Review of The Wizard of OZ: A Steampunk Adventure

January 20, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

The Wizard of OZ A Steampunk AdventureThe Wizard of OZ: A Steampunk Adventure (Steampunk OZ #1)
By S.D. Stuart; Narrated by Amanda C. Miller
Publisher: Ramblin’ Prose Publishing
Publication Date: November 2013
[UNABRIDGED] – 7 hours, 17 minutes

Themes: / steampunk / prison / betrayal /

Publisher summary:

There is no yellow brick road here. No emerald city. No lollipop guild. This is the Australis Penal Colony, a continent sized prison referred to the world over as the Outcast Zone.

Built to contain the world’s most dangerous criminals, OZ ended up the dumping ground for everything polite society deemed undesirable.

From inside this place, a garbled message proves Dorothy’s father is still alive, trapped in a prison with only one way in and no way out. Into this place, 17-year-old Dorothy must go if she wants to find her father and keep the promise she made to her dying mother.

She thought she had spent the past seven years preparing to overcome anything that got in the way of fulfilling her promise, but the situation she finds herself is harder and more intense than anything she has experienced before as she drops right into the middle of a power struggle for control over all of OZ. If she has any hope of surviving long enough to find her father, she will need her mother’s guts, her father’s brains and the unexpected help from those discarded and forgotten.

Everyone she meets tells her the same thing. The only person who can help her is the one prisoner who deserves to be in a place like this and refers to himself by the name, Wizard.

The Wizard always asks for something in exchange for his help. Can Dorothy afford the terrible price he will demand?

The Wizard of OZ: A Steampunk Adventure is a well-rounded story that is interesting the whole way through. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a steampunk take on The Wizard of Oz but Stuart manages to make clever nods toward different aspects of the classic when turning OZ into a massive steampunk prison. The steampunk aspects of the story are incorporated well and not over the top.

A lot of steampunk seems to go so over the top that it’s hard to follow what’s going on but that isn’t the case here. This is clearly a steampunk adventure that is not trying to be some kind of big budget movie. There are guns, swords, airships, combat, automatons, and borderline magical science all at work in this story. There is also a healthy amount of dueling, betraying, and double crossing in here too. One minor thing that I didn’t like as much (and is fairly common to steampunk) is the amount of betrayal- it was a little difficult to follow some characters’ motivations and betrayals at times because of all the double crossing going on.

Turning OZ into a prison worked out great. Since I know the story of OZ already, I kept linking pieces from this story to the classic and found that it actually works out well, even the lessons learned by the characters in the end. The story was interesting without dragging too much. The only parts that dragged for me were when some of the characters kept getting locked up in prison (it’s like a prison of prisons at times) and they sit around and talk or figure stuff out.

Amanda C. Miller does a great job as narrator for this novel. She does all the different voices and adds some good snark and attitude to Dorothy when she needs it. I never had trouble understanding her and could usually tell which character was speaking based on the voices she gave them.

Posted by Tom Schreck

Recent Arrival: Steampunk Specs edited by Allan Kaster

February 16, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Recent Arrivals 

SFFaudio Recent Arrivals

This came in the day after recording our latest Recent Arrivals podcast, so I thought it deserved mention.  Steampunk Specs releases February 28, 2013 from Infinivox.

Steampunk Specs edited by Allan Kaster

Contents:

Smoke City by Christopher Barzak
A woman comes to terms with the loss of her family to the child labor mills of the city.

Dr. Lash Remembers by Jeffrey Ford
A doctor tries to cope with a strange plague terrorizing the citizens of London.

Machine Maid by Margo Lanagan
A sexually repressed wife gets revenge on her husband through a robot maid.

Arbeitskraft by Nick Mamatas
Friedrich Engels strives to spread class revolution as a labor organizer for factory cyborg matchstick girls.

Ninety Thousand Horses by Sean McMullen
An acclaimed mathematician, with a murky past, is forced to spy for an industrial prior to becoming Britain’s foremost rocket expert during World War II.

