Review of Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler

September 27, 2006 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

Science Fiction Audiobook Review

Science Fiction Audiobook – Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. ButlerParable of the Sower
By Octavia E. Butler; Read by Lynne Thigpen
10 CDs – 12 hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Recorded Books
Published: 2000
ISBN: 0788747606
Themes: / Science Fiction / Dystopia / Survival / Religion /

Occasionally in science fiction there comes a novel that should be considered important not only inside the genre, but in all of literature. Like 1984 by George Orwell. Or Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Or like nearly everything Octavia Butler ever wrote, including this novel.

Parable of the Sower is a novel consisting of the diary entries of the main character, a teen named Lauren. She lives and writes in 2020’s United States of America, in the Los Angeles area. Butler imagines a lawless future America where everyone is on their own. Lauren lives in a cul-de-sac with a wall around it – her family and several others haved pooled together. Murders are commonplace, as is theft, and people struggle to survive while the world moves on. Lauren comments on the death of an astronaut on Mars, the election of a new president, as well as her ever-changing day-to-day life.

Complicating things is the fact that Lauren is a hyper-empath. If she sees someone get hurt, she feels that pain as if it was happening to her. An extremely uncomfortable thing to be, when pain exists all around her.

Out of all of this, she creates a new religion, called Earthseed, which springs forth from the beliefs formed by her life’s circumstances. She isn’t inventing it, as she says more than once – no, she’s discovering it. In a world in which the only surety is change, she discovers God. And God, she figures, is change itself.

Lynne Thigpen is flawless in her narration of this book. She did a wonderful job speaking as if the world in which Lauren moved was normal. Her emphasis and emotion perfectly fit the character. The result was an audiobook that I’m better off for having heard.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

2 new BBC Radio programmes of interest…

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

Online Audio

Our UK correspondent codenamed “Roy” writes:

“Just spotted an item in the latest Radio Times that might be of interest to at least a section of the SFFAudio audience…….

Online Audio - BBC Radio 2Star Trek At 40 – Where No-One Has Gone Before
Broadcaster: BBC Radio 2
Broadcast: Tuesday October 3rd – 20:30-21:30

Roy sez: “I don’t suppose this will be the only Star Trek anniversary documentary and it remains to be seen if this will have any unique insights, but I for one will be tuned in. It will likely be available via ‘listen again‘ for a week or so, but archiving of R2 is not perhaps as comprehensive as other BBC stations.”

And over on Radio 4:

Online Audio - BBC Radio 4Tomorrow, Today!
Broadcaster: BBC Radio 4
Broadcast: Friday October 6th – 11:30-12:00

A new four part comedy series, a spoof on life in the BBC’s Light Entertainment Unit: A BBC Producer in 1961 struggles to make a radio soap set in the unimaginably futuristic world of 2006.

Roy sez: “Much of the BBC’s radio comedy output has been poorly received by both critics & listeners over the last few years so I wouldn’t hold my breath for anything on the scale of Hitch-Hikers Guide To The Galaxy, but the cast looks pretty high-powered (Peter Bowles, Cheryl Campbell and John Fortune amongst other British stalwarts) so I live in hope.”

We do to. Thanks Roy!

New Releases: two Neil Gaiman audiobooks

September 26, 2006 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: New Releases 

Audiobook New Releases

Two new audiobooks from Neil Gaiman and Harper Audio:

This one actually shows as being available back in December of 2005, but I never saw it released then….

Audiobook - Fragile Things by Neil GaimanMirrorMask
By Neil Gaiman; Read by Stephanie Leonidas
CD – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Harper Audio
Published: 2005
ISBN: 0060899328

Helena is about to embark on a most amazing journey. Raised in a family of circus performers, she’s always dreamed of leading a more ordinary life. But when haunting music draws her into a strange and magical realm, one where anything can happen, her real life is stolen by a runaway from the…

This one streets today….

