Review of Rivers by Michael Farris Smith

January 14, 2014 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Rivers by Michael Farris SmithRivers
By Michael Farris Smith; Read by Michael Farris Smith
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: September 2013
[UNABRIDGED] – 11 hours, 28 minutes

Themes: / global warming / post-apocalypse / apocalypse / survival / floods / eco-disaster /

Publisher summary:

It had been raining for weeks. Maybe months. He had forgotten the last day that it hadn’t rained, when the storms gave way to the pale blue of the Gulf sky, when the birds flew and the clouds were white and sunshine glistened across the drenched land.

Following years of catastrophic hurricanes, the Gulf Coast—stretching from the Florida panhandle to the western Louisiana border—has been brought to its knees. The region is so punished and depleted that the government has drawn a new boundary ninety miles north of the coastline. Life below the Line offers no services, no electricity, and no resources, and those who stay behind live by their own rules.

Cohen is one who stayed. Unable to overcome the crushing loss of his wife and unborn child who were killed during an evacuation, he returned home to Mississippi to bury them on family land. Until now he hasn’t had the strength to leave them behind, even to save himself.

But after his home is ransacked and all of his carefully accumulated supplies stolen, Cohen is finally forced from his shelter. On the road north, he encounters a colony of survivors led by a fanatical, snake-handling preacher named Aggie who has dangerous visions of repopulating the barren region.

Realizing what’s in store for the women Aggie is holding against their will, Cohen is faced with a decision: continue to the Line alone, or try to shepherd the madman’s captives across the unforgiving land with the biggest hurricane yet bearing down—and Cohen harboring a secret that may pose the greatest threat of all.

In a near-future apocalyptic Mississippi, hurricanes and flooding are so frequent (nearly constant) that the government has redrawn the southern border of the country above the disaster zone. Anyone living south of The Line has no government assistance, no security, and must fend for him or herself. This setting is one of the most realistic apocalyptic worlds I have read. I’m intentionally not using the word “post” because throughout the novel, destruction continues. People are trying to survive below The Line, but hail and winds and rains are still a bigger enemy than the sprinkling of humans trying to create lives for themselves.

Cohen is a man who holed up in grief until he goes against his instincts and gives a ride to a man and woman on the road. Various events force him to make the next moves in his life in order to survive. I was quite interested in the story in the first half and in the end, but the middle almost lost me as Cohen seems to wander more in his memories than in solving his problems.

I listened to the audiobook read by the author. I didn’t realize he was the reader until the end, and thought he must just be a voice actor I hadn’t heard before. His accent is subtle but places the listener within the region, and he sounds slightly worn, slightly tired, which fits the character completely.

Posted by Jenny Colvin

The SFFaudio Podcast #229 – NEW RELEASES/RECENT ARRIVALS

September 9, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: New Releases, Podcasts, Recent Arrivals 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #229 – Jesse, Jenny, Tamahome, and Paul Weimer talk about NEW RELEASES and RECENT ARRIVALS.

