Commentary: Downpour.com – an audiobook delivery system that just works

March 6, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Commentary 

SFFaudio Commentary

Downpour.comDownpour.com, Blackstone Audio’s online audiobook store, is a genuine competitor to Audible.com.

It offers audiobook downloads of titles, from Blackstone Audio’s extensive catalogue, and also those from many other audiobook publishers like Recorded Books, Harper Audio, Penguin Audio, Hachette Audio, and AudioGo.

Their subscription service is almost identically priced to Audible’s, each offers one credit per month for about $15. And, like an Audible credit Audible.com, a Downpour credit almost always gets you one audiobook.

I signed up for Downpour when they started late last Summer. And so far, I really, really like it.

I’ve had an account with Audible.com since 2001. But Audbile.com has always caused one giant problem for me: DRM.

DRM is actually designed to prevent you sharing your audiobook with your friends and family.

But worse, it can also make it difficult for you, the owner of the audiobook that you bought, to actually listen to what you have paid for.

Over the years I’ve spent countless hours trying to make an audiobook, that I bought, play on my audiobook players.

Every single time I’ve bought a new computer, iPod, iPad, or iPhone I’ve spent time authorizing and deauthorizing my devices. Sometimes it just takes a couple of minutes, sometimes hours.

Audible’s DRM makes you have to authorize your iTunes account, and your computer, and your iPhone, and your iPad, and your iPod. And you have to deauthorize your old devices to make the new devices work. You can’t have all of your devices authorized if you have more than three.

I just want my audiobooks to work like regular books, I want them to open up and give me their ideas. DRM cripples your ability to do that.

Downpour.com has no DRM at all. It just works.

In fact it works absolutely perfectly.

You make a purchase, it shows up in your online library, and then it downloads and delivers itself to your devices.

It is smoother than any audiobook service I’ve ever seen. It’s even smoother than Tantor Media’s excellent DRM-FREE download service.

If you use an iOS device for an audiobook, like I do, I’m betting Downpour.com is will work for you.

If you use a different audiobook player Downpour offers MP3s, which work with every audio player.

Posted by Jesse Willis

New Releases: Dick, van Cauwelaert, Preston/Child, Harrison, Bradbury, Homer, Arkin, Fulton, Abercrombie, More

March 6, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, New Releases 

New Releases

The Wikipedia entry notes that this story is in the public domain!

BRILLIANCE AUDIO - The Adjustment Bureau by Philip K. DickThe Adjustment Bureau (aka Adjustment Team)
By Philip K. Dick; Read by Phil Gigante
1 CD – Approx. 1 Hour [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: March 4, 2011
ISBN: 9781441894694
Sample |MP3|
The Adjustment Bureau is a major motion picture based on Philip K. Dick’s classic paranoid story, The Adjustment Team. This is the short story, The Adjustment Team, which asks the question – Do we control our destiny, or do unseen forces manipulate us? Ed Fletcher is a real estate agent with a normal life, until one day he leaves the house for work a few minutes later than he should have. He arrives at a terrifying, grey, ash world. Ed rushes home and tells his wife, Ruth, who goes back to the office with him. When they return, everything is normal. But he soon realizes people and objects have subtly changed. Panic-stricken, he runs to a public phone to warn the police, only to have the phone booth ascend heavenward with Fletcher inside…

Trade in Liam Neeson and the movie for Bronson Pinchot and the audiobook…

BLACKSTONE AUDIO - Unknown by Dider van CauwelaertUnknown (A Special Edition of Out of My Head)
By Didier van Cauwelaert; Translated by Mark Polizzotti; Read by Bronson Pinchot
4 CDs – Approx. 4 Hours 21 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: December 2010
ISBN: 9781441759788
This fast-paced thriller is the basis for the February 2011 film Unknown, starring Liam Neeson, Frank Langella, Diane Kruger, and Aidan Quinn. Martin Harris returns home after a short absence to find that his wife doesn’t know him, another man is living in his house under his name, and the neighbors think he’s a raving lunatic. Worse, not a single person — family, colleague, or doctor — can vouch for him. Worse still, the impostor shares all of Martin’s memories, experiences, and knowledge, down to the last detail. He is, in fact, a more convincing Martin than Martin himself. Is it a conspiracy? Amnesia? Is Martin the victim of an elaborate hoax, or of his own paranoid delusion? In his high-powered new novel, Didier van Cauwelaert, the award-winning author of One-Way, explores the illusory nature of identity and the instability of the things we take for granted. Dispossessed of his job, his family, his name, and his very past, Martin Harris is an Everyman caught in an absurd and yet disturbingly convincing nightmare, one that seems to have no exit and that resists every explanation. Part moral fable, part Robert Ludlum-style thriller, Unknown is a fast-paced tale of one man’s desperate attempt to reclaim his existence — even at the cost of his own life.

