Review of The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination edited by John Joseph Adams

May 29, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

The Mad Scientist's Guide to World DominationThe Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination
Edited by John Joseph Adams
Performed by Stefan Rudnicki, Mary Robinette Kowal, and Justine Eyre
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
16 hours [UNABRIDGED]

Themes: / mad scientists / science / superheroes / villains /

Publisher summary:

Mad scientists have never had it so tough. In super-hero comics, graphic novels, films, TV series, video games, and even works of what may be fiction, they are besieged by those who stand against them, devoid of sympathy for their irrational, megalomaniacal impulses to rule, destroy, or otherwise dominate the world as we know it. Dr. Frankenstein was the first truly mad scientist of the modern era. And what did it get him? Destroyed by his own creation. And Jules Verne’s Captain Nemo, a man ahead of his time as well as out of his head — what did he do to deserve persecution? Even Lex Luthor, by all accounts a genius, has been hindered not once, not twice, but so many times that it has taken hundreds of comic books, a few films, and no fewer than ten full seasons of a television series to keep him properly thwarted. It’s just not fair. So those of us who are so twisted and sick that we love mad scientists have created this guide. Some of the names have been changed to protect the guilty, but you’ll recognize them. It doesn’t matter, though. This guide is not for you. It’s for them: the underhanded, over-brained paranoiacs who so desperately need our help. What lies behind those unfocused, restless eyes and drooling, wicked grins? Why — and how — do they concoct their nefarious plots? Why are they so set on taking over the world? If you’ve ever asked yourself any of these questions, you’re in luck, because we are exposing their secrets, aiding and abetting their evil. It all awaits, within. Watch out, world!

Full table of contents on editor’s site.

I really enjoyed the first half of the stories in the collection but thought things got less interesting/slower in the second half. It may have been that some stories shared some similarities and the repetition got tiresome, but I don’t think so. I think it was actually that the second half of the stories had more of a serious tone to them that just didn’t go as well with me as the more humorous first half.

I really liked Chris Claremont’s introduction to the book. I thought it brought some interesting insights into why the bad guy is so important for the hero. I thought John Joseph Adams’ introductions to each story were helpful although a bit confusing in the audiobook format (it took a few stories before I understood what the heck was going on with the scientific categorization). I thought they helped me get into the story faster since I kind of knew what to expect and I do think I enjoyed the short stories more as a result. Some would say they spoil the stories but I didn’t think they revealed any more than the back of a novel would about its story.

There are 22 stories in this collection. Many are humorous and have interesting spins on the common tropes you’d expect from mad scientist or superhero stories. I generally liked all the stories but I’d say my favorites were Professor Incognito Apologizes, The Angel of Death Has a Business Plan, Captain Justice Saves the Day, and Rocks Fall.

I didn’t overly dislike any stories except for The Space Between by Diana Gabaldon. The story is by far the longest and I had trouble following the different character’s stories and understanding the point of the story. It appears that story is from a series by her so it may be that I didn’t like it because I haven’t read her other works.

I thought all three readers did a fantastic job with their voice acting in this collection. I would definitely listen to books performed by these readers again. I particularly liked Mary Robinette Kowal’s performances. She does a great job doing voices of people trying to be patient with the mad scientists – whether it be their therapist, assistant, or fellow evil genius.

Various sites have posted some of the stories online to read for free, compiled on the editor’s site, and those would be a good litmus test if this is the book for you. Professor Incognito Apologizes: an Itemized List by Austin Grossman is a great example of the more humorous offerings and The Mad Scientist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss is a good example of the more serious stories.

