Review of Superman Lives! AUDIO DRAMA

August 3, 2012 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Superman Lives! from TimeWarner AudioBooks

Superman Lives!
Written and directed by Dirk Maggs
Cast: William Hootkins, Lorelei King, Vincent Marzello, Garrick Hagon, Kerry Shale, Eric Myers, Denica Fairman, Liz Ross, Stuart Milligan, Bert Kwouk, Leon Herbert
Publisher: Time Warner AudioBooks
Released: 1994 BBC Enterprises Ltd/2005 Time Warner AudioBooks
ISBN: 1594830738

Synopsis: Daily Planet loves birds Clark Kent and Lois Lane finally get engaged. Lex Luthor dies in a plane crash, and Metropolis is thriving with prosperity and happiness under the infinite protection of Superman.

Or so it seems…

Follow the story of Lex Luthor’s true fate, and the fate of the new woman in his life…Supergirl. Listen to the heart-pounding fight to the death between Superman and a monster called Doomsday. Discover the truth about four new mysterious Superman.

And take a journey into the heart, minds, and unpredictable future of the Man of SteelTM everybody can count on…

…until one day, when he’s gone.

As with Star Wars, this is another of my “gold standard” shows against which other audio dramas are weighed. I mentioned it before in the standards post.

Helmed by the incomparable Dirk Maggs, Superman Lives! (known across The Pond as Superman: Doomsday and Beyond) features a stellar cast who give stunning life to some of the classic characters in the DC pantheon.Link

This is what Kingdom Come should’ve aspired to be.

From the opening funeral procession to the stirring fight to save Coast City at the end, we are treating to a veritible feast for the ears. Within just a few seconds of beginning, you know instantly that you’re in the hands of a master audio drama craftsman. When I first heard this back in the mid-90s, I was hooked right from the start.

I guarantee you will be, too.

The cast is simply fabulous and the acting is top-notch. As Clark Kent and Superman, Stuart Milligan initially evokes Christopher Reeve’s portrayal of the character (slightly bumbling Everyman Kent vs. commanding and authoritative Supes) through vocal quality then immediately makes it his own. Lorelei King gives Lois Lane a kind of quiet strength–part Margot Kidder from the original film, part Katherine Hepburn from The African Queen. William Hootkins as Lex Luthor is simply delicious in the role. I got an Alan Rickman-Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves vibe from his performance.

Superman’s titanic fight with Doomsday is the highlight of this production. In my view, at least. Music, sound design, and acting all come together in a breathtaking sequence that still, even after multiple listenings, make me wince, cringe, shudder, and leave me with a lump in my throat. I have to applaud Stuart and Lorelei for their performances in this section.

Bravo.

Overall, fantastic. Simply fantastic.

If you don’t own this yet, I highly suggest you get it now from Amazon or Audible.

Posted by Abner Senires

LibriVox: The City At World’s End by Edmond Hamilton

March 25, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Produced for SFFaudio Challenge #6, The City At World’s End is terrific audiobook. Part of that’s because Mark Nelson’s narration is super-listenable and the other part is because the novel itself is very keen Science Fiction.

If you’re a Superman fan the plot may remind you of a particular issue of Action Comics (#300) – that’s the one in which Superman travels to the distant future of Earth only discover it emptied of life and with a giant red Sun in its sky. Indeed, the similarities between the two tales would be very eerie were it not for the fact that both were written by Edmond Hamilton!

I’m halfway through The City At World’s End and am really enjoying it. The prejudices, assumptions, and attitudes of the townsfolk are all vintage 1950, but the idea quotient is very high. Hamilton has thought through a lot of the problems he makes his characters face. If you’re familiar with Robert A. Heinlein’s Farnham’s Freehold, in which a family is transported into Earth’s future, you’ll find The City At World’s End to be a kind of macroscopic version of that – and both novels start with a really big, and highly unnatural, bang.

Or, if you’re looking more contemporaneously, you could think of The City At World’s End as a kind of highly inverse version of Terra Nova (because they go forward in time not back, and what was bad on TV is actually good in the audiobook). I highly recommend you give The City At World’s End a listen!

Galaxy Novel - City At World's End by Edmond Hamilton

The City At World’s End
By Edmond Hamilton; Read by Mark Nelson
21 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 7 Hours 6 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: March 20, 2012
The pleasant little American city of Middletown is the first target in an atomic war – but instead of blowing Middletown to smithereens, the super-hydrogen bomb blows it right off the map – to somewhere else! First there is the new thin coldness of the air, the blazing corona and dullness of the sun, the visibility of the stars in high daylight. Then comes the inhabitant’s terrifying discovery that Middletown is a twentieth-century oasis of paved streets and houses in a desolate brown world without trees, without water, apparently without life, in the unimaginably far-distant future.

Podcast feed: http://librivox.org/rss/6121

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

Here’s the |PDF|.

