Recent Arrivals: Four from Blackstone Audio

August 27, 2009 by · 1 Comment
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SFFaudio Recent Arrivals

Fantasy Audiobook - The Sharing Knife Book 4: Horizon by Lois McMaster BujoldThe Sharing Knife Book 4: Horizon
By Lois McMaster Bujold; Read by Bernadette Dunne
13 CDs – 15.5 Hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: 2009
ISBN: 9781433235931

In a world where malices, remnants of ancient magic, can erupt with life-destroying power, only soldier-sorcerer Lakewalkers have mastered the ability to kill them. But Lakewalkers keep their uncanny secrets—and themselves—from the farmers they protect. So when patroller Dag rescued farm girl Fawn, neither expected to fall in love, marry, and defy both their kin to seek new solutions to the split between their peoples.

As Dag’s powers have grown, so has his frustration with the Lakewalkers’ rigid mores. Fawn and Dag see that their world is changing and that the traditional Lakewalker practices cannot hold the malices at bay forever. Yet for all the customs that the couple have challenged, they will soon be confronted with their worst crisis yet. When the old traditions fail, can their untried new ways stand against their world’s deadliest foe?
 
 
Science Fiction Audiobook - The Galaxy Trilogy, Vol. 3 by Manly Wade Wellman, Wallace West, and Murray LeinsterA Galaxy Trilogy, Vol. 3
By Manly Wade Wellman, Wallace West, and Murray Leinster; Read by Tom Weiner
11 CDs – 13 Hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: 2009
ISBN: 9781433292781

Three more stories from the pioneers of the early days of pulp science fiction!

Giants from Eternity by Manly Wade Wellman
Scientist Oliver Norfleet and his college buddy Spencer DuPogue are called by the Board of Science to investigate a mysteriously expanding red blight that is growing around the site of a meteor crash. With the help of the daughter of a famous scientist, they soon discover that the blight is not only alive but that it consumes nearly everything in its path. When their own abilities prove inadequate, they are forced to turn to the greatest scientific minds that history has to offer. Norfleet and DuPogue and the Giants from Eternity must try to stop the blight before the entire Earth is consumed.

Lords of Atlantis by Wallace West
Once, when Atlantis was ruled by the Titans, they were replaced by the red-skinned, red-haired Martians, Zeus, Hera, Athena, Aphrodite, and others. Teraf, prince of Hellas, was particularly struck by the changes Earth had wrought in Martians during the period of their rule. The rays of the earthly sun had burned their sensitive skin almost as black as those of Nubians, and to meet the stress of Terran gravitation, they had developed enormous muscles that sat poorly on their slender frames and gave them the deceitful appearance of strong men in a circus. The Afhas, those of mixed Martian and early parentage, apparently had absorbed the best traits of both. Like Teraf himself, all had blazing red hair and the slim grace of their Martian forebears, plus a better adaptation to their earthly conditions. But the Titans chafed under the so-called benevolent progress of their rulers, and they plotted rebellion.

City on the Moon by Murray Leinster
Life on the moon, under anything less than optimal conditions, had always been a nightmare, and as Joe Kenmore and his colleague Moreau drove back to the City on the Moon, on the day the Earth shuttle was due to land, the nearby mountain supporting critical elements of the shuttle’s landing mechanisms crumbled, causing an avalanche and chaos. Optimal conditions were nowhere in sight that day as Kenmore and Moreau’s investigations lead to their conclusion that explosions had been responsible for the avalanche. They realized that they were in a race against the clock to restore the landing beam before the shuttle had reached the “point of no return” prior to landing. Kenmore had more than strictly humanitarian reasons for wanting to prevent a mishap aboard the shuttle that day because on this particular mission, Arlene Gray was aboard. Kenmore had been anxiously awaiting her arrival, and amidst everything, Kenmore’s love life also might hang in the balance.
 
 
Science Fiction Audiobook - Hater by David MoodyHater
By David Moody; Read by Gerard Doyle
6 CDs – 7 Hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: 2009
ISBN: 9781433292866

A modern take on the classic “apocalyptic” novel, Hater tells the story of Danny McCoyne, an everyman forced to contend with a world gone mad, as society is rocked by a sudden increase in violent assaults. Christened “Haters” by the media, the attackers strike without warning and seemingly without reason. Within seconds, normally rational, self-controlled people become frenzied, vicious killers. As the carnage mounts, one thing soon is clear: everyone, irrespective of race, gender, age, or class, has the potential to become either a Hater or a victim. At any moment, even friends and family can turn on one another with violent intent. In the face of this mindless terror, all McCoyne can do is secure his family, seek shelter, and watch as the world falls apart. But when he bolts the front door, the question remains: Is he shutting the danger out or locking it in?
 