Posted by Tom Schreck

The SFFaudio Podcast #203 – READALONG: Footfall by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle

March 11, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #203 – Footfall by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle is discussed by Scott, Jesse, Tamahome, and Paul Weimer

Talked about on today’s show:
Worlds Without End: Award Winners and Nominees in 1986, Tom Clancy said “nobody does it better”, how many alien invasion books are there?, Niven didn’t want to do an alien invasion in the Acknowledgments, came out of research for Lucifer’s Hammer, a mainstream The Mote In God’s Eye, too many characters (124!)?, character list in my Goodreads review, “put the screws to the president”, Sfsignal Mind Meld – science fiction writers on earth’s first contact team, Of Men And Monsters (The Men In The Walls) by William Tenn, would Stefan Rudnicki have lisping aliens?, the surrender position, alien science fiction writers, Russia nuking Kansas, is it an allegory?, Star Trek, The Burning City and Burning Tower were fantasy allegories, ‘what if’ stories, Oath Of Fealty has giant buildings, War Of The Worlds, Popular Alien Invasion Books, Heinlein’s The Puppet Masters, “high concept cool gee-whiz wow”, Lucifer’s Hammer could be more focused, idea books vs entertainment, characters and Stephen King’s The Stand,  Tuckerization of a real person into a story, Wrath Of God by Robert Gleason (from the acknowledgments?), how much would these inventions cost?, someone get Paul Krugman, Chapter 20 (Schemes) has all the ideas, Project Orion (nuclear propulsion), Kinetic Bombardment — Project Thor, Laser Propulsion, Niven on Prisoners Of Gravity, environmentalists and Fallen Angels, Pournelle for pope

Footfall by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle

Posted by Tamahome

The SFFaudio Podcast #199 – NEW RELEASES/RECENT ARRIVALS

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #199 – Scott, Jesse, Tamahome, and Jenny talk about NEW RELEASES and RECENT ARRIVALS (audiobooks).

Talked about on today’s show:
Recent arrivals first, here’s Jenny’s list, Harry Harrison’s Deathworld, Speculative! Brilliance audiobooks (from public domain works), “he’s super clear”, author of Make Room! Make Room! (aka Soylent Green), Planet Of The Damned, “nice font”, Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Telling is in the Hanish Cycle, the out of print Harlan Ellison version of A Wizard of Earthsea, The Lathe Of Heaven and the PBS TV-movie with Bruce Davidson (trailer), Work Of The Devil by Katherine Amt Hanna, “the devil has no time for long novels”, Joe Hill’s Horns and In The Tall Grass (with Stephen King), Philip K. Dick’s Vulcan’s Hammer, similar to Colossus: The Forbin Project (film), “goes Skynet on your ass”, The Game-Players Of Titan has slug aliens, good names for bands, Time Out Of Joint, Tears In Rain by Rosa Montera is inspired by Blade Runner (it has a female Rutger Hauer), translated from Spanish, The Woodcutter by Kate Danley has fairy tale characters, Beowulf, Jeff Wheeler’s Legends Of Muirwood series released all at once, House Of Cards is a great British show, Dead Spots by Scarlett Bernard sounds like one of those Lifetime movies, The Mad Scientist’s Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke has a disturbing android romance, ewww!, Tam knows who Steven Erikson is (Forge Of Darkness), re-read of the Malazan series, we need urban fantasy and military SF people, Tenth Of December by George Saunders, prefers short stories, on Colbert, Vampires In The Lemon Grove by Karen Russell, her novel Swamplandia has been optioned by HBO, New releases start, Poe Must Die by Marc Olden, Ben Bova’s Farside comes out soon (hard SF), narrated by Stefan Rudnicki, Stefan’s Fantastic Imaginings, where’s James P. Hogan’s Inherit The Earth?, the movie Frequency didn’t star Kevin Bacon, the entire X Minus One radio drama run, short story audio collections having chapters and a table of contents, Star Wars audiobooks with enhanced sound, Bryce’s review of Star Wars: Scoundrels, more Star Trek novel audio books, more classic sf, Leigh Brackett, Jerry Pournelle, Harlan Ellison, Arthur C. Clarke, George R.R. Martin, “you’re welcome, Audible”, The Mad Scientist’s Guide To World Domination by John Joseph Adams, short fiction is back, Olaf Stapelton, like a science fiction The Silmarillion, SF Crossing The Gulf podcast will discuss Olaf Stapledon and others, Mary Doria Russell, where’s the audio version of Karen Lord’s The Best Of All Possible Worlds? (actually it came out the same day as the print version), Jenny loved it, what is the Candide connection Karen?, indie Scifi Arizona author Michael McCollum on Audible (Steve Gibson approved), the Audible Feb2013 Win-Win $4.95 sale, get the first in a series cheap, Sharon Shinn’s Archangel Samaria series, Image Comics’s first issue sale, The Red Panda audio drama becomes a comic (cover), John Scalzi’s The Human Division serial, wish science fiction authors in TV series, George R.R. Martin to develop more shows for HBO, football jerseys vs Star Trek uniforms.

