I love looking at Ward Shelley’s The History Of Science Fiction. It really inspires me.
I’ve, for my own amusement, done a little annotating, adding little thumbtacks noting every podcast READALONG we’ve done. But I’ve only put on the ones that are explicitly named on the chart. So, for example, even though we’ve talked about Tarzan Of The Apes I haven’t noted it because the chart only lists “Tarzan.” Similarly, we’ve done a podcast about A Princess Of Mars but as the chart only reads “John Carter” I haven’t made a notation.
But still and all, I find it fun to look at. And looking at it, it makes me want to add more!
You can click through to see more detail.
Posted by Jesse Willis
Downpour.com, Blackstone Audio’s online audiobook store, is a genuine competitor to Audible.com.
It offers audiobook downloads of titles, from Blackstone Audio’s extensive catalogue, and also those from many other audiobook publishers like Recorded Books, Harper Audio, Penguin Audio, Hachette Audio, and AudioGo.
Their subscription service is almost identically priced to Audible’s, each offers one credit per month for about $15. And, like an Audible credit Audible.com, a Downpour credit almost always gets you one audiobook.
I signed up for Downpour when they started late last Summer. And so far, I really, really like it.
I’ve had an account with Audible.com since 2001. But Audbile.com has always caused one giant problem for me: DRM.
DRM is actually designed to prevent you sharing your audiobook with your friends and family.
But worse, it can also make it difficult for you, the owner of the audiobook that you bought, to actually listen to what you have paid for.
Over the years I’ve spent countless hours trying to make an audiobook, that I bought, play on my audiobook players.
Every single time I’ve bought a new computer, iPod, iPad, or iPhone I’ve spent time authorizing and deauthorizing my devices. Sometimes it just takes a couple of minutes, sometimes hours.
Audible’s DRM makes you have to authorize your iTunes account, and your computer, and your iPhone, and your iPad, and your iPod. And you have to deauthorize your old devices to make the new devices work. You can’t have all of your devices authorized if you have more than three.
I just want my audiobooks to work like regular books, I want them to open up and give me their ideas. DRM cripples your ability to do that.
Downpour.com has no DRM at all. It just works.
In fact it works absolutely perfectly.
You make a purchase, it shows up in your online library, and then it downloads and delivers itself to your devices.
It is smoother than any audiobook service I’ve ever seen. It’s even smoother than Tantor Media’s excellent DRM-FREE download service.
If you use an iOS device for an audiobook, like I do, I’m betting Downpour.com is will work for you.
If you use a different audiobook player Downpour offers MP3s, which work with every audio player.
Posted by Jesse Willis
…I’ve just written a letter to Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, the co-founder of the torrent site The Pirate Bay. Gottfrid, who is at this moment languishing and incarcerated in a Swedish prison, is to me a prisoner of censorship (though the traditional word for it is probably political prisoner).
Among other things my letter relates of the good TPB has done for me, and countless other downloaders. I specifically point out an audio drama that was unjustifiably trampled by an evil corporation that claimed a violation of their trademark.
I wanted Gottfrid to know that his efforts to make TPB were appreciated. In my letter I also compare TPB to my public library, tell him about some of my current projects, and express my frustration with the current copyright climate.
Posted by Jesse Willis
Last year somebody* pointed out that a list of “The Top 100 Sci-Fi Books” (as organized by the Sci-Fi Lists website) was almost entirely available in audiobook form!
At the time of his or her compiling 95 of the 100 books were available as audiobooks.
Today, it appears, that list is approaching 99% complete!
I’ve read a good number of the books and audiobooks listed, and while some of them are indeed excellent, I’d have to argue that some are merely ok, and that others are utterly atrocious.
That said, I do think it is interesting that almost all of them are available as audiobooks!
