A reading of, and monologue about, The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

April 30, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: News 

SFFaudio News

YouTuber RoseErifnosi narrates and then has stuff to say about Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper:

Here’s part 1 of the story:

and here’s her analysis:

Posted by Jesse Willis

Chilling Tales For Dark Nights: The New Mother by Lucy Clifford

April 29, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Chilling Tales For Dark NightsChilling Tales For Dark Nights is a new podcast, and YouTube channel, offering unabridged terror and horror audio.

Podcast feed: http://www.chillingtalesfordarknights.com/feed/

Their most recent show is one SFFaudio Podcast listeners should be well familiar with:

The New Mother by Lucy Clifford, narrated by Craftlit‘s Heather Ordover!

If you missed it our original podcast discussion, with Heather Ordover, is HERE. There’s also an illustrated |PDF| version.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #210 – NEW RELEASES/RECENT ARRIVALS

April 29, 2013 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: New Releases, Podcasts, Recent Arrivals 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #210 – Jesse, Tamahome, and Jenny talk about audiobook NEW RELEASES and RECENT ARRIVALS.

Talked about on today’s show:
Jenny’s list of recent arrivals,

Into The Void: Star Wars Dawn of the Jedi by Tim Lebbon, Seak (Bryce L.) has reviewed Star WarsInvincible (The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier) by Jack Campbell, Steve Gibson likes it, Swarm (Star Force Series #1) and Extinction (Star Force Series #2) by B.V. Larson, maybe Terpkristin will do it, Nosferatu (Area 51) by Bob Mayer (or Robert Doherty?), World War Z: The Complete Edition, An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks, more diverse narrators, SFF Audio review of original edition in 2007, “We Are The World”, Titanium Rain: Episode One by Josh Finney (graphic novel) and Kat Rocha (adaptation) – starring full cast (motion comic trailer), Fast Times at Fairmont High by Vernor Vinge, hey that’s where Rainbows End came from, |OUR READALONG OF RAINBOWS END|, Island 731 by Jeremy Robinson, Jeremy’s interview on Sfsignal, it’s like Michael Crichton, The Far Time Incident by Neve Masklakovic, Mary Kowal blogs about it, we think it’s first written in English, Finch (Ambergris #3) by Jeff Vandermeer, (I read a summary from Dan Schwent’s review on Goodreads), ambergris is a solid waxy substance from sperm whales, (this video is why I said ambergris came from a whale’s butt), Widow’s Web (Elemental Assassin #7) by Jennifer Estep, spider-woman, Through the Door (The Thin Veil #1) by Jodi McIsaac, “this one’s in the woods”, a Freakonomics podcast about namesThe Exiled Blade (The Assassini #3) by Jon Courtenay Grimwood, Da Vinci’s Demons gets the animals wrong, What’s a macaw?Memories of Ice (Malazan Book of the Fallen #3) by Steven Erikson, it’s a big one at 44 hours, The God Patent by Ransom Stephens is science fiction programmers, Neal Stephenson gets more fiction with science like he asked forA Maze Of Death, gelatinous cube-shaped beings, Clans Of The Alphane Moon, “get me a young Jack Nicholson”, Deus Irae (with Roger Zelazny), a play on “Dies Irae“, Dr. Futurity, Galactic Pot-Healer |OUR READALONG|, and Our Friends From Frolix 8 by Philip K. Dick, giant aliens, outside sff, Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation by Michael Pollan (narrator too), Pollan on Colbert, kimchi is Korean fermented vegetablesSafe Journey: Prayers and Comfort for Frightened Flyers and Other Anxious Souls by Julia Cameron, books are Jesse’s drug, she-crab soupmale vs female crab, Jenny’s accent talent, Consequences (Stone Barrington #26!) by Stuart Woods, a male Jacqueline Suzanne, Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution by Nathaniel Philbrick is historical non-fiction, new Barry Malzberg audio, most known for Enemy Mine, hermaphrodite, Robert Aspirin, comic fantasies, The Drought (The Burning World) by J.G. Ballard, “what the hell?”, readalong?, Crash book and movie, Midnight City by J. Barton Mitchell on Downpour, is YA usually first person?, Why We Read Fiction by Lisa Zunshine, Jenny has already read The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes, I’m waiting for Joe Hill’s Nos4a2, “do you know who I am??”

The SFFaudio Mug!

