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Galactic Football League
1 : The Rookie (1 of 2)

by Scott Sigler
Aug 10, 2016
5 Hours
Ages 13+
Set in a lethal pro football league 700 years in the future, THE ROOKIE is a story that combines the intense gridiron action of "Any Given Sunday" with the space opera style of "Star Wars" and the criminal underworld of "The Godfather."

Aliens and humans alike play positions based on physiology, creating receivers that jump 25 feet into the air, linemen that bench-press 1,200 pounds, and linebackers that literally want to eat you. Organized crime runs every franchise, games are fixed and rival players are assassinated.

Follow the story of Quentin Barnes, a 19-year-old quarterback prodigy that has been raised all his life to hate, and kill, those aliens. Quentin must deal with his racism and learn to lead, or he'll wind up just another stat in the column marked "killed on the field."

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Director & Cast

Director Michael John Casey
Starring Michael John Casey as Narrator and Quentin Barnes, Terence Aselford as Hokor the Hookchest, Thomas Keegan as Donald Pine and Jefferson A. Russell as Yassoud Murphy. With Bradley Smith, James Konicek, Eric Messner, Jonathan Freuer, KenYatta Rogers, Andy Brownstein, Eric Singdahlsen, Michael Glenn, Ken Jackson, Matthew Bassett, Scott McCormick, Tia Shearer, David Jourdan, Nick DePinto, Jonathan Watkins, Jonathon Church, Chris Davenport, Colleen Delany, Rick Rohan, Kimberly Gilbert and Duane Beeman
Book Adapted for GraphicAudio by Eric Messner
Dialogue Editors Patrick Stratton
Sound Designers Patrick Stratton
Additional Original Music HarvestBloom
Cover Illustrator Scott E. Pond
Producers Richard Rohan and Duane Beeman
Executive Producer Anji Cornette


Good adaptation by Zack (Posted on 2/27/2019)
I’ve been a follower of Scott Sigler’s work since about 2006. In fact, I think it may have been on one of his podcasts that I first heard an ad for Graphic Audio. While the GFL books aren’t actually my favorites among his work, they are still well-written and entertaining. While the football aspect doesn’t catch my interest that much, the overall concept of the stories is interesting because of the science fiction and crime elements that are included. The extended universe elements that tie into some of Scott’s other work also add interest to the GFL titles.

Graphic Audio has done a very good job adapting this story from its source material. I originally listened to the story in audio when Scott podcast it in its original form more than ten years ago. While I have a definite soft spot for the days when Scott narrated all of his own audiobooks and I actually miss it now that he doesn’t, the audio drama format adds so much to a story like The Rookie. Personally, I think that the GA adaptation of the story is a better fit than either the audiobook or print version of the story. Eric Messner has done a great job adapting the story and Michael John CAsey an excellent job directing it. GA has also done well with the casting of this title, but that’s nothing new, as they always do a great job with every aspect of their productions.

There are some problems with this title though, at least for those of us who have followed the series since its original incarnation. There are no distinct vocalization effects used to differentiate between alien races. They all sound human and something is lost because of that I think. If I were to guess, I’d assume that this was done to increase the understandability of the story for more casual listeners. While the lack of distinct vocal effects being applied to different alien races bothers me as a long-time follower of Scott’s work, I appreciate that some sacrifices have to be made to make the story accessible to a wider range of people than just us long-time fans.

Some of the added dialogue in places is also a bit off for me, but likely won’t bother newcomers to the GFL series.

I acknowledge that, because I’ve been a fan of Scott’s work for a long time now, I’m a tougher critic of this production than many other listeners will be. Anybody who has not experienced Scott’s work should not be put off by the nitpickiness of some of us long-time fans. You will almost certainly be entertained by the GFL series even if, like me, you aren’t really a football fan, and the more people following Scott’s work the better.
Hooked by Zachary (Posted on 5/22/2018)
A great series while on the road as a trucker
Loved it! by John Jr (Posted on 4/30/2018)
I was afraid I wasn’t going to like this cause I love Scott Sigler’s audio books so much. After a few minutes in I just fell back into the story. Evenyone did such a good job. I felt like I was back in that universe. I would be happy to tell people to listen to this.

