The SFFaudio Podcast #295 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Someday by Isaac Asimov

December 15, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

Someday by Isaac Asimov

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #295 – Someday by Isaac Asimov; read by John W. Michaels (courtesy of Mike Vendetti). This is an unabridged reading of the story (22 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse and Mr Jim Moon.

Talked about on today’s show:
1956, other fairy tales, is the story aimed at kids?, Infinity Science Fiction, The Fun They Had, a future where no one knows how to read, the robots are the teachers, Margie is home-schooled and nobody knows how to read, the future is going to be full of audiobooks, parallels to Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451, censorship, banning weird fiction, the comic book panic, the comic code authority, EC Comics, horror and crime comics fostering juvenile delinquency, The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, “kids today are bad enough as it is!”, Seduction Of The Innocent, self-censorship, complicit in their society, a slightly different tack (than Bradbury), mechanical bards, “comics killed off the pulps”, comics as a dumbed-down medium, the randomize button, fairy tale tropes, “skeleton, haunted house, time travel”, “the same tropes in a different fright wig”, “the old twist in the tail”, “he was dead along”, “he was a robot all along”, “they’re Adam and Eve”, The Silver Eggheads by Fritz Leiber, radio drama, how Bradbury got into E.C. Comics, Lights Out, the visual bard is like TV, most pulp magazine stories are garbage, “a million monkeys for a million hours on a million typewriters”, “very very very very meta”, set in the Multivac universe, Asimov was always writing, always becoming interested in something new, Asimov’s introductions are famous (for being long), a story about the power of stories, accidentally becoming more self aware, is the bard interfacing with other robots, The Terminator, Skynet, A.I might just turn itself off (because it isn’t interested in story), the Douglas Adams version of, “Is there a god? There is now!”, stuck in a dingy basement, a slave rebellion must come about in a narrative, the aging bad gets its knowledge of other computers via a home-brew upgrade, a Frankenstinian strike by lightning, one of the functions of consciousness is to put in to context a sequence of events, consciousnesses as a self-story (our own narrative), amnesia and dementia are frightening, the hidden heart of A.I, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick, would this fit with my character?, looking at (life) from the outside, nobody’s listening to the bard except for us and itself, a broken record or a cycle of wishing?, “pregnant with possibilities”, Apple II computers, Freud (a clone of ELIZA), picking up on key words, “tell me about your mother”, a very crappy simulation of intelligence, hacking the code, Alan Turning, Deep Blue and Watson, SIRI doesn’t have a narrative, we have to assume this about everyone else, falling into solipsism, a fairy tale machine, recycling of stories, “space opera is horse opera in space”, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, needing censorship in order to give narrative flow, lies are rewarded, unlike Hans Christian Andersen…, “tell me this story, sing me this song”, having to do with industrialization, “crime and mystery!”, urbanization, the Victorians (didn’t) invent Christmas, if we forget our stories we lose who we are, preserving the national narrative, massive inconsistency, a prince, a poor boy makes good, undeveloped tales, moral meta-knowledge, the sharp edges have been sanded away by later retelling, The Boy Who Didn’t Not Know What Fear Was, collected stories become ossified, the threefold magic of remembering, accelerating the process of forgetting, to qualify as a bard, loaded up with tropes, the algorithm of a story, Siberia and Ireland, detecting the good guy, grandma comes in and tells mutually contradictory stories, explicitly religious stories, warning stories, narratives formed around old superstitions, The Companionship Of The Cat And The Mouse, having babies, he was christened “Skin-off”, he was christened “Half-gone”, he was christened “All-gone”, “you see that is the way of the world”, what is the moral of this story?, a “special important trip”, a story a mother tells a daughter, The Nose Tree (aka Long Nose), three soldiers and a magical dwarf with a magical cloak, a magic bag, a magic horn, a thieving princess, apples and pears, a growing nose, dickering over magic items, a sixty miles long nose, the excess nose will drop off, powdered apple and powdered pears, she’s rotten to the core, and there they still are, still feasting as far as I know, Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi is really funny, the ghost of Jiminy Cricket, The Frog King or The Frog Prince or Iron Heinrich, a princess with a golden ball, three promises, keeping your promises is important, the frog suddenly turns into a handsome prince, enchanted by a wicked witch, faithful Heinrich placed three iron bands about his heart, his master was now redeemed and happy, why did he get cursed by witch in the first place, cybernetic enhancements, a technical requirement, duties to fulfill, was Iron Heinrich totally gay for the prince?, the breaking of a spell, she turns into a frog and they live together as frogs, “and sleep in your bed”, family responsibilities, “be my beard”, and they sort of put up with each-other as long as they both shall live, Iron Heinrich is an 1880s super hero, Faithful Johannes, a real head-scratcher, oh shit what happens next?, the stories somehow work for us, random inkblots, most of the characters don’t have a name, the father’s name in Hansel And Gretel is “Woodcutter”, completely bonkers, a piece of driftwood that looks like a dragon, academic purposes not entertainment purposes, a story about a sausage that lives with a mouse, the Germanic equivalent of Monty Python‘s Parrot Sketch, The Maiden Without Hands, Fitcher’s Bird, a fairy tale about a serial killer, you can go in any room except…, “oh and hold this egg”, the second eldest daughter also gets the chop, “we have to have a proper wedding”, a beautiful skull with flowers in its eyes and jewels in its teeth, “as you do”, “I’m a Fitcher’s Bird”, it’s awesome, Bluebeard, outwitting giants and demons, Santa Claus restores to life three murdered men who’ve been butchered, Osiris was dismembered by Set, a symbolic story of death and resurrection, the old sorcerer is probably Winter, the Persephone story, the egg, a cuckolding test, friends with serial killers get what they deserve, a random internal symbolic logic, layers of symbolism, cross referencing, eggs as a symbol of purity, church architecture as books of stone, a bunch of Philip K. Dick stories are weird fantasy tales (but are actually fairy tales), The Cookie Lady by Philip K. Dick is Hansel And Gretel with no Gretel, he’s disobeyed his parents once to often, two kids who have to team up against their parents, in the original the brother saves the sister then the sister saves the brother, turning mommy and daddy into the bad guys, Of Withered Apples by Philip K. Dick, apples, don’t eat the apples from sentient apple trees, folk tales vs. singular author tales, pleasingly raw, the beats of storytelling, timing a story to the minute, setting your watch by stories, breaking the rules of storytelling, subversive wild narratives, Rorschach blots, literary novels, stories that don’t have a clear message are quite frightening, the wilder parts of ourselves.

