LibriVox: Eric Brighteyes by H. Rider Haggard

November 2, 2010 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

LibriVoxBack in April my friend Brian Murphy wrote a wonderful essay generally extolling the virtues of Viking Age Fantasy, and particularly recommending H. Rider Haggard’s Eric Brighteyes as one of the best of the genre. Here’s a taste:

“…I would unhesitatingly declare it [Eric Brighteyes] among the finest works in the genre, better than [Bernard] Cornwell and at least as good as [Poul] Anderson’s best. It may not be as much a household name as Haggard’s more famous works King Solomon’s Mines and She, but it’s nevertheless rightly considered a classic in some quarters and one of Haggard’s best.”

The entire in-depth review can be read over on The Cimmerian. And if you’re looking for more of Lancelot Speed‘s wonderful illustrations (like the one I used for the art below), check out Archive.org’s scan of the 1891 edition HERE. It is wonderful!

LIBRIVOX - Eric Brighteyes by H. Rider HaggardEric Brighteyes
By H. Rider Haggard; Read by Brett W. Downey
33 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 10 Hours 17 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: November 2, 2010
Eric Brighteyes is the title of an epic viking novel by H. Rider Haggard, and concerns the adventures of its eponymous principal character in 10th century Iceland. Eric Thorgrimursson (nicknamed ‘Brighteyes’ for his most notable trait), strives to win the hand of his beloved, Gudruda the Fair. Her father Asmund, a priest of the old Norse gods, opposes the match, thinking Eric a man without prospects. But deadlier by far are the intrigues of Swanhild, Gudruda’s half-sister and a sorceress who desires Eric for herself. She persuades the chieftain Ospakar Blacktooth to woo Gudrida, making the two men enemies. Battles, intrigues, and treachery follow. First published in 1890.

Podcast feed: http://librivox.org/rss/4317

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

[Thanks also to Theresa L. Downey and Diana Majlinger ]

Posted by Jesse Willis

BBCR4 + RA.cc: Harry Harrison’s The Technicolour Time Machine

September 8, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

BBC Radio 4RadioArchives.ccHere is a very cool find, Harry Harrison’s The Technicolour Time Machine, adapted by the BBC Radio 4 program entitled Saturday Night Theatre from the 1967 novel of the same name! It’s a clever tale that plays within the “restricted action resolution” tradition of the grandfather paradox. Here’s my description:

Barney Hendrickson is a mediocre movie producer in Hollywood, California. His employer, Climactic Studios, is in financial trouble, mostly due to some unforeseeable circumstances (a combination of a series of cinematic flops and regular embezzlement by L.M. Greenspans, the studio’s head). The only possible thing that can save the studio, and Barney’s job, would be to have a guaranteed box office sensation in the can before Monday. Unfortunately, there isn’t nearly enough time or money to write the script, build the sets or even film the movie. Except, Barney has a cunning plan. He’ll take advantage of recently invented time machine that he happens to know about.

Narrated by Barney, The Technicolour Time Machine tells the tale of the filming of Viking Columbus a giant rollercoaster of a movie – a saga of high adventure shot on location in the tenth century, with some hot shield maidens and angry skraelings thrown in. The story plays it all with a smirk and is fun stuff!

If you want to find it, head on over to RadioArchive.cc and grab the torrent!

Harry Harrison's The Technicolour Time MachineSaturday Night Theatre – The Technicolor Time Machine
Adapted from the novel by Harry Harrison; Adapted by Chris Boucher; Performed by a full cast
1 MP3 – Approx. 1 Hour 29 Minutes[RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: BBC Radio 4
Broadcast: September 5, 1981
Provider: RadioArchive.cc
A down its heels Hollywood film production company employs a time machine to send a film crew to the 10th Century to make a schlock film about the Vikings.
Cast:
Lee Montague as Barney Hendrickson
Richard Pearson as Professor Hewitt
John Bay as L.M. Greenspan
David March as Doctor Ghans Nun
Michael Kilgarriff as Ottar
Karen Archer as Slidey Toe
Alexander John as Ross Polk
Barry Denham as Charley Chang
William Rogers as Tex
Crawford Logan as Darrows
Don Fellows as Eviemarie
Sean Barrett as Gino
Andrew Secombe as Drudy
Patience Tomlinson as Betty
John Lidsey as Sam
Directed by Glyn Dearman

