The SFFaudio Podcast #110 – READALONG: Dream Park by Larry Niven and Steven Barnes

May 30, 2011 by · 11 Comments
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #110 – Scott and Jesse talk with Julie Davis about the Audible Frontiers audiobook Dream Park by Larry Niven and Steven Barnes.

Talked about on today’s show:
Scott’s virtual velvet lounge (has a jazz band), Dream Park, Jerry Pournelle, Stefan Rudnicki, Scott ranked it 3/5 stars on GoodReads.com, zombies, cargo cult, murder mystery, World Of Warcraft, LARPing, the wikipedia entry for Dream Park, The Barsoom Project, Seventh Victim by Robert Sheckley, Dungeons And Dragons, The California Voodoo Game, Dream Park is much more interesting than DisneyWorld, Niven novels have robotic personal interactions, misogyny, The Mote In God’s Eye, Lucifer’s Hammer, Around The World In Eighty Days by Jules Verne |READ OUR REVIEW|, the murder provides a plot, California, holographic technology, H.P. Lovecraft, Alex Griffin, “The South Seas Treasure Game”, cementing relationships through gaming, Zork, “open mailbox”, Infocom, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, Baldur’s Gate, Tolkien-derived adventure play, the least interesting part of Dungeons & Dragons is the mechanics, too many players (characters), Call of Cthulhu (role-playing game), pen and paper RPGs can be incredibly immersive, consensual hallucination, William Gibson, Community‘s spoof of Dungeons and Dragons, The IT Crowd, Fallout 2, Fallout 3, avoid the “Dunwich Building”, Baldur’s Gate II: Shadows of Amn, RPG mechanics can get in the way of RPG storytelling, reality game shows, The Amazing Race, 1980s Dungeons & Dragons hysteria, Mazes And Monsters, comic book hysteria, video game hysteria, StarCraftas a lifestyle, The Guild, the Afterword of Dream Park is missing from the audiobook, Papua New Guinea, Inuit mythology, Mars, has time been kind to Dream Park?, Audible Frontiers, “this is weakest Larry Niven book I’ve ever read”, The Dungeon Master: The Disappearance of James Dallas Egbert III by William Dear, Columbine by Dave Cullen |READ OUR REVIEW|, psychopath, the problem of psychopathy, parental responsibility, The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson, Minority Report, gesture control, the Spruce Goose, The Aviator, Martin Scorsese, WWII, HBO’s The Pacific, World War II in HD, the Battle of Saipan, HBO’s Band Of Brothers, Australia, Chicago, Museum Of Science And Industry, submarines, San Francisco, Get Lamp, Helvetica (a documentary on a font), Futura, Gothic doesn’t look gothic in Helvetica, narrators are like the fonts of audiobooks,

ACE BOOKS - Dream Park by Larry Niven And Steve Barnes

ACE BOOKS - TPB - Dream Park by Larry Niven

ACE BOOKS - Dream Park by Larry Niven - Interior Illustrations

Steve Barnes Signature in DREAM PARK

Dream Park Spine

Posted by Jesse Willis

Alberta Reader’s Choice Award

May 29, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: News 

SFFaudio News

I’ve recently been thinking about the value of awards. If they are simply a popularity contest, as most seem to be, and the award is merely a trophy, then why should I care if a book has won one?

The author of that book should care – an award can help prompt sales with at least some readers – but unless that award is backed up by something substantial, like cold hard cash, what should make me, a skeptical reader, take notice of any one award over another?

There are more than 40 SFF related awards listed on Wikipedia entry for “science fiction awards”!

I can’t say I’d trust a single one to deliver me something I’d like to read.

Maybe the fact they mostly don’t offer prizes, other than the honor of winning, is the problem.

The Nobel Prize is a big, big deal. It offers big money to its recipients (more than $1,000,000 USD over the last couple of years). The Man Booker Prize offers presents a prize of £50,000. The Pulitzer offers $10,000 USD.

