Charles Dickens - The Signalman & Other Ghostly Tales

Reviews & Comments


'It's absolbloominmarvelous! ' - Big Finish customer


'I have to say that I love The Signalman and other Ghostly Tales. Absolutely love it. Even more than I thought I would, and I am a huge fan of good horror stories. The choice of pieces is inspired,a true gelling of the known and the not-so well known. The Signalman remains a true spectral classic, sinister and inevitably tragic all at once. The Story of the Goblins Who Stole a Sexton is new to me, bizarre and a definite favourite. The humour of it is matched by a descriptive quality that proves very visual. The end - a lesson very well learned - has similarities with a subsequent Dickens classic, and is no less enjoyable for that. To Be Read at Dusk is very Poe-like and again, no less enjoyable for that. My very favourite is A Confession found in a Prison in the Time of Charles II. It is unremittingly dark of course, and also not unlike Poe. Shocking too - having listened to the Podcast I can perhaps see why the tale hasn't been broadcast as often as Dickens' other stuff. A grim, feverish tale that I hadn't heard before. The Lawyer and the Ghost finishes the collection off in a very satisfying manner. I was going to say it is another favourite, but I won't. Looking back, they are all favourites, as much as I'm any critic of Charles Dickens! A tremendous collection.

'John Sessions seems to be the type of actor who only accepts jobs he loves. And he attacks each story with such relish, it is impossible not be immersed and absorbed in 'the telling'. I really would like to hear him perform more. I can't imagine anyone better for these stories, he is stunningly good. And in the case of the Ken Campbell-esque goblin, viciously funny! As for the sound design and music, what can I possibly say? As good as anything Big Finish have ever done. Never intrusive, subtle musical stings underline many important moments, and occasional effects appear softly, as if through a fog, to enhance the moment. Beautiful stuff. This line deserves to be so very successful.' - Big Finish customer


'This is no ordinary audiobook! Textbook Stuff has successfully redefined the way audiobooks *should* be done with these excellent dramatised readings of classic horror stories by Charles Dickens. First, the challenge of selecting the five short tales in this release was handled exceptionally well, because the selection we get depicts the supernatural element, grotesque imagery, social commentary, and touch of humour that we know of Dickens's literary style through his more renowned works. Then, Dickens's creative genius is matched by the inspired choice of John Sessions as the narrator who, even though he gives us an unabridged reading of each story, also seems to deliver his brilliant performance of a script. His inflection and pacing in the narration make the setting easier to visualize and the tension quite palpable, while his talent for creating characters through different tones and accents provides a greater insight into their thoughts and feelings.

'But that's not all. I have a huge collection of audiobooks, and those I used to consider the best also feature superb stories by a great author read by a talented actor. This audiobook, however, raised the bar by adding incidental music of a cinematic style and amazing sound effects which immerse you further into the story, so that you become the narrator or one of the characters, particularly in the most intense moments. Never overpowering, the musical score reinforces the eerie atmosphere created by Dickens's graphic description in a way that could not be experienced just by reading printed text. This was used most effectively in The Signalman, The Story of the Goblins who Stole a Sexton, and A Confession Found in a Prison in the Time of Charles II where I think the humming in the background will haunt me for months.

'I am also thrilled to find that just like with the poetry releases from Textbook Stuff, a music suite is available as a bonus track. However, the sound design is really the most exquisite enhancement for me: The relative positioning of the characters' voices made me wonder if I was really listening to just one reader. The sound of laughing goblins and approaching bloodhounds, of oncoming trains and horse-drawn carriages, and of doors creaking and bells tolling all make the scenes more vivid in my mind. The ambient effects used to indicate the change in the setting - from the open air to a small room with a crackling fire, from the vast countryside to a stuffy palazzo, from a gloomy graveyard to an underground lair - make the unfolding tale even more riveting. This release has thus convinced me that audiobooks produced by anyone from now on will not satisfy me unless they are rendered the Textbook Stuff way. - Lulu customer