Here’s the list as it stood last year, plus my added notations on the status of the missing five:
01- Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card – 1985
02- Dune – Frank Herbert – 1965
03- Foundation – Isaac Asimov – 1951
04- Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – Douglas Adams – 1979
05- 1984 – George Orwell – 1949
06- Stranger In A Strange Land – Robert A Heinlein – 1961
07- Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury – 1954
08- 2001: A Space Odyssey – Arthur C Clarke – 1968
09- Starship Troopers – Robert A Heinlein – 1959
10- I, Robot – Isaac Asimov – 1950
11- Neuromancer – William Gibson – 1984
12- Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – Philip K. Dick – 1968
13- Ringworld – Larry Niven – 1970
14- Rendezvous With Rama – Arthur C. Clarke – 1973
15- Hyperion – Dan Simmons – 1989
16- Brave New World – Aldous Huxley – 1932
17- The Time Machine – H.G. Wells – 1895
18- Childhood’s End – Arthur C. Clarke – 1954
19- The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress – Robert A. Heinlein – 1966
20- The War Of The Worlds – H.G. Wells – 1898
21- The Forever War – Joe Haldeman – 1974
22- The Martian Chronicles – Ray Bradbury – 1950
23- Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegut – 1969
24- Snow Crash – Neal Stephenson – 1992
25- The Mote In God’s Eye – Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle – 1975
26- The Left Hand Of Darkness – Ursula K. Le Guin – 1969
27- Speaker For The Dead – Orson Scott Card – 1986
28- Jurassic Park – Michael Crichton – 1990
29- The Man in the High Castle – Philip K. Dick – 1962
30- The Caves Of Steel – Isaac Asimov – 1954
31- The Stars My Destination – Alfred Bester – 1956
32- Gateway – Frederik Pohl – 1977
33- Lord Of Light – Roger Zelazny – 1967
34- Solaris – Stanisław Lem – 1961
35- 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea – Jules Verne – 1870
36- A Wrinkle In Time – Madeleine L’Engle – 1962
37- Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut – 1963
38- Contact – Carl Sagan – 1985
39- The Andromeda Strain – Michael Crichton – 1969
40- The Gods Themselves – Isaac Asimov – 1972
41- A Fire Upon The Deep – Vernor Vinge – 1991
42- Cryptonomicon – Neal Stephenson – 1999
43- The Day of the Triffids – John Wyndham – 1951
44- UBIK – Philip K. Dick – 1969
45- Time Enough For Love – Robert A. Heinlein – 1973
46- A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess – 1962
47- Red Mars – Kim Stanley Robinson – 1992
48- Flowers For Algernon – Daniel Keyes
49- A Canticle For Leibowitz – Walter M. Miller – 1959
50- The End of Eternity – Isaac Asimov – 1955
51- Battlefield Earth – L. Ron Hubbard – 1982
52- Frankenstein – Mary Shelley – 1818
53- Journey To The Center Of The Earth – Jules Verne – 1864
54- The Dispossessed – Ursula K. Le Guin – 1974
55- The Diamond Age – Neal Stephenson – 1995
56- The Player Of Games – Iain M. Banks – 1988
57- The Reality Dysfunction – Peter F. Hamilton – 1996
58- Startide Rising – David Brin – 1983
59- The Sirens Of Titan – Kurt Vonnegut – 1959
60- Eon – Greg Bear – 1985
61- Ender’s Shadow – Orson Scott Card – 1999
62- To Your Scattered Bodies Go – Philip Jose Farmer – 1971
63- A Scanner Darkly – Philip K. Dick – 1977
64- Lucifer’s Hammer – Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle – 1977
65- The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood – 1985
66- The City And The Stars – Arthur C Clark – 1956
67- The Stainless Steel Rat – Harry Harrison – 1961
68- The Demolished Man – Alfred Bester – 1953
69- The Shadow of the Torturer – Gene Wolfe – 1980
70- Sphere – Michael Crichton – 1987
71- The Door Into Summer – Robert .A Heinlein – 1957
72- The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch – Philip K. Dick – 1964
73- Revelation Space – Alastair Reynolds – 2000
74- Citizen Of The Galaxy – Robert A. Heinlein – 1957
75- Doomsday Book – Connie Willis – 1992
76- Ilium – Dan Simmons – 2003
77- The Invisible Man – H.G. Wells – 1897
78- Have Space-Suit Will Travel – Robert A. Heinlein – 1958
79- The Puppet Masters – Robert A. Heinlein – 1951
80- Out Of The Silent Planet – C.S. Lewis – 1938
81- A Princess of Mars – Edgar Rice Burroughs – 1912
82- The Lathe of Heaven – Ursula K. Le Guin – 1971
83- Use Of Weapons – Iain M. Banks – 1990
84- The Chrysalids – John Wyndham – 1955
85- Way Station – Clifford Simak – 1963
86- Flatland – Edwin A. Abbott – 1884
87- Altered Carbon – Richard Morgan – 2002
88- Old Man’s War – John Scalzi – 2005
89- COMING SOON (October 15, 2012) – Roadside Picnic – Arkady and Boris Strugatsky – 1972
90- The Road – Cormac McCarthy – 2006
91- The Postman – David Brin – 1985
92- NEWLY AVAILABLE – Stand On Zanzibar – John Brunner – 1969
93- VALIS – Philip K. Dick – 1981
94- NEWLY AVAILABLE The Cyberiad: Fables for the Cybernetic Age – Stanisław Lem – 1974
95- NOT AVAILABLE AS AN AUDIOBOOK – Cities In Flight – James Blish – 1955
96- The Lost World – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – 1912
97- The Many-Colored Land – Julian May – 1981
98- Gray Lensman – E.E. ‘Doc’ Smith – 1940
99- The Uplift War – David Brin – 1987
100- NEWLY AVAILABLE – The Forge Of God – Greg Bear – 1987
In case you were wondering, the list was compiled using the following criteria:
“A statistical survey of sci-fi literary awards, noted critics and popular polls. To qualify a book has to be generally regarded as science fiction by credible sources and/or recognised as having historical significance to the development of the genre. For books that are part of a series (with some notable exceptions) only the first book in the series is listed.”
