A unique science fiction first-contact novel told from the aliens' point-of-view; a 21st-century Gulliver's Travels with Homo sapiens as the Lilliputians. The last thing the factfinders - who call themselves Life - expected to find while traveling in space in The Curious on a mission from their planet, The Living World, was other life. But one day they stumble upon the third planet out from a backwater sun and find it teeming with a vast diversity of life, including one sentient and cognizant, if primitive, species that they dub: Otherlife. Being not only from The Curious but inherently curious themselves, they begin to study the Otherlife and their alien culture, discovering such strange things as: marriage, intoxicating drinks, weapons of minor and mass destruction, the gleeful inhaling of toxic substances, two-parent families, layered language, genocide, non-nude bathing, and - the strangest thing of all - religion. This first contact between Life and Otherlife, disconcerting for both, has moments of humor and moments of horror - and neither escape the encounter unchanged.
©2011 Steven Paul Leiva (P)2014 Steven Paul Leiva
First congratulations to the narrator Jeff Cannata for an fantastic rendition of this story. His obvious enjoyment of telling the tale shone through and his dynamism made the characters come to life. Well done Jeff. I hope you get many more job offers.
The aliens in Traveling in Space are neither nasty nor particularly nice. What they are is curious. They are factfinders, what we call scientists, on a mission of discovery and a search for knowledge, which is their greatest passion next to a deeply held love of Life. Not their individual, personal lives, but Life itself in all its manifestations, especially their own sentient, cognizant Life. This primary passion dictates their secondary mission, which is to seed their life onto any suitable planet they happen to find. Lest you suddenly think Traveling in Space will become a novel of conquest by either war or sex, put your worries aside. The mere fact that they find Earth already occupied makes it unsuitable for them — a true mark of their alien nature.
The aliens in Traveling in Space simply call themselves Life, the planet they come from they call The Living World, and the huge starship they travel in is referred to as a lifeship. This nomenclature is quite understandable when you consider that these aliens are under the impression that they are the only life in the universe and thus are the matrix of Life. It is an impression rather rudely shattered when they “stumble” upon the Earth and its occupants, which they dub, “Otherlife.”
What happens after this stubbing of their collective consciousness is the story of Traveling in Space. It is a story told completely from the point-of-view of the aliens, a “people,” if I may use that term, not perfect, but perfectly situated and full of perfect curiosity to study the Otherlife; to observe and comment on them and their “alien” nature and culture, which includes such strange things as marriage, intoxicating drinks, weapons of minor and mass destruction, the gleeful inhaling of toxic substances, two-parent families, layered language, genocide, non-nude bathing, and — the strangest thing of all — religion.
For alienness, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.
Strange and unusual story that although nothing really happens makes you want to keep listening. The performance is exactly right for the story, in that it is slightly annoying, quite bland but perfectly suited. Not your usual fare but absorbing all the same.
"not for every homo sapien"
if you like a bit of fun while being criticised (ala "year zero" by reid), then perhaps "travelling in space" is the book for you, jeff did a bang up job with the narration however the magic was the view point presented from the visitors.
i did feel leiva backed off on some topics, and straight out whimped out on others, however hit the nail on the head on most (for me).
well worth a listen.
"A different first contact story"
There has been a pletora of first contact stories trough the years, this one is special because in this case we are the other life, the book describes the perplexity of a culture based in the search of knowledge and the absolute love for life and hate for death when confronted with the reality of our inner contradictions as a culture, and the awe and horror of the good and the bad that we are capable of.
An special mention to Mr Cannata who gives a moving perfomance he gives voice and personality to all the characters i sincerily hope this is not his last performance
"Great story Incredible narration"
The story was insightful. Jeff Canatta's narration was stellar. I wished this audio book would never end. I can't believe that was a single voice actor!
"Great Commentary on Human Society (good & bad)"
Curiosity is good.
Rendezvous with Rama, but with people.
Jeff does a super job of conveying the characters in the book - and there are a lot of them!
