The Princess And The Tin Box by James Thurber

May 26, 2010 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: News 

SFFaudio News

First published in The New Yorker‘s September 29, 1945 issue, The Princess And The Tin Box is a short story by James Thurber that popped up onto my radar screen today. The screen read “fairy tale.” But, the more I think about it, the more I think The Princess And The Tin Box is actually more fable than straight-up fairy tale. Still, fairy tales and fables do go hand-in-hand, skipping through the minefield of morality (that’s just over the knolls of neurosis and just through the copse of everlasting obscuration). Either way both types of stories play upon our expectations. That’s the thing, in a realm where anything can happen, you’re supposed to be a wise reader if you’ll pause, every so often, and drop a metaphorically indigestible breadcrumb, making especially sure to take note of precisely where you placed it.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Leviathan Chronicles Season One wraps

May 25, 2010 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

The Leviathan Chronicles - Audio DramaIt’s been a long time since I first wrote about Christof Laputka‘s Leviathan Chronicles podcast. Steve Riekeberg sez: “With much excitement, I am happy to announce that Leviathan Chronicles Chapter 25, the series’s much-anticipated season one finale, will drop on May 26th, clocking in at over an hour long!”

Here’s the trailer: |MP3|

Podcast feed:

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

Frankly, I really haven’t been following the show since that first listen. I bet a bunch of you folks have been. What’s the word?

Posted by Jesse Willis

Lightspeed Magazine will have a podcast!

May 25, 2010 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: News 

SFFaudio News


Lightspeed Magazine is a “new online science fiction magazine published by the award-winning independent press Prime Books” – It’s first issue launches June 1, 2010.

The mag is edited by John Joseph Adams, a big audiobook fan who’s also the host of The Geek’s Guide To The Galaxy podcast and Andrea Kail, a “writer, critic, and television producer who worked for thirteen years on Late Night with Conan O’Brien.”

Lightspeed is set to run a mix of straight up Science Fiction and science articles. But, most exciting of all, was this bit from the press release:

We are also pleased to announce a new member of the Lightspeed team: award-winning audiobook producer Stefan Rudnicki, who will be producing the Lightspeed Magazine story podcast.

Stefan Rudnicki is an independent director, producer, narrator, and publisher of audiobooks. He has received more than a dozen Audie Awards from the Audio Publishers Association, a Ray Bradbury Award, a Bram Stoker Award, and a GRAMMY Award for Best Spoken Word Album for Children for The Children’s Shakespeare. Outside of the audiobook industry, he’s probably best known for the dozen books he’s written or edited, from actor’s resource anthologies to a best-selling adaptation of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. He is also president of Skyboat Road Company, Inc., the most respected independent audio production team on the West Coast.

Lightspeed will adapt two of its four stories each month to podcast format. Issue one’s podcasts are “The Cassandra Project” by Jack McDevitt and “Amaryllis” by Carrie Vaughn.

As a special feature of the debut issue, in conjunction with the popular podcasts Escape Pod and Hugo Award nominee Starship Sofa, Lightspeed will present two bonus podcasts: “I’m Alive, I Love You, I’ll See You in Reno” by Vylar Kaftan will appear on Escape Pod on June 1 and “Cats in Victory” by David Barr Kirtley will appear on Starship Sofa on June 15.

Here is Lightspeed‘s complete posting schedule for the June 2010 issue:

June 1:
Fiction: “I’m Alive, I Love You, I’ll See You in Reno” by Vylar Kaftan
Author Spotlight: Vylar Kaftan
Podcast: “I’m Alive, I Love You, I’ll See You in Reno” by Vylar Kaftan (on Escape Pod)
Editorial by John Joseph Adams

June 3:
Nonfiction: “Is There Anybody Out There That Wants to Go Fast” by Mike Brotherton

June 8:
Fiction: “The Cassandra Project” by Jack McDevitt
Author Spotlight: Jack McDevitt
Podcast: “The Cassandra Project” by Jack McDevitt, narrated by Stefan Rudnicki

June 10:
Nonfiction: “The High Untresspassed Sanctity of Space: Seven True Stories about Eugene Cernan” by Genevieve Valentine

June 15:
Fiction: “Cats in Victory” by David Barr Kirtley
Author Spotlight: David Barr Kirtley
Podcast: “Cats in Victory” by David Barr Kirtley (on Starship Sofa)

June 17:
Nonfiction: “Top Ten Reasons Why Uplifted Animals Don’t Make Good Pets” by Carol Pinchefsky

June 22:
Fiction: “Amaryllis” by Carrie Vaughn
Author Spotlight: Carrie Vaughn
Podcast: “Amaryllis” by Carrie Vaughn, narrated by Stefan Rudnicki

June 24:
Nonfiction: “Every Step We Take” by Amanda Rose Levy

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Little Fuzzy by H. Beam Piper

May 24, 2010 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Little Fuzzy
By H. Beam Piper; read by Jim Roberts
Audible Download – 6 hours 45 mins [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Jincin Recordings
Published: 2010
Themes: / science fiction / philosophy / extraterrestrial / sentience

Little Fuzzy is a poor man’s, a thinking man’s, Avatar. It tells the story of a capitalistic corporation exploring a far-off planet with a classical name, Zarathustra. While harvesting the planet’s unobtanium brightly-colored sunstones, prospector Jack Holloway discovers a stange new species, and makes it his life’s work to defend the new creatures. Missing are Avatar‘s flashes, bangs, and rich world-building, but the novel more than compensates with intriguing storytelling that both challenges the mind and touches the heart.