Monkey Brain Comics - Mask Of The Red Panda

Posted by Tamahome

The SFFaudio Podcast #193 – NEW RELEASES/RECENT ARRIVALS

December 31, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: New Releases, Podcasts, Recent Arrivals 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #193 – Jesse, Tamahome, and Jenny, talk about audiobooks, the RECENT ARRIVALS and the NEW RELEASES.

Talked about on today’s show:
the last new releases episode was in October, Amazing Spider-Man #700 (final) is creepy, Spider-Man writer gets death threats, The World Until Yesterday by Jared Diamond is paleo, Jenny’s research paper on music from birdsong and waterfalls, Jon Catler’s microtonal Birdhouse album, Unnatural Acts by Kevin J. Anderson (Zombie P.I.), necro-maniac what’s that?, the next one has Tam’s name all over it, Chicks Kick Butt by Caine and Hughes, butt not ass?, Jenny is not Harriet Klausner, Jenny’s term “speed dating books”, The Merchant of Dreams by Anne Lyle, the ‘skrayling’ creature, Area 51 Nightstalkers by Bob Mayer, are we worried about Area 51?, Scoundrels: Star Wars by Timothy Zahn (author of the Star Wars Thrawn Trilogy), sounds like Oceans Eleven, “create suspense through problems not death”, Fantastic Imaginings edited by Stefan Rudnicki |OUR POST|, from Guy de Maupassant to Arthur C. Clarke, (22 hours), Fritz Leiber writes science fiction?, and now New Releases, Audible’s Rip-Off! project uses famous first lines from stories, which stories were the inspirations?, The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers, Jenny’s review from her blog, “don’t have sex or you’ll die!”, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, Beautiful People by Charles Beaumont |PDF| (Number 12 Looks Just Like You on The Twilight Zone), Liking What You See by Ted Chiang, we are beauty experts, Bloodchild by Octavia Butler (dramatized on 2000X), Kindred by Octavia Butler (audiodrama links here), Jenny brings up The Cleansed apocalyptic audiodrama without our prompting |OUR DISCUSSION WITH THE CREATOR|, be a prepper, we explain Forgotten Realms to Jenny, kinder means children in German, Brilliance is Audible, R.A. Salvatore was a bouncer, The Wheel Of Time by Brandon Sanderson is the last book, A World Out Of Time by Larry Niven (we’ll do a READLONG of it with Scott on 1/20/13), sounds like Spider-Man, Great North Road by Peter F. Hamilton, Toby Longworth blogs about narrating Great North Road, like the movie The Hidden, Tam asks for a new world federation of e-media, Neil Gaiman to give up book tours, Tim Ferriss doesn’t book tour, there’s a ton of new Mike Resnick, his Kirinyaga has African culture

Spider-Man

Posted by Tamahome

Fantastic Imaginings, edited by Stefan Rudnicki

December 11, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Recent Arrivals 

SFFaudio Recent Arrivals

Audio Anthology - Fantastic Imaginings, edited by Stefan Rudnicki

Just in, this very interesting anthology, edited by Stefan Rudnicki! I couldn’t find a Table of Contents on this package or on the Audible site, so I included it below. Why don’t audio publishers find the Table of Contents important when it comes to anthologies and collections? Because… THEY ARE.

After seeing the contents, I’m eager to dive into this. Oliver Onions, Guy de Maupassant, Harlan Ellison, John Crowley… Harlan Ellison reading John Crowley… this is terrific!

TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION
Lofty Ambitions by Harlan Ellison, read by Harlan Ellison

PART 1: THE MYTHS WE LIVE BY
A Youth In Apparel That Glittered by Stephen Crane, read by Stefan Rudnicki (poem)
After the Myths Went Home by Robert Silverberg, read by Stefan Rudnicki
Novelty by John Crowley, read by Harlan Ellison
Pan And The Firebird by Sam M. Steward, read by Stefan Rudnicki
Murderer, The Hope Of All Women by Oskar Kokoschka, performed by cast
The Touch Of Pan by Algernon Blackwood, read by Stefan Rudnicki
The Lost Thyrsis by Oliver Onions, read by Roz Landor
The Bacchae (excerpt) by Eurpides, performed by cast

PART 2: MYTHS THAT BITE
A Noiseless Patient Spider by Walt Whitman, read by Stefan Rudnicki
Mystery Train by Lewis Shiner, read by John Rubenstein
Continued On The Next Rock by R.A. Lafferty, read by Stefan Rudnicki
Diary Of A God by Barry Pain, read by Enn Reitel
The Repairer of Reputations (excerpt) by Robert W. Chambers, read by Stefan Rudnicki
The Yellow Sign by Robert W. Chambers, read by Stefan Rudnicki
An Inhabitant Of Carcosa by Ambrose Bierce, read by Danny Campbell
The Horla by Guy de Maupassant, read by Arte Johnson

PART 3: SHOCKING FUTURES
Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, read by Stefan Rudnicki (poem)
City Come A’Walkin (excerpt) by John Shirley, read by Don Leslie
A Pail Of Air by Fritz Leiber, read by Stefan Rudnicki
The Machine Stops (excerpt) by E.M. Forster, read by Roz Landor
Looking Backward and Equality (excerpts) by Edward Bellamy, read by David Birney
Gulliver’s Travels (excerpt) by Jonathan Swift read by Scott Brick
Utopia (excerpt) by Sir Thomas More, read byChristopher Cazanove
Monument To Amun by Queen Hatshepsut, read by Judy Young

PART 4: TRAVELING FOOLS
La Bateau Ivre by Arthur Rimbaud, read by Stefan Rudnicki
Inspiration by Ben Bova, read by Stefan Rudnicki
The Bones Do Lie by Anne McCaffrey, read by Stefan Rudnicki
A Princess Of Mars (excerpt) by Edgar Rice Burroughs, read by John Rubinstein
The Great Stone Of Sardis (excerpt) by Frank R. Stockton, read by David Birney
Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland (excerpt) by Lewis Carroll, read by Michael York
Diary Of A Madman (excerpt) by Nicolai Gogol, read by Stefan Rudnicki
The Inferno (excerpt) by Dante, read by Stefan Rudnicki
The Odyssey of Homer (excerpt), read by David Birney

PART 5: TRANSFORMERS
The Stolen Child by William B. Yeats, read by Stefan Rudnicki
The Porcelain Salamander by Orson Scott Card, read by Gabrielle de Cuir
Let’s Get Together by Isaac Asimov, read by Arte Johnson
Dracula (excerpt) by Bram Stoker, read by Simon Vance
Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde (excerpt) by Robert Louis Stevenson, read by John Lee
Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti, read by Gabrielle de Cuir
Frankenstein (excerpt) by Mary Shelley, read by Stefan Rudnicki0\ *
The Laidly Worm of Spindleston Heugh (Traditional English Fairy Tale), read by Judy Young
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (excerpt) by William Shakespeare, performed by cast
The Ballad of Tam Lin (Celtic ballad), read by Stefan Rudnicki
Metamorphosis (excerpt) by Ovid, read by Cassandra Campbell

