The SFFaudio Podcast #276 – READALONG: Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway

August 4, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
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Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastDowncastThe SFFaudio Podcast #276 – Jesse, Tamahome, and Fred discuss Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway.

Today’s podcast is sponsored by Downcast, a terrific podcast app for iPhone and iPad.

Talked about on today’s show:
Fredösphere’s (Fred Heimbaugh’s) choice, the Ann Arbour Science Fiction And Fantasy Literary Discussion Group (founded by Eric S. Rabkin), the audiobook, the confusing and scatter first half of the book, the audio version, Daniel Wayman is one of the best narrator’s Fred’s ever heard, A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick (read by Paul Giamati), some books are better as audiobooks and some are better as textual books, Anathem by Neal Stephenson, Tony C. Smith, StarShipSofa, the glossary takes 30 minutes, Angelmaker is 18 hours, you have to pay close attention, do you listen to podcasts?, our SPONSOR: Downcast, the new iOS, Apple’s Podcasts App sucks, Downcast allows you to ultra-customize your podcast feeds, Levelator, volume booster for podcasts are too quiet, Protecting Project Pulp, Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History and Common Sense, noisy environments, the Downcast app is $3, updating feeds on the go, a podcast queue, if it isn’t in the iTunes store …, your custom HuffDuffer feed works great with Downcast, the SFSignal Three Hoarsemen Podcast, Tamahome uses Downcast, back to our regular programing, Jesse has no opinion about Angelmaker, this is Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere by somebody else, the Neverwhere BBC TV adaptation, Nick Harkaway’s writing voice and actual voice are similar to Neil Gaiman’s, a completely undisciplined novel, a meandering through-line, the prose was “too plummy”, an editor with a strong whip-hand, Harkaway is enamored with great ideas, Goodreads has angry and bitter four and five star reviews for Angelmaker, unfinished novels don’t often get reviewed, books take a lot of time, why is it present third person every day tense?, breezy and informal sixteen-hour shaggy dog story, really really good writing, Ted Chiang, just because it’s old doesn’t mean it’s good, Tam is surprised, history and science, Neil Gaiman’s wild son?, talking about interesting things in interesting ways with interested characters, sexually aggressive women, a pulp fiction novel, Fred lays out the plot, Joe Spork, Matthew “Tommy-Gun” Spork, the grandfather, clockwork bees, a doomsday device, a female James Bond, the evil Asian mastermind, absurdly competent, Remo Williams, the Opium Khan aka Shem Shem Tsien, a brilliant French scientist (a Hakote), the “Apprehension Engine”, fundamentally transform human consciousness, waves, “step one: steal underpants”, instantly intuit the truth of reality, Nick Harkaway is interested in interesting things, the throwaway ideas, Project Habakkuk, a WWII project in a WWII setting, an aircraft carrier built out of ice, the u-boat service, cool and interesting, the frozen submarine and the frozen air-craft carrier, if Jesse wrote fiction…, a submarine and an elephant in the same sentence, this book has dream-logic, Harkaway wanted the submarine encased in ice and didn’t care if it was implausible (a rumour), torture, sex, a Saint-Crispin’s speech, an adventure book, humour?, funny?, a romp?, silly?, allusions, The Gone-Away World, Tigerman, steam-punk, clock-punk, the etymology of the word “punk”, coming from the street, about the visual, about the body, Neuromancer, looking and acting like a punk, steampunk is about dressing up, form and colour over function, Hayao Miyazaki, an obsession with body parts, an obsession with torture, “fingers getting cut-off”, one of the Goodreads reviews, the toe obsession, Polly’s sexy and knowledgeable toe, this book is a thousand Chekhov’s guns, the toothless dog, the Snowy of this novel, Tin Tin, Tam should read Tin Tin, Angelmaker would be a really good HBO show, the names, Spork, Friend, Cradle, realism is not being strived for, a word cloud for Angelmaker, what words are being used, over description, the main character looks at himself in a mirror, not a mirror but polished brass, very clever Nick Harkaway, René Descartes, a steam-punk pulp adventure spy thriller, Robert E. Howard’s muscular description of colour, Howard wrote short, a serious issue, very interesting and difficult reading, the tense, Nick Harkaway is Neal Stephenson by way of P.G. Wodehouse, people drowning in a world of epic fantasy, Grimm’s Fairy Tales characters are puppets, over-description, Joshua Joseph Spork embraces his gansterhood, Luke Burrage’s complaint about American Gods, the character arc, false or indulgent, decapitating the evil mastermind, the Thompson sub-machine gun, aggressively turning off a large portion of one’s brain, Ada Lovelace, trains are cool, cheap complaints, an unplugged wild adventure book, Blood Music by Greg Bear (short story and novels), what is he trying to say here?, science fiction writers, Eon, The Wind From A Burning Woman is an amazing author collection, despite the caveats, the “grey goo problem” and the nature of consciousness, is it the case we are not seeing the world directly?, medium sized objects, trucks and trees, Jesse found it very frustrating, the movie people, a comic booky plot, animation?, John le Carré, paging Dr. Freud, no editors, do editors even exist any more, Marissa Vu works for the author, enjoy a ride and live in a world and drown in an environment, the reader makes an investment in the world building, Darkon (2006), LARPing (live action role playing), Cory Doctorow, Jim Butcher, regular people, Elidor and Aquilonia, more fun to play than to watch, Dungeons & Dragons, more word-play and less shield-taping, escaping from a horrible day job, Thomas Jefferson’s idea for state-names, Fred’s novel, “you’re not like most people you read books”, to each there own, make it shorter and better, a unit of Jesse (7 hours), Ivanhoe, Sir Walter Scott, the modern medieval romance, Game Of Thrones, why Fred fully forgives Angelmaker‘s failings, scenes that don’t just advance the plot, when Jesse wrote fiction it was terrible, being blind to your own faults, self-blindness, the four boxes, incompetent but self-aware, the inevitable decline, Elmore Leonard, Rum Punch, Stephen King, William Gibson, Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan, early success, an overflowing fountains of ideas, Tam and Jesse were obsessed, enormous fun, Jesse doesn’t read books for fun but rather for edification, Mike Resnick, instinctual writers, Dean Koontz, Lawrence Block, Donald E. Westlake, writing the same novel over and over again, Neil Gaiman is a discovery writer, sprinkling plot points, Jesse shouldn’t try writing, Jesse’s curation #PUBLICDOMAIN fiction, The Wonderful Window by Lord Dunsany is basically a guy watching Game Of Thrones, like everybody else on Goodreads “this is the worst five star book I’ve ever read”, needs taming, layering done well, The Graveyard Book is a retelling of The Jungle Book, this novel should have spent a few days in the dungeon, rallying the underworld, Angelmaker would make a great Broadway musical.

