The SFFaudio Podcast #193 – Jesse, Tamahome, and Jenny, talk about audiobooks, the RECENT ARRIVALS and the NEW RELEASES.
Talked about on today’s show:
the last new releases episode was in October, Amazing Spider-Man #700 (final) is creepy, Spider-Man writer gets death threats, The World Until Yesterday by Jared Diamond is paleo, Jenny’s research paper on music from birdsong and waterfalls, Jon Catler’s microtonal Birdhouse album, Unnatural Acts by Kevin J. Anderson (Zombie P.I.), necro-maniac what’s that?, the next one has Tam’s name all over it, Chicks Kick Butt by Caine and Hughes, butt not ass?, Jenny is not Harriet Klausner, Jenny’s term “speed dating books”, The Merchant of Dreams by Anne Lyle, the ‘skrayling’ creature, Area 51 Nightstalkers by Bob Mayer, are we worried about Area 51?, Scoundrels: Star Wars by Timothy Zahn (author of the Star Wars Thrawn Trilogy), sounds like Oceans Eleven, “create suspense through problems not death”, Fantastic Imaginings edited by Stefan Rudnicki |OUR POST|, from Guy de Maupassant to Arthur C. Clarke, (22 hours), Fritz Leiber writes science fiction?, and now New Releases, Audible’s Rip-Off! project uses famous first lines from stories, which stories were the inspirations?, The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers, Jenny’s review from her blog, “don’t have sex or you’ll die!”, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, Beautiful People by Charles Beaumont |PDF| (Number 12 Looks Just Like You on The Twilight Zone), Liking What You See by Ted Chiang, we are beauty experts, Bloodchild by Octavia Butler (dramatized on 2000X), Kindred by Octavia Butler (audiodrama links here), Jenny brings up The Cleansed apocalyptic audiodrama without our prompting |OUR DISCUSSION WITH THE CREATOR|, be a prepper, we explain Forgotten Realms to Jenny, kinder means children in German, Brilliance is Audible, R.A. Salvatore was a bouncer, The Wheel Of Time by Brandon Sanderson is the last book, A World Out Of Time by Larry Niven (we’ll do a READLONG of it with Scott on 1/20/13), sounds like Spider-Man, Great North Road by Peter F. Hamilton, Toby Longworth blogs about narrating Great North Road, like the movie The Hidden, Tam asks for a new world federation of e-media, Neil Gaiman to give up book tours, Tim Ferriss doesn’t book tour, there’s a ton of new Mike Resnick, his Kirinyaga has African culture
Posted by Tamahome
The SFFaudio Podcast #166 – TOPIC: SFF FORMS (Short Story, Novella, Novellete, Novel, Fix-up, Trilogy, World)
Science Fiction Forms: Short Story, Novella, Fix-Up, Novel, Trilogy, and World. Respectively, they might be exemplified thus: Short Story (“Mars Is Heaven!“), Novella (“Flowers for Algernon“), Fix-Up (The Martian Chronicles, which contains a revised version of “Mars Is Heaven!” or The Seedling Stars, Accelerando, and Beggars In Spain, all of which began as novellas), Novel (originals, like 1984, and derivatives like Flowers for Algernon or Varley’s novel Millennium coming from his short story “Air Raid“), Trilogy (original Foundation series), World (the ultimate Foundation world or Heinlein’s Future History [shared with others] or Banks’s Culture or LeGuin’s Hainish series [created just for the authors, but let's not forget about fan fiction]). What are the special challenges and rewards in reading and writing in these diverse forms? What special challenges or rewards attend on reusing material in another form? Is the formal plasticity of SF unique among literary genres?
