Happy Holidays everyone! SFFAudio won’t post till…

December 24, 2004 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: News 

SFFaudio News

Happy Holidays everyone! SFFAudio won’t post till the new year, probably on January 3rd. We wish everyone a peaceful holiday season!

Until then…

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Chapter 1 – Marley’s Ghost

Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it. And Scrooge’s name was good upon ‘Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail.

Mind! I don’t mean to say that I know, of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a door-nail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the Country’s done for. You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a door-nail… -MORE-

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Review of A Coyote in the House By Elmore Leonard

December 23, 2004 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

A Coyote's in the House by Elmore LeonardA Coyote In The House
By Elmore Leonard; Read by Neil Patrick Harris
3 CDs – 3 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Harper Children’s Audio
Published: 2004
ISBN: 0060728825
Themes: / Fantasy / Anthropomorphic Fiction / Movies / Crime /

This dog was cool for a homeboy, an older male who had peed all over this big yard, marking it to let everybody know this was his turf and nobody else’s. Keep it, homes. Live here and get food handed to you. Believe you’re somebody in your pitiful kept world, no better than a slave.”

Buddy’s the aging movie star, Antwan’s the streetwise hipster and Miss Betty is the showgirl. Buddy also happens to be a German Shepherd, Antwan is a wild and wily Coyote and Miss Betty is a bouffant Poodle. A Coyote In The House is a kid’s book in the tradition of Jack London’s The Call of The Wild. In essence this it is the same story, simply with a sub-urban as opposed to an arctic setting – that and Elmore Leonard’s patented prose. It’s not just Leonard’s dialogue that’s distinctive; it’s his story structure, characters, and cadence that all scream Elmore Leonard. And that’s very disconcerting. Leonard hasn’t written anything but adult crime novels and westerns so to hear this audiobook was truly odd. I think kids and adults who listen with together will both be pleased. It’s a fun story but it’s a strange experience for fans of Elmore Leonard’s other novels.

I couldn’t get over how Leonard completely ignores the impossibility of the situation he’s created. I know it’s a kid’s story, and kids won’t likely see it the way I do, but this story is utterly impossible. It basically ignores everything we do know about animal intelligence and replaces it with hipster lingo and human motivations and then marches on, oblivious to all the impossibilities those things entail. As an example, Buddy, the aging German Shepherd movie star, watches his old movies all day long – every animal in A Coyote In The House is intimately familiar with movies and movie stars – this despite the story logic that these canines, felines and avians can’t understand most of what humans say (and vice versa). Further, the animals can’t manipulate objects with their paws like in a Disney movie say, and yet somehow Buddy is able to – off screen – grab a VHS tape of one of his movies put it in the VCR and watch it, rewind it and put it back before his owners get home and see him. “Oh come on,” you say. “It’s a kids story, it doesn’t have to make sense.” Maybe. It didn’t ruin the experience for me but it didn’t let me fully enjoy it either. I just think that it’d have been a far better story to tackle, realistically, the animal’s perspective head on.

One other curious thing of note. The use of the word “bitch.” In any other Leonard novel it wouldn’t be a novelty – here it refers doubly as a slang term (for adult listeners) and as a female canine for children. Some adults may have a problem letting their kids hear such words, when the usage is not clear cut but I think that’d be the wrong attitude to take – the word is legitimately used here and I’d be far more concerned about kids thinking that animals are just like people – when they aren’t – than learning a “bad” word. Performed by Neil Patrick Harris, A Coyote In The House has a goodly number characters with distinctive voices. Harris is quite impressive as a reader! His audiography seems to consist mostly of children’s novels, perhaps a legacy from his child stardom. In any case he’d be a good reader of adult novels too.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Cally’s War by John Ringo and Julie Cochrane

December 21, 2004 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

Cally's War by John Ringo and Julie CochraneCally’s War
By John Ringo and Julie Cochrane
Read by Christine Marshall and William Dufris
1 MP3-CD – Approx 13 Hours 15 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Paperback Digital
Published: 2004
ISBN: 1584390034
Themes: / Science Fiction / Alien invasion / Secret agent / War /

She walked over to the body and tilted her head appraisingly a moment before carefully and deliberately spitting on it. “The name’s Cally O’Neal, and that’s for trying to kill me when I was eight.”

Cally is a member of the sisterhood of the Bane Sidhe, which is a group of underground warriors. It’s immediately apparent that she is a warrior who can withstand all manner of assault on her body in the name of completing her mission. I couldn’t help but to mentally insert Uma Thurman in the role of Cally, as the character’s complete indifference to violence and sex (both of which appear in this book in copious amounts) is reminiscent in ways to characters from Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill.