Posted by Tamahome

Review of The Blight of Muirwood by Jeff Wheeler

April 28, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

The Blight of MuirwoodThe Blight of Muirwood (Muirwood #2)
By Jeff Wheeler; Read by Kate Rudd
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: 15 January 2013
ISBN: 978-1-4692-5038-0
12 discs; 14 hours [UNABRIDGED]

Themes: / fantasy / orphan / servant /

Publisher summary:

Rising from her humble beginnings as a lost orphan, Lia is summoned to be Muirwood Abbey’s protector and special guardian for Ellowyn Demont, the lost heir of the fallen kingdom of Pry-Ree. After the death of the ruthless king at the battle of Winterrowd, the great Aldermaston and Abbey leader calls on Lia to use her mystical talents to save Muirwood from two new threats — a vengeful queen accusing the Abbey of her husband’s death and a deadly plague threatening to destroy the land. Amidst the turmoil, a battle ensues, and soon Lia learns the world’s magic has begun to falter. As a blanket of dread envelops the Abbey, hopes are tested, and Lia will be forced to come to terms with a secret that will change her life forever.

Mr. Wheeler ramps things up second book of his Muirwood trilogy, and I found myself enjoying this one more than the first. Mr. Wheeler continues his trend of explaining things as you go along, and doesn’t spend large amount stopping for world building. I find that a nice change of pace from the Epic Fantasy multi-book series I tend to read.

The story picks up right where The Wretched of Muirwood left off, then skips ahead about a year. During that time Lia has been trained to be the new hunter of Muirwood Abbey.  Most of the characters from the first novel return in the second, and Mr. Wheeler gives us more depth and insight into their characters. Some great new characters are added to the cast, including Martin, who is training her as he once did John Hunter.

Colvin has returned to the abbey with Edmund, his sister, and Ellowyn Demont, the air to the throne of Pry-Ree. Lia is tasked to help the two mastons protect Ellowyn from various threats of kidnapping and murder throughout the realm. There are also some new threats to the Abbey including Colvin’s rival Earl of Dieyre and the King’s Widow, the Queen Dowager. Signs start to appear of a blight threatening the Abbey, and once again Lia must leave the safety of Muirwood in an effort to protect it.

As this is book 2 of a trilogy, it does suffer from middle book syndrome, and ends at a very annoying place. None of the real threats were resolved, more of a holding pattern than any real resolutions. I was suspecting as much as I was approaching the last disc with too many things left unresolved. Luckily for me I had book 3 ready to go, and jumped immediately into it. That isn’t to say this book is not without it’s revelations, although I can’t say I was very surprised by anything that happened. Still, it made for an enjoyable read. Any book that makes it hard for me to stop is always a good thing.

This book is nearly twice as long as the first book (14 hours vs. 8 hours in audio form). It didn’t really feel that way to me. I kept finding excuses to listen more than I normally would, especially last night as I was approaching the end of the story and didn’t want to wait till morning for the conclusion. Ms. Rudd is once again the narrator (not surprising since the whole trilogy was released at the same time as audio books). Her performance is comparable to that of the previous book. It’s good, but doesn’t add anything to the story. She once again seems to use her own voice for all the female characters and a slightly different voice for all of the male characters.

Review by Rob Zak.

Review of Carrie by Stephen King

April 28, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

CarrieCarrie
By Stephen King; Read by Sissy Spacek
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
ISBN: 978-0743581653
6 discs – 7 hours 12 minutes [UNABRIDGED]

Themes: / telekinesis / high school / religious fanaticism /

Publisher summary:

The story of misfit high-school girl, Carrie White, who gradually discovers that she has telekinetic powers. Repressed by a domineering, ultra-religious mother and tormented by her peers at school, her efforts to fit in lead to a dramatic confrontation during the senior prom.

To begin, I want to tell a quick story about my introduction to Stephen King. I came really late to the party when it comes to the King. I’ll not bore you with the story about my first read, but to make a long story short, I read The Stand and was not a fan right away…to say the least. For some reason, and after numerous recommendations, I started The Dark Tower series and I wasn’t even that impressed with the first book, The Gunslinger. I didn’t hate it, but it wasn’t nearly what everyone was saying.

O for 2.

And yet, for some crazy reason that I still don’t really understand, I pushed along, reading book two in The Dark Tower, The Drawing of the Three. I’ve fallen for authors before and maybe it was all the prior disappointment, but I fell really hard with that book.

Instant fan here…erm…after three books.

Thereafter my collection of King books has slowly been increasing starting with The Dark Tower series (of course) and moving on to others (I think I’m at around 25 or so). I have even read a couple more since I guess that’s what you’re supposed to do with books, at least someone told me that once. Every single one has been great and that also explains my current read (rereading the one I hated and enjoying it more than most other books).

So we’re talking about Carrie here right? Right. Carrie. King’s first published book. I gotta say, this is quite an impressive book. Published when he was 26, I guess some people are just born to do certain things and King was born to write. This also makes me feel like I’ve wasted my life.

First of all, this audiobook was read by Sissy Spacek. If you’ve been living under a rock, she’s the one who played Carrie in the classic film based on this book. She’s a great actress, although I’ve not seen this film, and she’s perfect for the reading of this book.

