Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley (read by Bryan Cranston)

July 31, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: News 

SFFaudio News

Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley (read by Bryan Cranston – an ad for Breaking Bad)

Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said:—Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter’d visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp’d on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock’d them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

More audiobooks as ads please!

[via Cynical-C]

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #223 – AUDIOBOOK: The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

July 29, 2013 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #223 – The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, read by David Barnes.

This UNABRIDGED AUDIOBOOK (2 Hours 33 Minutes) comes to us courtesy of LibriVox.org. The Metamorphosis was first published in 1915, in German, under the title Die Verwandlung. This translation is by Ian Johnston.

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka - unsigned illustration from Famous Fantastic Mysteries

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka - unsigned illustration from Famous Fantastic Mysteries

Posted by Jesse Willis

The Iron Heel by Jack London (on YouTube)

July 23, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Here’s a YouTube version of Matt Soar’s LibirVox audiobook of Jack London’s The Iron Heel.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi: Into the Void

July 23, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi: Into the VoidStar Wars: Dawn of the Jedi: Into the Void
ISBN: 978-0804148153
[UNABRIDGED] 10 hours 18 minutes
Themes: / star wars / space / jedi / force /

Publisher summary:
On the planet Tython, the ancient Je’daii order was founded. And at the feet of its wise Masters, Lanoree Brock learned the mysteries and methods of the Force—and found her calling as one of its most powerful disciples. But as strongly as the Force flowed within Lanoree and her parents, it remained absent in her brother, who grew to despise and shun the Je’daii, and whose training in its ancient ways ended in tragedy.
 
Now, from her solitary life as a Ranger keeping order across the galaxy, Lanoree has been summoned by the Je’daii Council on a matter of utmost urgency. The leader of a fanatical cult, obsessed with traveling beyond the reaches of known space, is bent on opening a cosmic gateway using dreaded dark matter as the key—risking a cataclysmic reaction that will consume the entire star system. But more shocking to Lanoree than even the prospect of total galactic annihilation, is the decision of her Je’daii Masters to task her with the mission of preventing it. Until a staggering revelation makes clear why she was chosen: The brilliant, dangerous madman she must track down and stop at any cost is the brother whose death she has long grieved—and whose life she must now fear.

The “Dawn of the Jedi” series was first produces in comic form and of course the logical progression is novelization. It takes Star Wars back to its roots. As the title says, it’s the origin story to the Jedi, the beginning of our favorite protectors of the universe, users of the force (and lightsabers!), and purveyors of piety.


(It was radioactive spiders that created the Jedi!)

And you’ll never believe how they began. In fact, if I gave you infinite guesses, you’d never get it. And it’s not for the reason you think.

The “Je’daii” have a mysterious society that does its own thing, which tends to be for the betterment of the universe, saying “may the force go with you.”

Yeah, you’d never be able to guess because you’d be going for something new. Also, they use the force and swords and have masters and apprentices. So it’s definitely an origin story and not just an exact replication of the jedi we know and love.

Okay, so if you’re reading Star Wars books, you really can’t go into it expecting a whole lot. And sadly, any of the newer books have the added reputation of being bloated series with little plot.

However, what you can expect is lots of action and lots of fun. Into the Void delivers on both counts. While I make fun of the “origin story” it’s still an entertaining and interesting look at the beginnings of the Jedi. These Je’daii go through an interesting training period on an incredibly dangerous planet.

Into the Void follows Lanoree Brock, a Je’daii Ranger, who spends most of her time on her own in solitary missions ranging around the galaxy. She’s called in for a special mission that could result in the salvation or destruction of the galaxy as they know it, and it’s all because of her brother Dal, once thought dead.

The narrative switches between the present where Lanoree is in pursuit of her brother in her current mission and her past training where she and her brother participated together. It’s a great way to introduce Dal and find out what his motivations are for his dark pursuits later in his life.

Lebbon does a great job with these characters and his narrative structure works well to set things up for an exciting ending while providing plenty of excitement throughout the training on this dangerous planet. I’m interested to try out Lebbon’s other works because he obviously knows what he’s doing.

Like other Star Wars audiobooks, Into the Void is filled with suspenseful music and every type of sound effect they can possibly fit in. Like a movie in your head, I can’t recommend Star Wars audiobooks enough. And January LaVoy does an excellent job bringing Lanoree and every other character to life.

But what I really can’t wait for the origin of the origin story. That’s where the money is.

3.5 out of 5 Stars (recommended)

Posted by Bryce L.

The Unnamable by H.P. Lovecraft (read by Leeman Kessler)

July 22, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Narrator Leeman Kessler’s reading of H.P. Lovecraft’s The Unnamable is, at first, marred by an unnecessary and obtrusive sound bed. Then later it is ruined by a series of noises that interfere with Lovecraft’s words.

