Podcast Review #36: The Immortals

Title: The Immortals
Author: Tracy Hickman
Genre: Science Fiction
Released: 22 May 2006 – 18 April 2007
Located: iTunes, Podiobooks
Formats Available: Podcast, Dead Tree, ebook
Rating: PG13 for adult language and situations including holocaust type treatment

So, I’m sure many of you have heard of Tracy Hickman. When I started listening to podfiction, so had I. However, I, like maybe some of you, started perusing the Podiobooks and iTunes libraries for an author that I recognized. I did find some from the public domain, but the only current work or author that I ran into was The Immortals by Tracy Hickman.

So, on to the review.

Synopsis: The future story of United States Internment Camps … of the dreams of the pre-deceased … and of triumph beyond oblivion.

It’s 2020, and an attempted cure for AIDS has mutated into a deadlier disease, V-CIDS. The U.S., under martial law, has set up “quarantine centers” in the Southwest. Searching for his gay son, Jon, media mogul Michael Barris smuggles himself into one of centers only to discover that it and the other centers are actually extermination camps. With a strange assortment of allies, including the leader of the camp’s gay barracks, an army officer and a local cowboy, Barris precipitates an inmates’ rebellion that promises the unraveling of the death-camp system and the overthrow of the government that established it.

Production: Mr. Hickman did a pretty good job of a straight read. The one sound effect that sticks with me several years after my initial listening to this podcast is the sound of the wind. Having grown up in an area that is quite wind swept, the sound of this same wind evokes a sense of desolation and loneliness that is perfect for this story. There isn’t a lot of production, but it is done very well and is completely adequate.

Cast: The cast for The Immortals is a cast of two. All parts are read by either Mr. Hickman or his wife, Laura. There are actually quite a few parts, so they have their plates full, but overall do a nice job. I really had no problem with the voice work for this podcast.

Story: The Immortals is not truly a science fiction story. In fact, in my opinion it isn’t even really a story. It is a social and political statement about the way AIDS victims are treated. Or were treated as the story is over 10 years old. Which being the case leads me to the verdict….

Verdict: If The Immortals had simply been a story, I probably would have enjoyed it. Most people that commented at Podiobooks seemed to like it. Those that didn’t seemed to have disliked it mostly because of the terribly in depth characterizations. Well, you all know me, I love characterizations, so that never really bothered me. In fact I really enjoyed it. Almost all of the major characters were fully fleshed out and given a great deal of empathy and feeling. I’m sure you’ve figured out by now though that I didn’t like it. Not at all.

You see, I simply got tired of being beat over the head with the idea that we need to change as a society. Guess what? I agree. I really do. I just don’t need to have it thrown at me for hours on end.

Now hold on, you might disagree with me. Some of our greatest authors have written pieces that were social commentary. What would a survey of English Literature be without the likes of A Modest Proposal? There are way too many examples of this done right to point them all out now.

However, this is the problem. This wasn’t subtle or abstract. I literally felt like I was being beaten with the author’s belief system, which seems to be becoming more acceptable. If you can’t hide your commentary behind a good story, write a non fiction treatise for heaven’s sake. (Terry Goodkind, are you listening?)

Surely some of you must disagree with me. Maybe I can be persuaded. Did I miss something? Don’t get me wrong, Mr. Hickman was able to pull some strings even when I knew he was trying to do this, but rather than making his point, he just aggravated me. SO, if you like thinly veiled commentary instead of story, by all means, listen. However, if you feel like you should be able to enjoy the story, whether you agree with the author OR NOT, ant tha

Disclosure: I have no idea if Mr. Hickman is on Twitter. I have never talked to him through any media.

Comment Pages

There are 6 Comments to "Podcast Review #36: The Immortals"

  • Val Ford says:

    At least you finished it. I couldn’t even do that. I got so depressed by the entire story that I gave up mid-podcast, which I NEVER do.

    I agree with your assessment of the agenda in this. And yes, it would have been a good story, had it been a story and not a treatise.

    • odin1eye says:

      Thank you! I was afraid I was alone on this one and that nobody wanted to tell me! LOL… Thanks for the comment and I’m glad I wasn’t the only one that thought the “message” in this one was a bit heavy handed.

  • Nuchtchas says:

    First *kicks the tires*

    Second, wow, I really loved this story, and was crying through parts of it. I didn’t feel beaten over the head but perhaps I was just the right audience for this. While I had read some Hickman/Weiss books in the past I knew this was a solo project (also previously printed and now out of print) so I was happy to see what he could do on his own. I see the world Hickman portrays as a very realistic future, but then I listened to the book back in 2004 or 2005 so perhaps with times changing and what is going on currently might have changed the impact.

    I will say this podiobook is not for everyone, always have, and clearly it is not for you 🙂

    • odin1eye says:

      Thanks so much for the comment and the tire kicking!

      I would agree with you on the emotional content. I cried at the same point I’m sure you did. I’m a daddy after all. However, I could never get it out of my mind that I was being “preached at”. That was my sticking point. I’ve listened to far worse and appreciate what he was trying to accomplish. For me he just came up short.

      Thanks again!

  • jeanette Marsh says:

    Hey, Odin! I am not a religious person as such & couldn’t get past the start. Rather offputting for me, too. Sometimes I can ignore the religiosity, but not in this. Pity, huh? I had such great expectations!

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