The Hugo Award and Nebula Award, the two most prestigious SFF awards, only offer trophies.

Alberta Readers Choice AwardI just got an email, informing me that Michael Martineck’s Cinco de Mayo, published by EDGE Science Fiction and
Fantasy
, is a finalist for a new award the Alberta Readers Choice Award.

That was a new one to me, but unlike the Hugo and Nebula awards, it is a real cash award – $10,000 CDN. Apparently this is the “first time that a Science Fiction novel has made it to the finals.”

The books sounds pretty interesting with a premise similar to Robert J. Sawyer’s FlashForward |READ OUR REVIEW|. Sez Janice of Edge books: “this great book that tells the story of what happens in the world after May 5th, when suddenly every man, woman and child ends up with a second set of memories in their mind along side their own”

If you’ve read the novel, consider voting for it (within the next couple of days).

Awards with money behind may carry the possibility of being something more substantial.

Here’s the author, Michael Martineck, presenting Cinco de Mayo‘s premise:

Posted by Jesse Willis

The Coode Street Podcast talks novellas

May 29, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Notes From Coode StreetWhat is ‘Notes from Coode Street’?  No, it’s not a superhero from Southpark, but a podcast where two sf editors, Gary K. Wolfe and Jonathan Strahan, talk books.  In episode #52, they talk with the editor of Locus, Liza Trombi.  At around time 21:30, I got interested in this conversation about novellas.  Are novellas the ideal length for an author to try out an idea?  But are novels the ideal length for readers?  It almost makes want to give up novels and try novellas (about 100 pages) for a while.

Here’s the direct link to the |MP3|

Posted by Tamahome

How The Old World Died by Harry Harrison

May 28, 2011 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Added sound effects, and real rush job on the reading don’t detract too much from the appeal of this cute short short story by Harry Harrison (its just five pages). Here’s the description from MisterNizz’s blog:

“A self-replicating machine is, as the name suggests, an artificial self-replicating system that relies on conventional large-scale technology and automation. Certain idiosyncratic terms are occasionally found in the literature. For example, the term “clanking replicator” was once used by Drexler to distinguish macroscale replicating systems from the microscopic nanorobots or “assemblers” that nanotechnology may make possible, but the term is informal and is rarely used by others in popular or technical discussions. Replicators have also been called “von Neumann machines” after mathemetician John von Neumann, who first rigorously studied the idea. In this short story, Harry Harrison depicts a future in a world transformed by Von Neumann machines.”
After listening to the story it sounds like a macro scale precursor to the grey goo problem to me.

How The Old World Ended by Harry HarrisonHow The Old World Died
By Harry Harrison; Read by Walt O’Hara
1 |MP3| – Approx. 10 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: misternizz.podbean.com
Podcast: May 26, 2011
This is how the world ended – and this is what will happen next! First published in the October 1964 issue of Galaxy Science Fiction.

[via Mister Nizz’s HuffDuffer.com]

Posted by Jesse Willis

Five Free Favourites: Memorial Day Weekend

May 26, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Five Free Favourites

Every Memorial Day Weekend, thousands of Americans take to the roads for a vacation over the long weekend. Since the price of gasoline is so high, vacationers might want to take advantage of these free audiobooks about travel. These books were chosen to be fun, well-produced, and short, so go ahead and download more than one. Click on the title of each book for a full review and other download options.

1. Traveling with children:The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.

Narrated by Chrissi Hart

Ancient Faith Radio (iTunes link)

It may be too warm to travel by sled, but this classic about children traveling to a magical world by way of a wardrobe is sure to keep both you and the kids entertained.

2. Traveling to a foreign nation:

The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope.

Narrated by Andy Minter

LibriVox (zipped mp3s)

When I visit another country, I want to spend time among the people, not just snap pictures as an outsider. The protagonist of Prisoner of Zenda takes this philosophy a little too far when switches places as a lookalike of the king of the fictional European nation of Ruritania.

