Recent Arrivals: Macmillan Audio: The Way Of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

September 30, 2010 by · 2 Comments
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SFFaudio Recent Arrivals

Ye gods! This is the first audiobook that I’ve genuinely worried might break my scanner. In short, it’s looooong – weighing in at a titanic 45.5 hours on 36 CDs. The Way Of Kings is the first in a proposed 10 book series! Check out the resonant voice of Michael Kramer in the sample MP3 below, it’s terrific!

MACMILLAN AUDIO - The Way Of Kings by Brandon SandersonThe Way Of Kings: Book One Of The Stormlight Archive
By Brandon Sanderson; Read by Kate Reading and Michael Kramer
36 CDs – Approx. 45.5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Published: August 31, 2010
ISBN: 9781427209757
Sample |MP3|
Widely acclaimed for his work completing Robert Jordan’s Wheel Of Time saga, Brandon Sanderson now begins a grand cycle of his own, one every bit as ambitious and immersive. Roshar is a world of stone and storms. Uncanny tempests of incredible power sweep across the rocky terrain so frequently that they have shaped ecology and civilization alike. Animals hide in shells, trees pull in branches, and grass retracts into the soilless ground. Cities are built only where the topography offers shelter. It has been centuries since the fall of the ten consecrated orders known as the Knights Radiant, but their Shardblades and Shardplate remain: mystical swords and suits of armor that transform ordinary men into near-invincible warriors. Men trade kingdoms for Shardblades. Wars were fought for them, and won by them. One such war rages on a ruined landscape called the Shattered Plains. There, Kaladin, who traded his medical apprenticeship for a spear to protect his little brother, has been reduced to slavery. In a war that makes no sense, where ten armies fight separately against a single foe, he struggles to save his men and to fathom the leaders who consider them expendable. Brightlord Dalinar Kholin commands one of those other armies. Like his brother, the late king, he is fascinated by an ancient text called The Way of Kings. Troubled by over-powering visions of ancient times and the Knights Radiant, he has begun to doubt his own sanity. Across the ocean, an untried young woman named Shallan seeks to train under an eminent scholar and notorious heretic, Dalinar’s niece, Jasnah. Though she genuinely loves learning, Shallan’s motives are less than pure. As she plans a daring theft, her research for Jasnah hints at secrets of the Knights Radiant and the true cause of the war.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Recent Arrivals: Full Cast Audio

September 30, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
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SFFaudio Recent Arrivals

Full Cast AudioAlexandria LaFaye is the SOLO reader on this FULL CAST AUDIO audiobook. It’s a seeming contradiction: How can an audiobook be both read by a full cast and just one narrator? Maybe you’re thinking dissociative identity disorder? Nah. There’s an easier explanation. Full Cast Audio has started a new imprint called “One Voice” in which you get a traditional solo unabridged narration from a company known for having every audiobook performed by a Full Cast.

FULL CAST AUDIO - Water Steps by A. LaFayeWater Steps
By A. LaFaye; Read by A. LaFaye
3 CDs – Approx. 3 Hours 30 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Full Cast Audio
Published: April 2010
ISBN: 9781936223145
Kyna has a deep-seated (and well-earned) fear of the water. So when her adoptive parents announce that they have rented a summer house on Lake Champlain, she begs to be left behind for the summer. Alas, this is not possible. Yet even at the lake Kyna does her best to avoid the water, exploring instead the forests and hillsides, documenting them with her camera. But when her new friend, Tylo, draws her into his quest for strange water creatures, Kyna finds herself pulled into unexpected discoveries – not only about the lake, but about her own strange heritage. A novel that pulses with a passion for nature and the natural world, Water Steps is rich with love and loss, longing and renewal, a bit of mystery and a touch of fantasy. With an extraordinary gift for dialect, author A. LaFaye brings its rhythms to vivid life in this haunting reading.

And this one is a Norweigan-to-English translation of Jo Nesbø‘s first kid’s book (he also writes hard-boiled crime novels). William Dufris, who turns up in quite a few Full Cast Audio casts, narrates. Sadly, the package does not clearly state if he also provided the farts.

