Mister Ron presents: The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button

December 25, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Podcast - Mister Ron's BasementMister Ron’s Basement podcast has a special Christmas Episode that features the original 1921 F. Scott Fitzgerald story The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. A wonderful motion picture adaption of this story starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett is being released to movie theaters right now. It is a great movie. But the original Fitzgerald story is a work of genius, and the movie differs from it dramatically. We had considered serializing it across the span of a week, but instead offer the lengthy tale in its entirety. It is almost an hour long. Please download this, relax, and enjoy. You can find the episode http://slapcast.com/users/revry/6979

If the web site is down (it has been happening occasionally lately while the switch to a faster server is forthcoming), then you can load it directly from the feed at:

http://slapcast.com/mp3/revry/revry-2008-12-25.mp3

Your feedback is especially welcome. Please write to: [email protected]   

Posted by Mister Ron

Review of Billibub Baddings And The Case Of The Singing Sword by Tee Morris

October 22, 2007 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Reviews, SFFaudio essential 

 SFFaudio Review

Fantasy podiobook - Billibub Baddings And The Case Of The Singing SwordBillibub Baddings And The Case Of The Singing Sword
By Tee Morris; Read by Tee Morris and others
16 MP3 Files – Approx. 11 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: TeeMorris.com / Podiobooks.com
Published: 2007
Themes: / Fantasy / Mystery / Magic / Alternate World / Chicago / 1920s /

It is The Era of Prohibition, where crime runs rampant in the streets and a city divided into territories serves as the ultimate prize. Somewhere in this Underworld of Chicago, an enchanted weapon holds the key to ending The Gangland Wars. In the wake of The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, only one is man enough to stand up against Al Capone … a four-foot-one dwarf named Billibub Baddings.

That Baddings character, he isn’t your regular dwarf. Hell, he’s not even from planet Earth at all. He’s the other kind of dwarf, one of those Tolkienesque creatures. Baddings is a short but stocky humanoid, like the ones you’d find inhabiting the mountains and mines of role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons and World Of Warcraft. So how’d he end up in Chicago? Well, during one of his very real adventures Billi crossed a dimensional gate and found himself flung far from home into the bowels of the Chicago Public Library building. Stranded in 1929, on a planet without any Elves, Hobbits or trolls, Billi has had to acquire a massive new skill-set in his adopted urban home. And even though we know from his own accounts that he was what D&D players might have called a “high-level character” to begin with, it isn’t a piece of cake. Luckily, finding himself an avid reader, after teaching himself to read English, Billi sets out to become a professional private investigator, just like in the books he’s discovered. Fortunately, whatever Billi sets his mind to doing, sooner or later gets done. And then, just like in the books, a dame enters Billi’s office with a case – a case which will eventually pit lil’ Billi against the biggest mobster of all, namely old Al “Scarface” Capone himself!

The background for the tale is 1929 Chicago, but Billibub tells us what the place is like from his 4 foot 1 first person point of view. Even better is the attention to detail on Billi’s own homeworld, we get plenty of info on what his land was like – it is richly imagined, a fantasy landscape with multiple alliances, plenty of battle history and their own philosophical beliefs. I’d warrant a future novel in this series (and make no mistake, this is a series character if we’ve ever seen one) will warrant an extended visit to Acryonis. The plot is swift, and flows as if it was always a cinch that hardbolied mystery and fantasy went to together like ham and eggs. You’ll find yourself swept along, cheering for the know-it-all dwarf right to the very end.

With Billibub Baddings And The Case Of The Singing Sword Tee Morris has written another terrific fantasy novel that blazes trails in genre bending – combining mystery and fantasy – as well as medium stretching – this is an audiobook enhanced with music and sound effects. Tee started the whole podcast novel revolution way back in 2005 with Morevi: The Chronicles Of Rafe And Askana, two years later he’s now mastered it. Billibub Baddings And The Case Of The Singing Sword will indubitably become known as the “first great enhanced drama podiobook.”

Tee Morris performs the book himself, but he’s brought a who’s-who of guests podcasters in to perform most of the other characters (including one of our own SFFaudio editors). As the tale is told first person the enthusiastic self-confidence of Tee spills over onto Billi. Billi is ultra-competent. That ultra competence (there isn’t any point in time where we think Billi is out of his depth) and an over use the colloquial 1920 terms (everyone has “peepers”, nobody has “eyes”) are the only seams in an otherwise smooth production. Scene music, sound effects and the occasional voice effect, often created through editing alone makes this unabridged novel come alive in an atypical but extremely enjoyable auidobook-like experience. For those used to audiobooks there is an option through podiobooks.com to download the entire audiobook in one day. For those who prefer to take the book at a slower pace you can set your customizable podcast feed to deliver at your own pace.