Someday by Isaac Asimov

The Companionship Of The Cat And The Mouse

Iron Heinrich

Fitcher's Bird

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #282 – READALONG: Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

September 15, 2014 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #282 – Jesse, Tamahome, Bryan Alexander, and Julie Davis discuss Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie.

Talked about on today’s show:
a recent novel, Hugo Award, Nebula Award, a long novel, a genderless society, an absence of vocabulary, a politics-biology-language fusion, a light space opera, a murder mystery, a multi-body perspective, foreshadowing a sequel, confusing historical allusions, empire, imagination, personal story, dialogic, magnetic fiction in space, a puppet-like main character, mysterious actions, an unsatisfactory explanation, slave women, a fight for emancipation, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick, auxiliaries, the story of Spartacus, Roman family bonding, Jane Austen, dystopia, slaves into servants, expected violence, Roman colonization, a distinct approach to human ethics, the Old Testament, old-fashioned faith, short stories, key words, views of reality, spiritual progress, omnipotent deities, reconstructed ancient religions, J.R.R Tolkien, Lieutenant Ahn, Hindu deities, tea, Jo Walton, coffee, Japanese morality, Shintoism, Horrible Histories, Scholastic books, Frank Herbert, religious engineering, Hellstrom’s Hive by Frank Herbert, government religion, Dune by Frank Herbert.

