LibriVox: The Hate Disease by Murray Leinster

October 29, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
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LibriVoxHere’s a promising sounding novella from my buddy Gregg Margarite and It’s set in the same universe and features the same characters as one I just posted about. Murray Leinster’s interstellar medical hero Dr. Calhoun and his semi-sentient furry companion Murgatroyd are a fun pair and so while listening to the start of this one I was reminded of one of my favourite public domain audiobooks, Dr. Alan E. Nourse’s Star Sugeon |READ OUR REVIEW|. Thinking about that got me to thinking about the amount of medical Science Fiction out there. There’s probably a lot more than I know about. One other public domain audiobook I can think of off the top of my head is Lester del Rey’s Badge Of Infamy.

It’s a solid one!

And then, expanding beyond the public domain, I thought about Michael Crichton’s The Andromeda Strain |READ OUR REVIEW|. Given how much I enjoy it I’m thinking medical Science Fiction should be a lot more prominent in my reading than it actually is. But I don’t see a lot of NEW medical SF out there. What gives? Is medical SF just too hard to write now? Or must one be, like Nourse and Crichton, both a physician and a writer to write consistently write convincing medical Science Fiction?

Until I figure it out I’ve got this one…

LIBRIVOX - The Hate Disease by Murray LeinsterThe Hate Disease
By Murray Leinster; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 M4B, 2 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 2 Hours 2 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: October 28, 2010
Dr. Calhoun and his pet tormal Murgatroyd work for the Interstellar Medical Service making routine public health inspections on far-flung colonial planets. When they reach Tallien Three they are greeted with a rocket attack by the Paras, a mutated form of human rapidly replacing the “normals”. The normals think it’s a pandemic of demonic possession but Calhoun has his doubts. If he can keep from turning into a Para, or being assassinated by them he just might figure this thing out. First published in Analog Science Fact & Fiction August 1963.

Podcast feed:

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

[Thanks also to Betty for prooflistening!]

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox: This World Is Taboo by Murray Leinster

October 29, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
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LibriVoxMy favourite thing (that I know of) to come out of Simpsonville, South Carloina is narrator Mark F. Smith. To me he’s just a voice, a dude who reads a lot of the audiobooks that I often listen to, but rarely comment on. This novel, particularly, is a rather special to me as it is the only audiobook I’ve ever attempted to record for myself. That attempt, thankfully lost on some old hard-drive somewhere, was a complete and utter failure. But when Mark F. Smith reads it I can see just how dismal was my reading was and how easy Smith makes it seem. Mark F. Smith’s voice isn’t particularly resonant, nor is it particularly distinctive. I don’t even think his voice a whole lot better than mine. But, what Mark’s voice has, which mine lacks, is a whole lot of consistency, a kind of vocal solidity which is absolutely required to make an audiobook truly listenable. Smith’s pronunciation isn’t perfect. But I know how hard that is too. Take this word: “Asclepius

It’s the name of one of the ships in the story.

I spent maybe five or six minutes researching it, and then figuring out how to pronounce it. I can do it now, like a champ actually – uh-sklee-pee-uhs – but, when I actually ran into it in the text I kept pausing to pronounce it, and ruining the audiobook’s flow. Smith’s pronunciation, though close, isn’t right, at least not exactly, but it does flow – and that’s far more than I could ever achieve.

Thanks Mark F. Smith. Your readings are appreciated on multiple levels!

LIBRIVOX - This World Is Taboo by Murray LeinsterThis World Is Taboo
By Murray Leinster; Read by Mark F. Smith
8 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 4 Hours 1 Minute [UNABRIDGED]
Published: June 17, 2010
Calhoun is an Interstellar Medical Serviceman, and he’s needed on Dara. Trouble is: Dara is forbidden. Taboo. And breaking quarantine will make Calhoun a presumed plague-carrier and subject to being shot on sight by anyone from Weald. But hey! If he did the smart thing, we wouldn’t have a story! But why are men from Dara shooting at him? First published in Amazing, July 1961 under the title Pariah Planet.

Podcast feed:

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

[Thanks also to Ans Wink and Laurie Anne Walden]

Posted by Jesse Willis

CBC Spark: Uncut William Gibson interview

October 29, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
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CBC Radio - SparkFor his latest book tour William Gibson has been invited onto scores of radio programs and podcasts. I’ve heard him interviewed, and answer similiar questions over and over. But, CBC’s Spark programme may be the best to go with as it features the ever thoughtful Nora Young. Sez Young:

“Yesterday, I interviewed novelist William Gibson in our Toronto studio. I’ve followed his work for years, ever since reading Neuromancer ages ago. Although I’ve interviewed him a few times before, I’d never met him in person, so today was a treat. Gibson is best known as a science fiction writer, and a foundational figure in the cyberpunk genre. More recently, though, he has been writing books set in the here and now, albeit a here and now infused with a distinctly Gibsonian world view. We talked about his latest novel, Zero History, part three in a trilogy.”

Have a listen |MP3|. A shorter version of this interview will air on an upcoming episode of Spark.

