Recent Arrivals: The Great Courses catalogue expiring February 16, 2012

January 30, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: New Releases, Recent Arrivals 

SFFaudio Recent Arrivals

The Great CoursesThe Great Courses (formerly called The Teaching Company) has a new catalogue out. It is offering discounts up to 80% (for Canadian customers). I’ve scanned it, here’s the |PDF|, but be sure to have a look at it quickly as the catalogue’s offers expire on February 16, 2012.

Incidentally, this new course entitled Espionage and Covert Operations: A Global History sounds terrific!

Posted by Jesse Willis

The Twilight Zone Podcast: interview with the creators of Charles Beaumont: The Short Life of Twilight Zone’s Magic Man

January 30, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

The Twilight Zone PodcastBack in August 2011 Tom Elliot, of the terrific The Twilight Zone Podcast, posted a wonderful interview with the makers of Charles Beaumont: The Short Life of Twilight Zone’s Magic Man. Jason and Sunni Brock talk to Tom for 45 minutes, it’s great stuff!


Podcast feed:

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

Posted by Jesse Willis

SFBRP #151: Time Travel Special, part 1 – Mark Twain – A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

January 30, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
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SFFaudio Online Audio

The Science Fiction Book Review Podcast Episode #151 of The Science Fiction Book Review Podcast is a special episode on Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court and similar time travel tales. It is both special and strange. First it’s strange because it’s the first part of a two part discussion of time travel and not a regular book review. Secondarily it is special because I participated in it!

Or as Luke puts it:

Time Travel Special part 1: Luke and Jesse discuss A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain as a jumping off point for the topic of “A being out of time.”


Podcast feed:

Discussed on the show:
The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells, Smoke by Donald E. Westlake, romance and time travel, science fiction’s hold on time travel, the process of time travel vs. the man out of time, Army Of Darkness, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court is totally political, retellings and abridgements of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, framing stories, “a dispute with crowbars”, the LibriVox audiobook edition, 1889 illustrations on, the Blackstone Audio audiobook, Stuart Langton, Yankee vs. English accents, the Arthurian characters, Idiocracy, taking the piss out of the British, a very thin satire, The Marching Morons by C.M. Kornbluth, The Ugly Little Boy by Isaac Asimov, The Door Into Summer by Robert A. Heinlein, The Accidental Time Machine by Joe Haldeman, the effect on electricity on progress, Thomas Edison, dynamite, SFBRP #100, Then End Of Eternity by Isaac Asimov, comparing the 19th century man with the 21st century man, smartness man and the most moral man, democracy, “what we really need are newspapers”, the tyrannies of monarchy and religion, pick your own oppression, the man from the past comes to the present, adventures, “the Vulcan project”, great insults, Sandy’s reproach, “Mark Twain is fucking hilarious”, the characters bamboozle each other (and the reader too), attributed to Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, Will Rogers, Groucho Marx, “he is his own target”, occupy Wall Street, Ray Nelson’s Eight O’Clock In The Morning, John Carpenter’s They Live, the 1%, the Robber Barons, Carnegie and Nobel, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court is an essential adult read!, “you think you might know this book, but really you don’t know this book”, Luke gives it 4 out of 5 stars,, feedback from #150 (ebooks, audiobooks and paperbooks)

After The Explosion

Protection / Capitalism

The Chruch, The King, The Nobleman, The Freeman

Blackstone Audio - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #145 – READALONG: Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

January 30, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 


The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #145 – Little Brother by Cory Doctorow. Jesse, Tamahome, Professor Eric S. Rabkin and Jenny discuss Little Brother by Cory Doctorow. |ETEXT|

Talked about on today’s show:
Tam can’t trust anyone over 25, Jesse’s review in 2008, re-reading Little Brother in 2012, South Carolina, did Jenny vote Herman Cain (Stephen Colbert)?, SOPA/PIPA, non-fiction essay combined with YA, cliche, didacticism vs. propaganda vs. agitprop, we loved the infodumping, the underlying Oedipal structure, Robert A. Heinlein, libertarian bent, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, Starship Troopers, Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes, ‘this book has well devolved mythic structure’, levers vs. buttons, relevance, Homer, Electronic Frontier Foundation, the future of money, Luke Burrage’s review of Down And Out In The Magic Kingdom, money is hard to understand, Little Brother is a call to arms, National Defense Authorization Act (suspending habeous corpus as outlined in Article One of the United States Constitution), Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell, Ms. Galvez’s Social Studies class, history, Heinleinian straw men vs. Doctorowan straw men, DHS, TSA, pebbles in your shoes, gait recognition, Oedipus = lame-foot, Charles Walker, the yippies, “this is a masterwork”, Jesse hates sequels, will the sequel to Little Brother deliver anything like what we might expect?, idea based writing vs. character based writing, w1n5t0n, trust, Marcus’ moral problem (RFID cloning without consent for the “greater good”), what act of violence is allowable?, moral relativism, the ends vs. the means, adolescence, “when is it time to overthrow the government?”, treason, Jenny makes “a gorgeous point”, Cory Doctorow’s choice to set Little Brother in, Law & Order (Lenny Briscoe), British North American Act, Canada didn’t have a bill of rights until 1981, The Charter Of Rights And Freedoms, Canada’s founding fathers are not demi-gods, Byron Sonne, G-20, is Little Brother a libertarian book?, “freedom is something you have to take for yourself”, Friedrich Hayek, Prometheus Award, the government of California is the hero (or the CHP), authority tries to perpetuate itself, UC Berkley, sex, juvenile vs. YA, “we live on Mars but we keep our houses extremely hot”, Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson, The Dervish House, Ready Player One, The Diamond Age, Eric makes a minor discovery, Big Brother -> Little Brother, Star-Begotten by H.G. Wells has the origin of “Big Brother”, Olaf Stapledon, “man is the boy who won’t grow up”, Spanish Civil War, The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham (aka The Children Of The Damned), The Iron Heel by Jack London, comparing Doctorow with London, what is propaganda?, pamphleteering, Joseph Goebbels, Eric thinks etymologically, propagation and ideology, the Wikipedia entry on propaganda, is The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress propaganda?, “Oceania is now”, more strawful men, Sinclair Lewis, agitprop fiction, Science Fiction, “it’s a call to arms”, being a hacker, “go forth and hack my children”, “pay attention”, Gitmo by the bay, Iraq, Hacking The X-Box, Mac vs. PC ads, the hacker ethic is the science ethic, LARPing, “just to be smarter about the world around me”, alternative schooling, BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), SkyTrain, The People Mover (The DPM), jitney, first person perspective, how to care, the terrorism detector and super-AIDS, Jane Jacobs, Jenny’s favourite character was Andrew, crystallizing the Oedipal issues, the Scoville scale, “the word is mister”, Ange vs. mom, The Tempest, severe haircut lady’s sadism, The Dark Knight Returns, is there a hero-normative angle?, The Puppet Masters, Friday, Have Spaceship-Will Travel, the ideal audience, Good Night Moon, Kirby Heybourne’s narration, transitional objects, Cory’s analogies are wonderful, taking a hiatus from Science Fiction, a pleased (but silent) smile, Jesse still has all his LEGO, a balding grey haired kid, Paranoid Linux, Jenny is ambivalent about whether she is of two minds, that couldn’t really happen here … could it?, Erich Fromm’s Escape from Freedom, the closer you get to power the more obvious it becomes, idelogical blindness, Drew wants to be able to believe, “He loved big brother.”

