Prisoners Of Gravity – Jack Kirby

July 30, 2009 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: News 

SFFaudio News

Prisoners Of GravityWhat’s better than ComiCon? A little show out of TVO that’s what!

Prisoners Of Gravity was an interview show like no other, and it was a good deal of the inspiration for SFFaudio.

Check out this episode on comics legend Jack Kirby…

Part 1 of 3

Part 2 of 3

Part 3 of 3

[via Pop Culture Safari]

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Way Station by Clifford D. Simak

July 30, 2009 by · 13 Comments
Filed under: Reviews, SFFaudio essential 

SFFaudio Review

Audible Frontiers - Way Station by Clifford D. SimakSFFaudio EssentialWay Station
By Clifford D. Simak; Read by Eric Michael Summerer
Audible Download – Approx. 7 Hours 5 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Audible Frontiers
Published: 2009
Themes: / Science Fiction / Aliens / Galactic Civilization / Immortality /

In this Hugo Award-winning classic, Enoch Wallace is an ageless hermit, striding across his untended farm as he has done for over a century, still carrying the gun with which he had served in the Civil War. But what his neighbors must never know is that, inside his unchanging house, he meets with a host of unimaginable friends from the farthest stars.

This story spans more than a century, but most of the ‘action’ takes place in the middle of the 20th century, over a couple of months. See, a friendly alien recruited Enoch Wallace to become something of a galactic station master shortly after the American Civil War. Now, with his neighbors generally accepting his mysterious eternal youth, Enoch has a curious and unseen visitor watching him from the woods. Enoch is lonely, with his only friends being a completely deaf and mute young woman and his kindly mailman. Will the visitor in the trees learn the truth? Will Enoch help guide the Earth to its ultimate destiny? Read on!

I find myself arguing with a lot of my fiction writing friends about what makes a good story. They typically talk about ‘the rules’ or ‘the formula’ that makes a story work. I typically talk about clarity, consistency (story logic) and originality of a story. We usually agree about style.

A couple years back a friend of mine (a filmmaker and used bookstore owner) was telling me about one of the scripts he was working on. He said something to the effect of “every story must have conflict.” That’s probably not a new concept, not original to him, but it was new to me – at least in those words. Now I love such sweeping declarations – they give my dialectical brain something to hack away at. It seems a fairly straightforward a concept – and on the face of it seems likely – but, that always gets me thinking: If it sounds so obvious it is probably at least partially false. So I thought about it for maybe thirty seconds and then pointed out that ‘pornographic films need not have conflict – but they can still have a story.’ Illustrating I said “Pizza delivery guy comes to the door – half naked woman answers – sex follows.” It has a beginning, a middle and a money shot. My friend and I both laughed. But, I’ve been thinking about this meme ever since. Now, with Way Station I think I have a more serious defeater to my friend’s all encompassing rule about storytelling. There is very little conflict in Way Station. That is actually a pretty common thing for author Clifford D. Simak. His stories are highly pastoral, full of backstories being revealed, mysterious farmers and friendly aliens. Conflict may be mentioned, as having happened long ago (or in some distant future) – but shots are rarely fired in anger. I’m thinking back on all of the Simak I’ve read, and in it all I can’t recall much conflict at all. And yet, I love his stories.

Eric Michael Summerer does a terrific job narrating this pastoral masterpiece. He portrays Simak’s characters with all the honesty, decency, and humanity that Clifford D. Simak put into them. Audible Frontiers has very kindly added an excellent and informative introduction written and read by another of Science Fiction’s most humane authors, Mike Resnick! Audible Frontiers has been adding so many new titles it is hard to keep up. This one will slow things down for you and even make life a little simpler. Thanks Simak!

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K. Dick

July 30, 2009 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K. DickThe Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch
By Philip K. Dick; Read by Tom Weiner
6 CDs – 6.8 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: 2008
ISBN: 9781433248221
Themes: / Science Fiction / Religion / Drugs / Mars / Aliens /

Not too long from now, when exiles from a blistering Earth huddle miserably in Martian colonies, the only things that make life bearable are the drugs. Can-D “translates” those who take it into the bodies of Barbie-like dolls. Now there’s competition: a substance called Chew-Z, marketed under the slogan “God promises eternal life. We can deliver it.” The question is: What kind of eternity? And who—or what—is the deliverer?