Laugh - the rational observance of everyday human institutions and attitudes from the perspective of the "other" is a refreshing take on the self commentary that so much SF is focused on. The good, the bad and the ugly. But mostly it is funny and shows that even the supremely rational may want to leave room for some humanistic values.
Do yourself a favour, give it a listen and treat your smile muscles to a workout.
"Amazing story and narration"
The voice work by Jeff Cannata was great and the story was interesting and fun. Definitely recommend this book. Worth the credit.
"A book all We Have Concerns fans should read"
I chose this book based on Jeff Canata as the narrator.I was impressed by himself performing over 60 different voices throughout the book
I struggled with parts of the novel as I'm a Christian.But Steven Paul Leiva wrote a compelling story that points out very valid questions what a visiting alien species would ask if they wished to contact us.
There were some difficult parts to get through when the main characters witness and describe genocide by "other life" in Africa towards the middle of the story.
Steven wrote a great ending.And perhaps some day we as a species might learn to not erase hate with death.But to erase the hatred we have within ourselves through learning and adapting.
"Interesting story with a great performance!"
This was an interesting story that Jeff did a great job performing!
My only complaint would be with the volume levels at times. I'd sometimes have to turn up the volume to hear a quieter voice, only to be deafened by a louder voice that quickly followed. Jeff's different voices were fantastic and varied, I just wish on the technical side the voice volumes had been leveled out a bit.
"A fantastic journey"
The alien point of view of us "other life" provides a perfect framing device for this story. Leiva's ability to examine humanity from without beautifully defines the potential and pitfalls of humanity.
The personal story of Lief also demonstrates very human notions of discovery of one's own self. Indeed, the tale is ultimately a very unique coming of age story.
Jeff Cannata's performance is astounding. The unique characterizations allow for wonderful relationships to develop between the various characters. From laugh out loud hilarious to deeply contemplative, it was a joy to listen to.
This is the kind of book you recommend if you want people interested in audio books. A large group of characters given not just their own vocal tone but own personality through the performance of Jeff Cannata. When I saw this was his only audio book performance I was a bit bummed, hope he does more!
The point of view. A First contact story as told by aliens is an interesting hook enough but the fact that all the aliens have different views and perspectives made it even more fascinating. The discussion of Genocide was quite brilliant.
See my recommendation. I've never heard an audio book done by a full cast that was in actuality one guy. The energy he brings to each characters performance is fantastic.
Sci Fi comedy starring Jennifer Lawrence and Channing Tatum.
I know what your thinking, that isn't a catchy Tag line but that's what I think would fill seats and I would really like people to see this if it was a movie.
A very good sit.
"Read if you like Life, Universe, and Everything"
Disclaimer: I have an affinity to subjects regarding the examination of human culture, society and what we call the human condition!
Short Plot Summary: Traveling in space is about a group of aliens that discover that the third planet from a particular star are inhabited by smart living beings, not unlike the aliens themselves. As curious sentient beings they investigate and study what humanity is like.
As the story is told from the perspective of aliens, the way the speak and think is different from what us normal human beings are used to reading and thinking ourselves, so for some people it might some getting use to. They speak with logic and semantics that are almost overdone at times but you'll get use by 1/3 way through the book. For me, the way their logic conversations works and distinct way they talk is how I normally talk at work to avoid confusion (I'm an engineer, need to make sure no vagueness, only fact! factually speaking).
The aliens investigate all manner of human culture from the superficial and tangible "Hollywood" and "government" to the ethereal "love" to "hate" concepts and does it pretty good job explaining it to aliens that do not have these concepts. The story gives a decent plot line to combine all the reason to examine humanity with close scrutiny and humor. I recommend it to everyone who likes to examine the human culture with a fine tooth comb and a sense of humor.
Jeff Cannata gives a superb performance in narrating the main characters thoughts and emotions as well as distinct voice and personality to each characters. The writing probably helped with each characterization.
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