Silly Asses by Isaac Asimov

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

SFFaudio Online Audio

Silly Asses by Isaac Asimov

Maissa Bessada narrates for us Silly Asses a one page (400 word) satirical short story by Isaac Asimov.

|MP3|

Also available is a |PDF| made from a scan of the original publication in Future Science Fiction, February 1958.

And here is the complete text:

Silly Asses by Isaac Asimov

Naron of the long-lived Rigellian race was the fourth of his line to keep the galactic records.

He had a large book which contained the list of the numerous races throughout the galaxies that had developed intelligence, and the much smaller book that listed those races that had reached maturity and had qualified for the Galactic Federation. In the first book, a number of those listed were crossed out; those that, for one reason or another, had failed. Misfortune, biochemical or biophysical shortcomings, social maladjustment took their toll. In the smaller book, however, no member listed had yet blanked out.

And now Naron, large and incredibly ancient, looked up as a messenger approached.

“Naron,” said the messenger. “Great One!”

“Well, well, what is it? Less ceremony.”

“Another group of organisms has attained maturity.”

“Excellent. Excellent. They are coming up quickly now. Scarcely a year passes without a new one. And who are these?”

The messenger gave the code number of the galaxy and the coordinates of the world within it.

“Ah, yes,” said Naron. “I know the world.” And in flowing script he noted it in the first book and transferred its name into the second, using, as was customary, the name by which the planet was known to the largest fraction of its populace. He wrote: Earth.

He said, “These new creatures have set a record. No other group has passed from intelligence to maturity so quickly. No mistake, I hope.”

“None, sir,” said the messenger.

“They have attained to thermonuclear power, have they?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Well, thats the criterion.” Naron chuckled. “And soon their ships will probe out and contact the Federation.”

“Actually, Great One,” said the messenger, reluctantly, “the Observers tell us they have not yet penetrated space.”

Naron was astonished. “Not at all? Not even a space station?”

“Not yet, sir.”

“But if they have thermonuclear power, where do they conduct the tests and detonations?”

“On their own planet, sir.”

Naron rose to his full twenty feet of height and thundered, “On their own planet?”

“Yes, sir.”

Slowly Naron drew out his stylus and passed a line through the latest addition in the small book. It was an unprecedented act, but, then, Naron was very wise and could see the inevitable as well as anyone in the galaxy.

“Silly asses,” he muttered.

Asimov wrote Silly Asses on July 29, 1957. To put that in context, just ten days earlier (July 19, 1957), as a part of Operation Plumbbob the USAF filmed five Air Force officers standing directly under an atmospheric nuclear detonation. The idea was to demonstrate the safe usage of nuclear weapons over civilian populations.

Silly asses.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #224 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Exhibit Piece by Philip K. Dick

August 5, 2013 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #224 – Exhibit Piece by Philip K. Dick; read by Mark Turetsky. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the story (40 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Jenny, Maissa Bessada, and Mark Turetsky.

Exhibit Piece was first published in the August 1954 issue of If: Worlds Of Science Fiction.

