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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.

3 people found this helpful

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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

3 people found this helpful

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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.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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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.

1 person 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.

1 person found this helpful

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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.

1 person found this helpful

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Loved it

I was very pleasantly surprised by this. I didn't really look into what the book was about much before buying it. I was really excited as to the AI and pure science fiction aspects of this book. Reminded me a little bit of Solaris or something by Larry Niven.

My only complaint was sometimes the narration would get a little low. I don't blame this on Nathan Fillion as I had recently listened to Devolution by Max Brooks and Nathan does a really good job there. Recording issue maybe?

I give this a Big A+

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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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Great SiFi

Wonderful story. Told very well. The build up to the story concussion is tense and pay off is great. I will miss this crew

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Surprisingly Uninteresting

The concept of the story is fascinating and the narrator is great, but for whatever reason I found myself unable to pay attention to this audiobook. I've listened to a lot of audiobooks, and have seldom found myself so uninterested in a story and so uninvested in its characters. Just not my cup o' tea, I guess.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • YL
  • 2020-11-03

Promising First Half, Then a Mess

Fillion’s performance is good. He does get whispery at times, but the writing he’s conveying is problematic enough I don’t know what else he could have done. The writing starts off good and holds steady until after the halfway mark, staying straightforward and entertaining like a Haldeman or Scalzi. Then the author loses it. At first seeming to try to mimic surreal authors like Bear or Yoon Ha Lee (whose skills at the abstract are awesome). But, in the end just coming off as alternately a tad intoxicated then impatient. Then he skips forward to a finish that makes all written/read so far feel disconnected, irrelevant.

If he continues with more books—and sticks to the straightforward style he did well with at the start or polishes his skills with the abstract—the tales could be great.

75 people found this helpful

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  • unknown
  • 2021-01-31

Rats, I got sucked in and wasted a credit

When am I going to learn not to believe the gushing reviews where the rest are just poor? Believe the bad reviews for this audiobook, the gushing reviews are plants. This is a bogus listening experience, through and through. Storyline is interesting, at the start, but goes NOWHERE worthwhile. Nathan Fillion is one of my favorite actors, but so poorly directed and produced in this that I'm sad he squandered his talent on this effort. Sadly, I'm now a little burned on listening to anything else he might narrate in the future. (that kinda ticks me off about this book, too) I was going to give up and get my credit back, multiple times, but held out in the hope that, suddenly, the good reviews were going to be realized and something interesting or good or ...worthwhile was going to happen. No joy, No fun. No good. Want to waste a credit? Go ahead and buy this audiobook and experience what I, and so many others, did. Otherwise... there are SO many better choices, keep looking, this is NOT the book you are looking for...!

65 people found this helpful

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  • Willis Burns
  • 2020-10-28

Shiny....

I was sold at Nathan Fillion...

I never expected the book to be this good though. I loved every hilarious second of it and Nathan’s delivery only added to Wijeratne’s already incredible prose. I’d love more of this though I am guessing it won’t be a series. Movie? TV Adaptation. PLEASE?

43 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Jeffrey C Drywater
  • 2020-11-20

Starts At The Top Of A Hill And Only Goes Down

I was quickly engaged in the story, finding it funny and interesting, but it started slowing down about a quarter of the way in and by the last quarter of the book, I was ready for it to be over. Fillion does a great job and should consider doing more books, but I found the story just sort of wandered off into the distance and never found its way back.

29 people found this helpful

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  • P. huang
  • 2020-11-20

Boring concept, and the narration didn't help

Nathan Fillion is a fine actor, just not a good voice actor.
Story is not fun nor entertaining, I felt like I have to force myself listening to find something interesting. And I was disappointed.

Reading other reviews, either I have a unique taste, or a lot of bot are writing reviews.

23 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2020-10-31

Bought it because of Nathan Fillion, quite surprised by the story

The blend of sci-fi and Buddhist theology was an interesting mix that I didn’t think would work,but works surprisingly well in this survival sci-fi comedy. The author’s way of writing helped to create a clear picture most of the time, however there were parts that became hard to follow, but that also could have due to narration. I will say most of the poetry went right over my head but that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it. Nathan Fillion does a tremendous job portraying the cynical, snarky AI, but it was hard to follow some of the extended conversations between characters because he doesn’t change his voice much when changing characters. Very excited to see where this series goes, seems like the author left it open for a sequel. Would recommend to anyone who enjoys the colony survival game Rimworld, and anybody who wants a break from the typical sci-fi human savior stories. It’s mainly a story about being put in a bad situation and trying to make the best of it written from the perspective of a cynical poetic AI.

23 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2021-01-26

Meh (Nothing much happens)

An average crew on an average assignment face an average experience.

Nathan has to learn to modulate his volume and enunciated the last words in his sentence.

How was this missed in production? Were they star struck? I guess I am picky but, I had to crank up the volume to listen to the audible. Result? His first words blare through the speakers. Then he reads the last sentence or two of a paragraph in faint whispers. Nathan also has a tendency to swallow the last word or two in a sentence so that they are unintelligible.

Those simple correctable errors made the audible so distractingly frustrating I could only listen for short periods.

18 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • VJG
  • 2020-10-29

Nathan Fillion IS the cosmos-weary AI

This was really entertaining and original - I loved the episodes of AI poetry wonderfully performed by the salvage master himself - Nathan Fillion. A perfect karmic mashup of voice and story. Exactly what makes an audiobook great.

14 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sam Ferguson
  • 2020-10-30

Loved it

First of all, Nathan Fillion is perfect for this. Second- the story itself was quite an enjoyable ride. Fun, thought provoking, and highly imaginative.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Bloomknitter
  • 2020-10-30

If you like a little poetry with your sci-fi

This was a very nice book to listen to, with the narrator adding a lot to the poetry. I did find myself pausing the book occasionally after a poem, just to think on it a bit.

11 people found this helpful