Dagon by H.P. Lovecraft

December 13, 2012 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Online Audio, SFFaudio essential 

SFFaudio Online Audio

There seems to me no point in any other narrator even attempting to narrate H.P. Lovecraft’s Dagon. Wayne June mastered it. He conquered it. He embodied it. And he has made all other attempts, at least those not done for one’s own pleasure, a deaf and pointless exercise.

Like an inescapable crushing force June’s narration works upon your mind, flooding a cool swaddling of algal bloom round the the abyssal depths of your fear center, pulling you down into his narration like a black ocean of horror from which nothing and no one can ever truly be freed.

The Dark Worlds Of H.P. Lovecraft Volume 2SFFaudio EssentialDagon
By H.P. Lovecraft; Read by Wayne June
1 |MP3| – Approx. 16 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: Audio Realms Podcast
Podcast: August 12th 2008
The testament of a tortured, morphine-addicted man who plans to commit suicide over an incident that occurred early on in World War I when he was a merchant marine officer. First published in the November 1919 edition of The Vagrant (issue #11).

And here’s a |PDF| made from a publication in Weird Tales.

Dagon by H.P. Lovecraft - Weird Tales

Haunt Of Horror - Dagon - adapted by Richard Corben

Posted by Jesse Willis

BBCR4+RA.cc: Metropolis (2006) RADIO DRAMA

October 29, 2012 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio, SFFaudio essential 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Ace Books F-246 - Metropolis by Thea Von Harbou

The Tower of Babylon in MetropolisI wrote about it airing six year ago, but I’ve just now heard it.

Metropolis, an astoundingly great radio dramatization of a famous novel that was turned into a famous movie, is nuanced, deep, surprising, and totally, idea based.

I’m astounded, really and truly astounded and amazed too at the depth and power an hour long program is able to achieve.

The script has humor, skepticism, cynicism, hope, sex, romance, informative infodumps, and a city full of pathos.

The production, acting, pacing, and composite audio experience is completely awe inspiring.

What gets me most is that even though it is based on a 1926 novel by Thea von Harbou, this version of Metropolis is, arguably, even more relevant than either Brave New World (1931) or 1984 (1949).

Those two classics don’t feel wholly and completely modern – this production of Metropolis does. It’s modernity is ripe, it’s like an episode of Black Mirror, and it should be on your radar.

Still not sold? Then imagine a Science Fiction version of Fight Club but set in the world of The Space Merchants or Judge Dredd and imagine it written by either Philip K. Dick or Frederik Pohl.

Here’s a review by Elisabeth Mahoney of The Guardian:

An audacious portrayal of a futuristic city as much as a state of mind, and an iconic film to boot, Metropolis (Radio 4, Friday) doesn’t exactly scream radio adaptation. But writer Peter Straughan and director Toby Swift, who won the Prix Italia in 2004 for their adaptation of Fritz Lang’s M, clearly aren’t put off by such hurdles. Their Metropolis was all deliciously claustrophobic intensity and dark interiority; their mega-city full of bubbling, menacing sounds you soon wanted to shut out. Without the famous visuals, you never really got a sense of the scale of Lang’s vision – you didn’t believe in the 62 million workers in Metropolis – but you did get the chilling psychological dimension of the dystopia. Edward Hogg, as Freddy, though sounding like a young Woody Allen at times, convinced as the alienated, lonely outsider who manages to subvert the mega-state from within. There were laughs, too, at least early on. “When was the last time you slept?” a therapist asks a suicidal Freddy. “About eight years ago,” says Freddy. “No,” the therapist concludes, “I don’t think that’s significant.”

Peter Straughan, the adaptor, and Toby Swift, the director, have achieved a classic for our time and for the ages – this is highly, highly recommended!

BBC Radio 4RadioArchives.ccThea von Harbou’s MetropolisSFFaudio Essential
Adapted by Peter Straughan; Performed by a full cast
MP3 via TORRENT – 57 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: BBC Radio 4 (Friday Drama)
Broadcast: March 24, 2006
Available via RadioArchive.cc
Freder, the protagonist of Metropolis is an underworked “captain” in a high level position in the futuristic consumer society of the mega city named Metropolis. Feeling suicidal, but unable to understand why, Fredor switches identities with a low level “product insertion” – a kind of telemarketing – but failing at that Fredor soon finds himself working for Maria, an imperfect beauty with all the answers. Maria plunges Fredor into the depths of her underground conspiracy to disrupt the workings of society.

