The SFFaudio Podcast #239 – AUDIOBOOK: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

November 18, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #239 – Frankenstein: Or The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley, read by Caden Vaughn Clegg (for LibriVox.org).

This audiobook, 7 hours 15 minutes, is complete and unabridged.

Victor Frankenstein, born into a wealthy Genevese family, is a student of science at the University Ingolstadt. There, studying the decay of once living beings, he gains an insight into the creation of life and conceives to fashion his own creation.

First published in 1818.

FRANKENSTEIN - It's Alive - illustration by Mike Ploog

Frankenstein - illustration by Gary Friedrich and Mike Ploog

Frankenstein REVENGE - illustration by Mike Ploog

Frankenstein - illustrated by Dino Castrillo

Mary Shelley and Frankenstein and the Creature

Frankenstein - Illustration by Norm Saunders

Posted by Seth Wilson

Review of The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two by Catherynne M. Valente

November 16, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

The Girl Who Soared Over FairylandThe Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two (Fairyland #3)
By Catherynne M. Valente; Read by Catherynne M. Valente
Publisher: Dreamscape
Publication Date: 1 October 2013
[UNABRIDGED] – 8 hours, 23 minutes

Themes: / fantasy / YA / children’s / fairy / coming-of-age /

Publisher summary:

September misses Fairyland and her friends Ell, the Wyverary, and the boy Saturday. She longs to leave the routines of home and embark on a new adventure. Little does she know that this time, she will be spirited away to the moon, reunited with her friends, and find herself faced with saving Fairyland from a moon-Yeti with great and mysterious powers.

This was a lovely third book in the Fairyland series, where September has struggled to return to Fairyland and is wondering if you can ever really go back. The characters left behind in Fairyland have struggled too, missing her and loving her. Life apart is not always easy.

September meets a few versions of Saturday and starts to question whether she gets choices in her life, and between that and the nostalgia of childhood and facing being a grownup and what that means for her fairy land and fairy friends, this book is a bit tinged in sadness. It also includes Valente’s amazing imagination that we’ve seen from her poetry to Palimpsest (still my favorite) to the very underdiscussed Prester John books.

This is the first book of Valente’s that I’ve listened to, and Catherynne M. Valente is a marvelous performer of her own work. Her voice has the versatility of an old-Hollywood actress, with moments of great rich depth. I feel like going back and listening to everything she’s ever read. Her performance enriches her worlds, and I highly recommend the audio.

The Fairyland books are highly recommended, starting with The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making.  Perfect for kids, young adults, and adults who can still dream.

Posted by Jenny Colvin

Review of Razor’s Edge by Martha Wells

November 16, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

razorsedgeRazor’s Edge: Star Wars (Empire and Rebellion)
By Martha Wells; Read by January LaVoy
Publisher: Random House Audio
Publication Date: 24 September 2013
ISBN: 9780804148269
[UNABRIDGED] – 9 hours, 57 minutes

Excerpt: | MP3 |
Themes: / Star Wars / rebels /
Publisher summary:
Times are desperate for the Rebel Alliance. Harassment by the Empire and a shortage of vital supplies are hindering completion of a new secret base on the ice planet Hoth. So when Mid Rim merchants offer much-needed materials for sale, Princess Leia Organa and Han Solo lead an Alliance delegation to negotiate a deal.But when treachery forces the rebel ship to flee into territory controlled by pirates, Leia makes a shocking discovery: the fierce marauders come from Leia’s homeworld of Alderaan, recently destroyed by the Death Star. These refugees have turned to pillaging and plundering to survive—and they are in debt to a pirate armada, which will gladly ransom the princess to the vengeful Empire . . . if they find out her true identity.

Struggling with intense feelings of guilt, loyalty, and betrayal, Leia is determined to help her wayward kinspeople, even as Imperial forces are closing in on her own crippled ship. Trapped between lethal cutthroats and brutal oppressors, Leia and Han, along with Luke, Chewbacca, and a battle-ready crew, must defy death—or embrace it—to keep the rebellion alive. 

