Recent Arrivals: Justinian’s Flea: Plague, Empire, And The Birth Of Europe by William Rosen

April 27, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Recent Arrivals 

SFFaudio Recent Arrivals

William Rosen’s appearance on The Daily Show with John Stewart, a couple of years ago, prompted me to pick up his audiobook The Most Powerful Idea In The World. It’s a terrific book, and a very solid audiobook (with Michael Prichard narrating). It delivered a concise, impressively researched and argued, history of the industrial revolution’s engine and it’s causes. I highly recommend that book (also available from Tantor). But what I hadn’t realized was that Rosen had already penned a book on another fascinating historical period.

Sample |MP3|

Tantor Media - Justinian's Flea: The First Great Plague And The Fall Of The Roman Empire by William Rosen

Justinian’s Flea: Plague, Empire, And The Birth Of Europe
By William Rosen; Read by Barrett Whitener
MP3 Download – Approx. 11 Hours 51 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Media
Published: May 22, 2007
The Emperor Justinian reunified Rome’s fractured empire by defeating the Goths and Vandals who had separated Italy, Spain, and North Africa from imperial rule. At his capital in Constantinople, he built the world’s most beautiful building, married its most powerful empress, and wrote its most enduring legal code, seemingly restoring Rome’s fortunes for the next 500 years. Then, in the summer of 542, he encountered a flea. The ensuing outbreak of bubonic plague killed 5,000 people a day in Constantinople and nearly killed Justinian himself.Weaving together evolutionary microbiology, economics, military strategy, ecology, and ancient and modern medicine, William Rosen offers a sweeping narrative of one of the great hinge moments in history, one that will appeal to readers of John Kelly’s The Great Mortality, John Barry’s The Great Influenza, and Jared Diamond’s Collapse.

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox: Moon-Face by Jack London

April 26, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aural Noir, Online Audio 

Aural Noir: Online Audio

There are few authors worthy of re-writing Edgar Allan Poe – few would dare – and of those few fewer still would succeed in the attempt. Jack London is one such and his short story, Moon Face, is one such success. Sometimes subtitled “A Story Of Mortal Antipathy” this story runs nearly the same length as the Poe story that I think inspired it. I’ve read one essay that argues it was inspired by The Tell Tale Heart, but I think it is another. Sure, the unnamed protagonist may be insane, but I think there’s still something to his lunacy – we can go for decades without encountering our own personal Claverhouse – then one day he will appear – and his mere presence is enough to set one’s teeth on edge.

LibriVox - Moon-Face by Jack London

By Jack London; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 13 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: October 01, 2009
First published in The Argonaut, July 21, 1902.

Posted by Jesse Willis Carl Hiaasen talks about John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee series

April 25, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aural Noir, News 

Aural Noir: News

Carl Hiaasen talks about John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee series. Hiaasen suggests that a sense of place was central to the series.

Posted by Jesse Willis

READ: The New Mother by Lucy Clifford (it’s your homework for an upcoming SFFaudio Podcast)

April 25, 2012 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

The SFFaudio PodcastWe’re going to be recording a discussion for the SFFaudio Podcast this weekend. It’ll be centered around a wonderful, horrible, 19th century short story by Lucy Clifford. It’s called The New Mother.

Our narrator, Heather Ordover from the wonderful Craftlit podcast, has just sent me the file!

Happily it will be included in the podcast, along with our discussion of it, but I thought it might be interesting to share the audiobook with everyone early.

If you do download the audiobook |MP3| (which I’ll keep in my DropBox folder for the next week or so) and have a comment about the story, post it below. If it’s interesting we may refer to it in our discussion. And, for extra credit, we participants are planning on talking about The New Mother‘s relationship to Neil Gaiman’s Coraline and Philip K. Dick’s The Father Thing.

I’ve also put together a |PDF| from the original scans of The Anyhow Stories, Moral and Otherwise (1882) over on

Posted by Jesse Willis

Cinefantastique Spotlight Podcast: Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows

April 25, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Cinefantastique The Cinefantastique Spotlight Podcast (which is somehow connected with the Mighty Movie Podcast) had me nodding in agreement yesterday when I heard their review of Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows. Recorded last year, the show features an hour long discussion that echoed many of the thoughts I had while watching the film. I liked the movie, thought it actually improved on the previous entry in the Downey/Law Holmes/Watson film series, but wasn’t exactly sure what to make of some of the more “fantastique” elements. This podcast mostly sorted me out. Here’s the official description:

Come join Cinefantastique Online’s Steve Biodrowski, Lawrence French, and Dan Persons as they weigh the merits and demerits of this further retooling of a literary classic.

The only part that still has me scratching my head is all the military hardware that’s used in the film. The movie is set in 1891 but some of the guns are about a decade (or two, or three, or four, or five) early.


Posted by Jesse Willis Lee Child talks about John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee series

April 24, 2012 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Aural Noir, News 

Aural Noir: News

Lee Child talks about John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee series – which he argues is a series that doesn’t get worse as it goes along (perhaps because it’s about a character and not a plot).

Posted by Jesse Willis

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