“The Wrong Unit” written and narrated by Rob Dircks is an extraordinary piece of science fiction that should be on most everyone’s to-read lists. It is unusual to find a well-written piece of fiction that is additionally narrated by its creator and both roles are done excellently. Often good writing is ruined by an author’s poor narration or the other way around. However, this book accomplishes where many others have failed. My congratulations to the author for his ability to pull this off. Even rarer is when this combination of the same author and narration receives several five-star rating from so many reviewers. This book will not disappoint the SciFi fan who likes a futuristic story taking place on Earth. There is no space travel, but you do get A.I., Singularity, robots, teleportation, and an enslaved human race. If any of these sound interesting to you, I would highly recommend you pick up a copy of “The Wrong Unit” and enjoy the ride it takes you on. It was so good, I listened to the entire book in a single day.
Because the journey itself is something that makes the book as engaging as it is, I do not want to give any specifics or include spoilers in this review that could ruin any of the story for you. Imagine a dystopian world where a singularity controls all things including the coming and going of all humans. It should be noted that this is not your typical Young Adult (YA) dystopian story; not at all. Instead, in just over five and a half hours of audio, the author takes you on a wonderful journey consisting of action, adventure, intrigue, humor, including emotional tugs on the heart. The characters and their relationships are well-developed and the author’s descriptive nature helped paint a picture for me of this future and different Earth from today. The author has a balanced amount of both humor and emotional scenes; I like that the book did not devolve into all humor or emotional as it would have ruined it.
Without giving away too much, I can best describe the book as a blending of “Enemy Mine”, “1984”, “The Jungle Book”, “A.I. Artificial Intelligence”, with a few pieces of “The Matrix” and out comes a wonderful tale called “The Wrong Unit”. It may sound like a strange mix of movies, and it is, but for this book it really works and is very satisfying until the end. It is also rare today to find a good book that is not a series of four to ten total books. I am one who likes to buy a book that closes all the plot’s open ends upon turning the last page. Here again the book does not disappoint. The author could write more in this universe, and I would be surprised if we did not see more, but this book is self-contained and no need to purchase anything additional.
After reading this book, you will not think of “bananas” or the children’s song “The wheels on the bus” the same way again. You will also start to measure your activities in your life via the “fear of death index”. Even in this new world you will be able to find beauty, friendship, and cake!
One thing I do want to call out about the book is the author’s excessive use of vulgar language. I was excited to get almost half way though the book and experience only a small number of swear words. This all changed in the second half of the book when we are introduced to a character called Arch. From here on, much of the second half of the book includes a flurry of curse words. Much of the language is unnecessary and could have been left out of the book without modifying the plot. The book also includes some conversations involving sex along with crude childish humor. Nothing heavy or overly descriptive, but it exists. Because of the above items, I cannot recommend this book to younger readers; who I think would have been an audience that would have enjoy the adventure. It would be nice to have a version that could be provided to younger readers without containing this language.
As with all my other reviews, I want to briefly mention the audiobook’s narration. As stated previously, narration is done by the author himself. The author also narrates his first work called “Where the hell is Tesla?”. The author’s voice and quality of the recording was done professionally. There were no issues with volume or other audio artifacts usually found in self-published works. I can say that if the author ever decides to give up writing and go full-time narration, I would be onboard listening to his works. It really brought the story to life because it was read with passion and inflection. Great job.
In summary, I would highly recommend this book to nearly anyone, apart from its use of vulgar language in the second half. The story could be enjoyed by most that like adventures, and even more for those who like science fiction works.