The SFFaudio Podcast #231

September 23, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #231 – Jesse and Luke Burrage (from the Science Fiction Book Review Podcast) talk to audiobook narrator Simon Vance.

Talked about on today’s show:
Jonathan Davis, Pat Fraley, Scott Brick is the Brad Pitt of audiobooks and Simon Vance is the George Clooney of audiobooks, how Simon Vance got started, reel to reel tape recorder, Winnie The Pooh, BBC Radio 4, 1980s, Brighton, RNIB, Grover Gardner, George Guidall, The Book At Bedtime, Margaret Thatcher, California, San Francisco, Christian and devotional audiobooks, “we sound more intelligent (but we’re not)”, Stieg Larsson, Dracula by Bram Stoker, Audiofile Magazine, Earphone Awards, England, Sweden, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, the apprenticeship, Market Forces by Richard K. Morgan, a classic dystopia, Thirteen (aka Black Man), The Steel Remains, The Cold Commands, artfulness and in-artfulness of narration, Doctor Who, overwhelming music -> overwhelming emotion, The Lord Of The Rings, the good narrators do the unexpected, “boo”, Dune by Frank Herbert (the full-cast audiobook), Goodreads.com, Simon Prebble, V For Vendetta by Steve Moore, the comic + the movie + Simon Vance = great audiboook, Natalie Portman was awesome, Stephen Rea, most novelizations are terrible, Hugo Weaving, James Bond, Ian Fleming, AudioGo, Blackstone Audio, the Green Knowe books, Listen And Live, Kate Fleming, The Prestige by Christopher Priest, a complicated book, a second chance, The Science Fiction Book Review Podcast review of The Prestige (episode #177), the movie of The Prestige, a final trick, one of the best Science Fiction movies of the last ten years, a thinking man’s book (and movie), The Illusionist, stage magic vs. CGI magic, The Magic Circle, Left for Dead: The Untold Story Of The Tragic 1979 Fastnet Race by Nick Ward and Sinead O’Brien, survival, Antarctica, fiction vs. non-fiction, a cabinet of heads, WWII, the Patrick O’Brian books (the Aubrey–Maturin series), Master And Commander, the incomplete book 21, Robert Hardy and Tim Piggot-Smith, what SFF Simon Vance book should we check out?, The Darwin Elevator by Jason M. Hough, The Exodus Towers, The Plague Forge, zombie apocalypse, aliens, “good honest adventure”, Pan Books Of Horror, c, Rama, Rama II, The Man In The High Castle, Philip K. Dick, Mark Twain, Anthony Trollope, Charles Dickens, a PDF listing Simon Vance’s audiobooks, out of print audiobooks, Audible.com, Christopher Priest’s other audiobooks are done by other audiobook narrators, Peter Ganim, Robert J. Sawyer, The Player Of Games by Iain M. Banks, rights issues, keep your audiobooks.

V For Vendetta read by Simon Vance

Thirteen by Richard K. Morgan - read by Simon Vance

Market Forces by Richard K. Morgan - read by Simon Vance

Posted by Jesse Willis

My visit to the new Coquitlam City Centre Library

November 13, 2012 by · 6 Comments
Filed under: News 

SFFaudio News

Coquitlam City Centre Library

For the last couple of decades I’ve lived on the same street as my public library. That’s been one of the reasons that I live where I do. But today the local branch of Coquitlam’s public library moved two blocks south and opened for the first time.

The new address is 1169 Pinetree Way.

And the new space is great, very open, with plenty of study areas, and lots of room to grow the collection – and best of all it’s still within walking distance!

The first thing I did when I got there was to make a donation to the library’s collection, a combination of paperbooks, DVDs, comics, and audiobooks. Patrons of Coquitlam public library system should soon see these items on their shelves:

donations to the library's collection

Here’s a partial list:

City Of Dragons by Kelli Stanley |SFFAUDIO PODCAST #061|
Fate Of Worlds by Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner
Elidor by Alan Garner
Brian K. Vaughan and Tony Harris’ Ex Machina (volumes 1-5)
The complete Babylon 5 DVD set (all five seasons plus the movies)
Inferno by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle |READ OUR REVIEW|
V For Vendetta by Steve Moore |READ OUR REVIEW|
Armor by John Steakley |READ OUR REVIEW|
I Am Legend and Other Stories by Richard Matheson |READ OUR REVIEW|

And here are some shots of the library’s facilities:

New Arrivals at the Coquitlam City Centre Library
Teens section at the Coquitlam City Centre Library
study area at the Coquitlam City Centre Library
group study room at the Coquitlam City Centre Library
the Coquitlam City Centre Library

Posted by Jesse Willis

Blackstone Audio’s $5 audiobook sale – STUNNING DEALS

January 5, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, News 

SFFaudio News

Blackstone Audio Five Dollar Overstock SaleBlackstone AudiobooksCan anyone resist Blackstone Audio’s just announced $5.00 clearance sale?

