Post Apocalypse Fic in a Car
November 22, 2013 7:52 AM   Subscribe

My husband needs audiobooks for a boring night shift that work on his (android) phone. He really likes apocalypse and dystopian fiction, as well as classic sci-fi. More inside.

I'm looking for both story recommendations, but even more so ways in which listening to that story will be as easy as possible.

My husband is doing a temporary night job for a few months to make some extra money. It's exhausting for him and I want to make his time doing it as enjoyable as possible. Since it doesn't require much brain power I thought audiobooks would be perfect.

He is not super tech-savvy, so the ways to access, play, and pause should be as simple as possible and ones he doesn't have to look at or search through much eg to get to the next chapter. (Buying can be complicated, I'll take care of that). We don't have a music player - just his smartphone (android os).

We also do need these to download vs stream as much as possible. Is there a good audiobook/podcast manager? I'll pay for the app but free is great.

Audiobooks can be expensive - is there any easy way to add audiobooks from the library to his phone? I'm thinking burn > add to google music profile > download to phone but please tell me if there's a better way. Or, good audiobooks available for free/low cost? I'd be happy to donate to a service that provided free ones to give back but buying a new book every two to three days will, while being decadently literate, kind of erase the good of "temporary crappy night job".

Podcasts would work too, I'm already going to download him some This American Life. Thanks!
posted by blue_and_bronze to Media & Arts (17 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Audible has their own app. It is easy to use.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:55 AM on November 22, 2013

Audiobooks can be expensive - is there any easy way to add audiobooks from the library to his phone?

Depends on your library. Ask them.

Also, there are audiobook rental facilities at a lot of truck stops these days. If you're near one, you might want to check out what they have to offer.
posted by Etrigan at 7:58 AM on November 22, 2013

Lots of public libraries use Overdrive. There's an Android app for Overdrive that lets you search for downloadable audiobooks and download them directly onto your phone. It's pretty slick; once you've downloaded books they're on your bookshelf, and you just tap on one to start playing it. After that, when you open the app, you just swipe on the home screen to continue playing where you left off (and you can set how far back you want it to start; I like a 10-second rewind when I start playing, so I can remember what's going on). Check your library's website to see if they have it.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 8:03 AM on November 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

(Though I should mention that the initial setup on Overdrive is NOT slick and requires some jumping through hoops... after it's set up, though it's pretty straightforward.)
posted by rabbitrabbit at 8:04 AM on November 22, 2013

There's a lot of free (though it's good to give them _some_ funding when you can so they can stay afloat) podcasts that do SciFi (including some of MeFi's own authors):

Escape Pod and its sister podcasts Pseudopod and Podcastle



Starship Sofa

There should be more than enough there to get him through a few months. To me, the short story format works better than novel length stuff for background listening because there's a smaller chance of missing something important and having to go back and hunt for some detail that's critical to the story.
posted by Candleman at 8:11 AM on November 22, 2013 [3 favorites]

LibraVox has lots of free stuff.
"Acoustical liberation of books in the public domain."
posted by Rash at 8:23 AM on November 22, 2013

Do you have a computer with a cd drive? If so, you can check out audiobooks on CDs from the library, rip them to your computer and then transfer them to the phone.
Your husband would probably like Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep or really anything by Phillip K Dick.
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 8:40 AM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

I came in here to make the same suggestions that Candleman did. When you're done with those, you might try this AskMeFi about suggestions for podcast serials, and there's tons more fiction out there that you don't have to endure the Audible DRM to enjoy (like Candleman, I endorse paying something to your providers even though they offer it for free).

I use BeyondPod on my Android phone to listen to 'em (I paid the $7 for the "Pro" unlock key), the only hard part was that I had to type in the various feed URLs by hand (if this is a problem, MeMail me and I'll figure out how to get 'em into an OPML file so you only have to type in the URL once).

On my phone (Samsung Galaxy S4) it pauses playing when you unplug the headphone jack, so if you have it plugged in to the car radio (or one of those FM transmitters that talks to the car radio), it's really easy to pause without having to see the screen.

And, yes, any good podcast manager will let you download them when you're connected to WiFi and listen to 'em later.
posted by straw at 8:56 AM on November 22, 2013

Definitely Welcome to Night Vale (a podcast).
posted by O9scar at 1:12 PM on November 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

If you like post-apocalyptic/zombie fiction, I'd like to recommend:
* the Newsflesh series (Feed, Deadline, and Blackout) and
* World War Z.

I've only read the book versions, but the reviews about the audiobook version of WWZ were favorable. Best thing is that they're both light and engrossing.
posted by parilous at 2:06 PM on November 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

I recommend the Wool trilogy (Wool, Shift and Dust) by Hugh Howey. They're available on Audible.
posted by poxandplague at 2:52 PM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

I don't know where you live or what your library system uses, but my library has access to Overdrive for ebooks and audiobooks. They're free with 3-week lending periods and I can download the books to the device of my choice. You should contact your library and find out what they have to offer.

As for content, try Dies the Fire by SM Stirling. It's an apocalypse book but it's an interesting apocalypse. As a bonus, the female characters don't suck.
posted by workerant at 2:58 PM on November 22, 2013

Seconding the Wool trilogy. I read them rather than listening to them so I can't speak to the quality of the audiobooks, but the stories were great.

I listened to the WWZ audiobook on a long hike and while I didn't care much for the story itself, the audiobook was really well produced, with a quality cast of voice actors. The audiobook is abridged, though.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 3:26 PM on November 22, 2013

Seconding Dies the Fire by SM Stirling. Not sure about availability on Audiobook, but it's a richly built world, and very engrossing (or so I found...). As for free/cheap, there are some very well done 'podfics' of fanfiction, if there is a TV series/Movies that he is into...these have the advantage of being free, and disadvantage of being...highly variable in quality/quantity, but lots of Sci-Fi content and some truely original podfic as well.
posted by Northbysomewhatcrazy at 4:57 PM on November 22, 2013

The audiobook of Hugh Howey's Wool is currently on sale for $1.99 at Audible. I've only heard the preview, but I've read the book and although I'm not usually fond of postapocalyptic dystopian stories, it was compelling.

(Of course, if you/he like the first book, you may find yourselves buying the second and third. Which I did. And then kept texting cryptic "OH NO HUGH HOWEY DON'T DO THAT!" messages to my husband until he was curious enough to read it himself. He's now about to finish book 2 and start book 3.

BTW, Howey is about to start publishing book 4 in serial format.)
posted by Lexica at 7:29 PM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Might want to be sure you saw this recent question on post-apocalyptic audio dramas, too.
posted by onlyconnect at 8:20 PM on November 22, 2013 is the home of a radio serial online called "We're Alive" - really picks up in season 2 and you can stream/download eps to play serially.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 8:53 PM on November 29, 2013

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