The SFFaudio Podcast #092

January 24, 2011 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #092 – Scott and Jesse talk about audiobooks, the recent arrivals and the new releases. We also talk about big box bookstores, comics, and classic audiobooks

Talked about on today’s show:
Blackstone Audio, Somewhere In Time, Richard Matheson, self-hypnosis as time travel, lame covers, “melancholy but not depressing”, Stir Of Echoes by Richard Matheson |READ OUR REVIEW|, Other Kingdoms, Bronson Pinchot, Stefan Rudnicki, Journal Of The Gun Years, Earthbound, Stir Of Echoes 2 – still stirring echoes?, The Lost Gate by Orson Scott Card, Emily Janice Card, i’m always in favour of secret libraries, RadioArchive.cc, a dramatization of Fahrenheit 451, To Catch A Thief, Thief, James Caan, Spencer Tracy, Grace Kelly, France, BBC audio dramas don’t take a lot of risks, the virtues and vices of experimental audio drama, conservative audio dramas, Majipoor Chronicles by Robert Silverberg, “memory cubes in a massive library”, Lord Valentine’s Castle, Arte Johnson, Valentine Pontifex, The Space Dog Podcast #003 (vintage 1982 Silverberg), Silverberg’s 1970s Science Fiction hiatus, “trilogies are ill-conceived”, The City Of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers, Paul Michael Garcia, anagrams, “fructodism”, Terry Pratchett, Die Stadt der Träumenden Bücher, book translation is re-writing a book, Cornelia Funke, The Thief Lord, The Dragonheart, Inkheart, reading books in translation, The Long Walk by Sławomir Rawicz, The Way Back, Declare by Tim Powers, Simon Prebble, coded messages, Kim Philby, the Spanish Civil War, are there soccer podcasts?, there are lots of them, Scott is a Liverpool fan, multiple readers, Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card |READ OUR REVIEW|, Grover Gardner, Fire Will Fall by Carol Plum-Ucci, Kirby Heyborne, Little Brother by Cory Doctorow|READ OUR REVIEW|, “audiobooks have never been healthier”, Audible Frontiers, subscription book clubs, the last first Heinlein book, For Us The Living by Robert A. Heinlein, Venus by Ben Bova, Blackstone Audio doesn’t give up on series, crazy collectors, Books On Tape, what happened to BOT?, Random House, Listening Library, Macmillan Audio, Brilliance Audio, Amazon.com, Chapters bookstores in British Columbia have very tiny audiobook sections, Barnes & Noble doesn’t love audiobooks either, Borders has a better selection, Logan, Utah, Idaho Falls, Idaho, The Walking Dead – Volume 1, zombies, Robert Kirkman, horrible zombie audiobook, Poul Anderson, Brain Wave by Poul Anderson (the subject of an upcoming readalong?), Larry Niven called it “a masterpiece”, Macmillian Audio exclusively on Audible.com, Shades Of Milk And Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal, Jane Austen, The Elephant To Hollywood by Michael Caine, What’s It All About by Michael Caine, The Man Who Would Be King by Rudyard Kipling, , Nancy Kress, Probability Moon, Infinivox, The Shadow Year by Jeffrey Ford, “surreal, unsettling, and more than a little weird”, models are incredibly interesting, SimCity, Civilization, Microcosmic God by Theodore Sturgeon, John Scalzi, The Android’s Dream, Agent To The Stars, Wil Wheaton, Dancing Bearfoot, Just A Geek, Why I Left Harry’s All-Night-Hamburgers by Lawrence Watt-Evans, the SFSignal Mind Meld on the best audiobooks of all time, Scott likes Fantasy (and Science Fiction), Jesse likes Science Fiction (and Fantasy), The Best Fantasy Stories Of The Year 1989, The Wind From A Burning Woman by Greg Bear |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Children Of Men by P.D. James (Recorded Books) |READ OUR REVIEW|, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick, Mind Slash Matter by Edward Wellen (Durkin Hayes) |READ OUR REVIEW|, Friday by Robert A. Heinlein, Sci-Fi Private Eye ed. Isaac Asimov and Martin H. Greenberg (Dercum Audio) |READ OUR REVIEW|, Martian Time Slip by Philip K. Dick (Blackstone Audio) |READ OUR REVIEW|, Ringworld by Larry Niven |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Reel Stuff edited by Brian Thomsen and Martin H. Greenberg |READ OUR REVIEW|, Minority Report And Other Stories by Philip K. Dick |READ OUR REVIEW|, Two Plays For Voices by Neil Gaiman (Seeing Ear Theatre / Harper Audio) |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Terminal Experiment by Robert J. Sawyer |READ OUR REVIEW|, Ender’s Game (25th Anniversary Edition) by Orson Scott Card |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Dark Worlds Of H.P. Lovecraft Volume 1 by H.P. Lovecraft (Audio Realms) |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Chief Designer by Andy Duncan (Infinivox) |READ OUR REVIEW|, Blake’s 7 – Audio Adventures (Trilogy Box Set) (B7 Media) |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Accidental Time Machine by Joe Haldeman |READ OUR REVIEW|, Earth Abides by George R. Stewart |SFFaudio Podcast #073|, The Stainless Steel Rat by Harry Harrison |READ OUR REVIEW| The Prestige by Christopher Priest |READ OUR REVIEW|, Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Reapers Are The Angels by Alden Bell |READ OUR REVIEW|, Legends: Stories by the Masters of Fantasy, Volume 4 (containing The Hedge Knight by George R.R. Martin) |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Voice from the Edge Vol. 1: I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison |READ OUR REVIEW|, Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast by Eugie Foster |READ OUR REVIEW|, Lawrence Santoro, Ray Bradbury and Harlan Ellison are their own genre, The Moon Moth, sociological Science Fiction, the George R.R. Martin Dreamsongs collections, Stephen King, Anne McCaffrey’s The Runners Of Pern, Jesse is reading a lot of comics, the Fresh Ink Online podcast, G4 vs. G4TechTV, Attack Of The Show, Penn Jillette’s video podcast, sound seeing tours (a now defunct trend in podcasting), Blair Butler, Tamahome2000, Goodreads.com, Neil Gaiman, Whatever Happened To The Caped Crusader?, getting into comics, Garth Ennis, Gregg Rucka, Cory Doctorow’s praise of Y: The Last Man on BoingBoing.net, Y: The Last Man is really addictive, Kansas, Batwoman: Elegy, Rachel Maddow,

