A Brief Note About the Audio Versions of the Ancillary Books

So, because I get questions about this, in various forms.

The US audiobook of Ancillary Justice was made by a company called Recorded Books. They set up a phone call with me to go over pronunciations, so Celeste Ciulla pronounces everything the way that I would. Any tunes, however, are her own and not mine–I didn’t provide music! I haven’t listened to the whole audiobook, and so don’t know if she used the actual tune of “the person with weapons” (aka L’homme Arme) or made her own. I think Ms Ciulla has a lovely voice, though, and I was very pleased with what I heard. (Yes, I know, Breq doesn’t have a lovely voice, but do you really want to listen to a whole novel read in a not-lovely voice? It’s an interesting question, and might be fun to figure out how to pull off, but I was happy to have Ms Ciulla do the book.)

After the US audiobook of Justice had been out a while, Orbit UK decided to do an audiobook. They sent me links to a bunch of samples of prospective narrators, and when I heard Adjoa Andoh’s, I went, “Right, her!” I was really pleased they A)listened to my preference and B) got her to do it. I love her voice and what I’ve heard of her reading. Nobody consulted me about pronunciations, though, so they’re different from the US one. And once again, I didn’t provide any tunes (I don’t have any, really, except for the “real” songs), and am curious whether L’homme Arme actually got used.

When Sword came out, they decided to use Ms Andoh’s reading for both the US and the UK. Which pleased me because, like I said, I love her reading. I gather it’s kind of disconcerting for US listeners who’d gotten used to Ms Ciulla’s reading. And, once again, I did not provide any tunes! I was asked recently on Tumblr if I had a tune for the “Oh Tree” song, and I don’t, but Ms Andoh does!

I don’t know what’s up with Mercy, but I am really hoping Adjoa Andoh has agreed to do it.

One thought on “A Brief Note About the Audio Versions of the Ancillary Books

  1. S
    Simon Iversen says:

    First; great writing!
    Really liked Ancillary Justice and am looking forward to getting into Sword and then Mercy after that.

    I definitely noticed the change in voice actor and I must say that, at least in the beginning where I am now, the unfamiliarity is a definite minus. I’m not saying that Ms Andoh’s voice is by any means inferior, I would never presume to hold any objective opinion worth sharing on the matter, but I do miss Ms Ciulla’s style very much. It’s as if someone you knew had suddenly changed in a dramatic way and you need time to adjust.


    I think it is sort of interesting that a character who originally had thousands of voices, in a story where the divide of mind has expressed itself in “clones”, would see two different voices used. Actually it might even be that an argument could be made for using such a thing as a tool for telling the story, if planned in advance.

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