Review of Energized by Edward M. Lerner

November 18, 2012 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Energized by Edward M. LernerEnergized
By Edward M. Lerner; Read by Grover Gardner
Length: 10.5 hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Published: 2012
ISBN: 1470813033
Themes: / Science! / satellites / engineers / NASA / terrorists / oil / energy / space / thriller /

The SFFaudio crew pegged me to read this book because the description says that one of the main characters is a NASA engineer. I always think it’s funny when people specify “NASA” engineer. It’s like on TV shows when you see people working near the space shuttle, they’re all wearing NASA hats. Nobody does that. The description could just as easily said “aerospace engineer” and the meaning would be the same…but less sexy, somehow. I admit, I was weary of reading this one at first. My experience with people who write about “NASA engineers” is that they have no idea what they’re talking about excepting cursory research. I’m happy to report that Edward M. Lerner does know what he’s talking about with regards to the space and satellite stuff (looking at his bio, it’s no surprise). That said, I went into this thinking it was going to be a science fiction book. It’s much more a mystery/thriller with science fiction elements. It’s as much “science fiction” as Daemon is (which is to say, not much).

In the interest of full disclosure, it’s probably worth mentioning that I am currently employed by a company that (among other things) designs and builds satellites, both for the government and the commercial sector. I currently work on the commercial side of things and have never worked on a NASA contract. There are definite holes and inaccuracies with the science and engineering in this book. But most people won’t recognize them, and they don’t impact the overall enjoyment of the story.

That disclaimer done with, Energized was pretty entertaining. Set in the near-future United States, the world has gone through a “crude-tastrophe” and the price of oil has skyrocketed to the tune of $20+/gallon to fill up a car. There is a fixed market, controlled mostly by Russian interests, for oil, so naturally the US explores alternate energy sources. Unfortunately, Rome wasn’t built in a day and it’s virtually impossible to produce enough energy via alternate sources overnight. NASA has been working on a large-scale satellite that can beam solar energy to earth from space.

The first third of the book (maybe closer to the first half) deals with the public (and private sector) reactions to this kind of a satellite and introduces the reader (listener?) to the concept and its risks. Admittedly, this section could have been shorter without sacrificing much of the story; it did seem to drag on a bit.

The second section of the book introduces the “thriller” aspect. As anybody in the aerospace industry is aware, the stuff built “for the powers of good” in/for space can usually be used to do evil. Sure enough, terrorists find a way to take over the satellite and use its harnessed energy to destroy ground-based and air-based targets. As is typical for thrillers, there are some good guys in the area, capable of stopping the terrorists. In this case it’s Marcus Judson, NASA engineer, one of the lead consultants for the power satellite project, along with some of his colleagues. Yet again, this section seemed overly long and drawn out.

However, the length of the first two sections may only seem long in relation to the final section–the part where the final “battle” occurs and either good or evil triumphs. This part felt a bit rushed, comparatively. In retrospect, I think it was probably the right length and that the other two parts were just a bit too long. I won’t spoil it for you, but the final “battle” involves maneuvering (literally and metaphorically) on the ground and on the 2 mile-on-a-side power satellite. It stretches the belief but still left me interested and wanting to listen to see what happened next.

As I stated previously, the book was enjoyable. It was a bit far-fetched but not so far-fetched as to be completely unbelievable. The science fiction elements are there and create an atypical setting for most mystery/thriller type books, and I’d recommend this to anybody that enjoys the mystery/thriller genre.

Grover Gardner is one of my favorite narrators and he shines in this type of book. He also narrates the Andy Carpenter books, another mystery/thriller series, so it feels natural for him to read Energized. The only “weirdness” I had is that the Andy Carpenter books have a character named Marcus as well, so hearing of two very different “Marcus” characters read by the same narrator was a bit jarring at times.

All in all, this is a popcorn-type book, easily consumed and digested. It does have its flaws (with the technical side of things as well as story length), but they’re not so big as to ruin the fun. If you’re in the market for a hard science fiction book with far-reaching themes, this isn’t the book for you. But if you’re in the mood for a thriller with science fiction elements, you’ll probably enjoy Energized well enough.

Review by terpkristin.