Talked about on today’s show:
Eric’s suggestion, literature with a capital “L”, The Dead by James Joyce, The Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man, Doomsday Book by Connie Willis, Luke’s Science Fiction Book Review Podcast, the format, the themes, the variability of short story form, the feghoot, Day Million by Frederik Pohl, Accelerando, Stories Of Your Life And Others by Ted Chiang, The Tower Of Babel, stripped away vs. embellished to the nth degree, Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes, Understand by Ted Chiang, The Bells by Edgar Allan Poe, The Black Cat, fantasy, the unexplicit story, valid reactions, the etymology of “text”, Earth Abides by George R. Stewart, a persuasive existential journey, The Scarlet Plague by Jack London, San Fransisco, short stories as objects of frivolity or training, the brilliance of an idea is not always enough, a novel can act as a community to an individual, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury vs. The Fireman by Ray Bradbury, is the novel inherently more participatory than a short story?, the failure of technology vs. the power of nature, The Masque Of The Red Death, teaching Science Fiction with short stories and novels, The Science Fiction Hall Of Fame (Volume 1), the composite novel, Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson, A.E. van Vogt, the fix-up, The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury, Accelerando by Charles Stross, Lobsters by Charles Stross, the cat changes function, “an intellectual framework”, Robert A. Heinlein’s future history, the composite novel, Isaac Asimov, future history vs. psychohistory, Michael Moorcock, I, Robot, Robbie, the three laws, Stephen Byerly and Susan Calvin, unAsimovian assumptions, the full dose of SF, Reason, The Evitable Conflict, is Stephen Byerly a robot or a man?, the Mérode Altarpiece (a medieval iconographic trope), art history, Luke doesn’t think Asimov is that clever, R. Daneel Olivaw, the three laws are fairytale laws, positronic brains are positive, the three laws are for people (not just robots), The Bicentennial Man, Asimov’s powers, Asimov’s business acumen, Brandon Sanderson, shared worlds, gods, Mormonism, Daniel Clowes, The Death Ray, Elantris, “The Alexandria Quartet” by Lawrence Durrell, reading The Martian Chronicles backwards, Luke’s fiction, Alastair Reynolds, Sherlock Holmes, Baker Street Irregulars, whodunit ain’t the attraction, The Adventure Of The Speckled Band, a matter of cutting, A Clockwork Orange, it’s better without the extra chapter, the commercial effect (or the effect of commercialism), popular literature, the flabby novel, Robert J. Sawyer, Hominids, Calculating God, William Shakespeare, The Royal Ontario Museum, horse evolution, God needs a starship!?, where to find a paleontologist, “a hundred pages of nothing happening”, a circular argument, writing to the story’s demands, Kevin J. Anderson, commercial constraints shouldn’t be points of pride, the thickness of books, The Lord Of The Rings, does more succinct = more better?, novellas are novels with threads missing?, The Hobbit, the ambition of the author, Luke is rejecting the basic premise, The Stand by Stephen King, is it a better story short or long?, changes and updates and additional material, don’t let Asimov near a typewriter unless you want something written, Against The Fall Of Night by Arthur C. Clarke, The City And The Stars, expanding everything, Monster Story, “it came to me in a dream”, Minding Tomorrow, Nightfall (the short story) vs. Nightfall (the novel), “it’s a lot like a perfectly nice novel that eventually becomes a masterpiece”, The Lion of Comarre, it’s not a commercial podcast, a civil rowdiness, Eric’s Coursera course: Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World, rechunking, forums, essays, 18,000 registered students, University of Michigan, only the competitors are qualified to judge the competitors, a history of the U.S. Civil War, Luke’s kitchen, grades, “there is no absolute abstract grade for anything”, Science Fiction and Politics (Courtney Brown), the governor of a steam engine, Luke confuses two professors, “yes, by golly, that was a very good thing of it’s kind”, The Odyssey by Homer, a foundational classic, The Bible, the Benjamin Franklin bible, there should be an SFBRP review of The Odyssey, Luke’s Matthew Mark Luke Skywalker, Star Wars, Joseph Campbell, time for coffee!
Posted by Jesse Willis
The Alloy of Law: A Mistborn Novel
By Brandon Sanderson; Read by Michael Kramer
11 hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Themes: / Fantasy / Magic / Allomancy / Feruchemy / Series / Mistborn /
Ed. – Welcome to Jeff Miller (aka The Curt Jester) to the pages of SFFaudio! This is his first review for us.
Having just finished reading the Mistborn trilogy I was delighted to see that a new novel in the Mistborn universe is about to be released. The world-building, plotting, and characters of the original trilogy got me hooked and there is plenty of potential for new books in the same universe.
The original series is epic fantasy with elements of Tolkien eucatastrophe. The Allow of Law is a standalone novel with a different feel to it. It takes place 300 years after the events of The Hero of Ages. The cultural stasis that had been maintained by the Lord Ruler has fallen apart and Scadrial is approaching a more modern age reminiscent of the turn of the 20th Century. The societal structure has changed to reflect a paid working class along with the influential families tied to the previous society.
A prominent part of the Mistborn series is the use of Allomancy and Feruchemy. Alllomancy allows those born with the ability to ingest and burn certain metals and alloys for physical and mental powers. Feruchemy is similar, though the same metals and alloys are worn and used to store attributes that can be released later. The fallout at the end of the original trilogy sets up the case where the use of one or both of these powers is more common along with the ability to use two new metals. Those having both abilities are called Twinborn.
The main protagonist is Waxillium Ladrian, a rare Twinborn, who falls into the Bruce Wayne, Tony Stark template. Born to a prominent family he spent much of his life working in the Roughs using his abilities as a sort of Marshall. Common to this template he is also the emotionally-wounded hero with past events playing a part in his dealing with other people. Circumstances bring him out of this life to have to lead his family business and as you might expect further circumstances involve him in investigating a series of robberies and kidnappings in the city.