Directed by Toby Swift

Cast:
Freder – Edward Hogg
Maria – Tracy Wiles
Josaphat – Damian Lynch
Schmale – Peter Marinker

Michael W. Kaluta illustration of Maria and Freder

Posted by Jesse Willis

[Use Omitron! Omitron, use it! Use Omitron, it’s great!]

Review of Arguably: Essays by Christopher Hitchens

September 23, 2012 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Reviews, SFFaudio essential 

SFFaudio Review

Hachette Audio - Arguably: Essays by Christopher HitchensArguably: Essays
By Christopher Hitchens; Read by Simon Prebble
24 CDs – Approx. 28.5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Published: September 1, 2011
ISBN: 9781611139068
Themes: / Non-fiction / History / War / Biography / Science Fiction / Fantasy / Iran / Afghanistan / Germany / North Korea / France / Dystopia / Utopia / Religion / Tunisia / Piracy / Terrorism / Feminism / Pakistan /

The first new collection of essays by Christopher Hitchens since 2004, Arguably offers an indispensable key to understanding the passionate and skeptical spirit of one of our most dazzling writers, widely admired for the clarity of his style, a result of his disciplined and candid thinking. Topics range from ruminations on why Charles Dickens was among the best of writers and the worst of men to the haunting science fiction of J.G. Ballard; from the enduring legacies of Thomas Jefferson and George Orwell to the persistent agonies of anti-Semitism and jihad. Hitchens even looks at the recent financial crisis and argues for arthe enduring relevance of Karl Marx. The audio book forms a bridge between the two parallel enterprises of culture and politics. It reveals how politics justifies itself by culture, and how the latter prompts the former. In this fashion, Arguably burnishes Christopher Hitchens’ credentials as-to quote Christopher Buckley-our “greatest living essayist in the English language.”

Here’s a question I was thinking about while listening to Arguably.

What is fiction for?

One answer, the bad one, is that it’s for entertainment. That’s certainly where many readers are willing go, and the fiction writers who write it too. Maybe that’s precisely why so much fiction is just so very shitty.

To me, if you aren’t exploring ideas in your fiction, then you really aren’t serving a greater purpose. Idea fiction, fiction with ideas rather than just action and plot, is to my mind a kind of supplement to the wisdom found in writings on history, biography and science.

Of the many lessons learned I in listening to the 107 essays in Arguably I was particularly struck by the wisdom Christopher Hitchens gleaned from his reading of fiction. Hitchens reviews many books in this collection, nearly half of the essays are book reviews. Books like 1984, Animal Farm, Flashman, The Complete Stories Of J.G. Ballard, Our Man In Havana, and even, surprisingly, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows all get fascinating, critical, and reverent reviews.

Yet Hitchens also takes the lessons with him into his writing about his travels. Hitchens writes about visits to such places as North Korea, Cyprus, Afghanistan, and Kurdish Iraq. When talking about his visit to Beirut we see what comes when Hitchens, a man of ideas, acts upon them. The essay, The Swastika and the Cedar sees the convictions of the commited anti-fascist Hitchens beaten and nearly kidnapped for an act of vandalism on a prominently displayed swastika. Writes Hitchens:

“Well, call me old-fashioned if you will, but I have always taken the view that swastika symbols exist for one purpose only—to be defaced.”

In a review of two books, Lolita and The Annotated Lolita, Hitchens applies the controversial subject in a real life look at the modern, and very non-fictional oppression and objectification of women. Indeed, the ideas he appreciated in fiction helped Hitchens to come to grips with the real world.

I think the worst essay in this collection is the one on the serving of wine and restaurants, Wine Drinkers Of The World, Unite. It was simply a waste of the talent, too light, too easy a target. And yet, even that essay, the worst essay in all 107 has a memorable anecdote: “Why,” asks Hitchens’ five year old son, “are they called waiters? It’s we who are doing all the waiting.”

