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The Many-Colored Land Audiobook

The Many-Colored Land: Volume 1 of the Saga of Pliocene Exile

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Publisher's Summary

This is a spellbinding tale woven of equal parts epic and myth - with a liberal dash of hard science fiction.

When a one-way time tunnel to Earth's distant past, specifically six million B.C., was discovered by folks on the Galactic Milieu, every misfit for light-years around hurried to pass through it. Each sought his own brand of happiness. But none could have guessed what awaited them. Not even in a million years.

In the early 22nd century, many humans are being born with psychic powers and are linked in a single galactic mind. Those without these psychic powers - the misfits, undesirables, criminals, and radicals - have a choice: mental reprogramming or exile. Exile, voluntary or otherwise, takes them back six million years, to a time between the extinction of dinosaurs and the rise of Homo sapiens, and to a time of exotic surprises and unknown dangers.

Julian May lives in Washington state and has been writing science fiction and fantasy for more than 30 years.

©1981 Julian May (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"The Many-Colored Land...takes readers on an amazing journey from the distant future to the distant past, using unexpected routes all along the way...A tremendously original premise; fast-paced storytelling that defies predictability; and a sympathetic and well-rendered cast of characters." (SFReviews.net)

"The Many-Colored Land is the first volume of one of the most impressive science fiction series I have read." (Reviewers-choice.com)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (171 )
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4.3 (93 )
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Story
4.0 (92 )
5 star
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Performance
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  •  
    David Clevedon, North Somerset, United Kingdom 12/12/2010
    David Clevedon, North Somerset, United Kingdom 12/12/2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Sounds fine to me"

    A classic of SF which I haven't read in years. Great to experience it again. The reviews mentioning the poor quality reading almost put me off buying this: I'm so glad they didn't put me off altogether. She's fine. Maybe not the most talented reader but I have had no issues at all and wouldn't hesitate to recommend this as an audiobook.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    TC 11/03/2011
    TC 11/03/2011 Member Since 2012

    Terry

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellence Revisited"

    Like other reviewers I first read this series many years ago and was delighted to find it had been recorded. I would highly recommend this writer to both hard-line sci-fi readers and those who would usually skip over this category. It does take a while to get going with a lot of characterisation and scene setting. Persevere, the pace soon picks up. I just hope that the ?powers? do not take too long before publishing the audio editions of the rest of the series ? not to mention the associated series ?The Galactic Mileau.?

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DarkSkies 31/01/2011
    DarkSkies 31/01/2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An unacknowledged classic."

    I bought this book in paperback when it was first released in...I think...1982.

    I instantly loved it and have lent it so many times to people over the years that I've lost count but few seem to like it and it think it comes down to the introduction. It's a little long winded and could lead you to think the book is dull. I admit the setup is a bit sedate but when the book really starts in the pliocene exile the story explodes in directions you aren't expecting. In sci fi terms this book starts a bit 2001 and ends up as Star Wars. On steroids. Wearing a kilt and with it's hair on fire.

    The reader of this version does a good job. Some of her pronunciations are way off but that may be due to typos in the original text. I hope they release the rest of the Saga ASAP.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark BuryUnited Kingdom 23/11/2010
    Mark BuryUnited Kingdom 23/11/2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Long overdue, but could be better..."

    As a huge fan of Julian May and in particular her Saga of the Pliocene Exile series of books, I have been searching in vain for the books in audiobook format for a long time and so was delighted when I saw that this criminal omission had finally been addressed. Now that the first book in the series, The Many-Colored Land, has been published, I hope it will not be too long before the rest are made available.

    As you would expect, the audiobook itself follows the book to the letter and I felt that same familiar thrill of being transported back in time to the Pliocene era, with all its many wonders, that I felt upon first reading the book back in the 1980s.

    The only thing that lets the book down, hence only 4 stars, is the narrator who, for me, fails to bring the characters to life. In particular, it is often hard to tell which character is speaking as the narrator's voice sounds very similar for each one, which is a huge shame as all of the characters in the book are expertly depicted by Julian May in such depth that you can feel yourself becoming drawn into their world.