Audiobook - Fragile Things by Neil GaimanFragile Things
By Neil Gaiman; Read by Neil Gaiman
8 CDs – Approx. 9 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Harper Audio
Published: September 2006
ISBN: 0061142379

A mysterious circus terrifies an audience for one extraordinary performance before disappearing into the night, taking one of the spectators along with it . . . In a novella set two years after the events of American Gods, Shadow pays a visit to an ancient Scottish mansion, and finds himself trapped in a game of murder and monsters . . . In a Hugo Award-winning short story set in a strangely altered Victorian England, the great detective Sherlock Holmes must solve a most unsettling royal murder . . . Two teenage boys crash a party and meet the girls of their dreams—and nightmares . . . In a Locus Award-winning tale, the members of an exclusive epicurean club lament that they’ve eaten everything that can be eaten, with the exception of a legendary, rare, and exceedingly dangerous Egyptian bird . . . Such marvelous creations and more—including a short story set in the world of The Matrix, and others set in the worlds of gothic fiction and children’s fiction—can be found in this extraordinary collection, which showcases Gaiman’s storytelling brilliance as well as his terrifyingly entertaining dark sense of humor. By turns delightful, disturbing, and diverting, Fragile Things is a gift of literary enchantment from one of the most unique writers of our time.

And note that it is read by Neil Gaiman himself! Cool!

posted by Jesse Willis

New Podiobook by Paul S. Jenkins: The Plitone Revisionist

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

Podcast Novel - The Plitone RevisionistPaul S. Jenkins, of The Rev-Up Review podcast fame, has created a Science Fiction podcast novel andthe first five episodes are available now at Podiobooks.com. It’s called The Plitone Revisionist. Here’s the description…

Will Captain Paola Mackie, independent space courier, thrown out of her home ten years previously, escape the unsavory clutches of the man who thinks she can lead him to the notorious Revisionist mothership secretly orbiting within the Lutrana system and plotting to destabilize its economy, its culture, its very way of life?

Will Paola be reconciled with her estranged and aged father before it’s too late for him to pass on his onerous legacy to her? And will she finally get it together with Nantuke Orlis, the Revisionist President’s enigmatic scout?

The Plitone Revisionist is a fast-paced, sexy science-fiction thriller that will keep you enthralled to the end — and beyond.

It sounds cool! Way to go Paul!

posted by Jesse Willis

The Time Machine – H.G. Wells Stories on Audible

September 25, 2006 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: News 

SFFaudio News

Audible.comThe Commuter’s Library unabridged H.G. Wells Collected Science Fiction: The Time Machine & Stories of the Unusual is Audible.com’s Selection of the Day! That means you can get this classic title for $9.95 today.

H.G. Wells Collected Science Fiction: The Time Machine & Stories of the UnusualH.G. Wells Collected Science Fiction: The Time Machine & Stories of the Unusual
By H. G. Wells, Read by Ralph Cosham
7 hours and 28 min [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Commuter’s Library
Published: 2004
Themes: / Science fiction / Time Travel / Evolution / Future /

In addition to the unabridged reading of The Time Machine this audiobook features 9 stories from Stories of the Unusual:

“The Country of the Blind” takes place in a hidden valley where it would seem that a man with sight would be king.
“The Diamond Maker” tells of a fortune that might have been.
“The Man Who Worked Miracles” recounts the problems of defying nature.
In “Aepyornis Island”, a man has a special relationship with a prehistoric bird.
“The Strange Orchid” tells of the macabre appetite of an exotic plant.
“The Cone” is a shocking story of revenge.
“The Purple Pileus” deals with a life-altering fungus.
“The Truth About Pyecraft” is a classic that explains why an overbearing fat man wears lead underwear.
“The Door in the Wall” captures the pathos of lost youth

The Commuter’s Library audio productions of the works of H.G. Wells were singled out for mention by Allan Kaster in this sffaudio interview. Cosham’s reading of The Time Machine also gets a thumbs up in a collection of reviews of various audiobook editions of The Time Machine at The Time Machine site.

The Commuter’s Library is now known as In Audio and the contents of this download are available for purchase as cassette tapes or CDs as two separate listings: The Time Machine and Strange Fiction: Stories by H.G. Wells

Posted by Moriond

Author Focus: Cory Doctorow

September 25, 2006 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: News 

SFFaudio News

Cory DoctorowHere’s our latest Author Focus and it is on Cory Doctorow. I got to meet Cory Doctorow at WorldCon 2006 but I’ve been listening to his work for years! He’s a dynamo in real life too by the way. Cory’s an audiobook fan, so it is very appropriate for him to have as much of his fiction available in audio as he does. Being that he is also a proponent of the free culture movement it is thus doubly appropriate that all his audio fiction is available for free!

