Audible, Inc., the world’s largest seller and producer of downloadable audiobooks and other spoken-word content, today announced the simultaneous release of two brilliant performances of New York Times bestselling author John Scalzi’s new thriller, Lock In. The story of Chris, an FBI agent and victim of a mass contagion resulting in a fully functioning mind locked in a non-functioning body, is a gender-bending tale in which Scalzi never identifies the character as male or female. To address this ambiguity, Audible Studios produced two entirely different recordings of the book. Listeners can enjoy the narration of Star Trek: The Next Generation and The Big Bang Theory star Wil Wheaton; of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Supernatural star Amber Benson; or both. Download either version of Lock In at www.audible.com/LockIn.
“In the world I created, simply put, Chris could effectively decide to present as any gender, or choose not to present a gender at all. That’s part of who Chris is,” said Hugo Award winner Scalzi. “When it came time to make the audiobook, Audible did an ingenious thing: they asked both Wil Wheaton and Amber Benson to record entire versions of the book. As the author, I’m impressed with Audible’s commitment to my narrative -- and I’m geeking out that both Wil and Amber are reading my book. This is fantastic.”
“Audible listeners love John Scalzi’s endlessly inventive and imaginative novels and stories, and they also appreciate the power of skilled performance,” said Audible EVP and Publisher Beth Anderson. “The character of Chris in Lock In presented the perfect opportunity for Audible Studios to add another interpretive twist to the production. Both Wil and Amber have delivered superb performances, and we think customers will appreciate the opportunity to choose from two different listening experiences.”
Lock In, Scalzi’s 10 th novel, has earned starred reviews from Booklist, Kirkus, and Publishers Weekly, which called it a “smart, thoughtful near-future thriller resonant with the themes of freedom, ethics and corporate greed.” The Audible editions include the bonus novella Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden’s Syndrome, written by Scalzi and narrated by a full cast.Among the acclaimed actors who have performed works of literature for Audible are Bryan Cranston, Dan Stevens, Dustin Hoffman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Kate Winslet and Susan Sarandon. In 2013, Audible Studios won its first Grammy Award, for its production of Janis Ian’s memoir Society’s Child, and also won the Audie Award for Audiobook of the Year, for Colin Firth’s performance of Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair. Audible invented and commercialized the first digital audio player in 1997, and has since been at the forefront of the explosively growing audiobook download segment. In 2013, Audible members downloaded an average of more than 17 books over the course of a year, the equivalent of close to 600 million listening hours.