3. Traveling to get away:39 steps cover

The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan.

Narrated by Adrian Praetzellis

LibriVox (zipped mp3s or M4B file)

A South African man visits England, but finds London boring. When his chance involvement in a counter-espionage plot goes wrong, he must escape across the British countryside.

4. Traveling to a family reunion:

Thousandth Night by Alastair Reynolds.

Narrated by Sam Mowry

Subterranean Press (part 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15)

In the distant future, humankind can travel across the galaxy and clone themselves into a thousand copies. As one group of clones meets up to share their experiences, a plot is underfoot that could either save or harm the galaxy. Note: This book contains scenes of sex and violence.

5. Traveling through time:TANTOR MEDIA - The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells.

Narrated by Scott Brick

Tantor Media (requires free registration)

Going on a long car trip only seems like it takes thousands of years. In H.G. Wells’ classic story, a man actually does travel thousands of years into the future and discovers what humanity has become.

Posted by Seth

New Releases: Miéville, Spillane/Collins, Anderson, London, Wells, Zamyatin

May 25, 2011 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: New Releases 

New Releases

Here are six intriguing new releases that caught my eye and perhaps will yet catch my ears.

I haven’t read Miéville yet, maybe this is the one, its all about communication – or at least that’s the message I think this book is sending.

RANDOM HOUSE AUDIO - Embassytown by China MiévilleEmbassytown
By China Miéville; Read by Susan Duerden
Digital Download – Approx. 12 Hours 30 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Random House Audio
Published: May 17, 2011
ISBN: 9780307913807
Sample: |MP3|
China Miéville doesn’t follow trends, he sets them. Relentlessly pushing his own boundaries as a writer—and in the process expanding the boundaries of the entire field—with Embassytown, Miéville has crafted an extraordinary novel that is not only a moving personal drama but a gripping adventure of alien contact and war. In the far future, humans have colonized a distant planet, home to the enigmatic Ariekei, sentient beings famed for a language unique in the universe, one that only a few altered human ambassadors can speak. Avice Benner Cho, a human colonist, has returned to Embassytown after years of deep-space adventure. She cannot speak the Ariekei tongue, but she is an indelible part of it, having long ago been made a figure of speech, a living simile in their language. When distant political machinations deliver a new ambassador to Arieka, the fragile equilibrium between humans and aliens is violently upset. Catastrophe looms, and Avice is torn between competing loyalties—to a husband she no longer loves, to a system she no longer trusts, and to her place in a language she cannot speak yet speaks through her.

Stacy Keach, the only narrator for this job…

BLACKSTONE AUDIO - Kiss Her Goodbye by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan CollinsKiss Her Goodbye: A Mike Hammer Novel
By Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins; Read by Stacy Keach
7 CDs – Approx. 8 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: May 25, 2011
ISBN: 9781441787354
Mike Hammer has been away from New York too long. Recuperating in Florida after the mob shoot-out that nearly claimed his life, he learns that an old mentor on the New York police force has committed suicide. Hammer returns for the funeral—and because he knows that Inspector Doolan would never have killed himself. But Manhattan in the seventies no longer feels like home. Hammer’s longtime partner, Velda, disappeared after he broke it off for her own safety, and his office is shut down. When a woman is murdered practically on the funeral’s doorstep, Hammer is drawn into the hunt for a cache of Nazi diamonds that makes the Maltese Falcon seem like a knickknack and for the mysterious woman who had been close to Doolan in his final days. But drug racketeers, who had it in for Doolan, attract Hammer’s attention as well. Soon he is hobnobbing with coke-snorting celebrities at the notorious disco, Club 52, and playing footsie with a sleek lady DA, a modern woman on the make for old-fashioned Hammer. Everything leads to a Mafia social club where Hammer and his .45 come calling, initiating the wildest showdown since Spillane’s classic One Lonely Night.

