Me And Orson Welles

December 31, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, News 

SFFaudio News

I just watched a fun audio drama related movie, based on a YA novel, based on a historic incident. It’s called Me And Orson Welles. Though it bills itself as a romantic comedy it’s actually a very good theater drama. And after watching it I now know what a Zac Efron is!

Here’s the history (from MercuryTheatre.info):

The beginnings of The Mercury Theatre on the Air actually go back to the formation of The Mercury Theatre itself. Having successfully produced Marc Blitzstein’s controversial labor union opera, The Cradle Will Rock, for the Federal Theatre Project in June of 1937, John Houseman and the 21-year-old “boy wonder” of the theatre, Orson Welles, decided to form their own theatrical producing company. In August of that same year The Mercury Theatre was born, starting off with total monetary assets of $100 (about $1150 in modern funds). Their first production, Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, adapted by Mr. Welles (and set in fascist Italy), opened in New York on November 11 and created as much controversy as the young producers had hoped; The Mercury Theatre (along with the widespread public recognition of Orson Welles) was off and running.

Film trailer:

About the YA novel:

Posted by Jesse Willis

Free Listens Review of Firstborn by Brandon Sanderson

December 31, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

Review

“Firstborn” by Brandon Sanderson

Source: Tor.com (mp3)

Length: 1 hour, 13 minutes

ReaderBrandon Sanderson and Emily Sanderson

The story: If you keep up with fantasy literature, you probably know Brandon Sanderson from his own large fantasy novels, such as the excellent Mistborn, the juvenile fantasy Alcatraz series or as the writer called in from the bullpen to finish the late Robert Jordan’s sprawling Wheel of Time fantasy series. So for Sanderson to be writing space opera science fiction and a short story is two unusual situations at once. He’s so successful, at least in this story, that I wonder why he doesn’t write more short science fiction.

“Firstborn” is set in a galactic empire where space navies do battle with rebel forces, complete with space fighters dogfights. Dennison Crestmar, a young nobleman in the Imperial Navy, is struggling as an unsuccessful officer who is constantly compared to his older brother, the famed admiral Varion Crestmar, who has never lost a battle. The setting, plot, and characters seem ripe for a series of clichés, but somehow Sanderson crafts these parts into an engaging and inventive story.

Rating: 8/10

The reader: Sanderson, as he freely admits, is not a professional voice actor. He doesn’t have the richness of sound that the pros have and the recording quality has a bit of hiss. Yet, Sanderson is a very good amateur reader. He is expressive and seems to be enjoying reading his own work. When his wife checks in to read some of the middle portion of the story, she does an equally fine job. Although he does a good job here, I don’t think I’d like to see Sanderson narrate those fantasy novels he’s best known for; those things are long and I’d rather have him writing sequels than reading!

posted by Seth

ABC Radio National: The Philosopher’s Zone on the morality of Ebeneezer Scrooge

December 29, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

ABC Radio National - The Philosopher’s ZoneABC Radio National‘s The Philosopher’s Zone is one of the oldest public radio podcast, and I’ve been following it very closely since very near its inception back in 2005. Week after week it explores the history, issues and ideas of philosophy in an accessible and informative manner. I can’t get enough of it. The Philosopher’s Zone is kind of like a very focused version of BBC Radio 4’s In Our Time. One recent program, that I just finished listening to, features a fascinating examination of the morality and ethics of Ebeneezer Scrooge. As depicted in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol Scrooge appears to be a very disobliging sort, but is he actually morally bankrupt? Examining his character and actions (through the lenses of utilitarianism, Kantian’ style categorical imperative and virtue ethics) host Alan Saunders, and guest Scott C. Lowe, discuss the curious problem of Scrooge’s lack of immorality.

Here’s the synopsis:

Ebenezer Scrooge is one of the few people you are allowed to hate at Christmas, or at least you’re allowed to ‘dislike’ what he stands for. Miserly and lacking in empathy, Scrooge is essentially a joyless, friendless, humourless, lonely old man. But was he morally bad as common wisdom would have it? Our guest this week says NO. Ebenezer Scrooge was as a man of ethical principle.

|MP3| Bah humbug – Why Ebenezer Scrooge is actually a man of principle

Subscribe to the podcast feed:

http://abc.net.au/rn/podcast/feeds/pze.xml

Posted by Jesse Willis

Audible.com: David Hyde Pierce on narrating Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

December 28, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: News 

SFFaudio News

David Hyde Pierce discusses thenarration of Audible.com’s new Gulliver’s Travels.

