly to me, faithful to the Xfiles that we all spent the 1990’s engrossed by every Friday evening. Kudos for that! No, the problem I have with this well-written audiobook is the narration by two talented professional voice actors.
Bronson Pinchot and Hillary Huber are the narrators. Each performs an individual story (ie, Bronson does not read the Mulder lines or Huber the Scully lines) and, if I wasn’t a fan and familiar with each of these talented narrators I might not be so critical of this audiobook but… Let me take Pinchot as an example. I have long been a fan of Pinchot’s performance of the Grimnoir Chronicles series by Larry Correia and the President’s Vampire series by Christopher Farnsworth so I know the impressive range of voices Pinchot can bring to the table, everything for J. Edgar Hoover to a hardened prison convict to a teenage girl of Portugese ancestory. Every single story narrated by BP is done monotone, I kid you not! If you are familiar with the President’s Vampire series, he uses the voice of Cade in all of the stories/episodes he narrated, regardless of gender talking or the circumstance. Huber is similarly constrained; she has an extremely smooth and soothing voice but every “voice”, male or female, is performed in her “narrating” voice with little to no inflection. I can only assume the producer/publisher of this audiobook told them both that this book is to be a simple narration, not a portrayal performance. And, if that is the case, I think they (the producer/publisher) made a huge mistake and did a profound disservice to the contributing authors and their awesome stories as well as to the legions of fans getting their Xfiles “fix”. The audiobook has no production or studio problems, but with so many well performed audiobooks out there, the idea that someone thought it would be a good idea to return to the 1980’s ideal of audiobook narration (ie, one monotone voice) just boggles my mind!
Bottom Line: Xfiles Vol 2, The Truth Is Out There, is chock full of well-written, interesting stories of Mulder and Scully solving the unsolvable and is very faithful to the Xfiles mythos. It just isn’t as well-told as it is well-written. Fans of the franchise will enjoy the stories, audiophiles will cringe a little. Having said that, I will now go get Vol 1 (which I haven’t listened to yet) or the inevitable Vol 3. Because I am just that much of a Xfiles geek.
I received a free copy of Xfiles Vol 2 from Audiobook Jukebox in return for an unbiased and faithful review.
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