Found Audio
Amrapali Anna Singh is an historian and analyst capable of discerning the most cryptic and trivial details from audio recordings. One day, a mysterious man appears at her office in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, having traveled a great distance to bring her three Type IV audio cassettes that bear the stamp of a library in Buenos Aires that may or may not exist.On the cassettes is the deposition of an adventure journalist and his obsessive pursuit of an amorphous, legendary, and puzzling "City of Dreams." Spanning decades, his quest leads him from a snake-hunter in the Louisiana bayou to the walled city of Kowloon on the eve of its destruction, from the Singing Dunes of Mongolia to a chess tournament in Istanbul. The deposition also begs the question: Who is making the recording, and why?Despite being explicitly instructed not to, curiosity gets the better of Singh and she mails a transcription of the cassettes with her analysis to an acquaintance before vanishing. The man who bore the cassettes, too, has disappeared. The journalist was unnamed.Here—for the first time—is the complete archival manuscript of the mysterious recordings accompanied by Singh's analysis.

Found Audio Details

TitleFound Audio
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 11th, 2017
PublisherTwo Dollar Radio
Number of pages162 pages
Rating
GenreFiction, Mystery, Adult Fiction, Language, Writing, Science Fiction Fantasy

Found Audio Review

  • Danny Caine
    February 27, 2017
    Late in N.J. Campbell’s debut novel Found Audio, the narrator states, “weird is common, in a way.” The declaration is a thesis for this compelling, multi-layered novel that follows an unnamed adventure-journalist as he globetrots in search of the unexplained. We only hear from this adventurer via mysterious audiotapes, delivered by a strange man to a reclusive audio engineer. The engineer transcribes the tapes, and sends them to a lowly intern who’s then tasked with publishing the manuscript—pre Late in N.J. Campbell’s debut novel Found Audio, the narrator states, “weird is common, in a way.” The declaration is a thesis for this compelling, multi-layered novel that follows an unnamed adventure-journalist as he globetrots in search of the unexplained. We only hear from this adventurer via mysterious audiotapes, delivered by a strange man to a reclusive audio engineer. The engineer transcribes the tapes, and sends them to a lowly intern who’s then tasked with publishing the manuscript—presumably, the one we’re holding. It’s knotty and metafictional, and that’s half the fun. Everything in this novel is filtered through layers of mystery and intrigue. The clever structure casts doubt on the story, while the story itself questions the very definition of so-called reality. The total effect, to the delight of Vandermeer or Borges fans, is a fun and surreal mind trip.
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  • Matthew Burris
    February 16, 2017
    Adventure journalism meets magical realism. The forensic audio ads another weird/interesting layer. Cinematic and quick. Recommended.
  • Corey Constable
    July 22, 2017
    I grabbed this book for its title (I'm an audio nerd) but stayed for its premise. The writing is tight and economical, and its presentation is so well done. I'm hoping this will be turned into an audiodrama, and I have half a mind to ask Campbell if he'll let me produce it. This story begs to be made into audio format.
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  • Pop Bop
    July 20, 2017
    Are You the Dreamer, or Are You the Dream?If you are intrigued by this book, and you rightly should be, you should know what you're getting into. Here goes. (These are sort of structure and premise SPOILERS if you are sensitive to that, but not much more than the book's blurbs give away.)We have at least three pieces in this Matryoshka, (Russian nesting doll). First, there is a mysterious frame that adds a touch of paranoia and suspense. It's really just an atmospheric gesture, but it's fun. The Are You the Dreamer, or Are You the Dream?If you are intrigued by this book, and you rightly should be, you should know what you're getting into. Here goes. (These are sort of structure and premise SPOILERS if you are sensitive to that, but not much more than the book's blurbs give away.)We have at least three pieces in this Matryoshka, (Russian nesting doll). First, there is a mysterious frame that adds a touch of paranoia and suspense. It's really just an atmospheric gesture, but it's fun. The conceit is that this is a work of non-fiction masquerading as fiction in order to be publishable. We open with a foreword and then an epilogue from the "author", N.J. Campbell, who tells us that she is a lowly publisher's intern who saved the manuscript and undertook, at great personal risk, to have it