 
Fantasy Audiobook - Of Bees and Mist by Erick SetiawanOf Bees and Mist
By Erick Setiawan; Read by Marguerite Gavin
11 CDs – 13 Hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: 2009
ISBN: 9781441710949

Setiawan’s richly atmospheric debut chronicles the passions, betrayals, and complex domestic politics of three generations of women whose emotional lives manifest as supernatural phenomena.

In a nameless town in a timeless era, where spirits and spells, witchcraft and ghosts are an everyday reality, sixteen-year-old Meridia has grown up lonely and neglected in a house literally haunted by the demons of her parents’ soured love. When she falls for the charming and boyish Daniel, she sees her first real chance for love and happiness. She marries him and moves in with his family, unaware that they are harboring dark secrets of their own. There is a grave hidden in the garden. There are two sisters groomed from birth to despise each other. And there is Eva, the formidable matriarch whose grievances swarm the air in an army of bees.
 
Posted by Scott D. Danielson

BBC Audiobooks America: New stock in from the UK

August 26, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Aural Noir, News 

SFFaudio News

BBC Audiobooks America has just brought in a bunch of previously U.K. only BBC audiobooks. For North American customers this means a big savings on that crazy overseas shipping price. Among the available titles is the first in the series of radio dramatizations of Lindsey Davis books (Shadows In Bronze)! This is the “FALCO” series that I’m always telling everyone to try. Here’s the big list:

Posted by Jesse Willis

Recent Arrival: Star Trek

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

Science Fiction Audiobook - Star Trek by Alan Dean FosterStar Trek
By Alan Dean Foster, Based on the movie, written by Roberto Orci and Alex Hurtzman
Read by Zachary Quinto
7 CDs – 8 Hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Audio
Published: 2009
ISBN: 9780743598347

This is the first Unabridged Star Trek novel from Simon and Schuster Audio. Written by Alan Dean Foster, read by Zachary Quinto!     |HEAR AN EXCERPT – Kirk on Trial|


“Are you willing to settle for an ordinary life? Or do you think you were meant for something better? Something special?”
 
One grew up in the cornfields of Iowa, fighting for his independence, for a way out of a life that promised only indifference, aimlessness and obscurity.
 
“You will forever be a child of two worlds, capable of choosing your own destiny. The only question you face is, which path will you chose?”
 
The other grew up on the jagged cliffs of the harsh Vulcan desert, fighting for acceptance, for a way to reconcile the logic he was taught with the emotions he felt.
 
In the far reaches of the galaxy, a machine of war bursts into existence in a place and time it was never meant to be. On a mission of retribution for the destruction of his planet, its half-mad captain seeks the death of every intelligent being, and the annihilation of every civilized world.
 
Kirk and Spock, two completely different and unyielding personalities must find a way to lead the only crew, aboard the only ship, that can stop him.
 
“The wait is over.”

 

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Recent Arrival: Star Wars: Abyss

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

Science Fiction Audiobook - Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: AbyssStar Wars: Fate of the Jedi Book 3: Abyss
By Troy Denning; Read by Marc Thompson
[UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Random House Audio
Published: 2009
ISBN: 9780739376652

|LISTEN TO AN EXCERPT|

Leia looks pretty serious on that cover… something must be amiss.

Following a trail of clues across the galaxy, Luke Skywalker continues his quest to find the reasons behind Jacen Solo’s dark downfall and to win redemption for the Jedi Order. Sojourning among the mysterious Aing-Tii monks has left Luke and his son Ben with no real answers, only the suspicion that the revelations they seek lie in the forbidden reaches of the distant Maw Cluster. There, hidden from the galaxy in a labyrinth of black holes, dwell the Mind Walkers: those whose power to transcend their bodies and be one with the Force is as seductive and intoxicating as it is potentially fatal. But it may be Luke’s only path to the truth.