Talked about on today’s show:
Tam is back, Haruki Murakami, Kafka On The Shore, magic realism, Japan, kafkaesque, surrealism, 1Q84, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, pretty books, Chip Kidd, rice paper, Requiem by Ken Scholes, Julie Davis, Tor, magic staff, earth in the future, The Steel Remains, “oh crap this is the future”, Gene Wolfe, Happy Hour In Hell by Tad Williams, Bobby Dollar, The Dirty Streets Of Heaven, urban fantasy, demoness tangling, Lankhmar, urban fantasy => a certain kind of fantasy, noir/detective => hardboiled, Otherland, Luke Burrage, cats, “the Walter Jon Williams effect”, MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood, mostly dystopian, Oryx and Crake, quasi-humans, The Year Of The Flood, genetic engineering, racoon-pigs, storytelling mode, listening at 2X speed, competitive debate, Margaret Atwood’s preview of a review of Doctor Sleep by Stephen King, a sequel to The Shining, Atwood’s weakness for horror and terror, “because he’s Stephen King”, Will Patton, “don’t judge me people”, is there a stigma in literary circles?, Zoomer magazine’s profile of Margaret Atwood as “Queen Of The Nerds”, Twitter, tweetalong?, a genuine literary reputation, poetry, Orson Scott Card, does it matter?, dystopia, Dreamscape Audiobooks, The Night Lands by William Hope Hodgson, The House On The Borderlands, a very daunting book, big and ambitious, Lovecraftian?, The Scarlet Plague by Jack London, Earth Abides, class, mainstream post-apocalypse, Alas Babylon by Pat Frank, a toothless grandfather, Drew Ariana, Goslings by J.D. Beresford, plague talk!, The Children Of Men, Y: The Last Man, the newspapers, HiLoBooks, “Radium Age” Science Fiction, Gweek, The Road To Science Fiction, classicism, sexism, barbarism, The Iron Heel, numeracy and literacy, the size of the universe or the age of the Earth, Simon & Schuster Audio, Rivers by Michael Farris Smith, Jenny loves destroying the earth, wiping the slate clean, Fallout, Tobias Buckell, Interrupt by Jeff Carlson, Hunter Davis, Brilliance Audio, simultaneously published with print, Neanderthals, the pronunciations, Robert J. Sawyer, Discover Magazine, literally means not literally anymore, it’s figuratively raining cats and dogs, The Darwin Elevator by Jason M. Hough, Julie Davis, Simon Vance, science fiction thrillers, John Scalzi, plague, space elevator, working for the enemy?, a compressed schedule, writing 2X, a first novel!, military SF, “we’ve complinished everything”, Reflex by Steven Gould, Jumper, the physical audiobook industry (is it mostly for libraries), Paperback Audio, William Dufris, The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester, innate teleportation, the Jumper movie, Portal, post-humans, Nightcrawler without the bad smell, BAMFless, The Clockwork Man by E.V. Odle, Ralph Lister, no introductions makes Jesse sad, are there audio previews?, Affliction: An Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Novel (#22) by Laurell K. Hamilton, The Lord of Opium (Matteo Alacran #2) by Nancy Farmer, The Midnight Heir (Bane Chronicles #4) by Cassandra Clare and Sara Rees Brennan, building on The Hunger Games, Untouchable (Immortals After Dark #8) by Kresley Cole, Robert Petkoff, The Hunt or Capture, the reality TV version of The Hunger Games in The Hunger Games would be very boring, The Truman Show would be a very boring show to actually watch, in fiction the TV shows are without narrative, TVtropes show with an show, Hamlet, William Shakespeare did meta 500 years ago, epic traditional fantasy, traditional epic fantasy marriage, Crown Thief (Tales Of Easie Damasco #2) by David Tallerman, Giant Thief, sword and sorcery, golem or gollum?, Witch Wraith: The Dark Legacy of Shannara by Terry Brooks, Rosalyn Landor, , “Tolkien with the serial numbers filed off”, “its all about the elfstones”, The Lord Of The Rings, questing, trilogy vs. endless series, the Wikipedia entry for Shannara, a magical cataclysm, “a richer broader universe”, Revolution, S.M. Stirling, Robert Jordan, the Dragonlance series, Daniel Abraham, subverting the quest trope, The Eye Of The World, George R.R. Martin, gathering forces and subverting expectations, children’s fantasy, Roald Dahl, Matilda is read by Kate Winslet!, the musical of Matilda, The Twits, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Charlie And The Great Glass Elevator Futurama, Fry and the Slurm factory, Gene Wilder, great character names!, Dickensian names, The BFG, biography, crime, thriller, JFK’s Last Hundred Days: The Transformation Of A Man And The Emergence Of A Great President, Death Angel (Alexandra Cooper #15) by Linda Fairstein, The Kill List by Frederick Forsyth, George Guidall, “now it’s personal”, Penguin Audio, adding heat urgency of character development, adding a baby, Breaking Bad babies, the invisible baby or worse the artificially aging child syndrome, Mork & Mindy, Shaman by Kim Stanley Robinson, 30,000 years ago, prehistorical romance, hard edged scientific, Clan Of The Cavebear, Monsters Of The Earth by David Drake, Seanan McGuire, Soldier by Harlan Ellison, The Terminator, The Outer Limits, James Cameron, Philip Wylie, Tomorrow!, John Wyndham, When Worlds Collide, The Answer, nuclear war with angels, The End Of The Dream, The Murderer Invisible.

Dreamscape Audiobooks - Goslings by J.D. Beresford

Posted by Jesse Willis

Stephen King’s The Mist in 3D Sound

October 25, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, News 

SFFaudio News

Simon & Schuster Audio - Stephen King's The Mist in 3D Sound

The Mist, a legendary audio dramatization based on a 1980 Stephen King novella, is available from Simon & Schuster Audio. It’s actually been available since the mid 1980s. It started on LP, being released by it’s producers at ZBS Foundation, then was acquired by Simon & Schuster to be released on cassette and later CD. Today it’s still available on CD, as well as a Audible.com download. Every time it has been re-released I’ve been reminded of how astoundingly great an audio drama it really is.

