Review of The World Jones Made by Philip K. Dick

January 26, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Please welcome our newest reviewer, Marissa!  You can also download our podcast readalong discussion of this book.

The World Jones Made
By Philip K Dick; Read by Christopher Lane.
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
ISBN: 978-1-4558-1456-5
[UNABRIDGED] 6 discs – 7 hours

Themes: / precognition / relativism / post-apocalpytic / carnival / government /

Publisher Summary:

Floyd Jones has always been able to see exactly one year into his future, a gift and curse that began one year before he was even born. As a fortuneteller at a postapocalyptic carnival, Jones is a powerful force, and may be able to free society from its paralyzing Relativism. If, that is, he can avoid the radioactively unstable government hit man on his tail.

So far, every Phillip K. Dick book I read makes me fall in love with him a little harder. This one didn’t disappoint.

PKD’s protagonist in The World Jones Made is a dedicated, world-weary secret-service officer for FedGov, the world government in 2002. He thinks of himself as something like “the town dog catcher,” and he’s proud of his work, even if other people (including his wife) don’t much appreciate it.

Cussick’s job is to help enforce the new Relativistic society in which just about anything is tolerated and you can believe whatever you want, but you can’t state personal beliefs as facts or impose your views on anyone else. The world has recently emerged from a huge religious war that nobody really won, and now religious dogma as well as anti-religious dogma (or any kind of fanaticism) is illegal.

Of course, there’s a dystopian twist: anyone who is caught stating their personal opinions as facts loses their civil liberties and is sent to a labor camp.

The story starts when Cussick meets a weird, slightly feverish fortune-teller named Floyd Jones at a carnival. Cussick arrests Jones for talking about the future as fact, but it soon becomes clear that Jones isn’t just spouting opinions; he’s a true precog. The FedGov police are forced to release him (just as Jones knew they would), and Jones’ subsequent cult following soon begins to upset the “stability” FedGov had forced on the population.

This is the set-up to the main plot, but I haven’t even mentioned the sub-plots that run alongside and intertwine the Jones/Cussick story, like the strange mutants who live inside a hot, steamy biodome refuge near San Francisco. There’s also the problem of the barn-sized jellyfish-aliens that have been drifting down from space to die on Earth’s surface. No one really knows what “the Drifters” are or what they want, but people find them kinda disgusting and scary (fair enough) and have a tendency to attack them in angry mobs.

FedGov, meanwhile, is trying to protect the aliens from injury, in case whatever has sent them doesn’t appreciate mob attacks by Earthlings. One of the notices up on a bulletin board in this future world goes like this: “WARNING TO THE PUBLIC: Migrating Protozoa not to be harmed. The public is hereby advised that certain Interplanetary Migratory Protozoa, referred to as “Drifters,” have, by special act of the Supreme Council of the Federal World Government, been placed in the category of Wards of the State and are not to be damaged, harmed, mutilated, destroyed, abused, tortured or in any way subjected to cruel or unusual treatment with intent to injure or kill.”

The scenery and situations in this book are pure PKD: dark and grim and bizarre. There are mutants, precogs, wives behaving mysteriously, and smoky subterranean bars where patrons order heroin from robot servants and hermaphrodites perform live sex shows on the stage.

PKD switches viewpoints between the characters of the main story-lines: the biodome mutants, Cussick, and of course the fascinating Jones, who is a long-suffering prisoner to his own future: his ability to see one year in the future means that he must experience every conversation and event twice (to his extreme irritation).

For me, Christopher Lane’s reading was just about perfect: his calm, determined narration and pacing is well suited for PKD’s writing. The characters already had distinctive personalities and voices, but Lane managed to enhance them. He also did a great job with the female voices by adjusting his tone, accents and pacing without affecting that artificial high pitch I’ve heard some other male narrators do (cringe). I especially loved how he portrayed Jones’ bored frustration at having to live every moment twice over.

I’ll definitely look out for more of Lane’s readings, and I highly recommend this audiobook as a brilliant and weird PKD experience.

Review by Marissa van Uden

LibriVox: X-Minus One Project

August 19, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

LibriVoxNow here is a cool project, and it’s one recently mentioned on one of our podcasts! It’s an effort to source and record and proof the “public domain science fiction stories which were turned into half-hour plays for the classic mid-1950′s American radio series, X Minus One.” This collection includes eight such stories. Which one do you think should be remade as a modern audio drama?


LIBRIVOX - X-Minus One ProjectX Minus One Project
By various; Read by various
9 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 7 Hours 35 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: August 9, 2010

Podcast feed: http://librivox.org/rss/4249

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

LIBRIVOX - The Coffin Cure by Alan E. NourseThe Coffin Cure
By Alan E. Nourse; Read by Max Lindberg
1 |MP3| – Approx. 41 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: August 9, 2010
First published in Galaxy April 1957. The X-Minus One adaptation was first broadcast November 21st 1957.

