Review of Star Sugeon by Alan E. Nourse

October 25, 2007 by · 11 Comments
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Science Fiction Audiobook - Star Surgeon by Alan E. NourseStar Surgeon
By Alan E. Nourse; Read by Scott D. Farquhar
14 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – 5 Hours 25 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org / Podiobooks.com
Published: June 2007 / October 2007
Themes: / Science Fiction / Medicine / First Contact / Galactic Civilization / Symbiosis / Space Travel / Juvenile /

Dal Tigmar is an alien, he’s also a red braid, that’s a “Red Doctor” in the “Red Service of Surgery.” As a recent graduate of the Galaxy’s most prestigious medical school he’s the only non-human doctor to ever train on “Hospital Earth.” Earth became “Hospital Earth” shortly after humans discovered a faster than light technology. It seems that Earth’s doctors are the best in the entire galaxy, and that fact may soon gain humanity a permanent membership in the Galactic Federation. Earth is currently only a trial member – and some of medical brass of Hospital Earth think that Dal’s graduation may threaten permanent membership. So Dal’s been isolated by his alienness, and was pushed around during his training. But little more stands in his way, as his final test is about to begin. For it, Dal must join two other doctors in a series of planetary housecalls, providing service for Earth’s medical contracts, proving his skills to Hospital Earth. During the voyage Dal is accompanied by his symbiotic pet “fuzzy” a pink blob of protein that is more than it appears, his one pal from Medical School “Tiger” Martin, and a hostile young blue braid named Jack Alvarez, from the diagnostic services. Their ship is “The Lancet” a small patrol ship packed to the rafters with medical supplies. They’ll command the ship jointly.

Alan E. Nourse sure knew how to write! This is a peppy little novel, that though first published nearly 50 years ago, still crackles with energy. It plays out like a typical Heinleinian juvenile, minus the lectures. Especially interesting is the Pre-Star Trek galactic federation angle, with all those colour coded uniforms. Red Service of Surgery, Blue Service of Diagnosis, Green Service of Medicine. Black Service of Pathology, White Service of Radiology. It makes for a very visual audiobook. There aren’t that many characters, and curiously enough, not one female is even mentioned – someone forgot about the Pink Service of Gynecology I guess. And while were at it, what of the Brown Service of Proctology? But seriously, this is one of those rare novels that tells its story from the perspective of an alien. It deals with solid juvenile SF material, prejudices, core values and science, all to good effect. I’m pleased to be able to recommend it as a listen to just about anyone.

Scott Farquhar reads the novel with a clinical precision, he enunciates each word loud and clear. This is important as there is usual slathering of SF technospeak atop the real and futurized medical jargon. Amateur narrators looking for a role model, should look towards Farquhar!

You can subscribe to the LibriVox podcast feed via this URL:

http://librivox.org/bookfeeds/star-surgeon-by-alan-edward-nourse.xml

Alternatively, there is a slightly enhanced Podiobooks.com version available now too. This version has the addition of musical cues at the start each chapter, there’s a brief biographical note about Dr. Alan Nourse in the final chapter as well as some outtakes from the recording. A portion of all proceeds donated through Podiobooks.com goes to AIDS Research or Safe Sex Education programs (two subjects important to Nourse).

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox: Greylorn by Keith Laumer

October 24, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
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SFFaudio Online Audio

More goodies from the LibriVox audiobook collective… Greylorn was the first published Science Fiction story by Keith Laumer. It went to press in the April 1959 issue of Amazing Science Fiction Stories. The 41 page novelette gets a reading by veteran amateur narrator Mark F. Smith. Smith may be familiar SFFaudio visitors as he was the reader for LibriVox’s releases of Tarzan Of The Apes and The Mysterious Island. The Keith Laumer blog, a fan blog for the late author, had this to say about Greylorn:

“It’s a typical Laumer story … My impression though is that it’s not one his best stories. It’s pretty cliche. It has a great prologue, a fairly good middle, but the end is pretty bad and not very convincing. Instead of a twist we get a story from the hero, in his old days, how he saved the earth in a not so convincing explanation of the events layed out in the middle of the story and in such a way that the reader is not interested anymore anyhow. There are however many memes in the story which can find it’s way to the subconsciousness of the reader, of which the trade of human flesh is probably the greatest one.”


Mark F. Smith says of it:

“Written in an era when radios used vacuum tubes, the scientific component of the story is quaint and dated. But Laumer makes the centerpiece of his tale the retelling of how, four years out on the voyage, his crew decides it wants to give up and go home when it meets an alien race… that apparently breeds humans in captivity as food animals! Beating the aliens, shanghaiing the crew, finding the colony and saving Mother Earth – just the ingredients for a rattling good yarn!”


