WARNING: Definite spoiler alert! (very minor in the first part- I'll warn you when they become major)
I just finished listening to the podiobook Billibub Baddings and the Case of the Singing Sword, written by sci-fi/fantasy author Tee Morris. Billibub is a Dwarf from another world who was sucked through a time warp into 1920's Chicago. After settling in and making ends meet with odd jobs (I'll need to go watch "The Wizard of Oz" again now), Billi settles into his own business as a private detective. When the beautiful and very rich Julia Lessinger enters his office, what starts off as a simple case of "who killed my boyfriend", quickly turns into a search for something much deeper and definitely more valuable. An ancient and very powerful sword we find is the object of a lot of people's affections.
Billi is led into the dark world of prohibition and mobsters- including a meeting with Al Capone himself- and definitely gets more than he bargained for in this case. Was it worth the grundlemolking? Well, I guess you'll have to ask him...
Another big draw to this book is not only the entertaining story, but it's presentation. Although still a straight reading by the author, it has a definite audio cinema feeling to it. A full-cast, sound effects, and background music turn this book into an audiophile's true delight.
For me, it was the first time hearing a book done this way. However, I hear it has been done before, and by the same author. Another of Tee Morris' books, Morevi: The Chronicles of Rafe and Askana, was also done in this format. (I've not listened yet- but I hear a remastered version is in the works. Maybe I'll hold out!) What is exciting for me is seeing the bridge connect the podiobook and audio cinema worlds. There are so many things available to the podcaster now (voices, sounds, and the like), authors truly can let their creative juices flow, and bring something even more entertaining to the listeners' ear. I feel it also lets you see more into the mind of the author, and exactly what they were envisioning while writing, yet because it's entirely done through sounds, there is still enough room left for your own mind to envision on its own (unlike TV and movies).
I had the huge honor of being cast as a BB Player (No, this is not why I am speaking so highly of this book- I certainly could have simply recorded my lines and hated the story. After listening to only a bit of ONE of the three listener feedback shows, I know I'm not alone in my thoughts about how good it really is). As someone who is a definite newbie to the voice acting world, I found it fun to take on a character who I know looked great, but sounded awful. I was also very anxious to see exactly how the whole book would be put together. Really, I was thinking it would still be straight reading, with the actors lines thrown in, and no extra frills. I was certainly wrong about that!
(**Here's the MAJOR spoiler alert!)
I was most excited about Chapter 15. It was the climax of the whole story- all secrets revealed. The best part? I die! When I read the chapter before recording, I was like "Daaaamn, it all sure hits the fan here!" Daphne was maimed badly, so had to slowly deteriorate before the end came. I had a great time recording- and couldn't wait for the chapter to premiere.
As all "the snitches" know, it was completely worth the wait. Even knowing what was going to happen, I was still sucked into the entire chapter, so when that final shot went off- yeah, I jumped. I died brilliantly! Though I find thinking back that I can't take as much credit as the one who put the chapter together. Podcasting really brings forth talent that would otherwise be hidden, not only in acting, but in editing and producing as well. Tee Morris is well-rounded in all three.
Don't believe me? Well, then you will just have to hear it for yourself. The link below will take you to the podcast site. Each chapter is set up in "show form", so you get "Billi Banter" from Tee at the beginning and end of each one. If you'd like to only hear the book, you can do so from Podiobooks, right here at this link.