It Burns
Written and hosted by Marc Fennell, It Burns is the story of a 10-year scandal-plagued international competition that will take listeners from the Australian Coast to South Carolina (via an Indian Research Facility).It’s a war filled with larger than life characters. There will be sledging, accusations of cheating, theft and performance enhancing drugs. And allegations that Australia was cheated out of a Guinness World Record. In the process of charting the scandal-plagued race to breed the world’s hottest chilli, the audio documentary lifts the lid on the subculture of ‘Chilli-heads’, hardcore chilli fans spread across the globe who compete in chilli eating and breeding competitions.The internet is filled with videos of grown men being reduced to tears by a square millimetre of chilli. The docu-series asks: what motivates someone to breed and eat a demonic nugget that is so hot it no longer has flavour? At what point does this stop being cuisine and start being an endurance sport?This humorous series shows that all this has never really been about chilli. It’s been about how people use pain to shape themselves, define themselves and make themselves feel alive.This series contains mature themes and graphic imagery, and listener discretion is advised.

It Burns Details

TitleIt Burns
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 15th, 2019
PublisherAudible
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Audiobook

It Burns Review

  • Montzalee Wittmann
    January 1, 1970
    It Burns: The Scandal-Plagued Race to Breed the World’s Hottest Chilli by Marc Fennell and narrated by author is not a book I thought it would be. I thought it might be about the different contest, peppers, how they judge...I really don't know what I thought but this wasn't it. This book bounced all over the world finding the hottest chili peppers, the killers! Discussing why people love the pain and talking to dedicated Pepperheads to find out! Apparently there is more to eating peppers than a It Burns: The Scandal-Plagued Race to Breed the World’s Hottest Chilli by Marc Fennell and narrated by author is not a book I thought it would be. I thought it might be about the different contest, peppers, how they judge...I really don't know what I thought but this wasn't it. This book bounced all over the world finding the hottest chili peppers, the killers! Discussing why people love the pain and talking to dedicated Pepperheads to find out! Apparently there is more to eating peppers than a burnt tongue, running nose, and watery eyes! Who knew? This book talked to growers, champions, pain addicts, a dom, and more! Lets just say it was a whole lot more than I expected. I learned a lot. I also think these people are a bit sad.
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  • Karen ⊰✿
    January 1, 1970
    It’s like a car crash. You can’t stop watching (or listening in this case!) This is a fascinating and compelling look into the world of hot chillies. Who knew there would be so much controversy, back stabbing and even death threats in this community!Told honestly and with humour, once you start you just have to listen until the end. Much more about humanity and communities than chillies, this is highly recommended listening and currently available for free on audible.
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  • Liam
    January 1, 1970
    Like most people I imagine, I've gotten this free from Audible.I was pleasantly surprised to hear Marc's Aussie accent when I first started listening to It Burns, I went into it knowing literally nothing about it (other than the title), which I think was a good decision as I didn't go in with any expectations.As it was, it was a rambling, mostly aimless, but very charming and entertaining little adventure through the world of high-enthusiasm chili-heads.Recommended if you can grab it while it's Like most people I imagine, I've gotten this free from Audible.I was pleasantly surprised to hear Marc's Aussie accent when I first started listening to It Burns, I went into it knowing literally nothing about it (other than the title), which I think was a good decision as I didn't go in with any expectations.As it was, it was a rambling, mostly aimless, but very charming and entertaining little adventure through the world of high-enthusiasm chili-heads.Recommended if you can grab it while it's free - otherwise I'm not sure I'd spend a credit on it.
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  • LeeTravelGoddess
    January 1, 1970
    It wasn’t interesting to me.