Review of Arguably: Essays by Christopher Hitchens

September 23, 2012 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Reviews, SFFaudio essential 

SFFaudio Review

Hachette Audio - Arguably: Essays by Christopher HitchensArguably: Essays
By Christopher Hitchens; Read by Simon Prebble
24 CDs – Approx. 28.5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Published: September 1, 2011
ISBN: 9781611139068
Themes: / Non-fiction / History / War / Biography / Science Fiction / Fantasy / Iran / Afghanistan / Germany / North Korea / France / Dystopia / Utopia / Religion / Tunisia / Piracy / Terrorism / Feminism / Pakistan /

The first new collection of essays by Christopher Hitchens since 2004, Arguably offers an indispensable key to understanding the passionate and skeptical spirit of one of our most dazzling writers, widely admired for the clarity of his style, a result of his disciplined and candid thinking. Topics range from ruminations on why Charles Dickens was among the best of writers and the worst of men to the haunting science fiction of J.G. Ballard; from the enduring legacies of Thomas Jefferson and George Orwell to the persistent agonies of anti-Semitism and jihad. Hitchens even looks at the recent financial crisis and argues for arthe enduring relevance of Karl Marx. The audio book forms a bridge between the two parallel enterprises of culture and politics. It reveals how politics justifies itself by culture, and how the latter prompts the former. In this fashion, Arguably burnishes Christopher Hitchens’ credentials as-to quote Christopher Buckley-our “greatest living essayist in the English language.”

Here’s a question I was thinking about while listening to Arguably.

What is fiction for?

One answer, the bad one, is that it’s for entertainment. That’s certainly where many readers are willing go, and the fiction writers who write it too. Maybe that’s precisely why so much fiction is just so very shitty.

To me, if you aren’t exploring ideas in your fiction, then you really aren’t serving a greater purpose. Idea fiction, fiction with ideas rather than just action and plot, is to my mind a kind of supplement to the wisdom found in writings on history, biography and science.

Of the many lessons learned I in listening to the 107 essays in Arguably I was particularly struck by the wisdom Christopher Hitchens gleaned from his reading of fiction. Hitchens reviews many books in this collection, nearly half of the essays are book reviews. Books like 1984, Animal Farm, Flashman, The Complete Stories Of J.G. Ballard, Our Man In Havana, and even, surprisingly, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows all get fascinating, critical, and reverent reviews.

Yet Hitchens also takes the lessons with him into his writing about his travels. Hitchens writes about visits to such places as North Korea, Cyprus, Afghanistan, and Kurdish Iraq. When talking about his visit to Beirut we see what comes when Hitchens, a man of ideas, acts upon them. The essay, The Swastika and the Cedar sees the convictions of the commited anti-fascist Hitchens beaten and nearly kidnapped for an act of vandalism on a prominently displayed swastika. Writes Hitchens:

“Well, call me old-fashioned if you will, but I have always taken the view that swastika symbols exist for one purpose only—to be defaced.”

In a review of two books, Lolita and The Annotated Lolita, Hitchens applies the controversial subject in a real life look at the modern, and very non-fictional oppression and objectification of women. Indeed, the ideas he appreciated in fiction helped Hitchens to come to grips with the real world.

I think the worst essay in this collection is the one on the serving of wine and restaurants, Wine Drinkers Of The World, Unite. It was simply a waste of the talent, too light, too easy a target. And yet, even that essay, the worst essay in all 107 has a memorable anecdote: “Why,” asks Hitchens’ five year old son, “are they called waiters? It’s we who are doing all the waiting.”

As to the narration of the audiobook. I’m ashamed to admit that I was initially dismayed when I saw that Christopher Hitchens had not narrated this audiobook himself. I was wrong to worry. Incredibly, Simon Prebble seems to have have become Hitchens for this narration. Prebble perfectly captures the erudite words, so eloquently performs them, and with an accent so like that of Hitchens’ own so as to make me think that it was Hitchens who had actually read it.

I think the worst essay in this collection is the one on the serving of wine and restaurants, Wine Drinkers Of The World, Unite. It was simply a waste of the talent, too light, too easy a target. And yet, even that essay, the worst essay in all 107 has a memorable anecdote: “Why,” asks Hitchens’ five year old son, “are they called waiters? It’s we who are doing all the waiting.”