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Posted by Jesse Willis

WYSO: Dangerous Women – a dramatization of the life of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the American suffragette movement

January 22, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Jerry Kenney of WYSO (Yellow Springs, Ohio) contacted me back in Novmeber 2010. He wanted me to check out their latest radio drama, a historical biography piece entitled Dangerous Women. He described it like this:

“[Dangerous Women is] the story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the early suffragettes [in the United States]. While not technically sci-fi or fantasy, it is the ‘Spirit’ of Stanton who drives the play forward. I also see that you list “history” among your listening pleasures. We are a public radio station in Yellow Springs, Ohio and produced the play with a local theatre group. This is our third project and I’d be interested in any feed back you might have. We aired the program locally last week and have had a good response from listeners. Links to our other historical dramas can be found there as well. Again, any feedback you have would be most welcome.”

And here’s my feedback:

Dangerous Women‘s sweeping rendering is both an informative summary of the reasons for women’s suffrage and the story of how the laws regarding it came to be. I can’t imagine that the U.S. congress and senate would ever approve such an amendment today – let alone a three-fourths of fifty states!

The script is uniformly excellent, being both a well organized historical lesson and compelling biography. The production, likewise, is seamless and solid. Much of the acting feels rather stiff, but none of it actually undermines the production. As to the history itself, I was surprised by the many parallels between the Canadian and British suffrage movements, with which I was already familiar. Perhaps women’s suffrage, the world over, can only be like this – opposed by men (and some women), something gradually achieved – and not the end point of making gender equality.

If you’re interested in historical drama, Dangerous Women is a great place to start!

WYSODangerous Women
By Kay Reimers; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 1 Hour [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: WYSO
Broadcast: October 21, 2010
This original work by Yellow Springs playwright Kay Reimers, concerns the beginning and end of the nearly century long struggle to give women the right to vote. The play begins in 1920, during a special election held by the Tennessee state legislature to ratify the 19th amendment. In the tense hours leading up to the vote, as Reimers tells the story, the spirit of the first suffragette, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, reflects on the events of her life and struggle, which led to the first formal demand for women’s suffrage in 1848 at Seneca Falls, New York. Giving women the right to vote was considered a threat to the established order and women were considered “dangerous” even to suggest it.