The “Next 100″, as listed over on Sci-Fi Lists, has a lot of excellent novels and collections in it too, check that out HERE.
[*Thanks to "neil1966hardy" from ThePirateBay]
Posted by Jesse Willis
After listening to the excellent Who Knows? by Guy de Maupassant, found in H.P. Lovecraft’s Book Of The Supernatural, I’ve been looking for a definitive source for all of de Maupassant’s weird tales. I haven’t found one. I read somewhere that about 10% of his stories were tilted towards the weird, supernatural, or horror, but I haven’t seen the breakdown anywhere. The man, it says on Wikipedia, “authored some 300 short stories.” They were, of course, written in French, so there’s also the small matter of matching of various English translations of French titles – so it isn’t all completely straightforward. In the process of looking for it though I’ve learned much that I’ve found interesting.
For instance, did you know that Guy de Maupassant was the nephew of the novelist Gustave Flaubert?
Or, that he knew Henry James?
Or, that while still a youth he was shown a mummified hand by Algernon Swinburne?
I like all those facts!
So, I’m starting a list or a series of lists to track and match the various SFF related Guy de Maupassant stories I find.
Weird or weirdish:
Who Knows? – the narrator experiences strange things with the furniture of his house.
The Diary Of A Madman (aka A Madman) – a murderous judge – it’s SPOOKY, SCARY, but has no supernatural elements.
The Hand (aka The Flayed Hand) – posted about HERE.
The Inn – said to be similar to Stephen King’s The Shining, a BBC audio drama adaptation exists.
A Night in Paris (aka A Queer Night in Paris?)- ‘a paranoid nightmare: the narrator feels compelled to walk the streets’
The Horla (1887) – a diary of a man haunted by an invisible being – podcast HERE, posted about HERE.
Said to be weird:
The Story Of A Law Suit
Was It A Dream?
Was He Mad?
The Olive Grove
A Traveller’s Tale
The Man With Blue Eyes
Little Louise Roque
Beside a Dead Man
The Golden Braid
A Dead Woman’s Secret
A Night In Whitechapel
Room No. Eleven
The Blind Man
The Dead Girl
From “Contes fantastiques complets“:
La Main d’écorché
Le Docteur Héraclius Gloss
La Légende du mont Saint-Michel
Conte de Noël
La Mère aux monstres
Auprès d’un mort
La Main (La main)
Lettre d’un fou
Sur les chats
Un cas de divorce
L’Homme de Mars
Not weird, but still good:
The Necklace (aka The Diamond Necklace, aka La Parure) – a beautiful woman has a great fall – posted about HERE, and HERE, and there’s a play |PDF| and here’s a |PDF| of the story too.
The Piece Of String (aka A Piece Of Yarn) – Normandy farmers are all alike, and that’s the problem for one of them. |PDF|
The Entire Original Maupassant Short Stories by Guy de Maupassant (translated by Albert M.C. Mcmaster, A.E. Hnderson, Mme. Quesada and others) |ETEXT|
Posted by Jesse Willis
When ought you first introduce a kid to Dune? And what ought to be the first introduction? I’m thinking the paperbook, just after he or she has read The Hunger Games.
As evidence I submit, this 11 second video – recorded after hearing just the first few lines read aloud.
It delighted me more than any number of cute kitten videos viewed in the same month.
Posted by Jesse Willis