HACHETTE AUDIO - Gideon's Sword by Douglas Preston and Lincoln ChildGideon’s Sword
By Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child; Read by John Glover
9 CDs – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Published: February 22, 2011
ISBN: 9781600249976
Introducing Gideon Crew: trickster, prodigy, master thief GIDEON’S SWORD At twelve, Gideon Crew witnessed his father, a world-class mathematician, accused of treason and gunned down. At twenty-four, summoned to his dying mother’s bedside, Gideon learned the truth: His father was framed and deliberately slaughtered. With her last breath, she begged her son to avenge him. Now, with a new purpose in his life, Gideon crafts a one-time mission of vengeance, aimed at the perpetrator of his father’s destruction. His plan is meticulous, spectacular, and successful. But from the shadows, someone is watching. A very powerful someone, who is impressed by Gideon’s special skills. Someone who has need of just such a renegade. For Gideon, this operation may be only the beginning…

Here’s a public domain, single narrator, audiobook that’s caught my eye…

Planet Of The Damned by Harry HarrisonPlanet of the Damned
By Harry Harrison; Read by Jim Roberts
Audible Download – Approx. 6 Hours 11 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Jimcin Recordings (through Audible.com)
Published: June 10, 2010
In Planet of the Damned, Brion Brandd, the winner of “The Twenties”, a kind of planet-wide Olympics of both mind and body, barely has time to savor his victory when he is called away by a previous winner to help save Dis, a planet that seems intent on its own destruction and the destruction of it’s neighbor. When Brion and his friend Lea arrive on Dis, they are confronted by baffling questions. What planetary evolution has caused such a difference in the inhabitants? Why are one set of people deeply connected with the planet and one totally unconnected to anything but dominance and destruction? He must find the answersto these questions and find the link essential to saving both worlds while racing against a doomsday clock. It will take all their skill, courage, and empathy to do this.

I love that Tantor Media is releasing a short story collection AND listing the contents disc by disc…

TANTOR MEDIA - Long After Midnight by Ray BradburyLong After Midnight
By Ray Bradbury; Read by Michael Prichard
8 CDs – Approx. 9 Hours 30 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Media
Piblished: July 26, 2010
In twenty-two stories of amazing range and variety, Ray Bradbury once again works his special magic, sounding out life’s mysteries in the past, present, and the future. Two drifters caught in the backwash of space wander from city to dead city, sifting the rubble for the fabled Blue Bottle of Mars—and find in it two different, equally entrancing, dooms… A young boy in Green Town, Illinois, does not marry—yet marries—his beloved eighth-grade teacher… In the hell of a Manhattan July night, Will Morgan is offered a possibly Mephistophelean proposal by which he might gain a perfect love and a magical immunity… A jealous husband who orders an exact replica of his unfaithful wife from an android manufacturing company (purpose: murder) runs afoul of the compassionate new “live robot” law… At forty-eight, seized with an overwhelming desire to settle an old score, a man journeys back into the past under the spell of his “utterly perfect, incredibly delightful idea,” only to recoil in stunned disbelief when he confronts, at last, his former tormentor… Bradbury’s imaginative field is boundless. In this book, his stories carry us from the cozy familiarity of the small-town America we lived in in Dandelion Wine to the frozen desert and double moon that have been part of our interior landscape since The Martian Chronicles. His characters range from the “ordinary”—a rookie cop, an unhappy wife on vacation in Mexico, an old parish priest hearing confession—to the quite extraordinary: the parrot to whom Ernest Hemingway confided the plot of his last, greatest, never-put-down-on-paper novel, and a woman who, in New York City in the summer of 1974, hangs out a sign reading “Melissa Toad, Witch.” Fantastic or conventional, chillingly suspenseful or hauntingly nostalgic, each of these stories has that aura of the unexpected combined with the special ring of absolute rightness that is brilliantly, uniquely Bradbury.

