The Wizard of OZ: A Steampunk Adventure (Steampunk OZ #1)
By S.D. Stuart; Narrated by Amanda C. Miller
Publisher: Ramblin’ Prose Publishing
Publication Date: November 2013
[UNABRIDGED] – 7 hours, 17 minutes
Themes: / steampunk / prison / betrayal /
There is no yellow brick road here. No emerald city. No lollipop guild. This is the Australis Penal Colony, a continent sized prison referred to the world over as the Outcast Zone.
Built to contain the world’s most dangerous criminals, OZ ended up the dumping ground for everything polite society deemed undesirable.
From inside this place, a garbled message proves Dorothy’s father is still alive, trapped in a prison with only one way in and no way out. Into this place, 17-year-old Dorothy must go if she wants to find her father and keep the promise she made to her dying mother.
She thought she had spent the past seven years preparing to overcome anything that got in the way of fulfilling her promise, but the situation she finds herself is harder and more intense than anything she has experienced before as she drops right into the middle of a power struggle for control over all of OZ. If she has any hope of surviving long enough to find her father, she will need her mother’s guts, her father’s brains and the unexpected help from those discarded and forgotten.
Everyone she meets tells her the same thing. The only person who can help her is the one prisoner who deserves to be in a place like this and refers to himself by the name, Wizard.
The Wizard always asks for something in exchange for his help. Can Dorothy afford the terrible price he will demand?
The Wizard of OZ: A Steampunk Adventure is a well-rounded story that is interesting the whole way through. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a steampunk take on The Wizard of Oz but Stuart manages to make clever nods toward different aspects of the classic when turning OZ into a massive steampunk prison. The steampunk aspects of the story are incorporated well and not over the top.
A lot of steampunk seems to go so over the top that it’s hard to follow what’s going on but that isn’t the case here. This is clearly a steampunk adventure that is not trying to be some kind of big budget movie. There are guns, swords, airships, combat, automatons, and borderline magical science all at work in this story. There is also a healthy amount of dueling, betraying, and double crossing in here too. One minor thing that I didn’t like as much (and is fairly common to steampunk) is the amount of betrayal- it was a little difficult to follow some characters’ motivations and betrayals at times because of all the double crossing going on.
Turning OZ into a prison worked out great. Since I know the story of OZ already, I kept linking pieces from this story to the classic and found that it actually works out well, even the lessons learned by the characters in the end. The story was interesting without dragging too much. The only parts that dragged for me were when some of the characters kept getting locked up in prison (it’s like a prison of prisons at times) and they sit around and talk or figure stuff out.
Amanda C. Miller does a great job as narrator for this novel. She does all the different voices and adds some good snark and attitude to Dorothy when she needs it. I never had trouble understanding her and could usually tell which character was speaking based on the voices she gave them.
Posted by Tom Schreck
The 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.
Posted by Jesse Willis
Despite the title, this is the 8th Short Science Fiction Collection from LibriVox. The accounting is wonky because #007 was preceded by #008 by a month or so (#008 was completed first). New narrators in this volume include David N. Castle, Bryden Jones, Alex Clarke and Corey M. Snow. Some of these tales are rehashes of previously incarnated recordings, but with new narrators (its time to stop re-recording Kurt Vonnegut’s 2 B R 0 2 B Librivoxers). Still, most of the ten stories are new to audio. Of most significance to me personally is the release of Ralph William’s Cat and Mouse, as read by Betsie Bush. This is a story from our 3rd Annual SFFaudio Challenge! Betsie is the first to complete an audiobook from the 3rd Challenge (she took just 3 weeks to file her claim and finish) and will soon be enjoying her pick from among the prizes. Thanks Betsie! Thanks Librivoxers!
Short Science Fiction Collection Vol. 007
By various; Read by various
10 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 4 Hours 5 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: December 05, 2008
Science fiction (abbreviated SF or sci-fi with varying punctuation and case) is a broad genre of fiction that often involves sociological and technical speculations based on current or future science and technology. This is a reader-selected collection of short stories that entered the US public domain when their copyright was not renewed.
… After A Few Words …
By Randall Garrett; Read by Corey M. Snow
1 |MP3| – Approx. 18 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
A previously recorded version exists HERE. Described as “a 1960′s virtual reality” by Brian Edwards on the LibriVox Forums.
The Bell Tone
By Edmund H. Leftwich; Read by Alex Clarke
1 |MP3| – Approx. 12 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
First published in the July 1941 issue of Comet magazine. It is no use. It’s too late. The earth—I must dig—alone.
*This story has been recorded by Miette for her podcast too |MP3|!
Cat And Mouse
By Ralph Williams; Read by Betsie Bush
1 |MP3| – Approx. 1 Hour 3 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: December 5th 2008
This was the cover story for the Astounding Science Fiction issue for June 1959. Set in Alaska, and being a most unusual Science Fiction story – it’s about hunting!
Cry From A Far Planet
By Tom Godwin; Read by Bryden Jones
1 |MP3| – Approx. 35 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
First appeared in the September 1958 issue of Amazing Science Fiction Stories. The problem of separating the friends from the enemies was a major one in the conquest of space as many a dead spacer could have testified. A tough job when you could see an alien and judge appearances; far tougher when they were only whispers on the wind.
By Frank Banta; Read by Mooseboy Alfonzo
1 |MP3| – Approx. 17 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Taken from the pages of Galaxy magazine’s December 1962 issue. Droozle was probably the greatest writer in the world—any world!
An Incident on Route 12
By James H. Schmitz; Read by James Christopher
1 |MP3| – Approx. 10 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: December 5th 2008
Previous iterations are found HERE and HERE.
The Man Who Hated Mars
By Randall Garrett; Read by David N. Castle
1 |MP3| – Approx 32 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
First published in the September 1956 issue of Amazing Stories. To escape from Mars, all Clayton had to do was the impossible. Break out of a crack-proof exile camp—get onto a ship that couldn’t be boarded—smash through an impenetrable wall of steel. Perhaps he could do all these things, but he discovered that Mars did evil things to men; that he wasn’t even Clayton any more.
The Mightiest Man
By Patrick Fahy; Read by David N. Castle
1 |MP3| – Approx. 11 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
From the pages of Worlds of If magazine (November 1961). “He had betrayed mankind, but he was not afraid of the consequences—ever!”
Posted by Jesse Willis