Craphound: The Literary Works of Cory DoctorowThe largest collection of audio fiction comes from his podcast Craphound: The Literary Works of Cory Doctorow you can subscribe to it by using this feed:

http://feeds.feedburner.com/doctorow_podcast

Here is a complete listing of the short works he’s podcast so far:

After The SeigeAfter The Siege
By Cory Doctorow; Read by Cory Doctorow
9 MP3s – [UNABRIDGED]
Podcast: September – October 2005
Mp3 Files: |Part 1|Part 2|Part 3|Part 4|Part 5|Part 6|Part 7|Part 8|Part 9|
“[After the Siege is]a novelette I’m writing on long-haul flight segments, in 2-5,000 word chunks, for an anthology of optimisitic sf stories. It’s inspired by my grandmother’s stories of living throug the Siege of Leningrad, which she told during a family reunion in St Petersburg, Russia, last summer.”

When Sysadmins Ruled The EarthWhen Sysadmins Ruled The Earth
By Cory Doctorow; Read by Cory Doctorow
9 MP3s – [UNABRIDGED]
Podcast: October – November 2005
Mp3 Files: |Part 1|Part 2|Part 3|Part 4|Part 5|Part 6|
When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth [is] a new story about an apocalypse that arrives on the heels of a catastrophic Internet worm. When the trump sounds, the world’s systems administrators are all in their sealed data-centers, and so they survive the carnage.”

Anda's GameAnda’s Game
By Cory Doctorow; Read by Alice Taylor
3 Mp3s – [UNABRIDGED]
Podcast: January 2006
Mp3 Files: |Part 1|Part 2|Part3|
“…a reading of Anda’s Game, my Nebula-Award-shortlisted story about in-game sweatshops.”

Human ReadableHuman Readable
By Cory Doctorow; Read by Cory Doctorow
7 MP3 Files – [UNABRIDGED]
Podcast: January – February 2006
MP3 Files: |Part 1|Part 2|Part 3|Part 4|Part 5|Part 6|Part 7|
“…the tale of a world that’s been upended by hyper-efficient planning algorithms based on ant-colony optimizations, so that Los Angeles has the best traffic in the world. However, when these networks crash, they really crash — cars, surfboards, and many other common conveyances end up catastrophically failing, with concomitant loss of life.”

I, RobotI, Robot
By Cory Doctorow; Read by Cory Doctorow
5 Mp3s – [UNABRIDGED]
Podcast: February 2006
Mp3 Files: |Part 1|Part 2|Part 3|Part 4|Part 5|
“It’s [a novelette, that is] a riff on Asimov’s robots stories, in which only one kind of robot is allowed — I tried to use this to show how such a world would be one of universal, totalitarian Broadcast Flags, technology mandates that restrict innovation and liberty.”

Return To Pleasure IslandReturn To Pleasure Island
By Cory Doctorow; Read by Cory Doctorow
4 MP3 Files – [UNABRIDGED]
Podcast: February – March 2006
MP3 Files: |Part 1|Part 2|Part 3|Part 4|
“…a dark and mean fantasy story that was originally published in Realms of Fantasy…”

Nimby And The D-HoppersNimby And The D-Hoppers
By Cory Doctorow; Read by Cory Doctorow
3 MP3 Files – [UNABRIDGED]
Podcast: March – April 2006
MP3 Files: |Part 1|Part 2|Part 3|
“…the story of a deep-green alternate future that is being invaded by gun-totin’ yahoos from alternate planes of reality…”

Shadow Of The MothashipShadow Of The Mothaship
By Cory Doctorow; Read by Cory Doctorow
3 MP3 Files – [UNABRIDGED]
Podcast: April – May 2006
MP3 Files: |Part 1|Part 2|Part 3|
“A strange, stylised Scientology/Alien-Invasion/Oedipus story.”

Home Again, Home AgainHome Again, Home Again
By Cory Doctorow; Read by Cory Doctorow
3 MP3 Files – [UNABRIDGED]
Podcast: May 2006
MP3 Files: |Part 1|Part 2|Part 3|
“…a sequel (of sorts) to Shadow of the Mothaship … This one is the autobiography of a child raised in an alien-imposed mental institution, and the mentorship he received from The Guy Who Thought He Was Nikola Tesla.”

Super-Man And The BugoutSuper-Man And The Bugout
By Cory Doctorow; Read by Cory Doctorow
3 MP3 Files – [UNABRIDGED]
Podcast: May 2006
MP3 Files: |Part 1|Part 2|Part 3|
“…a superhero story that asks what would have happened if Kal-el had landed in suburban Toronto and been raised by an old Jewish couple. It’s the conclusion of the triad of stories comprised by Shadow of the Mothaship and Home Again, Home Again, about the Canadian response to the invasion of benevolent Scientologist aliens.”