Word Cloud for Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway

Posted by Jesse Willis

BBC Radio 4 Extra: Pratchett, Gaiman, Gibson, Bradbury

October 6, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Here are three new short stories set to air on BBC Radio 4 Extra on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

BBC Radio 4 Extra - Marionettes, Inc.
Marionettes, Inc.
By Ray Bradbury; Read by ???
1 Broadcast – Approx. 15 Minutes [ABRIDGED?]
Broadcaster: BBC Radio 4 Extra
Broadcast: October 8, 2012

BBC Radio 4 Extra - Fragments Of A Hologram Rose
Fragments Of A Hologram Rose
By William Gibson; Read by Jon Strickland
1 Broadcast – Approx. 15 Minutes [ABRIDGED?]
Broadcaster: BBC Radio 4 Extra
Broadcast: October 9, 2012

BBC Radio 4 Extra - Tomorrow's News Yesterday
Tomorrow’s News Yesterday
By Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman; Read by Jon Strickland
1 Broadcast – Approx. 15 Minutes [ABRIDGED?]
Broadcaster: BBC Radio 4 Extra
Broadcast: October 10, 2012

[Many thanks to Dave for the spot!]

Posted by Jesse Willis

Commentary: A “Top 100 Sci-Fi Audiobooks” List

September 16, 2012 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Commentary 

SFFaudio Commentary

Sci-Fi ListsLast year somebody* pointed out that a list of “The Top 100 Sci-Fi Books” (as organized by the Sci-Fi Lists website) was almost entirely available in audiobook form!

At the time of his or her compiling 95 of the 100 books were available as audiobooks.

Today, it appears, that list is approaching 99% complete!

I’ve read a good number of the books and audiobooks listed, and while some of them are indeed excellent, I’d have to argue that some are merely ok, and that others are utterly atrocious.

That said, I do think it is interesting that almost all of them are available as audiobooks!