Kaiser Wilhelm II biting the world
Govenment Tech Support

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Moxyland by Lauren Beukes

January 28, 2012 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Image of Moxyland audiobook Moxyland
By Lauren Beukes; Read by Nico Evers-Swindell
8 hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Angry Robot via Brilliance Audio
Published: 2011

Themes: dystopia / commericalism / police states / apartheid / art / AIDS / cell phones

Publisher summary:

You think you know what’s going on?
You think you know who’s really in power?
You have No. Fucking. Idea.

Moxyland is an ultra-smart thriller about technological progress, and the freedoms it removes. In the near future, four hip young things live in a world where your online identity is at least as important as your physical one. Getting disconnected is a punishment worse than imprisonment, but someone’s got to stand up to government inc., whatever the cost.

This might be one instance where an audiobook has the potential to lead a reader (listener) into confusion more than reading the print might do. Moxyland is read by Nico Evers-Swindell, best known for his portrayal of Prince William in the made-for-tv movie William & Kate.  While he does a good job with the voices and South African accents, the intertwining stories are hard to keep up with, particularly with the way the reader is dumped right into the center of everything already going on.

That’s how living in a totalitarian, nearly-post-Apartheid South Africa can be sometimes. The four main characters in Moxyland don’t seem to have a grasp of the big picture either, and can hardly keep up with navigating the landscape where your cellphone can punish you, viruses can be used as crowd control, and your body can be turned into an irrevocable product advertisement.

This has tastes of William Gibson and Cory Doctorow, and the realism is helped by the ten years Beukes spent as a journalist, where she started thinking “What would happen if…?” The world she has created is scary, but not difficult to imagine.  After all, some of us are already living it.

Posted by Jenny Colvin

Dan Carlin’s Common Sense #217 – The Big Ketchup Show

January 28, 2012 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Common Sense with Dan CarlinThe latest Dan Carlin’s Common Sense episode, #217 – The Big Ketchup Show, has Carlin asking tough questions and proffering incredibly reasonable answers. |MP3|

Podcast feed:

Carlin’s take on SOPA is both surprising and insightful. He also talks about the latest U.S. presidential jockeying and a number of other recent items in the news. But the most enduring takeaway, at least for me, was his argument with regard to the “mistreatment of enemy dead by U.S. soldiers” – As Carlin points out the reasons for the controversy and compares it to the Collateral Murder video promulgated by Wikileaks and then wonders if:

‘First person shooters offered the chance to piss on a virtual enemy’s corpse?’

Now I love a good FPS myself. I’ve played quite a few of them. Many deliberately offer controversial sequences. Modern Warfare 2, for instance, has one sequence in which you can act as a terrorist, shooting innocents in a Russian airport. And while the body count is incredibly high in these games, I’ve virtually killed more than 51,000 times in Battlefield 2 alone, most game companies actively discourage swearing, racism, and such from their servers. I haven’t yet seen one yet that officially offered desecrating an enemy corpse as an option.

But where there is humanity there something just as human, and similarly disrespectful: I refer of course to the rampant teabagging of enemy corpses!

The Wikipedia entry on the subject describes the virtual act as “done to humorously imply domination or humiliation.” And The Giant Bomb website has this to say:

“Tea-bagging is primarily used to make one’s death a more humiliating experience and provoking the other player. This action is most commonly performed in video games found within the first-person shooter genre; however, every game that has a crouch button and dead bodies is susceptible to this phenomenon.”

The difference is, the worst of human behavior in computer games is all virtual, and generally not mean-spirited. Going to war should be a big fucking deal. And to make that clear we’d do better to show the reality of it, and to do it in high definition.

Posted by Jesse Willis

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