Add in the roguish wisecracking partner along with the intelligent young woman and a nearly indestructible villain and you have all the standard devices similar to the superhero genre. The difference is that Brandon Sanderson makes it all work seamlessly and you don’t feel the sharp-edges of a put-together template. The use of Allomancy and Feruchemy provide a good framework, but it is really his characters that shine and make his novels so worthwhile. While I enjoyed the original trilogy more, I still quite enjoyed this novel and his taking the series in a different direction.
At 336 pages this is almost a novella by Brandon Sanderson standards and it certainly appears to be a start of a new series involving these characters. While this novel is considered standalone, it would be much better understood in context if you had read the original trilogy first.
Michael Kramer is once again the reader for the Mistborn series. Kramer is the type of reader who is skillful enough to read a story without making his character voicing forced. He provides enough differences in character speech patterns and accents to help you easily follow the story.
Posted by Jeff Miller
The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson, read by Michael Kramer
The Hum and the Shiver by Alex Bledsoe, read by Emily Janice Card and Stefan Rudnicki
The Apothecary by Maile Meloy, read by Cristin Milioti
Why Read Moby Dick? by Nathaniel Philbrick, read by the author
The Walking Dead: The Rise Of The Governor by Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga, read by Fred Berman
Psycho 2 by Robert Bloch, read by Paul Michael Garcia
Steel and Other Stories by Richard Matheson, read by Scott Brick
We’re Alive: Season Two by Kc Wayland, performed by full cast
Bad Moon Rising by Jonathan Maberry, read by Tom Weiner
Beggars Ride by Nancy Kress, read by Judy Young
Vacation by Matthew Costello, read by Peter Macon
To Sail Beyond the Sunset by Robert A. Heinlein, read by Bernadette Dunne
Posted by Jesse Willis
Length: 1 hour, 13 minutes
Reader: Brandon Sanderson and Emily Sanderson
The story: If you keep up with fantasy literature, you probably know Brandon Sanderson from his own large fantasy novels, such as the excellent Mistborn, the juvenile fantasy Alcatraz series or as the writer called in from the bullpen to finish the late Robert Jordan’s sprawling Wheel of Time fantasy series. So for Sanderson to be writing space opera science fiction and a short story is two unusual situations at once. He’s so successful, at least in this story, that I wonder why he doesn’t write more short science fiction.
“Firstborn” is set in a galactic empire where space navies do battle with rebel forces, complete with space fighters dogfights. Dennison Crestmar, a young nobleman in the Imperial Navy, is struggling as an unsuccessful officer who is constantly compared to his older brother, the famed admiral Varion Crestmar, who has never lost a battle. The setting, plot, and characters seem ripe for a series of clichés, but somehow Sanderson crafts these parts into an engaging and inventive story.
The reader: Sanderson, as he freely admits, is not a professional voice actor. He doesn’t have the richness of sound that the pros have and the recording quality has a bit of hiss. Yet, Sanderson is a very good amateur reader. He is expressive and seems to be enjoying reading his own work. When his wife checks in to read some of the middle portion of the story, she does an equally fine job. Although he does a good job here, I don’t think I’d like to see Sanderson narrate those fantasy novels he’s best known for; those things are long and I’d rather have him writing sequels than reading!
posted by Seth
WATCH OUT FOR THE FALSE ENDINGS (mostly attributable to Luke)
Talked about on today’s show:
Role playing game names, “Tom And His Friends” Dungeons And Dragons comedy (aka Farador), SFFaudio Challenge #2, Rebels Of The Red Planet by Charles L. Fontenay, Mars, martian rebels, Podiobooks.com, Cossmass Productions, Mark Douglas Nelson, Dan Simmons’ Hyperion, the least interesting vs. the least fitting, I’m Dreaming Of A Black Christmas by Lewis Black, Christmas = Fantasy?, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Suck It, Wonder Woman |READ OUR REVIEW|, Star Wars, what makes Star Wars Science Fiction is a sense-of-wonder?, Star Trek, METAtropolis: Cascadia, Star Trek The Next Generation narrators vs. Battlestar Galactica narrators, Wil Wheaton as a narrator, Dove Audio, Levar Burton as a narrator, liking Star Trek for all the wrong reasons, Theodore Sturgeon, Harlan Ellison, assimilation is a neat idea, “who the hell are the Borg?”, The Unincorporated Man by Dani Kollin and Eytan Kollin |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Unincorporated War, “is there true Science Fiction to be found in sequels?”, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Peter F. Hamilton’s The Void Trilogy, Blackout by Connie Willis, The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis |READ OUR REVIEW|, Firewatch, dragging the story