Cast:
Miriam Eckenrode as Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Howard Shook as Henry Stanton
Doug Hinkley as Judge Cady
Marcia Nowak as Susan B. Anthony
Troy Lindsey
Jason Sine
Gary Reimers
Sarah Strong
Flo Lorenz
Elizabeth Lutz
Rob Campbell

Crew:
Directed by Dan Davis
Produced by Jerry Kenney

Podcast feed: http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/wyso/.jukebox?action=viewPodcast&podcastId=19850

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

Posted by Jesse Willis

Spark #134 with Eric S. Rabkin

January 19, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

CBC Radio - SparkCBC’s best podcast is Spark, and the latest Spark episode (#134) is really terrific! It features a familiar voice, Professor Eric S. Rabkin (University of Michigan)! This is terrific stuff! It can be downloaded |MP3| , but, there’s also an extended version of the interview too |MP3|! Here’s the official description:

A little shiver went up our Spark spines when we heard this piece of news out of Australian National University: “Tractor beam one step closer to reality”. Really? You mean like those giant beams of light in Star Trek that tow ships and sometimes even people? Well, something of that scale is not going to happen any time soon. But the scientists at ANU did succeed at creating a hollow laser that moved small glass particles 1.5 metres across a lab desk without touching them.

The development got us thinking about science fiction and how many of its predictions have become reality. We got in touch with Eric Rabkin, a professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. His specialty is science fiction, but Eric’s definition of a prediction is pretty strict. He says a fictitious passage should lay out how a technology would work in order to qualify. According to that criteria, there is only one prediction that has manifested. But Eric says we want to believe that science fiction has foreseen many things, because we derive comfort from the idea that in a rapidly changing world, there is some order and predictability.

The extended interview is here |MP3| and available in the Spark Plus podcast.

Podcast feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/cbcradiosparkblog

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

Posted by Jesse Willis

P.S. J. Michael Straczynski’s only radio drama has languished unplayed for years! This is wrong.

Commentary: SFSignal Mind Meld on favourite audiobooks (and audio drama) of all time

January 19, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Commentary 

SFFaudio Commentary

SFSignal.comJohn DeNardo, of the magnificent SFSignal blog, recently asked me to participate in another “Mind Meld.”

Here’s the topic:

“What are your favorite SF/F/H audiobooks and/or audio fiction stories of all time?”

Here’s what I wrote:

As one of the people behind SFFaudio, a website devoted to SFF in the audio format, this is about the hardest question you could possibly ask me. I can’t even begin to start ranking all the gloriously wonderful audio I’ve had the honor of listening to over the last 20 years (unless you count SFFaudio as exactly that). But, I can throw out some titles that are absolutely terrific!

Since I began listening in earnest (around 1991), and to make it manageable, I’ll limit myself to just one audiobook (or audio drama) per year (sorted by publication date). To make it even easier, I’ll list only commercial productions – we have plenty of love for podcasts and other amateur audio on SFFaudio.com. For starters check out our series called Five Free Favourites.

1991: The Best Fantasy Stories Of The Year 1989 (Dercum Audio – ISBN: 1556561431)
1992: The Wind From A Burning Woman by Greg Bear (Recorded Books) |READ OUR REVIEW|
1993: The Children Of Men by P.D. James (Recorded Books) |READ OUR REVIEW|
1994: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick (Time Warner – ISBN: 9781570420528)
1995: Mind Slash Matter by Edward Wellen (Durkin Hayes) |READ OUR REVIEW|
1996: Friday by Robert A. Heinlein (Blackstone Audio – ISBN: 0786110546)
1997: Sci-Fi Private Eye ed. Isaac Asimov and Martin H. Greenberg (Dercum Audio) |READ OUR REVIEW|
1998: Martian Time Slip by Philip K. Dick (Blackstone Audio) |READ OUR REVIEW|
1999: Ringworld by Larry Niven |READ OUR REVIEW|
2000: The Reel Stuff edited by Brian Thomsen and Martin H. Greenberg |READ OUR REVIEW|
2001: Minority Report And Other Stories by Philip K. Dick |READ OUR REVIEW|
2002: Two Plays For Voices by Neil Gaiman (Seeing Ear Theatre / Harper Audio) |READ OUR REVIEW|
2003: The Terminal Experiment by Robert J. Sawyer |READ OUR REVIEW|
2004: Ender’s Game (25th Anniversary Edition) by Orson Scott Card |READ OUR REVIEW|
2005: The Dark Worlds Of H.P. Lovecraft Volume 1 by H.P. Lovecraft (Audio Realms) |READ OUR REVIEW|
2006: The Chief Designer by Andy Duncan (Infinivox) |READ OUR REVIEW|
2007: Blake’s 7 – Audio Adventures (Trilogy Box Set) (B7 Media) |READ OUR REVIEW|
2008: The Accidental Time Machine by Joe Haldeman (Recorded Books) |READ OUR REVIEW|
2009: Earth Abides by George R. Stewart (Audible Frontiers/Brilliance Audio ) |SFFaudio Podcast #073|
2010: The Stainless Steel Rat by Harry Harrison |READ OUR REVIEW|