“Ham and you are a beautiful thing!”
Donald Pine
Mj casey by NIGHTANGEL (Posted on 4/28/2018)
Quite possibly my favorite story, which is surprising because I am more a fan of more fighting and killin' instead of sports but this is awesome. Great performance and direction by MJ Casey
A football audiobook at its best by Shunsmith (Posted on 3/19/2018)
For a gamer and a audiobook listen to this story connects two different events for me. I'm listening to this is like listening to a book about monster League Football from the Sega Genesis with a more compelling story. I am not a football fanatic however the game play with in the story sounds completely accurate and it seems that the aliens have a very appropriate body constructs for the game position they play
good book by Anthony (Posted on 12/4/2017)
I have to say i really liked this book. I'm not a football fan so some of it was learning all the positions and plays but i will be picking up part 2 tonight
THIS is how The Rookie is supposed to be by Junkie Joe (Posted on 5/25/2017)
I'm a fan of Sigler's work, I listened to it originally on podcasts and I also bought the Hard Cover book. This format is how this book is MEANT to be listened to. In the podcast there were nice sound effects and Sigler is an adequate voice actor, but THIS is the full experience that fans should look for.

I cannot wait to keep listening. I'm going in order now, from The Rookie, to Title Fight to The Starter, etc, and I am savoring each episode.

The only qualm I have is the narrator. There is a bit of a lisp that is pretty distracting and pulls me out of the experience in a lot of cases, thankfully the acting from the other characters and the ambiance pulls me back in quickly.
Pleasantly surprised by Alex (Posted on 4/30/2017)
I've heard well over a hundred GA productions, so when I saw a football-based series I was intrigued but not expecting much. I was wrong. I was dead wrong. This has to be one of my absolute favorite series to date. So many details, like the weekly Sports Updates and unique alien cultures, are so well done and give the universe richness. Every Book starts a new season with new goals and challenges. Excellent sound design, wonderful voice acting, and rich storytelling. I can't recommend this series enough.
what a cool universe by Gildardo (Posted on 1/8/2017)
Right up I will say that I am not much of a football fan. That is until I started listening to this one. The games are so vivid as the sounds are added that it feels like you are out in the field with the players. And the players: Between the humans and aliens its like nothing I've heard before. Between that and the dealings between gangsters, team owners, and the character development as he leaves his back water team to play in the big leagues I bet you too will find it hard to put it down as I did.
Liked it! by Armand (Posted on 11/25/2016)
For me, it was a bit slow starting but that soon turned into a nicely paced fantasy with a good base. By the end of the book, I couldn't wait for the next one! Plenty of "humanistic" notes and realistic acting/dialog with many funny moments. Highly recommend this to hard core SciFi folks as a good change of pace! Surprisingly entertaining!
it was funny with a lesson. by rafael (Posted on 10/14/2016)
I liked this book. It had some funny parts and it showed how people can judge others on how they looked. the back groung was the football. whick I loved but when you think you see it's more than that.
Decent, but could be better by John (Posted on 10/11/2016)
I was excited to hear about the new audio drama presentation of Scott Sigler's THE ROOKIE by GraphicAudio productions. I haven't heard too many audio dramas, in which each unique character is voiced by a separate person, so I wasn't really sure what to expect. I have heard the excellent Locke and Key audiodrama, and listened to some of We're Alive, but that's about it.

As a fairly dedicated Junkie and fan of Sigler's work, I also hold the common fan opinion that it will be difficult to top Sigler's own narration of this, his flagship series, in which he turns out sublime performances, pouring his heart into each character, and giving great thought and careful consideration into the production of the audiobook. So it was with a skeptical ear I purchased the CDs (hey, you can't autograph an .mp3!).

After starting the first CD, my exuberance quickly declined. The most noticeable issue that hardcore Junkies will have is on the voice characterizations. The acting itself is really done quite well. However, the main focus of this series is the tension and cooperation between biologically different alien species. In the production of this audiodrama, there is no distinction between races - all species sound human. This has varying effects:

-Humans sound human; Heavy-G sound like deep-voiced humans. No real issues here.
-The Ki sound like a human trying to do an impression of Warner Bros' Tasmanian Devil, or Bill the Cat. They have no "English" dialog, so their gutteral communication sounds very odd.
-The Harrah are fine. There is a vocal effect to make the voice sound like it's coming through a speaker, and it works quite well.
-Gredok has an incredibly deep voice, which contradicts the diminutive impression of the physical description. I think one of the defining qualities of Quyth Leaders is the fact that they are the smallest of their species, yet they are incredibly intelligent and command fear and respect from Workers and Warriors. That nuance is lost in this performance.
-Stedmar Osborne, Manny Sayed, and other humans are all very well done. However, without attribution, which is completely stripped from this performance (all the "he said" and "said Quentin" text) - coupled with the huge cast of characters - sometimes makes it hard to discern who is speaking. I found this to be true mostly when the humans were talking with Quyth Warriors.
-The Quyth warriors are indistinguishable from humans, which (to me) downplays their menace.
-The Sklorno. Oy, what a wreck. The sklorno involved in this story are all female. So the producers decided to cast women in the roles. But the way that the sklorno speak makes these performers sound like they are speaking ina "Me Tarzan, you Jane" type of voice. They sound ridiculous, and I think a lot of Sklorno dialog has been cut from the performance altogether.