Track List for Long After Midnight:

Disc 1
“The Blue Bottle”—Track 1
“One Timeless Spring”—Track 10
“The Parrot Who Met Papa”—Track 16
Disc 2
“The Burning Man”—Track 2
“A Piece of Wood”—Track 9
“The Messiah”—Track 13
“G.B.S.—Mark V”—Track 21
Disc 3
“The Utterly Perfect Murder”—Track 3
“Punishment Without Crime”—Track 11
“Getting Through Sunday Somehow”—Track 19
Disc 4
“Drink Entire: Against the Madness of Crowds”—Track 1
“Interval in Sunlight”—Track 11
Disc 5
“A Story of Love”—Track 9
“The Wish”—Track 17
Disc 6
“Forever and the Earth”—Track 2
“The Better Part of Wisdom”—Track 17
Disc 7
“Darling Adolf”—Track 4
“The Miracles of Jamie”—Track 17
Disc 8
“The October Game”—Track 1
“The Pumpernickel”—Track 8
“Long After Midnight”—Track 11
“Have I Got a Chocolate Bar for You!”—Track 16
Not exactly new, but definitely worth highlighting…

BLACKSTONE AUDIO - The Odyssey Of HomerThe Odyssey of Homer
Based on the epic poem by Homer; Performed by a full cast
8 CDs – Approx. 9.3 Hours [RADIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: April 2003
ISBN: 0786192836
When this groundbreaking serialized dramatization premiered on radio, critics were unanimous in their praise, calling it “a feast for the ears” and “a magnificent blend of scholarship and showmanship.” It won numerous honors including the George Foster Peabody Award, the Pulitzer Prize of broadcasting. Now, twenty years after its first airing, Blackstone Audio is pleased to present this outstanding production, dramatized here with intermittent discussions by classical scholars. The 2,600-year-old poem tells of a man, a hero of cunning rather than brawn, who inhabits three worlds: the world of his own reality, the world of the gods and demigods, and the world of magic and monsters. The interweaving of these three worlds contributes significantly to the delight that The Odyssey has inspired throughout the ages.

It’s always exciting when a Science Fiction author writes his own biography (or memoir). Yes, in case you don’t believe it, Alan Arkin is really an SF author!

Blackstone Audio - An Improvised Life by Alan ArkinAn Improvised Life: A Memoir
By Alan Arkin; Read by Alan Arkin
4 CDs – Approx. 4.3 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: March 2011
ISBN: 9781441782274
In this insightful memoir, Oscar-winning actor Alan Arkin reflects back on finding his place as an actor and what theater—specifically the improvisational sort—has taught him about the craft and life. Alan Arkin knew he was going to be an actor from the age of five. From this early age, he recognized that “every film I saw, every play, every piece of music fed an unquenchable need to turn myself into something other than what I was.” An Improvised Life is Arkin’s wise and unpretentious recollection of the process, artistic and personal, of becoming an actor and a revealing look into the creative mind of one of the best practitioners on the stage and screen. Arkin, in a manner that is direct, down-to-earth, accessible, and articulate, reveals not just insights about himself but truths for the rest of us about our sense of self, our work, and our relationships with others.

The cover has a flying car. That seems unlikely. Flying trucks and or trains would be my guess.

RANDOM HOUSE AUDIO - PHYSICS OF THE FUTURE  by Michio KakuPhysics Of The Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny And Our Daily Lives By The Year 2100
By Michio Kaku; Read by Feodor Chin
13 CDs – Approx. 16 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Random House Audio
Published: 3/15/2011
ISBN: 9780307877055
In stunningly lucid fashion, award-winning theoretical physicist Michio Kaku synthesizes a vast amount of information to present an exciting roadmap of the century ahead, showing us just what life will be like in 2100. Discussing how science and technology will change our lives over the coming century, Michio Kaku calls on his own expertise and his phenomenal contacts to construct a fascinating and detailed look at the future. He discusses computer technology, artificial intelligence, medicine, nanotechnology, space travel, energy production, and the economy. Combining his own research with that of a myriad of experts, he forecasts a century of earthshaking advances in technology that make even the last centuries’ leaps and bounds seem insignificant. By 2100, the world will have changed dramatically: -Computers, as we know them, will likely cease to exist. Instead chips implanted in contact lenses will project your email, the front page of the newspaper, and in fact anything you currently see on a monitor directly onto your retina, and the cutting edge computer technology will be quantum computers which calculate using subatomic particles. -Life expectancy will probably reach 150 years. Our clothing will constantly monitor our vital signs and alert us to danger, and nanobots will continually scan our cells for signs of cancer. -We will be able to build entire buildings–atom by atom–using nanotechnology. -Most of our energy will come from non-polluting fusion reactors. -Cars will drive themselves with the help of GPS and an intricate network that monitors traffic patterns. The car will not have wheels but instead it will float on a cushion of air using cheap superconductors to create powerful magnetic fields which use up almost no energy. -Although we will probably have permanent manned-bases in space, the most far-reaching exploration will be conducted by millions of needle-sized space ships shot at near the speed of light to distant stars. And as remarkable as this all seems, it’s only the tip of the iceberg. Michio’s vision is both optimistic and exuberant, but he also takes us through a step-by-step progression of likely achievements to show just why his forecast is realistic and, in many cases, inevitable. He also has a keen sense for the types of technologies we, as a species, are predisposed to actively pursue and therefore can separate what things we are likely to accomplish from those that will be relegated to the scrap heap of technology. In the end, he looks at how these developments will affect the way we work, the way we play and in fact, the very society in which we live in 2100.Like Physics of the Impossible and Visions before it, The Physics of the Future is an exhilarating ride through the next hundred years of breathtaking scientific revolutions.

In case you were wondering: Henning, Laurie and Robin are all dudes.

RANDOM HOUSE AUDIO - The Troubled Man by Henning MankellThe Troubled Man
By Henning Mankell; Translated by Laurie Thompson; Read by Robin Sachs
14 CDs – Approx. 17 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Random House Audio
Published: 3/29/2011
ISBN: 9780307877963
On a winter’s day in 2008, Hakan von Enke, a retired high-ranking naval officer, disappears during his daily walk in a forest near Stockholm . The investigation into his disappearance falls under the jurisdiction of the Stockholm police, but Wallander is personally affected: Enke is his beloved daughter Linda’s father-in-law. Before long, in his inimitable way, Wallander is interfering in matters that are not his responsibility, making promises he has no intention of keeping, telling lies when it suits him, paying little attention to normal procedure (including the law)–and, unlike the other detectives on the case, getting results. But the results seem to be pointing to elaborate Cold War espionage activities that confound even this master detective and grow more confounding the more he uncovers.The “troubled man” of the title is not just Enke, but also Wallander himself. The delighted grandfather of Linda’s newborn daughter, he is nonetheless obsessed with his physical and mental deterioration, negligent of his health and certain that at age 60, he’s on the threshold of senility. Haunted by his past, desperate to live up to the hope that his granddaughter presents him with, facing the future with profound uncertainty, Wallander will be forced to come face to face with his most intractable adversary: himself. Suspenseful, darkly atmospheric, psychologically gripping, THE TROUBLED MAN is Henning Mankell at his mesmerizing best.

To promote The Heroes, Joe Abercrombie went on the new Orbit Books podcast. Abercrombie was ok, but the host, Jack Womack, sounded like he’d bet every cent he owned on the novel being a bestseller. He’s not exactly obsequious, but the hyperbolic doesn’t do it for me. Have a listen |MP3|, judge for yourself.

TANTOR MEDIA - The Heroes by Joe AbercrombieThe Heroes
By Joe Abercrombie; Read By Michael Page
18 CDs – Approx. 22 Hours 30 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Media
Published: March 2011
ISBN: 9781400118472
They say Black Dow has killed more men than winter and clawed his way to the throne of the North up a hill of skulls. The King of the Union, ever a jealous neighbor, is not about to stand by smiling while Black Dow claws his way any higher. The orders have been given, and the armies are toiling through the northern mud. Thousands of men are converging on a forgotten ring of stones, on a worthless hill, in an unimportant valley, and they’ve brought a lot of sharpened metal with them. Bremer dan Gorst, disgraced master swordsman, has sworn to reclaim his stolen honor on the battlefield. Obsessed with redemption and addicted to violence, he’s far past caring how much blood gets spilled in the attempt. Even if it’s his own. Prince Calder isn’t interested in honor, and still less in getting himself killed. All he wants is power, and he’ll tell any lie, use any trick, and betray any friend to get it. Just as long as he doesn’t have to fight for it himself. Curnden Craw, the last honest man in the North, has gained nothing from a life of warfare but swollen knees and frayed nerves. He hardly even cares who wins anymore; he just wants to do the right thing. But can he even tell what that is with the world burning down around him? Over three bloody days of battle, the fate of the North will be decided. But with both sides riddled by intrigues, follies, feuds, and petty jealousies, it is unlikely to be the noblest hearts or even the strongest arms that prevail. Three men. One battle. No Heroes.

I read this in my teens, along with a number of other classics, I should probably revisit.

TANTOR MEDIA - Utopia by Sir Thomas MoreUtopia
By Sir Thomas More; Translated by Bishop Gilbert Burnet; Read by Simon Prebble
4 CDs – Approx. 4 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Media
Published: February 23, 2011
ISBN: 9781452601212
Sir Thomas More’s Utopia has spurred debate, reflection, and critical thinking since its original publication in the sixteenth century. More’s fictional island of Utopia provides an exploration of issues that shook him and his contemporaries and that continue to be problematic in the modern day. The details of More’s utopian society, such as the permissibility of euthanasia and comments on chastity in the priesthood, combine with proposals of coexisting varied religions to put forth a work that incorporates the totality of More’s religious, sociological, and philosophical talents.

A steampunk spoof with zombies from Meatball Fulton (aka Thomas Lopez)…

ZBS Foundation - Lady Windermere's Brass Fantabulous - Part TwoLady Windermere’s Brass Fantabulous, Part 2
By Meatball Fulton; Performed by a full cast
1 CD or MP3 Download – Approx. 75 Minutes [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: ZBS Foundation
Published: January 28, 2011
The Zombies were created to fight the Not-So-Great-War. The Krauts have been using zeppelins to drop canisters of synthetic Zombie gas on various villages in hopes of creating a ravenous fighting force. Our hero, Butterfield-Smith, was flying low over the Rhineland when patriotic Prussian peasants pelted his plane with tomatoes and cauliflowers. The Prussian’s ground artillery, seeing a pilot and biplane appearing to be splattered with blood and bits of brain, believed the English had created a Zombie Flying Corp!

Posted by Jesse Willis

Aural Noir review of The Monster Of Florence by Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi

April 2, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aural Noir, Reviews 

Aural Noir: Review

HACHETTE AUDIO - The Monster Of Florence by Douglas Preston and Mario SpeziThe Monster Of Florence: A True Story
By Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi; Read by Dennis Boutsikaris
8 CDs – Approx. 9.5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Published: 2008
ISBN: 9781600242090
Themes: / Crime / History / Mystery / Murder / Serial Killer / Conspiracy / Italy / Florence / Sardinia / The Renaissance /

In 2000, Douglas Preston and his family moved to Florence, Italy, fulfilling a long-held dream. They put their children in Italian schools and settled into a 14th century farmhouse in the green hills of Florence, where they devoted themselves to living la dolce vita while Preston wrote his best-selling suspense novels. All that changes when he discovers that the lovely olive grove in front of their house had been the scene of the most infamous double-murders in Italian history, committed by a serial killer known only as the Monster of Florence.

If you’re a fan of Douglas Preston’s fiction you’ll be all into digging the biographical details he adds to this illuminating non-fiction account of a real monster and the labyrinthine twists and turns the investigation took. Those readers looking for insight into Thomas Harris’ Hannibal novels can find this story impactful too. Myself, I was most interested in the unparalleled access this fearsome story details, namely the historical forces that shaped Florence, Tuscany and Sardinia from ancient days, through the Renaissance, the 1960s, 1970s, and on up to the present. Preston, with help from Spezi, provides elucidating details about how the killer (or killers) got away with 16 murders that took place between 1968 and 1985. Their book, this audiobook, is an indictment of Florentine and Italian journalists, the Italian national police , the Florentine investigators, and one prosecutor in particular. In short, after more than 30 years of criminal investigation the case remains an unsolved mystery. Spezi and Preston do take a guess at the culprit, and they back that guess up with a logic chain that is a helluva-lot-more compelling than the official explanation. But, just thinking about it all, a week or two later, I’m still shaking my head. The final disgrace of this story came as a result of a convergence between the Public Minister of Perugia, Giuliano Mignini, and a fraud psychic named Gabriella Carlizzi. Together they explained to themselves, and the arresting police, that Mario Spezi was actually involved in the murders and was a member of a satanic cult.

Even more worrisome, if it is possible to imagine, is what Preston argues is a fairly widespread Italian cultural embrace of something called “dietrologia.” Literally meaning “behindology,” dietrologia is the practice of assuming that nothing notable is as it actually appears – that something hidden (often sinister, cynical and/or conspiratorial) is behind any and all notable events. In Canada we might call it acting paranoid, or being a conspiracy theorist. In Italy, apparently, it is regularly practiced around the dinner table. And it’s all fun and games, I guess, until you end up throwing innocent people in jail. During the writing of The Monster Of Florence Spezi was arrested for either being a collaborator with the Monster or actually being the serial killer himself. Meanwhile Douglas Preston was interrogated, told to confess, threatened with arrest, and forced to leave Italy upon pain of prosecution. The Monster Of Florence case was completely bungled. This was a clusterfuck on par with the notorious California’s McMartin preschool investigation and trial. I guess it all goes to show that police and prosecutorial incompetence is alive and well in the new and old worlds both.

Reader Dennis Boutskaris takes full control of the narrative, becoming the voice of Preston (and Spezi) for the entire audiobook. To my untrained ears his Italian accent sounded fine. The cover art, as mentioned in the audiobook, comes from a photograph of a statue in Piazza della Signoria, in Florence (The Rape of the Sabine Women by Giambologna |JPG|). In addition, on the final disc, there is an informative interview with Douglas Preston.

Posted by Jesse Willis

New Releases: Seth Grahame-Smith, Michael Bowers, Jane Austen, Steve Hockensmith, and Andre Norton

March 25, 2010 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: New Releases 

New Releases

From the co-author of Pride And Prejudice And Zombies

HACHETTE AUDIO - Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-SmithAbraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
By Seth Grahame-Smith; Read by Scott Holst
9 CDs – Approx. 11 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Published: Hachette Audio
Published: March 2010
ISBN: 160788173X
Indiana, 1818. Moonlight falls through the dense woods that surround a one-room cabin, where a nine-year-old Abraham Lincoln kneels at his suffering mother’s bedside. She’s been stricken with something the old-timers call “Milk Sickness.” “My baby boy…” she whispers before dying. Only later will the grieving Abe learn that his mother’s fatal affliction was actually the work of a vampire. When the truth becomes known to young Lincoln, he writes in his journal, “henceforth my life shall be one of rigorous study and devotion. I shall become a master of mind and body. And this mastery shall have but one purpose…” Gifted with his legendary height, strength, and skill with an ax, Abe sets out on a path of vengeance that will lead him all the way to the White House. While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for saving a Union and freeing millions of slaves, his valiant fight against the forces of the undead has remained in the shadows for hundreds of years. That is, until Seth Grahame-Smith stumbled upon The Secret Journal of Abraham Lincoln, and became the first living person to lay eyes on it in more than 140 years. Using the journal as his guide and writing in the grand biographical style of Doris Kearns Goodwin and David McCullough, Seth has reconstructed the true life story of our greatest president for the first time-all while revealing the hidden history behind the Civil War and uncovering the role vampires played in the birth, growth, and near-death of our nation.

Audible Frontiers - Prison Ship by Michael BowersPrison Ship
By Michael Bowers; Read by Jack Garrett
Audible Download – Approx. 13 Hours 57 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Audible Frontiers
Published: December 2009
Framed for attempted murder against his superior, Commander-now convict-Jacob Steiner receives one last chance at redemption. As the captain of a Penitentiary Assault Vessel, he’ll lead a desperate crew of thieves and murderers behind enemy lines in exchange for their freedom.

BRILLIANCE AUDIO - Pride And Prejudice And Zombies: Dawn Of The Dreadfuls by Jane Austen and Steve HockensmithPride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls
By Jane Austen and Steve Hockensmith; Read by Katherine Kellgren
8 CDs or MP3-CD – Approx. 9 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: March 24, 2010
ISBN: 9781441850430 (cd), 1441850457 (mp3-cd)
Witness the birth of a heroine in Dawn of the Dreadfuls — a thrilling prequel set four years before the horrific events of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. As our story opens, the Bennet sisters are enjoying a peaceful life in the English countryside. They idle away the days reading, gardening, and daydreaming about future husbands — until a funeral at the local parish goes strangely and horribly awry. Suddenly corpses are springing from the soft earth — and only one family can stop them. As the bodies pile up, we watch Elizabeth Bennet evolve from a naive young teenager into a savage slayer of the undead. Along the way, two men vie for her affections: Master Hawksworth is the powerful warrior who trains her to kill, while thoughtful Dr. Keckilpenny seeks to conquer the walking dead using science instead of strength. Will either man win the prize of Elizabeth’s heart? Or will their hearts be feasted upon by hordes of marauding zombies? Complete with romance, action, comedy, and an army of shambling corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls will have Jane Austen rolling in her grave — and just might inspire her to crawl out of it!

Have a listen to a sample |MP3|

BRILLIANCE AUDIO - Witch World by Andre NortonWitch World (book 1 in the Witch World series)
By Andre Norton; Read by Nick Podehl
CDs or MP3-CD – Approx. [Unabridged]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: February 15, 2010
ISBN: 1441814078 (cd), 1441814094 (mp3-cd)
Simon Tregarth, a man from our own world, escapes his doom through the gates to the Witch World. There he aids the witch Jaelithe’s escape from the hounds of Alizon, only to find himself embroiled in a deeper war against an even deadlier foe: the Kolder.

BRILLIANCE AUDIO - Web Of The Witch World by Andre NortonWeb Of The Witch World (book 2 in the Witch World series)
By Andre Norton; Read by Nick Podehl
CDs or MP3-CD – Approx. [Unabridged]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: March 31, 2010
ISBN: 1441814132 (cd), 1441814159 (mp3-cd)
The Kolder linger on, a constant threat to Simon and the witches he’s sworn to protect. To save their world from this threat from another dimension, Simon and Jaelithe must venture to the heart of the poisonous Kolder realm and vanquish them for good, or witness the enslavement of their world.

BRILLIANCE AUDIO - Year Of The Unicorn by Andre NortonYear Of The Unicorn (book 3 in the Witch World series)
By Andre Norton; Read by Kate Rudd
CDs or MP3-CD – [Unabridged]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: April 15, 2010
ISBN: 1441814191 (cd), 1441814213 (mp3-cd)
Far from the besieged home of Simon and Jaelithe, in peaceful Norsdale, we meet Gillan, who longs to leave her dull life in a secluded country abbey. But when her wish comes true, she finds more than a little adventure. As she ventures out, not only is her life in danger, but also the power that lies within her, waiting to be discovered.

Posted by Jesse Willis

New Releases: Dan Simmons, James Patterson and Craig Robertson

February 20, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: New Releases 

New Releases

Two upcoming audiobooks from Hachette Audio that we talked about on the most recent SFFaudio Podcast…

HACHETTE AUDIO - Black Hills by Dan SimmonsBlack Hills
By Dan Simmons; Read by Erik Davies and Michael McConnohie
18 CDs – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Published: February 24, 2010
ISBN: 1600247865
When Paha Sapa, a young Sioux warrior, “counts coup” on General George Armstrong Custer as Custer lies dying on the battlefield at the Little Bighorn, the legendary general’s ghost enters him – and his voice will speak to him for the rest of his event-filled life. Seamlessly weaving together the stories of Paha Sapa, Custer, and the American West, Dan Simmons depicts a tumultuous time in the history of both Native and white Americans. Haunted by Custer’s ghost, and also by his ability to see into the memories and futures of legendary men like Sioux war-chief Crazy Horse, Paha Sapa’s long life is driven by a dramatic vision he experienced as a boy in his people’s sacred Black Hills. In August of 1936, a dynamite worker on the massive Mount Rushmore project, Paha Sapa plans to silence his ghost forever and reclaim his people’s legacy-on the very day FDR comes to Mount Rushmore to dedicate the Jefferson face.