Razor’s Edge takes place between Episodes IV and V and involves Leia trying to acquire funding for the new rebel base on the planet Hoth. It’s part of a new trilogy taking place during that time period that has each book focusing on all of our three favorite main characters: Leia, Luke, and Han. I was excited about the idea of another book during this time period because Allegiance was so good. I’m sad to say that the book didn’t completely live up to my expectations.

Considering that the Empire is the major force in the galaxy during this time period, I was surprised that they only play a minor part in this story. The Empire is there, but the majority of the story involves a group of pirates. The result is that you have lots of new characters to get to know during a time period when you’d potentially expect to be on more familiar ground. There are so many new characters that when they’re all finally together, Wells has to list all of them to describe who is doing what when the group splits up (this happens a few times and is kind of awkwardly worded). Don’t get me wrong, the book was full of the action and adventure you’d expect from a Star Wars book, it just didn’t really feel like a Star Wars book to me.

There were times in the book that it felt like I was being reminded that this was a Star Wars book – such as random lists of Star Wars races when a group passes by (2 Bith, a Rodian, and an Ithorian…or something like that happened a few times) or describing a messy office as looking like it was hit by an ion cannon (wouldn’t that just short circuit all their electronics? What would that actually look like?). The thing that really got me was that Han suddenly has a satchel he keeps having to grab or secure…is that supposed to be like Indiana Jones constantly having to grab his hat?

So why do they get roped in with these pirates? Now that is a good question. Leia is still coping with the loss of Alderaan and makes some rash/irrational/impulsive decisions based on those feelings. That would be fine except this is the same Leia that stared down Darth Vader and Grand Moff Tarkin and lied to their faces while facing torture…I just didn’t buy that she would irrationally put the hopes of the Rebel Alliance on the line because of the actions of some people from Alderaan.

Overall, I’d say that this book is good for die hard Star Wars fans but not really the casual reader. I’d give a much stronger recommendation for Allegiance by Timothy Zahn since that was a much better ride that fit really well in the same time period.

As for the audio performance, I can’t say I’d give much of a higher recommendation on that part. I’m sure January LaVoy does a great job on other books, but she just didn’t fit this book very well. Every other Star Wars book I’ve listened to did a great job with impersonations of characters we all know but they weren’t very noticeable here. Most of the male characters sounded pretty similar to each other and the female characters’ voices sounded pretty similar to the narration voice.

Star Wars books are also normally known for their effects and music. The production was decent, but there were moments where some sound effects sounded more like a game of Galaga than Star Wars.

Posted by Tom Schreck

Review of Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale

November 14, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

TITLEMidnight in Austenland
By Shannon Hale; Read by Stina Nielsen
9 hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Recorded Books
Published: 2012
Themes: / Fantasy / Jane Austen / Romance / Reading /

I am a huge fan of Shannon Hale’s books. I love her style and her characters. I loved “Austenland,” which is not necessarily a prequel but is set in the same location.

Midnight in Austenland is about a woman who is recently divorced. She has two kids, her own business and an ex-husband who makes her feel like a loser. Her friends try to set her up on dates, but they all fail. No one wants a 30-something divorced mother of two. So, she decides to take a vacation. Her travel agent suggests she try Austenland. A stay in a regal manner house and live for two weeks as if she were in the time of Jane Austen’s books.

She arrives unsure of what to expect and is both captivated and amused by the other guests. One is an entrepreneur and the other a rock star. Along the way the husband of the woman who runs Austenland is murdered and the guests and actors must find out what happened, keep anyone else from dying and manage to stay in character.

The story is part Jane Austen and part Agatha Christie and entirely charming. Murder, romance, intrigue. I loved it. You will, too. A light, clean romance.

Posted by Charlene Harmon

Goslings: A World Of Women by J.D. Beresford

November 14, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: News 

SFFaudio News

We’re planning a podcast discussion of a nearly forgotten utopian novel:

J.D. Beresford’s Goslings: A World Of Women.

