Review of Jupiter by Ben Bova

June 30, 2006 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Audiobook Review

Science Fiction Audiobooks - Jupiter by Ben BovaJupiter
By Ben Bova; Read by Christian Noble and
David Warner
8 Cassettes, 10 CDs – 12 hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Fantastic Audio
Published: 2001
ISBN: 1574534114 (cassette)
Themes: / Science Fiction / Solar System / Scientists / Aliens / Exploration
/ First Contact / Espionage

“We will be exploring a region where no human has gone before. We will be searching for life on a world that is utterly alien to us. We will be seeking intelligent life, if it exists, down in the sea. These are good things to do no matter how much discomfort we have to endure.”

Ben Bova has been creating novels in his Grand Tour series since 1992. The series is based on a speculative near future exploration of our solar system. If you haven’t read or listened to any of these books, Jupiter is a good place to start. In this novel the main character, Grant Archer, is sent to a Jupiter research station. He is sent as an unwitting spy for a theocratic government. The fundamentalist religious government is afraid of some secret research that could destabilize their political control. Grant Archer, who is a scientist and a devout believer, struggles with the dual role that has been thrust upon him. He has to figure out why the space station has a genetically altered gorilla and a unique space craft tethered to the station. And there’s big question of what the crew has discovered on the massive planet, Jupiter.

The audiobook is read by two actors, Christian Noble and David Warner. I find multiple narrators confusing. I’m not talking of a cast recording here, but of the narrative duties of a novel being divided between two or more people. While listening, I wonder why there’s a change of narrators instead of paying attention to the story. That’s not the case on this audiobook. There’s a shift of viewpoint, which is easily understood, and one is quite divergent from the other.

The audiobook begins with a nice introduction by Ben Bova’s long time friend, Harlan Ellison. And there’s a also a postscript by the author himself. Nice additions to an already rewarding listen.

Bova is a master of his craft. His characters and world-building are well developed. His theme of religion versus science is well defined. His plotting is well paced. He writes with a scientific accuracy that places him as one of the best hard SF writers. He has written over 100 books and has won six Hugos. Is this the next SF Grand Master? I can’t think of a better candidate.

ed. – This review was of Ben Bova’s Jupiter as released in 2001 by Fantastic Audio. In 2005, Audio Renaissance re-issued this same recording on CD – ISBN 1593974884.

BBC Radio 4’s Imagining Albion: The Great British Future Still Streamable!

June 28, 2006 by · Leave a Comment
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Online Audio

Online AudioHurry! hurry! If you haven’t already there’s still a bit of time to hear the first installment in the four part series Imagining Albion: The Great British Future. The show started airing on BBC Radio 4 last week. Episode 1 is still streamable by Realplayer as of this post. Click HERE to hear it if you have a player built into your browser already. Those who haven’t – go get a Realplayer plugin – you’re gonna dig this documentary – it features an unabashed history of British Science Fiction with authors and SF excerpts illustrating the points made by host Francis Spufford. Details follow…

Imagining Albion: The Great British FutureImagining Albion: The Great British Future
Hosted by Francis Spufford
4 X 30 Minute Installments – [AUDIO DOCUMENTARY]
Broadcaster: BBC Radio 4
Broadcast: Thu 22nd Jun – 11:30
Week 1: The history of Utopian / Dystopia: “Big Brother and the Brave New World”
Week 2: The history of Alien Invasions: “Keep Watching the Shores”

Orson Scott Card Interviewed For A Writing Related Podcast

June 28, 2006 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

Online Audio

It's The Story StupidA podcaster who is currently and unfortunately unnammed is taking a writing class offered by Orson Scott Card and has scored an interview with his teacher! OSC and the unnamed student talk about essential writing techniques and OSC’s magazine Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show amongst other things. Check these three segments from the It’s The STORY Stupid podcast…

ITSS Podcast #16 OSC Interview Part 1 [MP3] – approx. 15 minutes

ITSS Podcast #17 OSC Interview Part 2 [MP3*] – approx. 35 minutes
*Includes bonus interview with Ed Shubert the new editor of OSC’s IGMS

ITSS Podcast #18 OSC Interview Part 3 [MP3] – approx. 10 minutes

Props to for the link!

BBC Radio 4 Serializes H. Rider Haggard’s She

June 28, 2006 by · Leave a Comment
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Online Audio

Online AudioOur SFFaudio contributor, code-named “Roy,” has dropped a dime on another upcoming BBC Radio 4 programme. Roy writes, “I see from next week’s Radio Times that a new two-part production of H. Rider Haggard’s She is coming up in the “Classic Serial” spot on BBC Radio 4” – that’s right up our alley Roy, lost civilizations ruled by gorgeous 2000 year old female-despots does are my kind of fantasy! The details for hearing she who must be obeyed, can be found below…

By H. Rider Haggard; Adapted by Hattie Naylor
2 Parts – 60 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: BBC Radio 4
Broadcast: Sunday Jul 2nd 2006 @ 15:00 (UK time) – repeated the following Saturday at 21:00
The 19th century best-seller set in a mysterious African kingdom explores the complex themes of imperial arrogance, sexual obsession, power and isolation that lie behind the high adventure.

And remember folks, this serial will be available on “listen again” service for 6 days following the broadcast.

Star Trek: The Opportunity

June 27, 2006 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Commentary 

SFFaudio Commentary

Science Fiction Audiobook - Star Trek Vulcan's Soul Vol. 1Simon and Schuster Audio has been publishing Star Trek audiobooks regularly since the late 1980’s. The most recent audiobook in the series (Vulcan’s Soul, Vol. 1 by Sherman and Shwartz) was published in 2004. This loosely coincides with the cancellation of Star Trek: Enterprise. Has Star Trek finished its run on audio?

I mention all this because it seems to me that they are missing an opportunity. And because I like the darn things. Since me liking them is not enough of an incentive for them to make these audiobooks, let’s discuss what I view as the missed opportunity.

A quick perusal of the Star Trek wing in the local bookstore shows that Pocket Books has started publishing a series about the crew of the U.S.S. Titan, which is the ship that Riker and Troi were headed for at the end of Star Trek: Nemesis. With nothing at all happening on the screen for Star Trek, it seems to me that picking up this series of novels, applying the excellent production standards of the previous Star Trek audiobooks… well, they’d be the only show in town, so to speak. Why not produce them while there is no other place to get Star Trek?

Now, I have to assume that the Titan novels are good stories. I haven’t read them, but that would be an obvious prerequisite. I sure hope they are. But just as obvious to me is that a series like that on audio has an excellent chance of success because of a few reasons. First, there is no Star Trek on the screen, yet the buzz of film number 11 is keeping the series on the mind of fans. Second, if film number 11 actually ends up being a prequel, the appetite for Trek’s other incarnations will increase, but will not be satisfied. And third, a Titan series with Riker commanding is something that Star Trek fans would LOVE to see, yet the chances of that actually coming together on the screen is slim. Enter audio, stage left, to fill this desire.

How about it, Simon and Schuster?

Click here for SFFaudio’s Star Trek page.

Dragon Page Podcast Interviews Bruce Coville from Full Cast Audio

June 26, 2006 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

Online Audio

Dragon Page With ClassLogoThe latest Dragon Page With Class podcast (a more scholarly spinoff of the regular Dragon Page Cover-To-Cover podcast) features an interview with Bruce Coville owner and operator of the stupendous Full Cast Audio! Click HERE to download Show #009 directly. Or subscribe to the show’s XML feed by pluggin this into your podcatcher software:

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