Name:  Ida
AuthorRead by:  Tim Callahan
Episodes:  31
Format:  Podcast Novel
Running Time:  10.7 Hours
AuthorNovel Website:
Podcast Feed:
One sentence synopsis:  A mining space station orbiting an asteroid has to fight for its freedom after a wave of babies are born.

This story is more than a story about a group of engineers and scientists becoming revolutionaries.  Listening to this is also listening to the journey of one writer down the path of audio novels.  This is the first audio novel released by Tim Callahan, but it is certainly not the last.  There are currently three novels in his Arwen series and a fourth will go live later this month.  I do enjoy these novels and will have much more to say on them in their inevitable review.  For now though I wanted to look back at Tim Callahan’s first novel Ida.  I discovered this novel by searching iTunes for his name and didn’t know quite what to expect.  I was hoping for another story similar to The Arwen, but was presented with something else entirely.

This novel is painful to listen to in the beginning.  For the first few episodes the author is using a basic headset mic and the sound quality is very poor.   There is reverb and it generally sounds like he is speaking in a tin can.  Also there are major sound volume issues.  Some scenes you have to turn the volume up to hear it and others you have to turn it down because it is hurting your ears.  The author also maxes out the mic numerous times leaving that flat sound that just doesn’t sound right.  Possibly the most painful aspect of the early episodes come from the author himself.  Each episode he tells us that he is not very good at this yet and open to suggestions.  He basically continues to talk himself down for the first ¼-1/2 of the book not realizing that talking like that is a self fulfilling prophecy and makes the listeners far more critical of what they are listening to.  It may sound like I am being a bit hard on the author, but the beginning really was that painful to listen to and if I didn’t know that he had potential from his later podiobooks I would not have finished this one.

As the podcast goes on the author starts working on the many issues I just mentioned.  He purchased a new mic and the sound quality instantly improved within the first 10 episodes.  It is noticeable that his abilities with sound editing improved as he continued to work on them.  The volume level issues did continue through the end, but he learned much better mic skills as he continued which mitigated the problem.  Finally someone spoke to him about all the self defeating messages and he toned them back as well.  Basically he grew into the role of podiobook author.

I’m not going to say this is a great podiobook, but it is the most improved from beginning to end that I have ever listened too.  Some of the characters are annoying and the voices of some particularly get to me.  He does make a good effort to create a larger setting and give you the impression that you are just looking at a tiny little party of a fully developed environment.  The story was engaging but I think I would have preferred it being shorter and in print form instead with some of the pacing issues worked out.  This novel was necessary though for the author to gain the experience he needed to produce better works in the future.

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