Tanglefoot (A Clockwork Century Story) by Cherie Priest
An orphan boy builds an automaton, in an aging scientist’s laboratory, that becomes more than an idle companion.

Clockwork Fairies by Cat Rambo
An English aristocrat courts a woman who would rather spend her time in a laboratory than at a high society ball.

Edison’s Frankenstein by Chris Roberson
At Chicago’s Columbian Exposition in 1893, an Algerian bodyguard crosses paths with a disoriented naked man.

A Serpent in the Gears by Margaret Ronald
A dirigible journeys to an isolated land and discovers people and animals merged with machine parts.

Zeppelin City by Michael Swanwick & Eileen Gunn
Radio Jones finds a way to listen in on the Naked Brains, who rule the world, while Rudy the Red fights against the oppressors.

Unabridged readings by Tom Dheere, Vanessa Hart, and Nancy Linari, for a total of 8.5 hours.

Posted by Jenny Colvin

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

Steampunk Scholar: Steampunk audiobooks

October 17, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: News 

SFFaudio News

Steampunk Scholar
I’ve been half ready to board the steampunk train (or the metaphorical steam powered conveyance of your choice) for a while now. I’m not sure exactly why it is so appealing to me. I love airships, I love Sherlock Holmes, I love reading about Victorian and Edwardian eras – but is that it?

I remember when William Gibson and Bruce Sterling wrote The Difference Engine – I was digging the concept. I remember when the RPG game Space: 1889 came out – and I was digging the vibrations that was throwing off too. The only problem was, and is, I still haven’t played the game and still haven’t read the book. I’ve really been quite negligent in my steampunk studies. Luckily there’s a neighbour, over in Alberta, who’s set himself a five year mission, to blog about the genre in a scholarly way.

And his latest post is about steampunk audiobooks! Check it out. He makes a list of Audible.com available audiobooks with the steampunking theme.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Free online steampunk audio: The Shattered Teacup

January 2, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
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SFFaudio Online Audio

Cover of The Shattered TeacupThe Shattered Teacup

Anyone up for a belated brass goggled Christmas pressy? UK indie publisher Snowbooks.com have commissioned an original Newbury and Hobbes story – The Shattered Teacup – set in the alternative London of George Mann’s The Affinity Bridge.  Tor Books editor Lou Anders has lots of praise for this Steampunk series:

The book follows the adventures of Maurice Newbury, detective for the Crown, and his assistant, Ms. Veronica Hobbes, a team who sit somewhere between a classic Sherlock Holmes and Watson pairing and that of Doctor Who’s Doctor and one of his more capable companions. They inhabit a wonderfully-realized steampunk London, replete with clockwork butlers, airships in the skies, and zombies in Whitechapel. The book is a must for steampunk fans, as well as anybody who liked The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (graphic novel, not film, natch). [via Tor.com]

The Shattered Teacup serves as a bridge between books one and two of the series and as an introduction into the world of Maurice Newbury and Veronica Hobbes. It is available as a PDF download or as an mp3 audio version, and best of all it’s free! At first glance both production quality and quality of the narration seem to be quite good, so steampunkers should give it a try.

Download is available from the snowbooks.com homepage. Streaming does not work so you need to use ‘save file as’…

Posted by Carsten Schmitt

The SFFaudio Podcast #338 – NEW RELEASES/RECENT ARRIVALS

October 12, 2015 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: New Releases, Podcasts, Recent Arrivals 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #338 – Jesse, Tamahome, and Paul talk about new releases and recent arrivals (audiobooks, books, and comics).