As to the narration of the audiobook. I’m ashamed to admit that I was initially dismayed when I saw that Christopher Hitchens had not narrated this audiobook himself. I was wrong to worry. Incredibly, Simon Prebble seems to have have become Hitchens for this narration. Prebble perfectly captures the erudite words, so eloquently performs them, and with an accent so like that of Hitchens’ own so as to make me think that it was Hitchens who had actually read it.

I think the worst essay in this collection is the one on the serving of wine and restaurants, Wine Drinkers Of The World, Unite. It was simply a waste of the talent, too light, too easy a target. And yet, even that essay, the worst essay in all 107 has a memorable anecdote: “Why,” asks Hitchens’ five year old son, “are they called waiters? It’s we who are doing all the waiting.”

Here’s a list of the book’s contents, with links to the original etexts when available, along with my own notes on each:

ALL AMERICAN
Gods Of Our Fathers: The United States Of Enlightenment – a review of Moral Minority: Our Skeptical Founding Fathers by Brooke Allen

The Private Jefferson – a review of Jefferson’s Secrets: Death And Desire At Monticello by Andrew Burstein

Jefferson Vs. The Muslim Pirates – a review of Power, Faith, And Fantasy: America In The Middle East: 1776 To The Present by Michael B. Oren

Benjamin Franklin: Free And Easy – a review of Benjamin Franklin Unmasked: On the Unity of His Moral, Religious, And Political Thought by Jerry Weinberger

John Brown: The Man Who Ended Slavery – a review of John Brown, Abolitionist: The Man Who Killed Slavery, Sparked The Civil War, And Seeded Civil Rights by David S. Reynolds

Abraham Lincoln: Misery’s Child (aka Lincoln’s Emancipation) – a review of Abraham Lincoln: A Life by Michael Burlingame

Mark Twain: American Radical – a scathing review of The Singular Mark Twain: A Biography by Fred Kaplan

Upton Sinclair: A Capitalist Primer – a review of The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

JFK: In Sickness And By Stealth – a review of An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917–1963 by Robert Dallek

Saul Bellow: The Great Assimilator – review of six novels by Saul Bellow (The Dangling Man, The Victim, The Adventures Of Augie March, Seize The Day, Henderson The Rain King, and Herzog)

Vladimir Nabokov: Hurricane Lolita – reviews of Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov and The Annotated Lolita edited and annotated by Alfred Appel, Jr.

John Updike: No Way – a review of The Terrorist by John Updike (with reference to The Coup too)

John Updike: Mr. Geniality
– a critical review of the affable Due Considerations: Essays And Considerations by John Updike

Vidal Loco – Gore Vidal went crazier, more elitist and perhaps more racist as he got older (with attention and quips for Quentin Crisp and Oscar Wilde and Joyce Carol Oates)

America The Banana Republic – Hitchens on the “socialistic” bank bailout of 2008 (“socialism for the rich and free enterprise for the rest”)

An Anglosphere Future – a review of The History Of The English Speaking Peoples by Andrew Roberts (with reference to both Sherlock Holmes and The White Company by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as well as to Cecil Rhodes and Rudyard Kipling)

Political Animals – a review of Dominion: The Power Of Man, The Suffering Of Animals, And The Call To Mercy by Matthew Scully

Old Enough To Die – on capital punishment as applied to children

In Defense Of Foxhole Atheists
– a visit to the United States Air Force Academy and the tax funded proselytizing

In Search Of The Washington Novel – a search for some good fiction about Washington, D.C.

ECLECTIC AFFINITIES
Isaac Newton: Flaws Of Gravity – a stroll through the medieval streets of Cambridge with the scientists, mathematicians, and philosophers who worked there

The Men Who Made England: Hilary Mantel’s “Wolf Hall” – a review of Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Edmund Burke: Reactionary Prophet – a review of Reflections On The Revolution In France by Edmund Burke

Samuel Johnson: Demons And Dictionaries
– a review of Samuel Johnson: A Biography by Peter Martin

Gustave Flaubert: I’m With Stupide – a review of Bouvard et Pécuchet by Gustave Flaubert translated by Mark Polizzotti