LIBRIVOX - Death Wish by Robert SheckleyDeath Wish
By Robert Sheckley; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 24 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: August 9, 2010
Compared with a spaceship in distress, going to hell in a handbasket is roomy and slow! First published in Galaxy Science Fiction June 1956.

LibriVox - The Defenders by Philip K. DickThe Defenders
By Phillip K. Dick; Read by Tom Weiss
1 |MP3| – Approx. 1 Hour [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: August 9, 2010
No weapon has ever been frightful enough to put a stop to war—perhaps because we never before had any that thought for themselves! First published in Galaxy Science Fiction January 1953.

LibriVox - The Moon Is Green by Fritz LeiberThe Moon Is Green
By Fritz Leiber; Read by Juli Carter
1 |MP3| – Approx. 37 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: August 9, 2010
Anybody who wanted to escape death could, by paying a very simple price—denial of life! First published in Galaxy Science Fiction April 1952.

LIBRIVOX - The Old Die Rich by H.L. GoldThe Old Die Rich
By H.L. Gold; Read by Juli Carter
2 MP3 Files – Approx. 1 Hour 5 Minutes [UNABRIDGED] –
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: August 9, 2010
First Published in the March 1953 issue of Galaxy magazine.
Part 1 |MP3| Part 2 |MP3|

LIBRIVOX - Project Mastodon by Clifford D. SimakProject Mastodon
By Clifford D. Simak; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 1 Hour 10 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: August 9, 2010
“An interesting variation on the standard time-machine theme. No loops encountered. The short story is tersely written and the end, when technicalities clear, abrupt. This makes it an early example of hard SF with a time machine.” First published in the March 1955 issue of Galaxy magazine.

LIBRIVOX - Time And Time Again by H. Beam PiperTime And Time Again
By H. Beam Piper; Read by Bellona Times
1 |MP3| – Approx. 45 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: August 9, 2010
To upset the stable, mighty stream of time would probably take an enormous concentration of energy. And it’s not to be expected that a man would get a second chance at life. But an atomic might accomplish both— First published in Astounding Science Fiction April 1947.

LIBRIVOX - The Tunnel Under The World by Frederik PohlThe Tunnel Under The World
By Frederik Pohl; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 1 Hour 13 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: August 9, 2010
Pinching yourself is no way to see if you are dreaming. Surgical instruments? Well, yes—but a mechanic’s kit is best of all! First published in the January 1955 issue of Galaxy Science Fiction. The X-Minus One adaptation was first broadcast March 14, 1956.

And here are the X-Minus One adaptations:

The Coffin Cure |MP3|[RADIO DRAMA]
Death Wish |MP3| [RADIO DRAMA]
The Defenders |MP3| [RADIO DRAMA]
The Moon Is Green |MP3| [RADIO DRAMA]
The Old Die Rich |MP3| [RADIO DRAMA]
Project Mastodon |MP3| [RADIO DRAMA]
Time And Time Again |MP3| [RADIO DRAMA]
The Tunnel Under The World |MP3| [RADIO DRAMA]

[Thanks also to by BellonaTimes, Betty M., Annise, Gregg Weeks and the crew at Distributed Proofreaders]

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox: Short Science Fiction Stories Vol. 19

July 26, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

LibriVoxIt seems LibriVox has started adding a few more credits to its collections starting with this volume. Besides the narrators, this collection was created by the following LibriVox volunteers:

Book Coordinator: Gregg Margarite
Dedicated Proof-Listener: julicarter
Meta-Coordinator/Cataloging: Lucy Burgoyne

Stories new to this collection include:

Stopover by William Gerken. This is a well written but annoying story. It is one of better parapsychology short stories, but that isn’t saying much. John W. Campbell was absolutely obsessed with paraspychological ESP bunk – it makes for very repetitive reading. This story’s setting, in a post-apocalyptic USA, is vivid – and the characters are emotionally realistic -too bad about the ESP crap. Bellona Times, the narrator, has a few missteps in this one – including the reading “psi talents” as “pee-ess-eye talents.”

Something Will Turn Up by David Mason. The beatnik/hippy repairman, and his dialogue, in this tale are a real hoot. It’s more a Fantasy tale than an SF one, but its got a beatnik TV repairman so I’m still happy. Read by Bellona Times again without any serious flaws but with a few little ones here and there. Times snaps his fingers and whistles – which to me is a narrator double no-no. There’s also a word or two improperly read, notably “reversed” read as “reverse.”

