Author: Asa Tait
Narrator: Christopher Harbour
Length: 7 hours and 49 minutes
Publisher: The Parliament House
Released: Jul. 13, 2020
Genre: Science Fiction
“In his pursuit of the occult, the Third Reich opened the Gate to a realm of magic and brought the world to ruin. The Gate was eventually closed, but they were already in our world, and they were hungry.” (The Lost History, Library of Avergard)Azure “Azzy” Brimvine lives in a world decimated by magic, where humans have retreated underground from the overwhelming dangers of the surface. But Below is no safer than Above. Magic-borne plagues continue to eat away at the remaining human cities – a sickness that doesn’t merely kill, but creates aberrations from the stricken. People twisted by magic into something dark, dangerous, and powerful. It is an existence of fear and constant dread.When Azzy’s brother Armin is infected and cast out into the Above, she sets out after him, determined to be there for him, no matter what he becomes. The world Above is full of monsters, both wild and cunning, some more human than Azzy was led to believe.Armin is captured and bound for the auction block of Avergard – a ruthless city of inhuman lords and twisted creatures. To reach him, Azzy must brave the perils of the Above and the chaotic life forms created by the Gate. To reach him, she must find allies and forge new bonds in this broken world. And Azzy must reach him, before Armin’s new power is used to open the Gate once more.
Asa is a writer, visual storyteller, and Head of Production at LEGO Entertainment. He grew up on a raspberry farm in central Pennsylvania, and went on to write comic books, direct for television, and work in interactive and narrative with the USC WorldBuilding Lab and the Institute for Creative Technology. Asa lives in Hollywood with his wife and daughter.
Chris Harbour has been an avid reader his entire life, so it was natural to enter into the world of audiobooks. While in the military Chris would travel to visit his wife and family in his free time and listen to audiobooks on the long drives home. It wasn’t until Chris was in his final year of obtaining his Bachelors of Science in Psychology, in 2017, that his wife suggested that he take a chance and start narrating audiobooks. Chris loves that his work can bring books to life and bring them to a new platform for others to enjoy. In Chris’s spare time he enjoys scuba diving, home improvement and spending time with his beautiful wife.
A Q&A with Asa Tait
- Do you believe certain types of writing translate better into audiobook format?
Meatspace is first person, and I think that does lend itself to the audiobook format because it’s written as someone very directly telling you a story, and the audiobook is just that – someone telling you a story. It also gives the narrator some more space to perform, because all of the text is effectively in character.
- Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
This was my first novel, and I hadn’t even considered the possibility of an audiobook. Now that it’s happened, though, I’ll certainly be thinking about it next time, as it has become such a key piece of how people experience books these days.
- How did you select your narrator?
I worked with the fabulous folks at Parliament House to select someone from their top choices. I come from the film industry and am no stranger to casting, but this was a very different experience. Listening to the auditions and seeing that someone can not only hit the character notes but also really convey the rhythm of the writing – its a unique skill. Chris hit this great tone that I was searching for with my main character, Jim Chord. He could play the grizzled detective, but with this deep vulnerability underneath, where you can feel that the tough guy noir schtick is just that – an act.
- How do you manage to avoid burn-out? What do you do to maintain your enthusiasm for writing?
At the moment in the middle of CoVid and everything else that’s going on, the honest answer is that I don’t. Like most everyone else I think I’m walking burnout, just trying to keep shambling along. That said, when I DO pull it together to write it feels amazing, and if I can stay in that groove for a bit it really fills up my soul. But even then, I don’t put too much pressure on myself about it. At the moment I think if we all just put one front of the other, help each other, and survive, we’re doing plenty.
- Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
I love audiobooks, but really only on road trips. I don’t have a car commute, so I just don’t have a natural place in my life for things like audiobooks and podcasts that a lot of people do on their hour plus commutes. But my family recently rented a camper van and drove from Los Angeles to Nashville, and we were audiobook wild. That was great. Maybe it come from road trips with my Dad as a kid. I remember listening to the audiobooks for all the Hitchhiker’s Guide books with him, and that really left a mark.
- What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
I think that’s completely unfair. We don’t read as a literacy program, to prove that we can see words on a page and extract meaning. We read to immerse ourselves in characters and worlds, or to learn about things we did not know. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking at the words or hearing them, you’re still taking in the book. And heck, I’m not one of those people who can glance across a page and take in the words as a mass. I’m only just the faster side of reading it aloud to myself in my head, so it’s not that different from an audiobook anyway.
- What gets you out of a writing slump? What about a reading slump?
In both cases it’s switching formats. When I’m in a writing slump on one project I’ll swap to another, just to get my head clear, and often a few days of that and the answer to whatever wall I was running into will just spring into my head. With reading, I tend to go through phases with my media. I’ll go a couple months as a voracious reader, and then drop a book in the middle and spend a few months watching movies in all my spare time, or playing video games, or reading comic books (which is a different experience than reading prose). And then it will go back to books. It just goes in cycles.
- Have any of your characters ever appeared in your dreams?
None of the characters in Meatspace, but I have dreamt about the city itself, the Outside, which has this fluid constant motion that is inhospitable humans. I’ve wandered around that space in my dreams a few times. I’m also working on a comic book project right now that is entirely pulled from a series of dreams I had. It started with a nightmare about these Harpy creatures and then over a few nights this little world just grew up around them, and I started putting it compulsively down on paper.
- What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Don’t give up! If you can write every day, that’s great. The more you write the sooner you can rewrite. But life is hard, and just because you can’t write every single day, or even every week, doesn’t mean you can’t write. Do what you can, when you can, and keep plugging away. The beauty of writing is its one of the arts that doesn’t require anyone but yourself. You don’t need millions of dollars, or to cast actors, or to pull together a band. You just need you and your belief in yourself.
- What’s next for you?
As I mentioned, I’m working on a comic book limited series, and as I also mentioned my work on it has been spotty since the world has been falling apart. But it comes in fits and starts, and I’m really very happy with it, and that’s the thing that drives me forward. I’m also working on another novel – a teen sci-fi horror – but that’s what I switch to when I get stuck on the comic, so it’ll be a while.
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