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The Mindless Ferocity of Sharks
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With any new technology there is always going to be an awkward stage where what is possible is hamstrung by what people feel comfortable accessing. This scenario is playing out in the emergence of audio books on compact disk as an adjunct, or even alternative, to their print cousins. With Bolinda’s complete and unabridged version of Brett D’Arcy’s The Mindless Ferocity of Sharks, the reader/listener purchases nine CDs, weighing in at 10 hours and 15 minutes. Unfortunately, each CD has been encoded as a single 45-minute track, which makes finding your place if you don’t have the time to listen to the CD in one sitting a little awkward. Fortunately, however, this is a book that lends itself beautifully to this medium. Marnika’s delivery is skilfully paced and the characters are eminently accessible in his intonation. Even D’Arcy’s innovative narrative style, which required an energetic reader, seems lulled into compliance like the swell of the surf when presented in this format. The prospect of purchasing a handful of CDs encoded as MP3, or even a single DVD that can be played through the loungeroom stereo, with author’s comments or biography, is exciting, as publishers like Bolinda push the bounds of this new technology. Ben Beaton is a Perth teacher and writer C. 2004 Thorpe-Bowker and contributors

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