Meanwhile, on Coruscant, the war of wills between Galactic Alliance Chief of State Natasi Daala and the Jedi Order is escalating. Outraged over the carbonite freezing of young Jedi Knights Valin and Jysella Horn after their inexplicable mental breakdowns, the Jedi are determined to defy Daala’s martial tactics, override Council Master Kenth Hamner’s wavering leadership, and deal on their own terms with the epidemic of madness preying on their ranks. As Han and Leia Solo, along with their daughter Jaina, join the fight to protect more stricken Knights from arrest, Jedi healers race to find a cure for the rapidly spreading affliction. But none of them realize the blaster barrel is already swinging in their direction–and Chief Daala is about to pull the trigger.

Nor do Luke and Ben, deep in the Maw Cluster and pushing their Force abilities beyond known limits, realize how close they are–to the Sith strike squad bent on exterminating the Skywalkers, to a nexus of dark-side energy unprecedented in its power and its hunger, and to an explosive confrontation between opposing wielders of the Force from which only one Master–good or evil–can emerge alive.
 
Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Review of Quarter Share by Nathan Lowell

August 26, 2009 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Reviews, SFFaudio essential 

SFFaudio Review

Podiobooks.com - Quarter Share by Nathan LowellSFFaudio EssentialQuarter Share
By Nathan Lowell; Read by Nathan Lowell
17 MP3 File Podcast – Approx. 8 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Podiobooks.com
Published: February – March 2007
Themes: / Science Fiction / Space Travel / Galactic Civilization /

When Ishmael Wang is orphaned by a flitter crash, he must make some hard decisions about how to survive in a Company-owned universe. With limited time and fewer options, he lands a job as the newest hand on the Solar Clipper Lois McKendrick and learns there’s more to life than making coffee. Join Ish, Pip, Big Bad Bev, and the rest of the Lois McKendrick’s crew as they sail the galaxy in search of profitable trade.

I listened to this podcast novel with no intention of reviewing it. But after putting $10 in the tip jar at Podiobooks.com it kind of seemed dumb not to give you another $0.02 with my opinion of it. It was just too good not to recommend. The story follows Ish Wang, a young kid without enough education or cash to make his way off the planet he’s orphaned on. He experiences a lot of other hurdles too. But, through perseverance, the kindness of a few strangers and a generous natural ability, he finds his place in the universe; and that place is as an able spaceman aboard a merchant spaceship called the Lois McKendrick. Nathan Lowell’s universe depicts a galactic civilization that is probably the least Science Fictiony ever created. Sure they’re traveling in interstellar spacecraft at faster than light speeds, but that doesn’t mean the beds don’t have to be made and the coffee filter doesn’t have to be scrubbed out. There are things to do to make this ship and crew run for heaven’s sake! Making friends and making profit aren’t usually the major plot points in a Science Fiction novel set in space. But, then again Nathan Lowell’s characters aren’t your typical space navy types either. Their more realistic for one. Their more dynamic than virtually any cosmic deckhands than I’ve spent time with in any other novel. there are now 5 novels in this series and a new 6th is forthcoming. I’ve just heard this one, the first, but the very next assembly job I take on will be made all the more enjoyable by having a Nathan Lowell audiobook in my ears.

This podiobook is read by the author, he tells this tale as if it were his very own life story. I would swear he must have been in the merchant navy at some point. What else could explain his vivid and fascinating depiction of such duty? I listened to most of Quarter Share while assembling a gazebo in my mother’s front yard. Let me give you a piece of advice. If you’ve got a gazebo to assemble you really want to have Quarter Share in your MP3 player. Quarter Share is a novel about work. Work, done well, by good, honest and hardworking people. I’ve never heard a novel that spent as much time talking about work, the minutae of it, or for that matter one that tells me how good coffee gets made (it’s all about having a clean pot dontcha know). If Nathan Lowell ever swings by these parts I’ll invite him over. Maybe we’ll even swing by my mother’s gazebo. He can make the coffee.