Posted by Jesse Willis

FREE LISTENS REVIEW: Thousandth Night by Alastair Reynolds

December 27, 2010 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Reviews 

Review

Thousandth Night by Alastair Reynolds

SourceSubterranean Press (part 123456789101112131415)
Length: Approx. 3 hours
ReaderSam A. Mowry

The story: In the far future when Thousandth Night is set in, humankind has advanced to the point where almost anything is possible: living for hundreds of thousands of years, travelling across the galaxy, and transforming the structure of the human body to almost any form. One thing that is not possible is breaking the laws of physics by travelling or communicating faster than the speed of light.
One group of humans, the Gentian line, meets every few thousand years. For 999 days each member shares his or her experiences from travelling through the galaxy. Then on the thousandth night, they elect the member with the most entertaining presentation to prepare the next reunion.

Reynolds introduces together a number of space opera technologies on the framework of a mystery during one Gentian reunion. He later reused these technologies in the setting for another novel, House of Suns.  Although the big science fiction ideas are the star, Reynolds never loses sight of the effects of science on humans. In fact, one of the major themes of the novella is our efforts change the physical world around us and the long-term consequences, good and bad, of those actions.

Note: This story contains sexual situations and may not be suitable for younger listeners.

Rating: 8 / 10

The reader: Mowry has a wonderfully smooth voice with a richness like a less gravelly Charlton Heston. His reading is clear and his pacing is rhythmic. He doesn’t try to charge the reading with emotion that isn’t there, but instead remains restrained. The only complaint I have is that his fairly straight reading sometimes makes it difficult to know what is narration and what is dialog. After a bit, I got into the story and had no trouble with knowing when characters were speaking and enjoyed his reading tremendously.

Posted by Seth

The SFFaudio Podcast #088

December 27, 2010 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Audio Drama, New Releases, Podcasts, Recent Arrivals 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #088 – Scott and Jesse talk about audiobooks, the recent arrivals and the new releases.

Talked about on today’s show:
Why was Scott gone?, Scott fought off a zombie apocalypse, an angry letter to Santa, Last Call by Tim Powers, Subterranean Press, On Stranger Tides, Bronson Pinchot, “gritty magic realism”, Scott likes lists, top 10 best horror novels, Ghost Story, The Stand, divinationary tarot cards, The Fisher King, “blended weirdness”, StarStruck, The Audio Comics Company, Starstruck’s Wikipedia entry, William Dufris, Simon Vance, Portland (Maine), Simon Vance’s YouTube, Infinivox, Starship Vectors, Stephen Baxter, Elizabeth Bear, Sarah Monette, Charles Coleman Findlay, Gwenyth Jones, Nancy Kress, Robert Reed, “spacey Science Fiction is very refreshing”, BoingBoing’s “The Beginning Of The End Of A Trend” post – is the death of Paranormal Romance approaching?, Brilliance Audio, The God Engines by John Scalzi, The Geek’s Guide To The Galaxy podcast, The Android’s Dream (as read by Wil Wheaton), Audible.com, Debt Of Bones by Terry Goodkind, the Legends anthology, Frank Muller, The Hedge Knight by George R.R. Martin, The Hedge Knight II, Legends II, Dreamsongs, Pump Six And Other Stories by Paulo Bacigalupi, The Fluted Girl, biopunk, Lord Of The Changing Winds: The Griffin Mage Book One by Rachel Neumeier, epic fantasy, Griffins, hard-boiled YA?, noir YA?, The Stainless Steel Rat Wants You by Harry Harrison, Gregg Margarite, the Stainless Steel rat is wry and slick and rascally, well written candy, West Of Eden, prehistorical Science Fiction, alternate history, Catalyst by Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, barking cats?, Scott is a cat person, Parasite Rex by Carl Zimmer, “Mood-altering cat parasites make women friendly and men into jerks”, fantasy, The Runelords: Book Four: The Lair Of Bones by David Farland, Shadowheart by Tad Williams, Dick Hill, The Habitation Of The Blessed by Catherynne M. Valente, Prester John, immortality, She: Who Must Be Obeyed by H. Rider Haggard, “the literal tree of knowledge”, A Dirge For Prester John, Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry, “the fate of the world is always hanging in the balance” ,The Walking Dead TV vs. The Walking Dead comic, “a zombie movie that never ends”, Robert Kirkman‘s plan, reading contest, Robert Kirkman’s Invincible, upcoming readalongs: Gulliver’s Travels and Oath Of Fealty, Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank, On The Beach by Nevil Shute, Wil Patton, Neon Rain by James Lee Burke, Heart Of Darkness, Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack The Ripper, Time For The Stars, Will Patton, Richard Matheson, Somewhere In Time, Ross Macdonald, The New Adventures Of Mike Hammer, Stacey Keach, Max Allan Collins, SS-GB by Len Deighton, Fatherland, Eric S. Rabkin, “I don’t want to say I like Nazis”.

Posted by Jesse Willis

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