The Mark Time Awards (named for a character from F…

July 31, 2003 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, News 

SFFaudio News

The Mark Time Awards (named for a character from Firesign Theater) are presented annually for the best audio science fiction of the year. The Ogle Awards (named for Charles Ogle, who played Frankenstein in Thomas Edison’s 1910 film) are presented annually for the best fantasy/horror productions of the year. This year, they were presented on July 4, 2003, at the ConVergence convention in Bloomington, MN.

The awards are given soley for audio theater. For the whole scoop, click here.

The winners are:

GOLD MARK TIME AWARD:

Anne Manx and the Trouble on Chromius

The Radio Repertory Company of America

Angelo Panetta, Producer. Elmwood Park, NJ.

A fast-moving 2 hour action adventure with Anne Manx, played by Claudia Christian as a future detective.

SILVER MARK TIME AWARD:

Not From Space

The Borgus collective

Jeffrey Bays, Producer. Marshall, MO.

A very subtle invasion from Mars that takes years, wrapped in a production that sounds like modern commercial radio.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Nebulous Rex

Dave Cerf and Faustus Caceres, Producers. San Francisco, CA.

Shirley & Spinoza, Internet Radio.

Things go wrong on the spaceliner, but is it just accidents?

Red Shift

Seem Real Theater

Thomas O’Neill, Producer. Bridgeport, CT.

Has the Dalai Lama been reincarneted on Mars? A polisci-fi religio-comic rumination.

www.doctechnical.com

GOLD OGLE AWARDS: (Tie)

Fears for Ears

Positive Living Productions

Aida Memisevic, Producer. Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.

Five superbly produced horror short stories, made in Canada.

www.fearsforears.com

Dragon Song

Texas Radio Theater Company

Richard Frohlich, Producer. Arlington, TX.

A modern urban fantasy story, performed live.

SILVER OGLE AWARD:

Up On the Rooftops

Imagination X

Jeffrey Adams, Producer. Monmouth, OR.

A very short take on those noises on the roof at Christmas.

HONORABLE MENTION:

Background

Imagination X

Jeffrey Adams Producer. Monmouth, OR.

A short graphic ghost story with a true horror ending.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

There’s lots of great science fiction stuff over o…

July 30, 2003 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Uncategorized 

Science Fiction - CBC RadioThere’s lots of great science fiction stuff over on Canada’s CBC radio network:

Find a Jane Yolen interview here, from CBC Radio One’s Richardson’s Roundup.

An interview of Margaret Atwood, author of Oryx and Crake, can be found here, also from CBC Radio One’s Richardson’s Roundup.

And one of William Gibson here.

Thanks for the info, Jesse!

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Review of The Hedge Knight by George R.R. Martin

July 22, 2003 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

Science Fiction Audiobook - Legends 4The Hedge Knight
Contained in: Legends: Stories by the Masters of Fantasy, Volume 4
by George R.R. Martin; Read by Frank Muller
4 Cassettes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Harper Audio
Date Published: 1996
ISBN: 0694521132
Themes: / Fantasy / Knights / Jousting / Court Intrigue /

I’m not a big epic fantasy fan. I have nothing at all against them – it’s just that I enjoy good science fiction more than I enjoy good epic fantasy. I’ve read and enjoyed Tolkien, then the first three books in Terry Brook’s Shannara series… with that my appetite for epic fantasy novels was sated.

But then came George R.R. Martin. Several people told me to read the first book in his A Song of Ice and Fire series, A Game of Thrones. I finally picked up the thousand-pager, and am now hooked, impatiently waiting for Martin to finish the fourth book (of six!) in the series.

The Hedge Knight is a short novel set in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, but well before the events in the first novel. We follow the travels of Dunc, a squire to an aged hedge knight. When this hedge knight dies in the middle of nowhere, Dunc takes on the role of knight himself and gets into trouble when he crosses a prince at a tournament.

Like the the larger series, The Hedge Knight is filled with interesting, realistic characters, none of which are all good or all bad. There is plenty of intrigue and political maneuvering along with the medieval action.

The story is ably performed by Frank Muller, who’s considerable skill along with Martin’s excellent prose makes this recording one I return to again and again.

The Legends 4 audiobook also contains a Pern story by Anne McCaffrey and a Riftwar story by Raymond Feist.

CBC Radio: Faster Than Light

July 18, 2003 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, News 

SFFaudio News

Just found on the CBC’s website:

http://www.cbc.ca/radiodrama/sundayshowcase.html

Merchandise – Radio Drama on CD
Faster Than Light: Tales of Time and Imagination CD
Hosted by Robert Sawyer
Produced by Barbara Worthy and Joe Mahoney

Faster Than Light is a new science fiction magazine show and included in this evening’s lineup are two short plays by Joe Mahoney. The Cold Equations is a dramatization by Mahoney of a Tom Godwin story in which a space shuttle pilot discovers a young stowaway on board his ship. Her presence may doom his mission and he is forced to choose between its success and the young girl.