LibriVox audiobook - Greylorn by Keith LaumerGreylorn
By Keith Laumer; Read by Mark F. Smith
Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 2 Hours 11 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: October 24th 2007
Commander Greylorn has a problem. No, actually he has two of them. It’s not enough that the remaining residents of Earth have pinned their last hope of salvation on him and his mission. He has to find a colony that presumedly was established at an unknown star two centuries before and beg their help. But first, he has the small matter of a mutiny on board his starship, and people are trying to kill him!

You can download the MP3s individually, in one big zipped folder or get the entire novel in podcast form via this feed:

http://librivox.org/bookfeeds/greylorn-by-keith-laumer.xml

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox release of An antarctic Mystery by Jules Verne

October 23, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
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OnlineAudio

A while back we brought you the story of LibriVox’s release of an audiobook version of Edgar Allen Poe’s The Narrative Of Arthur Godron Pym. Now, we can tell you about the sequel, written decades later by another author. An antarctic Mystery (AKA An Antarctic Mystery or The Sphinx of the Ice Fields) is a newley released unabridged audiobook read by Esther (AKA Starlite).

Listening to just chapter one, you’ll notice straight away the mention of what sounds like a fictional place. Namely, the “Kerguelen Islands”, a place so remote, so alien, it was the 19th century equivalent of the moon. The Kerguelen archipelago exists, it and a few other remote sub-Antarctic islands fly under French flags and are mostly used as research stations today. But, Kerguelen has a fascinating history. During World War II, Christmas 1940 in fact, a Nazi Kriegsmarine ship, named “Atlantis” visited and there dug “the most southerly German soldier’s grave.” In the 1960s and 1970s Kerguelen was used as an experimental rocket base, sending French and American rockets into suborbital flight. All rumors of secret Chinese or Nazi military bases on Kerguelen are completely unsubstantiated.

Back to the audiobook…

LibriVox Audiobook - An Antarctic Mystery by Jules VerneAn Antarctic Mystery
By Jules Verne; Read by Esther
Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 8.5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: October 23rd 2007
“Edgar Allan Poe’s telling of Arthur Pym is shown to be true as events come together that bring out clues that help Captain Len Guy trace the fate of his brother’s ship the Jane; the very ship that Arthur Pym was on board at the time of his disappearance. Through the efforts of Mr. Joerling, the crew of the Halbrane is enticed to make the trip to Antarctica to search for any survivors of the Jane.”

You can download the MP3s individually, in one big zipped folder or get the entire novel in podcast form via this feed:

http://librivox.org/bookfeeds/an-antarctic-mystery-or-the-sphinx-of-the-ice-fields.xml

Posted by Jesse Willis

Online Audio The Heart of Tu’a Halaitha

October 23, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio, Podcasts 

SFFaudio Online Audio

pseudopod1.jpgIn time for the Halloween season, Pseudopod has posted a wonderful dark fantasy audiostory. The Heart of Tu’a Halaita by Tara Kolden (read by K.J. Johnson) is the story of a missionary’s encounter with a native god-tree.

You are a thief,” the native translator repeated. “There are two things my people say about the tree god. The first is that no one who steals from him goes unpunished.”

Heglund’s eyes narrowed. “And what is the other?”

Callala looked at the dirt floor inside the priest’s hut. His voice was quiet. “They say the taste of a man’s blood stirs the heart of Tu’a Halaita. After a single bite, he will have no satisfaction until the whole man is eaten.”

I was immediately engrossed in this story, which would have fit in well with the better stories in the classic Weird Tales pulp. Very cool! The Heart of Tu’a Halaita is available for free download here.

Or you can subscribe to the podcast (with the caveat that many stories are much more graphic than this one) using this feed:

http://feeds.pseudopod.org/Pseudopod

Posted by Dave Tackett.

Review of Billibub Baddings And The Case Of The Singing Sword by Tee Morris

October 22, 2007 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Reviews, SFFaudio essential 

 SFFaudio Review

Fantasy podiobook - Billibub Baddings And The Case Of The Singing SwordBillibub Baddings And The Case Of The Singing Sword
By Tee Morris; Read by Tee Morris and others
16 MP3 Files – Approx. 11 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: TeeMorris.com / Podiobooks.com
Published: 2007
Themes: / Fantasy / Mystery / Magic / Alternate World / Chicago / 1920s /

It is The Era of Prohibition, where crime runs rampant in the streets and a city divided into territories serves as the ultimate prize. Somewhere in this Underworld of Chicago, an enchanted weapon holds the key to ending The Gangland Wars. In the wake of The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, only one is man enough to stand up against Al Capone … a four-foot-one dwarf named Billibub Baddings.

