In the days of old, stories were usually told orally from a tribal storyteller or one of the wise elders or chiefs. The next progression in storytelling came with the first hieroglyphics and visual representations of actual and mythical events. After that came the evolution of written languages and alphabets, eventually culminating in the printing press that appeared only a few hundred years ago. Books have become the main medium for people to tell both tales of fiction and reality and they literally (no pun intended) have taken over the world. Millions and millions of books have been written, read, stuck in huge libraries, worshipped, banned, censored, and even burnt because of their perceived potential and powerful effects on societies. The previous century saw the advent of film that brought ‘life’ to many books and subsequently have become one of the most popular forms of entertainment in our world. Now however, with the Information Age have come E books, and a very exciting new arrival: audible books. Audible books have ensured that books will still be one of the main storytelling mediums for generations to come.
The Internet has brought so many new ways for us to communicate with each other, but here I will focus mainly on the area of literature. If you aren't good at typing, or have some kind of illness that prevents bodily movement, there are now voice recognition software packages that turn your voice into words on the monitor and thus the sheet of paper. On the other hand, there is now technology that uses voice synthesis to convert text into spoken audio for audio books.
Recently I went on a trip by car with my parents for the first time in many years as I had the opportunity to get to visit my girlfriend as she lives in the same city as they were visiting. The reason why I haven't travelled with them for so long is that our personalities often clash and in a confined space over a length of time it can become unbearable for all those involved. I was still a little dubious of the trip ahead but my Dad said that he had an audible book that we could listen to on the way through his Apple Ipod. He has a connection called Itrip that you connect from the music device to the cigarette lighter and then the book is heard through any unused radio frequency. This particular story was meant to be a science fiction novel called ‘Ender's Game’ by Orson Scott Card. I hadn't read Sci-Fi in a long time so I wasn't really looking forward to it, but my Dad assured me that his friend had told him that it was very good.
Well, let me tell you the story was very engrossing indeed. All three of us were hanging on every word from the multiple narrators (an interesting way to hear a story told) that meant that we couldn't even discuss our opinions on what we thought was happening (the story wasn't very straightforward) until we made it to food, gasoline, and rest stops. This meant none of the arguments of old as well as friendly conversation when communication was possible. The coolest part of all was how the time of the journey just seemed to flow by. Usually the eight hour (each way) trip could be quite tiring with one becoming impatient at the monotony of the landscape; farms and pastures can become one huge blur after a while. This time however, story unfolding gradually mile after mile, the climax of the plot building slowly, we almost didn't want the trip to end as it would mean the end of the storytelling experience.
This could have great ramifications for the humans of the future, don't you think? Imagine what it could mean for keeping children happy, calm, and even the added educational opportunities. There are many places to find audible books but the most famous is www.audible.com. There are thousands of texts there separated by genre as well as having ‘book club’ and ‘award winning’ lists. They cost money of course, but if you become a member you receive discounts that mean that most are no more expensive than paper books. A lot of the classics are there as well as children's books and recently published texts. There are probably a hundred different genre categories and sub-categories altogether. If you've got a book of your own that you want to turn into an audible, check out www.nextup.com.
Maybe you've never been much of a reader but you've always enjoyed it when people have weaved magical tales that cause you to fly away to other realms and realities. For whatever reason, go check out audible books, they may just open another door of perception.
Jesse S. Somer
Jesse S. Somer likes to read and write and watch stories, now he can hear them too.