Captain’s Away is an original drama and, in this first episode, we meet Karin Kudelka – who is either an alien captain on an interstellar starship – or one of the best darn waitresses around.

Faster Than Light also includes an interview with author Nalo Hopkinson, as well as some original commentary by the evening’s host, Robert Sawyer, a well-known science fiction author.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Falling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold

July 18, 2003 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

Science Fiction Audiobooks - Falling Free by Lois McMaster BujoldFalling Free
By Lois McMaster Bujold; Read by Michael Hanson and Carol Cowan
7 Cassettes – 9 hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: The Reader’s Chair
Published: 1996
ISBN: 0962401099
Themes: Science Fiction / Genetic Engineering / Slavery / Space Travel /

Wikipedia defines Space Opera as “a subgenre of science fiction that emphasizes romantic adventure, faster-than-light travel and space battles where the main storyline is interstellar conflict.” A fair definition, I think. I also think that this definition of Space Opera is what most folks outside of science fiction fandom would accept as a definition of the whole genre of science fiction. The perception is both well-earned and difficult to fight since nearly every successful science fiction film and television series fits that definition of Space Opera. I’ve expressed several times how I wish that perception wasn’t true, because I enjoy only so much of this kind of SF. I like my science fiction to have meat on the bones, and there is plenty of that around in written SF. Enough, in fact, that the average Space Opera doesn’t even have to be on the menu.

Of course, there are the exceptions and Lois McMaster Bujold is one of them. She’s the author of the Vorkosigan series of novels – an extremely well-written series which proves that Space Opera can be done well. Falling Free is a Nebula-award winning novel in a series that has also picked three Hugos. The story, which takes place 200 years before the other books, involves a company that genetically engineers a new race of humans (Quaddies) that is uniquely adapted for work in zero-gravity. Enter Leo Graf, an engineer hired to teach zero-g welding techniques to this new race of slave labor. Think you know where this is heading? Bujold pulls it off brilliantly.

The audio version of this book is another exception. It’s performed by two narrators – Michael Hanson and Carol Cowan. They swap narrating duties with changes in the story’s point of view – a technique I first heard in this audiobook and that I find very effective. The two narrators also perform some conversations together during the story, somewhat like an audio drama. This is something I have found to be extremely INeffective in other audiobooks I’ve heard since this one, but here I enjoyed their interplay and didn’t experience the jarring effect that I’ve felt in other books that have attempted the same technique.

Review of The Giver by Lois Lowry

July 15, 2003 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

Science Fiction Audiobooks - The Giver by Lois LowryThe Giver
by Lois Lowry; Read by Ron Rifkin
4 Cassettes – Approx. 6 hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Bantam Doubleday Dell
Published: April 1995
ISBN: 055347359X
Themes: / Science Fiction / Children / Dystopia / Utopia /

In the future, society has eliminated pain and there is peace on earth, at least as far as we can tell. For Jonas, his twelfth birthday marks new responsibilities and new challenges. He hopes to be assigned to training as a “Nurturer,” like his father, with duties of caring for newborn babies until they are assigned to mothers and fathers. His mother works in the “Department of Justice”; but he doubts that will be chosen to be his life’s work. He has little natural aptitude for either function. But he is unexpectedly assigned to the position of “Receiver,” an important job with the unique function of learning and holding the community’s memories. The present position is held by a community elder, who is called “The Giver”. Together they must make the transition easy for the community because strong memories of hate, anger, and love aren’t acceptable except for guiding political decisions.

This is a well written children’s novel that adults can enjoy. But it is a children’s novel and one way to tell is by the controversy surrounding it was so strong. Though it is set in a science fiction setting, it is more of a parable than most modern children’s science fiction. The story of a young boy confronting a hidden truth about his society isn’t entirely original (though it does predate Harry Potter by a few years). It is also of course a story of a utopia/dystopia and the transformation of society that happened to make it. Again something not unfamiliar, but what is original though is the method used to transform the society. Think of it as a children’s version of Brave New World, This Perfect Day or G-rated Equilibrium and you’ll get the idea.

Ron Rifkin’s narration is effective, and it is an enjoyable novel to listen to. The controversy surrounding “The Giver” is entirely a product of it being deemed a children’s book, and having a child rebelling against his parents and society. It won’t turn your pre-teen into Che Guevera.

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