A Martian Odyssey by Stanley G. Weinbaum

May 20, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

A Martian Odyssey by Stanley G. Weinbaum

A Martian Odyssey is a classic of alien human interaction. Isaac Asimov said of it and of Weinbaum:

“With this single story [A Martian Odyssey], Weinbaum was instantly recognized as the world’s best living science fiction writer, and at once almost every writer in the field tried to imitate him.”

It is also argued that this is the first story to satisfy Astounding editor John W. Campbell’s famous challenge:

“Write me a creature who thinks as well as a man, or better than a man, but not like a man.”

When it was republished, just 4 years later, in Startling Stories, A Martian Odyssey was added to the “Scientifiction Hall Of Fame”:

Scientifiction Hall Of Fame - Editor's Note
And with that that same printing was this extolling editorial explanation:
Stanley G. Weinbaum - Pioneer Of Scientifiction

LibriVoxA Martian Odyssey
By Stanley G. Weinbaum; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 58 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: January 13, 2009
Early in the twenty-first century, nearly twenty years after the invention of atomic power and ten years after the first lunar landing, the four-man crew of the Ares has landed on Mars in the Mare Cimmerium. A week after the landing, Dick Jarvis, the ship’s American chemist, sets out south in an auxiliary rocket to photograph the landscape. Eight hundred miles out, the engine on Jarvis’ rocket gives out, and he crash-lands into one of the Thyle regions. Rather than sit and wait for rescue, Jarvis decides to walk back north to the Ares. First published in Wonder Stories, July 1934.

Here’s an illustrated |PDF| made from the original publication in Wonder Stories.

A Martian Odyssey - illustration by Frank R. Paul

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox: Pygmalion’s Spectacles by Stanley G. Weinbaum

October 10, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Pygmalion’s Spectacles was first published in 1935 in the aptly named Wonder Stories magazine. Four years after it’s first publication it was reprinted in Startling Stories as a “classic” and it was placed in their “Scientifiction Hall Of Fame.” It was reprinted again in Fantastic Story magazine in the Spring 1955 issue. Three magazine publications is a rare occurrence for any SF story. So, what makes this story special?

Well, this tale of utopia, immortality, and romance, is also, most probably, the very first story to feature the concept of virtual reality.

Here’s the description from the Wikipedia entry:

A comprehensive and specific fictional model for virtual reality was published in 1935 in the short story Pygmalion’s Spectacles by Stanley G. Weinbaum. In the story, the main character, Dan Burke, meets an elfin professor, Albert Ludwig, who has invented a pair of goggles which enable “a movie that gives one sight and sound [...] taste, smell, and touch. [...] You are in the story, you speak to the shadows (characters) and they reply, and instead of being on a screen, the story is all about you, and you are in it.”

And though the ideas may be pioneering, the plot of Pygmalion’s Spectacles is very similar to Fitz-James O’Brien’s The Diamond Lens, itself an excellent SF tale. The tone of their respective endings differs, but their plot, in which a man falls in love with an intangible woman, is straight out of the Greek mythology that Weinbaum alludes to. And they both use science, rather than magic to get to their respective endings.

There is, I should also point out, a LibriVox |MP3| recording of the Metamorphoses by Ovid, a 2,000 year old poem featuring the myth of Pygmalion.

Pygmalion's Spectacles by Stanley G. Weinbaum

Here is a |PDF| made from the Pygmalion’s Spectacles publication in Fantastic Story. And here are two LibriVox versions (my advice, go for the first one):

LibriVoxPygmalion’s Spectacles
By Stanley G. Weinbaum; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 43 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: January 13,2009
He put on the glasses and fell in love with a dream… First published in Wonder Stories, June 1935.

LibriVoxPygmalion’s Spectacles
By Stanley G. Weinbaum; Read by Chrystal Layton
1 |MP3| – Approx. 45 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: November 17, 2007
He put on the glasses and fell in love with a dream… First published in Wonder Stories, June 1935.