There’s a reason why sidewalks don’t have hurdles built into them. It’s the same reason why commercial audiobook companies don’t add bed music and sound effects to audiobooks. They get in the way.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Hammer Chillers Season 1: Sticks and Stone, The Devil in Darkness & Don’t Go There

SFFaudio Review

Hammer Chillers: Series One

Mr Jim Moon already introduced us to the legendary Hammer studios Chillers series. If you want to learn more about the background and the first three episode of Series 1 read his review here.

In order to avoid redundancy I will concentrate on the final three episodes, namely Sticks and Stones, The Devil in Darkness and Don’t Go There.

 

Episode 4 – Sticks and Stones

By Robin Ince; Performed by a full cast:

Released: ? June 2013

 

Neil Stanley is a nice man. He has a nice house, a nice wife, a nice life. But Neil has a secret. He’s an internet troll, spending every spare moment posting hate-filled messages online.

When he begins trolling talent-show contestant Sam Pinker, his threats begin to come true. Is Neil acting upon his online taunts? Or is something else to blame?

Oh man it does make me feel a bit like a troll myself starting off with a negative review. In short, I was a bit disappointed. Sticks and Stones failed to draw me in, and get me interested in the “what’s next?”

Is it because the connection that author Robin Ince attempt to draw similarities between medieval witch trials and modern day talent show contestants is not entirely convincing and rather forced? Or is it because he tries to pack too much into half hour or so of audio drama time? This drama could have done with a longer treatment to give it more room to build up the characters and the plot.

This is not meant to shake a stick at the production per se or the actors. In all fairness, it’s not like Sticks and Stones is really bad, it just left me with an unsatisfied feeling of “meh”.

 

Episode 4 – The Devil in Darkness

By Christopher Fowler; Performed by a full cast:

Released: July 5, 2013

Mia never takes the eerie old lift in the St Petersburg International Archive. But one night she leaves late and is forced to break her rule. She’s travelling down with the only other passenger when the lift jams between floors.

Andrei is a Russian electrician, and tries to free them, but he can’t get the doors open. As the days pass their bond grows stronger, while they grow weaker.

But what are those strange noises? Are supernatural forces trapping them in the lift? Or is the truth even more terrifying?

The fifth episode The Devil in Darkness starts of with a well-established scenario: the Locked Room, or, in this case the stuck elevator. It doesn’t help that it’s the weekend and the building is empty. Or is it? The old walls hold bad memories from the days when the basement housed the torture chambers of the Tscheka the Bolshevik secret police from the early days after the revolution.

Writer Christopher Fowler manages to avoid pretty much everything that was wrong with Sticks and Stones. The cast is reduced to two characters and the action boiled down to two people slipping into darkness and despair as the days run by. The acting is fine and the sound design is used to good effect. In the end the story surprises with a twist that at least had me thinking: Of course, but why didn’t I see this? I grant this to the believable and good performance of the actors Dylan Charles and Lauren Kellegher and the way the listener is subtly set up to think in the wrong direction.

 

Episode 6 – Don’t Go There

By Stephen Volk; Performed by a full cast:

Released: July 15, 2013

John and Laura Daulby’s son is lying in a coma in hospital, on a Greek holiday island. But John refuses to believe his son is just another victim of bad drugs.

He enters the hedonistic world of 18-30 clubbers to get to the truth, and meets the enigmatic and beautiful Stheno.

Finding himself increasingly attracted to her – in the same way his son was – he realises that she may just be a Greek myth come to life…

At 44 minutes this is the longest of the Hammer Chillers so far and this gives writer Stephen Volk ample time to develop the story. Volk whose love for the paranormal and horror genres has been widely demonstrated in his TV and film work (Gothic, Ghostwatch, Afterlife) visits ancient Greek myths.

The atmosphere of a small Greek island that is virtually deserted by day and a clubber’s paradise by night is transported quite effectively. Having said that though, at first I found the bigotry of John Daulby applied a little too thickly but it sets the stage nicely for the character’s gradual acceptance that there might be more to his son’s condition than just a bad trip. As with most of the other Hammer shows the motifs (soul-sucking femme-fatale seductress) is not new but well transported into the modern day. After listening you’re tempted to warn your kids to be careful whom they snog at techno parties in countries with a long mythological tradition.

This episode’s cast is great and benefits from Cyprus-born Daphne Alexander’s fluency in Greek. Few things ruin it for me as much as badly faked accents.

Overall, I would recommend the second half of Hammer’s first season of Chiller audio dramas. The episodes are short and self-contained so they are easily accessible and don not require you having to keep up-to-date with a massive multi-episode storyline ends with a cliffhanger every season. That also means that the occasional “miss” might stick out more but one in six isn’t a bad ratio so far.
All episodes can be downloaded individually or purchased for a modest subscription fee right from Hammer Chillers online. There is also digipack CD version for those who still like to have a hard copy.

Posted by Carsten Schmitt

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