John Scalzi's latest book was released this week and the publisher, in what I consider to be a bold move, offered two different unabridged audio versions--one read by Amber Benson and the other read by Wil Wheaton.
The book itself is a gender-bender. Nowhere in the book does the author ever identify the gender of the first-person narrator, Chris Shane. The publisher solved the issue by letting the reader chose the gender of the reader. In a pre-release deal, I got both versions and am listening to them both. Personally, I think that when readers can chose only one version, that they will go with Will Wheaton, because he is a known quantity and because he has been the voice on a number of Scalzi's books.
In any case, I didn't have to choose and now I am enjoying the mental exercise of exploring the gender difference. Do I react differently? Hell, yeah. Do I have a preference? Not really. Do I regret having to choose one or the other over the narrator in my head? Not really. I've had to get over the whole narrator issue just to keep reading. I will say one thing, and maybe it has to do with my age and gender issues in general, but gender does make a difference. I started with the female voice and there is no doubt that the protagonist I imagined was female but when I changed narrators, the protagonist did not automatically become male.
My only problem now is deciding whether this counts as one read or two on my list.