Do you suddenly need to fill a lot of unexpected free time, but can’t go outside? Are you desperate to get away from your home and have contact with other people? We do too, and we know the perfect way to help with all of those issues—audiobooks for some of our favorite sci-fi and fantasy stories.
Audiobooks can help us “escape” to another reality for a few hours and also let us hear someone else’s voice. Sometimes those voices come from celebrities we know and love. Here are great science fiction and fantasy novels read by some of our favorite actors and authors.
Neverwhere, Coraline, and More (Neil Gaiman)
Narrated by Neil Gaiman
One of the best fantasy authors also has one of the best reading voices. And he’s not afraid to show it off. You can listen to Gaiman read some of his greatest works, including the fantastic Neverwhere and his classic children’s story Coraline. You can also listen to a full cast read his iconic genre novel American Gods.
World War Z (Max Brooks)
Narrated by Max Brooks, Alan Alda, John Turturro, Rob Reiner, Mark Hamill, Alfred Molina, Simon Pegg, Henry Rollins, Martin Scorsese
A story about a global pandemic might not seem like the best escapist reading material for our current situation. But the audiobook for Max Brooks’ World War Z will definitely transport you to another place, one where you aren’t personally at risk. Not only does it feature the author himself, it also features a ridiculous all-star cast. Look at those names! Alda, Turturro, Reiner, Hamill, Molina, Pegg, Rollins, and Scorsese. If they made a movie it would make a gazillion dollars. (Wait….can they actually just remake World War Z?)
The Chronicles of Narnia Adult Box Set (C. S. Lewis)
Narrated by Kenneth Branagh, Alex Jennings, Michael York, Lynn Redgrave, Derek Jacobi, Jeremy Northam, Patrick Stewart
The audiobook set for C.S. Lewis’s legendary seven-book fantasy story The Chronicles of Narnia has an absolutely loaded lineup of narrators. Kenneth Branagh and Patrick Stewart are the two biggest names. And they’re joined by other renowned performers with Shakespearean chops, including Derek Jacobi, Michael York, and more. Even if you’ve read the books countless times before, have you really visited Narnia until you’ve heard Patrick Stewart do the voice Aslan?
Dracula (Bram Stoker)
Narrated by Alan Cumming, Tim Curry, Simon Vance, Katherine Kellgren, Susan Duerden, John Lee, Graeme Malcolm, Steven Crossley
We’d be thrilled listening to either Alan Cumming or Tim Curry read Bram Stoker’s classic horror novel Dracula. But we don’t have to choose. The audiobook uses both actors. From Audible: “Most modern productions employ campiness or sound effects to try to bring back that gothic tension, but we’ve tried something different. By returning to Stoker’s original storytelling structure—a series of letters and journal entries voiced by Jonathan Harker, Dr. Van Helsing, and other characters—with an all-star cast of narrators, we’ve sought to recapture its originally intended horror and power.”
A Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens)
Narrated by Tim Curry
While we’re always happy to have Tim Curry scare us, sometimes we’re looking for an uplifting story. Fortunately, he can do both. You can follow up his performance in the audiobook for Dracula by listening to him narrating Charles Dickens’ timeless tale A Christmas Carol. Of course, you can’t have Tim Curry read a ghost story without him adding some spooky elements. He performs the story “in a deliciously dark tone, returning it to its Dickensian roots with a vivid imagining of Victorian London and just the right touch of outrageous fun.”
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (L. Frank Baum)
Narrated by Anne Hathaway
We’re not off to see anyone these days, let alone a wizard. But you can let Oscar-winner Anne Hathaway transport you to the magical land of Oz. She narrates L. Frank Baum’s legendary The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. And the actress puts her talents to good use here. She said, “There are a lot of great voices in it. The more fun you have with it, the sillier and the more free you get with it, the better it is because it’s a story that can handle it.”
The Odyssey (Homer, translator Robert Fagles)
Narrated by Ian McKellen
It might be nearly 2,800 years old, but Homer’s The Odyssey is more accessible than you might think. Whether you’ve never read it before or have read it a hundred times, let Sir Ian McKellen regal you with the epic tale of Odysseus’s long journey home. We would listen to Ian McKellen read the phone book or a recipe on how to boil water. So hearing him tell an exciting and touching story that happens to be one of the most important works in Western Civilization isn’t exactly a hard sell.