Podcast Review #2: Tumbler

Title: Tumbler
Author: Brand Gamblin
Read by: S.V. Allie
Genre: Science Fiction
Released: May 31 (in progress)
Located: Podiobooks, Author’s Site, iTunes
Formats available: podcast only

I’ll begin this review by stating I’m all ready breaking my own rules. As I stated in the previous post, “And Now for Something Completely Different” I will be focusing my reviews on podcasts that are complete. So, why am I all ready going against the stated intent? Meh, because  I want to. And because Tumbler’s author, Brand Gamblin (@brandg on Twitter), asked earlier this week (late last week?) if anyone would be interested in reviewing his podcast in return for a free .pdf of the story.

A good virtual friend of mine Richard Asplund Jr. (@rasplundjr), and a wonderful blogger, all ready presented his take on the story over at Random Pimpage. He does a nice comparison with another podcast that will eventually end up here as well, namely, The Gearheart. (Apples and forks.. LOL)

Back in May of this year, another good friend of mine on Twitter (Tee Morris – @teemonster) recommended a podcast to everyone: Tumbler. Trusting Tee, I decided to give it a shot. At the time there was only one episode out so I downloaded it and gave it a shot. Ever since I’ve been waiting anxiously for my regular dose of Libby & Co.

So, on to the review.

Synopsis: I don’t do synopses, they feel to0 much like a sixth grade book report, but I understand that if you’re not currently listening to the podcast, you might need a little background. With that in mind, here is what the author has to say about his story: Libby Carter wanted to get away from it all, so she took a job mining asteroids as far out into the inky blackness as possible. However, her escape turned into a trap, leaving her stuck in indentured servitude, living on a tiny rock in space. As she tries to dig herself out, she gains friends and finds adventure. (BTW, I personally like Richard Asplund Jr’s synopsis from Random Pimpage just as well: Tumbler is a gripping tale of a young woman trying to make it on her own in space after she’s lost everything.)

Production: You know, I have listened to podcasts where the cast was simply stunning and the story was top notch only to be ruined by the production. That always kills me because when the story is good, I am FORCED to listen regardless of anything else, and when either the production or the cast are subpar, it makes it extremely painful. Thankfully, that is NOT the case with Tumbler.

Tumbler is a straight forward affair with little in the way of sound effects or music. And that suits me just fine. As this series of Podcast Reviews continues, this is something that will be continually brought up. I would MUCH rather have a straight forward reading by a competent reader then to be annoyed by over the top but interfering production. All the audio is at an appropriate level and each episode can be heard above the sounds of my cars engine. That is all I ask for.

The only issue I have with Tumbler’s production is one I have with many podcast novels. The Story So Far. I’ve always hated them. Always will. For a long time I believed they were a necessary evil. Lately though, I’ve listened to a few podcasts that are NOT providing a TSSF intro. I much prefer option B. It is the author’s choice of course, and one I’ll respect as it doesn’t annoy me for long before the story begins. (Additional note, as long as we’re on my preferences if you must include a TSSF, I much prefer the author doing it themselves or editing a compilation of previous scenes.)

Cast: This one is easy. There is only one member, and her name is S.V. Allie (@svallie on Twitter). I don’t know if you’ll ever read this Ms. Allie, but kudos. You are awesome. Your voice embodies Libby Carter for me.

When I first listened to episode one, I was unsure whether this pairing was going to work. It does. Finer than frog hair.

Again, I love a straight forward reading with a single voice when done right. Tumbler is that, done very right.

Story: Mr. Gamblin has done his job well (to this point). I have never found him predictable. Rather he has thrown a curve or two taking the story in a direction I would have never anticipated while remaining true to the character and her motivations. Excellent job.

Verdict: with the story being unfinished, I cannot give it an unqualified “Must Listen”, but I can say that even if ends terribly (which I doubt) I can say that I have greatly enjoyed it to this point and that I am comfortable with: Give it a shot, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

I have never met Mr. Gamblin, nor Ms. Allie. I just recently started following them on Twitter. I plan on not excepting the proffered .pdf as I prefer to wait to find out what is happening to Libby by hearing Ms. Allie inform me. I will buy the book when it is published.