Talked about on today’s show:
“Hi, I’m the main character”, a pocket universe, a time portal, is the cold war a 22nd century office feud?, looking back at the 1950s, 1950s nostalgia in the 1950s, middle class white guy, cobalt bombs, the boogeyman, global warming?, Jesse needs to listen to the fear propaganda, a historical perspective, how to build a cobalt bomb, what was he doing in there?, was Miller herded into the 1950s world?, the authority figures, the TV, the newspaper, the dreamed are secure until the dreamer wakes?, Star Trek, Barbara Adams, talking to her hair?, Trekkies, is Miller delusional?, a crack in time, a nested world, living inside a museum exhibit with a confabulated wife and children, Berkeley, California, San Francisco, New York -> N’York, public transportation (the bus) -> pubtrans, the Wikipedia entry for Exhibit Piece, citation needed, does the entire story happen in the 1950s?, did Miller have a psychotic break after reading the newspaper?, TOTAL WORLD DESTRUCTION AHEAD, the missing newspaper, Philip K. Dick’s old house, dog food for dinner, the world of the neighborhood,a mistake the Oakland Daily, I didn’t get up until noon anyway, the newspaper as the binding point, is the psychiatrist right?, the names, Grunberg, Fleming, Carnap, the philosopher Rudolph Carnap, logical positivism, the slippage of words, natural deductive logic, death panels, a priori, philosophy, Newspeak in reverse, double plus good, “Dig me?”, the Eisenhower administration, Jazz cats, the 22nd century is pretty awful, the time when men were still men, Military–industrial complex, Eisenhower’s field rank, misplaced power, a golden age, the greying of the world, even the robot thinks he’s weird, how smokeable is two centuries old tobacco?, is the future the delusion?, was anti-hist a term at the time?, gorning!, transformed language, Russian River, incongruous authority figures, the highest ranking official in the world directorate doesn’t have anything better to do, delusions of grandeur, maybe history is just that important to them, Hampton Court Palace, who is the museum for?, what a weirdo, the business suit as a uniform, similar Philip K. Dick short stories, Upon The Dull Earth by Philip K. Dick, resurrection, The Commuter by Philip K. Dick, only the reader can see it, how are the worlds linked?, the version where Miller is crazy, Second Life, computer generate realities, World Of Warcraft grinding day and night, sorta-real gold, there’s no distinguishment between realities, Breakfast At Twilight by Philip K. Dick, time travel, the Cold War, idealized suburban lifestyle, a fleet of Russian robots (drones), fear of nuclear war 1950s – 1980s, Russian spy stories, fear of AIDS, AIDS education in Kindergarten!, blast radii, things are going to be great, Mark Turetsky has been narrating audiobooks since 2009, nerdy kids books, Pi In The Sky by Wendy Mass, a Recorded Books Book, Mark’s like a Kirby Heybourne type, the zombie books, Little Brother by Cory Doctorow, Cloud Atlas, Gone Girl, Ace Galaksi is a Canadian comedic audio drama miniseries.

Exhibit Piece by Philip K. Dick

Exhibit Piece illustrated by Paul Orban

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #200 – READALONG: Mars Needs Books! by Gary Lovisi

February 18, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aural Noir, Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #200 – Jesse, Mirko, and Gary Lovisi discuss the Science Fiction novel Mars Needs Books! by Gary Lovisi.

Talked about on today’s show:
the great description, Audible.com, it’s a prison novel, it’s a dystopian science fiction novel, it’s a book collector’s novel, Philip K. Dick, a reality dysfunction, The Man In The High Castle, 1984 by George Orwell, “retconning“, Stalin, airbrushing history, a new Science Fiction idea!, Amazon’s Kindle, Mark Twain, “The Department Of Control”, J. Edgar Hoover, Simon is the most evil character ever, oddball individualists, a straw man gulag, one way of keeping the population in control is to send troublemakers away, another is to give them someone to hate, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein, the Attica Prison riot (1971), Arabella Rashid, entertainment media, when you can’t tell what the truth is anymore it’s very easy to control people, maybe it’s an allegory for our times, Paperback Parade, SF writers were wrong about what our times are like, Mars, crime novels, Science Fiction as a metaphor, people are scared of reading, “I like good writing”, Richard Stark’s Parker novels, getting the word out about Mars Needs Books!, Gargoyle Nights, H.P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, Jack Vance, horror, fantasy, nice and short, short books pack a punch (and don’t waste your time), Stephen King, Patrick O’Brian, ideas, paperback novels from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, customers want thick books, Winter In Maine by Gerard Donovan, were looking at a different readership today, James M. Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice, there’s nothing that doesn’t add to the story, “Lawrence Block is scary good”, Donald E. Westlake, Robert Bloch, Eight Million Ways To Die, A Pair Of Recycled Jeans by Lawrence Block, Evan Hunter (Ed McBain), Charles Ardai (was on SFFaudio Podcast #090), book-collectors, Murder Of A Bookman by Gary Lovisi (is also on Audible.com), collectable glassware, Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine, cool dialogue, Driving Hell’s Highway by Gary Lovisi (also on Audible.com), That Hell-bound Train by Robert Bloch, noir, Violence Is The Only Solution by Gary Lovisi (paperback), hard-boiled, revenge, betrayal, personality disorder, Sherlock Holmes, westerns, “if there’s one truth in the universe that I know it’s that Germans love westerns”, which frontier are you talking about?, The Wild Bunch, a western with tommyguns, Akira Kurosawa, Outland (is High Noon in space), Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan, hard-boiled, violence, the Martian national anthem, Prometheus Award, libertarian motifs, world-building, GryphonBooks.com, Hurricane Sandy, Wildside Press, POD Books, eBooks, fire and water, that paperback is still in readable condition in 150 years?, fanzines, Jack Vance, The Dying Earth, Robert Silverberg, Dell Mapbacks, paperbacks were disposable, used bookstores, sex books.