Here’s a list of the book’s contents, with links to the original etexts when available, along with my own notes on each:

ALL AMERICAN
Gods Of Our Fathers: The United States Of Enlightenment – a review of Moral Minority: Our Skeptical Founding Fathers by Brooke Allen

The Private Jefferson – a review of Jefferson’s Secrets: Death And Desire At Monticello by Andrew Burstein

Jefferson Vs. The Muslim Pirates – a review of Power, Faith, And Fantasy: America In The Middle East: 1776 To The Present by Michael B. Oren

Benjamin Franklin: Free And Easy – a review of Benjamin Franklin Unmasked: On the Unity of His Moral, Religious, And Political Thought by Jerry Weinberger

John Brown: The Man Who Ended Slavery – a review of John Brown, Abolitionist: The Man Who Killed Slavery, Sparked The Civil War, And Seeded Civil Rights by David S. Reynolds

Abraham Lincoln: Misery’s Child (aka Lincoln’s Emancipation) – a review of Abraham Lincoln: A Life by Michael Burlingame

Mark Twain: American Radical – a scathing review of The Singular Mark Twain: A Biography by Fred Kaplan

Upton Sinclair: A Capitalist Primer – a review of The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

JFK: In Sickness And By Stealth – a review of An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917–1963 by Robert Dallek

Saul Bellow: The Great Assimilator – review of six novels by Saul Bellow (The Dangling Man, The Victim, The Adventures Of Augie March, Seize The Day, Henderson The Rain King, and Herzog)

Vladimir Nabokov: Hurricane Lolita – reviews of Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov and The Annotated Lolita edited and annotated by Alfred Appel, Jr.

John Updike: No Way – a review of The Terrorist by John Updike (with reference to The Coup too)

John Updike: Mr. Geniality
– a critical review of the affable Due Considerations: Essays And Considerations by John Updike

Vidal Loco – Gore Vidal went crazier, more elitist and perhaps more racist as he got older (with attention and quips for Quentin Crisp and Oscar Wilde and Joyce Carol Oates)

America The Banana Republic – Hitchens on the “socialistic” bank bailout of 2008 (“socialism for the rich and free enterprise for the rest”)

An Anglosphere Future – a review of The History Of The English Speaking Peoples by Andrew Roberts (with reference to both Sherlock Holmes and The White Company by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as well as to Cecil Rhodes and Rudyard Kipling)

Political Animals – a review of Dominion: The Power Of Man, The Suffering Of Animals, And The Call To Mercy by Matthew Scully

Old Enough To Die – on capital punishment as applied to children

In Defense Of Foxhole Atheists
– a visit to the United States Air Force Academy and the tax funded proselytizing

In Search Of The Washington Novel – a search for some good fiction about Washington, D.C.

ECLECTIC AFFINITIES
Isaac Newton: Flaws Of Gravity – a stroll through the medieval streets of Cambridge with the scientists, mathematicians, and philosophers who worked there

The Men Who Made England: Hilary Mantel’s “Wolf Hall” – a review of Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Edmund Burke: Reactionary Prophet – a review of Reflections On The Revolution In France by Edmund Burke

Samuel Johnson: Demons And Dictionaries
– a review of Samuel Johnson: A Biography by Peter Martin

Gustave Flaubert: I’m With Stupide – a review of Bouvard et Pécuchet by Gustave Flaubert translated by Mark Polizzotti

The Dark Side Of Dickens
– a review of Charles Dickens by Michael Slater a biography (Hitchens was a not uncritical admirer of the subject)

Marx’s Journalism: The Grub Street Years – a glowing review of Dispatches for the New York Tribune: Selected Journalism Of Karl Marx edited by James Ledbetter, foreword by Francis Wheen (Marx admired the United States, and other fascinating facts about the father of communism)

Rebecca West: Things Worth Fighting For – an introduction to Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: A Journey Through Yugoslavia by Rebecca West

Ezra Pound: A Revolutionary Simpleton – a review of Ezra Pound, Poet: A Portrait Of The Man And His Work: Volume I: The Young Genius, 1885-1920 by A. David Moody (a biography of the fascist poet)

On “Animal Farm” – an introduction to Animal Farm

Jessica Mitford’s Poison Pen – a review of Decca: The Letters Of Jessica Mitford edited by Peter Y. Sussman

W. Somerset Maugham: Poor Old Willie – a review of W. Somerset Maugham: A Life by Jeffery Meyers

Evelyn Waugh: The Permanent Adolescent – a look at the enigmatic life, writing, religion, and sexuality of Evelyn Waugh

P.G. Wodehouse: The Honorable Schoolboy – a review of Wodehouse: A Life by Robert McCrum

Anthony Powell: An Omnivorous Curiosity – a review of To Keep The Ball Rolling: The Memoirs Of Anthony Powell

John Buchan: Spy Thriller’s Father – a review of John Buchan The Presbyterian Cavalier by David R. Godine (with discussion of The 39 Steps and a fantasy novelette The Grove Of Ashtaroth)