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of The Stainless Steel Rat by Harry Harrison

January 19, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews, SFFaudio essential 

SFFaudio Review

Science Fiction Audiobook - The Stainless Steel Rat by Harry HarrisonSFFaudio EssentialThe Stainless Steel Rat
By Harry Harrison; Read by Phil Gigante
4 CDs – Approx. 5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: 2010
ISBN: 9781441881076
Themes: / Science Fiction / Crime / Espionage / Galactic Civilization / Humor /

Jim DiGriz is caught during one of his crimes and recruited into the Special Corps. Boring, routine desk work during his probationary period results in his discovering that someone is building a battleship, thinly disguised as an industrial vessel. In the peaceful League no one has battleships anymore, so the builder of this one would be unstoppable. DiGriz’ hunt for the guilty becomes a personal battle between himself and the beautiful but deadly Angelina, who is planning a coup on one of the feudal worlds. DiGriz’ dilemma is whether he will turn Angelina over to the Special Corps, or join with her, since he has fallen in love with her.

As I write this dilatory review of Harry Harrison’s The Stainless Steel Rat I am just a few minutes away from finishing the follow up, The Stainless Steel Rat’s Revenge. Thus I feel doubly guilty. For while the intellectual mulling over of a book is a natural part of the reviewing process – it is but certainly ungenerous to actually begin the sequel without having delivered the original its full due. Worse, listening to this lightweight series is very much like gobbling down fisfull after fistful of a delightful confection – I am enjoying it immensely but can`t say it is particularly good at nourishing my intellect.

The Stainless Steel Rat very much deserves its due! The Stainless Steel Rat is a rollicking first person perspective adventure set amongst the resplendent plenitude of an interstellar empire. Slippery Jim DeGriz, our convivial protagonist, has a heart half filled with the milk of human kindness and half filled with a contempt of rules and rituals that the social contract requires of him. Thus he is a both anti-hero and hero, and twice as virtuous in his roguish thievery. In this, his first recorded adventure, Slippery Jim outlines the shape of his variegated and thoroughgoingly criminal career thus far, is quickly inducted into a corps of criminal conspirators that`s working for the galactic government (it`s funded by bank robberies), and falls in love (with a mortiferous murderess). The adventure is slick, quick and comic – the many scenes composing the plot are portrayed in an almost cartoonish manner (in the best possible sense of that term). And when Slippery Jim finally catches the arch-criminal he`s after – the plot follows the centuries old axiom of ìt takes a thief to catch a thief – and Slippery Jim finds that Angelina, his Lady MacBeth, is no fan of the milk of human kindness, thinking it rather distasteful stuff.

Narrator Phil Gigante reads the first person perspective tale with a transparency that`s expected of a professional narrator – his wry delivery follows the text, and gently brushes the voices of all the other speaking characters with the aural equivalent of a glistening gloss. This is the first audiobook publication of The Stainless Steel Rat, which was first published in its complete form nearly 50 years ago. The audiobook is an utter delight, being fun and funny, short, to the point, and utterly, utterly consumable. Highly recommended!

Update:

Here are the very first illustrations of The Stainless Steel Rat, from the August 1957 issue of Astounding Science Fiction (which contained the original short story):

The Stainless Steel Rat - Illustrated by Frank Kelly Freas - from Astounding Science Fiction, August 1957

The Stainless Steel Rat - Illustrated by Frank Kelly Freas - from Astounding Science Fiction, August 1957

The Stainless Steel Rat - Illustrated by Frank Kelly Freas - from Astounding Science Fiction, August 1957

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #091

January 17, 2011 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #091 – Scott and Jesse talk about the new Audible Frontiers audiobook Oath Of Fealty by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle.

