CBC Spark: Robert J. Sawyer on his WWW trilogy (and Mindscan)

April 30, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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SFFaudio Online Audio

CBC Radio - SparkNora Young‘s uncut interview with Robert J. Sawyer, recorded for an upcoming episode of CBC Radio One’s Spark podcast, is available for download |MP3|.

From the Spark blog:

Yesterday, Nora interview the award-winning Canadian science fiction author Robert J. Sawyer. He’s just published the third installment of his WWW trilogy, called Wonder. It speculates about a possible world in which the web develops consciousness and becomes “Webmind.”

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

Bonus: A three part video interview with Sawyer in Hungary.

Sawyer talks about: FlashForward, other Sawyer-related TV shows, dinosaurs, awards, his upcoming book (Triggers), memory, research, assassination, ebooks, Japan, piracy, DRM, advice to aspiring writers, teaching writing, the University Of Toronto, travel, translations and RJS book covers from around the world.

[via RJS’ blog]

Posted by Jesse Willis

P.S. CBC owes us Apocalypse Al.

Commentary: How to vote on Monday, May 2nd, 2011

April 29, 2011 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Commentary 

SFFaudio Commentary

NDP Jack LaytonAccording to this Wikileaks document, an embassy cable from the United States embassy in Ottawa to the U.S. government in Washington, the United States was heavily pressuring Canada’s Conservative government ministers to pass their DMCA-style copyright legislation.

Despite the pressure, which included placing Canada on a “Priority Watch List”, the Conservatives weren’t able to please their U.S. advisors by delivering a DMCA-style copyright law. This failure is attributable to the Conservative’s minority government status and a growing opposition (public awareness). According to the cable neither attempt, Bill C-32 nor Bill C-61, was brought to a vote because the Conservatives knew it might cost them the 2008 election or the next (Monday’s). One of the more interesting lines, in the fascinating document, is this one:

On February 25, however, Industry Minister Prentice (please protect) admitted to the Ambassador that some Cabinet members and Conservative Members of Parliament – including MPs who won their ridings by slim margins – opposed tabling the copyright bill now because it might be used against them in the next federal election.

Despite Industry Minister Jim Prentice’s protected status he will not be running for re-election.

It may have been in a bid to curry such protection “an [unnamed] influential Liberal MP on intellectual property issues” told the U.S. embassy that “the copyright bill would receive widespread support from the Conservative, Liberal, and Bloc Quebecois parties if and when the GOC [Government Of Canada] sends it to Parliament.”

WOW! The Liberals and the Bloc would have supported Bills C-61 and C-32. Nice to know.

Perhaps this is due to the “inherent inferiority complex of Canadians” toward the U.S.? That’s detailed in this cable about how the U.S. needed to stay out of Canada’s last federal election. Will the trend be overturned on Monday? Maybe the “orange wave” can prevent whatever successor copyright legislation that comes after the election from being written wholly with U.S. interests in the foreground.

In the U.S. blue stands for the Democrat and red stands for the Republican. In Canada red stands for Liberal and blue stands for Conservative. No matter which side of the border, though, both red and blue are the parties of big business.

Individual people, small business owners and the self employed are not served by voting red or blue. The funding for all four red and blue parties comes from big business, they are honourable and so they do what they are paid to do – serve big business. But unlike our American cousins we have a second option in Canada. We have a choice of either blue/red or orange. Sure, maybe having green would be a good idea one day too – but right now we really only have a choice of either red/blue (big business) or orange (people). Please be a person on Monday and vote-in an orange government.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Gregg Taylor – the underappreciated genius of Decoder Ring Theatre

April 27, 2011 by · 6 Comments
Filed under: Audio Drama, Commentary 

SFFaudio Commentary

Gregg Taylor, the creator and writer of Decoder Ring Theatre, is a creative genius, the quality and scope for which we have seen very few before. He is writer of genuine superbness, on the level of J. Michael Straczynski and Rod Serling. But unlike Straczynski, who wrote 92 of the 110 episodes of Babylon 5, and unlike Serling, who wrote 92 of 156 episodes of The Twilight Zone, Taylor has written 42 out of 42 episodes of Black Jack Justice and 70 out of 70 episodes of Red Panda Adventures. I don’t think there is any kind of precedent for this in the history of scripted drama, not on work of this quality or superfluity.

Battlestar Galactica, the recent TV series, ran 73 episodes. Writing credits for that show go to more that a dozen different writers. People think that Joss Whedon wrote Firefly. He did, but he didn’t do it alone. He wrote or co-wrote maybe only half the episodes of that short series. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Nobody is doing anything like what Gregg Taylor is doing with scripted series, and I’m not sure anybody ever has, not on radio or TV. Taylor has, unbelievably, released a full cast production episode of both of his full cast series every two weeks, fall through to the spring, every year since 2005. That’s a stunning, stunning achievement.

I could go on and on and on. But if you just go and listen to the shows yourself I’m sure you’ll get as caught-up in them as so many fans of these independently produced shows have. Maybe start with the fairly standalone-ish episode #70 of the Red Panda Adventures |MP3|. Here’s the episode description:

There are some situations that you just can’t prepare for. You can be the cleverest mystery man on the block, there will still be days that you just never saw coming. Those are the moments that cry out for a fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty… well, you know…

The talented Thomas Perkins, who does the covers for the Red Panda novels*, created this awesome “lobby card” art for the episode:

Red Panda Adventures - The Wild West

[via Bish’s Beat]

Posted by Jesse Willis

*Yes, Gregg Taylor is writing novels set in the Red Panda world too. And no, they are not mere reworkings of the scripts – theses are true canon series novels that fit into the chronology like so many Star Trek novels written for hire never did, and like the Babylon 5 novels claimed they would.