Visit The SinsVisit The Sins
By Cory Doctorow; Read by Cory Doctorow
2 MP3 Files – [UNABRIDGED]
Podcast: June 2006
MP3 Files: |Part 1|Part 2|
“This story deals with attention deficit disorder, the effect that cognitive problems have on families, and how your mental state and your technology are intimately related.”

I, Row-boatI, Row-Boat
By Cory Doctorow; Read by Cory Doctorow
4 MP3 Files – [UNABRIDGED]
Podcast: June – July 2006
MP3 Files: |Part 1|Part 2|Part 3|Part 4|
“…a story about a theological dispute between an artifically intelligent Asimov three-laws cultist and an uplifted coral reef.”

TruncatTruncat
By Cory Doctorow; Read by Cory Doctorow
3 MP3 Files – [UNABRIDGED]
Podcast: August 2006
MP3 Files: |Part 1|Part 2|Part 3|
“…an indirect sequel to my first novel, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom… a parable about warez groups and Napster, about generation war and the trouble with power-laws.”

0wnz0red0wnz0red
By Cory Doctorow; Read by Cory Doctorow
4 MP3 Files – [UNABRIDGED]
Podcast: September 2006
MP3 Files: |Part 1|Part 2|Part 3|Part 4|
A Nebula award nominated short story. “a story about trusted computing, geek culture, and getting root on your body.”

Cory has also sold one story to Escape Pod:

Podcast - Escape PodCraphound
By Cory Doctorow; Read by Jesse Thorn
1 Mp3 File – [UNABRIDGED]
Podcast:
Mp3 File: HERE
“Aliens have once again decided to visit Earth in this lighthearted romp. Rather than having conquest on their minds, they merely wish to visit, and explore. Jerry is a junk dealer, a collector, a pack rat of crap and antiques and memorabilia, depending on your point of view.”

Even before podcasting existed Cory took time to record one of his stories and post it on his website:

Science Fiction Audiobooks - To Market, To Market: The Branding of Billy Bailey by Cory DoctorowTo Market, To Market: The Branding of Billy Bailey©
By Cory Doctorow; Read by Cory Doctorow
FREE MP3 DOWNLOAD – 23 Minutes 37 Seconds [UNABRIDGED]
LINK: http://www.craphound.com/audio/Doctorow_-_Billy.mp3
Publisher: www.craphound.com
Published: 2001
Themes: / Science Fiction / Dystopia / Humor / Satire /

Billy Bailey was the finest heel the sixth grade had ever seen — a true artisan who kept his brand pure and unsullied, picking and managing his strategic alliances with the utmost care and acumen. He’d dumped BanginBumpin Fireworks (a division of The Shanghai Novelty Company, Ltd.) in the _fourth_ grade, fer chrissakes. Their ladyfingers were too small to bother with; their M-80s were so big that you’d have to be a lunatic to go near them.

Mark Forman’s Podcast:

Down And Out In The Magic KingdomDown And Out In The Magic Kingdom
By Cory Doctorow; Read by Mark Forman
9 MP3 Files – 7 Hours 37 minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: Getting A Leg Up
Podcast: August – September 2005
MP3 Files: |Prologue and Chapter 1| Chapter 2|Chapter 3|Chapter 4|Chapter 5|Chapter 6|Chapter 7|Chapter 8|Chapters 9 & 10|

Doctorow’s first novel, a Locus Award winner and a Nebula nominee. “It concerns the machinations of technologically immortals who have occupied Walt Disney World’s Haunted Mansion and who aim to preserve it from the depredations of modernizers who would renovate it.”

Voices In The Dark:

Down And Out In The Magic KingdomDown And Out In The Magic Kingdom
By Cory Doctorow; Read by Sean Puckett
11 MP3 Files – Approx. 7 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
SOURCE: Voices In The Dark

MP3 Files: |Prologue|Chapter 1|Chapter 2|Chapter 3|Chapter 4|Chapter 5|Chapter 6|Chapter 7|Chapter 8|Chapters 9|Chapter 10|

A near-future science fiction tale. In a society where death has been cured, how do you deal with boredom?

posted by Jesse Willis

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