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It Burns

The Scandal-Plagued Race to Breed the World’s Hottest Chilli, An Audible Original
Narrated by: Marc Fennell
Length: 2 hrs and 52 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (810 ratings)

Non-member price: $0.00

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About This Audible Original

Written and hosted by Marc Fennell, It Burns is the story of a 10-year scandal-plagued international competition that will take listeners from the Australian Coast to South Carolina (via an Indian Research Facility).

It’s a war filled with larger than life characters. There will be sledging, accusations of cheating, theft and performance enhancing drugs. And allegations that Australia was cheated out of a Guinness World Record. In the process of charting the scandal-plagued race to breed the world’s hottest chilli, the audio documentary lifts the lid on the subculture of ‘Chilli-heads’, hardcore chilli fans spread across the globe who compete in chilli eating and breeding competitions.

The internet is filled with videos of grown men being reduced to tears by a square millimetre of chilli. The docu-series asks: what motivates someone to breed and eat a demonic nugget that is so hot it no longer has flavour? At what point does this stop being cuisine and start being an endurance sport?

This humorous series shows that all this has never really been about chilli. It’s been about how people use pain to shape themselves, define themselves and make themselves feel alive.

This series contains mature themes and graphic imagery, and listener discretion is advised.

©2019 Audible Australia Pty Ltd. (P)2019 Audible Australia Pty Ltd

Listen to audio snippets

Ed is an addict
Marc is hospitalised because of a chilli
Marc meets Damiana
Ted and Ed used to be friends
The Carolina Reaper

Up next

  • It Burns
  • Ed is an addict
  • It Burns
  • Marc is hospitalised because of a chilli
  • It Burns
  • Marc meets Damiana
  • It Burns
  • Ted and Ed used to be friends
  • It Burns
  • The Carolina Reaper

Our new Audible Original with Marc Fennell

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Critic Reviews

"It’s so full of weird twists and turns that I binged the entire five episodes in one go during a road trip." (PedestrianTV)  

"A mental image isn’t hard to conjure when your headphones swell with the frantic splutters and gags of chilli eaters in pain, or the guttural aftermath of Youtuber Ted Barrus’s infamous Carolina Reaper chilli “bong rip”. Heed Fennell’s warning in episode one: “You might want to think twice about eating while listening.” (Broadsheet)  

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Genuine and curios

well presented, curious and a genuinely good listen. surprisingly open and very entertaining. the author exposes his own self and connects with the people in the story in an open and honest way

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Not into chillies but...

Not into chillies but it was very interesting... the reading of it and interviews were great.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A Random Read that has jumped to my Top 10

I did not seek out this book. I got it as a gift and I’m so happy I did. The information within probably not a mainstream idea. But the meaning of the journey will resonate with ANYONE who has the fortune of listening to it. I highly recommend this book.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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no no no

Did not like this storyline at all. it may suit some but not me sorry.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

HOT HOT HOT

I really enjoyed this production. It was a bit more of a podcast style than an audiobook but it was highly engaging. Marc Fennell was a great presenter/narrator and really brought this story to life. The narrative was really interesting as we met some really intense characters with heartbreaking personal experiences who find solace in this chilli head community.

It's an exploration of a subculture I didn't know existed. I am also now annoying people with chilli facts left right and centre :)

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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More than chillies!

Touching, psychological, funny. Mark was brilliant. Left me thinking about life. An enjoyable book .

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Unexpectedly entertaining

I went in nor knowing what to expect, but happy to try a free book. I would definitely recommend it for a quick little trip into the world of competitive chilli eating.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Fascinating and compelling

This is like a car crash. You just can’t stop watching (or listening in this case). Fascinating look into the underworld of hot chillies (who knew), which is really much more about humanity and communities

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

great audio story with easy to listen aspects

thought it was well produced and a great listen on the way to and from work. hope there is more in the pipeline from marc fennel as I will one of the first to purchase.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Lies, scandals, frenemies....

For someone who is allergic to chilli I found this so addictive, great story and wish there was more!

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Helen M. Rake
  • 23-07-2019

SO much more than a pepper story!

I highly recommend this book! It was well told and so much more than a simple story about chili lovers. Just get it! You won’t be sorry.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 21-07-2019

A whole new world!

Listening to this Audible podcast I've entered a whole new world that I never knew existed: the world of the chili-head. Marc Fennel tells an interesting take mixing the arcane (a guy who smokes the world's hottest chilis in his bong) with academic research (interviewing scientific experts). This gives the listerner and strange/ entertaining but also educational experience. Also a masochistic desire to try some of these boder-line suicidal peppers.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Conyers Davis
  • 03-07-2019

Who knew chillies and the people who obsess over them could be so interesting?

Better than Serial! Fascinating story beautifully told. Treat yourself by downloading this series now. You will never see chillies the same way again.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • MG
  • 11-06-2019

about so much more than just chillies

This is such a great listen. The whole chilli thing is great but it's about so much more than just chillies. it's about the human soul, and pain, and addiction. So good.