Buck Alice and the Actor-Robot Paperback – Jan 11 2011
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From Library Journal
A handful of survivors of the Milliginian invasion vie for the hand of the last fertile woman on earth in this first novel by Star Trek 's Koenig. An unfortunate combination of disjointed plot and satire bordering on the tasteless, this may still hold some appeal for fans of fast-action sf. Not recommended. JC
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
They have done Perry Mason, The Wizard of Oz and even Zorro to audio theater. I have been impressed with all of them. They are one of the best companies in the country that does great multi-cast work. They make more that just radio plays...NOW they have tackled cult Science Fiction novels. My mouth stands agape
Someone at Brilliance audio was right on the money when they started releasing the CRT"s work to their line up of audios. It is a match made in audio heaven. The listener is the one who gained on this deal
About the work, Masterwork sounds too high a praise for such a joyous audio gift. The way that the CRT makes you part of this presentation is like this a play preformed in front of your ears.
I give you fair warning, DO NOT LISTEN to this while you are driving! You will be drawn into this work...and get into a nasty accident. Stay home, shut the TV and listen on a Saturday afternoon with your favorite drink in your hand. Now let these artists do their magic. It is MAGIC!
I have said this before in other places, Creative director (of the CRT) Jerry Robbins and the CRT company of actors are craftsman who know audio theatre and know how to make the medium work.
Co-director/writer Walter Koenig (YES he is the same guy from classic Star Trek) does a great service as the narrator of his own novel. He makes the piece move, as it should because he wrote this ages ago.... it still is funny. I wish he would do more audio presentations. Walter, are you listening?
If you like the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy or Monty Python, this prsentation is right up your alley. This black comedy of people trying to restart the Earth's civilation after anninilation is slightly adult fare for those with warped imaginations. It is funny stuff!
I only have two problems with this production and neither is in the work itself. The biggest problem is the packaging. they jam six cds in a small pack that fits in your hands. Once you listen to the CD, try to put it back without breaking the packaging...you cant! The second is the cover art is very beautiful art and seems cramped on the small packaging. It cries out for a larger packaging. However the less than $10 price tag break is stealing for seven hours of good audio work
So Beam up this audio to your ears and enjoy
I will say that this is NOT a book meant for everyone. I daresay that quite a few people wouldn't understand Walter's idea behind the words. Walter's the only person I know that could have me rooting for a bunch of losers for heros just with the power of words. Before reading it, he warned me that there were a lot of characters and I might find it a bit difficult to follow. However, having read and loved 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' for so many years- I hardly found it difficult to follow at all. But, I can certainly see how it could be difficult for someone just starting out in complex novels.
The story, also like THOND, does not specifically center around the title characters. If anything the main character in how I read it, is Joshua, a Jewish insurance salesman (if you read it, you'll understand that description easily). He's one of a very small group of humans that survive the annihilation of the human race by the aliens called Milliginians. They've come to Earth looking for a new home to colonize, due to overpopulation of their own homeworld. Joshua is a daydreamer and a sort of thoughtfully panicked loner, wandering the white dust-coated remnants of land, looking for....well, pretty much anything still alive and relatively human. I think he'd probably even settle for a dog, in his 'I think I'll just die.....no, I won't!' madness.
The are two other groups of humans featured in the story; The New Hope Settlement and an ex boxing champion with a tribe of friends. The New Hope Settlement is a larger group of humans with one 13 year old girl left as the only fertile female left on the planet (but, not the only female left). The two groups clash in a very primitive kind of battle before Joshua arrives with a rogue Milliginian with a plan to take back Earth. Unfortunately, none of the characters have very many heroic qualities and more than once, you'll think 'how is this person even still breathing?!'
What I loved about the story was the wording, first of all. Something about the way Koenig puts together his paragraphs completely intrigues me. Second, it's a completely bizarre and unusual take on a concept that plagued many books and movies and has been completely overdone in so many other ways. But, in all of those other ways- there's characters that step up to the plate, there's hardcore heroes, there's army soldiers, or robots. In this story- it poses the question: What if the only people that survived were completely by accident and the worst losers you could think of to survive? I'm a fan of strange thoughts and questions and this book is FULL of them. I like things that are different and not run of the mill and predictable.