This comes not a month after they announced their $9.99 overstock sale!

$5 for an audiobook.

That’s the deal of the year people!

Admittedly, not all of the available titles in this sale are unabridged, but they mostly are. There are a dozen SFF titles, plenty of crime, mystery and noir as well as a shelfload of history audiobooks. There are even a couple of audio dramas in there.

Here’s just a smattering of what excited me:

THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; read by Ben Kingsley
THE AENEID by Virgil; read by Frederick Davidson
BABYLON BABIES by Maurice G. Dantec; read by Joe Barrett
THE CALL OF THE WILD by Jack London; read by Ethan Hawke
CASINO ROYALE by Ian Fleming; read by Simon Vance
CHRISTOPHER’S GHOSTS by Charles McCarry; read by Stefan Rudnicki
A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR’S COURT by Mark Twain; read by Carl Reiner
CRIMINAL PARADISE by Steven M. Thomas; read by Patrick Lawlor
THE DEAL by Peter Lefcourt; read by William H. Macy
DEATH MATCH by Lincoln Child; read by Barrett Whitener |READ OUR REVIEW|
DON QUIXOTE DE LA MANCHA by Miguel de Cervantes; read by Robert Whitfield
EVIL, INC. by Glenn Kaplan; read by Glenn Kaplan
THE FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX by Elleston Trevor; read by Grover Gardner
FRANKENSTEIN by Mary Shelley; read by Julie Harris
FRANKENSTEIN, OR THE MODERN PROMETHEUS by Mary Shelley; read by Simon Templeman, Anthony Heald, and Stefan Rudnicki
HOW TO SURVIVE A ROBOT UPRISING by Daniel H. Wilson; read by Stefan Rudnicki |READ OUR REVIEW|
HUCK FINN AND TOM SAWYER AMONG THE INDIANS by Mark Twain and Lee Nelson; read by Grover Gardner
I AM LEGEND by Richard Matheson; read by Robertson Dean |READ OUR REVIEW|
I, CLAUDIUS by Robert Graves; read by Frederick Davidson
THE INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS by Jack Finney; read by Kristoffer Tabori
IT’S SUPERMAN! by Tom De Haven; read by Scott Brick
JAMES BOND BOXED SET by Ian Fleming; read by Simon Vance
KING KONG by Edgar Wallace and Merian C. Cooper; novelization by Delos W. Lovelace; read by Stefan Rudnicki |READ OUR REVIEW|
THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE by Richard Condon; read by Christopher Hurt
THE MARTIAN CHILD by David Gerrold; read by Scott Brick
MARTIAN TIME-SLIP AND THE GOLDEN MAN by Philip K. Dick; read by Grover Gardner
MILDRED PIERCE by James M. Cain; read by Christine Williams
MYSTIC WARRIOR by Tracy and Laura Hickman; read by Lloyd James
PETER PAN by J.M. Barrie; read by Roe Kendall
THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY by Oscar Wilde; read by Simon Vance
THE PRESTIGE by Christopher Priest; read by Simon Vance
QUANTUM OF SOLACE by Ian Fleming; read by Simon Vance
RINGWORLD’S CHILDREN by Larry Niven; read by Barrett Whitener |READ OUR REVIEW|
ROCKET SHIP GALILEO by Robert A Heinlein; read by Spider Robinson |READ OUR REVIEW|
SUPERMAN RETURNS by Marv Wolfman; read by Scott Brick |READ OUR REVIEW|
SWEENEY TODD AND THE STRING OF PEARLS by Yuri Rasovsky; read by a full cast
TARZAN OF THE APES by Edgar Rice Burroughs; read by Ben Kingsley
THE TEN-CENT PLAGUE by David Hajdu; read by Stefan Rudnicki
THERMOPYLAE by Paul Cartledge; read by John Lee
THE THREE MUSKETEERS by Alexandre Dumas; read by Michael York
THE TIME MACHINE by H.G. Wells; read by Ben Kingsley
THE TRIAL by Franz Kafka; read by Geoffrey Howard
UTOPIA by Sir Thomas More; read by James Adams
V FOR VENDETTA by Steve Moore; read by Simon Vance |READ OUR REVIEW|
THE WAR OF THE WORLDS by H.G. Wells; read by Christopher Hurt
WHERE’S MY JETPACK? by Daniel H. Wilson; read by Stefan Rudnicki |READ OUR REVIEW|
THE WINTER OF FRANKIE MACHINE by Don Winslow; read by Dennis Boutsikaris
THE WORLD ACCORDING TO NARNIA by Jonathan Rogers; read by Brian Emerson

