Podcast Review #135: The Gorilla Poet

Title: The Gorilla Poet
Author: Keith Hughes
Genre: Science Fiction Romance
Released: 10 October 2010 – 30 December 2010
Located: iTunes, Podiobooks
Formats Available: podcast
Rating: R – for violence and adult situations

Keith Hughes was first reviewed on this blog with his wonderful time travel story Borrowed Time. Even after having enjoyed that story so much, I was a bit hesitant to try The Gorilla Poet. I really don’t know why. I just was. I finally decided to give it a listen in May of this year.

So, on to the review.

Synopsis: What if by simply Writing a Word you could build a wall, light a fire, or cloud someone’s mind? In an environment like this Alan Porter struggles to use his talents to overthrow a totalitarian government that controls the masses by controlling Words. Access to Writing materials is restricted, and creating Verse without a license is severely punished. Raised in this atmosphere of systematic censorship, Alan heeds the irresistible call of Words to create a better world.

Now Alan gathers people who will fight with him to bring about a society based on freedom. In a war where the weapons are stylus, paper, and Words, he is the only one who can lead the battle and show the way to victory, a fight that Alan Porter wages even long after his death, because he is the Guerrilla Poet. (Stolen from Podiobooks.com)

Production: Mr. Hughes does a good job of editing and producing his own podcasts. There isn’t a lot of production that is obvious, and unless you are adept at production, there really isn’t a better compliment I can think of. I like listening to podcasts like The Gorilla Poet that don’t try to impress me with anything but story. It also makes it easy to grade.

Grade: B+

Cast: Mr. Hughes does, to my knowledge, all of his stories as self reads. The Gorilla Poet was not an exception. Mr. Hughes has a reading style that is a bit unique and I suspect readers will either like it or they won’t (way to cover my bet there, eh?). For me, the style of the narration fits his stories well and I quite enjoyed it.

Grade: A

Story: The Gorilla Poet is unique among the many stories I have read or heard. That in and of itself goes a long way towards keeping my interest. Add to that it was a truly good story and that makes it a slam dunk. That doesn’t mean I didn’t have an issue or two with it. The Gorilla Poet is a story imbedded within a story. You know the kind told in flashbacks. You know, the kind that – if you’re like me- you hate. I truly believe this story could have been told as an initial story and perhaps a sequel. I’m probably a minority, but I would have preferred that. I truly do hate flashbacks. But as you can see, my personal preference holds no sway in the grade here.

Grade: A

Verdict: So, why did I wait so long to listen to The Gorilla Poet? I have no idea. I shouldn’t have. And if you haven’t listened to it yet, I recommend you rectify that. However, I do warn you, it can be a bit of an emotional ride.

Disclosure: My disclosures have changed. Although I still follow Mr. Hughes on twitter (@edgizmo) and found him to be a nice addition to my stream, I’m no longer active on twitter and haven’t had an open conversation there in over 4 months. Needless to say, I was not asked, or offered anything, for this review.

Comment Pages

There are 6 Comments to "Podcast Review #135: The Gorilla Poet"

  • Thomas says:

    Good to see you back with a review.

    I have this in my iPod. just need to quit skipping over it. I like Keith’s work and look forward to this. will comeback and comment further after i hear it.

    again, good to see you here, my friend

    (I almost left my typos in, just cause)

  • Keith Hughes says:

    Thanks for the review on this title. It hasn’t gotten the attention of the Borrowed Time novels and it’s good to see it get a little press. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

    You are not the first person I’ve heard the whole flashback comment from. If I ever get this to ebook, my intention at this point is to split it up into two books. Actually, since I have a (not yet written) sequel for this in a similar format, that would turn it into 4 book series. Perhaps someday…

    • odin1eye says:

      Well, tbh, the idea of splitting it into separate stories rather does make me interested. But again, I realize my prejudices are just my own.

      And if it makes you feel better, when I was 10 I was very angry with J.R.R. for splitting the fellowship and having separate storylines.

  • Your thoughts on the story and the way it’s told are in line with mine. This is what I said – This is a story within a story. While the synopsis would lead you to believe that this story is all about Alan Porter, the titular poet, there is a framing device around it. I think that this story would have worked better simply as the story of Porter, told in first person perhaps, that served as a prequel for what’s going on in the “here and now” world of Trev Haroldson. The frame seems to weaken both stories a little. The villains were also more than a little two-dimensional. Still, there’s a strong dystopian sci-fi vibe with a dash of fantasy and I like the characters and end up caring about them all. That goes a long way towards smoothing over the story cracks. I also like the world he developed and how it feels one world removed from our own.

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