For more testimonials about how awesome Quarter Share is be sure to check out the official comments thread for it over on Podiobooks.com

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Blake’s 7 – Point Of No Return and Eye Of The Machine

August 25, 2009 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Audio Drama, Reviews, SFFaudio essential 

SFFaudio Review

Blake's 7 - Point Of No Return and Eye Of The MachineSFFaudio EssentialBlake’s 7 – Point Of No Return and Eye Of The Machine (Vol. 1.2 & 1.3)
By Ben Aaronovitch and James Swallow; Performed by a full cast
2 CDs – Approx. 70 Minutes [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: B7 Media
Published: November 2008
ISBN: 9781906577063
Themes: / Science Fiction / Politics / Crime / Artificial Intelligence / Terrorism / Noir /

‘Blake’s 7 draws much of its inspiration from the legend of Robin Hood. It follows a small band of outlaws, under a figurehead leader, leading a rebellion against a tyrannical regime.’

A History and Critical Analysis of Blake’s 7 by John Kenneth Muir

This is the second release in the first season of Blake’s 7 prequel stories. For more information on the original the Trilogy Box Set and Volume 1.1 of the prequel series read our reviews HERE and HERE.

Point of No Return and Eye Of The Machine are two more rousing and unconventional adventures in the Blake’s 7 reimaginging. As is typical with most excellent series the music, sound design and acting are absolutely stellar. But, it is the writing which amazes me the most. There are two ways you can go with remakes of old television series. One is to write it so that the dumbest people in your audience won’t have any trouble following it (New Doctor Who I’m looking at you). The other is to re-imagine, re-construct and re-engage with those who loved a smart Science Fiction series for its intelligence. I’m happy to say that this new Blake’s 7 series is in the latter category. Feelings of surprise and utter engagement followed from the opening moments of a rainswept city soundscape to the final credit sequence. I was rapt, imagining the goings-on as vividly as if they were projected onto 1,000 foot screen. Here are my thoughts on each of the two episodes in this set…

Point of No Return – (Episode 1.2)
Written by James Swallow, directed by Andrew Mark Sewell

Point of No Return depicts a critical juncture in the life of Major Stefan Travis. Travis is a Blake’s 7 baddie, the Guy of Gisborne to Roj Blake’s Robin Hood. In this prequel story we find Travis assigned to investigate Carl Varon. Varon is a kind of proto-Blake – a political troublemaker who claims to have been setup by the powers that be. The evidence is against Varon is damning. There’s a laundry list of horrific charges against him. Plus, there’s all the video evidence. So what’s Travis’ problem? Just that Varon may be entirely innocent. Travis has two duties. 1. A duty to the state. 2. A duty to the truth. Which will he choose?

Actor Craig Kelly plays Travis. To my ears his voices sounds pretty similar to the original TV series actor Brian Croucher. What benefits Kelly here is that he gets a much meatier role than poor Croucher (the TV Travis) ever got. He also benefits by playing against a veteran like Peter Guinness. Guinness has a Jekyll And Hyde-like role in this story, we get him as the innocent man in jail and as a political terrorist (during some video playback sequences). Jake Maskall has the least to do here, playing Sub-Lieutenant Garcia. His role being to mostly act as a naive assistant to Travis.

Eye Of The Machine – (Episode 1.3)
Written by Ben Aaronovitch, directed by Andrew Mark Sewell

Eye Of The Machine also follows a baddie (but one of the less bad baddies). Kerr Avon (the Will Scarlet of Blake’s 7) in this prequel story is a brilliant and geeky post-graduate student at Oxford in 2230. The university’s campus, like so many on Earth, is roiling with political protest movements. Avon wants nothing to do with politics, but a fellow student is hot for two things – political change and Kerr Avon. Meanwhile Avon’s brilliance in his chosen studies has caught the eye of a respected cyberneticist professor. Professor Ensor is working on an artificial intelligence breakthrough – he needs a mind like Avon’s. Will Avon’s attendance at Freedom Party meetings or the ambitious Professor Ensor be his undoing?

Colin Salmon (playing Avon) is a movie star with stage acting chops. Anna Grant (played by Keeley Hawes) is fast talking and passionate. She’s terrific. Ensor, is played by Geoffrey Palmer, a veteran of virtually every television series made in the U.K.. In this he’s slimy, mean-spirited and perfect. The script jumps back and forth between the events as they unfolded chronologically and sometime shortly after ‘what happened’ wherein Ensor and Grant give one sided answers to an interrogator’s questions. Both Episode 1.2 and 1.3 use just three actors each but we don’t need even more. These scripts are perfectly polished audio drama gems. Highly recommended.

Posted by Jesse Willis

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