Length: Approx 15-16 hours
Reader: Scott Sigler
The book: I had intended to wait and write a review for this book in the summer. After all, it does have the "beach-read" feel of a sunscreen-logged paperback. But then I saw where Random House is publishing Sigler's new book, Infected and giving away pdf copies until April 1st, when the print version arrives in bookstores. So, this is my last chance to review Earthcore before Sigler becomes the next Stephen King.
If you're familiar with Michael Crichton's science fiction thrillers, you'll recognize the plot outline: a hubris-heavy corporation tests the limits of science to gain massive profit . . . until Something Goes Wrong. Earthcore concerns a company drilling a three-mile deep mine shaft to excavate a massive platinum lode. When Something Goes Wrong, they employ some good guys to find out what the problem is. As they explore the problem, company redshirts are mysteriously killed by platinum-bladed knives. Meanwhile, a sadistic killer employed by a rival company is trying to wreck the whole enterprise. Earthcore may have a ridiculous and over-the-top plotline, but it's good eye-rolling fun.
This isn't a book for the squeamish and it's definitely not for kids. Sigler throws around blood and gore like a low-budget zombie movie. Curse words abound and there's a particularly gruesome torture scene. However, if you're wanting an action-packed novel that doesn't waste time on things like "relationships" and "literary merit", Earthcore is great popcorn entertainment.
The reader: I think Sigler knows his book is a lowbrow sugar rush; he reads his own work with an enthusiasm that winks, "Can you believe this, folks?" He does voices for every character, which range from pretty good to campy silliness. Sigler's falsetto women's voices are somewhat grating, but it's hard to fault him when he's obviously having so much fun. Each episode is bookended by aggressive nu-metal and some remarks by Sigler. The files are hosted by Podiobooks, which requires a free registration to download the book. The registration only requires an alias and email; I did not see any increase in spam to the email address I registered. Once you've registered, it gives two download options: a subscription to a podcast, which delivers the files on a daily, weekly or other time-release basis or by an "all-at-once" option which lets you get all the files.