Review of Best of Science Fiction and Fantasy Volume 1

June 29, 2003 by · Leave a Comment
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SFFaudio Review

Science Fiction Audiobooks - Best of Science Fiction and Fantasy Volume 1Best of Science Fiction and Fantasy Volume 1
By Isaac Asimov, Ben Bova, and Kristine K. Rusch; Read by Arte Johnson
Publisher: Dove Audio, 75 minutes [Unabridged]
Date Published: 1991
ISBN: 0787103543
Themes: Science Fiction / Computers / Circus Performers / Space Travel

Arte Johnson should perform more audio books. I guess I should check to see how many he’s done, but this is the first time I’ve heard him narrate, and I found him excellent. His talent lends much to all three of these stories.

The first is Isaac Asimov’s “Someday”, about two kids and an obsolete computer. Their discussions about what people used to do, like actually write things down, was hilarious.

Second is “The Man Who Hated Gravity” by Ben Bova, about a trapeze artist who falls and spends the rest of his life fighting gravity.

Last, Kristine K. Rusch tells a story of a very special little girl who visits a future hospital in “Story Child”.

Great stories. Dove Audio no longer exists, but their content is owned by Audio Literature, who has made these stories available on Audible.com. You can find it under the name Best of Science Fiction and Fantasy (Unabridged), which includes the other volumes in this series.

Since the country is going through a Harry Potter …

June 26, 2003 by · Leave a Comment
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SFFaudio Commentary

Fantasy Audiobooks - Harry Potter 3Since the country is going through a Harry Potter frenzy right now, I feel I should mention how wonderful I’ve found the Harry Potter audiobooks published by Listening Library. I’ve listened to two of them, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (currently in production as a feature film) and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I also joined the fray last weekend and purchased the audiobook of the newest title, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which won’t get to right away. (My wife and son are currently enjoying it.) I’ll write up a proper review when I do.

Fantasy Audiobooks - Harry Potter 4But until then: Both of the volumes I have listened to are simply excellent. If you’ve seen the films, you really know what to expect, especially from Volume 3. In the fourth book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J.K. Rowling really takes it up a notch. This book actually won a Hugo award a couple of years back as the best novel of the year, and I admit that I was surprised at that result. I felt that George R.R. Martin’s A Storm of Swords should have won the award. After listening to this novel, though, I feel that it was worthy of consideration (though I still would have voted for Martin’s book). It is thicker and certainly darker in both character and theme than the previous three books. It is a novel written for young adults, but there’s plenty in there to appeal to us older folks.

Fantasy Audiobooks - Harry Potter 5Jim Dale narrates all of the Potter novels. His range in these performances is incredible. There are many different characters in this book, and Dale provides distinct voices to each one. He acts them all with great skill. It’s true that many of the characters are not particularly deep – an evil character is simply evil and does evil things without us really knowing why. At least not yet. But in Jim Dale’s reading, we know who is who because the manner of each character shines through.

I’m looking forward to this latest volume and didn’t hesitate to buy it.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

I just updated the New Releases page… Current…

June 18, 2003 by · Leave a Comment
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New Releases

I just updated the New Releases page…

Currently, I’m listening to Deathstalker: Rebellion, Part 1 by Simon Green from Defiance Audio, read by several people. It’s an action-packed story in the Star Wars mold; empire, rebellion, aliens of all types, sword fights…

I’d like to see more companies adopt their style of publication. Deathstalker and Deathstalker: Rebellion are big books – they’d make for a large unabridged audio. Large enough, in fact, that most of their target audience (teens) wouldn’t be able to afford them. Instead of going that route, Defiance has made a series of them, releasing the novel in five three-hour portions at a very comfortable $9.95 a piece (or a mere $6.95 if you download them off the website).

This could serve as a model for the production of some excellent but bulky stuff like George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series. Why not release it in parts? As long as the end result is unabridged, I’d buy them.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Here, hot off the press, is a list of Hugo Award-w…

June 17, 2003 by · Leave a Comment
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SFFaudio News

Here, hot off the press, is a list of Hugo Award-winning novels that have been released on audio. Enjoy!

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Review of Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King

June 13, 2003 by · Leave a Comment
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SFFaudio Review

The Dark Tower II: The Drawing Of The Three by Stephen KingThe Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three
By Stephen King; Read by Frank Muller
Publisher: Penguin Audiobooks [UNABRIDGED]
Date Published: November 1997
ISBN: 0140867155
Themes: / Fantasy / Parallel worlds /

This is the second book in Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. I read the first volume a few months ago (in print) and found it very different from Stephen King’s other work. To start with, it was not set in our world, where King sets nearly all of his novels. This volume is set both in the wasteland of the first novel and this world. King expertly uses the setting along with his unforgettable characters to explore the notions of Good and Evil in a grand fashion.

The main character in the books is Roland, a gunslinger, possibly the last gunslinger, who travels in a world separate but somehow connected to our own. This second volume starts within hours after the first ends. Roland is required to draw three people from our world into his to help him on his quest to reach the Dark Tower. If none of this makes sense, that’s okay. I’m hesitant to provide too much detail. It is enough to say that what you have here is a contemporary fantasy novel written by one of the finest creators of believable characters in fiction.

And Frank Muller does the narrating. I’ve never been disappointed in a Muller narration, and this certainly is no exception. His voice is perfect for this material – I imagine Roland’s voice to be Muller’s – and the great energy which he provides this novel probably made it more interesting than it actually was. Several times when listening time came to and end, I took an extra lap around the block or listened for an extra ten minutes… and Muller’s reading is as responsible for that as King’s writing.

I am definitely a Stephen King fan. I enjoy nearly all of his stories. My favorites are from his early career, The Stand and Salem’s Lot especially. Neither of those have audio versions, unfortunately. (Well, there is a version of The Stand available from Books on Tape, but it is not the complete version of the novel that King released later in his career.)

For more info on the Dark Tower series, check the Dark Tower Compendium.

On June 7, the Horror Writers Association gave the…

June 11, 2003 by · Leave a Comment
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SFFaudio Online Audio

On June 7, the Horror Writers Association gave their 2002 Bram Stoker Awards. There are audio editions of a few of the winners.

FIRST NOVEL

The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold, narrated by Alyssa Bresnahan, Unabridged, Recorded Books

FICTION COLLECTION

One More for the Road by Ray Bradbury, read by Campbell Scott, Harper Audio

WORK FOR YOUNGER READERS

Coraline by Neil Gaiman, read by the author, Unabridged, Harper Audio

ALTERNATIVE FORMS

“Imagination Box”, Steve & Melanie Tem, Lone Wolf Publications (multimedia CD)

J. N. Williamson and Stephen King were given Lifetime Achievement Awards. Find all the awards here.

Personally, the only work listed here that I’ve read is Gaiman’s Coraline which I enjoyed very much. Congrats to all the winners!

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

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