The SFFaudio Podcast #269 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Moth by H.G. Wells

June 16, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastSpoken Freely Presents: Summer Shorts '14The SFFaudio Podcast #269 – The Moth by H.G. Wells; read by Peter Bishop. This is a complete and unabridged reading of the short story (24 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Seth and Mr Jim Moon!

Peter Bishops narration of The Moth is a part of Spoken Freely: Summer Shorts ’14 series (get the whole audiobook at Tantor Media – all proceeds benefit ProLiteracy.

Talked about on today’s show: Subtitle “Genus Novo” means “new species”, or, well, new genus; not to be confused with Edgar Allan Poe’s The Sphinx; not tongue-in-cheek like Wells’s The New Accelerator or The Flowering of a Strange Orchid; morality tale; insanity; a “knife fight” of scientists; significance of names, especially when only heard in audio; genre: ghost story, scientific fiction, satire; bears relevance to scientific debates through the ages; Robert Hooke vs. Isaac Newton; Lawrence Krauss on Geek’s Guide podcast; “miracle of incompetence”; science “all works out in the end”; microlepidoptera are little moths; confirmation bias; death’s head moth in Silence of the Lambs; caterpillars, moths, and transformation; Pawkins misheard as “Porkins”; chess and diatoms; follows trends of horrible characters in Wells stories; erratic, gadfly behavior of the moth; giant maddening mosquitos in Canada; “unfortunately the doctor was a blockhead”, detached sadism; the monster inside you à la Alien; multiple readings of the story; The Door in the Wall; strait jackets; moths aren’t Lovecraftian; Lovecraft’s The Rats in the Walls.

A Moth - Genus Novo by H.G. Wells - illustrated by Arthur C. Becher
A Moth - Genus Novo by H.G. Wells - illustrated by Arthur C. Becher

Posted by Jesse Willis

The Seismograph Adventure by Arthur B. Reeve

December 17, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aural Noir, Online Audio 

Aural Noir: Online Audio

The Seismograph Adventure - illustrated by Winter

Professor Craig Kennedy, a scientific detective similar to Sherlock Holmes, uses his knowledge of chemistry, psychoanalysis, and the scientific method to solve mysteries. In this adventure he foresees “potentialities and possibilities unrecognized by ordinary minds, and with his profound knowledge of applied sciences, is able to approach the enormous tasks confronting him from a new and scientific angle.”

And according to Hugo Gernsback The Seismograph Adventure is “one of the finest, as well as scientific, of Arthur B. Reeve’s stories.”

LibriVoxThe Seismograph Adventure
By Arthur B. Reeve; Read by Elliott Miller
1 |MP3| – Approx. 50 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: 2010
“Can ghosts walk? And if they do, can their footsteps be recorded on a machine? And are the spirits of the phantom world subject to the same physical phenomena as our human bodies? These are tantalizing questions which arise during the thrilling and complex mystery into which Craig Kennedy and Jameson are plunged without warning.” First published in Cosmopolitan, April 1911.

And here’s a 10 page |PDF| made from its republication in Scientific Detective Monthly, March 1930.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The Hedgehog by Saki

October 29, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

One can easily imagine a story like this actually happening at an upper-crust English country seat like the fictional Downton Abbey – Ruth Golding’s fabulous narration is spot on for this cute little “ghost story” by Saki.

LibriVoxThe Hedgehog
By Saki; Read by Ruth Golding
1 |MP3| – Approx. 15 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox
Published: 2012
The busybodies at a vicarage garden party invite a one Miss Ada Bleek, from the “Society for Psychical Research”, to have a bit of a snoop at their local ghosts – she finds a very large and rather pale one.

And here’s a five page |PDF| version.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

October 7, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Doctor Sleep by Stephen KingDoctor Sleep (The Shining #2)
By Stephen King; Read by Will Patton
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication Date: 24 September 2013
ISBN: 9781442362390
[UNABRIDGED] – 18 hours, 35 minutes

Themes: / Horror / Paranormal / Thriller / Ghosts / Alcoholism /

Publisher summary:

On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless—mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky twelve-year-old Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the “steam” that children with the “shining” produce when they are slowly tortured to death.

Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant “shining” power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”

Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of hyper-devoted fans of The Shining and wildly satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon.

I’m not a fan of sequels. I’m not really sure The Shining needed a sequel. Sure there were lingering questions about Danny and Wendy at the end, but they weren’t critical in my mind. That said, Mr. King’s novels tend to interconnect on several levels, so I was curious to see what he would do in a sequel to one of his most popular books.

Doctor Sleep is a very different book from its predecessor. The shining plays a key role of course, but I would categorize this book more as Paranormal Thriller rather than Horror. I would however recommend you read/reread The Shining before this though.

The first part of the book catches you up with Danny, his mother and Dick Halloran, and then proceeds to catch us up to Danny in the present day.

Unfortunately for Danny, Mr. King is a big believer in like father like son. Danny has become an alcoholic and has the same anger issues Jack struggled with in the first story. It hard to blame him given his traumatic childhood coupled with the horrors being so strong in the shinning has exposed to him.

A good part of this story felt like an advertisement for the Alcoholics Anonymous. I’m not sure if that’s how Mr. King got himself sober, but it certainly seems like it, as he talks about it to excess. It does make for an interesting idea of “what might have happened if Jack Torrence sought help?”, but I could have done with less time being spent on that aspect of the story.

