It’s hard to believe it has only been two years, s…

March 31, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: News 

SFFaudio News

It’s hard to believe it has only been two years, so much has happened! We’re still just a toddler and half of what we say is still babble but but we’ve grown so much! Since our birth on March 31st 2003 new audiobook publishers have sprung up, older ones have started publishing science fiction and fantasy audiobooks like it was going out of fashion (but don’t worry it isn’t) and the downloadable audiobook revolution has continued in earnest. And thanks to our birthday present, a new time travel machine, we happen to know the future of science fiction and fantasy audiobooks looks only brighter and brighter in the coming year… though we were a bit ditressed to learn about the destruction of New Zealand by the rampaging alien ruminant creatures from Fomalhault.

All our best, and thanks for visiting!

Posted by Jesse Willis and Scott D. Danielson

Review of Survival: Species Imperative #1 by Juile E. Czerneda

March 30, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

Science Fiction Audiobook - Survival: Species Imperative 1 by Julie CzernedaSurvival: Species Imperative #1
By Juile E. Czerneda; Read by Christine Marshall and William Dufris
1 MP3-CD, 16hr [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Paperback Digital
Published: 2005
ISBN: 1584390050
Themes: / Science Fiction / Alien Life / Biology /

Survival is the first novel in the planned trilogy entitled Species Imperative. It’s science fiction in the grand tradition – written by a scientist, it contains plenty of science. As I was listening, I likened it to Clarke’s Rendezvous with Rama in the way it is a constant detailed unfolding view of an alien mystery. But the comparison would have to stop there, because in this book the aliens are right there; in Rama we never got to actually see them.

The story’s main character is Dr. Mackenzie Connor, who honestly wants nothing to do with aliens. Her thing is salmon, and we first meet her while she’s studying salmon at a research facility in northwest North America. Then, a Dhryn arrives. A Dhryn is a six armed, blue, intelligent alien who seeks out Dr. Connor specifically to share some archaeological information with her. But shortly after the Dryhn arrives, strange things start to happen at the research facility, which propel Dr. Connor into a partnership with the alien as they unravel an enigma. Event by event and discovery by discovery mysteries unfold.

Christine Marshall and William Dufris turn in excellent performances. The two narrators tell the story seamlessly in a masterfully edited dual narration. The Dhryn’s voice (performed by Dufris) is very effective, and is a great example of how audiobook narration can add depth to an author’s character. Marshall has the bulk of the narrating duties here, and she sets a good pace for the prose, which contains much expositional material.

Overall, this is good hard science fiction that like all good hard science fiction leaves us much to consider; in this case about humanity, nature, and the relationship between the two.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

This is slightly late (because the episode already…

March 29, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

This is slightly late (because the episode already aired), but cool nonetheless…

An interesting new spin on the phenomenon of Podcasting… The Sci-Fi Channel website is offering a podcast of a commentary track for the Season Finale of Stargate: Atlantis. It can be found here:
http://www.scifi.com/atlantis/downloads/podcast/

Ron Moore started the trend with his podcast commentary on Battlestar Galactica episodes.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr Punch: A Romance

March 28, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

Fantasy Audio Drama - Mr. Punch by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKeanThe Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr Punch: A Romance
By Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean; Performed by a Full Cast
STREAMING AUDIO LINK BELOW
1 Hour [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: BBC Radio 3
Published: March 3rd 2005
Themes: / Fantasy / Mythology / Puppetry / England / Memory /

“That’s the way to do it!”

Audio drama is a hit or miss affair, but the BBC knows its stuff, so it is really terrific that they produced this adaptation of a Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean’s graphic novel. The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr Punch: A Romance is somber reminiscence of a young English boy’s familial experiences and the resonance it had with the seaside Punch and Judy shows. North American audiences probably aren’t familiar with the Punch and Judy so I’ll lay out the basics… Punch and Judy is a popular British puppet show for children, featuring Mr. Punch and his “bit of stuff” Judy. The performances consist of short scenes, each of which depict an interaction between the chaotic trickster Mr. Punch and one other character. The Punch and Judy show is always performed by a single puppeteer, (known in the trade as a Professor), which is why only two characters can be on stage at the same time. Mr. Punch is a hunchback who sports a hideous grin, beady piercing eyes, a giant chin, hooked nose and the dress of a court jester. Mr. Punch usually carries a stick, with which he happily beats the other character on stage. The other character could be Judy, her baby, a crocodile, the devil or even a string of naughty sausages. The plot of this particular audio drama shows us how the particular staging of a Punch and Judy show doesn’t vary the particular impact on the audience except when one has been cast in the play. McKean’s original piano score haunts the production and the actors all play their roles to perfection. While not as engaging as some of Gaiman’s later work this tale is nonetheless very neatly woven. This radio drama will be archived for one month on the BBC Radio 3 website. So listen while you may you naughty little sausages!

