A Review of Archaeology in Fiction by Dr. Scott C. Viguie (Audiobook – Audible – narrated by Austin Downey)

So this is a first for the blog, reviewing an audiobook. First let me say that this review is not sponsored in anyway by the author, publisher or Audible. Now down to business.

Now I am one of those that much prefer to have a physical copy of a book, I like the aesthetics, smell and touch (I am not weird and it is not a fetish, honest…) of real books. But with so much reading to do it is hard to fit it all in. I do have time when I am not reading where I can listen to audibooks but it is harder to read, such as when I am cooking, cleaning etc… So if you are one of those how believe in the purity of books, then please do not judge me too harshly, I have my weaknesses.

I also though there is an advantage to reviewing an audiobook, for starters I am listening to it write now as I write this review to help remind me of all that I wanted to say. Sometimes it can be too easy to ‘Judge a book’ by its cover, focusing too much on the style and layout of the book, which whilst is obviously important, sometime can distract from the message of the book.

So, down to the review. Most of us have had a view of archaeology shaped by how it is portrayed, and I would say by the most part, by fiction – Such as Indiana Jones, Lara Croft, Stargate, Dr Who and the list goes on and on. So it has been an interesting reflection for me to review this book, and how fiction shaped my view of archaeology when I was child.

What is Archaeology In Fiction –

Archaeology In Fiction is a book written by Dr Scott Viguie in 2013, published by Eureka publications. In this book Dr Viguie examines how archaeology is portrayed in fiction, as daring adventures who risk life and limb to pursue great and fabulous antiquities and artifacts of important, and often great monetary, value. Looking at how this shapes our understanding of archaeology, and analyzing the great tropes of archaeology that these creates. Linking to popular fictional archaeology case studies – Indiana Jones, Lara Croft, Stargate, Dr Who.

He examines:

  • A brief history of archaeology, the early days that often the fiction focus on, the antiquarian ‘tomb raiders’ and explorers.
  • The fictions surrounding archaeology.
  • Why these fictions appeal to people and why the perpetuate them.
  • The truth surrounding these fictions.
  • That sometimes the truth can be much stranger than the fiction.

I will not say much more on the content of the book, as I do jot want to give too much away. But do check out the amazon/aduible descriptions and reviews of the book if you want to know more beyond my own personal views and opinions.

About the author

From amazon.

” Dr. Scott Viguié holds two doctorate degrees and is an archaeologist and an attorney who has done extensive research on myths and their impact on modern archaeology and storytelling. He is routinely a guest at various science fiction and fantasy conventions, where he contrasts the depiction of archaeology in fiction with reality. He is the creator of Dr. Geek’s Laboratory of Applied Geekdom, The Science From Fiction Podcast; where the audience is brought closer to those who are attempting to bring about the world of tomorrow. ”
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Archaeology-Fiction-Dr-Scott-Vigui%C3%A9-ebook/dp/B00CTMJKHQ/ref=sr_1_6?keywords=Scott+viguie&qid=1555413764&s=gateway&sr=8-6

My thoughts on the book

I will start off by saying I really enjoyed the book, it is very brief, entertaining, and humerous. It also does not take itself too seriously.

Pros:

  • Brief and simple. Very little technical jargon, and where there is, it is explained.
  • Entertaining, and humour is woven neatly into the narrative of the book.
  • A good comparison between the realities of archaeology and how is portrayed in fiction.
  • Examines why we prefer our fictions – how glamorous fictional archaeology is, but how real archaeology is often more amazing and incredible but in a different way. In what it can reveal about us, our past, and the myths we like to hold onto.

Cons:

  • One of its major pros, is also a major con. It is brief. It provides a very broad and sweeping analysis of what real archaeology is, and what archaeology is like in fiction.
  • Only looks at a handful of case studies, mainly focusing on films and TV shows and does not really consider other fictions, such as games and only briefly touches on books.
  • My major issues with this are my personal views on the audiobook. I found the a narrator rather boring to listen too (no offense), very little change in cadence or tone. The narrator art the beginning includes unnecessary information right at the beginning of the audiobook, such as the ISBN number, contents with page numbers, the interior illustrator of the book and other information that is not relevant to an audibook, and just breaks up the flow of the book.
  • There is also a section at the back of the book that looks at the history of the book and why it was written etc… and the audio effects for this I also found rather irritating, it is hard to put into words which I will not bore you with.

Conclusion:

As I said, I really enjoyed this book/audiobook. It is entertaining, humerous and brief. It deals with a very important subject, how fictions can influence how we think about facts, or truths. There are things that I have issues with, it would of been nice to see the author to explore a greater sample of fictions, looking at books and games, and looking at other cultures too would of been interesting. However, as you learn at the end of the book, the book was essentially written in a year (and why), so only a certain amount of research could be done, and may lead to the book being not so short and easy to follow. As I said, my major issues comes with the audibook, the style in how narrator reads it and his voice (no offense meant to the narrator)

Is it worth it?

Well, that is a good question. You can currently find the book on amazon in the following formats

Kindle £5.16 Paperback £5.16 Audible Audiobook £8.37

I am going to be completely honest, I purchased this book using one of my ‘free’ credits that I received as part of Audible subscription. So I did not pay any money directly for it, but that being said, I do not regret paying that credit. I do find it odd that the Audiobook is so much more expensive at the moment than the paperback or Kindle e-book… So is it worth it? Well that depends, if you are not interested at all in archaeology then no (and why are you reading my blog ; ) ), if you are then maybe. But what is my view really worth? Well, that is up for you to decide. This book does get my recommendation however. and I will definitely recommend it to anyone who interested in pursuing archaeology.

Thank you for reading my review. Just to reiterate, this post was not sponsored in anyway.

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