And for people like me I’ve also made a single giant 7 hour |MP3| version – which you can download from our server. It’ll be especially useful for iPod users as it has art, is tagged “Audiobook”, and is also checked with “remember playback position.” Even better it has been volume adjusted. Let me know if you like it!

Cover and illustrations from the appearance of The City At World’s End in Startling Stories, July 1950:

Startling Stories, July1950 COVER - The City At World's End by Edmond Hamilton

Startling Stories, July 1950 Table Of Contents (includes The City At World's End)

The City At World's End - from Startling Stories, July 1950 - Page 11

The City At World's End - from Startling Stories, July 1950 - Page 13 and 14 combined

The City At World's End - from Startling Stories, July 1950 - Page 13 and 14 combined

More covers:

Fells - City At World's End by Edmond Hamilton

Fawcett - City At World's End by Edmond Hamilton

CREST - City At World's End by Edmond Hamilton

Ballantine - City At World's End by Edmond Hamilton

And one more image, from the cover of Urania:

Urania #386

[Thanks also to DaveC, Barry Eads, and Gerard Arthus]

Posted by Jesse Willis

SFPRP: Smoke by Donald E. Westlake and more invisible men

January 18, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Luke Burrage, in the second of two consecutive shows with me as a guest on Science Fiction Book Review Podcast, is talking about Smoke by Donald E. Westlake and other stories about invisibility. We thoughrouly examine the invsiblity meme, discuss its strengths and weaknesses and chat about possible upcoming topics of conversation!

The Science Fiction Book Review Podcast SFBRP #079 – Smoke and more invisible men
1 |MP3| – Approx. 58 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: SFBRP.com
Podcast: Monday, January 18, 2010

Here’s what we talked about:
Luke’s The Invisible Man podcast (SFBRP#78), The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells, Donald E. Westlake’s Smoke, invisibility, Freddie Urban Noon, crime, Smoke is an invisible man story done right, Memoirs Of An Invisible Man by H.F. Saint, Memoirs Of An Invisible Man (the 1992 film), invisibility in Fantasy (J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord Of The Rings), invisibility in Science Fiction (The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells), invisibility in a comic crime story, what are the problems with being an invisible thief?, humor, New York, Richard Stark, hard boiled crime, 5 Writing Lessons Learned from Donald Westlake, “When the phone rang Parker was in the garage killing a man.”, The Writing Excuses Podcast, Luke’s review of Makers by Cory Doctorow (SFBRP #74), big tobacco, Westlake’s way of telling a story “he went into the unspeakable kitchen.”, Westlake is a masterful writer of sentences, Peg Briscoe (Freddie’s girlfriend) is a competent confederate, how do you steal things when you’re invisible? (people will see the stolen goods floating down the street!), how do you sell stolen goods when you’re invisible? (you’ll need a confederate), invisibility is a small but well known meme, comparing the memes of invisibility and time travel, nailing small coffins and flogging tiny horses, The Man With The Getaway Face by Richard Stark, the Stark novels are faced paced and utterly absorbing, the differences between Stark novels and Westlake novels, The Hunter by Richard Stark, Payback (the 1999 film), more invisible men, Hollow Man (the 2000 film), Sony used a fake reviewer to shill its movies, unlikeable characters in novels vs. film, the concept of invisibility is a human concept and not a worldly phenomenon (and what that does to our perception of possibility), negating a phenomenon doesn’t create a new phenomenon, invisibility in The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy series, Jack Ward, The Sonic Society, Superman, why Superman is impossible, invisible men cannot smoke or drink or eat if they want to remain wholly invisible, Neil Morrisey, The Vanishing Man (1998), future memes and themes for podcasts: THE YELLOW PERIL, when will China take over the world? (soon), David Wingrove’s Chung Kuo series, The Insidious Dr. Fu-Manchu by Sax Rohmer, the Judge Dee mysteries, Starship: Flagship by Mike Resnick, Kirinyaga by Mike Resnick |READ OUR REVIEW|, ***watch out for the false ending*** Alan Moore‘s The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Captain Nemo, Mina Harker, Allan Quatermain, the National Treasure series, Indiana Jones,
6 Insane Fan Theories That Actually Make Great Movies Better, the best television show ever made: The Adventures Of Young Indiana Jones, doing something with a television show that no-one has ever done on TV before or since, automating your podcast with Audacity, python.

http://www.sfbrp.com/?feed=podcast

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

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

BBC Radio 5 + RA.cc: Hergé’s The Adventures Of Tintin

December 9, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

The Adventures of Tintin RADIO DRAMAWhen I was a little boy my best friend was the son of my dad’s best friend. When I met him he had just immigrated to British Columbia from France with his mom and dad. I lived in a house by the government dock and they lived on their sailboat. The same sailboat that they’d emigrated in. He spoke only French. I spoke only English. But that didn’t matter. I taught him English over the summer. We had a long stretch of beach to play on. We’d make sand castles, sand dykes and dams. We’d build rafts out of random beach flotsam. We collect shells and seagull feathers (I figured if we gathered enough feathers we could make a floatplane. Then, in the evenings, while my dad and his dad talked adult talk, smoked pot and drank beer, Gaël and I would share our comics. I would show him my English Batmans and Supermans, he showed me his French Lucky Lukes, Asterices, and Tintins.

