Review of Pump Six and Other Stories by Paolo Bacigalupi

August 28, 2014 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Science Fiction Audiobook - Pump Six and Other Stories by Paolo BacigalupiPump Six and Other Stories
By Paolo Bacigalupi; Read by Jonathan Davis, James Chen, and Eileen Stevens
11 CDs – Approx. 13 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: December 1, 2010
ISBN: 9781441892201
Themes: / Science Fiction / Dystopia / Biopunk / Politics / Society/ Environmentalism / Technology / Food / Death / Thailand / Asia /

The eleven* stories in Pump Six chart the evolution of Paolo Bacigalupi’s work, including the Hugo nominated “Yellow Card Man,” and the Sturgeon Award-winning story “The Calorie Man,” both set in the world of his novel The Windup Girl. This collection also demonstrates the power and reach of the science fiction short story. Social criticism, political parable, and environmental advocacy lie at the center of Bacigalupi’s work. Each of the stories herein is at once a warning and a celebration of the tragic comedy of the human experience.

Let me get the praise out of the way first: Paolo Bacigalupi is an imaginative genius with a message. At times the writing is brilliant. “The Fluted Girl” is excellent, well-written, surely a classic. Every idea in every story is worthy of exploration and consideration and the three narrators are just fine, thanks. His views of dystopia are clever warnings; his ideas endlessly fresh and characters sympathetic. Slow pace is forgivable in his stories, like home-cooked food, worth the wait. James Chen’s reading of the Chinese accents is a great addition to the appropriate stories.

But there are problems. I don’t like having a book of short stories that doesn’t list the names – I shouldn’t have to look on-line for names of the stories and the order in which they appear. I also feel strongly that there is a missing editor. Some of the stories feel as though they are not in final draft version. If I had the print version, my teacher’s red pen would have been in hand marking suggestions for edits. Some information seemed more than unnecessary to the stories (these are short stories after all). It is disappointing that such genius is allowed “out” without polish. Is it possible that the world he created in Pump Six, where literacy has all but disappeared, is actually at its beginning, or did Paolo do it on purpose to see if we are paying attention?

Should you listen to this audiobook? Yes. Brilliant, not perfect, but should definitely not be missed.

*Only ten stories included in the audiobook:
Pocketful Of Dharma • (1999) • novelette • read by James Chen
The Fluted Girl • (2003) • novelette • read by Eileen Stevens
The People Of Sand and Slag • (2004) • novelette • read by James Chen
The Pasho • (2004) • novelette • read by Jonathan Davis
The Calorie Man • [The Windup Universe] • (2005) • novelette • read by Jonathan Davis
The Tamarisk Hunter • (2006) • short story • read by Jonathan Davis
Pop Squad • (2006) • novelette • read by Jonathan Davis
Yellow Card Man • [The Windup Universe] • (2006) • novelette • read by James Chen
Softer • (2007) • short story • read by James Chen
Pump Six • (2008) • novelette • read by Jonathan Davis

Posted by Elaine Willis

Radio Project X: Beyond Lies The Wub [AUDIO DRAMA]

November 15, 2012 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Recorded live in Toronto, this is a very faithful adaptation of Beyond Lies The Wub. It uses most of the dialogue and vocabulary from Philip K. Dick’s first published short story.

Radio Project XBeyond Lies The Wub
Adapted from the story by Philip K. Dick; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 45 Minutes [AUDIO DRAMA]
Podcaster: Radio Project X
Podcast: July 10, 2012
The slovenly wub might well have said: Many men talk like philosophers and live like fools. First published in Planet Stories, July 1952.

[via The Sonic Society]

Posted by Jesse Willis

We Can Remember It For You Wholesale by Philip K. Dick

July 30, 2012 by · 5 Comments
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Philip K. Dick’s novelette, We Can Remember It For You Wholesale, is a tale full of false memories, soulful wishes, and the planet Mars – all classic Dick themes. It’s hero, Douglas Quail, is a man who longs to visit Mars yet is shrewish wife denies him even the day-dream. But when he discovers that he’s actually already been there, as an agent for a sinister government agency, things start getting a bit confused. Is he really a deep cover Black-Ops assassin with suppressed memories and a false identity? Or is he just a sad shmendrik with delusions of grandeur?

World's Best Science Fiction 1967 - We Can Remember It For You Wholesale - illustration by Jack Gaughan

Here’s the editorial introduction, from the publication in Fantasy & Science Fiction, for We Can Remember It For You Wholesale. The article mentioned as being on “page 62″ is by Theodore L. Thomas, a noted SF writer and prolific columnist for F&SF in the 1960s. Thoma’s article is based on another entitled “THE FOOD THEY NE’ER HAD EAT” which is available as a |PDF|.

We Can Remember It For You Wholesale - Editorial introduction from F & SF

One audiobook version was recorded for BBC Radio 7, now called BBC Radio 4 Extra, and broadcast back in 2003. It’s available via torrent at RadioArchive.cc.

