In Which Amber Benson and Wil Wheaton Talk About Narrating Head On + Audio Excerpt Mashup

Over on the Verge today, there’s a piece up about the audio version of Head On, which like its predecessor Lock In will have two narrators: Wil Wheaton and Amber Benson. Wil and Amber talk about narrating a book whose main character’s gender is unknown to them (because it’s also unknown to me, the author — I intentionally decided not to gender Chris Shane before I started writing the first book). The article also features an audio excerpt that mashes up Wil and Amber’s narration, which is, honestly, pretty damn cool. If I were you I would click through just to hear that, but what Wil and Amber have to say about the book and their interpretations of it is pretty interesting too.

Also: Hey! Wil and Amber are doing versions of Head On! How cool is that? You can pre-order their respective audio versions from Audible (here’s the link for Amber’s version; here’s the link for Wil’s). Also, remember you can get a signed and personalized version of the printed version from Subterranean Press; and if you just want a signed version (no personalization) Barnes & Noble’s got a few they’ll let you have.

11 Comments on “In Which Amber Benson and Wil Wheaton Talk About Narrating Head On + Audio Excerpt Mashup”

  1. Yes to everything here! Yes to wil and amber, and yes to genderless main characters! I was going to read this anyway but now I’m moving it up the list to next in line! I’ve been toying with the idea of ungendered characters in writing. I have one short thing where the main character remains unidentified.
    I love this…
    Maybe you should consider keeping it a mystery and get someone with a very androgynous voice?

  2. I listened to Wil’s version when the book came out and Amber’s two years later. The story works beautifully either way. Really looking forward to the new book.

  3. For Lock In I got both the audible versions and can attest that they both were very well done. What I found interesting is that when I listened to Wil’s version Chris came through as definitely male, while listening to Ambers made Chris obviously female. I am anxiously awaiting the release of Head On Kindle and Audible in the coming weeks.
    Thanks again, John

  4. Funny, I just re-read Lock In and always considered Chris male. And black. (That’s probably me stereotyping based on his fathers’ career in basketball.)

    Can’t say *why* I make the ‘male’ assumption.

  5. As a listener/reader, I love the feeling of continuity that using the same narrator(s) affords. Great news!

  6. I do think Chris is biracial, so that’s at least in the book. Dad is definitely black.

  7. I listened to the mashup and you are right – it is very cool. So cool, in fact, that I would buy a mashup version of the whole book. You might suggest that to Audible. Can’t wait for the book to come out.

  8. I know this was discussed when Lock In came out, but I read Chris as male. Which is probably because I am a male. After I read it, there was discussion here that women read Chris as female. While reading the book, I never really thought about Chris’ gender. The character and story were so compelling that I never thought about it. I am curious to see how knowing what I know now affect my perceptions as I read Head On. Which I cannot wait to do!

  9. What fun!! I find it interesting that in that my mind, I automatically switch the gender perceptions depending on the narrater, even now after several times listening. I may be too old to ever assume gender neutral out of the gate. When I first read the book (before the audibles), I read Chris as male and I am a woman, but that may be that kiss-ass type women are not the norm. Love this concept.

  10. I assume that gender matters, even to a locked-in person. If the story doesn’t tell me, I assume m-or-f based on *something.* I may have chosen to think of Chris as male because most people I know who shorten their name to ‘Chris’ are Christophers as opposed to Christines. Just my experience, but it’s probably 5 to 1.

    Of course that could be a regional thing, or simply that I don’t know enough of either to have a truly representative sampling.

    (Of course, I still think of Mike as Mycroft and not Mychelle. ymmv!)