Hank And Delovoa

Hard Luck Hank: Early Years & Delovoa

Early Years & Delovoa

Read Time: 2 Minutes

I’ve been on a bit of a Hard Luck Hank binge recently, where I’ve started the entire series over from scratch. It’s still one of my favourite series because it hits my funny bone just right. Even with the dreadful narration and production values that plague every book in the series, it’s still one I find myself coming back to when I’m between books.

I hadn’t noticed that the two short story collections were available as audiobooks until they popped up on my feed as part of Audible Plus and I could grab them for free. Honestly, if they hadn’t been free, I doubt I would have bothered. I assumed that like the other books they were narrated by Liam Owen. They were not. These were half-assed with “Virtual Voice” – an AI voice reading the stories. I didn’t notice until I had pressed play.

These were not well done. First off, the quality was surprisingly bad. I had expected a clean, crisp sound but it sounded low quality. Most of all, I couldn’t stand the lack of any emotion behind the read. These are humorous books and need the comic timing that an AI doesn’t have. Further, there was no voice distinction between any of the characters and I found myself trying to keep up half the time with who was who.

One thing that’s often immediately noticeable in audiobooks by actual narrators is when they’ve spliced in retakes where their setup has obviously changed. You’d think that a computer reading a book would produce an identical output all the way through. Not so. For whatever reason, when do-overs (presumably for mispronunciations by the AI) were added in, the change in audio quality was very noticeable.

All that said, the stories are still fun diversions and fill out the backstories of two major characters of the Hank universe. The explanation of the sport “Glocken” doesn’t match how it’s described later in the series, but Campbell tend to retcon a lot of stuff in the books so it’s kind of par for the course at this point.

Of the two books, Delovoa was my favourite of the two. Mostly because we’ve already got so much Hank that the Delovoa stories felt a little fresher. From how he got his mutation, how ZR3 came to be and a heap more.

So, I’m torn. I like the series but recording them this way with the Virtual Voices was just a Basketful of Crap, to borrow a book title from the series. If you must, get them while they’re free on Audible Plus. Personally, I couldn’t justify spending money on these, even when they’re on sale for less than $2 each.


Humorous, Science Fiction, Aliens, Galactic Empire, Male Narrator
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