The Dark Side Of Dickens
– a review of Charles Dickens by Michael Slater a biography (Hitchens was a not uncritical admirer of the subject)

Marx’s Journalism: The Grub Street Years – a glowing review of Dispatches for the New York Tribune: Selected Journalism Of Karl Marx edited by James Ledbetter, foreword by Francis Wheen (Marx admired the United States, and other fascinating facts about the father of communism)

Rebecca West: Things Worth Fighting For – an introduction to Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: A Journey Through Yugoslavia by Rebecca West

Ezra Pound: A Revolutionary Simpleton – a review of Ezra Pound, Poet: A Portrait Of The Man And His Work: Volume I: The Young Genius, 1885-1920 by A. David Moody (a biography of the fascist poet)

On “Animal Farm” – an introduction to Animal Farm

Jessica Mitford’s Poison Pen – a review of Decca: The Letters Of Jessica Mitford edited by Peter Y. Sussman

W. Somerset Maugham: Poor Old Willie – a review of W. Somerset Maugham: A Life by Jeffery Meyers

Evelyn Waugh: The Permanent Adolescent – a look at the enigmatic life, writing, religion, and sexuality of Evelyn Waugh

P.G. Wodehouse: The Honorable Schoolboy – a review of Wodehouse: A Life by Robert McCrum

Anthony Powell: An Omnivorous Curiosity – a review of To Keep The Ball Rolling: The Memoirs Of Anthony Powell

John Buchan: Spy Thriller’s Father – a review of John Buchan The Presbyterian Cavalier by David R. Godine (with discussion of The 39 Steps and a fantasy novelette The Grove Of Ashtaroth)

Graham Greene: I’ll Be Damned – a review of The Life Of Graham Green: Volume II: 1939-1955 by Norman Sherry

Death From A Salesman: Graham Greene’s Bottle Ontology – an introduction to Our Man In Havana by Graham Greene

Loving Philip Larkin (aka Philip Larkin, the Impossible Man) – a review of Philip Larkin: Letters To Monica edited by Anthony Thwaite

Stephen Spender: A Nice Bloody Fool – a review of Stephen Spender: The Authorized Biography by John Sutherland

Edward Upward: The Captive Mind – a look at the British novelist and short story Edward Upward

C.L.R. James: Mid Off, Not Right On – a review of Cricket, The Caribbean, And World Revolution by Farrukh Dhondy

J.G. Ballard: The Catastrophist – a review of The Complete Stories Of J.G. Ballard

Fraser’s Flashman: Scoundrel Time – a look at the George MacDonald Fraser series of Flashman books and the connection with The Adventure Of The Empty House

Fleet Street’s Finest: From Waugh To Frayn – an essay on the dubious romance of journalism

Saki: Where The Wild Things Are – a review of The Unbearable Saki: The Work of H.H. Munro by Sandie Byrne

Harry Potter: The Boy Who Lived – a review of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

AMUSEMENTS, ANNOYANCES, AND DISAPPOINTMENTS
Why Women Aren’t Funny – a controversial essay on why more comedians are male and why women laugh at them the way they do

Stieg Larsson: The Author Who Played With Fire – a look at the phenomenon of the bestselling author of The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo

As American As Apple Pie – a literary and chronological history of the blowjob, with reference to Valdamir Nobokov’s Lolita

So Many Men’s Rooms, So Little Time – a fascinatingly insightful argument on what’s was going on with the Larry Craig bathroom airport scandal and related phenomena

The New Commandments – deconstructing the Ten Commandments

In Your Face – are bans on burqas and veils actually bans, or are they liberation?

Wine Drinkers Of The World, Unite – ill mannered waiters are ruining the business of wine drinking

Charles, Prince Of Piffle – a damning look at the prince who shouldn’t be king

OFFSHORE ACCOUNTS
Afghanistan’s Dangerous Bet – a visit to Afghanistan, it’s all about the women

First, Silence The Whistle-Blower – is there any hope for democracy in Afghanistan?

