Recent Arrival – Lord Valentine’s Castle by Robert Silverberg

June 26, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
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SFFaudio Recent Arrivals

Robert Silverberg! W00t!

Science Fiction Audiobook - Lord Valentine's Castle by Robert SilverbergLord Valentine’s Castle (Book 1 in the Majipoor Cycle)
By Robert Silverberg; Read by Stefan Rudnicki
19.5 Hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: 2009

The planet Majipoor is shared by humans and several alien races, including four-armed Skandars, three-eyed Liiman, and the native, shape-shifting Metamorphs. All are watched over by the King of Dreams, the labyrinth-dwelling Pontifex, and the priestess of the Isle of Sleep, while the Coronal officially rules from atop Castle Mount.

The Majipoor Cycle begins as young Valentine, a man with no memory, is hired as an apprentice juggler by a group of eccentric performers. While the traveling troupe takes to the road, Valentine’s sleep is disturbed by nightmare visions of warring brothers and difficulties on faraway Castle Mount. In a quest to discover who Valentine really is, his wise and peculiar companions resolve to help him claim the rewards of his birth. But another trial awaits Valentine that will test his belief, resolve, and strength of character.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

The Most Dangerous Meme

June 25, 2009 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio 

Aural Noir: Online Audio

The Most Dangerous GameHere’s a story meme with nearly as many adaptations as The Hound Of The Baskervilles. Unlike Hound, which is generally met with very successful adaptations, this one is a series of failures punctuated by only the occasional success. Practically every Fox network cartoon has done a TV version of it. Even 30 Rock‘s Jack Donaghy [pictured left] had his own twisted version.Blank

Of the serious successes there is of course the popular (and public domain) 1932 film version (which uses the original title), and the excellent Science Fiction film version: Predator.

Still not sure what I’m referencing?

It’s The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell


“You are alone and unarmed in the green hell of a Caribbean jungle. You’re being trailed by a pack of fiercely hungry dogs — and a mad hunter armed for the kill. A mad hunter who believes that you, a human being, are the most dangerous game.

First published in the January 19, 1924 issue of Collier’s Weekly – there have been no fewer than 13 film versions and at least than many more that just plain ripped off the idea completely uncredited. You can check all those out elsewhere. Strangely there is no straight audiobook version, but you can check out some of the audio adaptations here!

SuspenseSuspense – The Most Dangerous Game
1 |MP3| – [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: CBS Radio
Broadcast: September 23, 1943
Provider: Archive.org
Orson Welles as Zaroff and Keenan Wynn as Rainsford,

SuspenseSuspense – The Most Dangerous Game (second version)
1 |MP3| – [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: CBS Radio
Broadcast: February 1st 1945
Provider: Archive.org
With Joseph Cotten portraying Rainsford.

EscapeEscape – The Most Dangerous Game
1 |MP3| – [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: CBS Radio
Broadcaster: October 1, 1947
A big game hunt for the biggest game of all…man! Hans Conried, Irving Ravetch (adaptor), Paul Frees, Richard Connell (writer), William N. Robson (producer), Richard Sanville (director), Cy Feuer (music conceiver, conductor).

A modern audio drama version…

Ziggurat Productions - The Most Dangerous GameThe Most Dangerous Game
Adapted from the story by Richard Connell; Performed by a full cast
1 CD – Approx. 52 Minutes [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Ziggurat Productions
Published: 2002
ISBN: 188421424x
On his way to hunt jaguars in the Brazilian jungle, a professional hunter is marooned on remote island inhabited by a fellow hunter who pursues unusual game.

There’s also the “radio theater with dada/surreal elements” version…

From KBOO, a frightening adaptation that uses “actual sound bits and dialog from a couple of early productions of this story from the 1940s.” The producer of it calls it “incredibly violent, lurid and profane.”
|Download Part 1| |Download Part 2|

And finally…

From TheatreOfTheMind.com, a one actress recreation of the original Suspense script! |MP3| Yikes!

Posted by Jesse Willis

Recent Arrival – Graceling by Kristin Cashore

June 25, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
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SFFaudio Recent Arrivals

This title is set to ship on June 30 – preorder from Full Cast Audio before then and receive 25% off!

Fantasy Audiobook - Graceling by Kristin CashoreGraceling
By Kristin Cashore; Read by David Baker and a Full Cast
10.5 Hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Full Cast Audio
Published: 2009

Set in a world where some people are born with a Grace—a unique, sometimes uncanny, gift—this is the story of Katsa, whose Grace, demonstrated at an uncomfortably early age, is for killing. This makes her a perfect tool for her uncle, King Randa But Katsa chafes at the way she is being used—and even more at the injustices she sees around her.