Graham Greene: I’ll Be Damned – a review of The Life Of Graham Green: Volume II: 1939-1955 by Norman Sherry

Death From A Salesman: Graham Greene’s Bottle Ontology – an introduction to Our Man In Havana by Graham Greene

Loving Philip Larkin (aka Philip Larkin, the Impossible Man) – a review of Philip Larkin: Letters To Monica edited by Anthony Thwaite

Stephen Spender: A Nice Bloody Fool – a review of Stephen Spender: The Authorized Biography by John Sutherland

Edward Upward: The Captive Mind – a look at the British novelist and short story Edward Upward

C.L.R. James: Mid Off, Not Right On – a review of Cricket, The Caribbean, And World Revolution by Farrukh Dhondy

J.G. Ballard: The Catastrophist – a review of The Complete Stories Of J.G. Ballard

Fraser’s Flashman: Scoundrel Time – a look at the George MacDonald Fraser series of Flashman books and the connection with The Adventure Of The Empty House

Fleet Street’s Finest: From Waugh To Frayn – an essay on the dubious romance of journalism

Saki: Where The Wild Things Are – a review of The Unbearable Saki: The Work of H.H. Munro by Sandie Byrne

Harry Potter: The Boy Who Lived – a review of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

AMUSEMENTS, ANNOYANCES, AND DISAPPOINTMENTS
Why Women Aren’t Funny – a controversial essay on why more comedians are male and why women laugh at them the way they do

Stieg Larsson: The Author Who Played With Fire – a look at the phenomenon of the bestselling author of The Girl With A Dragon Tattoo

As American As Apple Pie – a literary and chronological history of the blowjob, with reference to Valdamir Nobokov’s Lolita

So Many Men’s Rooms, So Little Time – a fascinatingly insightful argument on what’s was going on with the Larry Craig bathroom airport scandal and related phenomena

The New Commandments – deconstructing the Ten Commandments

In Your Face – are bans on burqas and veils actually bans, or are they liberation?

Wine Drinkers Of The World, Unite – ill mannered waiters are ruining the business of wine drinking

Charles, Prince Of Piffle – a damning look at the prince who shouldn’t be king

OFFSHORE ACCOUNTS
Afghanistan’s Dangerous Bet – a visit to Afghanistan, it’s all about the women

First, Silence The Whistle-Blower – is there any hope for democracy in Afghanistan?

Believe Me, It’s Torture – a report on what it’s like to be water-boarded

Iran’s Waiting Game – a visit to Iran and a meeting with Hussein Khomeini the grandson of Ayatollah Khomeini

Long Live Democratic Seismology – on democracy, Chile, Iran, and earthquakes

Benazir Bhutto: Daughter Of Destiny – a personal remembrance of the brave liar, Benazir Bhutto

From Abbottabad To Worse – an explanation for the existence of Pakistan as the U.S.A.’s worst best friend

The Perils Of Partition – on what dividing a country does to it (it’s like a man with a broken leg – he can think of nothing else)

Algeria: A French Quarrel – a review of A Savage War of Peace: Algeria 1954-1962 by Alistair Horne

The Case Of Orientalism (aka East Is East) – a review of Dangerous Knowledge: Orientalism and Its Discontents by Robert Irwin

Edward Said: Where The Twain Should Have Met – a review of Orientalism by Edward Said

The Swastika And The Cedar – a visit to “the Arab street”

Holiday In Iraq – Hitchens on holiday in Kurdish Iraq: it’s lovely

Tunisia: At The desert’s Edge – a lavish and lengthy visit to Africa’s gentlest country

What Happened To The Suicide Bombers Of Jerusalem? – why is no one writing about the dog that didn’t bark?

Childhood’s End: An African Nightmare – on Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army

The Vietnam Syndrome – on the horrific effects of Agent Orange and the legacies of dioxin

Once Upon A Time In Germany – a review of the movie The Baader Meinhof Complex, it explores the origins of The Red Army Faction

Worse Than “Nineteen Eighty-Four” – North Korea is a slave state seemingly modeled on 1984

North Korea: A Nation of Racist Dwarfs – a visit to North Korea

The Eighteenth Brumaire Of The Castro Dynasty – a look at the Castro regime’s familial coup

Hugo Boss – a visit to Venezuela with Sean Penn and a meeting with Hugo Chávez – he’s nuts

Is The Euro Doomed? – what will be the fate of Europe’s common currency?

Overstating Jewish Power – In the Israeli American relationship who’s pulling who’s strings?