NEXT REVIEW: Antithesis Book One: Predestination and Other Games of Chance, by J.D. Sawyer — Just a note: I started this week with two Podcast Reviews, I anticipate that schedule will greatly slow down to maybe one a week. Look for Antithesis early next week.

~ by odin1eye on 17 November, 2009.

12 Responses to “Podcast Review #2: Tumbler”

  1. This one’s been queued up on my iPhone for a while now. After reading your review I may have to move it to the head of the line.

    • Let me know what you think after having listened to a few eps. Your comment really does encompass the reason I am writing these reviews, which is to help people find quality listening material.

      Thanks again!

      • It took a long time to finish the podcast I was listening to at the time of this review but true to my word I moved Tumbler up my list to the top slot. How much did I enjoy it? Let me put it this way, it took me months to get through the previous title I was listening, while Tumbler took me less than two days! I simply could not stop listening to it!

        Luckily for me when I finally was able to start the story it as already complete. I don’t know how anyone could have waited patiently for the next chapter/episode. It was a clean story. By that I mean the events that took place never had the feel of an author padding a book. I never felt as though the author looked at the book and said, “Hmm, I need at least four more chapters. What else can I make happen?”

        Also, the end of the story was the end of the story. Too often I find works where I’m thinking – Ok, the good guys’ have won. The world is safe. Why do I have three more chapters to read/listen??!?

        As a side note, I was very lucky to have an opportunity to attend a live reading by the author prior to my starting the podcast. Not once did I think to skip the chapters I had already heard. Yes, this story is that good.

        I look forward to the day the printed version is available so I can have two. One to keep pristine on my bookshelf and one I can read to the kids at bedtime. There are several wonderful values displayed by Libby and friends I think should be reinforced in every child. Some grownups could learn a thing or two as well. 🙂

        — Orion

        • I pressed the “Submit” button too soon. I wanted to say thanks to Brand Gamblin for writing and sharing Tumbler with us and I want to thank Odin1eye for the review without which there’s no telling when I’d get to listen to Tumbler.

          • I’m glad I was able to help you find a story you enjoyed so much, but all thanks has to go to the wonderful authors. Thanks again for the great comments!

        • Without checking, I think that might be one of the longest comments I’ve received. I’m glad you were able to enjoy Tumbler, it really is a good story,j and yes, I DEFINITELY know about mainlining podcasts!

  2. It’s better than a pointy stick in the eye? Seriously it’s a great show about to listen to the last ep soon as I get a chance. Brand is a great and funny guy and a great writer, can’t wait to get the next bit of fiction.

    Tumbler had been queued up for a while now I kick myself because I waited so long but part of me is happy that I got to experience it all in one blast instead of having “DAMN YOU GAMBLIN!” moments while waiting for the next ep.

    • Thanks Rich. And may I say again how much I enjoyed your Random Pimpage. I look forward to reading more.

      I really have enjoyed Tumbler and I am glad that you are enjoying the ride. I also am going to download the last ep for the ride home tonight!

  3. Just a quick “thank you” to Odin1eye for the great and very kind review and to all the commentors.

    Brandg and I have loved doing this podcast, and we are so grateful to all those who gave it a chance.

    Keep an ear open for a new podiobook that I am hopeful will go into production shortly.

  4. Because This Review is in the past and I doubt Odin will go back and add this to the past reviews I want to say that this book is completely Minivan safe. (PG.) for that I want to thank Brand. I can’t say enough how much I appreciate that about this story. When I read a good story I want to be able to share it with my children especially the older ones, but I don’t want to have to fast forward to turn the volume down when it gets to a non PG part. I will not have to do that with this story.
    On the flip side although Brand has written a story that to completely PG he has not made it feel like it is a kids book or even a YA novel. I, a full grown adult) found the story engaging and interesting right to the very end, and though the story had indeed ended I was sad that it did because I wanted more. To me the sign of a well written story. Thank you Odin for the great review, and Thank you Both Brand and S. V. Allie for the wonderful production.

    • Thanks Jeff for the comment. You are correct, I at this point anyway, don’t intend to make the rating system retroactive. Thanks for the help!

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