Then she meets Prince Po, who has a Grace to match hers… perhaps.

Featuring FCA favorite Chelsea Mixon as Katsa, and sensational newcomer Zachary Exton as Prince Po, the most fascinating and praised fantasy debut of 2008 now springs to life in a sensational full cast recording.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Babylon Podcast: Interview with J. Michael Straczynski

June 24, 2009 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

The Babylon PodcastThe Babylon Podcast (a show all about Babylon 5) has the one we’ve all been waiting for, the interview with Babylon 5 creator/writer J. Michael Straczynski!

“The interview everyone clamored for but hadn’t been holding their breath waiting for has come to pass. JMS, The Great Maker, graciously allows Tim and Summer to throw a seemingly endless stream of questions about the origins and creation of Babylon 5, the production and growing pains of the show, and dealing with the vagaries of the industry of Hollywood, the bizarre perfect storm surrounding Crusade on TNT, and more.”

In fact, the interview was so big it’s going to be spread out over two shows. Here’s the first one |MP3|. Subscribe to the podcast to get this particular show, a bunch of the past shows and next week’s show too:

http://www.babylonpodcast.com/?feed=podcast

Posted by Jesse Willis

Recent Arrivals from Brilliance Audio

June 24, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
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Science Fiction Audiobook - On Basilisk Station by David WeberOn Basilisk Station (Book One in the Honor Harrington Series)
By David Weber; Read by Allyson Johnson
15 Hours, 15 Minutes – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: 2009
ISBN: 9781423393382 (CD)

Honor in Trouble:
• Having made him look a fool, she’s been exiled to Basilisk Station in disgrace and set up for ruin by a superior who hates her.
• Her demoralized crew blames her for their ship’s humiliating posting to an out-of-the-way picket station.
• The aborigines of the system’s only habitable planet are smoking homicide-inducing hallucinogens.
• Parliament isn’t sure it wants to keep the place; the major local industry is smuggling; the merchant cartels want her head; the star-conquering, so-called “Republic” of Haven is Up To Something; and Honor Harrington has a single, over-age light cruiser with an armament that doesn’t work to police the entire star system.

But the people out to get her have made one mistake. They’ve made her mad.
 
 
Science Fiction Audiobook - Flinx Transcendent by Alan Dean FosterFlinx Transcendent
By Alan Dean Foster; Read by Stefan Rudnicki
16 Hours, 13 Minutes – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: 2009
ISBN: 9781423393153 (CD)

From one of the most brilliant imaginations in science fiction comes Flinx Transcendent, Alan Dean Foster’s thrilling conclusion to the series that began over thirty-five years ago – the epic adventures of Flinx and his flying minidrag companion, Pip.

Flinx is the only one with even the tiniest chance of stopping the evil colossus barreling in to destroy the Humanx Commonwealth (and everything else in the Milky Way). With time running out, Flinx is a man in search of a solution and in search of himself. His efforts take him to the land of his mortal enemies, the bloodthirsty AAnn, where chances are excellent that Flinx’s discovery – and summary execution – will eliminate all his demons and doubts in one masterstroke.

The way Flinx is feeling, that might not be the worst imaginable end. After years of searching for his father, he finally has – and must bear – the truth. And now he must also seek out an ancient sentient weapons platform wandering around somewhere in the galaxy and then communicate with it, a powwow that could very well fry his already frazzled brain. Then there are the oblivion-craving assassins determined to stop Flinx before he can prevent total annihilation.

With a future that rosy, it’s no surprise he’s flirting with disaster. Still, Flinx is no quitter, and he’s got something else going for him – an uncanny ability to improvise and triumph (or at least survive) in impossible situations. He’s certainly been through enough of them, and now he’s going to need every ounce of that know-how, because he’s venturing to places where the laws of physics fear to tread, where no one’s ever been, to do what no one’s ever done, and where his deadliest enemy is so close it’s invisible.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Aural Noir review of Columbine by Dave Cullen

June 23, 2009 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Reviews 

Aural Noir: Review

I didn’t expect to be reviewing this audiobook. Prior to its arrival in the SFFaudio mailbox I didn’t even know this audiobook existed. It is neither Science Fiction, nor Fantasy. Its Horror is of the very detached and remote kind because of the way it is told. I scoured the packaging looking for a sign as to why we were sent this audiobook. The only thing that stood out was that it was directed by Emily Janice Card (that’s Orson Scott Card‘s audiobook producing daughter). That’s a very tenuous connection to what is normally our kind of audiobook. But, after listening to the book in its entirety I found I had some things to say about it. And… we do have this handy “Aural Noir” tag that I use to talk about the Mystery, Thriller, and Noir audiobooks that I so love. Why not review it under its aegis?