The Case For Humanitarian Intervention – a review of Freedom’s Battle: The Origins Of Humanitarian Intervention by Gary J. Bass

LEGACIES OF TOTALITARIANISM
Victor Serge: Pictures From An Inquisition – reviews of The Case Of Comrade Tulayev and Memoirs Of A Revolutionary by Victor Serge

André Malraux: One Man’s Fate – a review of Malraux: A Life by Olivier Todd, translated by Joseph West

Arthur Koestler: The Zealot – a review of Koestler: The Literary And Political Odyssey Of A Twentieth-Century Skeptic by Michael Scammell

Isabel Allende: Chile Redux – an introduction to The House Of The Spirits by Isabel Allende

The Persian Version – a review of Strange Times, My Dear: The PEN Anthology Of Contemporary Iranian Literature edited by Nahid Mozaffari

Martin Amis: Lightness At Midnight – a review of Koba The Dread: Laughter And The Twenty Million by Martin Amis

Imagining Hitler – the problem of evil, and Hitler, with reference to Explaining Hitler by Ron Rosenbaum and Hitler 1889-1936: Hubris by Ian Kershaw

Victor Klemperer: Survivor

A War Worth Fighting – a persuasively systematic review of Churchill, Hitler And The Unnecessary War: How Britain Lost Its Empire And The West Lost The World by Pat Buchanan

Just Give Peace A Chance? – a critical review of Human Smoke by Nicholson Baker

W.G. Sebald: Requiem For Germany – a review of On The Natural History Of Destruction by W.G. Sebald

WORDS’ WORTH
When The King Saved God – for the love of the King James version

Let Them Eat Pork Rinds – Berthold Brecht, Charles Dickens and various other sources inform Hitch’s view of the Hurricane Katrina relief disaster

Stand Up For Denmark! – a still timely plea for preferring free speech to religious tolerance

Eschew The Taboo - on the banning of words, particularly the word “nigger”

She’s No Fundamentalist – a spirited defense of Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Burned Out – the verb “fuel” is fueled by journalistic sloppiness

Easter Charade – on life and death and Terri Schiavo

Don’t Mince Words – the disenfranchisement of south Asians in Britain isn’t the cause of bombings, hatred of women is.

History And Mystery – al-Qaeda in Iraq, jihadists, or “insurgents”? Do words matter? Of course they bloody well do.

Words Matter – political slogans make of “every adult in the country” an “illiterate jerk who would rather feel than think”

This Was Not Looting – how can a government “loot” it’s own weapons manufacturing facility? The government of Iraq managed it according to The New York Times.

The “Other” L-Word – a lighthearted piece on the prominence of the word “like” and it’s use

The You Decade – what’s wrong with you (marketing to the selfish)

Suck It Up – the Virginia Tech shootings prompted the wrong response from the world (namely that it prompted one)

A Very, Very Dirty Word – the English empire, in centuries to come, may only be remembered for soccer and the phrase “fuck off”

Prisoner Of Shelves – on the indispensability of books

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry

December 9, 2011 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Horror Audiobook - Patient Zero by Jonathan MaberryPatient Zero: A Joe Ledger Novel, Book 1
By Jonathan Maberry; Read by Ray Porter
12 CDs – Approx. 14.2 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: October 2010
Themes: / Horror / Zombies / Terrorists / Covert Intelligence /

Jonathan Maberry caught my attention immediately with Patient Zero’s dedication:

This book is dedicated to the often unsung and overlooked heroes who work in covert operations and the intelligence communities.

And then he caught it again with the quote with which the book begins.

A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

I know a particular person who is one of those unsung heroes and so my natural inclination is to look approvingly upon the author’s sentiments.

However, I wasn’t here for a covert intelligence story or a spy story but for zombies. Also, because I’d heard the Writing Excuses podcasters praising the Joe Ledger series.

Then I heard the first two sentences of the book itself.

When you have to kill the same terrorist twice in one week, then there’s either something wrong with your skills or something wrong with your world.

And there’s nothing wrong with my skills.

Aha. The hat trick … which also informed me that I actually was here for a covert intelligence story, for a spy story, and, this should go without saying by now, for zombies.

Here’s a quick story synopsis.

Joe Ledger is a hardened Baltimore cop with serious skills in physical combat. After a surprise raid on suspected drug traffickers, he is strong-armed into joining the DMS, a rapid response task-force that handles problems too big for Homeland Security. The latest problem is a terrorist’s bio-weapon which, for all practical purposes, turns the infected into zombies. While Joe and his team try to track and stop the threat, we also see the bad guys: a tangled knot of corporate interests and Muslim fanatics gearing up for the ultimate assault on American soil.