Talked about on today’s show:
Aftermath: Star Wars (Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens) by Chuck Wendig, read by Marc Thompson, not a curse fest, the crawl, grief, The Geeks Guide To The Galaxy, one star reviews, diversity up down left and sideways, a pink lightsaber, a rainbow lightsaber, Timothy Zahn, sounds like Star Wars names, Heirs Of Empire by Evan Currie, read by Deric McNish, Brilliance Audio, it sounds like a Stars Wars book (but isn’t), a 47 North Novel, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K. Dick, read by Luke Daniels, drugs!, sounds trippy, re-reading Philip K. Dick (for The SFFaudio Podcast), different assumptions, by the inventor of Science Fiction… In the Days of the Comet by H.G. Wells, read by Walter Covell, the salvation of the human race, cynical then preachy, The Star by H.G. Wells, The Poison Belt by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, 1906, The World Set Free, The Sea Lady by H.G. Wells (a mermaid in Edwardian society), Stranger In A Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein, a comedic bicycling novel, military SF, David Weber, The Child by Keith F. Goodnight, read by Nick Podehl, Tam’s macho voice, Adam Christopher’s The Burning Dark, Event Horizon, hyperspace as a Hellraiser universe, this all goes back to H.P. Lovecraft’s From Beyond, drugs plus radar shadowing, a terrific adaptation The Banshee Chapter, the 1980s adaptation of From Beyond, fear of the dark in a lighted world, The Oncoming Storm by Christopher G. Nuttall, read by Lauren Ezzo, the youngest captain in naval (future) history, what is 47 North? it’s Amazon’s publishing house, synergy, PlayStation has it’s own TV show (based on a comic book called Powers), an Honor Harrington novel with the serial numbers filed off, fantasy (non epic), Locke And Key by Joe Hill, adapted by Elaine Lee and Frederick Greenhalgh, audio drama, AudioComics, 13.5 hour audio drama, Gabriel Rodriguez, Paul needs to get Welcome To Lovecraft, horror, dark fantasy, hyper-imaginative, Joe Hill looks and writes like his dad (Stephen King), kids in a creepy situation, the manipulation of power, more fantasy elements, the origins of the keys at Key House, back stories, Fred Greenhalgh as a champion of field recorded audio drama, a film production unit without cameras, listening with headphones, this could be the star of something really amazing, the business model, word-of-mouth then the long tail?, Elaine Lee’s Starstruck, William Dufris, epic fantasy, Twelve Kings In Sharakhai (Song of Shattered Sands #1) by Bradley P. Beaulieu, read by Sarah Coomes, Paul is a fan of Bradley P. Beaulieu’s writing, “his best novel yet”, it is impossible to promote books you aren’t enthusiastic about, “the ones that sing to the song in your blood”, Paul is a long term epic fantasy fan, true confessions, Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson, epic fantasy as a lifestyle choice, Kate Elliot, The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher; read by Euan Morton, Penguin Audio, urban fantasy, airships!, a new steampunk secondary world, beautiful endpapers and maps Priscilla Spencer, books in the middle of series: Darken the Stars (Kricket #3) by Amy A. Bartol, read by Kate Rudd, The Ciphers of Muirwood (Covenant of Muirwood #2) by Jeff Wheeler, read by Kate Rudd, Unholy War (The Moontide Quartet #3) by David Hair, read by Nick Podehl, Dryad-Born (Whispers from Mirrowen #2) by Jeff Wheeler, read by Sue Pitkin, Jenny’s favourite section “dystopia, unrest, destruction, apocalypse”, an interesting theory about zombies and dystopias, it fits in with the Christian end times, Revelations and rapture theology, the 1950s optimism, we’re not in Star Trek times anymore, 2 Walking Dead TV series and Z Nation, zombies never die, The Heart Goes Last: A Novel by Margaret Atwood, read by Cassandra Campbell and Mark Deakins, an economic and social collapse, the “Positron Project”, what is the point of the premise?, allegory not SF?, an Asimovian word, she doesn’t really care about the consequences of science, people who are interested in science, Ted Chiang, what if…, doesn’t that mean XYZ?, let her write her