Done!

Blackstone Audiobooks - Columbine by Dave CullenColumbine
By Dave Cullen; Read by Don Leslie
11 CDs – Approx. 13 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
Published: March 2009
ISBN: 9781433290435
Themes: / Crime / History / Colorado / Murder / Suicide / Psychopathy /

“If you want to understand ‘the killers,’ quit asking what drove them. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were radically different. Klebold is easier to comprehend, a more familiar type. He was hotheaded, but depressive and suicidal. He blamed himself for his problems. Harris is the challenge. He was sweet-faced and well-spoken. Adults, and even some other kids, described him as ‘nice.’ But Harris was cold, calculating, and homicidal. ‘Klebold was hurting inside while Harris wanted to hurt people.'”

Journalist Dave Cullen has assembled what must be, for the foreseeable future, the definitive book about the 1999 Columbine High School massacre. Myself, I was only vaguely familiar with the incident at the time. In 2002 I watched Michael Moore’s disturbing film Bowling For Columbine. It was a kind of editorial-documentary on the event itself, the connections with other shootings and firearms in general. Since then, the Columbine High School massacre had been completely off my radar. Dave Cullen’s non-fiction book Columbine supports my conviction that if you really want to know what exactly happened, you’ll have to wait for the facts to be ferreted out by a historian. Cullen is just such a historian. The history Cullen paints is rich in factual details. His sources are: the writings and videos of Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold themselves, county records, friends of the murderers, their fellow students, eyewitness interviews, police records, victims, victim’s families and probably most crucially a senior FBI agent. That agent, Dwayne Fuselier, had a son attending Columbine High School on the day – so his arrival on the scene was both personal and professional – his later investigations reveal insights into the vast reams of documents and video produced by the killers themselves. With Fuselier’s assistance Cullen debunks virtually all of the many myths and falsehoods that swirled around the media’s coverage of the massacre.

Other than the two murderers, and the gun suppliers, the only other major villain in Cullen’s account of the massacre and its aftermath is the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. “Jeffco” was in charge of the investigation. It was also responsible for a lot of the incompetence that lead to it being necessary. In the aftermath Jeffco had a limelight loving sheriff who was concocting conspiracy theories that he had no investigative evidence for. But that bunk seems to have supressed some very interesting facts. For instance. Were you told the police had, prior to the attack, documented murder threats by Harris/Klebold prior to the attack? Did you know that the police had even made out a search warrant based on these threats? Did you know that, if the warrant had been taken to a judge, it would have allowed the police to discover the weapons cache the teens were preparing? Did you know that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold been arrested together, for another crime, prior to the attack?

Other myths Cullen debunks are those generated by the media and church groups. Had you heard about the girl who said ‘yes’ when asked if she ‘believed in God’? Ya, I had too. Did you know that she actually didn’t say it? That another teen had, and that she wasn’t shot? That instead this survivor, the one who had actually proclaimed her belief, was branded a liar by the evangelical community? I hadn’t known that.

With Columbine Cullen, has assembled a first rate piece of non-fiction history. It illustrates exactly why a public reaction to the daily news so often leads to dangerously false beliefs. If there was just one takeaway from this audiobook let it be that American society needs to be more focused on the problem of detecting psychopathy. Not all psychopaths are murderous, in fact most are law abiding. What unites them all is that other people don’t matter to them, except as a means to their ends.

Blackstone has issued the same stark cover for the audiobook as is on the paperbook. Chapters jump back and forth in time, showing the consequences of and the preparations for the murderous assault. This is a wise structural move as the day’s events themselves are not the primary focus of this book. In fact a good deal of the narrative follows others who were there that day: Frank DeAngelo, the Columbine High School principal, some of surviving victims and their families or the workings of the media itself. Don Leslie, the narrator, is given the grim task of reading the words of Klebold and Harris. It isn’t an enviable job, but he is up to the task. There is a disclaimer at the beginning of the audiobook that explains that all the words in quotes are sourced from interviews, transcripts and articles. This is naturally less clear in the audiobook version than the paperbook edition but Leslie does his best to make each quote as clear as he can.

Posted by Jesse Willis

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