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The Salvage Crew cover art

The Salvage Crew

Written by: Yudhanjaya Wijeratne
Narrated by: Nathan Fillion
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Publisher's Summary

Award-winning actor Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Castle, The Rookie) brings to life a snarky artificial intelligence you won't soon forget. Don't miss his hilarious performance in a story perfectly crafted for sci-fi fans of The Martian, Red Dwarf, and We Are Legion (We Are Bob).

They thought this was just another salvage job. They thought wrong. 

An AI overseer and a human crew arrive on a distant planet to salvage an ancient UN starship. The overseer is unhappy. The crew, well, they're certainly no A-team. Not even a C-team on the best of days. And worse? Urmahon Beta, the planet, is at the ass-end of nowhere. Everybody expects this to be a long, ugly, and thankless job. 

Then it all goes disastrously wrong. What they thought was an uninhabited backwater turns out to be anything but empty. Megafauna roam the land, a rival crew with some terrifyingly high-powered gear haunts the dig site, and a secret that will change humanity forever is waiting in the darkness.

Stuck on this unmapped, hostile planet, lacking resources, and with tech built by the cheapest bidder, the salvage crew must engineer their way to payday...and beat Urmahon Beta before it kills them all.

©2020 Yudhanjaya Wijeratne (P)2020 Podium Audio

What the critics say

"Yudhanjaya Wijeratne's ingeniously crafted The Salvage Crew starts with a comforting science-fictional familiarity, before using its A.I.-co-authored idiosyncrasies to hurtle headlong into the gravity well of its considerable ambition. A novel of meteoric energy, flaring brighter and brighter as it falls further into its world." (Indrapamit Das, Lambda Award-winning author of The Devourers)

"A classic sci-fi adventure wrapped around a deeply philosophical core. With skillful plotting, interesting details, and a motley crew of humans and A.I., it's a story that embraces its meta-origins...with an ending worth waiting for." (S.B. Divya, Hugo and Nebula Award-nominated author of Runtime and Machinehood)

"With animation and wry humor, Fillion introduces listeners to OC, an artificially intelligent yet poetic overseer...with tenderness and sorrow [he] conveys OC's dawning realization that their mission has turned into a nightmare. Fillion's talents are undeniable...." (Audiofile Magazine)

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What listeners say about The Salvage Crew

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Interesting story

I really liked the story. The only shortcoming I found was the audio was a little quiet. Nathan Fillion did a great job but he is a little soft spoken and the poetic nature of portions of this book made it necessary to have the volume nearly maxed at times.

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11 people found this helpful

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

I should have loved this ...

Salvage Crew has all the elements I generally love in a sci-fi novel: new planets, first contact, survivalism, alien creatures, regular people doing a regular job but in the far future, an interesting premise …

But I found it hard to be engaged. I think part of the issue was the narration. I love Nathan Fillion - he was why I decided to listen to this novel - but he mumbles a little bit. As such, I couldn’t listen to the novel at 1.5 speed, which is my preference. If people talk too slow for my (apparently hyper-wired) brain, I can’t pay as much attention as I should, so I found I zoned out at times.

I can’t blame it all on the narration. Wijeratne is obviously a smart guy; he draws from history, literature, other sci-fi works, some pop culture, and science to world-build, but sometimes it comes on too strong and becomes almost pedantic (perhaps this was simply how Nathan Fillion narrated it, though).

The poetry and the quotations were also somewhat annoying to listen to. I will admit, while I like poetry, if a poem is included in a book, I tend to skim it. I also wasn’t entirely convinced that the Charge of the Light Brigade, which he references often, applied here. I’ve always been a fan of that poem, but I read it as Tennyson’s honouring the soldiers' sacrifice in how they charged towards certain death without fear. That’s why it’s called Charge of the Light Brigade, not Fall of the Light Brigade. Comparing them to three useless salvagers doing a job for a company fell short for me in terms of a working allusion. Kameron Hurley's (double!) twist on the poem in the novel The Light Brigade resonated more clearly with me.

I really loved how the Overseer could see and hear everything going on due to his drones and spiders, etc.; that part was believable and very well done. Yet, despite being in the first person, I didn’t feel I knew him that much. We only learn small tidbits about his life previous to becoming a machine, but he also never talks too much about the things he misses from being human.

The other characters fell woefully flat. It’s really frustrating because the plot itself is enjoyable and engaging. But why not have six characters rather than three (many hands make light work, right?) and give them more background. All we get is the cursory info dump at the start, which hindered rather than helped. There’s no snarky banter, most arguments are told in passing, and the characters don’t grow or develop. I didn’t feel like I knew any of them, which made it hard to care.

And the ending just went on and on and on. As someone who knows a lot about this kind of concept, it was didactic in the extreme, and I kept checking how much time was left.

This novel is kind of like a well-put-together cake. It has all the elements a cake should have, but the flavour is lacking, and the icing is too thin. I didn’t dislike it, and I think the author is talented at world-building and complex concepts, but there was no human story within the plot to make me excited.

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9 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Nathan Fillion

this man give life to this book the same way he does firefly. worth every minute of the listen

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6 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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3 stars for the story .. only for its potential

inly made 75% in and HAD TO BAIL

the story lacked - it lacked hard

Nathan Fillion's narration is B. A. D. and really kills the book.

he gets into his stoopid Castle-esq mumbling... I had to rewind to re-listen innumerable times

now you ask why didn't I return it , I stopped listening because I couldn't deal with the narration... a good narration would have had me hooked. my suggestion... get it re-done

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5 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Poems

The beginning of the book the AI recites Poems after Poems. After a while i kept forgetting what the story is about. I lost interest after chapter 3.

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5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Perfect reader, fantastic story

Poetry, buddhist philosophy, and fresh sci-fi concepts. Nathan Fillion reads with sensitivity and complete understanding. It's not often i look forward to reading a book a second time as soon as possible.

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4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable listen, angelic voice

Whimsical at times, I couldn't stop listening as the story wove through the struggles and hardships in vivid detail. an excellent piece to add to your collection.

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4 people found this helpful

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

Sigh

Between the poetry, the meandering plot, and the low-key delivery, I couldn't finish this. It came across as a sad follower of the Murderbot school. Am returning it.

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3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Started out alright, but I couldn't finish it.

I am a fan of Nathan Fillion, but not of his narration. I enjoyed the first half of the book, but thenrest was tedious and I became uninterested.

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3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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And I love Nathan Fillion

Not a great story and it was hard to make out Nathan Fillion for the first half of the book.

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3 people found this helpful