I’m off to Confusion tomorrow, with some hot-of-the-press copies of my new novel, GEMINI CELL, which just arrived in the mail today. I’ll be moderating the Dumb Questions panel Friday night at 5PM, and I’ll be giving away a copy as a prize for the dumbest question of all. Don’t fail me, folks.
But for now, I’m sitting here listening to the voices of Oscar Britton, Simon Truelove, Jan Thorsson (callsign – Harlequin), and Grace Lyons, who many of you know as Scylla. I’m not listening to a single reader sounding out their lines. I’m listening to an ensemble cast of trained actors who have done the necessary study of the character, and put in the time to bring their personality out through their words. All of this is accompanied by movie quality sound-effects and a background score to set the mood.
Graphic Audio does full-scale audio dramas, complete renderings of novels like the old radio dramas our parents grew up with. It’s a movie in all ways except the visuals: real character acting, an actual sound stage, professionally scored and produced. I was first introduced to their work with Peter V. Brett’s Demon Cycle series, and it absolutely blew my mind.
But the truth is that while the score and the sound effects are nice, it’s the voices that really jazz me. Here’s why:
Those are the Graphic Audio covers for the SHADOW OPS trilogy. From the left, you are look at Oscar Britton, Alan Bookbinder and Grace Lyons AKA Scylla. You are not looking at illustrations. You are looking at photographs. These are my characters, people I invented and have lived with for years, made flesh. I cannot describe to you how incredibly affirming that experience is, to see your own art made real.
The first time I saw these covers, I sat and stared at them for hours. The images slowly fixing in my mind. “So, that’s what you look like,” I kept repeating.
And now, I’m hearing them. Not just an actor reciting lines, my characters, breathing and speaking and suffering for real. Not on the page. For real.
Here’s the thing I don’t think fantasy writers often admit. Many of us, and I know I speak for myself here, grew up as nerds, isolated and punted around. I spent many an hour dreaming of the amazing friends I wished I had. I crafted them in minute detail. The warriors who would train me, the queens who would love me, the wizards who would clap my shoulders and drag me off to adventure. Growing up cuts that back a bit. First, you trade your own imaginary friends for the characters in novels and comics books, and finally you learn the adult trick of abstracting an idea through text, and they disappear completely, absorbed by bigger ideas and fancy talk about “flawed protagonists” and the “human symbol.”
But the truth is that nerd kid just wanting to not be alone, trying desperately to dream his way out of isolation, never really goes away. I’d bet most fantasy writers have a touch of that longing in their work. I know I do.
Seeing those same imaginary friends, really seeing them, and now finally hearing them are two of the most affirming experiences in my life.
If I get nothing else in all my years, I got this, and I count myself lucky indeed.
Hope you enjoy the Graphic Audio production of CONTROL POINT.