Posted by Jesse Willis

Blackstone Audiobooks OVERSTOCK SALE awesome audiobooks $5.00 each

February 1, 2008 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: News 

SFFaudio News

Blackstone AudiobooksBlackstone Audiobooks is having an absolutely amazing overstock sale! 114 titles are on sale, almost all of them for a rock bottom $5.00 each!

Check out these titles and the AMAZING prices!

KING KONG $5.00 – 5 CDs
By Edgar Wallace and Merian C. Cooper. Novelization by Delos W. Lovelace; Read by Stefan Rudnicki
|READ OUR REVIEW|

CITIZEN OF THE GALAXY $5.00 – 7 Cassettes
By Robert A. Heinlein; Read by Lloyd James
|READ OUR REVIEW|

SUPERMAN RETURNS $5.00 – 8 CDs
By Marv Wolfman; Read by Scott Brick
|READ OUR REVIEW|

DEATH MATCH $5.00 – 10 Cassettes
By Lincoln Child; Read by Barrett Whitener
|READ OUR REVIEW|

THE WORLD ACCORDING TO NARNIA $5.00 – 4 CDs
By Jonathan Rogers; Read by Brian Emerson

SFFaudio EssentialV FOR VENDETTA $5.00 – 8 CDs
By Steve Moore; Read by Simon Vance
|READ OUR REVIEW|

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of V For Vendetta by Steve Moore

August 2, 2006 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Reviews, SFFaudio essential 

SFFaudio Review

V For Vendetta by Steve MooreV For Vendetta
Novelization by Steve Moore; Read by Simon Vance
11 Cassettes, 8 CDs or 1 MP3-CD – 9.5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: 2006
ISBN: 0786144637 (Cassette), 0786170777 (CDs), 078617711X (MP3-CD)
Themes: / Science Fiction / Dystopia / Terrorism / Anarchy / England /

Click here for an audio sample –

“Remember, remember the fifth of November, The Gunpowder Treason and plot. I know of no reason why The Gunpowder Treason should ever be forgot…”

This audiobook had a long and treacherous road to release. Perhaps even worse, it has a questionable provenance. V For Vendetta, the unabridged audiobook, is several steps removed from the original source material. Worse still, the adapted property has been completely disowned by its original creator, celebrated graphic comics writer Alan Moore. He quite literally had his name removed from the movie credits, the novelization, and consequently this audiobook – in short he wants nothing to do with it.

Alan Moore is a famous figure in comics, and his opinion carries much weight among comic book readers. Because of all this, V For Vendetta, the novelization of the movie of the same name, is in serious jeopardy of being dismissed. But given the original material’s quality and the near classic vintage – the character and setting for “V” was originally birthed in early 1980s – you might be inclined to give this audiobook a try anyway. And for that you will be rewarded.

