Commentary: The Stainless Steel Rat audiobooks

June 29, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Commentary 

SFFaudio Commentary


I’m not a fan of series, normally, but I’m utterly enthralled by this one. More than fifty years in the writing The Stainless Steel Rat series is completely available, for the first time, as series of audiobooks from Brilliance Audio.

James Bolivar diGriz (aka Slippery Jim diGriz) is the protagonist of the series and the titular Stainless Steel Rat of the title. He’s an anti-hero you’ll be wholly in favour of. He’s slick and quick and fast with a quip as he tells his own tale, in first person (past tense), like an adventurer out of some long forgotten future age.

As the first novel, The Stainless Steel Rat |READ OUR REVIEW|, begins diGriz is a low down and completely immaculate criminal, an uncatchable super-thief and con-man who has earned his name for never being caught. But before too long he’s soon baited, corralled, and ensnared by an insidious interstellar agency that’s been tracking the resourceful rodent and means to draft him!

By the end of the first story-arc the reluctant recruit has settled down (and married) the psychopathic arch-criminal that he’d been chasing after. Then, moonlighting on his extended honeymoon (the next couple books), he proceeds to traipse across both time and space as an interstellar (and inter-epoch) troubleshooter.

You’d think it’d be hard for diGriz to play good guy, but this galahad in grey steel still has his fun. In fact, he funds all of his galactic gallivanting by good old fashioned bank robbery! And when not actually in the act of larceny he never fails to luxuriate in the finest of hotels (or the finest cave of his own construction). Soon he’s snuffing out a intragalactic coup-d’etat, getting grief from his honey and back to stealing all of his boss’s finest cigars right before existence ends. Then it is all: ‘Quick give me a copy of your mind, and yours too, and all those weapons there and this equipment there! I’ve got to travel back in time to a planet called “Dirt” to prevent all this nothing from happening.’

Amazingly, the stories just work. The universe which Harry Harrison has created is one in which anything that can be imagined exists. There’s mind wiping, personality reconstruction, sleep gas grenades, mind and memory transfer, immortality, gravity belts, atomic compressor tools, faster than light travel and robots robots robots everywhere! Harrision invents the tech for the Rat to play with but never fully describes it. And so it never seems old-fashioned, becomes all the more plausible and you can just go with the action. The characters are fresh and perky with personality. The plots, which are grandiose but never very central to the immediate action, serve to provide scene after scene of hilarious problem and ingenious solution for the wily Stainless Steel rodent to navigate. The novels aren’t long, and make for great fun between heavier books by the likes of H.G. Wells and Joe Haldeman.

To me, narrator Phil Gigante has become Slippery Jim diGriz. He’s playful, full of accents for all the colourful characters and he pitches every scene just how it should be – fun, funny and fast.

If you’re looking for a series that won’t let you down, you’ve got to try this one. I’m absolutely loving it!

Here’s the publication order:
The Stainless Steel Rat |READ OUR REVIEW| (1961)
The Stainless Steel Rat’s Revenge (1970)
The Stainless Steel Rat Saves The World (1972)
The Stainless Steel Rat Wants You (1978)
The Stainless Steel Rat For President(1982)
The Stainless Steel Rat Is Born (1985)
The Stainless Steel Rat Gets Drafted (1987)
The Stainless Steel Rat Sings the Blues (1994)
The Stainless Steel Rat Goes To Hell (1996)
The Stainless Steel Rat Joins The Circus (1999)
The Stainless Steel Rat Returns (2010)

Posted by Jesse Willis

ABC Radio National: The Philosopher’s Zone – The Evil Of The Daleks

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

SFFaudio Online Audio

ABC Radio National - The Philosopher’s ZoneThe Philosopher’s Zone is the long running podcast, and radio show, from Radio National, Australia’s public broadcaster. I’d argue that the programme consistently rivals the best shows on both CBC Radio and BBC Radio!

The latest to grab me was a fascinating exploration of the embodiment of evil. Guest Robin Bunce relates, to host Alan Saunders, his theories on the exact nature of evil the Daleks embody. Daleks, it seems, didn’t start out as mere extraterrestrial Nazis – despite what their creator, Terry Nation, seemed to indicate. Instead, Bunce says that the Daleks took inspiration from the cold war, fears of nuclear annihilation (by neutron bomb), religious fundamentalism and particularly the Science Fiction of H.G. Wells. Sure, their are some episodes that make the Daleks like Nazis (and Davros like Hitler), but the story is more complex. Here’s the description:

They are among the most loved, or most feared, villains in science fiction. But what is it that makes Daleks such great baddies? What constitutes evil and why do the Daleks represent a very specific idea about rationality and morality? This week, we talk to a philosopher about what the Daleks have to tell us – in their mechanical, screechy voices – about who we are.


Podcast feed:

The Evil of the Daleks Part 1 by tardismedia

Posted by Jesse Willis

New Releases: Macbeth by A.J. Hartley and David Hewson

June 29, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: New Releases 

New Releases

AUDIBLE - Macbeth by A.J. Hartley and David Hewson Macbeth: A Novel
By A.J. Hartley and David Hewson (adapted from the play by William Shakespeare); Read by Alan Cumming
Audible Download – Approx. 9 Hours 45 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: June 2011
Writing directly for audio, co-authors David Hewson and Andrew Hartley have taken Shakespeare’s Macbeth and fleshed it out into a full-blown work of historical fiction. It’s an original, gritty take on one of literature’s greatest stories. The authors add inventive details and key scenes that for centuries have played out offstage, delivering new insights into the motivations and actions of almost every character. Emmy Award nominee, Audie Award winner, and experienced Shakespeare performer Alan Cumming (TV’s The Good Wife) plays it all to the hilt, complete with engrossing (and authentic) Scottish accent. This is Shakespeare as you’ve never heard it. Includes a introduction by David Hewson and an afterword by A.J. Hartley.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #114