Advertizement for The Technicolor Time Machine from Galaxy Oct. 1967

[Thanks much to spafon7e]

Posted by Jesse Willis

Aural Noir Review of Gentlemen Of The Road by Michael Chabon

May 31, 2010 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Aural Noir, Reviews 

Aural Noir: Review

RANDOM HOUSE AUDIO - Gentleman Of The Road by Michael ChabonGentlemen Of The Road: A Tale Of Adventure
By Michael Chabon; Read by Andre Braugher
Audible Download – Approx. 4 Hours 13 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Random House Audio
Published: October 2007
Provider: Audible.com
Themes: / Adventure / Crime / Jewishness / War / Politics / Mercenaries / Con-men / Khazaria /

Gentlemen Of The Road was first published as a serial in The New York Times Magazine. Despite it’s sword and sorcery feel, it is not actually a Fantasy novel, but is instead a “swashbuckling adventure” set in an obscure, but real, historical setting. Its heroes, Amram and Zelikman, are an odd, but vaguely familiar, pair. Familiar in their companionable rivalry and clearly inspired by Fritz Leiber’s famed pair of characters: Fafhrd and Grey Mouser. But, instead of one being a short, urban thief and the other a hulking Northern barbarian, the two are instead the titular gentlemen of the road, wandering Jews, or as Chabon himself states in the audiobook’s afterword “Jews With Swords.” And that’s what was really important in this story; though each of these two Jews looks entirely unalike from the other, they are tied together by far flung tradition, common heritage and similar tales of woe. The larger of the pair is Amram, a swarthy Abyssinian with a penchant for shatranj and quite literally an axe to grind. The slighter and paler of the pair is Zelikman, a fair haired Frank, who far from being a member of the thieves guild is actually a doctor (he wields an “over-sized bloodletting lance as a rapier”). Together they are a neat pair of dark age sell-swords/con-men, working the taverns and inns of southern Eurasia. It is, all in all, one of the neatest set-ups for a book I’ve ever heard. And you couldn’t find a funner fictional premise for illustrating the Jewish diaspora in an adventure novel.

One evening (circa AD 950), a chance encounter at a roadside inn in the kingdom of Aran leads to a body-guard job. The job involves a journey to the neighboring khaganate of Khazaria. Along the way they meet many a fellow road traveler and have some less than polite encounters. Eventually, Amram and Zelikman (A & Z) find themselves fully entangled in a rebellion and plot aimed at restoring a displaced Khazar prince to the throne.

Narrator Andre Braugher is a television actor that I’ve admired since his portrayal of the unwaveringly professional detective Frank Pembelton on Homicide: Life on The Street. Braugher has a powerful voice that he uses to deliver Chabon’s ornately constructed descriptive scenes and dialogue. You can tell, with every sentence of Braugher’s delivery, that Chabon loves language. I thoroughly enjoyed the book after I got into it. But it wasn’t easy, I really had to shift gears. This is embellished storytelling, it feels both old-fashioned and unrepentantly ostentatious. It has very little of the usual fantasy stylings, it dumps any ordinary flat or prosaic description in favour of the deliberately lavish. Once I did get into it, I loved it. There’s a lot of detail to enjoy here. Chabon’s hulking Abyssinan, for instance, has a battle-axe. He gained it after combat with the Varangian Guard in Byzantium. A runic inscription on it roughly translates into “defiler of your mother.” Another writer would have done it another way – another writer wouldn’t have done it at all. This is what makes Chabon, his books and this novella in particular so special.

Sadly, the audiobook lacks the map and the 15 terrific black and white illustrations (by Gary Gianni ) found in the paperbook. Here is a peek at both:

Gentlemen Of The Road - MAP

Gentlemen Of The Road - PAGE 161

Posted by Jesse Willis