Believe Me, It’s Torture – a report on what it’s like to be water-boarded

Iran’s Waiting Game – a visit to Iran and a meeting with Hussein Khomeini the grandson of Ayatollah Khomeini

Long Live Democratic Seismology – on democracy, Chile, Iran, and earthquakes

Benazir Bhutto: Daughter Of Destiny – a personal remembrance of the brave liar, Benazir Bhutto

From Abbottabad To Worse – an explanation for the existence of Pakistan as the U.S.A.’s worst best friend

The Perils Of Partition – on what dividing a country does to it (it’s like a man with a broken leg – he can think of nothing else)

Algeria: A French Quarrel – a review of A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962 by Alistair Horne

The Case Of Orientalism (aka East Is East) – a review of Dangerous Knowledge: Orientalism and Its Discontents by Robert Irwin

Edward Said: Where The Twain Should Have Met – a review of Orientalism by Edward Said

The Swastika And The Cedar – a visit to “the Arab street”

Holiday In Iraq – Hitchens on holiday in Kurdish Iraq: it’s lovely

Tunisia: At The desert’s Edge – a lavish and lengthy visit to Africa’s gentlest country

What Happened To The Suicide Bombers Of Jerusalem? – why is no one writing about the dog that didn’t bark?

Childhood’s End: An African Nightmare – on Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army

The Vietnam Syndrome – on the horrific effects of Agent Orange and the legacies of dioxin

Once Upon A Time In Germany – a review of the movie The Baader Meinhof Complex, it explores the origins of The Red Army Faction

Worse Than “Nineteen Eighty-Four” – North Korea is a slave state seemingly modeled on 1984

North Korea: A Nation of Racist Dwarfs – a visit to North Korea

The Eighteenth Brumaire Of The Castro Dynasty – a look at the Castro regime’s familial coup

Hugo Boss – a visit to Venezuela with Sean Penn and a meeting with Hugo Chávez – he’s nuts

Is The Euro Doomed? – what will be the fate of Europe’s common currency?

Overstating Jewish Power – In the Israeli American relationship who’s pulling who’s strings?

The Case For Humanitarian Intervention – a review of Freedom’s Battle: The Origins Of Humanitarian Intervention by Gary J. Bass

LEGACIES OF TOTALITARIANISM
Victor Serge: Pictures From An Inquisition – reviews of The Case Of Comrade Tulayev and Memoirs Of A Revolutionary by Victor Serge

André Malraux: One Man’s Fate – a review of Malraux: A Life by Olivier Todd, translated by Joseph West

Arthur Koestler: The Zealot – a review of Koestler: The Literary And Political Odyssey Of A Twentieth-Century Skeptic by Michael Scammell

Isabel Allende: Chile Redux – an introduction to The House Of The Spirits by Isabel Allende

The Persian Version – a review of Strange Times, My Dear: The PEN Anthology Of Contemporary Iranian Literature edited by Nahid Mozaffari

Martin Amis: Lightness At Midnight – a review of Koba The Dread: Laughter And The Twenty Million by Martin Amis

Imagining Hitler – the problem of evil, and Hitler, with reference to Explaining Hitler by Ron Rosenbaum and Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris by Ian Kershaw

Victor Klemperer: Survivor

A War Worth Fighting – a persuasively systematic review of Churchill, Hitler And The Unnecessary War: How Britain Lost Its Empire And The West Lost The World by Pat Buchanan

Just Give Peace A Chance? – a critical review of Human Smoke by Nicholson Baker

W.G. Sebald: Requiem For Germany – a review of On The Natural History Of Destruction by W.G. Sebald

WORDS’ WORTH
When The King Saved God – for the love of the King James version

Let Them Eat Pork Rinds – Berthold Brecht, Charles Dickens and various other sources inform Hitch’s view of the Hurricane Katrina relief disaster

Stand Up For Denmark! – a still timely plea for preferring free speech to religious tolerance

Eschew The Taboo - on the banning of words, particularly the word “nigger”

She’s No Fundamentalist – a spirited defense of Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Burned Out – the verb “fuel” is fueled by journalistic sloppiness

Easter Charade – on life and death and Terri Schiavo

Don’t Mince Words – the disenfranchisement of south Asians in Britain isn’t the cause of bombings, hatred of women is.

History And Mystery – al-Qaeda in Iraq, jihadists, or “insurgents”? Do words matter? Of course they bloody well do.