RadioArchives.ccWe Can Remember It For You Wholesale
By Philip K. Dick; Read by William Hootkins
2 MP3s via TORRENT – Approx. 64 Minutes [UNABRIDGED?]
Broadcaster: BBC Radio 7 (now called BBC Radio 4 Extra)
Broadcast: September 2003
Doug Quail lives in a future world of memory implants and false vacations. Doug wants to visit the planet Mars but after a mishap at a virtual travel agency, he discovers that he’s already been there. First published in Fantasy & Science Fiction, April 1966.

And, here’s the trailer for the remake of the movie of the story that Philip K. Dick wrote:

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox: The Man In Asbestos: An Allegory Of The Future by Stephen Leacock

April 17, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

LibriVoxThere’s a new great narrator working over on LibriVox and his name is Phil Chenevert.

Now when I say new I mean new-to-me, Chenevert has, apparently, been active on LibriVox since 2010. Since then he’s recorded an impressive number of audiobooks. I only discovered that after hearing his newly released, pitch perfect, reading of The Man In Asbestos: An Allegory Of The Future by Stephen Leacock (which is just one section of THIS audiobook).

You can check out all of his narrations HERE – based on what he’s recorded so far Chenevert seems to have a fondness towards children’s literature with several whole single narration audiobooks of Lewis Carroll, L. Frank Baum, and the Br’er Rabbit stories (which are awesomely accented) as well as a schooling manual (Dr. Montessori’s Own Handbook by Dr. Maria Montessori). But there are a few SF titles in his catalogue too.

LIBRIVOX - The Man In Asbestos by Stephen LeacockThe Man In Asbestos: An Allegory Of The Future
By Stephen Leacock; Read by Phil Chenevert
1 |MP3| – Approx. 27 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: April 16, 2012
A 20th century man travels to the distant future by typical means (eating donuts and reading comics) only to find himself in a museum of the 20th century. The museum’s curator isn’t exacty sure if it’s the year 3000 or not, but he is sure that life is better now that nobody dies, eats, or has a telephone. First published in 1911 as a part of Nonsense Novels.

[Thanks also to April Gonzales!]

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #104

April 18, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #104 – Scott, Jesse, and Gregg Margarite talk about two Robert Sheckley short stories, Untouched By Human Hands (aka One Man’s Poison) and Seventh Victim.

Talked about on today’s show:
extravaganza vs. jamboree vs. hootenanny, the absent article, The Tenth Victim, Is That What People Do? The Selected Stories Of Robert Sheckley, “one man’s poison is another man’s meat”, writing with your mind, On The Road by Jack Kerouac, Gregg has been on many bloody campaigns with his typewriter, Scott loves the pen and notebook, Jesse uses a camera, whiteboard technologies, our podcast about FOOD, Douglas Adams, “Sheckley is not as vaudevillian as Adams”, Tom Baker’s Doctor Who, The Pirate Planet, a building shaped like a doughnut, “food-worthy”, c-rations vs. sea rations, “fill all your stomachs and fill them right”, Hellman and Casker, how do you determine food from non-food, chemists have horribly burnt tongues, Geology exams require the use of tongues, giggling food, drinking vs. being drunk, short stories should throw off sparks, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Untouched By Human Hands was sixty years ahead of its time, Laurel And Hardy vs. Gilligan’s Island, the SyFy channel is sixty years behind the times, Melancholy Elephants by Spider Robinson |READ OUR REVIEW|, Robert A. Heinlein, copyright, Mickey Mouse vs. Mighty Mouse, keeping murder alive, Sheckley’s late career, Stanton Frelaine = Stand In the Free Lane?, The Most Dangerous Game, Richard Connell, The Lottery by Shirley Jackson, The Lifeboat Mutiny by Robert Sheckley, The Leech, Warrior Race, Watchbird, La Decima Vittima, Marcello Mastroianni, New York, World War IV, World War VI, feminism, Mindswap, the economy in Seventh Victim, wordlbuilding in a short story, Spotters, Morger, the Tens Club, a game where people kill people, “there is no such thing as human rights”, are these rights not self-evident?, thou shalt not kill/murder, “the age of the half-believer”, Catholicism vs. protestantism, cherry-picking the beliefs from the old and new testament, the three legs of the scientific method (rational, empirical, scholastic), fads, should we require a degree in science to wear a lab-coat?, cargo cults, philosophy, the Emotional Catharsis Bureau, “damn women”, “gladiatorial events complete with blood and thunder”, does a desire to murder start wars?, Gregg thinks we are vehicles for genes, Professor Eric. S. Rabkin, Genesis, 2001: A Space Odyssey, is aggressiveness (or competition) a requirement to move on, the Space Race, the architects of tech during WWII, Michael Faraday isn’t getting any royalties, copyright vs. copyfight, seek technology got a patent!, For Us The Living: A Comedy Of Customs by Robert A. Heinlein, guaranteed minimum income, William Shakespeare, West Side Story, “there are only seven stories [basic plots]“, “we stray”, Frelaine’s reaction to the suicidal Victim, the purpose of catharsis, the deep unsatisfaction of an unfinished play, an unrequited kill, how many [TV] series are canceled before their plots unfold? (too many), Dexter vs. Babylon 5 vs. Lost, Game Of Thrones, Drive, The Wire is deeply unsatisfying every episode, ambivalent storytelling, “you can’t fix this neighborhood, move.”, The Corner, Firefly and Serenity, “he had a plan”, how to watch Babylon 5, what is the message of Seventh Victim, X-Minus One, Battlefield 2, do violent video games (and computer games) reduce violence?, Penn & Teller’s Bullshit, Killer: The Game Of Assassination, Gregg wants it with collateral damage.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #103

