So, when I read or listen to a certain type of book, I often want to play a related computer game. In some of the 4X style games I play, I just turn the audio off and listen to audiobooks instead.
In the last couple of months my games with audiobooks have been:
Total War : Empire
Nelson : a personal history by Christopher Hibbert.
This book was commissioned to commemorate the 200 year anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar. Writing a biography of Nelson needs to steer clear between the twin perils of the sort of glorifying of Nelson you see in some early works, and the sordid fascination with his mistress you see in others. Hibbert veers into the territory of the private Nelson, and comes close to crashing on the rocks of the minutiae of Nelson’s infatuation with Emma, but his attitude to her prevents this.
To me, Hibbert treats her as a sort of scientific curiosity – a type of woman we no longer have in our society. In part that’s because modern social climbing is based on spending, whereas then it was based on social class. Our society also has different perceptions of beauty, favoring youth in a way not seen in Nelson’s time. Emma’s life would not have been possible now, because the goals she aspired to no longer exist, and her weapons (her style of beauty, her type of wit, her theatrical stagings) no longer work.
Command a king’s ship by Alexander Kent. A mission to south-east Asia and a battle with a skilled French foe, make this novel interesting, if not one of the strongest in this subgenre.
Total War : Rome
I’m playing a heap of Rome right now, and while playing, I’ve been listening to:
Empire of dragons by Valerio Manfredi. This is a fantastic book. Manfredi takes the old story about Li Jen, the colony of Romans in ancient China, and draws it out by having a second group of Romans follow a similar path into the east. It’s good, but it really should have been longer. The ending seems abrupt: the author could have put a second or third book into the narrative without any stretching at all.
The histories by Tacitus
Tacitus is just a fantastic author. He covers the Year of Four Emperors, a period where Rome was embroiled in a series of rolling civil wars. The armies of the empire discover you can make an emperor, and one by one the Spanish, Roman, German and Asian legions each have a tilt at it. Get into it, so you’ve read it by the two thousand-year anniversary of the death of Vespasian, which si coming along any time now.
The histories by Herodotus
The Father of History, laying down an entire academic discipline, with a topping of phoenixes and flying serpents. I really like how much Herodotus hates the Delphic oracle. Seriously, check out the sort of catty smackdowns he puts on the voice of god and her each-way-bet prophecies.
Pretty much anything published by Baen Books that isn’t right wing diatribe. David Weber’s a favourite, John Ringo not so much, Tom Kratzman not at all. David Drake would be cool for the new version of Civ.
I can’t be the only person who does this…any other suggestions for good gaming and audiobook combos?