In a way this is a meta thriller. It is obvious that there are the standard types which are being used. The Warrior. The Super Villain. The Mad Scientist. The Best Friend who is also The Conscience. Characters will even call people by these labels. This is reinforced by such tidbits as when a scientist excitedly asks Joe if he’s read Doctor Spectrum comics where Joseph Ledger is a character. However, Maberry keeps it from being cliched. Perhaps it is the zombies but I felt it was also due to Joe Ledger’s character and the blistering pace of the book. Short, fast chapters keep the action moving and the reader on the edge of their seat.

As with many thrillers, the story is relatively formulaic. The good guys are very good. The bad guys are very bad. Joe bleeds red, white, and blue and there is no way he is going to let terrorists harm Americans. There is a bit of humor, a touch of romance, and a ton of suspense. And zombies. Lots and lots of zombies coming in wave after wave.

It’s a formula that works. We need heroes and villains in our stories. Sometimes it is easy to see who they are. Patient Zero works because Maberry reminds us of how much entertainment there is to be had in the telling of such a tale.

My one problem with the book was that there were a couple of extended zombie attack sequences where Joe and the team just had to keep fighting and fighting … and fighting. We’d have gotten the same effect by cutting out just a bit of the fighting, particularly in the crab plant. They didn’t really have to be down to the point of ripping legs off of tables for weapons in order for me to understand just how desperate the situation was. However, this is a small quibble.

Much of the delight in this audiobook comes from Ray Porter’s narration. He reads Joe Ledger’s lines as if he were Ledger himself, reacting perfectly with a naturalness that made me feel as if I were hearing Joe’s actual thoughts. I particularly enjoyed the moments when he would hesitate or pause to emphasize points because that carried me into Joe’s emotions much more than if I had been reading.

The only problem with the narration was that Porter was a little too thorough. There is one character whose identity we don’t know until the end of the book but who we hear speaking with his employer. As I listened, I continually wondered if Porter had randomly chosen the accent with which this character spoke. I found myself listening to other characters in the book, wondering if we’d met this character yet and if he had that accent. It didn’t give it away much before the book itself did but it turns out that the narrator was being true to the character and that is something that I don’t think would have come across in the actual book. This isn’t a big deal, but it was an interesting problem.

Overall, you have to like this sort of thriller to enjoy this book. But if that’s the sort of thing you like, as I obviously do, then you’re going to really enjoy meeting Joe Ledger. And wave after wave of zombies.

Posted by Julie D.

The SFFaudio Podcast #123

August 29, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: New Releases, Podcasts, Recent Arrivals 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #123 – Scott, Jesse, Tamahome, Matthew Sanborn Smith (Hairy Mango), and Jenny (Reading Envy) talk about audiobooks, recent arrivals and new releases.

