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Publisher's Summary

Firewalkers are brave. Firewalkers are resourceful. Firewalkers are expendable.

The Earth is burning. Nothing can survive at the Anchor, not without water and power. But the ultra-rich, waiting for their ride off the dying Earth? They can buy water. And thanks to their investment, the sun can provide power.

But someone has to repair the solar panels when they fail, down in the deserts below.

Kids like Mao, and Lupé, and Hotep, kids with brains and guts but no hope. The Firewalkers.

©2020 Adrian Tchaikovsky (P)2020 Penguin Audio and Rebellion Publishing

What listeners say about Firewalkers

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Too much hard work due to narration

This is a much less ambitious novel than Tchaikovsky's Children of Time books, but might still have been an entertaining listen had it not been so hard to follow the narration at times. The narrator is very talented (hence the three stars) and I'm sure she's very proud of her ability to produce authentic accents but this serves no purpose if so much of the dialog is so heavily accented that the listener has to work hard to understand, sometimes having to make the choice between a rewind in an attempt to comprehend what was said or just moving on. If I'd realized it would take this much concentration to understand what was said I would have given it a pass.

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Awesome

Great Story, great audio performance. Consider this a must listen...hoping for a continuation of this story

6 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Narrator was too good.

Loved the story! Couldn't understand what they were saying half the time because she did the accents so well. The French accent in particular was almost impossible to comprehend, but maybe that's just me, I've always hated the way French sounds.

5 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Present day issues on steroids

Adrain Tchaikovsky's Firewalkers is a novella concerning the intersection of runaway climate change combined with extreme income inequality. In the near future, the world has reached its limit of carrying capacity which is rapidly diminishing. Major population centers have been located on the equator to support space elevators that are part of a plan to build space habitats, but only for the wealthy. Firewalkers are a unique breed of underclass that will leave the confines of the city to repair critical infrastructure that keeps the city alive. On one such assignment, the intrepid group encounters a wide array of odd behaviors and stumbles across a machine intelligence that has its own agenda and offer a unique perspective on society and the current state of affairs.

Tchaikovsky in a very economical way manages to flesh out a world that is an extreme of today's conditions, but is hauntingly familiar and recognizable as our possible future. There's a grittiness to life, while the sci-fi elements don't so much titillate the imagination as much as flow naturally from our current state. Beyond space elevators and orbital habitats with dreams of asteroid mining, the climate change and adaptations seem natural and unforced.

The narration is the weakest aspect. While there is reasonable character distinction, the heavily accented renditions are difficult to track and there's a bit too much histrionic performance that makes listening a bit of a chore.

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Could get past the first couple.of chapters.

I am a huge fan of Adrian's work, but boy, this one was so far off his usual genre, I grew bored instantly. I also could barely understand the narrator. The accents he uses are so thick sometimes I can't understand the dialogue. I gave up on this one.

1 person found this helpful

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terrible performance

the story was not great. the performance was awful. the writing was good.
the performer did a terrible job with this one.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Unexpectedly profound

This was an interesting listen. Very socially relevant as we live in a world where the economically disadvantaged are disproportionately adversely affected by the wealthy’s ravaging of our planet. The narrator elevated the experience to local poignancy by nailing an equatorial African storytelling style that is awkward for the first 20 or 30 minutes but then gels rapidly for a very effective tale. I loved the three main characters and the ending was not disappointing.

1 person found this helpful

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Standard global warming dystopian novel + twist

Standard global warming dystopian novel with a fun thought provoking twist. Sci fi at its best.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Incredible Performance!

my goodness, what a great listen! the narration was astounding and my only wish is that it was longer! it was great and Adrian Tchaikovsky has grown to be my 2nd favorite author behind Stephen King!

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Great short listen

Lovely character development. Unexpected gem. Adjoa Andoh was wonderfully entertaining, but the speech of one of the main characters was so tortured it was nearly unintelligible much of the time. My shoulders tire from all the cringing from listening to that one character. The amount of raw emotion attributed total anguished soul makes sense, but I'm emotionally exhausted from walking that road with her.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Simon
  • 06-28-20

Tchaikovsky Does Pop!

I've been so engrossed in some of Tchaikovsky's books that after 'Children of Time' I said that 'Tchaikovsky is still writing symphonies", it really was that good with length, depth and lots of sumptuously clever sci-fi ideas. Well if that was his symphony 'Firewalkers' is his effort at a three-minute pop song! Catchy setup, interesting chorus but really not much more than a bit of pulp entertainment.

For me, though it's not just that this isn't one of Tchaikovsky's best works it really isn't great generally either and it felt like a setup that deserved far better than this rather staid sci-fi offering. Adjoa Andoh certainly puts a lot into her performance to help lift it. She has a great voice but unusually for me, if I have a criticism, it's that for some of the characters it was a little over the top so that more than once I wasn't convinced I had understood what one of the characters was actually saying.

So, in summary, it's by no means awful but you can safely pass over this B-side composition, it isn't going to make the Greatest Hits album.

9 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Ciaran
  • 09-11-20

screaming autist

the problem here is, one of the main characters has autism. something the actor performing this book fully embraces. which means you get a lot of autistic scream in your ear, making it hard to listen to. really need to take some artistic license with that character to make this easier on the ear.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-08-21

Short but very enjoyable

Great world building, fascinating plot and interesting complex characters. It’s Short but a great listen.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Alistair
  • 07-24-21

the end of the world?

an interesting story but recording was poor
kept repeating lines which I assume was '1st line of a chapter' would play OK until seemingly a line would be repeated.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr. Fleming
  • 04-21-22

Short but sweet

I discovered Adrian Tchaikovsky‘s work around two years ago and I have been a avid follower ever since. I love the way he writes and the worlds he builds and this book is no different from here is very high standard… But, this was so short! It made me feel as if it was an unfinished idea for the editor, the end was a little rushed with a rush to the finish. The performance was excellent while being jarring at times the African culture really brought the characters to life, I could vividly picture each one. I will be very pleased to get a second book in the series, It left me wanting a little more as I’m a big fan of the quality and density of his writing.

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  • jgarth
  • 10-21-21

Good story, problematic audio

The story itself is inventive, interesting and fast paced. However I have to echo the other reviewers here and confirm the audio is problematic. The decision to give most of the characters very thick, very abrasive accents ends up detracting from the experience. Often instead of listening to the story you are struggling to understand what is being said. Perhaps read the hard copy book for this one.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-06-21

Good story, narrator issues

The story was good. I'm a fan of Tchaikovsky's work.
I had an issue understanding the thick accents put on by the narrator in this book. I ended up having to rewind and listen to a conversation more than oncd

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-19-20

Enjoyable listening

Quite enjoyed this book. Fairly short, 5hrs but an easy listen. Narrator was great. I didn’t have any problem with understanding the accents at all.

1 person found this helpful