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Friday, March 26, 2021

Audible Book Review: Outland by Dennis E. Taylor

Skilled narrator Ray Porter helps make this quick, fun listen.
By: Dennis E. Taylor
Narrated by: Ray Porter

Outland audiobook cover art
Length: 10 hrs and 29 mins
Release date: 05-16-19
Publisher: Audible Originals
Genre: Alternate World, Science Fiction, (time travel)
My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0 Overall; Story 4.25; Narration 4.5.

Publisher's Summary
When the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts, it's up to six college students and their experimental physics project to prevent the end of civilization.
When an experiment to study quantum uncertainty goes spectacularly wrong, physics student Bill Rustad and his friends find that they have accidentally created an inter-dimensional portal. They connect to Outland - an alternate Earth with identical geology, but where humans never evolved. The group races to establish control of the portal before the government, the military, or evildoers can take it away.
Then everything changes when the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts in an explosion large enough to destroy civilization and kill half the planet. The team has just hours to get as many people as possible across to Outland before a lethal cloud of ash overwhelms them.
Nothing has prepared the refugees for what they find - a world of few resources and unprecedented dangers. Somehow, they must learn to survive, because Outland may not just be a safe haven - it could be their new home.
©2019 Dennis E. Taylor (P)2019 Audible Originals, LLC.

Richard and Kevin, two college physicist students, are involved with experiments on quantum uncertainty. They approach Bill and his friend Matt to add their technical skills to the science project. As the team gets deeper into the project, without clear university sanction, they soon realize that they have created an inter-dimensional portal. When a blast of gas comes through a portal, Erin, a geologist student adds to the information. Next, they add in Monica, a biology major, to chime in on apparently prehistoric animals seen through the portal.

These six young people soon initiate plans to move their experiment off campus and find creative ways to fund their continued work. Once they have some funds available, they begin to expand the experiments, gather, and stock supplies needed for their projects. When the team cashes in with significant funds, they become the target of thugs. The thugs think they will take advantage of the kids but they have no idea who they are dealing with!

The portal team is stepping up their activities just when Yellowstone goes supernova covering their community and others in lethal ash. The team realizes they have a safe place to go and they must move quickly if they want to save others from the university. Quickly a group of refugees are escorted through the portal to “Outland”. There they struggle to build shelters, organize food, set up security patrols, and send out scavenging teams to gather supplies. And if it isn’t enough to try to survive among hostile animals, soon there is a vocal, angry activist group seeking to challenge the leaders. Add to that another threat that lurks beyond their gates.

I found the story easy to follow, quick and fun listening. I would say that the characters were not deeply developed but there was sufficient to know what each added to the team. The personal interactions seemed mostly superficial but that was okay as it didn’t cause distraction from the dangers and struggles of a new society trying to survive. I have enjoyed the ‘Bob Universe’ series by Mr. Taylor and will no doubt read more in the future. I recommend this to fans of post-apocalyptic, dystopian and alternate world genres.

Audio Notes: It is hard to go wrong with any book narrated by Ray Porter. He always contributes his strong, creative voice skills to make a book a good listening experience.

Source: 8/11/19 I picked these up with July Audible Credits. This qualifies for 2021TBR, 2021Audiobook and 2021Alphabet Audio goals.

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