That Baddings character, he isn’t your regular dwarf. Hell, he’s not even from planet Earth at all. He’s the other kind of dwarf, one of those Tolkienesque creatures. Baddings is a short but stocky humanoid, like the ones you’d find inhabiting the mountains and mines of role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons and World Of Warcraft. So how’d he end up in Chicago? Well, during one of his very real adventures Billi crossed a dimensional gate and found himself flung far from home into the bowels of the Chicago Public Library building. Stranded in 1929, on a planet without any Elves, Hobbits or trolls, Billi has had to acquire a massive new skill-set in his adopted urban home. And even though we know from his own accounts that he was what D&D players might have called a “high-level character” to begin with, it isn’t a piece of cake. Luckily, finding himself an avid reader, after teaching himself to read English, Billi sets out to become a professional private investigator, just like in the books he’s discovered. Fortunately, whatever Billi sets his mind to doing, sooner or later gets done. And then, just like in the books, a dame enters Billi’s office with a case – a case which will eventually pit lil’ Billi against the biggest mobster of all, namely old Al “Scarface” Capone himself!

The background for the tale is 1929 Chicago, but Billibub tells us what the place is like from his 4 foot 1 first person point of view. Even better is the attention to detail on Billi’s own homeworld, we get plenty of info on what his land was like – it is richly imagined, a fantasy landscape with multiple alliances, plenty of battle history and their own philosophical beliefs. I’d warrant a future novel in this series (and make no mistake, this is a series character if we’ve ever seen one) will warrant an extended visit to Acryonis. The plot is swift, and flows as if it was always a cinch that hardbolied mystery and fantasy went to together like ham and eggs. You’ll find yourself swept along, cheering for the know-it-all dwarf right to the very end.

With Billibub Baddings And The Case Of The Singing Sword Tee Morris has written another terrific fantasy novel that blazes trails in genre bending – combining mystery and fantasy – as well as medium stretching – this is an audiobook enhanced with music and sound effects. Tee started the whole podcast novel revolution way back in 2005 with Morevi: The Chronicles Of Rafe And Askana, two years later he’s now mastered it. Billibub Baddings And The Case Of The Singing Sword will indubitably become known as the “first great enhanced drama podiobook.”

Tee Morris performs the book himself, but he’s brought a who’s-who of guests podcasters in to perform most of the other characters (including one of our own SFFaudio editors). As the tale is told first person the enthusiastic self-confidence of Tee spills over onto Billi. Billi is ultra-competent. That ultra competence (there isn’t any point in time where we think Billi is out of his depth) and an over use the colloquial 1920 terms (everyone has “peepers”, nobody has “eyes”) are the only seams in an otherwise smooth production. Scene music, sound effects and the occasional voice effect, often created through editing alone makes this unabridged novel come alive in an atypical but extremely enjoyable auidobook-like experience. For those used to audiobooks there is an option through podiobooks.com to download the entire audiobook in one day. For those who prefer to take the book at a slower pace you can set your customizable podcast feed to deliver at your own pace.

Highly recommended!

Posted by Jesse Willis

ALSO: Avid Tee Morris fans will be delighted to learn Tee’s next podiobook release will be an extended and UNABRIDGED version of Tee’s first novel (and first podiobook) Morevi: The Chronicles Of Rafe And Askana. Have a listen to the promo |MP3|.

It starts just ONE WEEK from today on October 29th! on November 29th 2007.

For more info on Morevi REMASTERED, visit the offficial website at Morevi.net.

New Streaming Radio channel: Ad Astra Radio

October 21, 2007 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Ad Astra RadioAd Astra Radio is a new streaming radio network devoted to “science fiction entertainment” it premiered October 17th, 2007.

The station seeks to provide programs talking about “science fiction, fantasy, comics, role playing gaming and video gaming, Japanese animation (Anime), spaceflight and hard science.” Interestingly the press release also sez this: “Do NOT expect any radio talk programs on alien abductions or UFO sightings. DO expect talk programs that focus on the entertainment industry’s greatest product, escapism addressed as fantasy- be it an X-Men movie, a Harry Potter novel or an episode of Battlestar Galactica.”

Shows already on the schedule include:

That Sci-fi Show: Fridays (6pm), Saturdays (4am and 2pm), Sundays (12 Midnight, 10am and 8pm) and Mondays (6am).

Sci-Fi Overdrive: Saturdays (2am, 12 Noon and 10 pm), Sundays (8am and 6pm) and Mondays (4am)

Comic Age Now: Fridays (8pm), Saturdays (6am and 4pm), Sundays (2am, 12 Noon and 10pm) and Mondays (8am).

Gaming This Week: Saturdays (12 Midnight, 10am and 8pm), Sundays (6am and 4pm) and Mondays (2am).

Anime Rewind: Fridays (10pm), Saturdays (8am and 6pm), Sundays (4am and 2pm) and Mondays (12 Midnight).

The Con Suite: Mondays (10am).

I’ve listened, if you’re someone who wants a genre related chatter in the background, at work say, there’s plenty of interesting interviews on tap. But, as someone used to commercial free radio, podcasts and audiobooks, I found the regular interruption by commercials annoying.

Posted by Jesse Willis

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