STREAMING AUDIO LINK:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/aod/radio3_aod.shtml?radio3/thewire

Narrator …… Richard Dillane
Swatchell …… Alexander Morton
Grandfather …… Hugh Dickson
Morton …… Karl Johnson
Boy …… Jonathan Bee
Mermaid …… Rachel Atkins
Grandmother …… Susan Jameson
Father …… Stuart McLoughlin
Mr Punch …… Geoff Felix
Sister …… Frankie Dean
Music by Dave McKean and Ashley Slater
Directed by Lu Kemp

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Star Wars: Labyrinth of Evil By James Luceno

March 25, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

Science Fiction Audiobooks - Star Wars: Labyrinth of EvilStar Wars: Labyrinth of Evil
By James Luceno; Read by Jonathan Davis
4 CD’s – 5 hours [ABRIDGED]
Publisher: Random House Audio
Publication Date: 2005
ISBN: 0739317350
Themes: / Science Fiction / Star Wars /

Star Wars: Labyrinth of Evil is a prequel to the upcoming Star Wars film Revenge of the Sith. It takes place after Attack of the Clones, the action starting in the thick of a battle in the Clone War. Obi-Wan, Anakin Skywalker, and the rest of the Jedi Council have thrown their resources into finding out who and where Darth Sidious is after finding a very promising lead – a holotransceiver that had been used to contact him. The tale is a very satisfying whodunit featuring Obi-Wan and Anakin following a series of clues that bring them closer and closer to Sidious, while all the time Anakin gets closer and closer to the Dark Side.

I recall watching Episode II after listening to the prequel to that film, Alan Dean Foster’s Star Wars: The Approaching Storm. Early in the movie, Obi-wan and Anakin speak briefly about events that occurred in the prequel novel. It makes the books much more a part of the whole Star Wars saga to know that the movie-makers are paying attention to the novel-writers, and vice versa.

Jonathan Davis is remarkable. He nailed very passable accents for all the characters, including Yoda, Count Dooku, and Obi Wan Kenobi as played by the film actors. The pace is quick, and Davis drives the story perfectly. Sound effects are abundant, effective, and enjoyable.

In all, this audiobook is an action packed adventure full of light saber duels, dark villians, and… in short, it’s Star Wars! And very good Star Wars – it should be a hit with every fan.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Review of The Adventures of Superman: Doomsday and Beyond

March 23, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

BBC Radio Drama - Superman: Doomsday and BeyondThe Adventures of Superman: Doomsday and Beyond
Written and Directed by Dirk Maggs; Starring a Full Cast
2 Cassettes – 2.5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
ISBN: 0563401974
Publisher: BBC
Published: 1993
Themes: / Fantasy / Superhero / Comics /

A review by Jake Black

In my previous review I talked about my experience with Superman, and that it was the reason that I’m doing these Superman-related reviews for SFFAudio. This week’s covers the 1993 audio play Superman: Doomsday and Beyond which dramatically retells the story of Superman’s death and return. I have to admit that I know this story inside out. It was what got me really reading comics, and especially familiar with the Superman comics. Since then, I have heavily followed them.

The story covers over 1000 comic book pages. I was skeptical as to whether or not the audio play could handle such a lengthy story in two cassettes. The play gives it a noble try, and succeeds – mostly. The “death” portion (the epic battle with the demonic Doomsday) is given very little attention. It doesn’t seem as intense as the comics did. It almost cheapens the death of the Man of Steel. Similarly the funeral portion is dramatically edited from the comic book version.

However, the “return” stuff is very loyal to the source material. It covers all of tape two, and approximately a quarter of tape 1. Some of the comic book elements, like the superhero mourning, and Lois’ encounter by the “sympathetic” Jed, were cut from the tapes for time reason, and while they aren’t necessarily missed on the tapes, though they do add a lot to the comics. One very importance difference is the absence of Green Lantern Hal Jordan. Jordan’s involvement in the story set his character’s evolution in motion such that we are just now seeing the end of it in the white-hot Green Lantern Rebirth story, currently published by DC. But, the story is handled well. And it does include some cool moments from the comics prior to this story like Lois’ and Clark’s engagement, and how “they saved Luthor’s brain” to clone him (which is also still an important story in the comics.)

The overall sound is great. Like the previous Superman audio play, these tapes sound great on all of the different players on which I played them. Loaded with sound effects, which mostly sound great, there are a couple of irritations: Superman’s heat vision is an annoying buzz like those cheap ray guns that you’d get from the grocery store for $1.49; and the alien ruler Mongul’s ship is full of travel alarm-clock buzzing.

The voice actors are fantastic, as well. Superman’s voice is a bit too tenor-ish, but I’m getting pretty used to it. The rest of the characters sound great – especially the Australian Lex Luthor II, the new “Man of Steel” John Henry Irons, and the nefarious Cyborg. The only huge complaint I have of the voices is Superboy’s – the teenage clone of Superman. It is clearly an adult trying his best to sound 16 – but it becomes a really bad, really irritating impression of Bill and Ted. It’s really awful!

With the mix of music, sound effects, and a talented cast of voice actors, these are a lot of fun. I enjoyed them more than the other “Adventures of Superman” audio play I listened to previously. I think that the storytelling method may be a bit confusing to people who aren’t familiar with Doomsday, the four false-Supermen, etc. but the overall story is fantastic. If nothing else, it is a great trip down memory lane for a Superman fan who loves this story!

This review is copyright 2005 by Jake Black. You can find out more about Jake at his website, http://www.jakeblack.com.

Next Page »