Here’s the list as it stood last year, plus my added notations on the status of the missing five:

01- Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card – 1985
02- Dune – Frank Herbert – 1965
03- Foundation – Isaac Asimov – 1951
04- Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – Douglas Adams – 1979
05- 1984 – George Orwell – 1949
06- Stranger In A Strange Land – Robert A Heinlein – 1961
07- Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury – 1954
08- 2001: A Space Odyssey – Arthur C Clarke – 1968
09- Starship Troopers – Robert A Heinlein – 1959
10- I, Robot – Isaac Asimov – 1950
11- Neuromancer – William Gibson – 1984
12- Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – Philip K. Dick – 1968
13- Ringworld – Larry Niven – 1970
14- Rendezvous With Rama – Arthur C. Clarke – 1973
15- Hyperion – Dan Simmons – 1989
16- Brave New World – Aldous Huxley – 1932
17- The Time Machine – H.G. Wells – 1895
18- Childhood’s End – Arthur C. Clarke – 1954
19- The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress – Robert A. Heinlein – 1966
20- The War Of The Worlds – H.G. Wells – 1898
21- The Forever War – Joe Haldeman – 1974
22- The Martian Chronicles – Ray Bradbury – 1950
23- Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegut – 1969
24- Snow Crash – Neal Stephenson – 1992
25- The Mote In God’s Eye – Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle – 1975
26- The Left Hand Of Darkness – Ursula K. Le Guin – 1969
27- Speaker For The Dead – Orson Scott Card – 1986
28- Jurassic Park – Michael Crichton – 1990
29- The Man in the High Castle – Philip K. Dick – 1962
30- The Caves Of Steel – Isaac Asimov – 1954
31- The Stars My Destination – Alfred Bester – 1956
32- Gateway – Frederik Pohl – 1977
33- Lord Of Light – Roger Zelazny – 1967
34- Solaris – Stanisław Lem – 1961
35- 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea – Jules Verne – 1870
36- A Wrinkle In Time – Madeleine L’Engle – 1962
37- Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut – 1963
38- Contact – Carl Sagan – 1985
39- The Andromeda Strain – Michael Crichton – 1969
40- The Gods Themselves – Isaac Asimov – 1972
41- A Fire Upon The Deep – Vernor Vinge – 1991
42- Cryptonomicon – Neal Stephenson – 1999
43- The Day of the Triffids – John Wyndham – 1951
44- UBIK – Philip K. Dick – 1969
45- Time Enough For Love – Robert A. Heinlein – 1973
46- A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess – 1962
47- Red Mars – Kim Stanley Robinson – 1992
48- Flowers For Algernon – Daniel Keyes
49- A Canticle For Leibowitz – Walter M. Miller – 1959
50- The End of Eternity – Isaac Asimov – 1955
51- Battlefield Earth – L. Ron Hubbard – 1982
52- Frankenstein – Mary Shelley – 1818
53- Journey To The Center Of The Earth – Jules Verne – 1864
54- The Dispossessed – Ursula K. Le Guin – 1974
55- The Diamond Age – Neal Stephenson – 1995
56- The Player Of Games – Iain M. Banks – 1988
57- The Reality Dysfunction – Peter F. Hamilton – 1996
58- Startide Rising – David Brin – 1983
59- The Sirens Of Titan – Kurt Vonnegut – 1959
60- Eon – Greg Bear – 1985
61- Ender’s Shadow – Orson Scott Card – 1999
62- To Your Scattered Bodies Go – Philip Jose Farmer – 1971
63- A Scanner Darkly – Philip K. Dick – 1977
64- Lucifer’s Hammer – Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle – 1977
65- The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood – 1985
66- The City And The Stars – Arthur C Clark – 1956
67- The Stainless Steel Rat – Harry Harrison – 1961
68- The Demolished Man – Alfred Bester – 1953
69- The Shadow of the Torturer – Gene Wolfe – 1980
70- Sphere – Michael Crichton – 1987
71- The Door Into Summer – Robert .A Heinlein – 1957
72- The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch – Philip K. Dick – 1964
73- Revelation Space – Alastair Reynolds – 2000
74- Citizen Of The Galaxy – Robert A. Heinlein – 1957
75- Doomsday Book – Connie Willis – 1992
76- Ilium – Dan Simmons – 2003
77- The Invisible Man – H.G. Wells – 1897
78- Have Space-Suit Will Travel – Robert A. Heinlein – 1958
79- The Puppet Masters – Robert A. Heinlein – 1951
80- Out Of The Silent Planet – C.S. Lewis – 1938
81- A Princess of Mars – Edgar Rice Burroughs – 1912
82- The Lathe of Heaven – Ursula K. Le Guin – 1971
83- Use Of Weapons – Iain M. Banks – 1990
84- The Chrysalids – John Wyndham – 1955
85- Way Station – Clifford Simak – 1963
86- Flatland – Edwin A. Abbott – 1884
87- Altered Carbon – Richard Morgan – 2002
88- Old Man’s War – John Scalzi – 2005
89- COMING SOON (October 15, 2012)Roadside Picnic – Arkady and Boris Strugatsky – 1972
90- The Road – Cormac McCarthy – 2006
91- The Postman – David Brin – 1985
92- NEWLY AVAILABLEStand On Zanzibar – John Brunner – 1969
93- VALIS – Philip K. Dick – 1981
94- NEWLY AVAILABLE The Cyberiad: Fables for the Cybernetic Age – Stanisław Lem – 1974
95- NOT AVAILABLE AS AN AUDIOBOOK – Cities In Flight – James Blish – 1955
96- The Lost World – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – 1912
97- The Many-Colored Land – Julian May – 1981
98- Gray Lensman – E.E. ‘Doc’ Smith – 1940
99- The Uplift War – David Brin – 1987
100- NEWLY AVAILABLEThe Forge Of God – Greg Bear – 1987