  • Cathy (cathepsut)
    January 1, 1970
    Have you heard of Chilliheads? These people are nuts. Bonkers. Wacked in the head. Look at this, the really painful bit starts 8 minutes into it:https://youtu.be/9k-SBpElcWA Delightfully silly topic. Unless, obviously, you are a chilli head. In that case this is dead serious, mate! A fun playlist is further down.Shockingly, there are some shocking and disturbing parts in this narrative as well and not in a good way.The mentioned Ed Currie and breeding the Carolina Reaper:https://youtu.be/hrF3jVp Have you heard of Chilliheads? These people are nuts. Bonkers. Wacked in the head. Look at this, the really painful bit starts 8 minutes into it:https://youtu.be/9k-SBpElcWA Delightfully silly topic. Unless, obviously, you are a chilli head. In that case this is dead serious, mate! A fun playlist is further down.Shockingly, there are some shocking and disturbing parts in this narrative as well and not in a good way.The mentioned Ed Currie and breeding the Carolina Reaper:https://youtu.be/hrF3jVppfr4The audio talks about trolling, fraud, the mental state of chilliheads... Amazing how much drama people can create around something that does really not seem all that important.Free from Audible, thank you! P.S.: I love the Aussie accent of the narrator. The audio was nicely dynamic, almost like a radio production. However, a few times the other speakers were not easy to understand and some of the background noises were not clear and made me wonder what was going on.It was fun to discover something completely new to me. Unfortunately it also led to me watching youtube videos of crazy eating challenges almost all day yesterday. :-)—————Small sample playlist.... https://youtu.be/Dyrmfv0JbIUhttps://youtu.be/Mb-QVfwCmYgJesus H. Christ on a motorbike. Yeah, right, not going to do that in a hurry. Laughing tears, seriously... Animals are more evolved than we are, right... lol....Meanwhile, in England...https://youtu.be/1vVwIZnV5vwI was rooting for the guy on the far right... He was so nonchalant about eating those things... and then he was suffering, but soldiering on... Can you imagine the afterburn? *shudders*Pizza?https://youtu.be/6AiI1UcYSuYIt‘s a lingerer! Mistakes were made! Lol. OMG, my cheeks are hurting from laughing so much.This guy is certifiable!https://youtu.be/tYbYa3HF2HgMeanwhile, back in England...https://youtu.be/5nbGPCLfIYkBon Appetit!
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  • David
    January 1, 1970
    Do you like mouth-burning pain?This Audible original is about chili peppers and the people obsessed with breeding (and eating) the hottest of the hot. Today's foodie culture includes those gastronomic sadomasochists who enjoy eating Ghost Peppers, Chocolate Habaneros, Trinidad Scorpions, and the reigning king of mouth-burning pain, the Carolina Reaper.A plain old jalapeno? 8,000 Scovilles.Tobasco sauce? 50,000 Scovilles.The Carolina Reaper? Over 2 MILLION Scovilles!Marc Fennell goes around the w Do you like mouth-burning pain?This Audible original is about chili peppers and the people obsessed with breeding (and eating) the hottest of the hot. Today's foodie culture includes those gastronomic sadomasochists who enjoy eating Ghost Peppers, Chocolate Habaneros, Trinidad Scorpions, and the reigning king of mouth-burning pain, the Carolina Reaper.A plain old jalapeno? 8,000 Scovilles.Tobasco sauce? 50,000 Scovilles.The Carolina Reaper? Over 2 MILLION Scovilles!Marc Fennell goes around the world to interview people who grow and eat hot peppers, including diving into the strange world of YouTubers who film themselves eating raw hot peppers and the effects of this (it usually involves tears, snot, and vomit). There is a bit of science, a bit of history, and some delving into the contest to raise the next Guinness record-breaker. (Pepper aficionados are extremely competitive and this leads to lots of ridiculous drama, accusations of cheating and collusion with labs, even death threats.)While I liked It Burns, it seemed like the author/narrator tried a bit weakly to link his pepper journey with other themes, like pain in general (he interviews a dominatrix!), the psychological torment of some of his subjects (the guy who bred the Carolina Reaper is a born-again former alcoholic and drug addict), and his own (he was a "fat kid" who still has an unhealthy relationship with food).I was really interested in the peppers, but not so much in the filler about various people's psychological issues.