Events in Little Fuzzy take place on the planet Zarathustra. The Chartered Zarathustra Corporation owns the world in all but name, and harvests its resources for trade on the intergalactic market. The world itself is poorly realized. Apart from anti-gravitational devices, hovering cars, and super-advanced CCTV lie detectors, very little in the novel suggests a science fiction setting. Guns, paper, and cigarettes predominate. The novel hints at a rich and storied history of the galaxy with its mentions of the Atomic Era, but these allusions never find ample explanation. The novel does take place in Piper’s Terro-Human Future Universe, however, so readers eager to learn more can probably do so in other novels and short stories.

The major exception to the book’s lack of world-building is the wild flora and fauna on Zarathustra around which Little Fuzzy ultimately hinges. Prospector Jack Holloway finds one of the titular foot-high golden-furred creatures, and soon realizes that the fuzzy fuzzy Holloway Zarathustra (yes, that becomes its official classification) exhibits behavior that may point to sapient consciousness. One of the fuzzies soon meets its demise at the hands of a Zarathustra Corporation agent, and Jack Holloway kills another agent in the ensuing scuffle. The rest of the novel explores the question of consciousness through the narrative framework of a criminal trial. Like the works of Isaac Asimov, Little Fuzzy abounds with cerebral dialogue that, at times, reads like a philosophical proof, but never drones on long enough to become monotonous.

The real show-stopper is Jack Holloway’s emotional connection to his newly-discovered species. At various points he fulfills the roles of teacher, champion, and father to the beleaguered little fuzzies. Thiis emotional power pulls the reader by the heartstring’s through the book’s one or two bare spots to a satisfying conclusion.

Little Fuzzy is also a brilliantly-written novel. Some of the fathers of science fiction appear to take themselves far too seriously, but this certainly can’t be said of H. Beam Piper. While the novel hardly qualifies as a comedy or satire, colorful splashes of humor indicate that, though the book addresses intriguing intellectual issues, at the end of the day Piper is having fun as a writer and a storyteller.

Jim Roberts’s performance of Little Fuzzy for Jincin Recordings won’t win any awards, but his tone fits the mood and content of the novel. His reading is strong enough that even the book’s few tedious passages won’t put the listener to sleep.

Originally published in 1962, just two years before H. Beam Piper’s suicide, Little Fuzzy was written at the zenith of his writing career, and it shows. As a proof-of-concept novel about the nature of consciousness, the book could have easily crossed the line between fiction novel and science lesson, as do some of the other science fiction novels of Piper’s era. Sprightly writing and emotion that almost, but not quite, verges on sentimentality make Little Fuzzy a stand-out novel of its time, and indeed for all ages.

As a footnote, John Scalzi recently announced that he’s written a reboot of the series with the blessing of the Piper estate, dubbed Fuzzy Nation, and that he’s currently shopping it around to publishers. The franchise is certainly in capable hands.

Also be sure to take a look at Jesse’s review of the Audio Realms edition of Little Fuzzy

Posted by Seth Wilson

BBC Audiobooks America: Fashionably Undead by Meg Cabot and the Twitterverse

May 24, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Here’s another collaboratively constructed audiobook, following on the heels of Hearts, Keys, and Puppetry. It’s short, free, and full of zombies.

BBC AUDIOBOOKS AMERICA - Fashionably Undead by Meg Cabot and the TwitterverseFashionably Undead
By Meg Cabot and the Twitterverse; Read by Sarah Drew
9 MP3 Files – Approx. 1 Hour 22 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: BBC Audiobooks America
Published: May 2010
New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot and more than 50 fiction lovers joined forces on to spin a hilarious tale of haute couture and horror. Carly, an unassuming receptionist at Guru Fashion Agency, is shocked when sexy new guy Jake texts her to say he needs her help—fighting off zombie models! Soon she discovers New York is under siege and she’s the chosen one who can save them all. With the help of her sassy, donut-loving deskmate Joyce and the intriguing Jake, Carly embarks on a death-defying adventure that leads to a Fashion Week showdown with the Queen of the Zombies, one of the industry’s biggest icons. It just might be the strangest first date she’s ever had.

Chapter 1 |MP3| Chapter 2 |MP3| Chapter 3 |MP3| Chapter 4 |MP3| Chapter 5 |MP3| Chapter 6 |MP3|
Chapter 7 |MP3| Chapter 8 |MP3| Chapter 9 |MP3|

[via AudiobookDJ]

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #059

May 24, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 


The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #059 – Jesse and Scott talk with Science Fiction author David J. Williams about his recently completed Autumn Rain trilogy.

Talked about on today’s show:
Mirrored Heavens (book 1 in the Autumn Rain trilogy), The Burning Skies (book 2 in the Autumn Rain trilogy), The Machinery Of Light (book 3 in the Autumn Rain trilogy), writing in the present tense, memory, espionage, using past tense is “privileging the narrative”, cold war, cyberspace, cyberpunk, space as the ultimate high ground, militarizing space, satellites, “rods from god“, the straylight run scene from William Gibson’s Neuromancer, war, Future Of War by David J. Williams |PDF|, WarGames (1983), The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein, lagrange points, space elevators, skyhooks, space stations, The Fountains Of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke, terrorism, Philip K. Dick, the Vietnam War vs. the Korean War, Kahlil Gibran, China, 2008 South Ossetia War, Clarion Workshops, Richard K. Morgan, all good series should end.

Posted by Jesse Willis

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