Sometime after my father died and I moved north, I learned that Gaël, who I’d eventually lost touch with, had changed his name to Jeff. I miss that kid.

I haven’t seen any audio versions of Asterix, and Lucky Luke is quite scarce these days, but Tintin is available in radio drama form:

The Adventures Of Tintin

In these productions Tintin doesn’t have a French (or Belgian) accent, and his dog, Snowy, is more talkative than I remember him being in the comics. Nevertheless, this is still a fun series – especially as something to listen to after reading the comics. The shows are all only 30 minutes long, except for the two part episodes, The Calculus Affair and The Red Sea Sharks. A half-hour is really far too short to include every panel of dialogue and hour is better.

The Adventures Of Tintin

You can get all 13 episode of both seasons (and the special) by torrent over at RadioArchive.cc.

The Adventures Of Tintin – The Black Island
The Adventures Of Tintin – The Secret Of The Unicorn
The Adventures Of Tintin – Red Rackham’s Treasure
The Adventures Of Tintin – Destination Moon
The Adventures Of Tintin – Explorers On The Moon
The Adventures Of Tintin – Tintin In Tibet
The Adventures Of Tintin – The Seven Crystal Balls
The Adventures Of Tintin – Prisoners Of The Sun
The Adventures Of Tintin – The Calculus Affair – Part 01
The Adventures Of Tintin – The Calculus Affair – Part 02
The Adventures Of Tintin – The Red Sea Sharks – Part 01
The Adventures Of Tintin – The Red Sea Sharks – Part 02
The Adventures Of Tintin – The Castafiore Emerald

For more information on this series visit Tintinologist.org.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of The Book Of Lies by Brad Meltzer

February 7, 2009 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Reviews 

Aural Noir: Review

Book Of Lies by Brad MeltzerThe Book Of Lies
By Brad Meltzer; Read by Scott Brick
10 CDs – Approx. 11.5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Published: September 2008
ISBN: 9781600243806
Themes: / Crime / Thriller / Murder / Superman / Florida / Cleveland / Secret Cult /

Cain kills Abel in Chapter Four of the Bible. It is the world’s most famous murder. But the Bible is silent about one key detail: the weapon Cain used to kill his brother. That weapon is still lost to history. In 1932, Mitchell Siegel was killed by three gunshots to his chest. While mourning, his son dreamed of a bulletproof man and created the world’s greatest hero: Superman. And like Cain’s murder weapon, the gun used in this unsolved murder has never been found. Until now. Today in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Cal Harper comes face-to-face with his family’s greatest secret: his long-lost father, who’s been shot with a gun that traces back to Michell Siegel’s 1932 murder. But before Cal can ask a single question, he and his father are attacked by a ruthless killer tattooed with the anicent markings of Cain. And so begins the chase for the world’s first murder weapon. What does Cain, history’s greatest villain, have to do with Superman, the world’s greatest hero? And what do two murders, committed thousands of years apart, have in common?

Brad Meltzer has based his novel on two seemingly unconnected ideas – the biblical tale of Cain and Abel and the comic book hero Superman, created by Jerry Siegel. Meltzer has his work cut out for him, with research dating back to the origins of the bible, 19th century Europe, 20th century Cleveland, a historical secret cult, and the workings of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement service. Despite these obstacles it feels as though every chapter of The Book Of Lies is based on hard researched truths. The Book Of Lies is pure fiction, but there’s a whole lot of historical fact informing it. When it comes down to a final analysis however the connections that are made are bridged by a rather unlikely global conspiracy. Despite this, I was kept guessing as to what would happen next all the way through, and there were plenty of genuine surprises, clever analogies and explanations throughout. The final revelation made the whole novel extremely worthwhile – it made sense, and makes sense – and given the preposterousness of the premises that’s no small feat.

For fans of Superman The Book Of Lies is a must read. Those interested in comic book history will also find much value here. The main thrust of the entertainment however is the thriller aspect of the writing, offering what is essentially a pop culture version of The DaVinci Code or National Treasure. The Book Of Lies feels as if it was a challenge Meltzer gave to himself, saying: “If I can do this, if I can write this, then I can write anything.” I’m a believer now, and I’m willing to admit, I’ll follow along, Metzler’s proved something here.

Narrator Scott Brick was a little over-dramatic in some of his line deliveries but put in an otherwise very serviceable narration. Disc 10 of this audiobook has a 12 page PDF featuring images from the paperbook. I’ve never seen anything exactly like this done for an audiobook before. The text, and Scott Brick’s narration of the text describing these images, fully illustrated the way these important images fit together while I was listening, but it was a nice extra to see anyway.

Posted by Jesse Willis

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