FULL CAST AUDIO - Doctor Proctor's Fart Powder by Jo NesboDoctor Proctor’s Fart Powder
By Jo Nesbø; Read by William Dufris
4 CDs – Approx. 4 Hours 15 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Full Cast Audio
Published: May 2010
ISBN: 9781936223176
Nilly is new to the neighborhood, but he is quick to make friends: Doctor Proctor, an eccentric professor; and Lisa, who is teased by the twin terrors Truls and Trym. Nilly and Lisa help Doctor Proctor develop his latest invention, a powder that makes you fart! The powder makes Nilly and Lisa very popular at school when they sell it for fifty cents a bag. And they get revenge on Truls and Trym by giving them a dose of extra-strength powder that shoots them up into a tree. All is good fun… until someone steals the industrial-strength powder—which was supposed to make Doctor Proctor famous—to use for evil purposes…

Posted by Jesse Willis

Ian Fleming’s favourite novels (as a kid)

September 28, 2010 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

BLACKSTONE AUDIO - Ian Fleming: The Man Behind James BondI’ve just started listening to Ian Fleming: The Man Behind James Bond, a biography by Andrew Lycett, (available from Blackstone Audio). Here’s an interesting bit from early on:

“On Sunday evenings all the boys would gather in the hall of Durnford‘s [preparatory school] main building, a shabby 18th century manor house. Then, while her feet were tickled by some unfortunate child, Nell [the headmaster’s wife] would read them an adventure story. The general favourites were The Prisoner Of Zenda, Moonfleet and, towards the end of Ian’s time, Bulldog Drummond. Lawrence Irving, a pupil shortly before the Flemings, found that he ‘Never read those books again without hearing Nell’s tone and inflection.’ The same went for Ian, though he preferred the populist works of Sax Rohmer who opened up a more fantastic world with his yellow devil villain Doctor Fu Manchu.”

See that? There’s a nice direct connection between Dr. Fu Manchu and Doctor No. And, as I’m discovering by listening to Andy Minter’s reading of The Prisoner Of Zenda, you get a nice resonance between James Bond, playboy adventurer, and Rudolf Rassendyll, English gentleman.

In fact, as I’m writing this I’m very much enjoying The Prisoner Of Zenda, and am considering delving more deeply into the sub-genre it helped create: Ruritanian romance (a story set in a fictional country)

LIBRIVOX - The Prisoner Of Zenda by Anthony HopeThe Prisoner Of Zenda
By Anthony Hope; Read by Andy Minter
1 |M4B|, 22 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 5 Hours 42 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: December 16, 2006
The Prisoner of Zenda tells the story of Rudolf Rassendyll, an English gentleman on holiday in Ruritania, a country not a thousand miles from Bavaria. There, by reason of his resemblance to the King of Ruritania he becomes involved in saving the King’s Life and his Throne from the King’s dastardly brother and his allies. Woods, moated castles, pomp, swordplay, gallantry, villainy and a beautiful princess. What story could ask for more?

Podcast feed:

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

LIBRIVOX - Moonfleet by J. Meade FalknerMoonfleet
By J. Meade Falkner; Read by various readers
24 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 7 Hours 58 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: July 17, 2008
The novel is set in a fishing village in Dorset during the mid 18th century. The story concerns a 15 year old orphan boy, John Trenchard, who becomes friends with an older man who turns out to be the leader of a gang of smugglers. One night John chances on the smugglers’ store in the crypt beneath the church. He explores but hides behind a coffin when he hears voices. He finds a locket which contains a parchment, in the coffin belonging to Colonel Mohune. Unfortunately after the visitors leave, he finds himself trapped inside, and is only rescued two days later when two of the smugglers, Ratsey, the sexton and Elzevir Block, the innkeeper of the Why Not?, the local pub, investigate his disappearance. His aunt insists he leaves her house and Elzevir Block takes him in to live at the pub.

Podcast feed:

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

Bulldog Drummond by Herman Cyril McNeile (1920), isn’t yet available as an audioboook on LibriVox, but it is available (unabridged) from Naxos Audiobooks |HERE|.

The Insidious Doctor Fu Manchu (aka The Mystery of Dr. Fu-Manchu) by Sax Rohmer (1913), is forthcoming on LibriVox, but is already commercially available through Tantor Media |HERE|.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Forgotten Classics: Night Drive by Murray Leinster

September 27, 2010 by · 6 Comments
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Night Drive

While I was flipping through one of my grandmother’s old English textbooks (SENSE AND FEELING) I found it contained a short story written by Will F. Jenkins. You may, as I did, instantly recognize it as a pen name of Murray Leinster (even if, in actuality, it’s the other way around). After running the title and the names by my copyright researching buddy, I was pleased to discover it was in the PUBLIC DOMAIN! I then passed it on to another of my creative friends who turned it into an episode of her podcast.

Julie Davis, the narrator, says she was planning on saving it for Halloween. I can see exactly why she was planning that, but it’s probably the perfect listening for any Autumn drive … at night …. in the country ….. with the doors locked …… very tightly.