In case you were wondering, the list was compiled using the following criteria:

“A statistical survey of sci-fi literary awards, noted critics and popular polls. To qualify a book has to be generally regarded as science fiction by credible sources and/or recognised as having historical significance to the development of the genre. For books that are part of a series (with some notable exceptions) only the first book in the series is listed.”

The “Next 100″, as listed over on Sci-Fi Lists, has a lot of excellent novels and collections in it too, check that out HERE.

[*Thanks to "neil1966hardy" from ThePirateBay]

Posted by Jesse Willis

BBCR4+RA.cc: Mr Jupitus In The Age Of Steampunk

September 4, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

BBC Radio 4RadioArchives.ccI only know Phill Jupitus from his appearances on Stephen Fry’s, I want to say game show?, QI. From that I gathered he was a comedian, but apparently he’s also a fan of steampunk. In any case he’s the host of this one off “factual” BBC programme about the phenomenon. It’s entitled Mr Jupitus In The Age of Steampunk.

Mr Jupitus In The Age Of Steampunk

Here’s the description:

If you’ve ever encountered a person with flying goggles, clad in tweeds and clutching a mahogany laptop or brass smartphone on a chain, what’s the explanation? Phill Jupitus steps into an era where the 19th and 21st centuries charmingly collide, to investigate the time travelling cult known as Steampunk.

Travelling back to the steam-powered future, Phill discovers a cast of modern characters – engineers, scientists, writers, artists and inventors – taking their inspiration from the Victorian and Edwardian arts and sciences, and from the fiction of H.G. Wells.

“It’s still the early twenty-first century. The Victorian world, the Edwardian world carried on”, explains Ian Crichton aka Herr Doktor amongst an array of fantastical homemade devices: digital camera modified with rivets, brass-etched ray gun, steam pistol and a space helmet like that worn by Lionel Jeffries in The First Men on The Moon. “We’ve got steam-powered cars on the streets. We’ve got huge dirigibles flying to Japan”.

Steampunk speculates on an imaginary overlap between the 19th century and the present day. Phill investigates at a Steampunk convivial, The Houses of Parliament, on an x-ray ward, at a punk gig and in a shed in suburban Surrey.

With Dr Chandrika Nath from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology ; consultant radiologist Dr Adrian Thomas; comedian Andrew O’Neill; science fiction author, Adam Roberts and lecturer in 19th Century Literature, Dr Christine Ferguson.

Producer: Tamsin Hughes
A Testbed Production for BBC Radio 4.

I got the MP3 version via a torrent listed over on RadioArchive.cc.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #172 – READALONG: The Odyssey by Homer (Books XVII – XX)

August 6, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #172 – Scott and Jesse talk, in the fifth of a six part series, about the books XVII, XVIII, XIX and XX of The Odyssey.

Talked about on today’s show:
Scott is struck, building tension, the nurse, “to be wroth against”, Eumaeus, names are handy, Hiro Protagonist, Neal Stephenson, parody, William Gibson, Eurycleia, Odysseus rolls a saving throw against a stool, first bum fight in literature, twinning, Odysseus is Athena’s avatar on Earth, The Iliad vs. The Odyssey, being of two minds, gods as metaphors, externalization, a primitive version of Matthew 25:40, “my good for nothing belly”, appetites, metastory, the tip jar is open, Turkic and Gaelic bards, Fahrenheit 451, Guy Montag, “reached for the good things close at hand”, “Odysseus Goes To Town”, Eric Shanower, Argos (the hound), “the black hand of Death”, it’s not an anti-slavery polemic, the washing of the feet, the stringing of the bow, Julian Jaynes’s idea about The Iliad and The Odyssey and consciousness, Penelope is just as smart as Odysseus, the prelude to the crisis, the walls turn red, Yuri Rasovsky’s The Odyssey, Blackstone Audio.

