© 1998 Fred Saberhagen; (P) 1998 Blackstone Audiobooks
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"My Best First Audible Book"
My original plan was to get the three free books and cancel before they month was up. Then I got hooked. "Berserkers: The Beginning" was one of my first listens. I had read one or two of Fred Saberhagen's Berserker books years ago and like them, but never spent the time to track down and read them in any organized fashion as I did with Alan Dean Foster’s books, David Brin's books, etc. I am hooked now and a platinum member. This was an excellent Berserker book, and probably the best of the lot that I've listened to:
Berserkers: The Beginning (*****)
Berserker Planet (*** 1/2)
Berserker Man (*** 1/2)
The Berserker Throne (*** 1/2)
Berserker Blue Death (****)
As you can see, I liked them all. If Audible offered a 1/2 star, I would have given the three listed as three stars three and one-half stars. Blue Death was also very good. All are worth a listen.
"The way it was written"
Perhaps the narration style was a bit dry, but in fact, that's how the book was written. I picked up this recording by accident, having confused it with the Bolo series by Keith Laumer. The concept is similar: war machines gone out of control and surviving through the ages to wreak havoc on later generations. It's an imaginative concept, leading to interesting stories by both authors. Getting back to this book, though, Saberhagen packages a bunch of short stories as historical research by an objective narrator. The characters' thoughts and actions are there, but are often minimalized. The short stories were probably written at different times and collected into this work. I say this because the style seems to change from time to time.
So, did I like it? Let me first say that THIS BOOK IS NOT THE BEGINNING of the series - it was published later and meant to capitalize on the success of the series. It provides some backstory and context for the other berserker stories. I liked it as a survey work, not as a story in and of itself. This book should be read AFTER one or more of the other Berserker books. I think the narrator did a decent job given the material, but ask yourself whether you would prefer to read a history book yourself, or have it read to you? Having said that, I did listen to the book all the way through again, and enjoyed it despite the fact it got rather slow-paced in places.
"Loved it. Great stories, fast action"
This is actually a bunch of short stories which have no relation to the series itself. These are comic book stories that I can only compare the The Animatrix DVD which was a series of stories based on The Matrix series.
Not worth the original asking price of $50 but well worth the subscription price of audible. I actually listened to this 2 times I loved it so much.
Within 20 seconds of the first story you are deep in the heart of the Berserker story. There is no buildup. Each 30 minute story takes you directly into a short story involving a battle with a Berserker. These are the stories that a full novel would leave out. For example, the story of a Berserker who wasnt fully completed, captures a human who then tells it that its purpose is to make humans laugh.
If you remeber the TV series AMAZING STORIES then you will understand this audible release.
Overall I loved it. Just keep in mind that the characters are not too important but the story is. There is even a sad story which is based on the old Greek legend of Orpheus and his trip to hell to get his lover back.
You'll get a basic idea of where the Berserkers came from, their size, their power, and the battle that they wage against all life. Not needed to to understand the series but a great set of stories to further advance the concept. Could be read before or after any of the books in the regular series
"Not very compelling, but doable"
First thing anyone should note: This is a collection of short stories... NOT a full length novel. The description of this book contains a snippet from the book and does not inform a prospective buyer that this book is a collection of short stories. Secondly, as the reading is somewhat unemotional, I think that it takes away from the feeling that should be conveyed. Overall I think the stories themselves are clever and fun and this audiobook should probably not go against the author or the content. I think it would have been a lot more enjoyable had the reader had a little more emotion while reading. Is it worth $50? Definitely not. Is it worth a book credit? Sure, as long as there isn't something better you can find. Otherwise I might suggest buying the book itself.
"Great book abuse!"
Read the printed book, I've done both.
Several short stories, no favorite.
If you like plenty of time to think between sentences, this guy is for you. He takes periods seriously. Pause between almost all sentences as long as many pause between chapters. He is articulate, but ......... you ................ may ........... find............ the................ pauses............... a................ bit .............. much.
Not really, but I read these when they came out long ago.
Really good stories that are the predecessors of Terminators.
"Great Maybe Not BUT..........."
I have read the vast majority of these stories in this collection. While the narrator may leave something to desire, the storys and their organization is brilliant. I highly recommend that anyone who likes classic sci-fi get this audiobook. While I would not recommend an outright purchase, if you have a premium subscription this audiobook is well worth a one book credit. Download - listen - enjoy, I do not think you will be disappointed at least not to badly.
"A Great Series by One of the Great Syfy Authors"
In the top 10%. (I've listened to over 500 books since Books On Tape began offering them in the 1980s. The writing is tight, solid and moves you along. Each major character shines out.
The Berserkers ... since they are the consistent theme throughout the series. They change and adopt and evolve as Bad Life ... humans .... fight them for survival
Seamless. You aren't listening to him ... you are in the scene.
I wanted to finish it quickly ... but not to force myself to listen to it in one sitting. My wife has other ideas for my retired time.
Listen to or read Saberhagen.
"most painful narration, constant long pauses"
narrator speaks haltingly , says sentence or two then pauses for two seconds, constantly. playing at faster speed did not help
"A beautiful world of horrible acts"
This novel was a great way to pass the time while driving. The chapters are separate stories taking place in the same universe the Fred builds for us.
I really like the berserker books, but the narrator is very bad. It almost sounds like he is reading in an echo chamber.
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