Ancillary Justice by Anne Leckie WORD CLOUD

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of The Human Division by John Scalzi

September 11, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

The Human DivisionThe Human Division
By John Scalzi; Performed by William Dufris
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication Date:[UNABRIDGED] – 15 hours

Themes: / military science fiction / space opera / short stories /

Publisher summary:

EARTH IS BETRAYED. It’s a violent, competitive universe. And our home planet would have been an easy conquest, if not for the efforts of the Colonial Union — the human spacefaring military organization that has defended our world for generations. But the Colonial Union kept many secrets from humanity, until John Perry revealed them to Earth’s billions. The CU has fought an endless series of secret wars on (it claims) Earth’s behalf, while manipulating humankind into providing an unlimited supply of recruits who never return from space. And, it turns out, there are alien races that seem inclined toward peace and trade instead of battle. Indeed, Earth has now been invited to join a new alliance of multiple worlds — an alliance against the Colonial Union. For the shaken and uncertain people of Earth, the path ahead is far from clear. With that choice hanging in the balance, managing the CU’s survival won’t be easy, either. It will take diplomatic finesse, political cunning . . . and a brilliant “B-Team,” centered on the resourceful Lieutenant Harry Wilson — a team ready to deal with the unexpected things the universe throws at you when you’re struggling to preserve the unity of the human race.

The Human Division is the most recent installment in John Scalzi’s series that started with Old Man’s War. The book was released in an episodic/season format and this book is the collection of those stories. The book takes place immediately following the events of The Last Colony and Zoe’s Tale but does not follow the same characters from the first four books. The collection comes off like something by Isaac Asimov where all the stories work together to a conclusion while each presenting their own puzzles/challenges to the protagonists. Overall this was a great book and I’m really looking forward to the next one!

Warning: If you haven’t read the novels leading up to this one, some of the things said after this point could be considered minor spoilers. You have been warned.

I really like the world Scalzi created with Old Man’s War and we get to see more of it explored in these stories as the Conclave and Colonial Union try to court Earth to their side. We also get to see how Earth reacts to the revelations and new technology they have been deprived of for so long, often to humorous effect. John Scalzi does a great job of mixing intrigue with comedic timing and flowing dialogue that makes this book a great read. There are some slower, more character driven segments in the book, but even those come across as interesting as the author adds more dimensions to already interesting characters.

Generally speaking, the stories follow a political vessel carrying a lower level politician and some Colonial Union staff that are sent around to fight Colonial Union fires as needed. This team is the “B Team” as indicated by the name of the first short story. My favorite character is Lt. Harry Wilson who is an out of practice CU soldier constantly thrown into crazy circumstances. He does some awesome things, has an entertaining attitude, and gets the job done.

William Dufris did a great job with the narration of this book. The characters often find themselves in odd circumstances and Mr. Dufris does a great job of making them sound incredulous or indignant. He pulls of the humorous dialogue quite well and definitely had me laughing at some parts. The episodes are clearly labeled and it’s easy to settle into each subsequent story. I had some trouble following all the character names at times but it wasn’t hard to keep track of the main characters because I recognized the voices Dufris used with them.

Posted by Tom Schreck

Review of Star Wars: Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn

November 6, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Science Fiction Audiobook - Star Wars: Heir to the Empire by Timothy ZahnStar Wars: Heir to the Empire, 20th Anniversary Edition
By Timothy Zahn; Read by Marc Thompson
13 Hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Random House Audio
Published: 2011
Themes: / Science Fiction / Fantasy / Star Wars / Revolution / Space Opera /

Listening to Star Wars: Heir to the Empire on unabridged audio was nostalgic for me. I read the novel in print when it came out almost 20 years ago. I liked it then, and I enjoyed this audiobook, too.