Audible - Mars Needs Books! by Gary Livosi

Posted by Jesse Willis

Radio Project X: The Other Celia [AUDIO DRAMA]

November 19, 2012 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Radio Project X, a great new audio drama troupe out of Toronto, makes a combination of compelling and humorous audio dramatizations – recorded live on stage. The latest one to reach my ears is centered around a terrific adaptation of a creepy Theodore Sturgeon story entitled The Other Celia (aka The Blonde With The Mysterious Body). Like the other Radio Project X episodes already released, this program is followed by a series of skits, all funny, and all very Canadian – the kind you’d hear on CBC radio in years past.

Highly recommended!

Radio Project XThe Other Celia
Adapted from the short story by Theodore Sturgeon; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 1 Hour 10 Minutes [AUDIO DRAMA]
Podcaster: Radio Project X
Podcast: August 14, 2012
Something drastic should happen to all snoopers – but nothing as awful and frightful as this! First published in Galaxy, March 1957.

The Other Celia by Theodore Sturgeon

The Other Celia - illustrated by Dillon

[via The Sonic Society]

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #162 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The New Mother by Lucy Clifford

May 28, 2012 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #162 – The New Mother by Lucy Clifford, read by Heather Ordover (of Craftlit). This is a complete and unabridged reading of the short story (21 Minutes) followed by a discussion of it by Jesse, Tamahome, Julie Davis, and Heather Ordover.

Talked about on today’s show:
Brownies!, The Mote In God’s Eye by Larry Niven, what is the lesson of The New Mother, naughtiness will be punished without chance of redemption, Lucy Clifford’s children were good, the big people, Coraline by Neil Gaiman, button eyes, crafty, The Father Thing by Philip K. Dick, Philip K. Dick had two fathers, glass eyes and a wooden tail, stand the baby on it’s head, “don’t talk to strangers”, free range children, scared straight, dancing dogs, hopelessness, don’t give in to temptation, “listen to your mother”, the magic cupboards, cargo cult mindset, is the girl the devil?, Something Wicked This Way Comes, creepy warnings, has the girl been the victim of a curse?, a moral story, evil things sometimes look attractive, Anyhow Stories: Moral And Otherwise, the Wikipedia entry for Coraline, The Father Thing and Coraline have hope, horror, The Shining by Stephen King, G.K. Chesterton “fairy tales are more than true”, The Hanging Stranger by Philip K. Dick, To Kill A Mockingbird, Stand By Me, BB guns vs. aliens, did Dick read The New Mother?, Beyond The Door by Philip K. Dick, fantasy, the world is a magical place for children, the magic of housework, mom’s like God providing manna, the “good clock” that tries to keep going, frozen peas and creamed corn, the McCarthy era, The Twilight Zone, The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street, Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, child abuse, untrustworthy parents, “this is real”, stepping into adulthood, 19th century, 1950s, Coraline’s ineffectual parents, the Turkey and Blue Eyes, what happened to the turkey?, what’s up with the peardrum?, the Dictionary Of American Regionalisms, horrormasters.com, “it’s too heavy“, deception vs. self-deception, when do we learn do we naughty?, or do we learn it?, is it a game?, naughty vs. evil, reverse psychology, Tom Sawyer, a dead rat on a string, what’s the deal with the missing father?, fairy tales, Persuasion by Jane Austen, away at sea, fun garages, the feeling of bigness, Julie makes it all sound homey, Philip K. Dick’s father was a WWI veteran, pastoral vs. mechanized hell, Vietnam veterans, the new father in Coraline, the s-word, the movie of Coraline, a giant spider with bony arms, Neil Gaiman’s inspirations are classic literature, The Graveyard Book, The Jungle Book, Silas, Nobody Owens’ governess is named Mrs. Lupescu, Mr. Lupescu by Anthony Boucher, Weird Tales, Neil Gaiman is a fantasy master like J.R.R. Tolkien or Robert E. Howard, The Sandman, Aladdin, The Sandman: Season Of Mists, rescuing readers with Neil Gaiman, the teacher’s conundrum, there’s nothing better for a young reader than comics, Red Nails by Robert E. Howard, comic adaptations, don’t play down to your audience, Gargoyles, William Shakespeare, don’t pile on memorization, pile on fun, everything of value is learned through story, if you invert everything the girl in The New Mother you still don’t know what’s going on, is she just evil?, did she sit upon a baby?, are the two dogs the man and woman missing from the box?, many locks and many keys, unanswered questions, “perhaps you’ve lost yourself”, levels of naughtiness, being naught isn’t following orders, truth in advertizing, critical thinking, Grimm’s fairy tales, the etymology of “grim”, the University of Arizona, Grima Wormtongue, Harry Potter, Grimm, Once Upon A Time, Lee Arenberg, “to wend the grim tooth” (to recourse to harsh measures).