Scott Sigler's own production of this audiobook applied different vocal effects to the different species. The effects went a long way towards distinguishing species as well as characters. And in a book where species-conflict is so prevalent, homongenizing all of the characters into humans anthropomorphizes the entire cast of characters and makes it hard to relate any species tension. It ends up sounding like countries in conflict, with is a much more reduced scope (especially since most of them speak the same language) than the multiple PLANETS that make up entire governments that are at odds. The entire scope of conflict is minimized and the production resembles the original Star Trek series with their bipedal alien species with different color skin.

There are some pronunciations that will drive Junkies bonkers, but at least it's consistent through the production. It may be a bit distracting, but doesn't detract from the overall presentation.

In the audiodrama style, foley effects abound. There are constant sound effects and music throughout the entire production, which I found a bit overwhelming. There are scenes where Quentin is walking down a hall - going probably a short distance - but because of all the narration going on "in his head", the effect of footfalls is played the entire time, which makes it sound like he's walking a lot farther than he really is. Similar effects are put into place for on-field football action (SO much grunting and hard collisions) and practice (grass underfoot sounds). Grav-cabs and shuttles have a consistent background whine that I didn't care for, but at least were consistent. Similarly, background noises such as doors opening, or crowds cheering, were pretty well done.

While listening, I found myself catching things that didn't sound right. After some investigation, I came to realize that this is not an unabridged reading of the book. This turned me off at first, but eventually i realized that this is not even advertised as such. This is an audio drama, akin to the way a book might be turned into a TV show or movie. We can all attest to the movies changing our favorite books significantly; it's simple economics - there just isn't enough time and money to 100% faithfully reproduce a book in visual form. Once I realized that, I enjoyed the overall performance more, and didn't sweat many of the differing details.

Some of those details, unfortunately, need sweating. There are some very awkward additions to dialog and scene that serve the function to foreshadow future productions, as well as supplement existing dialog. For instance, here's the passage from the book:

"Hokor leaned forward. The VR players faded away, leaving not only Quentin, but Denver and Milford as well. Hokor could scarcely believe his eyes (sic). The two Sklorno receivers ran back to Quentin and lined up for another play."

The audio drama adds this line to the above narration, in Hokor's voice: "Damn, kid! Well, all right..." Not gonna lie - I hate this additional line. It just doesn't feel right for Hokor. It should be noted, however, that I think the actor doing Hokor was about the best one in the bunch. He gave an absolutely fantastic performance, and one that I think even Junkies will appreciate.

Most of the cast did! Seriously - if they only would apply differentiating vocal effects to the characters, I think that would solve a LOT of problems. Some may NOT be solved only by that - Messal sounds like a butler - but it will go a long way.

In the process of reworking the book as an audiodrama script, here are some other weird things they did:
-Each "Weekly Roundup" is brought to you by a rotating crop of 3 or 4 sponsors, such as Aspen Beer (a product of the Weyland Yutani group!) and Gatorade (Gatorade - is it in you?).
-Most of the YA language is preserved, but they changed "Poop Sandwich" to "Shit Sandwich."
-Many of the Roundup narrative is re-tooled to "read" better, and it comes across just fine. Additional scenes have been added in the style of press-conference interviews. These are also just fine.
-The Galaxy's Greatest Sports Show has been renamed "Just a Minute"
-There is additional dialog added to a scene between Quentin and Gredok that foreshadows Gredok's plans to use Quentin's loyalty against him, and in which he praises Quentin for being a stone-cold negotiator badass.

So what's the bottom line? Once I got over the fact that this was akin to an adapted screenplay, it completely changed my perspective. I started looking at the the clever ways they addressed certain things. They changed the focus of the whole production to give a lot of time to on-field game performances, and reduced a lot of the ancillary plot threads and world-building. I think three of the book's five "Excerpts from..." were outright removed, and the only thing lost is perhaps the explanation of what the "Ki gather" is. The items that were removed really were given the same treatment that any other adaptation to film or TV might get, and as near as I can tell, nothing significant to this story (or upcoming productions) was eliminated.

