Listen free for 30 days

Steam Whistle Alley

An Adventure in Augmented Reality
Narrated by: Sena Bryer
Length: 11 hrs and 47 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

£7.99/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime

Summary

An exciting new entry into the emerging GameLit genre, Joshua Mason's Steam Whistle Alley is a thrilling tale that explores what is possible in augmented reality. 

Everyone on the street that day saw a lunatic wearing strange brass goggles, swinging an invisible sword on the sidewalks of downtown Seattle. But Jacob recognizes what the man is really doing - playing a game in augmented reality. When the game’s creator offers him his own goggles, Jacob enters a city he thinks he knows. But towering monuments of Victorian architecture have replaced the skyscrapers. Airships float between the buildings. Fearsome enemies, from steam-powered rabbits to clockwork werewolves, lurk in every shadow.

But with the game comes a quest, and to the victors go the deed to Steam Whistle Alley, the social and financial heart of the game. Jacob, his biosynthetic monkey, Banjo, and the rest of the team must face off against foes who want the alley for themselves. 

Some of his adversaries aren’t playing games. They don’t want the alley. They want the company, and the death they bring is not the kind from which Jacob can respawn.

©2018 Joshua Mason Diles (P)2018 Joshua Mason Diles

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Dan Raskoll
  • POST-APOCALYPTIC Cotswold's,England
  • 25-10-19

Steam Whistle Alley review


Steam Whistle Alley is a great an audiobook mixing both Litrpg and steampunk writing.there's plenty of Action and adventure wrote in an exciting style of writing with great imagination and love of gaming. fantastic descriptions which really draws you into the setting of the story and brings the storyline live, so even if your not a fan of sci/fi or new to this genre you won't be put off by this theme of book in my opinion, it really has a great story and is easy to follow as an audiobook .and for fans of retro games there's plenty of nods to your favourite old skool games too, you can tell the author has a passion both for writing and gaming, and I'm really looking forward to listening to more of authors work in the future .

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

fantastic

it was fantastic from start to finish, now I have to wait on the next

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Ray Johnson
  • Ray Johnson
  • 02-01-19

More like a cat call whistle than a steam one!

Fans of Steampunk should enjoy this book, but so will people who are not steampunk fans. I say it like that because I wasn’t overwhelmed with a ton of steamy punky stuff, and that is because the book fluctuates between plain everyday reality as well as the augmented reality of the game. So the steam is there, but it isn’t super heavy. I really appreciated what Mason has done here, adding an element of real life to the game that is being played so that it isn’t a simple enter the VR realm by putting on a visor and laying in bed all day. I loved how the goggles were used for that purpose. He also adds a hint of the Blade Runner tech, what with the synthetic monkey Banjo, who is a monkey in every way except for the actual matter of him not being a real monkey. I have to admit two things, I get a little leery of monkeys, and especially monkeys named Bingo, which is pretty close to Banjo, after watching Space Ghost Coast to Coast years ago. I will never forget Brak’s admonishment to never trust a monkey. Never.

Our intrepid hero, Jakey, gets partnered with the gal of his dreams, and makes a new friend or two along the way. This was one of the things that I didn’t like about the game play. The game creators chose your partner for you. I don’t care what algorithm you use, I don’t want my gaming partner chosen by Tinder. Technically, I hate joining teams, and often played my games alone, which is really hard in an MMORPG. Getting to 60 in WOW by myself sucked, and I wished that they made gameplay work so that you could play in a group or individually. Here, you aren’t given a choice. They pick a partner for you and you have to play together. One thing that actually bothered me was, again, how long it actually took to get into game. I understand set up, and the importance of building a the world, but I really believe that you should get your listeners/readers into the game as soon as possible. We were a good while into the book before we actually got into Steam Whistle Alley.

Truth be told, Sena See-na) Bryer’s narration really had to grow on me. It was really annoying at first, and I don’t know why. It was like there was a nasally tone to everything, very hard for me to describe. Bryer did pretty well, the narration itself was pretty clean and easy to understand. Different voices were used to varying effect, and the pacing was excellent, but it took me almost 2/3rds of the book before I could listen and not be driven crazy by whatever her voice was doing to my ears. After that point I was fine, but it really took me some time to settle in on her voice and I could just listen. Like I say, she did great, but I had some issue with her voice for some reason. Had nothing to do with her style or ability, it just wasn’t musical to my ears, but upon acclimation I didn’t notice it anymore.

So here’s the rundown, Jacob gets a chance to Alpha test a new game that takes place in Augmented reality, that is it takes place in the actual world, which means it required you to get off your fat butt and actually walk, explore, and fight outside. Considering I’m a misanthropic hermit who hates to leave the house I can already see that I’d be playing another game, but other people might actually like sunshine on their faces while they play. Once he’s is in game he learns that there are a couple of villainy type who are looking to take control of the game, and it comes down to Jake and his team to put the kibosh on them and their plans. One of my favorite aspects of the story is that there was no power leveling, no cheats, no backdoors, just straight up gameplay, grinding, and honest leveling. The only real issue I had was the way the story ended. It is a cliffhanger, and I don’t mind those, however the way it ended had some actual implications that weren’t all that great. I can’t give them away, but it bothered me a little. Either way, the book was fun, and I actually liked Banjo, even though I’d never trust him, and he was most importantly, not annoying. So, cool characters, sidekicks, and concept.