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  • Karissa
    January 1, 1970
    I got this for free as an audiobook from Audible Originals. It was okay and I learned some interesting things about peppers and the crazy people who like to cause themselves pain with them. I didn't think the book was especially humorous, it also took a weird turn a few times as it explored how hot food and religion are linked. Another weird digression was taken when Fennell decides to visit a dominatrix to explore people's addiction to pain (this short little bit is what makes this an adult boo I got this for free as an audiobook from Audible Originals. It was okay and I learned some interesting things about peppers and the crazy people who like to cause themselves pain with them. I didn't think the book was especially humorous, it also took a weird turn a few times as it explored how hot food and religion are linked. Another weird digression was taken when Fennell decides to visit a dominatrix to explore people's addiction to pain (this short little bit is what makes this an adult book and was somewhat divergent in my opinion). I kind of felt like this was only here for the shock factor or something.In the end Marc tries to tie all of this craziness back to his own issues with food. Which was kind of like, uh...okay whatever.Overall, some of the history around chile peppers is interesting. I thought the whole controversy around the hottest pepper issue (which is what the story is focused on) was silly. The interviews were well done and the audiobook was well put together. All in all this was a mixed bag. It was kind of interesting and a bit silly; I got it for free so I can't really complain.
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  • Becky
    January 1, 1970
    Note: take the trigger warnings seriouslyI really appreciated that Fennell spoke to his issues with food, he was very honest and open and it was a strength of the book. It was short, free, and fairly interesting.That said, there were some great ideas that Fennell seemed to wish to discuss but didn't have the time, leaving the book feeling like it didn't stick the landing at the end. Ideas of community, relationship to food, addiction to pain, even the effects of the internet on what is basically Note: take the trigger warnings seriouslyI really appreciated that Fennell spoke to his issues with food, he was very honest and open and it was a strength of the book. It was short, free, and fairly interesting.That said, there were some great ideas that Fennell seemed to wish to discuss but didn't have the time, leaving the book feeling like it didn't stick the landing at the end. Ideas of community, relationship to food, addiction to pain, even the effects of the internet on what is basically an international gardening community, were all fantastic ideas that seemed to float around the story without being made thematic. It seemed like a missed opportunity. It also contributed to making this feel like it lacked the cohesion of even most podcasts. If Fennell expanded this work I would absolutely get it.... as it is, however, I'd give a 2.75.
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  • Alan
    January 1, 1970
    Entertaining Overview of the Hottest Chili Peppers in the WorldReview of the Audible Audio audiobook (2019)This was entertaining and informative and also provided a bit of insight into the somewhat masochistic world of hot chili pepper eaters. Also note the cover image of a hot pepper wrapped in barbed wire, an extension of the 'heart in barbed wire' meme representing a person trapped in love.Image source = Wikipedia illustration for the article on the Scoville heat scale.It Burns was one of the Entertaining Overview of the Hottest Chili Peppers in the WorldReview of the Audible Audio audiobook (2019)This was entertaining and informative and also provided a bit of insight into the somewhat masochistic world of hot chili pepper eaters. Also note the cover image of a hot pepper wrapped in barbed wire, an extension of the 'heart in barbed wire' meme representing a person trapped in love.Image source = Wikipedia illustration for the article on the Scoville heat scale.It Burns was one of the Audible Originals free audiobooks for members in August 2019.
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  • James Sheaves
    January 1, 1970
    It Burns is a highly entertaining and surprisingly dark look at a subculture most probably haven't given much thought to. Marc Fennell, who will be most familiar to Australian audiences from SBS' The Feed, is a highly engaging host, who doesn't shy away from any opportunity to explore personal, unflinchingly honest angles to the story. There is a kind of rhythm to the story that almost seems to mirror the experience of eating a hot chilli, where at first it's fun and light, and then really painf It Burns is a highly entertaining and surprisingly dark look at a subculture most probably haven't given much thought to. Marc Fennell, who will be most familiar to Australian audiences from SBS' The Feed, is a highly engaging host, who doesn't shy away from any opportunity to explore personal, unflinchingly honest angles to the story. There is a kind of rhythm to the story that almost seems to mirror the experience of eating a hot chilli, where at first it's fun and light, and then really painful, then really weird, and finishing off with an afterglow that puts everything in perspective. It's probably the best of these free Audible shows that I've listened to so far.