I give this a solid 3 out of 5 stars. If they were to make a few changes for the production of THE STARTER, I definitely would adjust to 4 stars, and depending on how well they do it - possibly 5 stars. But I don't give out a lot of 5-star ratings. You have to listen to this performance with an open mind, and now that you have a little more information going into it, maybe it will be a little easier for you to enjoy.
Review for Parts 1 and 2 by John (Posted on 10/7/2016)
I haven't listened to Science Fiction on Graphic Audio much. That's mostly due to the fact that I feel that their selection isn't as inviting as their horror or fantasy section. However, Galactic Football League changed that for me by giving us a Sports Movie mixed with a Space Opera. There were several things I liked about these two parts of the Rookie and I'll explain them.

First, as a casual football fan, I love how in this far future, everything revolves around Football. Politics, war, national pride, it's all about Football. All of it. Crime Lords do business with Football and build their empires on it. You are nothing unless you are a football star. You worship football, you breathe it in this future. And I love it.

Second, I liked the characters. It's not normal that we'd get a character who is such an out and out racist like Quentin Barnes and be able to understand him. We learn a lot about Quentin and that his racism isn't really true racism, but bred into him by an oppressive Xenophobic Government (That thankfully isn't the main Earth Government) through psychological abuse and gross misinformation. Unlike most racists in the world, once Quentin is out among the stars, he eventually shows an interest to learn about the other races and finds that most of what he was taught as a child was completely false. In addition, he overcomes his star diva personality of always trying to be the best and outshine everyone else when he learns that he is severely outclassed by most of his teammates. He learns he cannot continue to play Football the human way and must learn the GFL way. Thus, he grows with his teammates. The supporting cast were great too with many standing out to me, including John Tweedy, Donald Pines, and Mitchell Fayid.

The third thing I liked about this book is the Universe and the aliens that inhabit it. I like how the aliens are not humanoid, but share anatomy similarities with insects and reptiles. I like how each race that we see is taylor made for a specific football position and how their racial traits fits perfectly into that.

The Voice acting for this was well done and well casted, though Michael John Casey's Quentin sounds a bit too... old for a 19 year old.

Overall, I highly recommend these two parts of The Rookie. If you are not a Football fan, you may find the intro you sorely needed to get invested. If not, then enjoy one of the most original Sci-Fi Sports Stories of all time.
great by douglas (Posted on 10/6/2016)
great book
So good!!! by Amy (Posted on 9/12/2016)
Holy cow, was this first part good! I mean, I was utterly blown away by this story. Having not really read much space operas/space based science fiction, I understood the world building quite well. Then there was the added idea of football.

I will speak plainly: I am not a sports fan. I do not care for any sports whatsoever. For example, I went out to dinner with friends last Thursday, on the kickoff of football season (how apropos). I had absolutely NO idea what was going on, nor did I care. But I cheered during certain moments because my friends were enjoying themselves.

All of that to say, despite not being a sports fan, I LOVE the sports aspect of this book. I actually kind of understand what's going on when the games are going on in this book. Which shocks me, because prior to, I had no knowledge whatsoever of the footballs. That shows the talent of Sigler's writing, and the talent of the Graphic Audio actors and actresses.

Also, the characters are awesome! Quentin is growing on me, due to him having a severe disadvantage at the start because of his obscene racism. But like I said, he's growing on me. However, I've loved Fayid (SP?) from the start, that lovable, shady rapscallion! I also love Denver and Milford, whom I wish had more time to shine. I have mixed feelings on Pine, due to events in part 2 of this book, but when I was just listening to this one, he was all awesome. Honestly, the supporting characters are more awesome than Quentin! I do think our boy has potential though.

Of course, the acting is excellent. Although, I do wish Michael John Casey wasn't so robotic sounding when he was simply narrating the story, instead of being Quentin. It's nice to have my fave actor, Richard Rohan, in the mix, and also Colleen Delany, another favorite.

I do also love the writing. This is my first Sigler novel, despite wanting to read his books for years. So glad I started with this one.

Currently listening to Part 2, and still loving it!
Amazing by josh (Posted on 8/24/2016)
I have listened to Sigler's audio from the beginning from podiobooks to audible and now graphic audio. GA has been able to take an excellent story and make it a masterpiece. It took just a brief moment to embrace the new voices and sounds to what I was used to. Until the story becomes a netflix original or a movie, this version definitely will curb your Sigler junkie fix.

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