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For I Have Touched the Sky
Mike Resnick
Infinivox, 71 minutes

For I Have Touched the Sky
Mike Resnick
Mike Resnick sold his first book in 1962 and went on to sell more than 200 novels, 300 short stories and 2,000 articles, almost all of them under pseudonyms. He turned to SF with the sale of The Soul Eater, his first under his own name. Since 1989, Mike has won three Hugo Awards (for "Kirinyaga", "The Manamouki", and "Seven Views of Olduvai Gorge"), a Nebula Award (for "Seven Views of Olduvai Gorge"), and has been nominated for sixteen Hugos, eight Nebulas, a Clarke (British), and five Seiun-shos (Japanese).

Mike Resnick Tribute Page
Review of Kirinyaga
ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Steven H Silver

In the past, I have had good things to say about the audio tapes released by Infinivox. Their production quality is good and their use of music tends to enhance the stories rather than detract from them. However, their continued selection of Pat Bottino to read the Kirinyaga stories of Mike Resnick is a mistake. Bottino's voice has a strong nasal quality to it and he speaks in a strange cadence which distracts the listener from the story being read, no matter how good the story is.

"For I Have Touched the Sky" is a good story dealing with a Kikuyu genius named Kamiri. Unfortunately for her, Kamiri is also a girl, and Resnick's narrator, the mundumugu Koriba is insistent that it is not the place for Kikuyu girls to read. The story details Kamiri's attempts to gain knowledge as seen through Koriba's eyes.

It is a testament to the strength of the story that it remains interesting despite Bottino's recitation. Furthermore, when I first read this story nine years ago, I viewed Koriba as a tragic figure. While listening to the Infinivox reading, he came across as an hypocritical, arrogant tyrant who failed to see that his policy of trying to avoid cultural change would result in Kirinyaga losing their best and brightest, whether Kamiri in the current work, or Ndemi in a later story.

Aside from Bottino's distracting rhythms, the production quality of "For I Have Touched the Sky" is as good as or better than any of the other Infinivox recordings I have reviewed. The sound level is relatively constant with the music used rarely so it doesn't drown out Bottino's voice (which, while good for listening to the story, is bad insofar as it means you can hear Bottino's voice).

I applaud Infinivox's (apparent) decision to record the entire Kirinyaga cycle, however I could only hope that they'll find new vocal talent before the series continues any further. The Kirinyaga tales, no matter how the reader interprets Koriba's character, deserve a better reading than the one Pat Bottino seems capable of giving.

Copyright © 1998 by Steven H Silver

Steven H Silver is one of the founders and judges for the Sidewise Award for Alternate History. He sits on concoms for Windycon, Chicon 2000 and Clavius in 2001 and is co-chair of Picnicon 1998. Steven will be serving as the Programming Chairman for Chicon 2000. In addition to maintaining several bibliographies and the Harry Turtledove website, Steven is trying to get his short stories published and has recently finished his first novel. He lives at home with his wife and 3200 books. He is available for convention panels.

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