Dreamscape Audiobooks Goslings by J.D. Beresford

First published 100 years ago, this story of a global pandemic, and its impact upon the survivors, will remind you of later novels like The Death Of Grass and Earth Abides. The difference here is the emphasis on gender.

The audiobook, as read by Matthew Brenher, is available from Dreamscape Audiobooks (and Audible.com and Downpour.com). I’ve heard the whole thing and it is excellently narrated.

Here’s the official description:

A global plague has decimated England’s male population and the once-predictable Gosling family is now free to fulfill its long-frustrated desires. When Mr. Gosling leaves his family to peruse his sexual vices, the Gosling daughters, who lack experience and self-independence, find shelter in a matriarchal commune. However their new life is threatened by the community elders’ views on free love.

There’s also a FREE ebook version available via Archive.org.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The Star by H.G. Wells

November 13, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

The Star by H.G. Wells

The Star by H.G. Wells - illustration by L. Marold from The Graphic, December 1897

Here’s a portion of the Wikipedia entry for The Star:

“[The Star] can be credited with having created a Science Fiction sub-genre depicting a planet or star colliding, or near-colliding with Earth – such as the 1933 novel When Worlds Collide by Philip Wylie and Edwin Balmer, (made into a film in 1951), Fritz Leiber’s The Wanderer (1965), and Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle (1977).”

Here is the editorial introduction (presumably by Hugo Gernsback himself) to the story as found in the Amazing Stories, June 1926 printing:

“Here is an impressive story based on the inter-action of planetary bodies and of the sun ipon them. A great star is seen approaching the earth. At first it is only an object of interest to the general public, but there is an astronomer on the earth who is watching each phase and making mathematical calculations, for he knows the intimate relation of gravitation between bodies and the effect on rotating bodies of the same force from an outside source. He fears all sorts of wreckage on our earth. He arns the people, but they as usual, discount all he says and label him mad. But he was not mad. H.G. Wells, in his own way, gives us a picturesque description of the approach of the new body through long days adn nights – he tells how the earth and natural phenomena of the earth will re-act. Though this star never touches our sphere, the devastation and destruction wrought bu it are complete and horrible. The story is correct in its astronomical aspects.”

Without a significant viewpoint character H.G. Wells’ The Star relates, with elegiac cosmicism, of the destruction of Earth and its inhabitants. There is in this story a dispassionate reverence for both the blind omnipotence of nature and mortal humanity’s perception of its place within it.

365 Days Of AstronomyThe Star
By H.G. Wells; Read by Pamela Quevillon
1 |MP3| – Approx. 35 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: 365 Days Of Astronomy
Podcast: October 20, 2013
Astronomers discover a bright new star in the heavens rushing headlong towards the Earth on a collision course. First published in The Graphic, December 1897.

LibriVoxThe Star
By H.G. Wells; Read by Heather Phillips
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: 2010
Astronomers discover a bright new star in the heavens rushing headlong towards the Earth on a collision course. First published in The Graphic, December 1897.

LibriVoxThe Star
By H.G. Wells; Read by Linda Dodge
1 |MP3| – Approx. 32 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: 2009
Astronomers discover a bright new star in the heavens rushing headlong towards the Earth on a collision course. First published in The Graphic, December 1897.

PeopletalkThe Star
By H.G. Wells; Read by Jenny Rowe
1 |MP3| or |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: Peopletalk
Podcast: September 18, 2006
Astronomers discover a bright new star in the heavens rushing headlong towards the Earth on a collision course. First published in The Graphic, December 1897.

Here is a |PDF| made from the publication in Amazing Stories, June 1926.

Here’s an easy reading version, suitable for printing |PDF|.

And, here’s a Spanish language translation |PDF| that’s beautifully illustrated.

The Star by H.G. Wells - illustration from Amazing Stories, June 1926

The Star by H.G. Wells - illustrated by Oscar Palacios

The Star by H.G. Wells - illustrated by Oscar Palacios

Posted by Jesse Willis

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