out, Whiteout by Connie Willis, World War II, Katherine Kellgren as a narrator, Jenny Sterlin as a narrator, Recorded Books, Brilliance Audio, Audible.com, Amazon.com, Earth Abides by George R. Stewart, Deep Six by Jack McDevitt, introductions to audiobooks, the introduction as an apology for the book, Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Stainless Steel Rat by Harry Harrison, The Time Traders by Andre Norton, H.G. Wells, The First Men In The Moon, Around The Moon, Jules Verne, continuing characters rather than continuing series, Sherlock Holmes, Khyber Pass vs. Reichenbach Falls, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Valley Of Fear, The Hound Of The Baskervilles, Lois McMaster Bujold’s Miles Vorkosigan series, does reading a series defeat the hope of being surprised? Priest Kings Of Gor by John Norman, A Game Of Thrones by George R.R. Martin |READ OUR REVIEW|, fun vs. funny, crime and adventure vs. ideas, A Princess Of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Bill The Galactic Hero, Slippery Jim DiGriz, The Stainless Steel Rat’s Revenge, This Immortal by Roger Zelazny, The Speed Of Dark by Elizabeth Moon, Books On Tape, Grover Gardner, Gregg has a grumbly voice, The Space Dog Podcast, The Science Fiction Oral History Association, Gordon Dickson, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Cordwainer Smith, Scott Westerfeld, Ben Bova, Luke’s next podcast project, NaNoWriMo, what podcast schedule should you have?, Robert Silverberg AUDIOBOOKS are coming from Wonder Audio, the old stuff vs. the new stuff, Jay Snyder as a narrator, a Science Fiction story that has little SF content, autism, Charly, Understand by Ted Chiang, Flowers For Algernon, interacting with the world, I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells, psychopathy, an unreliable first person narrator, young Dexter, Asperger syndrome, The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time by Mark Haddon, a detached (but reliable) narrator, the two audiobook versions of The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time, Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson, the Baroque Cycle, Anathem, John Allen Nelson as a narrator, Phat Fiction, The Way Of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, The Towers Of Midnight by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson, walking around central park as a retired person as my new career, who listens to audiobooks?, working the unworked niche, they really like Gregg’s voice!, no RSS-feed = soooo sad, Sam This Is You by Murray Leinster, Black Amazon Of Mars by Leigh Brackett, The World That Couldn’t Be Clifford D. Simak, The Idiot by John Kendrick Bangs, The Hate Disease, Asteroid Of Fear, Industrial Revolution by Poul Anderson, A Horse’s Tale by Mark Twain, anthropomorphic fiction, A Dog’s Tale by Mark Twain, Gregg has bugles lying around, Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels, Thought You Were Dead by Terry Griggs, Iambik Audio‘s upcoming Science Fiction audiobooks, LibriVox, working with small press publishers, Extract From Captain Stormfield’s Visit To Heaven, Blackstone Audio, The Many Colored Land by Julian May, Bernadette Dunne as a narrator, time travel, The Pliocene Epoch, sequel and prequel fatigue, flooding the Mediterranean, Blake’s 7: Zen : Escape Veloctiy is a Science Fictiony audio drama series, Firesign Theatre? (he means Seeing Ear Theatre), The Moon Moth based on the story by Jack Vance, Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me The Pliers, Mistborn, Terminal World by Alastair Reynolds, Lord Of Light by Roger Zelazny, Finch by Jeff Vandermere, Flood by Stephen Baxter, thematic exploration vs. bad writing, GoodReads.com, Eifelheim by Michael Flynn |READ OUR REVIEW|, Luke’s books should be audiobooks, The Fifth Annual SFFaudio Challenge, all the cool Science Fiction ideas in Luke’s books, Gregg Margarite is a secret author with a secret pseudonym, Eric Arthur Blair, the publishing industry headache is intolerable to many, good writers + savvy marketers = sales success?, Redbelt, David Mamet, drowning in an ocean full of crap, the Jesse Willis bump?, catering to the listeners (or readers) desires vs. publishers desires, Pogoplug, Out Of The Dark by David Weber, artificial robots vs. natural robots, What Technology Wants by Kevin Kelly, art and techne, does evolution have goals?, the Cool Tools blog, eyes vs. I, natural selection, zero-point energy, the Cat in Red Dwarf was pulled to the fish dispensing vending machine, if you won’t give me eyes at least give me bilateral symmetry, goals vs. patterns or positions, starfish vs. Inuit, technology is a function of evolution, Luke re-writes The War Of The Worlds in under 20 minutes, red weed and green mist, stomach-less martians, “the final final part” and the musical version, flipping over the narrative is fun, Ender’s Game vs. Ender’s Shadow, what do the martians have against doors?, keeping the martian cannon canon, The Dragon With The Girl Tattoo by Adam Roberts.
Posted by Jesse Willis