The New Mother - Then She Kissed Them
The New Mother - A Peardrum

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox: The City At World’s End by Edmond Hamilton

March 25, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Produced for SFFaudio Challenge #6, The City At World’s End is terrific audiobook. Part of that’s because Mark Nelson’s narration is super-listenable and the other part is because the novel itself is very keen Science Fiction.

If you’re a Superman fan the plot may remind you of a particular issue of Action Comics (#300) – that’s the one in which Superman travels to the distant future of Earth only discover it emptied of life and with a giant red Sun in its sky. Indeed, the similarities between the two tales would be very eerie were it not for the fact that both were written by Edmond Hamilton!

I’m halfway through The City At World’s End and am really enjoying it. The prejudices, assumptions, and attitudes of the townsfolk are all vintage 1950, but the idea quotient is very high. Hamilton has thought through a lot of the problems he makes his characters face. If you’re familiar with Robert A. Heinlein’s Farnham’s Freehold, in which a family is transported into Earth’s future, you’ll find The City At World’s End to be a kind of macroscopic version of that – and both novels start with a really big, and highly unnatural, bang.

Or, if you’re looking more contemporaneously, you could think of The City At World’s End as a kind of highly inverse version of Terra Nova (because they go forward in time not back, and what was bad on TV is actually good in the audiobook). I highly recommend you give The City At World’s End a listen!

Galaxy Novel - City At World's End by Edmond Hamilton

The City At World’s End
By Edmond Hamilton; Read by Mark Nelson
21 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 7 Hours 6 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: March 20, 2012
The pleasant little American city of Middletown is the first target in an atomic war – but instead of blowing Middletown to smithereens, the super-hydrogen bomb blows it right off the map – to somewhere else! First there is the new thin coldness of the air, the blazing corona and dullness of the sun, the visibility of the stars in high daylight. Then comes the inhabitant’s terrifying discovery that Middletown is a twentieth-century oasis of paved streets and houses in a desolate brown world without trees, without water, apparently without life, in the unimaginably far-distant future.

Podcast feed: http://librivox.org/rss/6121

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

Here’s the |PDF|.

And for people like me I’ve also made a single giant 7 hour |MP3| version – which you can download from our server. It’ll be especially useful for iPod users as it has art, is tagged “Audiobook”, and is also checked with “remember playback position.” Even better it has been volume adjusted. Let me know if you like it!

Cover and illustrations from the appearance of The City At World’s End in Startling Stories, July 1950:

Startling Stories, July1950 COVER - The City At World's End by Edmond Hamilton

Startling Stories, July 1950 Table Of Contents (includes The City At World's End)

The City At World's End - from Startling Stories, July 1950 - Page 11

The City At World's End - from Startling Stories, July 1950 - Page 13 and 14 combined

The City At World's End - from Startling Stories, July 1950 - Page 13 and 14 combined

More covers:

Fells - City At World's End by Edmond Hamilton

Fawcett - City At World's End by Edmond Hamilton

CREST - City At World's End by Edmond Hamilton

Ballantine - City At World's End by Edmond Hamilton

And one more image, from the cover of Urania:

Urania #386

[Thanks also to DaveC, Barry Eads, and Gerard Arthus]

Posted by Jesse Willis

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