The Sargasso Of Space by Edmond Hamilton. This is a fast paced space opera (and mystery) about an interplanetary spacecraft that’s run out of gas. Gregg Margarite continues to kick ass as a narrator. He’s no vocal chameleon but he’s just a few tweaks away from being a pro sounding narrator. He seems to choose some of the better stories too. I think he’s super cool. Maybe he’ll be my friend? That’d be cool.

LibriVox - Short Science Fiction Collection Vol. 019Short Science Fiction Stories Vol. 19
By various; Read by various
10 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 4 Hours 41 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: June 23, 2009
Science Fiction is speculative literature that generally explores the consequences of ideas which are roughly consistent with nature and scientific method, but are not facts of the author’s contemporary world. The stories often represent philosophical thought experiments presented in entertaining ways. Protagonists typically “think” rather than “shoot” their way out of problems, but the definition is flexible because there are no limits on an author’s imagination. The reader-selected stories presented here were written prior to 1962 and became US public domain texts when their copyrights expired.

Podcast feed:

http://librivox.org/bookfeeds/short-science-fiction-collection-19.xml

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

Fantastic Universe August/September 1953All Cats are Gray
By Andre Norton; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 16 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: June 23, 2009
An odd story, made up of oddly assorted elements that include a man, a woman, a black cat, a treasure—and an invisible being that had to be seen to be believed. – Under normal conditions a whole person has a decided advantage over a handicapped one. But out in deep space the normal may be reversed—for humans at any rate. First published using Norton’s Andrew North pseudonym in Fantastic Universe Science Fiction, August–September 1953.

LibriVox - Beyond Lies The Wub by Philip K. DickBeyond Lies The Wub
By Phillip K. Dick; Read by Tom Hackett
1 |MP3| – Approx. 16 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: June 23, 2009
The slovenly wub might well have said: Many men talk like philosophers and live like fools. From Planet Stories July 1952.

LibriVox - The Gallery by Rog PhillipsThe Gallery
By Rog Phillips; Read by Ted Ryan
– [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: June 23, 2009
Wherever he went Arthur felt the power behind the lens. – Aunt Matilda needed him desperately, but when he arrived she did not want him and neither did anyone else in his home town. From Amazing Stories January 1959.

LibriVox - The Happy Unfortunate by Robert SilverbergThe Happy Unfortunate
By Robert Silverberg; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 39 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: June 23, 2009
Dekker, back from space, found great physical changes in the people of Earth; changes that would have horrified him five years before. But now, he wanted to be like the rest—even if he had to lose an eye and both ears to do it. From Amazing Stories December 1957.

LibriVox - The Man Who Saw The Future by Edmond HamiltonThe Man Who Saw The Future
By Edmond Hamilton; Read by Xanderphilips
1 |MP3| – Approx. [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: June 23, 2009
“Jean de Marselait, Inquisitor Extraordinary of the King of France, raised his head from the parchments that littered the crude desk at which he sat. His glance shifted along the long stone-walled, torchlit room to the file of mail-clad soldiers who stood like steel statues by its door. A word from him and two of them sprang forward.” First published in Amazing Stories, October 1930. Later reprinted in the February 1961 issue of Amazing Stories.

LibriVox - A Matter Of Proportion by Anne WalkerA Matter Of Proportion
By Anne Walker; Read by Dale A. Bade
1 |MP3| – Approx. 37 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: June 23, 2009
In order to make a man stop, you must convince him that it’s impossible to go on. Some people, though, just can’t be convinced. From Astounding Science Fiction August 1959.

Astounding Stories September 1931Sargasso Of Space
By Edmond Hamilton; Read by Greg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 50 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: June 23, 2009
She was floating along the wreck-pack’s edge. Helpless, doomed, into the graveyard of space floats the wrecked freighter Pallas. From Astounding Stories September 1931.


LibriVox - Something Will Turn Up by David MasonSomething Will Turn Up
By David Mason; Read by Bellona Times
1 |MP3| – Approx. 17 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: June 23, 2009
Err … maybe it had to do with this being a non-Parity universe, perhaps? Some things can’t be simply inverted, after all… From Analog February 1963.


Fantastic Universe September 1957Stopover
By William Gerken; Read by Bellona Times
1 |MP3| – Approx. 23 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: June 23, 2009
What will the world be like, the day after Tomorrow, for the lonely ones who will have talents that others will half fear, half envy? William Gerken describes this strange world in which young and old will have to find new values and pursue new dreams, as they search for the answer… From Fantastic Universe September 1957.

LibriVox - Toy Shop by Harry HarrisonToy Shop
By Harry Harrison; Read by Xanderphillips
1 |MP3| – Approx. 10 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: June 23, 2009
The gadget was strictly, beyond any question, a toy. Not a real, workable device. Except for the way it could work under a man’s mental skin… From Analog April 1962.

Posted by Jesse Willis