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Subject: "THE HAUNTED MESA audio....Beau?" Previous topic | Next topic
Carcosa2004Mon Mar-04-24 10:03 PM
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"THE HAUNTED MESA audio....Beau?"


          

I think you had mentioned once that THE HAUNTED MESA was unlikely to get an audio release, and I'm hoping that we could twist your arm to consider otherwise...especially those of us a bit vision challenged. It's a book I haven't read since it was first published and I'm afraid the ol' orbs are not up to that challenge anymore...

  

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blamourWed Mar-06-24 06:02 PM
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#1. "RE: THE HAUNTED MESA audio....Beau?"
In response to Reply # 0


          

Below is an answer to this question that I wrote up for Reddit. But before I get to that ... It's a really difficult scenario when a fan makes it personal saying, "won't you do it for ME?" I get it, but I also get requests from people asking for a certain book to be created immediately because their father only has 6 months to live or something like that. It's completely heart breaking, but I can only do what I can do, and I can't make decisions I think aren't the best for my family or my father's legacy that way. In the end you just can't run a business based on the needs of individual customers ... unless you create custom products and charge accordingly.

Here's the Reddit bit-

I've held off doing an audio to THM because it doesn't read as well as most of Dad's other work. I always get myself in trouble for saying that. Fans get furious at me for acting like I know what I'm talking about ... but I've worked in the audio publishing world for almost 40 years, since it went mainstream back in the 1980s, and I trust that I know what I'm talking about. I know that there are books that are better read with the eye than heard with the ear.

Will we do it eventually? Probably. I'd rather do stuff that I know has a chance to work well first, however, and leave the tricky stuff for later. Education of a Wandering Man is another one that has the same issues.

That's the "quick" answer. Here's the more in depth and nerdy version:

Reading with your eyes is a VERY abstract process. The letters and words (written language) form a code like an unbelievably complex computer code that your mind deciphers and your imagination turns into an entertainment experience. You, the reader, are inspired by the author to create the ultimate experience for yourself. In a way the reader is half of the creative team. Dad was a master at inspiring a creative reaction from his readers and thus doing a great job of entertaining them.

But the further you get from the original code, the visual letters and words, the less effective the magic is. As a reader you create the perfect experience for yourself (unless the writer mucks it up by trying to do too much ... a lot of supposed "literature" is full of writers who do too much), when the product becomes less abstract everything has to be that much more perfect to pass muster with the audience. The next step is single voice, narrated, Audio Books. In those you have to rely on the words you subjectively hear and the delivery rather than the simple letters and words that you objectively see. Then maybe there's stuff like comic books and our Audio Dramas where the production team does even more of the work for the audience. After that there's theater and film, where the audience does very little of the work of imagining. Those have to be even more perfect to be acceptable. The level of abstraction is very low. Things are the way they look and sound, not the way the audience thinks they look and sound.

That's all a very complicated way of saying some stuff works better than others in different formats.

Audio is a very iffy format. You can hire a reader who is great on one book but then is just terrible when he or she works on other stuff. When that happens there is nothing you can do about it except move on, there's no budget to do it over. The publisher has made an investment and the only way to get it back is to release it. There's a couple out there that really make me cringe ... so I try to stack the odds in my favor whenever I can.

  

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Carcosa2004Thu Mar-07-24 03:39 AM
Member since Jul 17th 2021
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#2. "RE: THE HAUNTED MESA audio....Beau?"
In response to Reply # 1
Thu Mar-07-24 03:41 AM by Carcosa2004

          

Thanks for the response. It's always appreciated!

I certainly understand business practicalities and that part makes perfect sense. I didn’t intentionally play that card and I am sorry it came out that way.

I do recall now that you previously said you felt THE HAUNTED MESA was problematic from an audio book standpoint. I “read” books these days mostly via audiobooks, and know how important the reader is to its success. My beloved NERO WOLFE novels are unlistenable; with a reader who decidedly does NOT sound like Archie Goodwin by any stretch of the imagination, instead coming across like a stuffy college professor with a rich, irritating baritone. Jeezuz. But when it’s done right, you get something like Stacy Keach reading Spillane’s MIKE HAMMER books, and it doesn’t get any better than that. The LL audiobooks I’ve heard so far do pretty well…I just finished FAIR BLOWS THE WIND and I liked the reader very much on that one. He seemed to “get” LL and his cadence.

I remember that MESA was met with some lukewarm reviews by critics when it was published, when compared to LL's other hardcover successes in those last years. Admittedly it’s been years since I read it and perhaps it won't hold up now. I'll give it a go again. Just now reading the first couple of pages, I can hear the narrator in my head sounding an awful lot like the late Richard Crenna…unfortunately

  

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blamourSun Mar-31-24 01:12 AM
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#3. "RE: THE HAUNTED MESA audio....Beau?"
In response to Reply # 2


          

Richard Crenna! A good friend of ours and I directed him in a small number of audios back in the day.

You might have fun reading the Lost Treasures Postscript to Mesa. It touches on some of the issues with a read, though not the most important of them.

  

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