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The Downloaded cover art

The Downloaded

Written by: Robert J. Sawyer
Narrated by: Brendan Fraser,Luke Kirby,Vanessa Sears,Colm Feore,Andrew Phung,full cast
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Publisher's Summary

In 2059, two vastly different groups of people portrayed by the compelling trio of Brendan Fraser (Academy Award winner), Luke Kirby (Emmy Award winner), and Vanessa Sears (Dora Award winner) undergo cryonic suspension. While their bodies are frozen, their minds, still active and awake, are uploaded into a massive quantum computer. The first group are all astronauts, about to leave Earth on a one-way interstellar colonization mission. The second group consists of convicted murderers and volunteers who elect to serve their sentences in a virtual-reality prison. But while both groups are suspended, a global cataclysm devastates most of the Earth, and their cryosleep is extended by more than 500 years.

Now available in Dolby Atmos on Audible.

©2023 Robert J. Sawyer (P)2023 Audible Originals, LLC.

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About the creator

Robert J. Sawyer is one of only eight writers ever to win all three of the world’s top awards for best science-fiction novel of the year: the Hugo, the Nebula, and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award. He has also won the Robert A. Heinlein Award, the Edward E. Smith Memorial Award, and the Hal Clement Memorial Award; the top SF awards in China, Japan, France, and Spain; and a record-setting sixteen Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Awards (''Auroras''). Rob’s novel FlashForward was the basis for the ABC TV series of the same name, and he was a scriptwriter for that program. He also scripted the two-part finale for the popular web series Star Trek Continues. He is a member of the Order of Canada, the highest honour bestowed by the Canadian government, as well as the Order of Ontario, the highest honour given by his home province; he was also one of the initial inductees into the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. Rob lives just outside Toronto. His website and blog are at sfwriter.com, and on Facebook, X, and Patreon he’s RobertJSawyer.

About Brendan Fraser

Brendan Fraser is an Academy Award®-winning actor whose inspired performances and eye for thought-provoking material continue to garner critical acclaim. Fraser can most recently be seen as the lead role in Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale, for which he received several award nominations including his first Academy Award win & nomination for Best Lead Actor. Upcoming this year for Brendan includes starring as the lead in Legendary Pictures’ Brothers alongside Glenn Close, Josh Brolin and Peter Dinklage. He’s also a supporting role in Martin Scorsese’s new epic Western, Killers Of The Flower Moon. Other notable works include Universal’s Mummy franchise; Crash, directed by Paul Haggis; Phillip Noyce’s The Quiet American, based on Graham Greene’s 1955 thriller of the same name; and Bill Condon’s Gods and Monsters, opposite Sir Ian McKellen, and Lynn Redgrave. He received a BFA in acting from the Actor’s Conservatory, Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle.

About Luke Kirby

Luke Kirby is an Emmy® Award-winning theatre, film, and television actor who has performed on stages in Toronto and NYC over the years, including productions of Troilus and Cressida, Jump/Cut, Defender of the Faith, and Judgement Day. Luke starred opposite Michelle Williams in Sarah Polley’s film Take This Waltz, and opposite Samuel L. Jackson in The Samaritan. More recently, Luke starred as Ted Bundy opposite Elijah Wood in No Man of God. In television, one of Luke’s favourite roles was in the critically acclaimed mini-series, Slings and Arrows, opposite Rachel McAdams. He has also had regular roles on HBO’s Tell Me You Love Me, The Sundance Channel’s Rectify, and Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel in the role of Lenny Bruce.

About Vanessa Sears

Raised in Deep River, Ontario, Vanessa Sears is a Dora® Award, Toronto Theatre Critics, BroadwayWorld and Critic’s Pick Award-winning artist. She has starred on stages across Canada including the Stratford Festival, Shaw Festival, the historic Winter Garden Theatre and many more. Vanessa has also appeared in numerous films and television programs, including Suits, CBC’s Tallboyz, Lifetime’s Too Close for Christmas, Sex/Life (Netflix), and more. Up next, you can see Vanessa starring in Fourteen Love Letters, as well as Royally Wrapped for Christmas.