Here’s the official description:

After a mysterious mist envelops a small New England town, a group of locals trapped in a supermarket must battle a siege of otherworldly creatures . . . and the fears that threaten to tear them apart.

Stephen King's The Mist in 3D Sound - various releases
And here’s the text from the back of the first CD edition:

Sound so visual you’re literally engulfed by its bonechilling terror! Stephen King’s sinister imagination and the miracle of 3-D sound transport you to a sleepy all-American town. It’s a hot, lazy day, perfect for a cookout, until you see those strange dark clouds. Suddenly a violent storm sweeps across the lake and ends as abruptly and unexpectedly as it had begun. Then comes the mist…creeping slowly, inexorably into town, where it settles and waits, trapping you in the supermarket with dozens of others, cut off from your families and the world. The mist is alive, seething with unearthly sounds and movements. What unleashed this terror? Was it the Arrowhead Project—the top secret government operation that everyone has noticed but no one quite understands? And what happens when the provisions have run out and you’re forced to make your escape, edging blindly through the dim light? The Mist has you in it grip, and this masterpiece of 3-D sound engineering surrounds you with horror so real that you’ll be grabbing your own arm for reassurance. To one side—and whipping around your chair, a slither of tentacles. Swooping down upon you, a rush grotesque, prehistoric wings. In the impenetrable mist, hearing is seeing—and believing. And what you’re about to hear, you’ll never forget.

The Mist in 3-D Sound (BACK)

ZBS Stephen King's The Mist

The YouTube version, below, is NOT in stereo. Stereo is ESSENTIAL to the experience, but if you want to get a sense of the story and how it plays out, have a look:

Here are two illustrations from the Dark Forces: The 25th Anniversary Special Edition , which came out 25 years after the original publication of the original Dark Forces anthology that included The Mist:

The Mist - illustrations from Dark Forces 25th Anniversary

And of course there was a film adaptation which was, surprisingly, great too:

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of In the Tall Grass by Stephen King and Joe Hill

October 21, 2012 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Horror Audiobook - In the Tall Grass by Stephen King and Joe HillIn the Tall Grass
By Stephen King and Joe Hill; Read by Stephen Lang
Approx. 90 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Audio
Published: 2012
Themes: / Horror / Separation / Supernatural /

Cal and Becky are brother and sister, born 18 months apart, and inseparable. It’s said that there was never a cross word between them. They stop by the side of the road one day after hearing a cry for help from a field full of tall grass. They go into the field to help, but the moment they do they are supernaturally unable to find each other. They can’t find the person that cried for help either, but they are not alone in the grass.

Some stories stay with you. This is one of those. By creating main characters that were so emotionally close, Stephen King and Joe Hill delivered an experience of the horror of separation to their readers. This story would be tough to watch if it were a film – it’s grisly, gory, and this is a terrifying situation.

Stephen Lang narrated admirably. He had my attention to the very last sentence.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Recent Arrivals: Simon & Schuster Audio: Total Recall: My Unbelievable True Life Story by Arnold Schwarzenegger

October 18, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: News 

SFFaudio Recent Arrivals

This just in!

Simon & Schuster - Total Recall by Arnold Schwarzenegger

The unabridged, 20 CD audiobook of Total Recall: My Unbelievable True Life Story by Arnold Schwarzenegger. The narration is done by Arnold himself, and Stephen Lang. Lang, besides being a terrific narrator, appeared as the villain of the latest Conan movie – maybe he’s been tasked with reading the evil chapters of Arnold’s autobiography?

Maybe. Chapter 1 is read by Schwarzenegger and Chapter 2 is read by Lang.

Here’s a sample |MP3|.

I’m well into the book now, and so far here are my thoughts:

-Hearing about little Arnold in childhood will provide a reminder of his role in Kindergarten Cop, indeed who else could pronounce “poo” as well as the real Arnold?

-There’s something of an ideology thrown in here and there in this autobiography, and the remembrances Arnold is sharing, though detailed greatly (as advertized in the title) seem to be clouded by metaphors that can’t quite be literal. Early on Arnold says that both he and his brother thought a local shopping area, in his late 1940s early 1950s country town, was as big as “The Mall Of America” (that’s something that wouldn’t exist for a few decades).