Talked about on today’s show:
Scott’s recent arrivals, The Magician King by Lev Grossman, a gritty Harry Potter?, Ghost Story by Jim Butcher has a new narrator John Glover (not Crispin Glover), Southern Gods by John Hornor Jacobs, the Crossroads film, We’re Alive — A Story Of Survival zombie audiodrama, originally a podcast, The Walking Dead comic, Terry Goodkind’s The Omen Machine, long sentences on the cover, Mango version?, The Keeper Of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen, The Girl With The Dragon Tatoo, the scandanavian thriller genre, Henning Mankell, Jo Nesbø, we make an exception for noir, straight science fiction, Poul Anderson’s Genesis, singularity?, the cover, several Joe Ledger stories (like Patient Zero) by Jonathan Maberry, it’s like evil corporations and terrorism, he adapted The Wolfman (2010) movie, Ghost Road Blues, something for October, Blackstone interview with Maberry and Gardner, two by Abaton Radio Theater, Cat Wife, Baby, radio scripter Arch Oboler, Tam could use a radiodrama, L. Ron Hubbard’s Greed, yellow peril, dramatized kind of like Graphicaudio, Dianetics, Kevin Hearne’s Hexed, they begin with ‘H’, Witchy Woman (song), an adult The Lightning Thief, Lost Voices by Sarah Porter, mermaids, where’s the older mermaids?, sirens, werewolves, Out Of The Waters by David Drake is not military science fiction, the periodic table series, Dead End In Norvelt by Jack Gantos, read by the author, it’s YA, (41:38) Matt tells us about Grant Morrison’s Supergods, it’s a autobiography/comic book history, All-Star Superman comic, narrator John Lee swears well, Grant experimented with everything, Voltaire, does the audio need pictures?, We3, artist Frank Quitely, New X-Men, Dan DiDio on the DC Comics relaunch, Jenny doesn’t read comics (but she reads graphic novels), superheroes don’t stay dead, Criminal comic, the George R.R. Martin effect, The Boys comic satirizes superheroes, (52:18) Jenny is listening to James Joyce’s Ulysses (wow), The Testament Of Jesse Lamb by Jane Rogers, kind of a prequel to Children Of Men, not on audio yet, the Man Booker prize longlist, Ulysses radiodrama, listening for 24 hours in a row, Beyond This Horizon by Robert Heinlein (our next readalong), The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi exclusively on Audible, (one of narrator Scott Brick’s favorites) glossary of terms in The Quantum Thief, made-up terms, The Dervish House by Ian McDonald, fictional thief character Arsène Lupin (oh yeah, Lupin III is an anime), differentiating the voices of characters, how to win a Hugo, Blackstone new releases, The Holloween Tree by Ray Bradbury, animated movie version, Bronson Pinchot is the narrator, Balky, Beverly Hills Cop, Robert Heinlein’s The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag, reddish substance, Hardwired by Walter Jon Williams, it’s the old legit cyberpunk, Nancy Kress’s Beggars In Spain, Ghost In The Wires (non-fiction) by super hacker Kevin Mitnick, Mitnick on Triangulation, (1:09:00) Audible new releases,The Moon Maze Game: A Dream Park Novel by Larry Niven and Steven Barnes, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, it’s about the 80’s, Return To 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea by Barlow and Skidmore, Jules Verne, John Brunner’s Stand On Zanzibar, it’s new-wave-y, paranormal romance filter, Downward To Earth by Robert Silverberg, sounds like John Scalzi’s Fuzzy Nation, T. C. McCarthy’s Germline, McCarthy’s Big Idea on Scalzi, The Mandel Files by Peter F. Hamilton (when’s the audiobook coming?), Noir by Richard Matheson, the upcoming film Real Steel, fighting robots, The Twilight Zone, it’s heart wrenching like the last Harry Potter movie, Wheat Belly (diet book), Jenny’s gluten-free brownies, self-help audiobooks, Eckhart Tolle books, the word “healthy”.


Posted by Tamahome

The SFFaudio Podcast #091

January 17, 2011 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #091 – Scott and Jesse talk about the new Audible Frontiers audiobook Oath Of Fealty by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle.

Talked about on today’s show:
Footfall by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, The War Of The Worlds by H.G. Wells, Robert A. Heinlein, The Godwhale by T.J. Bass, Half Past Human by T.J. Bass, overpopulation, genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, FROMATES (“Friends of Man and the Earth” – an anti-technology group of eco-terrorists), arcology, Todos Santos, Los Angeles, California, are arcologies a stepping stone to generation starships?, SimCity 2000, Sid Meier’s Civilization, architecture + ecology = arcology, Coruscant (the city planet), Tantor (the elephant), Trantor (the city planet), Tantor Media, Mega City One (Judge Dredd), being a free accountant for the government, bylaws vs. customs and culture, engineering, “we can’t write a story that is just setting”, Luke Burrage (of SFBRP), is a cruise ship an arcology?, the reality of reality vs. the dreams of utopia, “Crisis in utopia…”, existing means interacting, the hermit kingdoms, transportation, Zipcar, cultural vs. technological developments, living differently in an urban environment, arcology as shopping mall, security conscious vs. security theater, safety as a selling point, TSA, terrorism, a Heinleinian uncomfortablenesses, THINK OF IT AS EVOLUTION IN ACTION, “humanity is more than just one type of person”, what’s wrong with Oath Of Fealty, not unrealistic vs. realistic, eco-terrorism, resentment and the response to resentment is yucky in Oath Of Fealty, what are the references to blacks and lesbians doing in this book?, Job: A Comedy Of Justice, “the Disney connection”, Disney World, Walt Disney, Epcot, gated communities, Celebration (Florida), brain drain, Canadian immigration policy (is draining the third world of its best educated), colonizing Mars, Jerry O’Neill’s space colonies, “not anything like reality”, overpopulation, community tool libraries, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Stephen Hawking, NASA spinoffs, spiritual reasons for space travel, Beijing olympics opening ceremony, cut the defense budget to actual defense, “we need an alien threat”, China’s moon program, McMurdo Station (Antarctica), Herzog’s Encounters At The Of The End Of The World, the Canadian (Sir George Reedy) is the most unrealistic thing in Oath Of Fealty, there are no knights for Canada, the Order Of Canada, the case of Conrad Black, House Of Tones blog (interview with Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle), the role of GOOD editors, Robert A. Heinlein did the editing on The Mote In God’s Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle (!), series aren’t a new thing, Anne Of Green Gables, The Great Brain, Tarzan, the Barsoom series, The Wizard Of Oz, expecting the series and not demanding the series is the cart leading the horse, John Joseph Adams (should be a guest on the SFFaudio Podcast), Orson Scott Card as an editor, Technovelgy.com’s Oath Of Fealty entry, the audiobook version of Oath Of Fealty, GLADOS, Portal, artificial intelligence, the speech recognition on the Google App is amazing (!), Google Goggles, cyborg, “BrainPal”, Old Man’s War by John Scalzi, telling Oath Of Fealty from a different POV, check out the DRAMATIS PERSONAE for Oath Of Fealty below, this book needs more average folks, Cory Doctorow, “a lot more agitation and a lot less Heinlein”, do it as a YA novel, UCLA, the Weather Underground, drink coffee while you waldo on the moon, slidewalk, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, The Caves Of Steel by Isaac Asimov |READ OUR REVIEW|, Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven and Pournelle.

