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Dimension of Miracles by Robert Sheckley

I bought this audiobook from Audible and listened to it using the Audible app on my iPhone.

With such high ratings and the endorsement from Neil Gaiman, how could I pass this one up.

I am not sure why, but this book just didn’t work for me. It started out with many small technical problems with the audio, small chirps and crackling, that really distracted me. But even after those issues went away later in the book I still just couldn’t get into it.

The lead character, Tom Carmody, never appealed to me… The book just feels pretentious to me with all the armchair philosophy, puns, and forced wordplay. I can see how this book would be viewed as a precursor to Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker series, but Mr. Adams was able to do it without pretension, he did it in a way that made it feel natural in a way I do not feel like this book does.

John Hodgman does a good job narrating the book, but it is hard for me to judge as I never could get really involved with the storyline.

I really respect Neil Gaiman and Audible for making audiobooks like this one of stories and authors that many of us have never heard of and look forward to many more of them.

From the publisher:

Award-winning author, narrator, and screenwriter Neil Gaiman personally selected this book, and, using the tools of the Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX), produced this work for his audiobook label, Neil Gaiman Presents.

A few words from Neil on Dimension of Miracles: “Dimension of Miracles is probably not [Sheckley’s] most famous book…. but I think it’s probably his best-loved book. It’s about the joys and tribulations (mostly the tribulations) of winning the lottery—the galactic lottery—accidentally. And wrongly. Tom Carmody is awarded a remarkable prize, is taken half way across the universe to collect it, finds himself hopelessly lost, and needs to find his way home again to Earth…to this Earth, not an alternate, weirdo Earth. He’s got to get back. And the price is high.

In its style of humor—and even in some of the jokes—Dimension of Miracles is very obviously a precursor of Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Douglas actually hadn’t read Dimension of Miracles until very shortly after Hitchhiker came out, when people pointed him to it, and he told me that he found the experience almost shocking—it was like reading himself. He was a huge admirer of Bob Sheckley and a huge admirer of this book, and in later life, I had the privilege of introducing both of them.

Now the challenge for me with a book this funny, this strange, this perceptive was to try and find a narrator who was as iconic, somebody who could deliver the goods, somebody who could give you a book like this as it deserved to be given. And the first, and the last, and actually the only person to come to mind was John Hodgman. So I asked John, and he said yes! And he did it; he pulled it off. Listening to John—not just the suave, sensible, sane narrator of this book, but all the peculiar accents and incarnations that he is forced to adopt through here—he does it delightfully, he does it brilliantly, he’s really, really funny. And so is this book. Enjoy your journey through a Dimension of Miracles.”

Dimension of Miracles is a satirical science fiction novel first published by Dell in 1968. It’s about Tom Carmody, a New Yorker who, thanks to a computer error, wins the main prize in the Intergalactic Sweepstakes. Tom claims his prize before the error is discovered and is allowed to keep it. However, since Tom is a human from Earth without galactic status and no space traveling experience, he has no homing instinct that can guide him back to Earth once his odyssey begins – and the galactic lottery organizers cannot transport him home. Meanwhile, his removal from Earth has caused a predatory entity to spring into existence – one that pursues and aims to destroy him. Carmody is on the run, and he ends up transporting from Earth to Earth – different phases and realities of the planet, which of course is not the time or condition he expects.

&copy1968 Robert Sheckley (P)2013 Robert Sheckley

I rate this book a 5 out 10, it just didn’t work for me.

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