Narrator: Matthew Mercer
Published by Audible Studios on 07-25-17
Genres: Science-Fiction, Technothriller, Thriller
Length: 8 hrs and 42 mins
Author: Tal M. Klein
Length: 8 hours 42 minutes
Publisher: Audible Studios
Released: Jul. 25, 2017
It’s the year 2147. Advancements in nanotechnology have enabled us to control aging. We’ve genetically engineered mosquitoes to feast on carbon fumes instead of blood, ending air pollution. And teleportation has become the ideal mode of transportation, offered exclusively by International Transport—a secretive firm headquartered in New York City. Their slogan: Departure… Arrival… Delight!
Joel Byram, our smartass protagonist, is an everyday twenty-second century guy. He spends his days training artificial intelligence engines to act more human, jamming out to 1980’s new wave—an extremely obscure genre, and trying to salvage his deteriorating marriage. Joel is pretty much an everyday guy with everyday problems—until he’s accidentally duplicated while teleporting.
Now Joel must outsmart the shadowy organization that controls teleportation, outrun the religious sect out to destroy it, and find a way to get back to the woman he loves in a world that now has two of him.
Tal M. Klein was born in Israel, grew up in New York, and currently lives in Detroit with his wife and two daughters. When she was five years old, his daughter Iris wrote a book called I’m a Bunch of Dinosaurs that went on to become one of the most successful children’s book projects on Kickstarter ―something that Tal explained to Iris by telling her, “your book made lots of kids happy.” Iris then asked Tal, “Daddy, why don’t you write a book that makes lots of grownups happy?” Tal mulled this over for a few years, and eventually wrote his first book, The Punch Escrow. It won the Inkshares Geek & Sundry Hard Science Fiction publishing contest, and is the first book published on the Geek & Sundry imprint.
Matthew Christopher Miller, known professionally as Matthew Mercer or Matt Mercer, is an American voice actor involved in English dubs of Japanese anime as well as cartoons, films and video games. In anime shows, he voiced Levi in Attack on Titan, Kiritsugu Emiya in Fate/Zero, Kanji Tatsumi for episodes 13-26 in Persona 4: The Animation and Trafalgar Law in the Funimation dub of One Piece. In video games, he voices Leon S. Kennedy in the Resident Evil series, Jack Cooper in Titanfall 2, Chrom in Fire Emblem Awakening, McCree in Overwatch, MacCready in Fallout 4 and Yusuke Kitagawa in Persona 5. In addition to voice-over, Mercer has developed some live-action web series including a Nintendo character parody called “There Will Be Brawl” and the famous Geek & Sundry and Alpha Dungeons & Dragons gaming session show “Critical Role.” The Punch Escrow is his first audiobook.
It is the year 2147, and the safest way of transportation is teletransporting. There are some religious fanatics trying to boycott this since they believe teletransportation is killing people. Joel Byron works training AI’s to make them more ‘human’. His marriage is in danger, so Joel and his wife plan a trip to Costa Rica. During the teletransportation there is a terrorist attack and something fails when it is Joel’s turn, resulting in him remaining in the the departing room… but there is also a copy of himself that appeared in Costa Rica. After the incident, the transport company is trying to kill Joel, but why? And is this related to his wife’s job, since she is working for the transport company?
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! This is one of those sci-fi books that makes you think and will stay with you for a while after it is finished. What is it that makes us human? Is cloning or duplicating a way of creating human beings or just an aberration? These and other related questions popped in my head while listening to this book, after seeing the implications involved in the teletransporting proposed by Klein.
The book is written in first person, from the point of view of Joel, the one who stayed at NY, and the one who first realizes that he is being chased by the transport company. It is written as a memoir, in which he relates what happens to him and where he puzzles together the events affecting the other characters. Apart from Joel, the characters are not fully developed, but as he is talking to us, it is easy to connect to him and understand his actions and motivations. Due to his job, which I found amazing, he will try to trick some AI’s in his way to try to save his wife and reach his doppelganger.
The narration was very well done, and I especially enjoyed Matthew Mercer’s singingof Karma Chamaleon, so much that I found myself singing along at the top of my lungs. Mercer really became Joel Byron and delivered impressive character interpretations. He gave different voices, accents, and styles to all the characters in the book. I had a small issue though, with one of the characters and his wife Costa Rica, since both sounded quite similar to me (same accent and similar tone). Since the husband’s voice was supposed to be electronic, a subtle sound effect would have helped here. For the rest it was a top notch narration, with a spotless audio production.
I genuinely loved this book, the ideas behind, and its execution. I think the innumerable hypothesis that sci-fi makes possible are a great way of exploring, experimenting, and make us think t of the box. Whenever a book makes me think twice I consider it a success.
I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Tal M. Klein. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.
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My name is Elena. Since I was a little child I loved science fiction and fantasy, and I can’t resist a good novel. In 2015, while wait I started to listen to audiobooks and I discovered the pleasure in being able to read while doing my daily tasks, so there’s always an audiobook playing on my phone. If you see me with my Bluetooth headphones on, please be gentle, I get easily startled.
I live with my boyfriend, which I met during my six-year stay in Belgium, four cockatiels, eight lovebirds, and a hamster in Madrid, Spain; and I like to spend my free time knitting and sewing while listening to audiobooks.