Posted by Jesse Willis


BBC R4: In Our Time: Unicorns

October 29, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
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BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time with Melvyn BraggThe BBC Radio 4 program (and podcast) In Our Time has an interesting discussion about one of the most popular of unwinged mythological creatures. The unicorn has the honor of both adorning Canada’s coat of arms as well as being the only even-toed ungulate to be both wholly magical and completely kosher.

Here’s the description:

“Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the history and mythology of the unicorn.

In the 5th century BC a Greek historian, Ctesias, described a strange one-horned beast which he believed to live in a remote area of India. Later classical scholars, including Aristotle and Pliny, added to his account of this animal which they called the monoceros, a vicious ass-like creature with a single horn in the middle of its forehead.

For centuries the monoceros or unicorn was widely accepted to be a real – if rarely seen – beast. It appears in the Bible, and in the Middle Ages became a powerful Christian symbol. It continued to be represented in art and literature throughout the Renaissance, when ‘unicorn horn’ became one of the most valuable commodities on earth, thanks to its supposed properties as an antidote to poison. As late as the seventeenth century, scientists believed they had found conclusive proof of the existence of unicorns. It was some time before the animal was shown to be a myth; four hundred years on, the unicorn retains much of its fascination and symbolic power.


Juliette Wood
Associate Lecturer in Folklore at Cardiff University

Lauren Kassell
Lecturer in the History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Cambridge

David Ekserdjian
Professor of the History of Art and Film at the University of Leicester.

Producer: Thomas Morris.”

Have a listen |MP3|

Or subscribe to the podcast feed:

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox: Mrs. Shelley by Lucy Madox Rossetti (a biography of Mary Shelley)

October 26, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
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I cannot wholeheartedly recommend you listen to this biography of Mary Shelley. There’s far too much surmising and a great deal too much imagining what Mary Shelley’s life was like for my taste. And while it’s true that we probably know a great deal more about Mary Shelley’s life now, than her biographer knew at the time of the writing, Mrs. Shelley feels as if it was written as a writing assignment, rather than a work of keen interest. Further, the author, Lucy Madox Rossetti, takes it upon herself to do a kind of literary criticism of Shelley’s fiction in the biography! I find it rather catty, and given even my limited understanding of the subject (Mary Shelley), I suspect Rossetti it is badly informed. Take this bit, written about Shelley’s The Last Man, as a for instance:

To give an adequate idea of genius with all its charm, and yet with its human imperfections, was beyond Mary’s power. Adrian, the son of kings, the aristocratic republican, is the weakest part, and one cannot help being struck by Mary Shelley’s preference for the aristocrat over the plebeian. In fact, Mary’s idea of a republic still needed kings’ sons by their good manners to grace it, while, at the same time, the king’s son had to be transmuted into an ideal Shelley. This strange confusion of ideas allowed for, and the fact that over half a century of perhaps the earth’s most rapid period of progress has passed, the imaginative qualities are still remarkable in Mary. Balloons, then dreamed of, were attained; but naturally the steam-engine and other wonders of science, now achieved, were unknown to Mary. When the plague breaks out she has scope for her fancy, and she certainly adds vivid pictures of horror and pathos to a subject which has been handled by masters of thought at different periods.

It’s writing like that makes you wonder why she bothered writing the book at all. And Lucy Madox Rossetti is just plain wrong about some of it. Thomas Newcomen, the father of the atmospheric engine (steam-engine) created his apparatus almost a century before Mary Shelley was even born.

One saving grace, if this audiobook has one, are the capsule synopses of Shelley’s many novels and stories. They are actually rather handy!

But, to the biography, the fact remains this is the only public domain biography of Mary Shelley yet available on LibriVox. Until a better one appears we will have to make do with…

LibriVoxMrs. Shelley
By Lucy Madox Rossetti; Read by various
29 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 6 Hours 44 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: October 13, 2010
Mrs. Shelley is a biography of Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Shelley, author of Frankenstein and other works, wife of Percy Shelley, daughter of Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin who penned The Vindication of the Rights of Women, and daughter of William Godwin, a philosopher and novelist. The life of this woman, who at nineteen wrote a story that has become a part of everyday culture, is its own story to tell. The author, Lucy Madox Brown Rossetti, was the daughter of the artist Ford Madox Brown and the wife of William Michael Rossetti of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.

Podcast feed:

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

[Thanks also to Amy Gramour, [email protected], Andreia, teanah and J.M. Smallheer]

Posted by Jesse Willis

Scott Westerfeld Interviews His Audiobook Narrator, Alan Cumming

October 26, 2010 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: New Releases, News 

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Scott Westerfeld’s new book, Behemoth, has just been released. It’s the second in the Leviathan Trilogy. He sits down and talks with Alan Cumming, the narrator of his audiobook version of the same title. Westerfeld mentions on how Cumming’s voice for one of his characters from his first book in the series, Leviathan, was the voice he heard in his head as he wrote that character’s dialogue for the new book. And they talk a bit about the different pronunciations of words.

Here’s Scott Westerfeld’s interview with Alan Cumming:

And here’s the book trailer for Behemoth:

And here’s a sizable audiobook excerpt from the title:

Posted by Rick Jackson

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