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  • Richard Gray
    January 1, 1970
    Marc Fennell’s enthusiastic style takes him around the world in pursuit of the world’s hottest chilli. Sort of. What’s most surprising about this short Audible feature is how it marries the obsession of the ‘Chilli Heads’ with Fennell’s own issues with food. On this level, I can totally relate: hating yourself because you can’t control your own intake. Or intaking because you hate yourself. This is, of course, a double-edged sword: Fennell’s personal involvement can’t help but add some drama and Marc Fennell’s enthusiastic style takes him around the world in pursuit of the world’s hottest chilli. Sort of. What’s most surprising about this short Audible feature is how it marries the obsession of the ‘Chilli Heads’ with Fennell’s own issues with food. On this level, I can totally relate: hating yourself because you can’t control your own intake. Or intaking because you hate yourself. This is, of course, a double-edged sword: Fennell’s personal involvement can’t help but add some drama and bias in equal measure. Yet for people who enjoyed podcasts like S-Town, this provides a fascinating story that is hard to put down. Would have loved to hear even more detail about this world.
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  • Lindsey
    January 1, 1970
    This quick docu-series takes you behind the scenes of the destructive chili world. It dives into the history of SHU (Scoville Heat Unit) aka the level of spiciness and how hotness is scored, how chilies have been used as weapons in history, and what sort of person would ever in the heck want to participate in a chili eating competition. It's interesting hearing why people self inflict this sort of pain and agony on themselves, whether it be to feel alive, get over some trauma, as an act of menta This quick docu-series takes you behind the scenes of the destructive chili world. It dives into the history of SHU (Scoville Heat Unit) aka the level of spiciness and how hotness is scored, how chilies have been used as weapons in history, and what sort of person would ever in the heck want to participate in a chili eating competition. It's interesting hearing why people self inflict this sort of pain and agony on themselves, whether it be to feel alive, get over some trauma, as an act of mental surrender, or other.
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  • Jade Wright
    January 1, 1970
    As lovers of chili's, my partner and I popped this audio book on while on a road-trip. I wasn't sure what to expect - it was his pick... and I ended up LOVING IT!! It's fascinating to learn about what makes chili's so hot - and how absolutely crazy some people are to try the worlds hottest chili's that literally make you hallucinate!! Ambulances have to be at the ready.... people end up in hospital. Madness - but so interesting!! This is such an informative, short and sweet non-fiction audio boo As lovers of chili's, my partner and I popped this audio book on while on a road-trip. I wasn't sure what to expect - it was his pick... and I ended up LOVING IT!! It's fascinating to learn about what makes chili's so hot - and how absolutely crazy some people are to try the worlds hottest chili's that literally make you hallucinate!! Ambulances have to be at the ready.... people end up in hospital. Madness - but so interesting!! This is such an informative, short and sweet non-fiction audio book laced with humor (and a lot of spice!)
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  • Alan
    January 1, 1970
    Short but hot and sweet as nam chin kai! Marc Fennell interviews chilli growers vying with each other to grow the hottest chilli in the world, chilli contestants competing to eat hotter chillis than the competition, and chilli heads - YouTubers who film themselves each week as they torture themselves by eating super hot chillis. I was fascinated by the short history lesson of how colonialism brought chillis from South America to Europe and then on to Asia and Africa and finally North America. Wh Short but hot and sweet as nam chin kai! Marc Fennell interviews chilli growers vying with each other to grow the hottest chilli in the world, chilli contestants competing to eat hotter chillis than the competition, and chilli heads - YouTubers who film themselves each week as they torture themselves by eating super hot chillis. I was fascinated by the short history lesson of how colonialism brought chillis from South America to Europe and then on to Asia and Africa and finally North America. Who knew the chilli world was so cutthroat? Well, if you can’t stand the heat ... don’t eat a chilli!
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  • Candice
    January 1, 1970
    Not nearly as much about the world of chilis as you might think. We end up delving into Marc's damaged "fat kid" (his choice of term) psyche for the most part. Which is fine, but that's not what I came here for. Mind your damage on your own time, not in a book that's supposed to be your exploration of the world of chiliheads.The world's hottest pepper debate never gets resolved, btw. Probably a spoiler, but honestly, I'll just save you the trouble.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    This is a story of hot peppers, told through a personal lens of the narrator's difficult relationship with food. While I appreciated the personal aspect, I do wish that this focused more on science/psychology, rather than speculation and personal anecdote. This isn't to say that the story completely lacked the science/psychology perspective; that was definitely in there. However, I would have preferred if the narrative focused solely on it.