Recent Arrivals: Happy Catholic by Julie Davis

April 26, 2011 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Recent Arrivals 

SFFaudio Recent Arrivals

I’ve known Julie Davis since at least 2007. I think I found her through her wonderful Forgotten Classics blog and podcast. Although, perhaps, I first heard her recordings for StarShipSofa. It’s kind of odd that we’re friends. We’re completely different kinds of people. Julie’s totally Catholic, I’m completely heathen. She’s a happy wife and mother. I’m a cynical childless bachelor. Yet we are friends because we both have very small-c catholic tastes in books. We’ve traded more than five hundred emails over the years. She’s been a frequent and valued guest on the SFFaudio Podcast (with at least ten appearances in 100 episodes). She’s recorded stories for me and for the world. She even started a wonderful podcast with my SFFaudio buddy Scott. So, I was happy to hear that my catholic Catholic book loving friend had written a book on her catholic Catholic tastes. Now I’m doubly happy, she sent me a signed copy. Thanks Julie!

Happy Catholic by Julie DavisHappy Catholic: Glimpses Of God In Everyday Life
By Julie Davis
Publisher: Servant Books
Puiblished: April 15, 2011
ISBN: 9780867169744
As she does in her blog, Happy Catholic, Julie Davis taps into quotes not only from Scripture and John Paul II but from The Simpsons and The Princess Bride, and doing so she discovers that all around her are glimpses of God. Her reflections on pithy quotes such as the one by famed rocker, Alice Cooper (“Trashing your hotel room is easy, but being a Christian – that’s rebellion”) draw back the veil, letting you connect with God in unexpected ways . With unique and inventive perspective Davis’s reflections will help you: – reflect on the strange economy of suffering – live with gusto – see the big picture – explore the value of quirkiness – learn the truth about happy and unhappy families

Now where’s the audiobook?

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #105 – AUDIOBOOK: The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell

April 25, 2011 by · 7 Comments
Filed under: Podcasts 


The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #105 – a complete and unabridged reading of The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell. Narrated by William Coon of Eloquent Voice.

A tempest tossed hunter crawls ashore on a mysterious island only to find his way to a creepy castle inhabited by a Russian Count named Zaroff.

After listening to this wonderful recording I heartily recommend you check out the 1932 RKO film version of The Most Dangerous Game. It has an excellent provenance having been produced by David O. Selznick and Merian C. Cooper. That’s the same team, with the same actors, with the same sets that was later used to make the original King Kong (1933)! The film version of Game adds a couple of characters (most notably a love interest), changes a few scenes, but really keeps the spirit of the piece and adds a haunting and beautiful visual motif. When the hero crawls ashore he meets the lovely Eve (played by Fay Wray) and her drunken brother Martin (Robert Armstrong), who were also shipwrecked. The film opens with a shot of a door with an ornate door knocker in the shape of a wounded centaur that’s carrying a subdued human woman. We see the door knocker once again and then later, inside the castle, the same iconic image is seen upon a mighty tapestry.

So, the wounded centaur is obviously a symbol. But for who or for what?

Now if you think about it, I’m sure you’ll see it, just as I did. Let’s break it down:

1. A centaur is, of course, half-man and half-beast.

2. The wound is from an arrow.

3. The woman in the centaur’s arms is either being rescued or abducted.

That’s almost enough. But it may help to know that, as I figure, the image was inspired by the myth of the centaur Chiron. In one part of the legend of Chiron, he is wounded by Hercules, with the wound’s cause being an arrow. An arrow dipped in the blood of a hydra. And hydra blood (of course) causes a wound that can never heal.

Now here’s the clincher, there’s a character in the film that has a wound that constantly bothers him. Get it?

As one of the reviewers on Archive.org’s page for The Most Dangerous Game put it: “[It’s a] film you can watch again and again.” Another reviewer put it this way:

“I think watching this movie has awakened my latent homicidal tendencies and right now I wanna fart around on an island with a cod Russian accent, wear a black polo neck sweater guzzle the best cognac smoke filterless cigarettes … and im gonna start right now.”

The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell

The Most Dangerous Game

The Most Dangerous Game FILM

The Most Dangerous Game

The Most Dangerous Game

Download the |AVI| of the public domain movie!

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox: Warrior Race by Robert Sheckley

April 24, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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LibriVoxRobert Sheckley’s Warrior Race was briefly mentioned on last week’s SFFaudio Podcast (#104). It’s available in audiobook form as on part of LibriVox’s Short Science Fiction Collection Volume 41. As is usual with so many of the Sheckley tales recorded for LibriVox it’s read by Gregg Margarite. YAY! And since we all seem to be in a pretty good Sheckley groove right now I thought I’d follow through with a pretty |PDF| edition of the story – it was constructed from a scan of the original Galaxy publication pages. This should be a fun read and listen!

LIBRIVOX - Warrior Race by Robert SheckleyWarrior Race
By Robert Sheckley; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 27 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: October 26, 2010
Destroying the spirit of the enemy is the goal of war and the aliens had the best way! First published in the November 1952 issue of Galaxy Science Fiction.

Posted by Jesse Willis

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