Night Drive by Murray LeinsterNight Drive
By Murray Leinster; Read by Julie Davis
1 |MP3| – Approx. 58 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: Forgotten Classics
Podcast: September 24, 2010
In which a young woman at night is faced with a life-or-death choice.
Night Drive by Will F. Jenkins, was first published in the March 1950 issue of Today’s Woman magazine. In 1962 it was later collected in the Belmont Books paperback called Twisted, (edited by Groff Conklin).

Podcast feed:

Night Drive

In which a young woman at night is faced with a life-or-death choice.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #076 – READALONG: Mindswap by Robert Sheckley

September 27, 2010 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Podcasts 


The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #076 – Jesse talks with Gregg Margarite, Julie Davis and Luke Burrage about Robert Sheckley’s 1966 novel Mindswap.

Talked about on today’s show:
Blackstone Audiobooks audiobook edition of Mindswap by Robert Sheckley, The Status Civilization by Robert Sheckley, Rick Jackson’s Wonder Audio version of The Status Civilization, Marvin, existentialism, Jean-Paul Sartre, Søren Kierkegaard and Martin Heidegger, Mars, swapping minds vs. swapping bodies, xenophiles, “metaphoric deformation”, one of the greatest scenes of comedy ever in a novel, mind vs. body, mind vs. brain, consciousnesses and memories, Mindswap is “a subversive ontological satire,” Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, extracting sunlight from a cucumber, “theory of searches”, existentialism for a Science Fiction audience, Voltaire’s Candide, Douglas Adams, The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, balance is superfluous, “contemplation is the most direct form of involvement (and so it is avoided by everyone)”, Bertrand Russell, New York, solipsism, cognitive dissonance, Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court, Future Shock by Alvin Toffler, Chekhov’s gun, comedic soliloquies, speaking with a lisp, the twisted world, the interventionist fallacy, the authorial sting, “the ripe greenness of her ovipositors”, Luke defends the honour of the name Kathy, Marvin The Paranoid Android vs. Marvin The Martian, Roland Barthes, absurdity is funny, a pseudo-Gulliver’s Travels, the mechanics of the humor, Gregg’s top five written objects, Laputa, “the pinnacle of satire”, A Modest Proposal, “everything is bullshit”, Dr. Jeykll And Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (our next readalong), Dracula, Lair Of The White Worm, Ken Russell, Gothic, On The Buses, Africa, “Africa? Where do you mean in Africa?”, Namibia vs. South Africa, Kilimanjaro vs. Everest, a set can’t be a member of itself, “it’s all a big giant steaming pile of absurdity” vs. “the glory and excitement of being alive”, monsignors vs. bishops, “you’re just not in our target market”, “I don’t believe what someone believes has to be true or not”, spiritual experiences vs. explanations of them, there’s a helmet for that (spiritual experiences), the charismatic formula, true vs. honest, Luke’s blog post on spiritual experiences and atheism, Thomas Aquinas, “truth is relative”, Gregg has big sets!, Julie is completely talk-able, Margaret Atwood history denier, the Apollo missions, making stupid easier, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is a great aggregator , Glenn Beck’s snakedance, smart people are making the universe complex, “the enemy of nuance” vs. “the enemy of history”, rejecting reality, why they argued with Jefferson, their totally alienable, “this is why I watch 30 Rock“, Kids In The Hall, you have the potential of niche markets, ‘the United States is the greatest country in the world (with the greatest failures and great achievements)’, nobody cares about Africa (or South America), not knowing the Prime Minister of Canada vs. not knowing the Governor of Guam, Peter F. Hamilton’s latest book, a bunch of fun loving existentialists, Sheckley’s short stories, City by Clifford D. Simak (it has conflict), Sheckley at his best is Voltaire and soda (or Voltaire and tonic), Flannery O’Connor, the keyword game, Earth Abides by George R. Stewart, art and craft are the same thing, craftsmen aren’t artists, I Hate Music, “I’m NOT tone deaf!”, Charlie Parker, iTunes=music, mp3=music, “it’s like I’m gay and I’m the only one”, This Is Your Brain On Music, Gregg is too emphatic (?), “I – do not – sound – like – William Shatner.”, Weird Al Yankovic, “my guitar is the best girlfriend I ever had.”

