Monday, August 3, 2009

Podcast Novel Review: "Ancestor" by Scott Sigler

The thing about Scott Sigler's books is the way they hang around in your head, burned into your memory, long after you've finished reading them (or in this case, listening to them).

Ancestor is no exception.

With this book, Sigler takes his twin fascination with science and monsters to new heights.
Ancestor is a more scientifically credible story than Nocturnal or Earthcore, but Sigler still manages to tell a thumping good yarn while sticking to his scientific guns. Drawing on the premise of isolating stem cells as a means of generating cures for all sorts of diseases, Ancestor tells the story of a corporation driven to the edges of the earth to push on with their experiments, while even the CIA are trying to shut them down. But it's not just altruism that motivates the crew to work against all odds to find this semi-mythical cure; it's also greed, and pride, and fear.

Sigler takes a simple science fiction tale of the dangers of technology outstripping ethics, and weaves it into a web of betrayal, deceit, murder, and revenge.

Oh, and there are monsters. But you knew that.

As usual, Sigler's narration and audio production are faultless, though I still wish he'd take a leaf out of Seth Harwood's book and get some female voice talent to read his female characters, or take Jeffrey Kafer's advice and just read them straight (listen to Kronos by Jeremy Robinson for a great example). I still find the whining tone of male readers trying to put on a woman's voice not only distracting but also slightly demeaning.

Aside from that, Ancestor is a thoroughly enjoyable book, and I think it represents a significant maturing of Sigler's writing talent. As Tee Morris suggested to me when we met in Dannevirke a few months ago, Ancestor is sophisticated storytelling that blends sci-fi, horror, and thriller seamlessly. Sigler handles his characters and settings with ease, whipping out clever dialogue as easily as he hammers home blood and violence.

If you haven't listened to any Scott Sigler yet, this is probably a good place to start.

I give Ancestor 4 Stars out of 5.

Ancestor is available as a free podcast novel from or through iTunes, and will be released in hardcover by Crown Publishing in December 2009 or early 2010.

1 comment:

  1. Glad you enjoyed it! I hope your readers check out the hardcover, and thanks for putting in that link.