books, paranormal romance, Dark Ghost (Dark Saga #28) by Christine Feehan, read by Phil Gigante and Natalie Ross, a bounty hunter, a vampire slayer, a geologist, fairy tales, Two Years Eight Months and Twenty­-Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie, read by Robert G. Slade, history and folklore, “the time of the strangenesses”, a djinn­­, 1,001 nights (two years, eight months, and twenty­-eight nights), a Nobel Prize for Literature, a print book, Joy To The Worlds: Mysterious Speculative Fiction For The Holidays, a mix of mystery and speculative fiction and Christmas, Maia Chance, Janine A. Southard, Raven Oak, G. Clemans, upcoming authors, Andy Weir, that’s how the young people are reading, get of Tam’s lawn, House Of M, Marvel Comics, why is Thor a girl now?, Scarlet Witch can re-write reality, annoying-off people(?), the $1 floppy deals, Free Comic Book Day, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is fun and fabulous, her squirrel sidekick, a silver age happy go lucky superhero in our cynical grim age, she’s got squirrel blood!, writing comics for kids, Genosha, kids Squirrel Girl cosplaying looks fun, making your own costume, Princess Leia (Marvel Comics/Star Wars), there’s something wrong with Princess Leia, Disney is making so much more product than Lucas, Alan Moore and Jacen Burrow’s Providence (Avatar comics), Neonomicon, when will the first Providence trade come out, what Moore is doing and saying with Providence, an examination and meditation on H.P. Lovecraft stories, Providence doesn’t seem to have a very important plot, Herbert West’s equivalent, if you are deeply involved in Lovecraft…, if you don’t know Lovecraft can you still enjoy Providence?, the turns!, not merely visually shocking, The Dunwich Horror, a trans-dimensional invisible character, Moore is wrestling with Lovecraft, Watchmen, Alan Moore and Gabriel Andrade’s Crossed Plus One Hundred, “124C41+”, “Return Of The King”, “Glory Road”, “A Canticle For Leibowitz”, “Tyger, Tyger”, “Foundation and Empire”, the difference between crossed zombies and regular zombies, the Crossed series, Alan Moore is about thinking deeply about things, evolution, “the big surprise of 2008”, bone piles, the change of language, AFAWK, Moore has reconstructed English in the way of A Clockwork Orange or Anathem, zombies as a fear of death, zombies as a fear of loss of individual volition and personality, a fear of Alzheimer’s, we don’t talk about death, The Walking Dead Volume 12 (hardcover), everybody’s infected, no matter what happens you become a zombie, zombies as a non-scary version of momento mori, Brian K. Vaughn and Steve Skroce’s We Stand On Guard, the invasion of Canada by the United States, the only time Canada has ever been invaded was by the United States, reading for writers not for artists, the Dark Adventure Radio Theatre series, The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society, DART The Horror At Red Hook, a straight up adaptation of The Horror At Red Hook by H.P. Lovecraft, DART Dagon: War Of Worlds, Dagon by H.P. Lovecraft, imagine War Of The Worlds not from Space but from beneath, X-COM: UFO DEFENSE, X-COM: Terror From The Deep, aliens at the bottom of the ocean, the Orson Welles style War Of The Worlds, mapping out all of Lovecraft’s squiddy watery fears, The Shadow Over Innsmouth, The Call Of Cthulhu, “I love that!”, attention to detail, if it says it in the story they take it seriously, The Whisperer In Darkness, Infocom games included props, H.P. Lovecraft The Spirit Of Revision Lovecraft’s Letters To Zealia Brown Reed Bishop, David Michelinie and Brett Blevins’ The Bozz Chronicles, originally from Epic Comics, a 19th century Sherlock Holmes alien mashup, lots of nudity, The New Mutants artist, Dover Publications, a 200 page trade-paperback for $20, a feel of the new Doctor Who, Madame Vastra, what if Sherlock Holmes was not Sherlock Holmes, Fred Saberhagen’s Bezerker story, Fred Saberhagen’s Dracula novels, Conan Red Sonja, a lack of attention to details, 1980s sensibilities vs. 20teens sensibilities.

October 2015 - Recent Arrivals

Posted by Jesse Willis

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