You Can Hear It Now

Kage Baker did not care for audiobooks. She loved being read to – by a real, live, present right there to show her the pictures on demand, kind of person. But she didn’t like audiobooks. That was a real regret to her, because she thought she ought to like them; they seemed like a great idea, and she sincerely wished she could enjoy them. But she didn’t. And I just find them annoying.

It’s foolish on my part, and due largely to my bad habit of using books as opiates. I like to get lost in a book,  be overwhelmed and transported; I go deaf when I read. If you’re listening to an audiobook while you sew or drive, literature-inspired catatonia is not an optimum reaction. Even on airplanes it disturbs the attendants.

Many of our friends – all veterans of long-distance drives, who know the value of staying awake – recommended them to Kage and me over the years. And we tried several times to get into them. No luck, unless you count howls of outrage and laughter when a chosen reader was clearly unsuited to their task. For example, Tim Curry, who can ordinarily do anything impeccably, was totally inappropriate for the numerous Southern accents he used in reading Anne Rice’s The Witching Hour. Maybe if he hadn’t used such a honeysuckle-soprano-Vivien Leigh-Kyra Sedgewick drawl for the heroine … I almost drove into the California Aqueduct listening to that one, I was laughing so hard.

However, lots of very nice and intelligent people do like audiobooks. And there are undoubtedly lots of them that will not send an unsuspecting listener into catalepsy or hysteria – my good friend Neassa, who is an ardent devotee, has never once driven into the Aqueduct, to my certain knowledge.

Kage got queries constantly about when her books would come out on audio; I have continued to get those queries, usually about once a month, since she died.  It just never came about. But at the Nebula Awards last year, I met a pleasant young man who seemed quite serious about it – and now, after all his good work, In The Garden of Iden is finally available as an audio book.

It’s out from Blackstone Audio, unabridged, as an MP3-CD. The reader is one Janan Raouf, about whom I know nothing except that she is an actress. She has done movies, TV and stage productions, though, including some costume drama – which might bode well. I know Blackstone Audio thinks well of her and did not choose her casually.

You can get the audio Iden directly from Blackstone Audio, at:

Or you can also find it on Amazon:

I find I cannot bring myself to listen to someone else read this or any other of Kage’s work: not yet. Someday, I am sure, but not yet. I would only hear another voice reading it, and that would be a phantom – not even a respectable ghost, either, but a bad recording in the the out-0f-date sound studio of my mind. And then it would occur to me that I can’t remember how her voice sounded and I would get all soggy and hard to light … Aqueduct time, then.

However, Dear Readers, the first person to listen to this and tell me about it will receive a prize. Some of it will be edible. Some will be collectible. Depending on your proclivities, it may be both. I don’t judge.

But in the meantime, the first Kage Baker audio book is out there now.  I hope you enjoy it.

About Kate

I am Kage Baker's sister. Kage was/is a well-known science fiction writer, who died on January 31, 2010. She told me to keep her work going - I'm doing that. This blog will document the process.
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12 Responses to You Can Hear It Now

  1. Maggie Secara says:

    Oh no! My car CD player doesn’t do MP3s! or I would be absolutely right there the very first listener. I’m working in Westlake and have plenty of time coming and going to let someone read to me. Maybe I can download it to another device. ASupposedly my Kindle will allow that, but I’ve never tried it. We’ll see!


  2. Maggie Secara says:

    Oh wait! It is available as regular CDs too. OK, I’m on it!


  3. Teri Pettit says:

    I’m with you and Kage. I can’t bear listening to audio books either.

    I even get antsy listening to an author read long portions of their work aloud. After about 15 minutes, I get impatient with how darn SLOW listening is compared to reading. It takes about ten times as long to get through the same material. (I also dislike listening to audio of political speeches and debates, for the same reason. I always search for a text transcript and read it, if I can find one.)

    But congratulations on the recording. It’s always nice to reach a wider audience. (And in this case, “audience” is quite literal.)


  4. woot! I love audio books and listen to them non-stop, espcially Harry Potter. My frequent trips to LA would send me into the ditch without them since I rarely have a co-pilot. It’s been years since I’ve read Iden. I went looking for my copy yesterday and can’t find it. Will be ordering it for sure.


  5. Kate says:

    Thank you, you who like audio books, for buying this! I have hopes of getting the entire series out there – there are folks who have been asking wistfully for years.


    • MaggiRos says:

      Kindle versions would be nice, too.

      Audio books are cool for long trips and yes, they are slower than you can read yourself, but it does make you actually read every word. I love Stephen Fry reading all the Harry Potter books but my absolutel favorites are Neil Gaiman reading his own, Stardust, for example, or Neverwhere. He reads wonderfully (not every author gets reading aloud, even if it is their own work) and the accents are, no surprise, always cool.


  6. Marc Bailey says:

    Audio Iden is available from iTunes as well. Speaking of Iden: It doesn’t seem to be in print (though Sky Coyote and later Company titles are). Do you know if there are plans to reissue the book?


  7. Anna says:

    Thank you SO much for the news!

    That said…. I love holding a book and reading, and I had to be convinced to give audio books a try. At the time I was commuting 3-4 hours a day. It was a BORING drive but the audio books kept me awake and sane. (radio makes me crazy…)

    Steve who doesn’t have much time to read, likes to listen to a good book while he works. We listened to the last Harry Potter book together and it was wonderful! We would stop the recording at times and discuss what we just heard, or hug if it was a particularly emotional moment. I still buy hard copies, but audio books now have a place in our lives.

    I look forward to listening to all of the books and introducing Steve to them!



  8. Anna says:

    OOPS correction!
    Steve has read Garden of Iden!
    He just showed me his copy! 🙂


  9. Kate says:

    Maggie – many of Kage’s books are on Kindle: but Iden is not. I will look into this; due to some mortality among agents, Iden is repped by a different agency than most of the others. I’ll contact them to find out about this.

    Mark – as far as I know, Tor has kept Iden in print. But I will find out that, too.


    • MaggiRos says:

      I noticed that a lot of them are, but not all, and I just don’t buy a lot of fiction in paper any more (no matter how much I love holding a book in my hands, there’s just no room to keep them all!) I read Garden of Iden when it was brand new, then sort of lost track> The more titles are on Kindle, the better chance I’ll actually read them all at last! 🙂


  10. Hey, I recently listened to Garden! I can barely wait for sky coyote, though I don’t think janan would be super appropriate for a book almost entirely from joseph’s point of view. I liked her in Garden of Iden though. Is there any word on if/when the rest of the books will be available on audio?


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