Review of Snow Bank by Jeffrey Adams

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

Science Fiction Audio Drama - Snow BankSnow Bank
By Jeffrey Adams, performed by Icebox Radio Theater
2 CDs – 115 minutes [UNABRIDGED 4 part serial]
Publisher: Icebox Radio Theater
Published: 2004
Themes: / Science Fiction / Alien / Mystery / Teen Drama

A body in a snowbank…
A town under siege
A family that must solve the mystery, or be torn apart!

If you had to do a high-concept pitch for Snow Bank you’d probably wind up saying “X-files meets the Bobbsey Twins.” Sean (Brock Krahnke) and his twin sister Bobbie (Anna Remus) discover a body under a snowbank next to their school. Despite warnings from their father, the local D.A., the twins set out to investigate the murder themselves. What follows dips into UFOs, alien scientists and twin psychic connections. They even manage to pull off a car chase in radio. That’s pretty impressive.

The story is all over than map and unfortunately wraps up in the final episode with a long expository scene which, maddeningly, says that the car chase was a hallucination–which both twins shared. There are logical inconsistencies in the story and unresolved questions which left me very frustrated. For instance, I can’t give you a spoiler on how the dead body got in the snow bank because they never explain it.

The acting in this is very strong with only one or two exceptions. What is most impressive about the production is that it was originally broadcast live. When I listened to the first episode I was troubled by some over-modulation on the microphones, but when I listened to the outro and realized that I had just heard a live performance, I was stunned. The performances are tight and the Foley is beautifully handled to create an aural picture of what is happening. Both Krahnke and Remus turn in really compelling performances. In particular, when Remus’s character, Bobbie, is sent to a juvenile detention center you can hear her character change posture from a cocky teenage girl, to an insecure and frightened one.

So, although the story almost felt like they were making it up as they went, the execution makes Snow Bank worth listening to.

Posted by Mary Robinette Kowal

Review of Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien

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

Fantasy Audiobooks - Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. TolkienLetters From Father Christmas
By J. R. R. Tolkien; Read by Sir Derek Jacobi, John Moffat and Christian Rodska
2 cassettes – 120 minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Harper Audio
Published: 2000
ISBN: 0618087842
Themes: / Fantasy / Christmas /

“Can you imagine writing to Father Christmas and actually getting a reply? For over twenty years, the children of J.R.R. Tolkien received letters from the North Pole – from Father Christmas himself! They told wonderful stories, of mischief and disaster, adventures and battles. Now, for the first time, these letters are brought to life on tape.”

While most of Tolkien’s work was published to great acclaim by ‘Tolkien the fantasy author’ or even ‘Tolkien professor of linguistics’, Letters From Father Christmas was never intended for publication at all, it was simply a collection of letters written over a twenty year period by ‘Tolkien the father’ to his own children. This makes it all the more special. There is no refinement of theme, or distinguishment of plot. Only the fanciful adventures of Father Christmas (that’s Santa Claus for most people) and the other residents of the North Pole. Sir Derek Jacobi along with John Moffat and Christian Rodska read the letters by performing in the voices of the letter writers. Accented with jingling bells in between letters. This is a skillfully adapted audiobook that transmutes the words of the original letters into audio gold. Unfortunately the letters also had wonderful colour illustrations referred to in the letters themselves. I’ve seen them – they were drawn and coloured by Tolkien himself, beautiful and funny images that can’t be adapted to audio. This is a case where the paperbook actually has something over a perfect audiobook translation of a paperbook. Harper Audio should have included a companion insert or something. But for those who already own a copy Letters From Father Christmas makes for perfect listening on the days leading up to Christmas!

Posted by Jesse Willis

New podcasts of note: Spaceship Radio OTR, Old …

November 25, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

New podcasts of note:

Spaceship Radio
OTR, Old Time Radio, mostly from the 1950s, mostly X-Minus One. Besides the radio dramas the show’s host Andy Dome has started a wiki project to create new radio dramatizations.

A lengthy British podcast from that mostly focuses on the Call Of Cthulhu role playing game. Their promo is absolutely hilarious!

Posted by Jesse Willis

Escape Pod, the AWESOME, AWESOME, AWESOME podca…

November 25, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: News 

Escape Pod, the AWESOME, AWESOME, AWESOME podcast magazine is doing a way cool promotion to celebrate their first half-year of continous publication! They’re offering all past donaters of $20.00 USD or more a FREE CD-MP3 of the first half-year’s worth of short stories, flash fiction and more! That’s 26 Weeks of Science Fiction and Fantasy audio goodness. What’s more, your donation will help to create even more stories! The disc is a numbered limited edition of 200, if you haven’t already donated to Escape Pod (which actually pays its authors for its fiction), do so in amount of $20.00 USD or more by PayPal and you’ll be able to get one too! But maybe you’ve listened to every show and don’t want to hear them all again? Crazy, but possible I suppose. Well that’s still no problem, have the disc outfitted with a custom note of your choosing, up to 60 characters in length. It makes a great gift!

While we are apt to shun most video based interv…

November 25, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

While we are apt to shun most video based interviews as unnecessarily gauche we always make an exception for the good folks at Fast Forward: Contemporary Science Fiction a monthly 30 minute television series about Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror. They’ve just done an exciting interview with George R.R. Martin! Martin chats about his latest Song Of Ice And Fire series novel A Feast for Crows. An audio only interview can be dound HERE.

Saturday the 26th of November 2005 sees a bran…

November 25, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

Saturday the 26th of November 2005 sees a brand new unabridged reading of an H.P. Lovecraft story on BBC7’s The Seventh Dimension:

The Tomb
By H.P. Lovecraft; Read by Ryan McCluskey
Broadcaster: BBC7
Broadcast: Nov 26th 2005 [available on the Listen Again service for 6 days following]
Jervas Dudley inmate of an insane asylum describes the sinister events leading up to his incarceration. He tells of how he became obsessed with the tomb of a long-dead family of aristocrats and how his obsession tipped him over into madness when he entered their tomb and spent a night lying in an empty coffin.

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