Pygmalion’s Spectacles illustration by Lumen Winter (from Wonder Stories, June 1935):
Pygmalion's Spectacles -  illustration by Lumen Winter

Pygmalion’s Spectacles illustration by Virgil Finlay (from Fantastic Story Magazine, Spring 1955):
Pygmalion's Spectacles - illustration by Virgil Finlay

Painting of Pygmalion and the statue by Jean-Baptiste Regnault:
Jean-Baptiste Regnault - Pygmalion

[Thanks to Tim at The Drama Pod for the reminder]

Posted by Jesse Willis

Commentary: How (and why) I make ebooks out of paperbooks

January 24, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Commentary 

SFFaudio Commentary

When you’ve got an old paperback book that’s coming apart at the spine, with pages falling out all over the place it’s time to consider making it immortal. In order to do that, in a reasonable period of time, you must kill the book. That’s the hardest part of the process. The actual transformation is pretty easy.

To do it I use a Fujitsu ScanSnap S1500 which came with Adobe Acrobat Standard 9. Here are three videos I put together that show the process of turning a paperback into an ebook:

And here’s a PDF |SAMPLE| of the result.

Update:
John writes in to say:

I read your recent post about digitizing print books with interest. I wondered if you might be able to expand on your process a bit, as it seemed to me like a few steps were missing from your video.

Indeed, here are my answers to some specific questions:

How do you actually sever all the pages from the book?

Most of the time this can be done just with your hands, at least with paperbacks and old magazines. The only tools I’ve ever needed to use are flathead screwdriver, to pry up staples found in some mags from the 1960s and 1970s, and scissors which I’ve used to trim out glued edges. If you’re doing a hardcover with sewn binding you’d probably be able to do it with just an X-Acto knife.

When you run the pages through the scanner, does it scan both sides of the page simultaneously? Or do you have to scan them all twice?

The Fujitsu ScanSnap is not only superfast, it’s also supersmart, it scans both sides at the same time (technically the term is “duplex”).

If so, how do you collate them so the pages are all in the right order?

The bundled software, called ScanSnap Manager, allows you to customize the named output files. I usually have them just come out as 001, 002, 003, etc..

How long does it take you to digitize a single book?

Lets see I’ve just scanned the February 1976 issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction which has 128 pages (64 leaves). In the scanning itself I set a stopwatch. It took 1 minute 30 seconds to scan the entire mag. The software took another 45 seconds of processing. And I spent about 30 seconds correcting orientation on a few pages. So under three minutes for 128 pages

Have you tried this on hardcovers as well, or just paperbacks?

I don’t think I’ve done more than a couple of hardcovers, they were really easy though as they were essentially unbound already.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Free Listens review: “A Martian Odyssey” by Stanley G. Weinbaum

August 9, 2011 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

Review

“A Martian Odyssey” by Stanley G. Weinbaum

Source: LibriVox (mp3)
Length: 58 minutes
Reader: Greg Margarite
The book:  In 1970, The Science Fiction Writers of America voted “A Martian Odyssey” as the second best science fiction story of all time, after Isaac Asimov’s “Nightfall” (previously reviewed). While I disagree that it’s that great of a story, I can appreciate how influential it was on all science fiction that came after it.

The tale is told by astronaut Dick Jarvis to his fellow explorers on the first human mission to Mars. After Jarvis’s sidetrip from the expedition ends in a rocket crash, he sets out on foot for the main rocket. Along the way, he meets several alien species including the intelligent bird-like creature who introduces itself as “Tweel.”

Tweel and Jarvis’s attempts to communicate and understand one another comprises the leap that Weinbaum made over his contemporaries. Weinbaum imagines an intelligent being who is not just odd sounding or funny-looking, but actually alien in its thought patterns. This took the alien in science fiction from being either a bug-eyed antagonist or a green-skinned stand-in for other humans, to being a rational but unknown xenobiology species. Although this isn’t among the best science fiction stories you’ll ever read, it is a good one that all fans of the genre should know.

