Tor.com is pleased to share an excerpt from the audiobook of Christopher Paolini’s Fractal Noise, read by voice actor Jennifer Hale! Take a look at some behind-the-scenes footage of the recording process, as well as a clip of Jennifer discussing her process for bringing the characters of the Fractalverse to life!
Excerpt from Fractal Noise
On July 25, 2234, they discovered the anomaly. It was ship-night inside the SLV Adamura, and all the lights were off or else dimmed and set to red to avoid disrupting the crew’s circadian rhythm. The halls and rooms of the vessel were hushed… but not silent. Life-support fans provided a constant background hum: lulling white noise that soon faded from notice.
Outside the Adamura, the sand-colored gas giant Samson receded into the black backdrop of space.
The ship’s lab was cramped. Equipment encroached from the walls, filled the center, leaving narrow walkways in between. Here it was warm from the computers, and the air had a thick, stifling quality. Numerous tiny indicators gave the impression of constellations scattered across the dark pieces of machinery.
Alex Crichton sat at the holo-display crammed into one corner, trying to read the results from the probe they’d dropped into Samson’s atmosphere the previous day. Carbon, ammonia, methane… The list blurred before his eyes. It was well past midnight. But he still hadn’t written his report, and the captain was expecting it first thing in the morning.
The smart thing would have been to write the report that afternoon, when he was still somewhat alert. That would have been the smart thing. Alex knew it. But he hadn’t been able to bring himself to type a single word. Like most days, he felt little to no motivation during waking hours. It wasn’t much better at night: an occasional spurt of panic would result in a brief run of productivity, but even then, the work he produced wasn’t very good. He was too sleep deprived, and Alex didn’t want to take a wake-me-up pill like StimWare. What was the point? To feel better? That wasn’t going to happen. As long as he could keep Captain Idris from chewing him out again, he didn’t care to do more. None of it really mattered, after all. Not to Alex.
The holo swam before him, numbers floating disconnected from their background.
Alex blinked. It didn’t help. Frustrated, and not having the strength to deal with the frustration, he crossed his arms on the plastic desk and rested his head on them. A shock of black hair fell across his forehead, cutting off his vision.
How long had it been since he got it trimmed? Three months? Four? It had been sometime before. That much he was sure of.
He buried his face in the crook of his elbow, and for a long while, the hum of the fans was the only sound in the lab.
Voice Actor Jennifer Hale on Character Techniques
Characters and audiobooks are so interesting. They’re completely different from other formats. They can’t be too crazy or over the top because you’ll lose the listener. Now, that being said, let’s look at Pushkin. Pushkin is a fascinating character, Pushkin’s from Shin-zar where there’s intense gravity. We had a Shin-zar character in To Sleep in a Sea of Stars, and we were able to sort of figure out that he’s, it’s very wide in the body, but Pushkin has kind of a Russian flair to him.
So he was here and everything was very big with Pushkin and very deep and very wide, but very emphatic because he’s very certain of himself. And, uh, I actually had to gain down a lot when I did Pushkin. I could blow the mic out very easily.
Talia was a really unique challenge, and I swear my phone was the greatest asset in that because I have voice memos and in my voice memos, that’s where I, I have all my references for everybody, and I would frequently just call it up and say, okay, okay, where’s Talia?
Where’s Talia? There’s Talia. I’ll listen to her. There we go. And she has a unique affectation in her speech that’s kind of hutterite in, its in its, uh, flavor. So I would listen to this and then I would have her, and she would be right there, but I would have to come in for her a lot. She was a really challenging and interesting character too.
And for Alex. Alex is, you know, he doesn’t have an accent of any kind, but he’s a man. So I would kind of drop into my lower register cuz I’m not a man right. But I would drop into Alex’s vibe and that would be more down here. And also kind of muted given what Alex has been through, um, that shifts and changes, the story goes along.
But just a guy trying to get things done, that’s where Alex lived. Yeah, it was fun. It was really fun to do the great, the mix of everybody.