On Audio Books and Pronunciation

For We Are Many came out recently, and I’ve received a surprising number of comments on some pronunciation changes. The three words mentioned are: Archimedes, Eridani, and AMI.

So here’s the thing.

Ray corrected his pronunciation of Archimedes in book 2, thanks to some feedback after book 1. Although several people have commented on the change, I don’t think anyone’s actually complained.

As to Eridani, turns out Ray’s pronunciation in book 2 is also correct. I did some quick googling, and it seems the proper pronunciation of the constellation is err-ID-an-us, not err-id-AN-us. By extension, Eridani would be err-ID-an-ee.

Regarding ammy vs amy, well, let’s face it, there are no rules for acronyms. Given default English pronunciation rules, though, the latter is more likely to be correct.

The upshot? I had a discussion with the good folks at Audible, and they are going to look at correcting book 1.

There’s also a horrible brain fart on my part at the top of chapter 40 in book 2 which will be corrected, but I think they can just copy and paste to fix that one.



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    • Owen on May 6, 2017 at 9:06 am
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    I noticed the “Archimedes” thing whilst listening, but just put it down to a case of “You say tomatoes and we say tomatoes” thing which is just one of those fascinating we are all different and that’s interesting things.

    I live in a very tiny bit of North Oxfordshire where we have a river called the Cherwell. You should hear the arguments I have heard about whether you should pronounce it “Cher” (to rhyme with her) well or “Char” (to rhyme with far) well. And this is in a 15 mile square enclave, so I wouldn’t get to het up about it. It certainly didn’t mar in the least my enjoyment of the audiobook.

    I won’t even try to explain the burning question of our little corner of the world, i.e. Is “Epwell” pronounced “Epwell” or “Epll”

    1. Had to chuckle at this! I’m a Yank, but having just married a lovely British girl will be moving the UK! West Sussex, btw. But as a teenager I also lived in Cheltenham in GLOS years ago when my father’s employment took us there, and the locals pronounce the town Chelt’num. As do I!

        • Owen on May 10, 2017 at 12:49 am
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        They certainly do.

        Subsequent to my post (well last night) I went to our town’s mayor-making (basically the town mayor’s inauguration) and one of the councillors speaking aired the whole “Cherwell” versus “Charwel.l”

        It seems it is “Cherwell” north of Deddington and “Charwell” south of it.

  1. I only just discovered your books today, and am now reading Bobiverse 1. I have one thing to say: FANTASTIC!

    But after that one thing, I have a quibble: What is it about this Faith thing? I happen to be a believer, a Christian, but the kind of religious dictatorship you envision at the beginning of Bob 1 is extremely unlikely. I should also hope that it would be unlikely! Such kinds of dictatorships in Christianity have existed to a certain extent in the distant past, but they’ve never been long-lasting. That’s pretty much the only thing that I have found in the book that blows up in my face. Now if you had posited a Muslim religious dictatorship, that at least would have had a certain amount of recent history cred. In case you hadn’t noticed, the United States is getting gradually and inexorably less and less religious, and the likelihood of a turnaround in that is minuscule. And even at the country’s height of religious “faithfulness”, the kind of government you envision was quite frankly impossible.

    I think you’ve been reading too much Margaret Atwood.

    1. It’s supposed to be a dystopian vision of the future. I don’t subscribe to it either, but unlikely or not it makes the book have a good “does an ai have a soul” argument. Not to mention the political infighting in faith.

      As a Christian, I had no problem with the plot device… He managed the atheism bit much more diplomatically than ready player one did.

        • Marc Schipperheyn on May 9, 2017 at 9:52 am
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        Regarding the “unlikeliness” of such a major change. I’m not so confident. Many people could not fathom a Trump as president, a Hitler that would invade Poland/USSR, etc. When the stars align, and given enough time, shit can and does happen.

      1. Oh, I didn’t that much of a problem with it. Not that I can think up a better scenario — at the moment, anyway.

          • Rich on May 10, 2017 at 4:17 pm
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          My impression of it was that a _secular_ society would have to impetus to classify corpsicles as dead, thus allowing their neural patterns to be owned. The only way to have a legal definition of who does or does not have a soul would be to have the governing body be a religious one. Going from that point, a scenario in which our increasingly secular society becomes overtly and heavily religious enough to be able to designate legal soul status would require the kind of extreme backlashes described in the book.

      • Jeff Maddox on August 16, 2020 at 2:00 pm
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      Sorry Egyptian empire, Assyrian empire, Phoenician empire, Spanish empire, suggest you read some history, all a perfect example of FAITH with the added bonus of high technology to make oppression. Please note that our founding fathers truly only feared two things, a dictatorship and a religious dictatorship. I would also like to point out the Puritan government of the 16 hundreds.