Rating: 7 / 10

The reader: Greg Margarite has read numerous science fiction stories for LibriVox. He has an expressive voice that clearly conveys the printed page. In this story, Jarvis is narrating his adventures to the other members of the crew, so Margarite gives the astronaut a cocky tone that fits well with his character. He emphasizes the international nature of the rest of the crew by giving them accents for their few lines. Margarite narrates other Weinbaum stories in the Collected Public Domain Works of Stanley G. Weinbaum at LibriVox, including the sequel to this story “The Valley of Dreams.

Posted by Seth

AUTHOR PAGES: Stanley G. Weinbaum and Philip Jose Farmer

May 27, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: News 

SFFaudio News

Hey folks! You’ll be pleased to hear that I’ve added two new sections to our AUTHOR PAGES.

STANLEY G. WEINBAUMFirst up is STANLEY G. WEINBAUM. When alive, the man only sold fiction for 18 months. And, he’s been dead for nearly 75 years – but his influence on Science Fiction was immensely impactful. His first story, A Martian Odyssey, was selected by the SFWA for inclusion in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame Volume One, 1929-1964. That story’s available BTW. And here are the HuffDuffer feeds for that page:

Podcast feed: http://huffduffer.com/jessewillis/tags/stanley_g._weinbaum/rss

iTunes 1-click |SUBSCRIBE|

PHILIP JOSE FARMERAlso new in the AUTHOR PAGES section is a complete (and way too small) audiography of PHILIP JOSE FARMER! Thankfully the little that is listed does include one FREE novel, the first novel completed in our original SFFaudio Challenge. There’s no need for a HuffDuffer feed for poor old FARMER because The Green Odyssey already has one.

Posted by Jesse Willis

New Releases – Wonder Audio, Leiber and Weinbaum

January 22, 2009 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: New Releases 

SFFaudio Recent Arrivals

Did you know you can get either of these titles, as well as any other Wonder Audio title for free?  Just sign up at Audible.com/WonderAudio

The Night of the Long KnivesThe Night of the Long Knives
By Fritz Leiber; Read by Mark Douglas Nelson
3hr,  37 min.- [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Wonder Audio
Published: 2009

Available at Audible & iTunes

A Deathlander’s life is a rough one. Atomic radiation, murder and sex preoccupies the sparse inhabitants of what used to be a great portion of America’s West. Kill or be killed is the law of this sickened land. Multicolored radioactive dusts floats in the atmosphere of this nuclear desert.

When Ray Baker meets a woman on his sojourn, he doesn’t know if he wants to kill her or sleep with her. Ray doesn’t understand his urge to murder. But he feels it like all the other Deathlanders. Just as he knows the girl feels it. Laying down their arsenal of weapons will leave them both vulnerable. The cost of a moment of intimacy may lead to the last moments of their lives. And what to do when the act is over, and both their minds turn back to murder.

Parasite Planet: The Ham & Pat StoriesParasite Planet: The Ham & Pat Stories
By Stanley G. Weinbaum; Read by Mark Douglas Nelson
3hr, 47 min.- [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Wonder Audio
Published: 2009

Available at Audible & iTunes

The short and meteoric career of Stanley G. Weinbaum produced many instantly hailed classics. None had the breadth of wonder, and adventure with philosophic insight as the trilogy of stories that feature Ham Hammond and Patricia Burlingame.

Parasite Planet begins with Ham Hammond trekking across the surface of Venus. The environment is parasitic, filled with bizarre alien life forms like the lasso throwing Jack Ketch Trees and the doughpots, a mindless omnivorous ball of animate cells that devour all living things in their path. When Ham meets the contentious Patricia Burlingame, they have to march across Venus to safety. It’s not clear what is going to kill them first, Venus’s hostile environment or each other.

In The Lotus Eaters, Ham and Pat are on a special scientific expedition to the dark-side of Venus. They discover a strange warm-blooded plant. The most disconcerting thing about the plant is when it begins speaking English and waxing philosophically.

The Planet of Doubt brings the duo to Uranus on another special scientific expedition. The cloudy shrouded terrain strikes terror into the heart of Ham as tries to find the lost Pat who he hopes is still be alive!

Posted by The Time Traveler of the Time Traveler Show

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