If you like detailed science fiction that drops you into a new and exciting world, I believe you will enjoy “Gemini” which is written by Ray Jay Perreault and narrated by Ed Waldorph. The author is known for his saying, “A good science fiction author shows you an alien world; a great one takes you there.” Even though there were a few slower parts to the story, I cannot deny the author actually took me to this new and wonderful world called Gemini. The story is packed with action, emotion, and love. From the book, you really get a sense of who and what the native people are along their culture. The story is quite different from his other books such as SIMPOC and Virus, this one takes the reader to a whole new world. I enjoyed the book and even though it may have seemed slower at times allowing the author to help us understand this world, by the end, it seemed to all fit together and it made for quite a story. If you are looking for a science fiction tale of a distant world, pick up Gemini and give it a listen.
Let me say up from that the first chapter of the book spends a large amount of time getting the listener up to speed on who these people are, how they live, and the planet in general. In a world where we are expected to be dropped right into action and adventure, this book instead takes its time to simmer and allow the reader to come to know its inhabitants; and for me that was a good thing. The author takes time to tell us about the seasons and what they are called, the food the people eat, and their love of life in general. You are presented with a utopian society where roles are shared across the genders and also assigned to those most capable of accomplishing them which brings the greatest good to the culture as a whole. We see their intelligence, enjoyment of music, a focus on religion, and their embracing of technology. Again, all of this is done so the civilization can become stronger. Unlike our society, wealth is not a sign of success in this world. We are given a view into this quite unique creature along with some love and romance along the way. This people are mostly an agricultural society that grows and consumes the one crop necessary for sustaining life. We are also given a glimpse into some ancient writings which are believed to foretell of a specific event which appears to be unfolding. One thing that seemed to catch my eye while listening was the author’s use of different names for objects, yet when describing their star, he used Sun, which is specific to our solar system’s star. Not a big deal, but something that stood out for me while listening.
What can or does a society do when a discovery turns their peaceful existence into one that forces some of them to abandon their morals and beliefs to endure? And that is exactly what you will learn from this book. There seemed to always be a sense of tension along with new discoveries keeping the listener wondering what could these inhabitants do when required to turn from their life of farming to a life of war. Many were required to turn their plows into weapons if they hope to survive. Much of their research into growing crops needed to be turned towards better knowing their enemy and how to best defend against them. No matter the outcome, the people always attempted to do what was right for the society. You felt the tight bond when they would always greet one another by saying, “May your soil always bare jobalm (sp?)” and a reply of “And yours also.”. One really gets a sense of how close-fitting this society is, and at other times how naive they can be. When one’s enemy know much more about you then you do of them, it may feel overwhelming. The author did a good job of putting this feeling into the story. The characters were complex, likable, and multidimensional.
Let me turn to the book’s narration. Even though this book appears to be Ed Waldorph’s second narration released on Audible, at the time of this review, I thought he did a decent job. I would have liked to have had a few more distinct voices for the characters, but it was not required to enjoy the book. The book’s audio volume was consistent and lacked any major audio artifacts. The two things that I will mention are the audio compression which could be heard during times of long pauses. It seemed to have a computer hiss sound, but these were infrequent. The second was a slight background bell ringing sound that did not seem to be a part of the book or significant to a specific character. Again, this bell noise was very quiet, but noticeable when you listen for it. It was not there constantly nor did it appear only when a given event or character appeared. So, to me, it seemed like some artifact that was not edited out prior to production. Neither of these would prevent me from recommending the book to others.
In summary, I felt that Mr. Perreault did a great job of telling us a story while at the same time immersing us within the world. It did have points where it seemed to be slower than others, but for me, it gave me the opportunity to learn more about the world, the people, and their enemy. I like to have some periods of rest from all the tension, mystery and action. Thank you Mr. Perreault and Mr. Waldorph for taking me to this new and wonderful world called Gemini, and for giving us a stand-alone book that is complete and entertaining.
Disclaimer: I was voluntarily provided this review copy audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator.