The Fun They Had by Isaac Asimov

April 22, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: News 

SFFaudio News

Set in a post-paperbook future in which children attend school in their own homes, The Fun They Had is a wonderful short story by Isaac Asimov. First published in December 1951, in a newspaper, here’s a |PDF| made from the subsequent publication in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, February 1954.

And here’s Caden Vaughn Clegg’s audiobook of it:

Posted by Jesse Willis

Someday by Isaac Asimov

April 22, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio News

Last night I discovered that Someday, a wonderful short story by Isaac Asimov, is PUBLIC DOMAIN.

I’ve posted the |PDF| from the original mag to our PDF PAGE (there’re hundreds more there by the way).

Someday set in a future in which everyone is illiterate (Asimov has another story, The Fun They Had, that has a similar premise). It talks about audio vs. video, robotics, artificial intelligence, creativity, empathy, and it has a terrific twist ending.

I think you’ll treasure it as much as I have over the years.

And here’s an audiobook version:

Part 1 of 3:

Part 2 of 3:

Part 3 of 3:

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #252 – NEW RELEASES/RECENT ARRIVALS

February 17, 2014 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: New Releases, Podcasts, Recent Arrivals 

Podcast

TheSFFaudioPodcast600The SFFaudio Podcast #252 – Jesse, Tamahome, and Jenny talk about NEW RELEASES and RECENT ARRIVALS.

Talked about on this episode: Original fiction from Tor.com featuring stories from Brandon Sanderson, John Scalzi, Charles Stross, and others; The Man Who Sold the Moon short story collection by Robert A. Heinlein; Jesse has fun trying to pronounce “elegiac”; the Internet Speculative Fiction Database (ISFDb); “Simon pure” science fictionThe Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov; Heinlein’s short fiction versus his novels; Have Spacesuit Will TravelAnnihilation by Jeff VanderMeer and comparisons to The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury; The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and the merits of the Catching Fire film; the politics of dresses in the Hunger Games universe; Archetype by M.D. Waters; gender in dystopia; listening to audiobooks at 2x speed; The Loon by Michaelbrent Collings; Christopher Golden’s SnowblindPhantoms by Dean Koontz; 30 Days of Night; Marko Kloos’s Terms of Enlistment and Lines of DepartureThe Master of the World by Jules Verne; find out where grits came from; Jules Verne’s science is awful; The Wreck of the Nebula Dream by Veronica Scott; “I’m the king of the world!”; A New Beginning by Craig Brummer; Honor Among Thieves, a Star Wars novel by James S.A. Corey; Tam gets a Star Wars geography lesson; Jenny gets a Star Wars fashion lesson (hint: the guys in white are NOT the good guys); Tam is dressed as Princess Leia; The Gods Themselves, a strange book by Isaac Asimov; Shovel Ready by Adam Sternbergh; Mystery MenAtopia by Matthew Mather; Influx by Daniel Suarez; The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley; Dawn of Swords by David Dalglish and Robert J. Duperre; The Land Across by Gene Wolfe; ruritanian romance and Bangsian fantasy; don’t call if Kafka-esque; Moon over Parador starring Richard Dreyfuss and Double Star by Robert A. Heinlein; A Darkling Sea by James Cambias (not yet in audio); V-S Day by Allen Steele (Locus review); The Martian by Andy Weir; The Scorpion Game by Daniel Jeffries (no audio, Tam’s Goodreads review); Eldrich Tales: A Miscellany of the Macabre by H.P. Lovecraft on Downpour;  Stories of your Life collection by Ted Chiang now available in audio.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of The Gods Themselves by Isaac Asimov

January 31, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

asimovThe Gods Themselves
By Isaac Asimov, read by Scott Brick
Publisher: Random House Audio
Publication Date: January 2014
[UNABRIDGED] – 11 hours, 26 minutes

Listen to an excerpt: | MP3 |

Themes: / aliens / electron pump / cosmic egg / multiple universe theory / sex in space /

Publisher summary:

Only a few know the terrifying truth – an outcast Earth scientist, a rebellious alien inhabitant of a dying planet, a lunar-born human intuitionist who senses the imminent annihilation of the Sun… They know the truth – but who will listen? They have foreseen the cost of abundant energy – but who will believe?These few beings, human and alien, hold the key to the Earth’s survival.

- Disclaimer -
I’m no physicist. This book, in parts, kind of torqued my noggin.

Isaac Asimov’s The Gods Themselves won the 1972 Nebula then the 1973 Hugo. The premise? Pretty straight forward. Will we destroy the universe?

I like this book. The first 2/3 kept me running. The last 1/3, I slowed to a stroll and enjoyed the pace change. The time spent with the aliens was intriguing, both in the differences and similarities to humanity. Asimov packs a punch, tackling the question of energy versus environmental cost. In some ways it’s comforting imagining that even in the future, we humans still salivate over a dangled free lunch. The characters in the other universe are stunning. I could have read twice the content volume on that environment alone. When I reached the lunar colony, it took some time to cultivate an interest in the people and their situation. By the time I was interested, it was ending. This left me feeling off-kilter and only slightly irritated. Don’t ask me to explain, but I found the chocolate bar with almonds scene very touching.

Scott Brick narrates this release. Early on, I didn’t know if I could handle listing to Brick’s performance. He has a nice voice, but he has a habit of injecting unneeded drama into almost anything he reads. Fortunately, within the first twenty minutes, I found Brick’s style quite suited to the content. After finishing and reflecting, I think Brick was the right choice for narrator.

Posted by Casey Hampton.

Caedmon

October 1, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: News 

SFFaudio News

Harper Audio was founded in 1952 under the name “Caedmon.” Harper Audio still occasionally publishes under its Caedmon label but its real heyday was in the late 1970s. Uniquely, the back of each album featured unique liner notes typically written specifically for the LP. Witness this vintage magazine ad (from Unearth, Spring 1978):

CAEDMON ad from Unearth, Spring 1978

Posted by Jesse Willis

Silly Asses by Isaac Asimov

August 22, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Silly Asses by Isaac Asimov

Maissa Bessada narrates for us Silly Asses a one page (400 word) satirical short story by Isaac Asimov.

|MP3|

Also available is a |PDF| made from a scan of the original publication in Future Science Fiction, February 1958.

And here is the complete text:

Silly Asses by Isaac Asimov

Naron of the long-lived Rigellian race was the fourth of his line to keep the galactic records.

He had a large book which contained the list of the numerous races throughout the galaxies that had developed intelligence, and the much smaller book that listed those races that had reached maturity and had qualified for the Galactic Federation. In the first book, a number of those listed were crossed out; those that, for one reason or another, had failed. Misfortune, biochemical or biophysical shortcomings, social maladjustment took their toll. In the smaller book, however, no member listed had yet blanked out.

And now Naron, large and incredibly ancient, looked up as a messenger approached.

“Naron,” said the messenger. “Great One!”

“Well, well, what is it? Less ceremony.”

“Another group of organisms has attained maturity.”

“Excellent. Excellent. They are coming up quickly now. Scarcely a year passes without a new one. And who are these?”

The messenger gave the code number of the galaxy and the coordinates of the world within it.

“Ah, yes,” said Naron. “I know the world.” And in flowing script he noted it in the first book and transferred its name into the second, using, as was customary, the name by which the planet was known to the largest fraction of its populace. He wrote: Earth.

He said, “These new creatures have set a record. No other group has passed from intelligence to maturity so quickly. No mistake, I hope.”

“None, sir,” said the messenger.

“They have attained to thermonuclear power, have they?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Well, thats the criterion.” Naron chuckled. “And soon their ships will probe out and contact the Federation.”

“Actually, Great One,” said the messenger, reluctantly, “the Observers tell us they have not yet penetrated space.”

Naron was astonished. “Not at all? Not even a space station?”

“Not yet, sir.”

“But if they have thermonuclear power, where do they conduct the tests and detonations?”

“On their own planet, sir.”

Naron rose to his full twenty feet of height and thundered, “On their own planet?”

“Yes, sir.”

Slowly Naron drew out his stylus and passed a line through the latest addition in the small book. It was an unprecedented act, but, then, Naron was very wise and could see the inevitable as well as anyone in the galaxy.

“Silly asses,” he muttered.

Asimov wrote Silly Asses on July 29, 1957. To put that in context, just ten days earlier (July 19, 1957), as a part of Operation Plumbbob the USAF filmed five Air Force officers standing directly under an atmospheric nuclear detonation. The idea was to demonstrate the safe usage of nuclear weapons over civilian populations.

Silly asses.

Posted by Jesse Willis

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