Highly recommended!

Posted by Jesse Willis

ALSO: Avid Tee Morris fans will be delighted to learn Tee’s next podiobook release will be an extended and UNABRIDGED version of Tee’s first novel (and first podiobook) Morevi: The Chronicles Of Rafe And Askana. Have a listen to the promo |MP3|.

It starts just ONE WEEK from today on October 29th! on November 29th 2007.

For more info on Morevi REMASTERED, visit the offficial website at Morevi.net.

Review of Jeffrey Combs Reads H.P. Lovecraft’s Herbert West Re-Animator

March 7, 2007 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Horror Audiobook - Jeffrey Combs Read H.P. Lovecraft's Herbert West Re-AnimatorJeffrey Combs Reads H.P. Lovecraft’s Herbert West Re-Animator
By H.P. Lovecraft; Read by Jeffrey Combs
1 CD – 72 Minutes [ABRIDGED]
Publisher: Beyond-Books.com
Published: 1999
UPC: 619981033428
Themes: / Science Fiction / Horror / Death / Immortality / Zombies / WWI / 1900s / 1910s / 1920s /

“Human it could not have been — it is not in man to make such sounds.”

The “Herbert West, Reanimator” serial is a cycle of six ghoulish tales inspired by Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein. This audiobook is an abridged reading of that serial. We first meet the titular Herbert West as a third-year medical student attending New England’s Miskatonic University in 1904. We are introduced to West by an unnamed companion, a fellow student at M.U., who like a Watson to his Sherlock Holmes, narrates the adventures of his fascinating fiend friend. West is the inventor of an extraordinary reagent, one that when injected into the body of a recently deceased person, cause rudimentary living functions to return. West seeks to perfect his reagent, but in order to do this he must find freshly deceased bodies. The six seperate episodes recount the various grusome attempts by West and his bizzarely-loyal companion to do just this. One minor wrinkle, most of the subjects that undergo the “re-animation” process become violent, incommunicative and don’t typically and retain their ‘higher’ mental faculties.

Jeffrey Combs Reads H.P. Lovecraft’s Herbert West Re-Animator will make you become, like West, utterly fascinated by the desire to know what will happen in the next experiment. What will the dead have to say? Can death truly be conquered? As the unnamed narrator puts it – “I, myself, still held some curious notions about the traditional ‘soul’ of man, and felt an awe at the secrets that might be told by one returning from the dead.” The prose is rich, fast and pregnant with that special adjectival allure that only Lovecraft knew the formula for. Though it appears that Lovecraft himself was not overly-fond of this serial, it makes for a straightforward introduction to his work and I found it appealingly nefariousness.

The abridgement here is relatively minor, and even, I am surprised to say, forgiveable. It appears to have been done to try to smooth out the connectity of the six seperate stories that make up the entire Re-Animator cycle or possibly to make the entire set of tales fit onto just one CD. The original stories offered a recap of the previous instalment’s events, reading them back to back like this, it makes sense that those sections would be disposable. Either way, it is forgivable. Far more disheartening than the abridgement is the addition of sound effects. The sounds are intermittent, completely redundant and nearly ruin the atmosphere the text naturally generates in a reader. Horror stories, if they are well written, generate a mood by words alone. I’d like to say this is just a case of gilding the lily, but that makes it sounds like it was merely superfluous to add in sound effects, and I don’t want to say that. In fact it is far worse than that – the added effects will sometimes completely break the spell that Lovecraft’s words and Combs’ reading of them are weaving together – the sound effects bring the listener out of the story. This is a major flaw.

On the bright side, the reading itself is excellent. Jeffrey Combs is probably best known for his role as Herbert West in the Re-Animator films. You’d probably also recognize his voice and mannerisms from his supporting work. Were he better known I have no doubt he’d have many a stand-up comedian doing impersonations of his unique vocal cadance. Combs has been all over Science Fiction on TV, he even played two recurring characters on the same episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine at one point! His reading is of course dead-on. He knows this material well and revels in the loquacious language of H.P. Lovecraft.

Recommended, but with reservations.

Posted by Jesse Willis

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