The Red Planet President: A Novella (Audiobook)

“The Red Planet President: A Novella” picks up and continues where the previous Red Planet books left off.  It is the next in the “Detective Ace Sloan” series of books.  The novella is written by William Graham and the narration, like with the trilogy book, is performed by Richard Wilson.  Similar to the “Red Planet Trilogy” which I earlier reviewed, this book is not a science fiction thriller in the likes of “Total Recall” or the newer “The Martian” movies.  If this is what you are hoping to get from these books, I would say that you should look elsewhere or you will be disappointed.  A series beginning with the word ‘detective’, you can assume this novella will be better classified as a political or procedural thriller genre.  Does that mean the book is not worth reading or listening too; not at all.  Read on for reasons I think you might like the book.  I say this upfront to ensure you know what you are getting into when the name implies it will be more of a sci-fi story.

This short novella consists of 59 pages in print form and 1 hour and 37 minutes of audio in the Audible edition.  In this small number of pages, the author is able to craft a well-told story involving battling factions between the Martian Republic and the conservative group who first colonized the red planet; Mars.  As these two parties collide in their beliefs and attempts to do what is best for the colony and the planet, some go to extremes to get their agendas heard or accepted.  We see some of the members turn to ways of disrupting and interfering with the new leadership including both kidnaping and sabotage.  Tensions and hostilities increase until something has to be done to put an end to it all.  This is all packed neatly into a quick read or listen.  Not only this core plot, but you also have sub plots involving a crumbling marriage, a bit of romance, and other newly introduced characters I believe we will get to know better in future books.

I do want to say that I would not recommend this book to younger readers as it does contain a fair amount of vulgar language at times and there is some graphic violence closer to the end of the book.  Although language was not used everywhere, there were times that it flowed freely and some may take offense to it.  Just be aware, if you are one that does not like the use of language like this in your books, you may want to find a different one.

The narration was decent, very similar to the Red Planet Trilogy also narrated by Richard Wilson.  Because there are a few main female characters and I often listen to book at 1.5x or 2.0x normal speed, the women in this book sounded more like battling chipmunks at times.  I understand it is often difficult for a male narrator to properly voice female characters, I think I can count on one hand the ones that have pulled it off, without them sounding rather quirky.  Just note that at times it can be difficult when a female character is excited or action it taking place.  Other than that, the audio quality was what one would expect from a professional recording.

In summary, if you like intrigue over adventure, political battles over ship battles, or political strife over traveling at light speed, I would recommend this short novella.  That is if you can get past the use of vulgar language or some limited graphic violence.  Because it is a rather short audiobook, I would not recommend one use a credit on it, but simply buy it outright and save the credit for a longer book.

Disclaimer: I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator.

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