Odysseus and Euryclea by Christian Gottlob Heyne

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #170 – READALONG: The Fountains Of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke

July 23, 2012 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #170 – Jesse, Tamahome, and Jenny discuss the Brilliance Audio audiobook of The Fountains Of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke.

Talked about on today’s show:
Skyhooks and space elevators, Sri Lanka, “my first space elevator book”, Robert A. Heinlein, Friday, “it feels like a novel”, “the fictional accounting of a real construction project”, history, Colombo, afterwords, sources and acknowledgements, “what a rip-off”, Sigiriya’s Lion Paws Gate, King Kashyapa I, “past, present, and future”, engineering fiction vs. science fiction, Taprobane, Paradise Regained by John Milton, Jo Walton’s review of The Fountains Of Paradise, religion, “Heinlein in a dress”, an idea book, to think interesting Science Fictional thoughts, hard SF, Clarke’s Laws, space probe, a game changer, Gregg Margarite, Shri Jawaharlal Nehru, The Nine Billion Names Of God, Sigmund Freud, growing out of religion?, Thomas Aquinas, symbolic logic, Bertrand Russell, satellites and their uses, unseen benefits to giant engineering projects and science, Sydney Opera House, the Eiffel Tower, Burj Khalifa, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, “this is what we’re meant to do”, the space age, the 1970s, Jenny gets depressed, Terpkristin‘s visit to French Guiana (PICS!), will we have a Chinese moonbase by 2022?, innovation vs. exploration, Jerry O’Neil, good reasons to go to space, we ought to do things that we can do, Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey, the daily life challenges of a space born population, The Island Worlds by Eric Kotani and John Maddox Roberts, the probe is a person, The Geek’s Guide To The Galaxy #64: John Scalzi, (Star Trek holds us back), “the God Particle”, “you’re going to die soon”, can we empathize with a character that isn’t a human being?, a complimentary cosmonaut, 2001: A Space Odyssey, one day in Jerusalem, the transhuman future in the end of The Fountains Of Paradise, Starglider/Starholme, a well developed solar society, the Wikipedia entry for The Fountains Of Paradise, The Last Theorem, The City And The Stars, a non-off putting post-human story, Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, Ted Chiang, Charles Stross, sequels and science, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Alastair Reynolds, Kim Stanley Robinson, in SF ideas build can on one another whereas others books are more parasitizing upon those ideas, why does it have to be a new book?, ‘these were the stepping stones to today’, a balance of both a good story and good ideas, William Gibson, Embassytown by China Miéville, The City And The City, “garbage, garbage, garbage”, 2312, Playboy’s serialization of The Fountains Of Paradise, Buckminster Fuller, why did Sir Arthur C. Clarke live in Sri Lanka?, Milton is literature, Dante’s Inferno, Lucifer’s fall from heaven, Brilliance Audio, A Fall Of Moondust by Arthur C. Clarke, BBC Radio dramatization of A Fall Of Moondust, Crisis On Conshelf Ten by Monica Hughes, “best book ever”, The Abyss, Tom Swift, Aquaman vs. The Sub-Mariner, Blue Remembered Earth by Alastair Reynolds, The Prefect, Ray Of Light by Brad Torgeson, “Alien sun mirror block deepwater living daughter Glimmer Club surface discovery.”, the Mars tangent, Phobos and Deimos, John Scalzi, “I liked that he didn’t explain it.”, “we don’t build em that way”, “I want it to be hard”, Phobos interference would be a feature not a bug, “wiggle the thread”, atmospheric density and windspeed, carbon nano-tubes vs. buckminsterfullerene, Roald Dahl, Charlie And The Great Glass Elevator, horror, The BFG, Jack McDevitt, a waking dream, in the shadow of Vesuvius, the Prime Directive, Doctor Who, Fantasy vs. Science Fiction, Inferno (Doctor Who episode), Sliders, Doorways by George R.R. Martin, Tom Baker.

BRILLIANCE AUDIO - The Fountains Of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke

Caedmon - Arthur C. Clarke reads Fountains Of Paradise

Del Rey paperback - The Fountains Of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke

Playboy, January 1979 - The Fountains Of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke - illustration by Ignacio Gomez

Playboy, February 1979 - The Fountains Of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke - illustration by Ignacio Gomez

Posted by Jesse Willis

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