HACHETTE AUDIO - Fang by James PattersonFang (A Maximum Ride Novel)
By James Patterson; Read by Jill Apple
5 CDs – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Published: March 25, 2010
ISBN: 9781600247897
Max and the Flock are flying high over Africa, but this time they’re not alone. A sky full of cargo planes accompanies the team as they bring much-needed aid to the continent’s poverty stricken regions. Among the volunteers is the mission’s benefactor–the mysterious billionaire, Dr. Hans Gunther-Hagen. Max is intrigued by his generosity, but there’s also something about him–and his intense scrutiny of the Flock–that makes her nervous. But Dr. Hans isn’t the only puzzling thing about their trip. The Flock also receives a cryptic message from a young girl, who tells them, “The sky will fall.” Max and the Flock are ready to return home, still unable to make sense of her statement. But the surprises don’t end with their departure, and something unbelievably momentous shakes up the Flock–pushing Max and Fang closer than ever. Will the team be able to stick together through the chaos?

And here’s one I got told about by the author hisself…

Podiobooks.com - Anon Time by Craig RobertsonAnon Time
By Craig Robertson; Read by Craig Robertson
Podcast – Approx. 7 Hours 42 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Podiobooks.com
Published: 2009
What if you weren’t who you thought you were, what others saw you to be? What if the structure of time depended on you to keep it steady. What if unseen forces, both good and evil, surrounded you, effecting your life in way’s you could not begin to imagine? Well, if that were the case, you’d be Mark De Martel, unobtrusive advertising agent in Los Angeles. Or would you? Possibly you were a Mark, but possibly you would be a powerful warrior, using skills such as the manipulation of gravity itself to save existence.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #048

February 15, 2010 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #048 – Jesse and Scott talk about new and old audiobooks, great audio and radio drama, upcoming stage plays, and old movies.

Talked about on today’s show:
Oblique references to the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, recent arrivals, Full Cast Audio, Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev, Worldcon 2006, theater people, Jane Austen’s Pride And Prejudice as stage play, Pride And Prejudice And Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith, Hachette Audio, Black Hills by Dan Simmons, mining history for fiction, Drood by Dan Simmons, Little Big Horn, The Terror by Dan Simmons, The Fall Of Hyperion by Dan Simmons, the SFFaudio Yahoo! Group, “do you relisten to audiobooks?”, Canadia 2056 by Matt Watts (now available in the iTunes music store), Steve The First, Steve The Second, The Prestige by Christopher Priest, The Futurist by James P. Othmer, Tantor Media, William Dufris, PaperBackSwap.com, The Turn Of The Screw by Henry James, Blackstone Audio, H.G. Wells vs. Henry James, Julie Davis’ Forgotten Classics podcast, a ghost story, The Uninvited by Dorothy Macardle, The Others (2001), Henry James’ other novels, who’s fiction is more relevant?, new releases, Fang by James Patterson, the Maximum Ride series, vampires, Calfkiller Old Time Radio, getting into HuffDuffer.com, Calfkiller OTR’s HuffDuffer, BBC Radio’s Saturday Night Theatre, a BBC radio drama version of A Study In Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Louis Lamour, Mickey Spillane, The Twilight Zone, social networking your audio, Jesse’s HuffDuffer, Radio Drama Revival’s 3rd anniversary, Buried In Falling Sand (is “very Philip K. Dickian”), God Of The Razor based on a story by Joe R. Lansdale |READ OUR REVIEW|, Great Northern Audio Theatre‘s Dialogue With Martian Trombone, William Tenn’s death, Frederick Pohl on William Tenn’s Child’s Play, Child’s Play is available |HERE|, talking time travel with middle graders, podcast feed, current listens, Killing Floor by Lee Child |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Unincorporated Man by Dani Kollin and Eytan Kollin |READ OUR REVIEW|, virtual reality, worst novel since Startide Rising by David Brin |READ OUR REVIEW| , Sunrise Alley by Catherine Asaro (it is terrible so far), Kurt Dietz’s review of The Quantum Rose by Catherine Asaro |READ OUR REVIEW|, Da Vinci’s Inquest, Scott’s Pick Of The Week: Groundhog Day (1993), a timeless classic disguised as a comedy, Jesse’s Pick Of The Week: The Valley Of Fear by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was ripping his stories from the19th century’s headlines, the framing story device, Brilliance Audio, The Improbable Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes edited by John Joseph Adams.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Next Page »