On that note, both this book and its movie are inseparable from pop culture. Having never seen the movie or read the book until now, I still knew (or thought I knew) everything about this book. And who doesn’t know about that infamous prom scene? Just the people in that Geico commercial, just those.

I thought for sure that knowledge would ruin the book for me, but it turns out that’s not a problem. The way the book is set up, you already know about that scene almost right up front. Each chapter starts with a snippet of a news story or biography that tells of the occurrence at the high school and Carrie. This scene actually happens way earlier in the book than I thought it would and the rest of the book deals with the aftermath.

I had a hard time with this book, though, and I think it’s for a couple reasons. One of those reasons is that I don’t think the set up really worked for me. There really wasn’t much to this book, it was just the same events told in different ways and even though the book’s only around 200 pages, it still seemed long.

High school is just a terrible place or can be. It’s one of the worst times in many a person’s life and it’s only magnified in and through Carrie. She’s the worst type of tortured teenager and all I could think was that I never wanted my daughters to grow up and go through it. Through the insecurities, the immaturity, and downright meanness of those who tend to have the most insecurities.

Even through these agonizing moments, I was able to see King’s genius. At the end of the book, it really did seem like this was a real historical event. It was well-documented and the T.K. gene seemed almost like it could exist. The characters were also just as real as any other of King’s characters – which is as real as they come.

While the master is there, I can’t say I loved this book. It’s a tough, sad read that just made me miserable. That in and of itself is indicative of King’s ability, but I don’t think I’ll ever be rereading this, I don’t even really have the desire to see either the new or old movie. I respect this book a lot, but it was way too depressing for me.

3 out of 5 Stars

Posted by Bryce L.

Review of Beyond This Horizon by Robert A. Heinlein

April 26, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 
SFFaudio Review

Beyond this Horizon by Robert A. HeinleinBeyond This Horizon
By Robert A. Heinlein; read by Peter Ganim
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
8 hours [UNABRIDGED]

Themes: / utopia / revolution / genetic engineering /

Publisher Summary:

Utopia has been achieved. Disease, hunger, poverty and war are found only in the history tapes, and applied genetics has brought a lifespan of over a century. But Hamilton Felix is bored. And he is the culmination of a star line; each of his last thirty ancestors chosen for superior genes. He is, as far as genetics can produce one, the ultimate man, yet sees no meaning in life. However, his life is about to become less boring. A secret cabal of revolutionaries plan to revolt and seize control. Knowing of Hamilton’s disenchantment with the modern world, they want him to join their Glorious Revolution. Big mistake! The revolutionaries are about to find out that recruiting a superman was definitely not a good idea.

Beyond This Horizon is classic science fiction with social commentary thrown in as you may expect from Heinlein.

Mankind has created a Utopian society where poverty and hunger are studied in school but don’t actually happen anymore. Mankind has also worked toward eliminating weaknesses in the human chromosome via gene selection and intentional breeding. There are still some normal people (referred to as “control naturals”) that could potentially provide new genetic mutations for the good of mankind.

Hamilton Felix genetically represents the best of what humanity has to offer. He gets wrapped up in a group plotting to overthrow the government that thinks only the best of humanity should thrive in society while the control naturals are destroyed or used for experiments. There is little risk or adventure in this society, so a bored Hamilton decided to act as a mole within this organization. It’s not really surprising that this novel came out in the 1950’s when eugenics and superiority of different races was a current topic.

While their society is Utopian and futuristic, they also have notions of honor and violence such that people can get into gun duels when slighted. I found Heinlein’s debate of honor and privilege in this to be interesting in much the same way as his notions of earning rights by military service in Starship Troopers.

I liked the main plot as described but thought it could have happily ended about halfway through. The main plot of the story wraps up and the second half of the book felt like a really long epilogue to me. Heinlein seems to spread himself a bit thin on so many different issues like government influence of the market, government spending, the meaning of life, telepathy, duels for honor, and the afterlife. There were a few long monologues/dialogues going into painful detail of chromosome selection where I had trouble paying attention and following the book.

On the audio book side of things, Peter Ganim does a good job. I thought he had a good conversational tone, did some decent voices (they didn’t differ much though), and was easy to understand. If you’re trying to decide whether reading or listening is preferable, I don’t think there is much benefit either way.

Helpful tip if listening to this book: Hamilton Felix (superman, star line, game making guy) is referred to as “Hamilton” in the first half of the book but people start calling him “Felix” later for some reason. This wouldn’t be confusing except that his friend Monroe-Alpha Clifford (finance, mathematician guy) also goes by “Monroe-Alpha” and “Clifford” at different times. Since Ganim’s voices aren’t very distinct, there were some moments where it took me a little bit to realize which character was talking.

Posted by Tom Schreck.

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