I have no idea what this means:

“Poul Anderson’s classic fantasy, The Broken Sword, knocks The Fellowship of the Ring into a cocked hat.”—Guardian (UK)

That’s a good thing right?

BLACKSTONE AUDIO - The Broken Sword by Poul AndersonThe Broken Sword
By Poul Anderson; Read by Bronson Pinchot
7 CDs – Approx. 8 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: May 1, 2011
ISBN: 9781441786876
Thor has broken the sword Tyrfing so that it cannot strike at the roots of Yggdrasil, the tree that binds together earth, heaven, and hell. But now the mighty sword is needed again to save the elves in their war against the trolls, and only Skafloc, a human child kidnapped and raised by the elves, can hope to persuade Bölverk the ice-giant to make Tyrfing whole again. But Skafloc must also confront his shadow self, Valgard the changeling, who has taken his place in the world of men.

A collection of eight of Jack London’s best short stories – if you haven’t read the title story then you’re missing out on a great proto-Hard SF story! Awesomeness.

TANTOR MEDIA - To Build A Fire And Other Stories by Jack LondonTo Build A Fire And Other Stories
By Jack London; Read by Patrick Lawlor
5 CDs – Approx. 6 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Media
Published: May 25, 2011
Sample |MP3|
To Build a Fire,” the best-known of Jack London’s many short stories, tells the tale of a solitary traveler on the Yukon Trail accompanied only by his dog as they endure the extreme cold. A classic narrative of a battle for survival against the forces of nature, “To Build a Fire” is London at his best. Also included here are “The Red One,” “All Gold Canyon,” “A Piece of Steak,” “The Love of Life,” “Flush of Gold,” “The Story of Keesh,” and “The Wisdom of the Trail.” A vital collection of works by one of the greatest short-story writers in American literature, this edition is sure to delight audiences of all ages.

I sense a serious but coming.

TANTOR MEDIA - I Don't Want To Kill You by Dan WellsI Don’t Want To Kill You: Book 3 in the John Cleaver series
By Dan Wells; Read by Kirby Heyborne
8 CDs – Approx. 10 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Media
Published: March 29, 2011
ISBN: 9781452600543
Sample |MP3|
John Cleaver has called a demon—literally called it on the phone—and challenged it to a fight. He has faced two of the monsters already, barely escaping with his life, and now he’s done running; he’s taking the fight to them. But as he wades through his town’s darkest secrets, searching for any sign of who the demon might be, one thing becomes all too clear: in a game of cat and mouse with a supernatural killer, the human is always the mouse. In I Am Not a Serial Killer, we watched a budding sociopath break every rule he had to save his town from evil. In Mr. Monster, we held our breath as he fought madly with himself, struggling to stay in control. Now John Cleaver has mastered his twisted talents and embraced his role as a killer of killers. I Don’t Want to Kill You brings his story to a thundering climax of suspicion, mayhem, and death. It’s time to punish the guilty. And in a town full of secrets, everyone is guilty of something.

Grover Gardner thinks this is the first time the book will be available in audio – I think he’s right!

TANTOR MEDIA - We by Yevgeny ZamyatinWe
By Yevgeny Zamyatin; Read By Grover Gardner
6 CDs – Approx. 7 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Media
Published: March 28, 2011
ISBN: 9781452601601
Sample |MP3|
Set in the twenty-sixth century A.D., Yevgeny Zamyatin’s masterpiece describes life under the regimented totalitarian society of OneState, ruled over by the all-powerful “Benefactor.” Recognized as the inspiration for George Orwell’s 1984, We is the archetype of the modern dystopia, or anti-Utopia: a great prose poem detailing the fate that might befall us all if we surrender our individual selves to some collective dream of technology and fail in the vigilance that is the price of freedom. Clarence Brown’s brilliant translation is based on the corrected text of the novel, first published in Russia in 1988 after more than sixty years’ suppression.

Posted by Jesse Willis

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