Talked about on today’s show:
Footfall by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, The War Of The Worlds by H.G. Wells, Robert A. Heinlein, The Godwhale by T.J. Bass, Half Past Human by T.J. Bass, overpopulation, genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, FROMATES (“Friends of Man and the Earth” – an anti-technology group of eco-terrorists), arcology, Todos Santos, Los Angeles, California, are arcologies a stepping stone to generation starships?, SimCity 2000, Sid Meier’s Civilization, architecture + ecology = arcology, Coruscant (the city planet), Tantor (the elephant), Trantor (the city planet), Tantor Media, Mega City One (Judge Dredd), being a free accountant for the government, bylaws vs. customs and culture, engineering, “we can’t write a story that is just setting”, Luke Burrage (of SFBRP), is a cruise ship an arcology?, the reality of reality vs. the dreams of utopia, “Crisis in utopia…”, existing means interacting, the hermit kingdoms, transportation, Zipcar, cultural vs. technological developments, living differently in an urban environment, arcology as shopping mall, security conscious vs. security theater, safety as a selling point, TSA, terrorism, a Heinleinian uncomfortablenesses, THINK OF IT AS EVOLUTION IN ACTION, “humanity is more than just one type of person”, what’s wrong with Oath Of Fealty, not unrealistic vs. realistic, eco-terrorism, resentment and the response to resentment is yucky in Oath Of Fealty, what are the references to blacks and lesbians doing in this book?, Job: A Comedy Of Justice, “the Disney connection”, Disney World, Walt Disney, Epcot, gated communities, Celebration (Florida), brain drain, Canadian immigration policy (is draining the third world of its best educated), colonizing Mars, Jerry O’Neill’s space colonies, “not anything like reality”, overpopulation, community tool libraries, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Stephen Hawking, NASA spinoffs, spiritual reasons for space travel, Beijing olympics opening ceremony, cut the defense budget to actual defense, “we need an alien threat”, China’s moon program, McMurdo Station (Antarctica), Herzog’s Encounters At The Of The End Of The World, the Canadian (Sir George Reedy) is the most unrealistic thing in Oath Of Fealty, there are no knights for Canada, the Order Of Canada, the case of Conrad Black, House Of Tones blog (interview with Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle), the role of GOOD editors, Robert A. Heinlein did the editing on The Mote In God’s Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle (!), series aren’t a new thing, Anne Of Green Gables, The Great Brain, Tarzan, the Barsoom series, The Wizard Of Oz, expecting the series and not demanding the series is the cart leading the horse, John Joseph Adams (should be a guest on the SFFaudio Podcast), Orson Scott Card as an editor, Technovelgy.com’s Oath Of Fealty entry, the audiobook version of Oath Of Fealty, GLADOS, Portal, artificial intelligence, the speech recognition on the Google App is amazing (!), Google Goggles, cyborg, “BrainPal”, Old Man’s War by John Scalzi, telling Oath Of Fealty from a different POV, check out the DRAMATIS PERSONAE for Oath Of Fealty below, this book needs more average folks, Cory Doctorow, “a lot more agitation and a lot less Heinlein”, do it as a YA novel, UCLA, the Weather Underground, drink coffee while you waldo on the moon, slidewalk, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, The Caves Of Steel by Isaac Asimov |READ OUR REVIEW|, Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven and Pournelle.

The Todos Santos Arcology from the cover of the 1986 Pocket Books paperback

Dramatis Personae
Joe Dunhill — Probationary Officer, Todos Santos Security
Isaac Blake — Lieutenant, Todos Santos Security
Preston Sanders — Deputy General Manager, Todos Santos Independency
Tony Rand — Chief Engineer, Todos Santos
Arthur Bonner — General Manager, Todos Santos
Frank Mead — Comptroller, Todos Santos
Delores Martine — Executive Assistant to the General Manager, Todos Santos
Barbara Churchward — Director of Economic Development,Todos Santos
MacLean Stevens — Executive Assistant to the Mayor of the City of Los Angeles
Sir George Reedy — Deputy Minister of Internal Development, Canada
Genevieve Rand — Tony Rand’s former wife .
Alice Marie Strahler — Executive Assistant to Tony Rand
Allan Thompson — Student
Sandra Wyatt — Assistant General Manager, Todos Santos
James Planchet — City Councilman, Los Angeles
Mrs. Eunice Planchet — James Planchet’s wife
George Harris — Businessman and convicted tax evader
Thomas Lunan — Newsman
Amos Cross — Chief, Todos Santos Security
John Shapiro. LLD. — Counsel, Todos Santos
Samuel Finder, M.D. — Medical Resident, Todos Santos
Hal Donovan — Lieutenant, Robbery/Homicide, Los Angeles Police Department
Cheryl Drinkwater — Todos Santos resident
Armand Drinkwater — Waldo Operator
Glenda Porter — Tattoo Artist
Sidney Blackman — District Attorney, County of Los Angeles
Penelope Norton — Judge, Superior Court, State of California
Phil Lowry — Newsman
Mark Levoy — Publican; former Yippie
Ronald Wolfe — General, American Ecology Army
Arnold Renn, Ph.D. — Professor of Sociology, UCLA
Rachael Lief — Bulldozer operator
Mrs. Carol Donovan — Lt. Donovan’s wife
Vito Hamilton — Captain, Todos Santos Security
Vincent Thompson — Subway mugger

Posted by Jesse Willis

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