Final score a solid 8 stars. I actually forgave the issues I had with the narration since I could find no flaws, other than one part that was repeated, and that came when they were watching gears within gears. I look forward to the next book.

Even though I did receive a promo code for this review it in no way influenced my considerations of the material, and in fact, inspired me to be more honest. Getting a code generally makes me harsher as a reviewer as I am more often concerned what someone like Me will decide based on my review.

If this review helped, please press the YES below. Thank you immensely!!!

As seen on the LITRPG AUDIOBOOK PODCAST, please check it out on Youtube.com

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for C. William Sandberg
  • C. William Sandberg
  • 31-12-18

What a refreshing take on the LitRPG genre!

I knew by the description that this was a LitRPG story that worked within an Augmented, and not Virtual or Simulated, Reality. I wasn't sure what to expect from that. Would it lean more toward the perma-death of Portal stories and if not, where would the danger come from?

Unlike with the VR versions of LitRPG, for an ARG, the outside IS the inside. It meant the stories blended quite well and it set my imagination going about the possible complications before the complications were presented.

It's a standard hero's story here, along with an awkward love story the likes of which you may have seen elsewhere. Both the hero's story and the love story are done well and without major blemishes or believability issues. What sets it apart more than anything is the humor and the respect for gaming conventions. I laughed quite a few times during the reading and the humor came from more than one character and from many directions. There's an interesting blend of Steampunk in the game world and futurism in the background real world and they play together well.

It's surprisingly well-narrated and the various voices all sound like different characters. Banjo's "Joysie" accent is unexpected, but it soon become "his" voice.

If you think you've seen everything that can be done in the genre, I urge you to give this one a shot. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for J.S.
  • J.S.
  • 17-12-18

My first foray into Steampunk

I have never really been one to get overly excited about steampunk, but I love LitRPG/Gamelit books so I thought I would give it a try.

Story: As I listened to this one there were hints of Ready Player One, which I absolutely loved. Some of the references were good and the MC’s (Jacob) lines often reminded me of the MC from RP1.

I loved how the game mechanics were explained by the very helpful monkey with a monocle - Banjo. It was done in a way that could explain game mechanics without getting too caught up in the minutiae. It would probably be more LitRPG lite, but honestly it worked.

The author does a nice job throughout the story of explaining the surroundings and how The Seattle area has been turned into a Steampunk paradise. I also really liked the interactions once the group started working together and how those characters were all developed, even his budding love interest.

The antagonist/mobs left me wanting a little more, but I expect that to get better in book 2.

Narrator: This is the first book I have listened to narrated by Sena Bryer and I have to say I am thoroughly impressed. She did a great job voicing not only the MC but also the side characters as well. The inflection was great throughout the book, with none of those awkward pauses or missed cues. I will definitely look for more books done by Sena after this and hope she does book 2 when it comes out as I will definitely be picking it up!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Erik
  • Erik
  • 06-06-19

More fun than a barrel full of monkeys

I enjoyed listening to this LitRPG. It is a unique take on the genre since it happens in augmented reality rather than virtual reality. There are plenty of references to retro games, which I appreciate, and the MC has a talking pet monkey who gives him advice and reads his stats on demand. This one is definitely worth a listen, and I'm looking forward to reading more from this author. The narrator was a good match for this title.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for W. Pierce
  • W. Pierce
  • 08-03-19

Review

I really liked the premise. I’m not a steam punk fan in general but I’m not against it, and I love that this had something different going on than all the other LITRPGS out there.

1) the narration has a weird echo when the character is inner monologuing. So if your head phones are of similar quality to mine you only pick up about 3/4 of what’s said. Which is annoying but not detrimental. But it gets more and more annoying as the book progresses.

2) Every twist and plot point was telegraphed so far in advance that I pretty well had the ending of the book figures out about 2 hours into the story. I was even able to predict what classes and such his party were going to end up being well before any character other than the main character was introduced. His ”surprise partner” I had figured out within 2 minutes of it being mentioned that he was going to be forced to partner with someone.

The author tried to have twists. But he beat you over the head with all the details to know how the twist was going to come out. A good twist is the sixth sense most people don't see it coming, and even those that do second guess themselves.

I don't want to give spoilers to anyone just in case. But the premise was great 10/10, 3/10 on character development, 4/10 on execution.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for robert&fam
  • robert&fam
  • 29-12-18

Annoying MC. Dropped book half way thru.

Narrator is great, book flows well but main character is Super pro VR gaming guru and still somehow annoyingly clueless. Couldn't keep going, made it to a little less than half way thru. Examples ahead may contain spoilers. Super Gamer starts new game with unfamiliar start weapon even tho he knows he's taking part in contest with ultra super prize. Super Rich-Gamer gets access to marketplace, finds out game uses real world currency and only buys HP potions. No weapon or armor upgrade. Still in lvl 1 gear.. Super Gamer gets one-shotted while grinding and immediately goes back after time out counter, without new weapons or armor, while having access to a ton of different level appropriate grind spots.. It only gets worse, seriously I promise. MC is an insult to real world Pro gamers. It's like writing about a world class drug king with experience in selling multiple drugs, and access to resources but deciding he's going to start from the very bottom and start selling this new drug on the street corner in someone else's neighborhood.

0 of 4 people found this review helpful