PART 6: REST IN PIECES
Hearse Song
The Conqueror Worm by Edgar Allan Poe, read by Stefan Rudnicki
The New Testament: Revelations (excerpt), read by Stefan Rudnicki
The Colloquy of Monos & Una by Edgar Allan Poe, read by Stefan Rudnicki and Gabrielle de Cuir
From the Crypts of Memory by Clark Ashton Smith, read by Danny Campbell
The Comet by W.E.B. DuBois, read by Mirron Willis
Sand (excerpt) by Stefan Rudnicki, performed by cast
Transience by Arthur C. Clarke, read by Bahni Turpin
The Illusionist by Gareth Owen, read by Stefan Rudnicki
Unchosen Love by Ursula K. LeGuin, read by Stefan Rudnicki
In Lonely Lands by Harlan Ellison, read by Harlan Ellison
News from Nowhere (excerpt) by William Morris, read by Stefan Rudnicki

PART 7: COMMENTARIES
The Special And General Joys of Science Fiction by Ben Bova, read by Stefan Rudnicki
Edgar Allan Poe 1809-1849 by Elliott Engel, read by Gabrielle de Cuir
Adolescence And Adulthood In Science Fiction by Orson Scott Card, read by Stefan Rudnicki

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

The SFFaudio Podcast #155 – READALONG: Five Nebula Nominated Short Stories

April 9, 2012 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #155 – Jenny, Tamahome, and Jesse talk about the five Nebula 2011 nominated short stories for which there are audio versions.

Talked about on today’s show:

the Clarkesworld one was too quiet (by the way, we use Levelator), April Fools jokes fall out of date, The Cartographer Wasps And The Anarchist Bees by E. Lily Yu, Jenny’s favorite, it’s science and it’s fiction but is it science fiction?, George Orwell’s Animal Farm, “nerdy mapmakers”, Ottoman Empire, Jenny is into language, ‘thrumming’, revolution, The Paper Menagerie by Ken Liu, Tam was moved to tweet it, Jhumpa Lahiri and first generation Americans, do we need the fantastic part?, Mike Resnic-y, workshop stories, “he’s such a tool”, movie version?, Asian magic realism, the owl on Home Depot, Murakami, Jesse likes Leggos, childhood, Jesse please explain Mama, We Are Zhenya by Tom Crosshill, Tam sounds just like narrator Stefan Rudnicki, quantum mechanics, author’s blog post about the story, intellectual heft, it’s a five year old, Flowers For Algernon, head-eating clouds, Lost, YA novel about singularity, superpowers, and giant robots, author was a nuclear operator, Zhenya is everywhere, and now with a slightly older child — Movement by Nancy Fulda, we’ve read The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time |OUR READALONG|, “temporal autism”, we’ve also read Speed Of Dark |READ OUR REVIEW| so we are autism experts, or Asperger’s?, Daniel Tammet and prime numbers, “she doesn’t want new shoes”, father’s bug killer, (note: here I got E. Lily Yu mixed up with Yoon Ha Lee’s Flower, Mercy, Needle, Chain from Sffaudio 120, here’s the full text and audio from Lightspeed), Her Husband’s Hands by Adam-Troy Castro, horror, SUPER CREEPY DO NOT WANT, the hyphen in the author’s name was originally a typo, Chiller Theater, war, The Hand with Michael Caine, Guy De Maupassant, House of Holes by Nicholson Baker, Bianca’s Hands by Theodore Sturgeon (podcasted by Spider Robinson), It by Sturgeon, some story about brains, eyes, and taste buds, Pruzy’s Pot (podcasted by Spider Robinson) has a monster under the toilet that does things, we make our Nebula picks and predictions, a moving story about ponies from last year, Kij Johnson, a story about sex with an alien, which story will be remembered in ten years? Toy Story III with immigrants, we will discuss Among Others by Jo Walton, sexy Welsh accent in the audiobook, Tam’s amazing Welsh accent, waiting for Jo’s series on Hugo-nominated novellas, get off my lawn with your books series’s!, how to find good stories/books, Christopher Priest’s amazing post, anything good after 1950?, Stories by Neil Gaiman and Alan Sarrantonio, The Truth Is A Cave In The Black Mountains |READ OUR POST|, Joe Landsdale on novels

crosshill novella cover

Posted by Tamahome

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