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  • Andy Klein
    January 1, 1970
    A decent Audible freebee. I like learning about new things and I knew next to nothing about hot chili peppers, so this was somewhat interesting. I didn’t care one bit about the whackos who are obsessed with eating hot peppers and posting videos of them doing so or the whacko conspiracy theories about which peppers are the hottest and false testing of the peppers. If this cost me anything, it would get 2 stars but I’ll go to three because it was free.
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  • Solace Winter
    January 1, 1970
    It Burns is a documentary style story with interviews of the "big names" in chilis. You'll get some insight you were not expecting, and it's interesting to delve into it. I would have liked to have more of the competition people's accounts rather than it being a feud between a creator of a pepper and a non-creator of a pepper. The story is still interesting to hear, but the story here is half rumors and gossip, half backstory on why we crave a hot chili.
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  • Elijah Shervey
    January 1, 1970
    (Audiobook) Above and beyond for verbal performance with music and sound effects. Felt very lively. Bumped from 3 to 4☆. The story doesn't have that much hype. The scandals and deceit are just as menacing as you'd expect from a race to produce some damn hot chilli. Looking forward to this sort of quality in further audiobooks.
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  • Stephen Heiner
    January 1, 1970
    Not something I thought I would listen to - but it turned out to be a fascinating look at both food and people. The narrator does a good job of presenting both sides of the human conflicts and all sides of the chilli. I definitely feel slightly more prepared to enter into a dialogue with a "chillihead" the next time I run into one. But I won't be trying any of these chillis anytime soon :-)
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  • Nick Traynor
    January 1, 1970
    More of a podcast than an audiobook, because it was interview-based, with asides of reflection by the narrator. I wasn't convinced that the reflections matched the other content; it seemed a thin attempt to draw personal conclusions from the phenomenon of chili-eaters. It was light and entertaining though and only last 3 hours or so.
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  • Josh Maulucci
    January 1, 1970
    This was the great little history lesson on chili peppers that I didn't know I wanted, but thoroughly enjoyed. Finding gems like this has been my favorite part of the last couple years of hardcore reading/listening. If you've ever had any sort of experience with watching some of these "pepper-eating" videos on YouTube, definitely check this out.
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  • Tim Gillen
    January 1, 1970
    Light-hearted, and intriguing on a topic that I knew little about. Wandering a bit through the competitiveness of the industry; instructive on the elements of food science, flavor and enjoyment; and an evaluation of the psyche of those involved, along with a dose of self-reflection. I received this through the Audible originals program, and was pleasantly surprised.
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  • Corne Kooyman
    January 1, 1970
    This fascinating book about the chilli head culture and the race for the hottest chilli's. My only gripe is that the book tried to create this entire conflict narrative that was actually non-existent when it came to more stable individuals in the story.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    More of a long form podcast than a book but still a very enjoyable listen. It was super interesting to learn that birds don’t have heat receptors and so can eat chili peppers unaffected. My first Audible Original listen.
  • James Thomas
    January 1, 1970
    Gets better towards the end. This book is like watching an automobile accident. You are discussed but can’t turn away. My impression is this is more of an indictment about the online community more than the “chili head” community. It seems to prove integrity gets lost in anonymity.
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  • Victoria
    January 1, 1970
    Another connoisseur of human folly book. Like, what the hell man? Fascinating, entertaining and occasionally slightly horrifying (in a "what the fuck" sort of way). I did pause halfway through to look up YouTube videos of people vaping chili peppers. So that happened
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  • Petter Lausund
    January 1, 1970
    Very interesting. It’s like if someone from reply all got a high budget and went on a trip around the world looking for the hottest Chili but in typical fashion ends up delving deep into the humane side of it.
  • Diane Adams
    January 1, 1970
    It's pepper season, and I enjoy making pepper jelly. While I enjoy a good hot pepper, I don't imagine I'd be going near any of the world record hot peppers mentioned in this tale! Still, it was quite entertaining and surprisingly educational!
  • Lenka Příplatová
    January 1, 1970
    An OK listen. Not too interesting, though :( Which is a pity. I love chili peppers and was looking forward to learning a bit more than that, surprise surprise, when approaching world records, people lie & steal.
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