Podcast Review #120: Karl’s Last Flight

Title: Karl’s Last Flight
Author: Basil Sands
Genre: Military Action
Released: 2 July 2007 – 14 July 2007
Located: iTunesPodiobooks
Formats Available: podcast, ebook, audiobook at Audible
Rating: R for violence

Back in Review 109, I discovered Basil Sands when I reviewed his story, 65 Below. Or, at least, I thought that is when I discovered him. Turns out, I had started one of his podcasts way back in 2007, and didn’t get through it. I enjoyed 65 Below so much that I searched for any other works when by Mr. Sands. I was a bit surprised when Karl’s Last Flight showed up, but knew I had to give it another chance.

So, on to the review.

Synopsis: Karl Alexander had been an adrenaline junky for twenty five years. Whether flying Harriers in the Marines, piloting the shuttle for NASA, or as the chief astronaut for StrataCorp Space Flight his happiness was only found when he hit five Gs. But when a series of minor mishaps sends his ship crashing into the desert of an unknown country, Karl finds a new kind of adrenaline rush as he is swept into a raging torrent of the world at the edge of war. Spies, insurgents, secret police, and an infamous Saudi millionaire terrorist all threaten to make his next flight, his last.

Come and get your fix of hardcore, adrenaline laced action that’ll make your heart race and your muscles tense. Basil Sands brings you the podcast novel that started it all.

When you listen, be sure to put your tray table in the upright and locked position and fasten your safety belt… it’s going to be a wild ride. (Stolen from Podiobooks.com)

Production: Regular readers of this blog, or listeners of the podcast, might remember that I gave Mr. Sands an A for production on 65 Below. I stated during the review that it was rare to find a story that had consistent high quality production throughout. Unfortunately, Mr. Sands proved my point with Karl’s Last Stand.

By necessity, I listen to all works of podiofiction through my earbuds (and if you’re looking for a very good earbud, I recommend any of the earbuds manufactured by the House of Marley.) It is the only way I feel I can provide a consistent listening environment needed to give a baseline for these reviews. The first several eps of Karl’s Last Flight made me regret this necessity.

The clarity and superb cleanliness of my earlier experience with Mr. Sands’ work left me a bit perplexed initially, but a quick check showed me that I had listened to the stories in reverse order to the way they had been produced. Karl’s Last Flight was Mr. Sands first foray into podcasting, and you can hear his learning curve throughout the story.

During the first 1/2 of the story, there is a number of pops and clicks whenever Mr. Sands enunciated with gusto. I don’t know if he changed equipment, added a pop filter or simply developed his mic technique during the period he produced this podcast, but by the end, the sound was much much nicer than when he began.

Grade: C+

Cast: Mr. Sands is a remarkable voice talent. He does a very nice self read. I truly hope that he never decides to do a full voice production, because I enjoy his style of reading so much. All of his characters are voiced uniquely. Again, I cannot say there are many self reads I’d put up against Mr. Sands.

Grade: A

Story: Karl’s Last Flight is a military action novel whose central character is rather a reluctant warrior. Karl Alexander, private astronaut, had no intentions of ending up on the ground in Iran. But that  is what happened, and now he must get out. Once again, Mr. Sands uses a here again, there again approach to providing us with Karl’s history while also telling us about what is happening “currently”. I greatly enjoyed both story lines and knowing more of the characters backstory made the story more interesting to me than it probably would have been with only the current storyline.

Grade: B+

Verdict: I enjoyed Karl’s Last Flight and listened to it very quickly, finding excuses to plug in those earbuds and get just a bit more heard whenever I could. That being said, I can’t say I enjoyed it quite as much as 65 Below. It was good, but to me, it was just a notch or two below Mr. Sands later book.

That being said, I still prefer a sequential story and would love to have the earlier storyline told in one flashback near the beginning and then focus on the current storyline. I know I’m probably one of the few, but that is indeed my preference.

Karl’s Last Flight wil provide any military action junky with hours well spent, and I do indeed recommend it highly.

I feel I need to explain why I didn’t finish this podcast back in 2007. At the time, I was looking for a science fiction story. I loved the first ep with our hero and his annoying passenger realizing that they had a drastic problem. However, upon landing on Earth, I realized this was not a science fiction story. Though this is true, don’t let that fact of genre stop you from subscribing. If you like a story that is well told and decently produced, you’ll enjoy Karl’s Last Flight.

Disclaimer: Mr. Sands tweets occasionally under the name @alaskabasil and seems to be a “good joe”. I have spoken to him a few times and he provided time to be interviewed in the podcast version of my review of 65 Below. However, he has not sent me a moose or anything else in return for this review. (mmmmmm…. moose….. )

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