Reading Philip K. Dick is the literary equivalent of taking deliriants in church. Dick’s world is fully realized, his characters being windows into Dick’s own sympathies, his own passions. Dick seems to have observed the writing advice that goes: “Write what you know.” What Dick knows about is drugs, suburban druggie life, revealed religion, the conflict between an individual and the group, between women and men. If you look at the basic plot The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch scans as most similar to Alfred Bester’s The Demolished Man, in that a corporate war between the solar system’s two biggest multi-planetaries drives the action. But it doesn’t feel that way, it feels like a scaled-up version of Dick’s short story Wargame. Sure, the novel is supposed to be about life on Mars and big corporate business, but Dick’s Mars is mostly confined to a few intemperate draftees who couldn’t fake their way out of the draft. Upset with their new colonial life they spend all their time playing with Barbie style playhouses and taking mind altering drugs. I can almost picture Dick sitting in his living room watching his young daughters playing with their Barbie dolls. They sit on the floor, coveting their Barbie corvettes, their Barbie clothes and decorating their Barbie dream houses while Dick, sitting in an armchair above, looks down compassionately and philosophicaly as he reaches for the typewriter. Strangely, the novel also feels extremely prescient. At multiple times throughout I paused and thought about the PC game called The Sims – a game where your avatar must eat, sleep, and furnish her virtual home with virtual goods as you plan her idealized life. We seem to have gotten what Dick was driving at. For what is World Of Warcraft if not a Dickian reality minus the drugs? William Gibson would describe it as “a consensual hallucination” – Dick called it The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch.

Originally published in 1965, this is the first commercial audiobook release of The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch. Narrator Tom Weiner seems to be Blackstone Audio’s go-to guy when it comes to narrating the heavy hitters of Science Fiction. This is a good thing as Weiner brings a vast gravitas to his reading. Fans of George Guidall’s narrations will find Weiner similarly impactful. The cover art for The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch is all original for this production. This is more and more the case at Blackstone, which makes me happy, for I am covetous.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Recent Arrivals: Warhammer

July 30, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Recent Arrivals 

SFFaudio Recent Arrivals

Fantasy Audiobook: Warhammer: Slayer of the Storm God by Nathan LongWarhammer: Slayer of the Storm God
By Nathan Long; Performed by Danny Webb
1 CD – 75 minutes – [AUDIO ORIGINAL]
Publisher: The Black Library
Published: 2009
ISBN: 9781844167562

A new Gotrek & Felix story available only as an audiobook on CD!

Gotrek and Felix are in the port city of Marienburg when they stumble across a mysterious golden bracelet. Little do they realise that this is the very trinket dedicated to Stromfels – the ancient and evil Storm God – and he wants it back!

Our two heroes are attacked by the god’s minions and the bracelet is taken from them, but a stubborn and determined Gotrek refuses to relinquish it without a fight. Venturing deep into the Marienburg marshes in pursuit of the thieves, Gotrek and Felix find themselves confronting the embodiment of the Storm God himself…
 
 
Fantasy Audiobook: Warhammer 40,000: Heart of Rage by James SwallowWarhammer 40,000: Heart of Rage
By James Swallow; Performed by Toby Longsworth
1 CD – 75 minutes – [AUDIO ORIGINAL]
Publisher: The Black Library
Published: 2009
ISBN: 9781844167968

A brand new story exclusively available as an audiobook on CD!

Aboard the Imperial Navy frigate Emathia, Brother–Librarian Nord and Brother–sergeant Kale of the Blood Angels make a startling discovery – an alien tyranid hive ship, half–destroyed and drifting through space! Under orders from the Magos Xeren, the Blood Angels board the ship to locate a lost scout team. But their fate is far from straightforward. Little do Nord and Kale realise the horrors awaiting them. For they not only risk their bodies, but their very sanity as well.
 
Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Recent Arrival: Infinivox’s Year’s Top Ten!

July 29, 2009 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Recent Arrivals 

SFFaudio Recent Arrivals

The Year's Top Ten Tales of Science FictionThe Year’s Top Ten Tales of Science Fiction
Edited by Allan Kaster
8 CDs – 9 Hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Infinivox
Published: 2009
ISBN: 9781884612855

It’s no secret that we love a new Infinivox release around here. The squees of joy were a little embarrassing, though, when the latest title came in. A ten story collection, edited by Allan Kaster, called The Year’s Top Ten Tales of Science Fiction. It’s like ten Infinivox releases at once!

Included are:

“Turing’s Apples” by Stephen Baxter
“Shoggoths in Bloom” by Elizabeth Bear
“Exhalation” by Ted Chiang
“The Dream of Reason” by Jeffrey Ford
“The Ray-Gun: A Love Story” by James Alan Gardner
“26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss” by Kij Johnson
“The Art of Alchemy” by Ted Kosmatka
“The City of the Dead” by Paul McAuley
“Five Thrillers” by Robert Reed
“Fixing Hanover” by Jeff VanderMeer

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Max Brooks on the recording of World War Z

July 28, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: News 

SFFaudio Online Audio

SFFaudio has had some downtime. Sorry about that. We had some “server issues” (and that’s probably not a euphemism). Perhaps it was something to do with Project Flashlight in New Zealand? If so that would explain why it left us talking to a cardboard cut-out of Adolf Hitler. Shameful really.

Luckily a couple of other blogs have picked up on a story we missed while the sky was exploding with a thousand mushroom clouds.

[via Mary Burkey’s Audiobooker blog and Audiobook DJ]

Posted by Jesse Willis

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