Gray Morrow‘s illustrations of Mindswap from the June 1965 of Galaxy:

Galaxy June 1965 - MINDSWAP by Robert Sheckley - Cover

Galaxy June 1965 - MINDSWAP by Robert Sheckley - Page 7

Galaxy June 1965 - MINDSWAP - Page 9

Galaxy June 1965 - MINDSWAP by Robert Sheckley - Page 27

Galaxy June 1965 - MINDSWAP by Robert Sheckley - Page 53

Galaxy June 1965 - MINDSWAP by Robert Sheckley - Pages 67 and 85

DELL - Mindswap by Robert Sheckley

Posted by Jesse Willis

Commentary: I Hate Music

September 23, 2010 by · 22 Comments
Filed under: Commentary 

SFFaudio Commentary

This post is off topic to our general subject. It was originally written in 2008, but was never posted because it was so off-topic. Sadly, it keeps having to be re-written as private emails. I have decided to save myself writing it over and over again.

Meta SFFaudioHow shall I put this? I might as well say I hate puppies and rainbows as say it. But it is the truth so I’ll just come right out and say it.

I hate music.

Can we still be friends? I’m being honest here.

For as long as I can remember I’ve hated music. I certainly didn’t always classify my feelings as hate. I had a mixture of emotions: Indifference, perplexity, boredom. Now I classify that entire block of feelings all as hate. Now hate is a pretty strong word. But I think it’s justifiable. See, it’s hate because music is a block in my path towards whatever isn’t music.

It isn’t that there isn’t any music I appreciate. There is, but I feel like I’m the world’s only homosexual living in a 100% heterosexual world. If it isn’t funny, isn’t literary, if it isn’t connected to some emotional or visual memory already in me, I just refuse to music. Music without those things honestly bores the shit out of me and always has. And I feel utterly alone in this. Apparently there is a psychological condition called, melophobia. It’s sufferers reportedly have symptoms of:

“breathlessness, excessive sweating, nausea, dry mouth, feeling sick, shaking, heart palpitations, inability to speak or think clearly, a fear of dying, becoming mad or losing control, a sensation of detachment from reality or a full blown anxiety attack.”

But I have none of those symptoms. I simply become annoyed and seek to turn off the offending noise. There isn’t a Wikipedia entry on melophobia, so it can’t be very common. Apparently Sigmund Freud had the same reaction to music. That’s one thing we have in common.

Everyone else seems to love or at least like music to some degree or other, and I really just don’t. It isn’t that I haven’t tried to like music. I have, I’ve tried over and over and over again. I even attempted to learn to play an instrument (a dismal failure). I tried listening to music – like all my friends did – but I never really connected with it the way almost everyone else seems to have. As a kid, when my peers were ooh-ing and aww-ing about the latest Michael Jackson song or carving “Def Leppard” into their desks, I’d be rebelling by reading books. I also discovered a few audio dramas as a kid.

I did listen to music. But it was never something I did with any zest. I’d listen to Weird Al Yankovic, Cream or The Beatles. I enjoyed the humor in Yankovic’s songs, his making fun of regular music, I loved the literary references in Cream songs and I loved everything about The Beatles. I connected with a few bands here and there, a few songs here or there, but my general disdain for music never felt at all normal. A couple friends of mine grew up to be professional musicians. One of them didn’t write lyrics (or when he did it wasn’t with enthusiasm). I hate his music. My other friend did write lyrics, and I can connect with his song lyrics. They have his sense of humor and his personality. Listening to his music is like spending time with him. It’s the personal connection in the lyrics – the shared experiences. But everyone I know, even people who don’t listen to music often – still claim to love music – as a kind of general thing. I never did.

In my youthful attempts to become “normal” I went to concerts.

Barenaked Ladies (middling funny music – but why watch them play it?)

Lenny Kravitz (utterly sucked – I’ll pay not to go again!)

Concerts all seemed more like a punishment than pleasure to me.

I have friends who are musicians, I have musicians in my family. I just don’t get the appeal of music.

One strange thing though, I’ve found I can connect with music that appears on screen. No problem there. I like Clannad from watching Robin Of Sherwood, and Vangelis from Blade Runner, and even the lyric-less Tangerine Dream from some of Michael Mann’s movies. Even classical music can work for me, Wagner from Apocalypse Now. But sitting down and listening to music? Guh.

I think the way I can best explain my relationship to music is by analogy. I see music as color in comic books. Its nice, it can enhance an image, but without the bold inks, without the story, and the word balloons it is an utter nothing. To get what I’m saying, think of yourself sitting around with your friends staring at colour chips – everyone else loves the colours, thinks they’re worth starting at for hours on end. Does that sound fun to you? That’s how it feels to me when I try to just listen to music – it’s an intellectual desert.

This is probably one of the reasons I’m so passionate about audiobooks.

Posted by Jesse Willis

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