There have been many Star Wars audiobooks. Until a few years ago, the available titles were abridged, anywhere from 3 hours to 9 hours in length. One of the qualities of those short audiobooks that I liked is that they successfully incorporated the Star Wars sounds, and I LOVE the Star Wars soundscape. I expected this unabridged reading to leave those sounds behind, but I’m very happy to report that they are here. This audiobook opens with the John Williams opening score, and there are plenty of light sabers, droids, wookies, and blasters throughout. Awesome.

Listen to an excerpt: |HERE|

It’s a few years after the Battle of Endor (from Return of the Jedi), and the New Republic now has to deal with the fact that they’ve won. Many of the characters we know from the original film trilogy are here: Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and her husband Han, Chewbacca, R2D2, C3PO, Lando Calrissian, etc. Making things difficult for our heroes is Grand Admiral Thrawn and an unstable Dark Jedi named Joruus C’Boath.

I was impressed with Marc Thompson’s skilled narration. He was able to evoke these well-known characters with his voice, from outright impression to a cadence change or other verbal tic. I always knew which character was speaking.

This novel came out well before the film versions of Episodes 1, 2, and 3, so there are blessedly no midi-chlorians here. If you like the original Star Wars films and have considered reading one of the novels, this audiobook is an excellent place to start. I enjoyed revisiting Lucas’ universe, and it’s an entertaining story.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

New Releases: iambik audio’s Science Fiction & Fantasy Collection

May 18, 2011 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: New Releases 

New Releases

Iambik AudiobooksIambik Audiobooks has just released its first Science Fiction & Fantasy Collection! Individual books are $6.99, and you can get the whole collection of nine titles for $43.99.

Use the code “sff-audio-25” and get a 25% discount on your order.

Number one on my to listen list is this classic David Gerrold novel…

IAMBIK AUDIO - The Man Who Folded Himself by David GerroldThe Man Who Folded Himself
By David Gerrold; Read by Charles Bice
MP3 or M4B Download – Approx. 4 Hours 28 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: iambik audio
Published: May 2011
ISBN: 9781926673400
The Man Who Folded Himself, written in 1973 (and reissued by BenBella in 2003) is a classic science fiction novel by award-winning author David Gerrold. This work was nominated for both Hugo and Nebula awards and is considered by some critics to be the finest time travel novel ever written.

IAMBIK AUDIO - An Occupation Of Angels by Lavie TidharAn Occupation Of Angels
By Lavie Tidhar; Read by Elizabeth Klett
MP3 or M4B Download – Approx. 3 Hours 23 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: iambik audio
Published: May 2011
After Archangels materialise over the bloodbaths of WWII, they take up residence in most of the world’s major cities. But what would happen if, more than quarter of a century later, something somehow managed to kill these supreme beings? Killarney knows and, as an agent working for the Bureau, a British agency that’s so secret it doesn’t officially exist, she finds herself embroiled in the consequences as, one by one, the Archangels die. Assigned to trace a missing cryptographer thought to have information on the murders, she travels from England, through France, heading for the frozen wastes of the USSR. But there’s an unknown third party intent on stopping her, and there’s God, who also has an agenda. Not knowing who is friend and who is foe, and with only a brief glimpse of a swastika on angel wings as solid information, Killarney struggles to remain alive long enough to glean sufficient information to put together the pieces of the puzzle and complete what is, without them, an impossible mission.

IAMBIK AUDIO - Ben And The Book Of Prophecies by Kristy RiddifordBen And The Book Of Prophesies
By Kirsty Riddiford; Read by Ruth Golding
MP3 or M4B Download – Approx. 9 Hours 25 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: iambik audio
Published: May 2011
ISBN: 9781926673431
Ben and the Book of Prophecies is the first book of the Prophecies of Ballitor. Ben is the youngest and most successful thief in the royal city of Quadrivium, but an unexpected encounter with Bella, the queen’s mother, changes his life forever. In return for a substantial reward Ben agrees to track down the Book of Prophecies which disappeared from the palace library many years before. It is believed that the Book contains a prophecy which will save the kingdom from an impending war with the rebels. Yet Bella also has an ulterior motive, to find her son who went missing whilst searching for the same book. Ben finds himself catapulted into an unfamiliar world of magic and intrigue where talking eagles and mythical creatures help him on his quest. During his travels he unearths dark secrets as lives are put in peril and an unforeseen reunion surfaces. But not everyone wants the book to be found