The Todos Santos Arcology from the cover of the 1986 Pocket Books paperback

Dramatis Personae
Joe Dunhill — Probationary Officer, Todos Santos Security
Isaac Blake — Lieutenant, Todos Santos Security
Preston Sanders — Deputy General Manager, Todos Santos Independency
Tony Rand — Chief Engineer, Todos Santos
Arthur Bonner — General Manager, Todos Santos
Frank Mead — Comptroller, Todos Santos
Delores Martine — Executive Assistant to the General Manager, Todos Santos
Barbara Churchward — Director of Economic Development,Todos Santos
MacLean Stevens — Executive Assistant to the Mayor of the City of Los Angeles
Sir George Reedy — Deputy Minister of Internal Development, Canada
Genevieve Rand — Tony Rand’s former wife .
Alice Marie Strahler — Executive Assistant to Tony Rand
Allan Thompson — Student
Sandra Wyatt — Assistant General Manager, Todos Santos
James Planchet — City Councilman, Los Angeles
Mrs. Eunice Planchet — James Planchet’s wife
George Harris — Businessman and convicted tax evader
Thomas Lunan — Newsman
Amos Cross — Chief, Todos Santos Security
John Shapiro. LLD. — Counsel, Todos Santos
Samuel Finder, M.D. — Medical Resident, Todos Santos
Hal Donovan — Lieutenant, Robbery/Homicide, Los Angeles Police Department
Cheryl Drinkwater — Todos Santos resident
Armand Drinkwater — Waldo Operator
Glenda Porter — Tattoo Artist
Sidney Blackman — District Attorney, County of Los Angeles
Penelope Norton — Judge, Superior Court, State of California
Phil Lowry — Newsman
Mark Levoy — Publican; former Yippie
Ronald Wolfe — General, American Ecology Army
Arnold Renn, Ph.D. — Professor of Sociology, UCLA
Rachael Lief — Bulldozer operator
Mrs. Carol Donovan — Lt. Donovan’s wife
Vito Hamilton — Captain, Todos Santos Security
Vincent Thompson — Subway mugger

Posted by Jesse Willis

Recent Arrivals: Tequila Mockingbird by Paul Bishop

June 21, 2010 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Aural Noir, Recent Arrivals 

Aural Noir: Recent Arrivals

Out of print, (I found it on ABEbooks.com), and just arrived by Canada Post, is this 10 cassette audiobook written by Paul Bishop, of the Bish’s Beat blog!

CHIVERS - Tequila Mockingbird by Paul BishopTequila Mockingbird
By Paul Bishop; Read by William Roberts
10 Cassettes – Approx. 10 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Chivers Audio
Published: 1998
ISBN: 0792722426
The murder of Alex Waverly, a highly decorated detective in LAPD’s anti-terrorist division, appears to be an open-and-shut case of domestic violence turned deadly. But circumstances are not what they seem, as Fey Croaker discovers, when the Chief gives the case to her with instructions to wrap it up “quick and tidy. No muss, no fuss.” Caught in the middle of a power struggle, Fey and her crew search for the truth. But they quickly become moving targets in their effort to stop a south-of-the-border terrorist from striking at the very heart of Los Angeles.

Posted by Jesse Willis

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