    In addition, I am no language expert, but the narrator's pronunciation of some of the French words is poor and in general her reading of the book is just a bit flat and fails to capture the magic and wonderment of life in the Pliocene Epoch that Julian May is trying to portray. This Science Fantasy classic deserves better!

    I hope these shortcomings will be addressed if and when the remaining books are published in audiobook format - surely very soon... please!

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    P. J. Williams UK 22/11/2010
    P. J. Williams UK 22/11/2010 Member Since 2012

    Willxx

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    "Truly wonderful"

    I loved this book when I first read it (erm was it really 1/4 century ago!) I devoured it in almost a single sitting and desperately grabbed the next book in the series. This recording is well overdue and I'm now bereft as the rest aren't available yet!

    Its a sweeping tale of far future and distant past with excellent characters and a story which covers a large cast of characters and what seems to be fashionably called 'interlocking story arcs' by TV writers these days.

    Please release the rest of the series as soon as possible

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jobo spalding, uk 26/02/2011
    Jobo spalding, uk 26/02/2011 Member Since 2015
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    "The Many Coloured Land"

    I read this series over 25 years ago, when I was 15 or 16. It has been one of my favourite series of books since then and I've recommended it to many friends, who've enjoyed it as well. It was one of the first books I searched for when I first joined Audible, so it was lovely to see it listed recently.
    Don't be put off by some of the more negative reviews, everyone is entitled to their opinions and I respect them, but I found no problem with the narrator and her characterisation. In fact, whenever I start listening to a new audiobook, I always find a switch in narrator quite a jarring experience, no matter what their quality - especially if I've just finished enjoying a good listen.
    This book is well read and entertaining and I'm looking forward to listening to the next three in the series when they're released. The story gets more exciting as you move into the next two books (it is a four book series)so I think if you like this one, you'll certainly want the next ones.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jacqueline 29/03/2015
    jacqueline 29/03/2015
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    "when will we get the rest of the set."
    Any additional comments?

    This book is a good story, however, it requires the rest of the series to flesh out the characters and story lines.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anne 20/10/2013
    Anne 20/10/2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Many colored land"
    What did you like most about The Many-Colored Land?

    Good story and kept up a good pace to listen to. Just the type of SF I like.


    What about Bernadette Dunne’s performance did you like?

    Good characterisation and easy to listen to.


    Any additional comments?

    WHERE are the next two volumes?

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark CopenhagenDenmark 05/12/2010
    Mark CopenhagenDenmark 05/12/2010
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    "Still amazing"

    It's great to see this classic gets rediscovered. I read them years ago and so it's a rediscovery for me too. The characters are wonderful and will stay with you.

    The other reviewers were a bit down on the reading. I don't find it bad at all. The different characters are given a voice without overdoing it.

    Can't wait for the next volumes.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nick Stevenage, United Kingdom 18/11/2010
    Nick Stevenage, United Kingdom 18/11/2010 Member Since 2008
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    "A must-hearclassic but the narrator....."

    This is one of those books that until now was curiously and scandalously absent from the Audible library. It is a sci-fi/fantasy classic in every sense of the word and is highly recommended to everyone who likes either genre.
    So why only four stars? The narrator is quite utterly the wrong one - very poor and it is only a sign of the story's strength that her errors and flat voice can be ignored.
    She is unable to pronounce much of the French that Julian May uses and even many an English word like 'epoch' elludes her too. She fails miserably to inject personality or different 'voices' into any of the characters which I would expect a professional reader to do, and the whole delivery detracts from this excellent novel.
    It would be great if the publishers would change the narrator NOW, before the next instalment of this story and then re-record this one. It would be a scandal to put people off this book because of the wrong narrator.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Jon
    Clackamas, OR, United States
    12/12/10
    Overall
    "About time - I hope we get the rest of Julian May"

    This is the first time I have heard this narrator and I like her! She does a good job bringing the dialogue to life. This first book of the series is necessarily a slow starter as it establishes that back-story for the caste of characters that will embody the ensuing story for several books that follow. Despite this, I found it interesting, largely thanks to the narrator.