Keeping with his themes of the cyclical nature of life, the other main protagonist is a young girl who is even stronger in the shinning than Danny was in his youth.

We are also introduced to the True Knot, a pack of “physic vampires” that are near immortal by traveling the country and feeding on the shinning for their longevity. Can you guess where this is going? I could.

So it wasn’t the most unpredictable of stories, but in many ways I enjoyed it more then The Shining. I’m not a big horror fan. This book explores the shining in much greater detail than its namesake novel. Mr. King introduces some well developed new characters, and doesn’t just retell the same story again with minor changes like many sequels tend to.

Mr. Patton does an excellent job reading this book. He has many distinct voices and accents that adds a little something to the story. I was surprised they used a different reader than the The Shining, but as it turned out to be a fairly different book, I think it was a good decision.

So will you like it? If you’re a big horror fan hoping that Mr. King can scare the hell out of you again, probably not. If you’re like me and enjoy the fantastical nature of Mr. King’s novels then you just might.

Review by Rob Zak.

The Jolly Corner by Henry James

August 16, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

The Jolly Corner by Henry James

I’ve edited together, cleaned up, and Levelated the 2009 solo LibriVox narration of Henry James’ 1908 novelette The Jolly Corner.

The Jolly Corner is a ghost story, said to be rivaled only by The Turn Of The Screw. Here is narrator Nicholas Clifford’s own description:

James’s protagonist, Spencer Brydon, is an American of 56, returned to New York after 33 years in Europe, where he has apparently accomplished little while living off his New York rentals. His friendship with Alice Staverton, and his engagement in the development of a property awaken him to the possibilities that might have been his, had he chosen a different course of life. The “ghost,” if that’s what it is, is that other self that might have been, and his confrontation with that self and its possibilities leads to a deeply unsettling, yet ambiguous, conclusion.

Having been downloaded more than 7,000 times there’s still only one review on Archive.org page – but it is a very positive review, writes Kydiana:

This is an intriguing and thought-provoking tale. On the surface a ghost story, it is really a story about the ghosts which haunt our own interiors. It poses deep existential questions–Who are we, really? Would we even recognize ourselves in a life in which in which we had made different choices? What does it mean to love someone regardless of how that person develops over the course of a lifetime? Well-read. Highly recommended.

|MP3| Approx. 95 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

And, made from a scan of the original magazine publication, here’s a handy 31 page |PDF| version.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #212 – READALONG: The Willows by Algernon Blackwood

May 13, 2013 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #212 – Jesse, Mirko and Mr. Jim Moon discuss The Willows by Algernon Blackwood.

Talked about on today’s show:
Algernon Blackwood’s television show, “the ghost man”, the expansion of consciousness, the extension of human personality, ghosts, Saturday Night Story, H.P. Lovecraft’s essay Supernatural Horror In Literature, almost nothing happens, “ghoulish work”, cosmic horror, Mr. Jim Moon outlines of the story, the nameless Swede, travelogue, the Danube, a lonesome expanse, an elemental presence, the rising spirits, the shunned place, the man’s body (or the black otter), “never human in the first place”, overlapping dimensions, The House On The Borderland by William Hope Hodgson, The Black Stone by Robert E. Howard, why is it set in Europe?, The Wendigo, Blackwood actually canoed on the Danube, Marcus Aurelius, the Black Forest, Blackwood attended school in the area, hard guys, Famous Fantastic Mysteries, “the soul chilling fury of Nature’s terrible dethroned gods”, the joke becomes unfunny, Romania, Transylvania, “looks fantastic but no-one lives there!”, evidence of human habitation, we have to keep going farther and farther to find the borderlands, their thoughts are manifested, telepathy, With Morning Comes Mistfall by George R.R. Martin, a review of Bright Messenger by Algernon Blackwood from Fantasy & science Fiction, the “Diva”, nature spirits, sprites, fairies, planetary entities, nature’s policemen, WWI, haunted tree?, occult and paranormal writing, occultist jargon, the chain of being, neo-Platonism, intermediary spirits, what did these two dudes do wrong?, sacred groves, druids, devilish places, The Children Of The Stones, the stolid Swede, red Indians, the noble savage, Guy de Maupassant’s The Horla, the drowned peasant, the conical holes, Chupacabra?, alien sampling?, footprints?, fingerprints?, Jaws, the hidden monster, “having rid himself of the morsel”, empty planet, “the sounds a planet must make driving along through space”, J.R.R. Tolkien, Old Man Willow, the Withywindle, the evil trees, Tolkien was familiar with Blackwood, Tom Bombadil is a nature spirit, Goldberry is a river spirit, “he’s got a bloody song for everything”, the Wikipedia entry for willow, the bronze skinned figures, fairy mischief, fairies fuck with you, what’s with the paddles?, a sacrifice, man where was your editor?, you didn’t really do anything wrong but show up, canoeing ghost stories, Voyageurs, a deal with the devil on Christmas Eve, La Chasse-Galerie (aka “The Bewitched Canoe” aka “The Flying Canoe“), Deliverance, leisure travel vs. work travel, the drones, the last gasp of the Grand Tour, Alien vs. Evil Dead, the punishment of the idle, reckless youth, Cabin In The Woods, The Complete Weird Fiction Of Algernon Blackwood, short stories are best enjoyed in short doses.

The Willows by Algernon Blackwood - read by Wayne June

The Willows by Algernon Blackwood

La Chasse-Galerie - illustrated by Henri Julien

Posted by Jesse Willis

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