The road to release began with The Wachowski Brothers, the creators of the film The Matrix, optioned the story. They purchased the rights and scripturally adapted the graphic novel of V For Vendetta for the screen. After the film began production their script was then again adapted, this time as a movie novelization (or as the industry calls it a movie tie-in novel). The novel was written by Steve Moore, who, while no familial relation to Alan Moore, is very much his friend. Then Blackstone Audiobooks stepped in, hiring Simon Vance to voice an unabridged audiobook version of the Steve Moore’s novelization of The Wachowski Brother’s script of their movie which was originally based on Alan Moore’s original comic book series (that was collected into a graphic novel). See what I mean about a treacherous road? At any point along this journey the story could have been ruined. But what happened instead is that it has been IMPROVED! Indeed I think story-wise this is the best version of V For Vendetta

Soon after the opening of the novel a mysterious figure named “V,” who dresses in a Guy Fawkes costume, promises to destroy the British Parliament buildings on November 5th, one year hence. It is a bit unlear at first, is the fascist governing party the target of this threat, or perhaps it is the people of England in general? Only one woman has even a clue. Her name is Evey. With war raging round the world, an English supremacist party called “Norsefire” has fully secured governmental authority in England. Some time ago, Norsefire successfully seized the initiative, and now England’s remaining citizenry are in a stranglehold of their own making. At the start of the novel the government controls media and a petrifying secret police force seemingly made up of little more than street thugs prowls the streets after dark. In the recent past the last of the last of the concentration camps has closed – their grisly work completed. The populace has been lulled into their docility by a combination of mindless television drama, propaganda posing as opinion, and horrifying news stories about how much worse everywhere else is. So when an anarchic revolutionary destroys London’s Saint Paul’s Catherdral in pyrotechnic display, the compliant populace is only slightly stirred. The government explains that it was just a “scheduled demolition” and many Britons even believe it. But when “V,” a seeming superhero/supervillan goes on BTN the sole governmental television network, and announces a violent campaign to be capped in by the destruction of parliament buildings in one year’s time the populace begins to question if “England shall prevail” or whether it even should.

Like George Orwell‘s classic dystopia 1984 the totalitarian regime in V For Vendetta rose to power by exploiting people’s worst fears and firing-up their prejudices. Interestingly the viewpoint character is not V himself. V’s personal history, past a certain point, remains mysterious right to the end. Despite a completely third person perspective we basically follow a young woman named Evey through this tale. V saves Evey early on in the novel from a rape by government agents known as “Fingermen.” Evey’s journey is not unlike that of the population, for which she can serve as an emotional example. One other character, a police Inspector named Finch, as dutiful and honest a detective as one’d want, offers another view of that same populace coming to grips with the type of society in which it lives. Finch is assigned to pursue the mystery of V, and in so doing unravels the history of the party’s origins and V’s vendetta. About two-thirds of the way through Evey’s journey with V and his vendetta Evey is captured and tortured. Her only solace during her ordeal is a scrap of toliet paper with a moving biography of her neighboring victim. The payoff from this is extremely surprising, utterly transendant and I think probably even true. There isn’t enough praise to go round for this one, Alan Moore for originally writing it of course, the Wachowski Brothers for recognizing it and popularizing it and Steve Moore for preserving and enhancing it. They all deserve major public honours here.

On the audiobook end, Simon Vance is my new favorite British narrator. The Shakespearean inspired “V-speech” that he delivers near the beginning of this audiobook is without parallel in my experience. It’s deliciously composed, elegantly constructed and with Vance’s performance, wonderfully delivered. The film version of this same speech is very good too, but I actually found myself better able to follow it via Vance’s excellent enunciated delivery. Steve Moore, the adaptor of the film’s script, has done something special. He’s taken many inspired liberties with the script by filling in as much detail as he could to flesh out the story – nearly every effective new addition to the story was taken from the original source material the comic book version of V For Vendetta. Finally, I can thankfully say that the plot detail involving the destruction of the British parliament buildings (including London’s Big Ben) is preserved from the film version. This is extremely important. To be sure there is a scene of the destruction of the British parliament buildings in the original graphic novel but the timing of it there is far less effective in terms of a story’s arc. Though it might be controversial to say, I think it is true: The Wachowski Brothers, in their adaptation of Alan Moore’s story, clearly understood the power of terrorism better than Alan Moore himself did at the time of the comic’s writing. The goal of terrorists is to show that an authority cannot control the terrorists. When a terrorist threat, like the destruction of a weighty architechtural symbol, is made and then carried out that effect is achieved. Some fear comes from a lurking dread of some muzzy non-specific threat but true political power stems from being able to call every shot, make the predictions on destruction and have them all come true every single time. In rejigging the story to make the destruction of the British parliament buildings happen near the end instead of the start, the already powerful story of V For Vendetta is vastly improved. An SFFaudio Essential.

Posted by Jesse Willis