    This has been one of my favorite Sci-Fi series since I was a teenager. I have been wondering when it would be converted to audio and I hope Audible converts the rest of The Saga of The Pliocene Exile series, along with the prequels: The Surveillance, Intervention, and The Galactic Milieu series. Very cool look into man's possible evolution.

    23 of 23 people found this review helpful
  • Susan
    Anchorage, AK, United States
    03/04/11
    Overall
    "The start of a well-realized universe"

    I first read all of Julian May's Pliocene Exile series and related Galactic Milieu series decades ago. Periodically I've checked to see if any were turned into audiobooks and finally, the first has been! It's always dicey to listen to a well-loved book -- will the narrator do it justice? Will you hear something new in the narrator's interpretation? I must say, I'm delighted with Bernadette's reading/interpretation of the story. Yes, there are a lot of characters and it may be a tad challenging to follow the first time. Stick with it - the story just gets richer and richer, and the characters evolve in unexpected ways. The worst thing will be waiting for the rest of the series....Blackstone Audio, don't keep us waiting too long!

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • A User
    22/03/11
    Overall
    "Loved the books"

    This series has long been a favorite of mine. I didn't feel that the audio book format added anything to it, but neither did it take away. I thought the narrator did good job. I found the voice easy to listen to, the characterizations were adequate.
    I hope very much that they will bring the rest of the books to audible and would certainly get them if done by the same narrator.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Joy
    Portland, OR, United States
    30/03/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Let's start over, shall we?"

    The Sage of Pliocene Exile is one of my all-time favorite series. It's been so long since the first book, MANY-COLORED LAND, came out in audio that it looks like no continuation is planned. In that case, let's start again from the beginning, with a different reader. Find a good reader and do all the books.

    I was amazed to find this reader has done so many Audible books. In this book she is hoarse, her reading has almost no dynamics, and I find it irritating that she invariably reads "metapsychic" as "metaphysic". Her phrasing and emphases often seem to indicate that she isn't paying attention to the author's meaning. Surely a professional should pay attention to what he/she is reading??

    This is my opinion after 5 hours of listening. Maybe later she learns what words Julian May is using, but even then, not correcting early mistakes would speak badly for the producers.

    12 of 13 people found this review helpful
  • Carsten
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    08/11/10
    Overall
    "Loved the book, didnt like the narrator"

    I have read the book more then a few times and i love it.
    Bernadette Dunne who is narrating this book is reading it like its being read by a machine.
    I tried to listen to her read another book, and its the same, its just her voice.

    I recently heard Harry Potter read by Stephen Fry, and though i dont expect the narrator to create different voices for each person, the way he imbeds himself in the story is tottaly missing from Bernadettes read of the many-colored land.
    There is nothing wrong with her english or pronaunciation, its just not good enough for lack of better wording.
    I hope that you find anther narrator if anymore of Julian Mays books are converted to audiobooks.

    Kind regards
    Carsten

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  • Ryan
    Somerville, MA, United States
    15/05/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Setup-heavy but enjoyable sci-fi/fantasy hybrid"

    I wouldn't call this 1981 novel the deepest book out there, but it's fun pleasure reading that mixes science fiction and fantasy in a creative way, and doesn’t feel too dated. The pitch is that people who are misfits in the safe, civilized world of the 22nd century have the option of going through a one-way time portal to six million years in the Earth's past (the scientist who invented the portal never discovered how to make it go to another time or place). In classic form, Julian May introduces a cast of ten or so main characters who come from different walks of life, but all have reasons for choosing "exile". There's a retired paleontologist, a nun/doctor seeking spiritual peace, a self-centered starship captain, an incorrigible sociopath, a teenage athlete with an unusual talent, a roughneck driller with fantasies of being a Viking warrior... and several more. After a few introductory chapters in which we get to know these individuals separately (a fine example of interesting but economical setup), they arrive at the portal in time to make the jump to together.