Words Matter – political slogans make of “every adult in the country” an “illiterate jerk who would rather feel than think”

This Was Not Looting – how can a government “loot” it’s own weapons manufacturing facility? The government of Iraq managed it according to The New York Times.

The “Other” L-Word – a lighthearted piece on the prominence of the word “like” and it’s use

The You Decade – what’s wrong with you (marketing to the selfish)

Suck It Up – the Virginia Tech shootings prompted the wrong response from the world (namely that it prompted one)

A Very, Very Dirty Word – the English empire, in centuries to come, may only be remembered for soccer and the phrase “fuck off”

Prisoner Of Shelves – on the indispensability of books

Posted by Jesse Willis

Radio Drama Revival: The Silver Tongued Devil by Roger Gregg

September 4, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio, SFFaudio essential 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Radio Drama RevivalThe Silver Tongued Devil, a Crazy Dog Audio Theatre production penned by the mighty Roger Gregg, has just been podcast on Radio Drama Revival Episode 294. Host Fred Greenhalgh, a protege of Gregg’s, describes it this way:

This saucy mockumentary tries to uncover a surprising Irish poetry sensation… while lampooning Irish culture, academia, mass hysteria, and maybe even a jab at poetry itself (aren’t all poets rich and sexy?

I first heard about The Silver Tongued Devil back in 2005 when it was reviewed as a segment of Gregg’s Diabolic Playhouse |READ OUR REVIEW|. Then, Scott described it as “an absolute treasure for fans of audio drama.”When I got the chance to hear it I completely concurred. Over the years since I posted about it’s twice more, HERE and HERE.

Crazy Dog Audio Theatre - The Silver Tongued Devil by Roger GreggHere’s Scott’s description from 2005:

This entire piece is done like a radio documentary, NPR-style, complete with interviews of average people about the “Silver Tongued Devil”. The actors who did these segments were perfect! If I had listened to this on the radio without knowing that Crazy Dog had done it, I’d have thought it was news. Who is the “Silver Tongued Devil”? He’s an incredibly famous poet from Cork who has the god-like ability to make people swoon with his words. Again, the piece is multi-layered, achieving both hilarity and poignancy.”

|MP3|

Podcast feed: http://feeds2.feedburner.com/RadioDramaRevival

Posted by Jesse Willis

BBCR4 + RA.cc: JAMES BOND: From Russia With Love RADIO DRAMA

Aural Noir: Online Audio

From Russia With Love is the third James Bond RADIO DRAMA made for BBC Radio 4 by the wife and husband team of Rosalind Ayres and Martin Jarvis. And it’s absolutely wonderful!

Compared to the movie adaptation, which complicates the plot and adds in more action sequences, this radio drama versio of the novel is much more of a straight-up espionage thriller. In fact it’s so straight-up it feels kind of like an episode of The Sandbaggers. Smart, realistic, gritty. But as with any Bond tale it’s also loaded with sexiness. I’m really in awe at the skill and scale of these adaptations.

Toby Stephens is absolutely terrific as Bond. And Olga Fedori, the spy who loves him, is the best “Bond girl” I’ve ever heard. Fedori plays Corporal Tatiana Romanova, the a Soviet state assigned seductress of 007. She’s a pawn in a game being played by SMERSH, the counter-intelligence agency of the Red Army.

Within the luxurious ninety minutes of the play you get a real sense of a story being told.

When I watch the James Bond movies it rarely occurs to me that there’s much of a plot in between the action sequences. In fact, I don’t well recall any of the Bond movie plots very distinctly. The movies, even though I mostly love them, are more apt to treat the plot’s premise as an excuse to get to the next exotic location or to the next fantastic stunt sequence. They’re more cartoon than novel. Not so with this adaption. Colonel Rosa Klebb, one of the big baddies of both, is creepy like she is in the movie, but with this radio adaptation you’ll almost feel bad for her in her later scenes. The one liners are there, but they’re not laughing jokes as much as they are punctuation marks for the gallows humour of Bond.

The radio drama adaptation offers a two kinds of Russian love, the sentimental and the soft, and the hard and the ruthless.

Indeed, the intimacy of audio version is amazing. Bundled up snugly on the Orient Express with the two sexy cold war era spies is a wondrous treat you can’t afford to let yourself miss.