-The many photographs in the hardcover are of course absent, oh well.

-The little entrepreneurial Arnold made money by delivering groceries, selling ice-cream cones, and panhandling (grifting actually) with sob stories (he’d tell nice old Austria ladies that he’d lost his all his money so needed money for the bus).

Simon & Schuster Audio - Total Recall by Arnold Schwarzenegger (Back)

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #043

November 30, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: New Releases, Podcasts, Recent Arrivals 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #043 – Jesse and Scott talk about all the Recent Arrivals and New Releases that have been piling up while Scott’s been away fiddling on a roof.

Talked about on today’s show:
Fiddler On The Roof, Salt Lake City, Pride And Prejudice, Pride And Prejudice And Zombies, zombies, SuperFreakonomics, Freakonomics as psychohistory, Foundation by Isaac Asimov, altruism, Luke Burrage’s SFBRP #072.5, Isaac Asimov’s writing style, Hari Seldon is not much of a character, The Caves Of Steel by Isaac Asimov, |READ OUR REVIEW|, Black Destroyer by A.E. van Vogt, the “fix-up” novel, The Voyage Of The Space Beagle, The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury, Nightfall by Isaac Asimov, Nightfall by Isaac Asimov and Robert Silverberg, Books On Tape, a movie version of Foundation, FlashForward, TV is cops and doctors so SF on TV is cops and doctors SF, I, Robot (the movie), New Releases, Audible Frontiers, Stanislaw Lem, Memoirs Found In A Bathtub by Stanislaw Lem, Foundation Ziggurat Productions, Solaris (2002), Solaris (1972), Solaris by Stanislaw Lem, Andrei Tarkovsky, His Masters Voice by Stanislaw Lem, Fiasco by Stanislaw Lem, Diving Into The Wreck by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Badge Of Infamy by Lester del Rey (audible.com version), Badge Of Infamy by Lester del Rey (podiobooks and LibriVox), Jimcin Recordings, Armor by John Steakley, Vampire$ by John Steakley, John Carpenter’s Vampires, The Blue Tower by Evelyn E. Smith (audible), The Blue Tower by Evelyn E. Smith (LibriVox), Recent Arrivals, Fall With Honor by E.E. Knight, Winter Duty by E.E. Knight, E.E. Knight, The Shadow Of Saganami by David Weber, the Honorverse, Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke, Rendevous With Rama by Arthur C. Clarke, Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Fallout 3, the onion spoofs Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, V (the remake), The Prisoner (the remake), Edgar Allan Poe audiobooks, PoeAudio / Acoustic Learning, the exploration of North America, daguerreotype, Poe as a non-fiction author, The Cask Of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe, A Manuscript Found In A Copper Cylinder by James De Mille, the 4th Annual SFFaudio Challenge, Swoon by Nina Malkin, ghosts, Earth Abides by George R. Stewart, The “Erec Rex” series by Nina Malkin, Simon Jones (actor narrator extraordinaire), Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld, the beautiful illustrations in Leviathan, steampunk, airships!, my Zeppelins post, The Hindenburg (1975), movie director Robert Wise, Jesse professes his love of airships, Airborn by Kenneth Oppel |READ OUR REVIEW|, Skybreaker by Kenneth Oppel, Science Fiction vs. alternate history vs. Fantasy, blue gas, the Alcatraz series by Brandon Sanderson, the Chronicles Of The Imaginarium Geographica series by James A. Owen, dragons, Charles Williams, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, The Inklings by Humphrey Carpenter, Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, Simon & Schuster Audio, The House Of The Scorpion by Nancy Farmer, cloning, The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare, Stephanie Meyer, Dark Adventure Radio Theatre, At The Mountains Of Madness, The Complete Ripley Radio Mysteries based on the novels of Patricia Highsmith, BBC Audio, Catwings by Ursula K. Le Guin, Recorded Books, Under The Dome by Stephen King, The Simpsons Movie, Born Standing Up by Steve Martin (autobiography), Roxanne, Programmable Logic Control, Picasso at the Lapin Agile (a play), Cruel Shoes by Steve Martin, Shopgirl, The Pleasure Of My Company, Cult Holmes, The Further Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes RADIO DRAMA, John Joseph Adams, The Improbable Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes, Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, Mary Robinette Kowal, watches are only for affectation now.

Posted by Jesse Willis

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