published. I've loved transgressive "found" manuscripts ever since I read Huxley's "Ape and Essence" a million years ago, so this approach tells me we are in for some metafictional, metaphysical fun.Within that frame we encounter a second frame. The story is a transcript taken from three mysterious audiotapes. The transcript was made by an expert in tape audio detection, and was made at the behest of a mysterious and slightly creepy stranger. At this point we learn a little about the provenance of the tapes. The expert opens the narrative with a long letter explaining the circumstances under which the transcript came to be. The expert also laces the transcript with notes and annotations about technical details and about what she has deduced about the tapes from barely detectable background sounds. This is a phenomenal example of faux-realistic pretend science, because the expert is precise, fussy, rather impressed with herself and a little showy. I don't know if there are such people or if this is even a real technical skill, but it didn't matter because it all just made the story both fun and a little creepy. Finally, we get to the heart of the matter, which is basically an extended monologue by an unnamed adventure writer, who describes his search for "The City of Dreams". NO SPOILERS, but this part works wonderfully on many levels. This writer travels to a dozen exotic locales in his search and in each, (especially the Louisiana Bayou, Kowloon, and Mongolia), he has vivid yet dreamy adventures. Here is where attempts at comparison fail. There is certainly a touch of Borges. There is clearly a Confucian/Buddhist influence. The phony travelogue to non-existent places evokes Jan Morris' "Last Letters From Hav". I was reminded of Nicholas Christopher's brilliant "Veronica", which is another magical search book, though drawn from Tibetan Mysticism.The upshot, though, is that our writer's mind wanders just as much as his body wanders, and among and through his dreams, his actual adventures, his imagined adventures, his totally untrustworthy memory, and his romantic unreliability we touch on love, desire, reality, consciousness, magical realism, real magic, and any number of other elegantly displayed topics. Since this is all wrapped up in lush and evocative travel writing it reads like the best actual head trip ever. It's not a sloppy or over-written head trip at all. The writing is tight and restrained, sometimes almost severe, which makes the occasional psychedelic scene all the more fun.So, that's what you get here. This isn't a novella at 162 pages, but it's close, especially since it's three nested stories. And that works, because it's sort of like the book version of dessert, and it's awfully rich. This was a hoot and a very nice find.(Please note that I received a free advance ecopy of this book without a review requirement, or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)
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  • Nick
    July 11, 2017
    The very notions of time and memory and consciousness, or what it means to know one is "living," are questioning throughout N.J. Campbell's debut. A strange series of tales told by a singular narrator, this book works to show the reader his own time and it's connectedness to the time and questions that have come before and will surely come after. Are we awake and living or are we dreaming and does it matter which?
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  • Andy
    July 9, 2017
    If you love Twin Peaks, you might love this novel.It's going on that list for me, AND it's making me check out the catalog of novels published by Two Dollar Radio, because this and Berit Ellingsen's Not Dark Yet are amazing!
  • Eric Boyd
    July 17, 2017
    Campbell is a good friend but that doesn't affect how well done I truly believe this book was. A heady mix of classic adventure lit filtered through a yearning, post-modern mentality which creates far more questions than answers. While publisher Two Dollar Radio called this book "Indiana Jones" meets "Inception", I think the work of Inarritu is more precise: Imagine if Michael Keaton in "Birdman" was dropped into the plot of "The Revenant" and you have an idea of what sort of mood this book crea Campbell is a good friend but that doesn't affect how well done I truly believe this book was. A heady mix of classic adventure lit filtered through a yearning, post-modern mentality which creates far more questions than answers. While publisher Two Dollar Radio called this book "Indiana Jones" meets "Inception", I think the work of Inarritu is more precise: Imagine if Michael Keaton in "Birdman" was dropped into the plot of "The Revenant" and you have an idea of what sort of mood this book creates. Expect big things from Campbell because this is a hell of a debut.
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