Cally operates in this novel in a complex post-invasion world. She meets all manner of interesting folk while solving a mystery of her own. The events in the first chapter provided a good running start into the novel, but the rest of the book never matched that potential. I was never interested again as the story took a decided turn for the expected.

The audiobook itself is done in a style that at first turned me off, but then won me over in a big way. Christine Marshall and William Dufris take turns narrating, depending on the point of view of the story. This is a technique that I generally enjoy. But during each other’s narrating duties, the other plays a role. Whenever Cally speaks, for example, it’s Christine Marshall doing the speaking whether she’s narrating at the moment or not. This is a technique that I generally abhor – I find it annoying and distracting nearly every time it’s tried. But… it works very well here for two reasons – first, they didn’t follow up every piece of dialogue with he saids and she saids – words which are as transparent with a single narrator as they are on the page, but with dual narration can become annoying. Second, the sheer skill of these two narrators makes the dialogue portions of the audiobook work wonderfully. Both narrators performed several believable characters each, and there was never any doubt who was speaking. The dialogue was snappy and well paced.

This is definitely science fiction of a sort that I don’t sample too often in print, since I feel like I get enough of this kind of story on the screen (big or small). The technical production, though, was absolutely first rate – among the best in the business – which makes me eager to hear titles from Paperback Digital that are more to my taste.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

CBC Radio One’s program "IDEAS" did a two-part 2-h…

December 20, 2004 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

CBC Radio LogoCBC Radio One’s program “IDEAS” did a two-part 2-hour special on Ursula K. Le Guin entitled “The Word For World is Imagination”

http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/features/leguin/index.html

which was broadcast on October 4th and 5th 2004. In this documentary producer Kelley Jo Burke explored the work, methods, and magic of one of speculative fiction’s most important, and mindful writers. It looks like CBC Radio One has CDs of the program available too! Find them here.

2 Audio Excerpts are online:

Ursula K. Le Guin talks about being a writer.

http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/media/leguin_1.ram

Ursula K. Le Guin talks about why people are uncomfortable with reading science fiction/fantasy.

http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/media/leguin_2.ram

Posted by Jesse Willis

Here are the New Releases for December! AUDIO R…

December 17, 2004 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, New Releases 

New Releases

Here are the New Releases for December!

AUDIO RENAISSANCE

The Dragon Reborn, Book Three of The Wheel of Time

By Robert Jordan, Read by Kate Reading and Michael Kramer

Unabridged

The Shadow Rising, Book Four of The Wheel of Time

By Robert Jordan, Read by Kate Reading and Michael Kramer

Unabridged

I’ve listened to Book 2 of this massive (and massively popular) epic fantasy. I enjoyed it, but not so much that I would be eager for all ten (currently) volumes. I do know that Kate Reading and Michael Kramer did a wonderful job with the material, and can be expected to do so again.

Jesse:

Absolutely, Michael Kramer is a truly excellent reader.

Crystal City, Book Six of Alvin Maker

By Orson Scott Card, Read by Stefan Rudnicki, M.E. Willis, and cast

Unabridged

Ender’s Game: Special 20th Anniversary Edition

By Orson Scott Card, Read by Stefan Rudnicki, Harlan Ellison, and cast

Unabridged

Ah, Orson Scott Card. Audio Renaissance is re-releasing some of Fantastic Audio’s old titles, and this version of Ender’s Game is one of the most heard in my collection. I read Crystal City in print and enjoyed it, so the place your bets that the audio is going to be good too, since it’s in the safe hands of Stefan Rudnicki and cast.

Jesse:

That 20th anniversary one may actually make me read an Orson Scott Card novel. I like his short stories but I somehow never read Ender’s Game back in the 1980s.

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BLACKSTONE AUDIO

Citizen of the Galaxy

By Robert A. Heinlein, Read by Lloyd James

Click here for a sample

Unabridged

Who is this Heinlein guy, anyway? :)

Jesse:

Blackstone has made my wish come true! Lloyd James is the definitive voice of Heinlein on Audio and Citizen of the Galaxy is one of Heinlein’s best juvenile novels (juvenile as in starring a teenager not juvenile as in peurile)and the story concept is so fresh and new as to be singularily unreproduced to this day. I remember enjoying the heck out of it when I read it in paperback I expect it will be as good if not better on audio. The original cover art on this one looks amazing too by the way. This will surely be among the best audiobooks released in 2005. Thanks so much Blackstone!