      • Ileana Dominguez-Urban on April 18, 2024 at 3:28 am
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      Regarding the unlikeliness of FAITH: It’s now 2024 and a lot of people are pushing for – or insisting that our Constitution created a Christian government.

      As far as a dictatorship, in 2017 I too would have thought it impossible. Search in your browser for “Project 2025.”

      Margaret Atwood was prescient.

      My son played Bobiverse on our trip to see the eclipse and now my husband and I are both in book 3. Got to this page while looking up the pronunciation of Eridani. I was wrong.

    • Ryan Gavigan on May 8, 2017 at 6:19 am
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    I agree that it’s more of a ‘tomaytoes tomahtoes’ thing, and I had no problem with it and thought both audible reads were great. Better than the type of audible fo-pah like reading out Henry V (referencing the shakespeare play) as ‘Henry Five’ like I heard in a recent book.

    Is Outland going to be an audiobook at some point soon?

    1. Yes. Contract is signed. Just needs a round of edits.

      • AdjustableCynic on May 10, 2017 at 9:00 am
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      Yeah, I had a moment of realization that the two pronunciations were different, and it took a chapter or so to get used to, but I figured it was done on purpose, and it didn’t change the story at all. I did have trouble listening to “The Mote in God’s Eye” because I’d never heard Marquis pronounced any other way than ‘markee’ and the reader reading it as ‘mark-wiss’ just rubbed me the wrong way. Turns out I’m the philistine and it’s pronounced that way in Britain.

        • Owen on June 5, 2017 at 2:00 am
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        In your defence I have heard “Marquis” pronounced both ways over here.

        I am pretty relaxed re different pronounciations the only “Americanism” I really cannot stomach is “bouy.” 😉

    • LaBelleProvince on May 24, 2017 at 7:43 am
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    Dennis, it brings joy to my heart that you have a French-Canadian character. No, wait, it brings joy to my heart that you wrote this series of books, and even bigger joy that we have more to look forward to. The Quebecois character is pretty cool too. But I digress.

    In Book 2, chapter 29, after the raptor battle, Stephane says, “Tabernacle”. The correct cuss word is “TABARNAK!”, pronounced as it’s written. Cursing in Quebec has an interesting history. Our profanities are based on the Catholic Church, and Wikipedia has a fairly accurate entry at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quebec_French_profanity.

    If Ray is going to clean up a few things in the audiobook, please put this on the To Do list, as it rings false on the ears of anyone who cares about cursing properly. I assume the Bobs do.

    • Sarah on May 31, 2017 at 10:09 am
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    I love the books but when it comes to Book 2 the edits are super obvious when it comes to both inflection and volume. At first I thought it was a new reader. Rather off-putting; yet as I say that know I am on a binge listening to book 2 and will get book 3 the day it is released.

  2. Hi. I just finished the second audiobook of the Bobiverse. Wow… What a story you’re weaving together. Cannot wait for the third book. One minor thing I caught was that the chapter where Riker is looking at the leader of VEHEMENT (a few chapters before he drops something heavy on him), the chapter is introduced as Riker being on Vulcan. It kind of threw me for a loop. I guess it’s the audiobook version of a typo?

    I also reviewed the first book on my humble little public health and life blog: https://epidemiological.net/2017/06/04/books-you-should-read-we-are-legion-we-are-bob/

    Keep up the phenomenal work!

    1. Yes, we’ll be doing a few fixes on the audio books. That one is on the list.

    • Eric on June 14, 2017 at 10:44 pm
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    Awesome books… the Brazilian names needed input from a Português speaker. It’s major annoyance to hear Portuguese names slaughtered with a Spanish accent. PS I can’t wait for the third book!

    • Lawrence on June 21, 2017 at 3:28 am
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    I was happy to pick up the quick reference to Jack the Bodiless in the first book (for me audiobook). Alas, all too few people, even dedicated science fiction readers, are familiar with the works of Julian May, which is a crying shame 🙁

    • Kevin on January 2, 2019 at 5:07 pm
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    Audible never did revise the pronunciations in book 1. Additionally, they did a very bad job at revisions they made to books 2 and 3. You can tell that revised lines were recorded with a lower-quality microphone (perhaps literally “phoned in”) because Ray’s voice suddenly loses all bass and becomes tinny.

    • Saul on January 3, 2019 at 4:00 pm
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    I noticed that myself. A little jolting when it occurred. Come on, Audible, you are understandably picky when it comes to independent audio producers. I could do a better sound match with audacity and a yeti. Come on!

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