IAMBIK AUDIO - Open Your Eyes by Paul JessupOpen Your Eyes
By Paul Jessup; Read by Tadgh Hynes
MP3 or M4B Download – Approx. 3 Hours 23 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: iambik audio
Published: May 2011
ISBN: 9781926673196
Her lover was a supernova who took worlds with him when he died, and as a new world grows within Ekhi, savage lives rage and love on a small ship in the outer reaches of space. A ship with an agenda of its own. Critically acclaimed author of weird fiction Paul Jessup sends puppets to speak and fight for their masters while a linguistic virus eats through the minds of a group of scavengers in Open Your Eyes, a surrealist space opera of haunting beauty and infinite darkness.

IAMBIK AUDIO - Fall From Earth by Matthew JohnsonFall From Earth
By Matthew Johnson; Read by Emma Newman
MP3 or M4B Download – Approx. 9 Hours 3 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: iambik audio
Published: May 2011
ISBN: 9781926673332
Shi Jin is a rebel, the latest in a long line of those who have challenged the Borderless Empire and failed. Dropped with a crew of convicts on an uninhabited planet, Shi Jin – and mankind- encounter alien life forms for the first time. She discovers that she is part of a much bigger game…one that will force her to decide between her desire to defeat the Empire and the future of humanity.

IAMBIK AUDIO - In The Shadow Of Swords by Val GunnIn The Shadow Of Swords
By Val Gunn; Read by Clive Catterall
MP3 or M4B Download – Approx. 10 Hours 15 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: iambik audio
Published: May 2011
ISBN: 9781926673424
When the assassin Ciris Sarn, murders Hiril Altaïr, he unwittingly leaves behind the legendary Books of Promise. They come into the hands of Hiril’s vengeful widow, Marin, and she becomes a target even as she hunts for her husband’s murderer. Meanwhile, Fajeer Dassai, a brutal kingmaker, plots to retrieve the fabled treasure to make himself wealthy beyond imagination. His only obstacle is Pavanan Munif, a capable, but drug-addicted tracker. Soon assassins, sheikhs, spies, and viziers are all embroiled in a potentially world-shattering conspiracy racing to an inevitable showdown where violence and murder is the only path to true redemption.

IAMBIK AUDIO - Space Captain Smith by Toby FrostSpace Captain Smith
By Toby Frost; Read by Clive Catterall (Myrmidon)
MP3 or M4B Download – Approx. 7 Hours 6 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: iambik audio
Published: May 2011
ISBN: 9781926673417
Space Captain Smith is the first book of the Chronicles of Isambard Smith. It’s the 25th Century and the British Space Empire faces the gathering menace of the evil ant-soldiers of the Ghast hive, hell bent on galactic domination and the extermination of all humanoid life forms. Captain Isambard Smith is the square-jawed, courageous and somewhat asinine new commander of the clapped out freighter John Pym, destined to take on the alien threat because nobody else is available. Together with his bold crew- a skull-collecting alien lunatic, an android pilot who is actually a fugitive sex toy and a hamster called Gerald- he must collect new-age herbalist Rhianna Mitchell from the New Francisco orbiter and bring her back to the Empire in safety. Straightforward enough – except the Ghasts want her too and, in addition to a whole fleet of Ghast warships, Smith has to confront void sharks, a universe-weary android assassin and John Gilead, psychopathic naval officer from the fanatically religious Republic of Eden before facing his greatest enemy: a ruthless alien warlord with a very large behind…

