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The Original

Unabridged Audiobook

Date: September 2020

Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes


Hugo Award-winning authors Brandon Sanderson and Mary Robinette Kowal team up in this exclusive audio-first production of The Original, a sci-fi thriller set in a world where one woman fights to know her true identity and survive the forces that threaten her very existence. In the near future, humans choose life-for a price. Injectable nanite technology is the lifeblood that flows through every individual wishing to experience the world through the lens of their own theme. While death from mortal wounds is still possible, life is made easier in a socially liberated society where automation and income equality allow passion pursuits to flourish over traditional work. Renewal stations are provided to every law-abiding citizen for weekly check-ins, which issue life-sustaining repairs in exchange for personal privacy. But what becomes of those who check out, of those who dare to resist immortality and risk being edited under the gaze of an identity-extracting government surveillance system? When Holly Winseed wakes up in a hospital room, her memory compromised and a new identity imposed on her, a team of government agents wastes no time stating their objective. With intent to infiltrate and defeat the terrorist group ICON, the agents tell Holly that she is now a Provisional Replica and has one week to hunt down and kill her Original for the murder of her husband, Jonathan. If she succeeds, she'll assume her Original's place in society. If she fails, her life will end. Holly's progress is monitored by an assigned contact that feeds her information as she confronts the blank, robotic world around her, discovering that others view life through the theme of their own choosing. With her newly implanted combat and deduction skills, Holly fends off both attacks by terrorists and doubts about her own trustworthiness as clues lead her to her Original-and to the truth about Jonathan. In the end, one body remains and one walks away. Although questions persist, one thing is certain: life will never be the same.


  • Anonymous


  • Caleb S.

    This story had a very good premise, although the world seemed a little unbelievable, but the ending was absolutely fantastic, one of the best I’ve heard in a long time. The premise was very good, it meant to a very interesting story arc, with a deep main character that you could easily feel for. The world the story was set in however felt very unbelievable. The story is set on earth in what seems around the year 2080-2100, although that is never explicitly stated it seems around that time period as furniture from the year 2010 is described as retro and fitting in an average apartment. The technology however, just seems way too advanced, and too... unethical I guess? There is wide set cloning and a technology system where these things called nanites allow people to change how they see the world through their eyes to be however they want it, and leave them functionally immortal, along with one united world government that has total control over all this technology. For me it was just hard to believe that anything like this could happen in just 80 years and I feel it would have been more believable, and thus more immersive, if set on a different planet, or it was specified that this was some other dimension or something like that. Despite this, the background audio and narrator was incredibly good and made up for the lost believability so I could still feel thoroughly immersed. Finally, the ending was soooooo good. It was definitely one of the best I’ve read/heard in a long time. It was the perfect culmination of the events of this book and left me breathless, just thinking “wow”.

  • Anonymous

    Good interesting read. Brandon does a good job with the pacing and gives enough to make this short story complete, while making you want more of the world.

  • Anonymous

    I love Sanderson's work and picked this up at a discount -- was somewhat sceptical at first, but the story is brilliantly immersive even though the society within the story is vastly different from ours...

  • Payden M.

    Fantastic writing and narration. A really engaging short that shows what the medium can do. Brandon should team up with Mary Robinette more often.

  • Brandon M.

    I really enjoyed it, except the ending just left too many questions for my liking. I can see that was an intentional choice, but I don't much like it. The story and the worldbuilding and everything was fantastic, though - I would definitely love to hear more stories from this fascinating future world.

  • Anonymous

    I loved it . It grabbed me from the start .

  • Anonymous

    This could be a nice mini series.


by Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal

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Original, Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal
Original, Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal
This title is due for release on September 14, 2020.

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Original, Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal
This title is due for release on September 14, 2020
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Original, Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal
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