    As it turns out, though, the Earth of the past is already occupied by out-of-towners, in this case two related groups of aliens that bear a strong resemblance to mythical beings from humanity's prehistory. Upon arrival, the travelers find themselves sorted into different categories, depending on their skills and latent "metaphysic" abilities (telepathy, telekinesis, hypnosis, etc.). The aliens have a society that everyone is free to join, provided, of course, that humans cooperate with the aliens' goals. For those less than perfectly willing, there are mind-control collars called “torcs” -- or being hunted by prehistoric animals if one tries to escape. Naturally, many of our protagonists select "none of the above".

    I wouldn’t say that the characters are particularly original or deeply written, but May is imaginative, and her background as a science and biography writer is in evidence. The middle portion of the novel is a little slow and somewhat confusing, as she sets up the world of Pleistocene, giving us a lot of characters and cultural details to keep track of, but things pick up in the last third, which builds to an action-packed finale. This is one of those series where, if you’re going to bother at all, you might as well assume that you’re going to read the second book. It’s odd that Blackstone hasn’t done audio productions of any further entries so far.

    Speaking of, I didn’t mind the voice of audiobook narrator Bernadette Dunne, but I found her reading a little sloppy. Characters start off with accents and lose them, or have ones that aren’t quite right for their background. At one point, she mispronounces the word “Polish” (as in nationality) as “polish” (as in floor). How did that get by?

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Michael
    New Orleans, LA
    06/10/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Time Travel Scifi Fantasy Epic, So-So Narrator"

    I read this novel many, many years ago, and have anticipated its audiobook arrival for a long time.

    Imagine a future where only one single possible means of time travel has been discovered, and to only the prehistoric era of this planet. Imagine traveling millions of years back in time, only to discover a growing alien medieval culture, deposited lovingly there by a dying mother-ship. Imagine crystal armored knights fighting and jousting, with psi powers driven by the torcs around their necks, and those same torcs holding both a slave cast and ruling hierarchy firmly in place. Imagine dinosaurs, aliens, humans, and a story of daring rebellion, political intrigue, and machiavellian plot twists.

    Epic, to say the very least.

    Now, get a lesser narrator to put a voice to the words.

    From epic to epic fail.

    I regret to say that this narrator was inappropriate for this work. Not bad, but definitely not into the work, as so many other men and women who are FAR more capable to the task would have turned the author's work into audio gold.

    Now, I still recommend this listen, but I do so with regret, that a better narrator could have better introduced you to a fantastic series of books that have easily stood the test of time.

    You will enjoy this audiobook. Julian May is, in a word, ASTOUNDING. Don't let the narrator put you off on this one.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Brian
    United States
    08/02/11
    Overall
    "A CLASSIC"

    Excellent narration and a detailed story that will draw you in. Where is the sequel, please tell me that you will release the sequels in audio too!

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Tracy
    07/01/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "More please..."
    What made the experience of listening to The Many-Colored Land the most enjoyable?

    My husband's reading ability is not great and I knew he'd struggle with the French words, Tanu words, future slang, techno jargon of this series and yet I knew he'd love the daring do and imagination of it too, so it was absolutely wonderful to be able to get an Audible copy of book 1. We really, really, really want you to do the other books in the series though...


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    It's a funny series like that: everyone is a favourite character. I guess Julian May is just good at writing even the most unlikely of people in a sympathetic manner...


    What does Bernadette Dunne bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I really loved the readers metallic-tinged voice and the way that added another layer to the fantasy timbre of the book. I was also in awe of her ability to cope with the difficult language and convey the multitude of characters and also mindspeech...


    Any additional comments?

    Pleeaase can we have more?

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Dane
    Austin, TX, United States
    04/04/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good book ... but where's the rest of the series?"
    If you could sum up The Many-Colored Land in three words, what would they be?

    Good book ... but where's the rest of the series? It's a bit of a bummer to not have the rest of the series as audiobooks. This is not a new series, so what's the holdup?


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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