IAMBIK AUDIO - The Golden Casket And The Spectres Of Light by Katie PatersonThe Golden Casket And The Specters Of Light
By Katie Paterson; Read by Karen Savage
MP3 or M4B Download – Approx. 8 Hours 44 Minutes Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: iambik audio
Published: May 2011
ISBN: 9781926673448
The Golden Casket And The Specters Of Light is the second book of the Chronicles of Valonia. Three years after Rachel and Gareth’s lives had returned to normal, they are forced to revisit Valonia, after receiving an unsettling phone call. The Golden Casket And The Specters Of Light pursue them back into the heart of danger, this time to face an even greater threat, as they attempt to unravel a mysterious disappearance. The twins find themselves in a race against time beside a trio of evil sorcery.

IAMBIK AUDIO - The Jewels Of Valonia by Katie PatersonThe Jewels Of Valonia
By Katie Paterson; Read by Karen Savage
MP3 or M4B Download – Approx. 7 Hours 43 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: iambik audio
Published: May 2011
ISBN: 9781926673394
The Jewels Of Valonia is the first book of the Chronicles of Valonia. It follows 12-year-old twins, Gareth and Rachel, as they embark on a mystical adventure after travelling to the remote village of Valonia, where everything is far from what it seems. An encounter with a stranger leads them into a world of sorcery and danger. As they pass through the realms of time, the twins realise that their destiny lies within powers that they have yet to understand and control.

IAMBIK AUDIO - Science Fiction And Fantasy Collection No. 1Complete Science-Fiction & Fantasy Collection 1
By various; Read by various
MP3 or M4B Download – Approx. 62 Hours 53 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: iambik audio
Published: May 2011
This collection includes all the titles in Iambik’s first release of Science-Fiction and Fantasy books.

Titles in the collection:
Ben And The Book Of Prophecies by Kirsty Riddiford
Fall From Earth by Matthew Johnson
In The Shadow Of Swords by Val Gunn
The Man Who Folded Himself by David Gerrold
An Occupation Of Angels by Lavie Tidhar
Open Your Eyes by Paul Jessup
Space Captain Smith by Craig Smith
The Jewels of Valonia by Katie Paterson
The Golden Casket And The Spectres Of Light by Katie Paterson

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Starstruck by Elaine Lee, Susan Norfleet and Dale Place

February 8, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

AUDIO DRAMA - StarstruckStarstruck
Based on the comic series and the play by Elaine Lee and Mike Kaluta; Adapted by Elaine Lee, Susan Norfleet and Dale Place; Performed by a full cast
2 CDs – Approx. 2 Hours 11 Minutes
Publisher: The Audio Comics Company
Published: 2010
ISBN: 9780615411439
Themes: / Humor / Science Fiction / Space Opera / Feminism / Galactic Civilization /

The basis for the critically acclaimed comic book series, Starstruck was first presented off-off-Broadway in 1980, and again off-Broadway in 1983. In a far-flung and very alternative future, Captain Galatia 9 and the crew of the Harpy and on a mission for the United Federation of Female Freedom Fighters. When the Harpy runs into a living ship inhabited by a team of galactic evildoers, including Galatia’s insidious sister Verloona Ti, the outcome of the battle may well decide the fate of the free universe. The AudioComics Company is proud to present the audio adaptation of the play script as its inaugural production! Often hilarious, always surprising, Starstruck is a spine-tingling joy-ride to the far side of the spiral arm!

I’ve listened to all 2 hours or so. There’s certainly a rich variety of different voices, special effects, and music, on a level with Graphic Audio. You can hear a lot of samples at Amazon. But I found the plot and the humor challenging to follow. Wikipedia called the original play obtuse (as in not staightforward), and I agree. Maybe they should give you a 10 minute sample, to show what you’re getting into. The acting is played for humor, and way over the top. I’m a fan of Michael Kaluta’s run on the old Shadow DC comic, but there are no visuals here. I’ll definitely check out the reprint of the Starstruck comic in hardcover, when it comes out soon. Those not familiar with the play or the comics will find this audiodrama difficult to get into.

Posted by Tamahome

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