Behind the Scenes

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What listeners say about The Downloaded

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
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    2 out of 5 stars

I made it through a few hours…

I managed a few hours but it got tedious. Tries really hard to hit all the social justice hot buttons and it just got tiresome.

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22 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Great performance, terrible story.

There's a reason why in sci-fi writers will use some sort of far-future black magic tech as their plot drivers, its very hard to screw up something nobody understands. Then you decide to use concepts that have been heavily researched (while doing no research yourself) and drop the ball, people notice. and the rest of the mistakes in the story that would be overlooked start to become glaring.

Minor Spoilers below:

The premise is a Fallout 4 meets Dr. Stone collection of humans unwittingly preserved into the far future awake to find earth sans-humanity 500ish years later. So far, so good. However the driver of this reset button on the world is a CME causes a Carrington event-like electromagnetic storm that fries all unshielded electronics. Being denied use of their cell phones humanity collectively goes "Well, I guess I'll die" as opposed to rebuilding. This leads to other questions such as if a basic civilian cryo-storage facility that housed the MCs got out unscathed why wouldn't military complexes and data centers, places currently shielded against EMP and have backup generators, also be perfectly fine. Gravity and wind didn't turn off, so wind turbines and hydro-electric generators could be kluged back into service at reduced capacity until full industry is restored. Ironically, solar power (which kept or sleeping characters preserved) would be the worst cooked by an EM wave.
A better approach to a "humanity got noped out of existence centuries ago plot" would just leave the cause a mystery and let the reader come to their own conclusions.

The cast did a pretty good job at trying to bring life the characters, except Sears who seemed to struggle with her character (though in fairness the space captain she plays is sloppily written)

I will give full props to Sawyer for the exploration of digital freedom to create ones own personal Heaven and Hell and the consequences therein.

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12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Glad I did not pay for this

Booooring. Not sure how I made it through. I know I tuned out a few times

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10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Now that's entertainment!

Both a fun and thoughtful romp through a post-apocalyptic scenario, as only Robert J. Sawyer can pull off. I thought the contrast between the astronauts and ex-cons provided good tension, and the Mennonites were a nice touch too. I loved that the story was placed in Waterloo: Sawyer always gives his work a proudly Canadian flourish. And it was a magnificent, layered theatrical performance of the audio book - Brendan Fraser was especially good, and fresh from his Academy Award! I love that Sawyer's brand of thoughtful science fiction is commanding such star power today.

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7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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well written and entertaining!

I always enjoy Robert J Sawyer's work and this was no exception. Well-researched science, three-dimensional characters, a stellar cast of voice actors and a hopeful ending. Would recommend!

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6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Bingable and reflective

This is sci fi I can get into. It felt similar to Orwell's martian chronicles, and an Arthur C Clarke piece. Would love to see a film adaptation if it hasn't happened already.

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6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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what a fantastic production.all together entranced

Author! Author! I really really love this piece of art... It's more than a book it's more than an audiobook it's more than a radio play and it's more than a serial... You write great characters as always... And those great actors eat it up for breakfast lunch and dinner and however future martians eat! I believe that this should get a special award from both Hugo and Nebula... The last two episodes should be read by every head of state and every CEO to get a fictional view of a very realistic future.. that's how stunningly drawn the situations are.

The core of the book of the characters and the things they experience with robots and artificial intelligence in space travel are all on top of people's minds right now and the challenges that the characters go through are things we need to think about now.

The plot and action is fantastic, matching the premise.

Cheers to you and thank you for the art and artistry ... ( And settings and characters from Canada to boot!👍) ... I do hope that this gets option for the screen it's made for of course... Listen to it and enjoy.

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4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Great performance. Very creative story.

Loved this one. Another gem from Sawyer and the cast delivers a big screen performance.
100% recommend.

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4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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So, so good!

5 stars all around.
I enjoyed the philosophical bites as well. Hope they make more like it.

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4 people found this helpful

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I want to listen to it again

Very entertaining. Many characters who I would like to go back and get to know better the second time around.

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4 people found this helpful