Magic Time: Angelfire

By Marc Scott Zicree and Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff, Read by a full cast

Click here for a sample

Unabridged

This is volume 2 of a new fantasy series that I don’t have a full grasp on yet. I just starting listening to this volume last night, and am hoping it makes sense without hearing volume one, which is also available from Blackstone Audio.

———————————-

BOOKS ON TAPE

Fahrenheit 451

By Ray Bradbury, Read by Scott Brick

Unabridged

Fahrenheit 451 read by Scott Brick? Gotta get my hands on a copy of that. Books on Tape is still going through come changes over there – their website says that they won’t be resuming comsumer sales until January 3rd, 2005. I checked Audible.com for this title and it wasn’t there.

Jesse:

I believe BOT has released this title previously with a different narrator but I copuld be wrong. I think this Scott Brick version probably become the definitive edition. I thought that Harper Audio’s version from a couple of years ago, with Ray Bradbury narrating would be it, but I was disappointed in Bradbury’s reading. He’s an excellent author, and 451 is his most enduring novel but his performance didnt

enhance it at all. Scott Brick may bring a freshness that Bradbury couldnt muster.

The Runes of the Earth

By Stephen R. Donaldson, Read by Scott Brick

Unabridged

The return of Thomas Covenant! I have not read any of Stephen Donaldson’s books, so I can’t say anything there, but Scott Brick is a top narrator.

Jesse:

Nice title! Donaldson is almost as merciless with his tortured characters as is George R.R. Martin but I wish they’d release the original novel in the series first. I hate starting in the middle.

———————————–

CRAZY DOG AUDIO THEATRE

Diabolic Playhouse

By Roger Gregg, Performed by a full cast

Audio Drama

Roger Gregg and all the lunatics at Crazy Dog Audio Theatre have released a very nice looking MP3-CD containing all 6 episodes of their Diabolic Playhouse drama series, which broadcast on Ireland’s RTE Radio 1 earlier this year. The product is available at their site (based in Ireland) or at the ZBS website if you’re in the USA.

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HARPER AUDIO

The Wee Free Men

By Terry Pratchett, Read by Stephen Briggs

Unabridged

Another Discworld novel from Terry Pratchett!

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PAPERBACK DIGITAL

Reflex

By Steven Gould, Read by Christine Marshall and William Dufris

Unabridged

Nightmares on Congress Street – Part 4

By Rocky Coast Radio Theatre

Audio drama

Paperback Digital cruises along, with two more new releases. Their products are available for download on their own site or on Fictionwise. Hardcopies are available at Amazon.com or at Paperback Digital itself.

Jesse:

I’ve never heard of Gould nor his novel but with the Marshall and Dufris team working together it might be worth a blind buy.

————————————-

RECORDED BOOKS

State of Fear

By Michael Crichton, Read by George Wilson

Unabridged

Michael Crichton has stirring up some scientific controversy with this one. If I understand correctly, the environmentalists in this one are the bad guys.

Jesse:

I’ve liked Crichton’s early work, but have been tuning out since Jurassic Park.

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Happy Holidays, everyone! And thanks for reading SFFAudio.

Review of Fruitcake Theory By James Patrick Kelly

December 15, 2004 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

Fruitcake Theory by James Patrick KellyFruitcake Theory
By James Patrick Kelly; Read by James Patrick Kelly
FREE MP3 DOWNLOAD (link to jimkelly.net) – 30 Minutes (14.33 MB) [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: www.jimkelly.net
Published: March 2004
Themes: / Science Fiction / Aliens / First Contact / Christmas / Immortality /

“This one hears much of the information of fruitcake.”

Maggie is a tour guide. Her job is to escort an alien that looks like a rooster, and acts as dumb as one, during the yuletide season. The rooster is just one of two kinds of aliens from a bifurcated species visiting Earth. This is a story that posits some very interesting aliens, something Kelly is good at, but the heart of the story is the Christmas theme. It’s a bit silly, but I liked it that way. Told in the first person, Kelly does a great muppetish voice for the alien rooster that creates some great mental images to go along with the description. The reading concludes with a very appropriate Christmas music. It was great!

First published in the December 1998 issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, “Fruitcake Theory” and this great recording of it will certainly get you in the mood for Christmas. As with the all the other audio stories of Jim Patrick Kelly’s we’ve reviewed, “Fruitcake Theory” is available for download on Kelly’s website for FREE – you’d have to be as nutty as a fruitcake not to try a deal like that! Kelly only asks that if you enjoyed hearing the tale you consider making a donation to his PayPal account. Donate as little or as much as you like, but seeing as the Christmas spirit is fast approaching be generous.

Posted by Jesse Willis

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