April 11, 2011 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #103 – Scott, Jesse, Eric S. Rabkin and Luke Burrage talk about FOOD in Science Fiction and Fantasy. It is rather unpleasantly like being drunk.

Talked about on today’s show:
Luke’s got a twelve hour hunger, fairy tales, Fantasy, food sharing is coming to know the alien, what food is served in a Canadian restaurant?, Kwakiutl vs. Kwakwaka’wakw, pemmican, voyageurs, THE YELLOW PERIL podcast (The SFFaudio Podcast #051), Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Frankenstein’s creation was a vegetarian, Paradise Lost, Genesis, Cain vs. Abel, Eifelheim by Michael Flynn, the three stages of eating: veggies -> meat -> people, aliens, crazy vs. odd, inedia (fasting), breatharianism, Scott Pilgrim, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World, inspired by spirits, Neuromancer, communion, puns, Foods of the Gods: Eating And The Eaten In Fantasy And Science Fiction (Proceedings Of The J. Lloyd Eaton Conference On Science Fiction And Fantasy Lite) edited by Eric S. Rabkin, Gary Westfahl and George Edgar Slusser, more puns, The Futurological Congress by Stanisław Lem, consuming books, The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, Michael Kandel, The War Of The Worlds by H.G. Wells, evolution and food, food in pill form, Tang, Firefly, Science Fiction: prediction of the future vs. sign of the future, jetpacks, capsulized food is symbolic, lembas is super-power bread, energy drinks, food as a representation of our relationships with our bodies, The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells, yet more puns, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, food and pretty dresses, baking and bread have deep roots, Voyage To The Moon by Cyrano de Bergerac, no one ever sees a baker eating, food imagery, the centrality of bread in SFF only matches that of religion, the bread yes – the blood no, Osiris, Egypt, Greece, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams, The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe, List of races and species in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the babel fish, “it’s not the babel worm”, fish as a symbol, Pythagoras, professor smackdown, Tower Of Babel, food and sexuality, urban romance, Eat Prey Love, “man does not live by bread alone” vs. “forbidden fruit”, bread as technology, breadfruit, the garden of Eden, the tree of knowledge vs. the tree of immortality vs. the rubber tree, Trantor, Isaac Asimov’s Foundation, Coruscant, Star Wars, Sam Parkhill, The Off Season by Ray Bradbury, The Martian Chronicles, the best hot dog stand on Mars, The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus, the national food of America is the hot dog, the hot dog is the symbol of America, Manhattan, “hot dog stands all the way down”, meat paste, man as food, To Serve Man by Damon Knight, Alien, The Logic Of Fantasy by John Huntington, cannibalism, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, Galápagos by Kurt Vonnegut, The Genocides by Thomas M. Disch, The Screwfly Solution by James Triptree Jr., Beyond Lies The Wub by Philip K. Dick, further punning, vat grown meat, breeding animals to be less intelligent, a very meaty topic, Caviar by Theodore Sturgeon, vegetarianism, Fallen Dragon by Peter F. Hamilton, Luke is on the wrong side of meat history, being as unnatural as possible is what makes us human, a continuing journey towards humanity (marching on our stomachs?), social animals, mothers make food for you – witches make food of you, choosing not to eat meat vs. choosing to be monogamous, dolphin eating habits (are they porpoiseful eaters?), eating dolphin is out of line (for Luke), exploring the possibilities of empathy, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick, empathy vs. compassion, Technovelgy.com’s entry on food, an overly inclusive notion of what constitutes invention, CBC Spark, visiscreens and visiplates, Ralph 124C 41+ by Hugo Gernsback, Minding Tomorrow by Luke Burrage, Technovelgy needs more wiki, Wikipedia is endlessly useful, automated restaurant, The Food Of The Gods by H.G. Wells, food has functions beyond just sustaining our bodies, George Birdseye, Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, coffee, sharing meals via Skype.

Posted by Jesse Willis

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