While not for everyone- I recommend this book if you're sense of humour is in that sarcastic realm and if you're completely open-minded with what you read. If you're a hardcore sci-fi fan, you'll probably hate it. If you're a classic heroes versus villains fan, you'll probably hate it. It's just one of those fun books to read when you need a break from all of the seriousness around you on a daily basis, and you need a bit of psycho around, instead. That's why it's up in the top 5 of my favourites.
"Buck Alice and the Actor-Robot" is a smartly written, very well performed piece of work. The full cast really manages to flesh-out their insane and off-beat characters, and Walter Koenig (Mr. Chekov himself!) gives his narration a very droll delivery. The story deals with the aftermath of global-annihilation, as small pockets of surviving humans try their best to restart civilization... But, naturally, things don't go as planned. There's also an alien invader who has some misgivings about his mission. All of these elements mix together well and form a constantly engrossing listening experience. The sound effects are terrific and add a lot of life to the story, as does the music, which has all sorts of styles, and sounds like it was done by a hundred-piece orchestra. The show gets its first laugh almost immediately as it cuts from the highly-dramatic opening credits right into an Irish pub. From there, it's a surreal, zany black comedy.
I will say that this show really does require your full attention - it's easy to follow, but there's so much happening, and so many jokes, that things could fly right by if you're not listening carefully. At almost six hours, it's a long show, but the characters are involving, and there are moments that surprised me in how moving they were. My suggestion - take it along with you next time you have a long car ride!
There are also a few extras including an interview with Walter Koenig where he talks about the book, his love of radio, and his time on Star Trek and much more. It's an interesting talk, and Koenig proves a great raconteur. It's a nice add-on to this package, and to hear him recite the "Lone Ranger" opening is an unexpected treat. There's also a "trailer" for the show, which takes a unique approach, and was pretty funny, too.
If you're looking for something different - and hysterically funny - in your science-fiction, then I definitely recommend picking this up. It's worth much more than its $9.99 price tag, and if you enjoy Monty Python, Samuel Beckett, Thomas Pynchon, or any other flights into post-modern absurdity, you'll definitely get a kick out of this show.
This is a story that is humorous, touching, bizarre and at all times gripping. I wouldn't recommend it to kids under 16 just to be safe, but I can definitely recommend it to lovers of radio or audio dramatizations in general. Walter Koenig does the narration while Jerry Robbins and the CRT brilliantly fill out this cast of dysfunctional characters. Imagine an earth that was attacked and the only survivors are people who really belong in a padded room, or perhaps the short bus. The script is top notch and the cast is perfect. The pace is very good considering that the story spreads out over 6 discs. It is a mind boggling production to listen to and if you're able to listen to it without laughing out loud I'd suggest a funnybone transplant. There are some extras on the sixth disc that also make for some interesting listening. I was very suprised to find out that Mr. Koenig wrote this story long before he read any of Douglas Adams' novels.
Once again Jerry Robbins and the Colonial Radio Theater on the Air give a fantastic performance and produce another terrific show to add to an already impressive body of work. I'd give Buck Alice and the Robot Actor more than 5 stars if I could, but the rating stops at 5. If you've never heard Jerry Robbins and CRT than I could think of no better way to become familiar with them. I warn you though. They make for very contagious listening and once you're finished with this production you'll be definitely hunting for more shows to listen. Fortunately for you (and me!) there are plenty more where this comes from.
Buck Alice and the Actor-Robot is deep, it is philosophical. It makes you think. It is also silly and quite entertaining. It jumps around a lot, which can make it difficult to follow. Overall, I enjoyed Buck Alice and the Actor-Robot and I would probably go back and reread it in the future to see if I can get a clearer idea of some of the deeper meanings that I am sure are hidden within the pages of Buck Alice and the Actor-Robot.