June 27, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: New Releases, Podcasts, Recent Arrivals 


The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #114 – Scott, Jesse and Tamahome talk about recent arrivals and new releases

Talked about on today’s show:
SFFaudio gets ‘slashdotted’ by Windows Weekly, get Go The F To Sleep for free (and see video), Scott’s stack of new audiobooks (2:15), The Initiate Brother by Sean Russell has a nice cover, Farnham’s Freehold by Robert A. Heinlein, time travel with nuclear bombs, castration, Dark Mist Rising by Anna Kendall has no tattoos, Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okarafor is heavy, Nnedi was on Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy, should we have note timestamps? (13:41?), Luke does notes like us on his new podcast, discussions are more fun than interviews, can you link to a time offset of an mp3?, youtube subtitles, search the text in podcasts (podzinger or podscope?), the Warriors anthology by Gardner Dozois and George R.R. Martin is split up (into 3 actually), A Game of Thrones tv show, Peter Dinklage rocks as Tyrion, Warriors audiobook could be an Sffaudio Essential, Shadowchaser by Alexey Pehov is Russian fantasy, Kevin Hearne’s Hounded (cover) and Hexed, hopefully they’re fantasy, a triptych from Harry Harrison:  The Stainless Steel Rat Sings The Blues (#8), The Stainless Steel Rat Goes To Hell (#9), and The Stainless Steel Rat Joins The Circus (#10), what’s the right order??, John Barnes’s Daybreak Zero, pay attention!, Selected Stories Of Philip K. Dick (vol 1 & 2), Jesse’s big paper stack (32:34), graphic novels: Locke & Key Volume 1: Welcome To Lovecraft by Joe Hill (it’s not just one issue, I was wrong), Invincible by Robert Kirkman (creator of The Walking Dead) , “his mom would see those heads being chopped off”, Fresh Ink comics review video podcast, Robert E. Howard’s Savage Sword, Jesse got some nice book deals (36:14), Jolly Olde Bookstore received $12,000 worth of books, Star Science Fiction Stories #3, The Best of Henry Kuttner, 4 Philip K. Dick Ace Doubles, also finished Ex Machina (graphic novel) by Brian K. Vaughan, the series that isn’t Y: The Last Man, Runaways, The Desert of Souls by Howard Andrew Jones — interviewed on I Should Be Writing #202, some ‘dirty’ magazines, more Scott stuff (45:55), Scott on, LibraryThing Early Reviewers, The Generation Starship in Science Fiction by Simone Caroti, Heinlein generation starship novel (it’s Orphans of the Sky), Wall-E, Scott starts new releases (51:23), Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey, fantasy author name and science fiction author name, “system opera”, The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon (about autism), Chicks Kick Butt anthology, no list of short story titles…again, different urban fantasy butts, Audible micro-credits?, our weekly plead to get Ted Chiang on Audible, Free Apocalypse Al, Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris gets a direct translation (before it was Polish->French->English), The Cyberiad robot short stories, wait…Jesse has more books (59:19), We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, lured by the introduction, Other Worlds, Other Gods: Adventures In Religious Science Fiction anthology edited by Mayo Mohs, perfect for Scott’s podcast, clockwork Jesus, next readalong?, Space Merchants by Frederick Pohl, “he knows which side his bread is oiled on”, Scott’s having a shootout, “big dying words”, quality of The Marching Morons and C.M. Kornbluth, Hex by Allen Steele, “why is there a hole?”, Allen Steele’s article on whatever.scalzi, what it means to finish

Fantasy And Science Fiction Magazine
Ace Doubles
Ace Doubles

Posted by Tamahome

LibriVox: Operation: Outer Space by Murray Leinster

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

SFFaudio Online Audio

LibriVoxHere’s a vintage 1954 Murray Leinster novel that’ll make for some perfect summer listening (sorry folks on the bottom hemisphere of Earth, you’ll have to wait). Now if that’s not enough you may be interested to know that Operation: Outer Space is actually the third public domain Murray Leinster novel narrated by Mark Douglas Nelson! Check out our extensive AUTHOR PAGE for MURRAY LEINSTER to get the other two novels – and there’s lots more Leinster listening there too.

LIBRIVOX - Operation: Outer Space by Murray LeinsterOperation: Outer Space
By Murray Leinster; Read by Mark Douglas Nelson
10 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 6 Hours 48 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: June 25, 2011
Jed Cochrane is about to take off on man’s first interstellar voyage. His mission: Make sure it’s good television!

Podcast feed:

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

Here’s the cover of the 1957 Signet paperback edition:

SIGNET - Operation: Outer Space by Murray Leinster

And here’s the UK hardcover edition, by Grayson & Grayson, also published in 1957:

Grayson & Grayson - Operation: Outer Space by Murray Leinster

Here’s Groff Conklin’s review of Operation: Outer Space from Galaxy Magazine’s March 1955 issue:

Groff Conklin's review of Operation: Outer Space from Galaxy Magazine's March 1955 issue

[Thanks also to Betty M. and Barry Eads ]

Posted by Jesse Willis

Peter Watts’s The Things on Escape Pod

June 25, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

New on Escape Pod:  Peter Watts – The Things (The Thing from the alien’s point of view, Hugo nominated).  I was gonna read this in Strahan’s Best of.  Saw it on Sfsignal’s Free Stuff.  Originally from Clarkesworld, narrated by Kate Baker.

I remember liking the old black and white ‘The Thing‘ movie, just for the banter.

By the way, Jesse posted this story when it came out on Clarkesworld.

Posted by Tamahome

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