Olga Fedori as Tatiana Romanova and Toby Stephens as James Bond

BBC Radio 4RadioArchives.ccSFFaudio EssentialFrom Russia With Love
Based on the novel by Ian Fleming; Performed by a full cast
1 MP3 via TORRENT – Approx. 87 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: BBC Radio 4 – The Saturday Play
Broadcast: July 21, 2012
Provider: RadioArchive.cc
It’s 1955 and the Russians plan an act of terrorism. Choice of target? James Bond. To be ‘killed with ignominy': a major sex scandal will leave his reputation, and that of MI6, in tatters. Colonel Rosa Klebb of the KGB devises a plan to lure Bond into their trap, using beautiful Corporal Tatiana Romanova as bait – plus a Spektor, the latest Russian decoding device. MI6 learns that Tatiana wants to defect and ‘M’ orders Bond to Istanbul. When Tatiana makes contact she seems to be in love with him – but is she? Either way, he soon falls for her and they leave Istanbul together, accompanied by larger-than-life Darko Kerim, Head of British Intelligence in Turkey. The climax of the drama includes a surprising confrontation between Bond and the murderous Rosa Klebb. In writer Archie Scottney’s brilliantly evocative ‘radio screenplay’, we see another side to 007. Unsure of his judgement, can he bring the lovely Tatiana safely to England, along with the precious Spektor? Will the Russians succeed in having Bond killed? If so, who is the would-be murderer?

Cast:
General/Rene ….. John Sessions
Kronsteen ….. Mark Gatiss
Major/KGB director/Barman ….. Jon Glover
Rosa Klebb ….. Eileen Atkins
James Bond ….. Toby Stephens
May ….. Aileen Mowat
‘M’ …… John Standing
Moneypenny ….. Janie Dee
‘Q’ ….. Julian Sands
Kerim ….. Tim Pigott-Smith
Manager/Conductor ….. Matthew Wolf
Tatiana ….. Olga Fedori
Announcer ….. Micky Stratford
Nash ….. Nathaniel Parker
Ian Fleming ….. Martin Jarvis

Specially composed music by Mark Holden and Michael Lopez

Director: Martin Jarvis
Producer: Rosalind Ayres
A Jarvis & Ayres production for BBC Radio 4.

From Russia With Love

Tatiana Romanova, the Hagia Sophia, and the Orient Express

Trailer for the movie version:

Posted by Jesse Willis

Crime City Central: Keller The Dog-Killer by Lawrence Block

July 19, 2012 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Aural Noir, Online Audio, SFFaudio essential 

Aural Noir: Online Audio

Crime City CentralTony Smith, of StarShipSofa, was telling me, a few months ago, that he was working on a new podcast. I’m not much for plans. I don’t like to be disappointed. I don’t want to know what’s coming out next month or next year. Instead, I look backwards into what I see as the ever settling waters of history.

Tony had said the show was going to be crime fiction themed. He was excited. I was non-committal. But, now I’m excited.

That show he mentioned has come to fruition and is perfectly wonderful.

The first episode of Crime City Central features a short story by one of the world’s all-time best crime fiction writers, Lawrence Block. Keller The Dog-Killer was first published in the May 2008 issue of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine – but it was originally a part of a novel, called Hit Parade, which itself was a part of a series of short stories that were fix’d-up into another novel (and then spawned more novels, which themselves were fairly episodic – and which included Hit Parade) – hence this short story. The “Keller” series features the adventures of Keller. He’s a shy stamp collector and curiously amiable freelance hit man who operates out of New York. You’d probably not want to know Keller in real life – he’s rather dangerous. But as a fictional character, he’s very fun to hang out with.

Keller The Dog Killer - from Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, May, 2008 - Illustration by Mark Evans

Aficionados know that Lawrence Block often narrates his own audiobooks, and he does a great job at it. But the narration here by reader Ray Sizemore is top shelf too. He does a seamless back and forth between Keller and Dot (his agent) and the story flows very smoothly.

I highly recommend giving it a listen. |MP3|

Here’s the podcast feed:

http://crimecitycentral.com/feed/

Posted by Jesse Willis

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