The Obsessed Ex-Fortysomething Runner: Audiobooks that are dramatizations

It’s been a long time (5 years!) since I last blogged about listening to audiobooks while running. Since then, I’ve made some new discoveries about audiobooks.

First, if you are a fan of “The Princess Bride” (and come on, who isn’t?), then you would really love the audiobook version of Cary Elwes’ As You Wish. This was the lead actor’s memoir of his time on the set of the movie production. What’s so neat about the audiobook is not only does he narrate it himself (in his “everything is under control” British accent), but the parts of the book that are quotes from co-stars, the screenwriter, or the director narrated by those people. It’s like being at a cocktail party with the cast of the movie!

Second, five years ago, I had come across the original radio dramatizations of the original “Star Wars” trilogy and enjoyed the immersive experience. Mark Hamill (Luke) and Anthony Daniels (C3PO) even voiced their own roles. Recently, I discovered that there are more of these dramatizations. William Gibson, author of the first cyberpunk novel Neuromancer, wrote a screenplay for a sequel to “Aliens” 30 years ago but it was never used. Audible commissioned an audio dramatization based on a version of that screenplay and even got Michael Biehn (Corporal Hicks) and Lance Henriksen (Bishop) to reprise their roles.

Unlike a regular audiobook, in which a talented narrator might change the voice for each character but still reads every word in the printed text, an audio dramatization relies on dialogue and sound effects to convey the plot. In the case of Alien III, you can hear machinery hum, power mechs clank on the deck, alarms blare, and disgusting goo ooze. And, of course, screams. Maybe in space no one can hear you scream, but I heard plenty of it inside the space stations…

At just over 2 hours, this dramatization is very much like listening to a movie. It makes for a perfect running companion, and might even make you run just a little bit more to keep listening.

I also discovered that there were two X-Files dramatizations that were produced in 2017, and both managed to secure the two lead actors (David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson) as well as most of the regular recurring actors who played Cigarette Smoking Man, Assistant Director Skinner, and the Lone Gunmen trio. Duchovny and Anderson really slide right back into their roles as if they’d never stopped, and the stories aren’t too bad — at least, for the first one. I haven’t listened to the second one yet.

These dramatizations are really great for listening to while running. I mean, unless you are on a treadmill, you can’t watch a movie or a TV show while running. What works well with the dramatizations is that you don’t have to concentrate as much to figure out what’s going on, because your mind processes the background sounds more directly than it does narration.

Audible periodically has deals, like first three months for $6.95/month, so if you are interested in checking out some of these dramatizations, you should look for that deal.

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