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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.

Trailer

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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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    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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Another winner from Robert J. Sawyer, and excellently produced!

The Downloaded is another winner from Robert J. Sawyer. It is extremely well written and the pacing was perfect—once I turned it on I struggled to turn it off. Further, the audiobook’s production values were through the roof with a talented cast who did a great job bringing the characters to life. Easily among the best—if not the best—I’ve listened to.

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2 people found this helpful

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Intriguing Listen

Immerse yourself in a great Science Fiction novel as it spans many centuries in the blink of an eye. It is also well performed by well known celebrities, and with the addition of sound effects it makes an even greater listen.

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2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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A great production to the service of a “meh’’ story

I took this audio book after seeing the great ensemble cast, and being a Sic-Fi nuts, this seemed a really good deal. I wasn’t disappointed by the quality. As far as audiobooks go, this is very nice. Almost like an old time radio drama. However, it is all done to the service of an ok story, at best. The frustrating part is that it touches themes that are very interesting and could have been much better explored, but it keeps on the surface and move quickly from one issue to another, fixing debates and problems easily without getting in the suspense or the philosophical, because the story needs to get going. It feels like they shouldn’t have explored so many to begin with, since it is all wrapped up pretty quickly anyway and often without satisfaction or real drama. Also, this is an “interview” style storytelling, very similar to World War Z, but not done as well. At some point the story catches up with the “testimonies”, but they keep “testifying” to what they are doing/thinking, even though it doesn’t make sense anymore. The end is one of the most straight up and on the nose “happy endings” have heard in a while, with a very convenient Ex Machina type solution that makes you sigh a little. For the price (free with the Plus Catalogue) and the time (a little over 5 hours) it’s absolutely worth it, but it is no Asimov.

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Excellent performance! Overall a good listen

I loved the premise of the book, and character development was great. But the insertion of the author's personal opinions toward covid 19 were disruptive and irrelevant to the storyline and made it difficult to remain immersed in the plot. Narration was spot on, and I still like the book- just leave the virtue signaling for social media next time.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great story!!

I could not put this down! Very clever story and fantastic narration. I will definitely be revisiting this one again!

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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Well worth the wait!

This Audible exclusive was a long time coming but was worth the wait. A good cast is so much easier to listen to than a single narrator trying to act several characters. The shorter format made for a pleasant evening listen as opposed to some of the 27 hour SF monsters in the Audible catalogue.

Sawyer has done a great job of building the mystery side of the story with characters who reveal their motivations reluctantly throughout the story. I suspect some reviewers did not listen to the final ending where many answers get revealed.

Long time Sawyer fans will find elements of many of his past sub plots in this book. All in all a well spent evening. I look forward to reading the print copy when it gets released next year.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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Interesting take on end of the world survival

Interesting story, but trying to weave social justice themes throughout the story ruined the whole thing.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

identity politics and unreality ruins this for me.

Hearing progressive tropes be hammered on over and over literally made me say "oh my gosh, get on with it.." while I was driving in my car. The author continuously took me out of the story with (what felt like) personal political and ideological pursuits. I have no problem with any of these themes (LGBTQ, race, class, etc.) but for them to feel real and living they need to function and arrive at these themes in real ways. Lots of these concerns were poorly thought out and it felt as though the issues and identities were not natural parts of the picture or the characters. These issues are what made me leave this half way through. the voice acting is well done by most, the audio engineering is top notch, as well as the foley and/or SFX work. This was just a clunky story that doesn't feel as believable or as honest to real humanity as an apocalyptic drama should be, in my opinion. This story had a good premise, just too much political and ideological grandstanding and wokeness for its own sake. Give this a listen if that is your cup of tea.

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

Everything but the kitchen sink

Plot was too vast and could have been narrowed significantly. Also, some blaring omissions such as how convicts arrived in Waterloo from Maine.

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