Podcasts: Week Ending Oct 29, 2011

November 5, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Mentat Jack I’m writing about what I listen to, what it makes me think about and what you might find interesting. Let me know if you think there’s something important I’m missing and if there’s a SFF related podcast you listened to during the week (no matter when it was published) that I should spotlight here.


I’m still catching up on the SF Squeecast. This week I listened to Episode Two: Dystopia A-Go-Go!. It’s a stretch to wrap the label of dystopia around the particular squeeables, much less the places the discussion wanders, however they cover some fun stuff. I like their coverage of David Louis Edleman’s Jump 255 series. I read and loved Infoquake. I really should go back and read the rest. I love how passionate and detailed reviews of music (even music I may not care for) can be. In this case, our panel of designated squeers really bring David Bowie‘s Outside to life. I’ll definitely be giving this concept album a listen. The post-apocalyptic novel The Chrysalids by John Wyndham and an episode of the cartoon Phineas and Ferb round out the discussion. |MP3|

I listened to two Beneath Ceasless Skies stories this week. Both dealt with ways in which magic users are oppressed. The magic in Gone Sleeping by Heather Clitheroe |MP3| had horrific cascading consequences. It’s interesting how we assume a naive child narrator to be unreliable, but she’s been told stories and been given warnings… The Magick by Kristina C. Mottla |MP3| involves slavery. It’s a slavery built on fear of the other, but much like in Gone Sleeping it is magic users that are feared. The magic is more controlled in this story, but obviously there are two meanings for control in this case. These are both decent fantasy stories, but they’re even stronger side by side.

I’m not sure if the Angry Robot Podcast, hosted by Mur Lafferty, is still a going concern. It’s definitely not playing nice with Google Listen and the last episode was released in July. Huffduffer may have to come to the rescue. I listened to episode #11, an interview with Lavie Tidhar. I’ve really enjoyed Lavie’s short fiction and he gives a great interview. Definitely need to read one of his novels. The interview focused on Camera Obscura, sequel to The Bookman (both from Angry Robot), but also discusses HebrewPunk, other books, and Lavie’s status as an international man of mystery. |MP3|

Two from Drabblecast:

  1. Episode 217 is Followed by Will McIntosh. It uses zombies as an allegory for externalized human cost. This is the type of story that’ll drive mad anyone too set in their mind about what zombie fiction is supposed to be, but it’s a great story. It drives home a difficult moral point. |MP3|
  2. Episode 219 is The Big Splash by George R. Galuschak. The oceans have risen and a lone alien smokes out on the beach observing humanity. Splash is as light as Followed is heavy, in spite of the shark attack and dying dog. |MP3|

SFBRP #138 is a review of Gene Wolfe’s The Sword of the Lictor, 3rd in The Book of the New Sun. This is the first episode of this podcast I’ve listened to. While I was listening, I thought possibly that the podcaster, Luke Burrage, might me insane. I hoped that he was playing around with the unreliable narrator concept that’s one of the important components of this series. It turns out the latter was the case. For the record, Gene Wolfe is a master at this technique – Luke Burrage: not so much, but it was an amusing review. |MP3|

The Coode Street Podcast always provides a spectacular reading list. Gary and Johnathan mention scores and scores of books in a podcast, most of which they make me want to read. The same thing happens when they interview someone. In the case of episode #72 that would be Ian McDonald. His latest is the first in a young adult multiverse adventure called Planesrunner. This has been mentioned before on the podcast and sounds like a ton of fun. The discussion was pure gold for those of us that are fascinated by the publishing aspects of genre fiction. McDonald’s River of Gods, which was followed by the acclaimed progressively nearer future novels: Brazyl and The Dervish House, was published in the US by Pyr and marketed 100% as science fiction. However in the UK it was marketed as mainstream fiction by Simon & Schuster. Even if the mechanics of publishing bore you, McDonald has a very cool Bibliography and you’ll come out of this podcast wanting to read all of it. |MP3|

Writing Excuses 6.21 was hilariously awesome. All 4 brainstormed the kernel of a story from the same collection of random elements. Each of their processes are different and unique voices come through. Great stuff/Small package as always. |MP3|

There’s not much story in Joe Haldeman’s Never Blood Enough (Starship Sofa 208). The world building is pretty intriguing and the main character is as well developed as space allows, however, the story is murder mystery. What could the murderer be on a planet of dangerous lifeforms? Possibly a dangerous lifeform… As a subplot in a larger work, this might have more meat. There’s more than just one story in an episode of Starship Sofa. I’m quite surprised how much I enjoy the Poetry Planet feature. It was good to hear that Tobias Buckell’s Kickstarter program worked and he’ll be writing the rest of his space opera series. I quite enjoyed all 3 of the previous novels Crystal Rain, Ragamuffin and Sly Mongoose. Be sure to check out the sneak peak of Apocalypse Ocean he gave us in Placa del Fuego. |MP3|

Sometimes, listening to two new voices on a podcast it’s difficult to tell them apart. Andy Duncan and Jeff Ford (Locus Roundtable Podcast) have VERY distinct accents so this wasn’t even vaguely a problem. I’d just read Ford’s Bright Morning that was mentioned near the end of the podcast, so it was quit interesting to hear the discussion of writers inserting themselves into their stories. The discussion was heavily weighted in the direction of “what can be done with fiction” vs “how does it happen.” I’m realizing more and more that that’s an important distinction. The more I write about discussion podcasts the more I want a better vocabulary for what TYPE of discussion podcast it is. I’ll explore this in a dedicated post. |MP3|

PodCastle Miniature 66: The Witch’s Second Daughter by Marissa K. Lingen: A vague yet elegantly described magic system explored to a logical conclusion. |MP3|

And the final podcast for the week, SFFaudio #97. I listened to this as the sun set while literally parked on the 405 (I was about 100 yards away from a motorcycle vs big-rig accident that had shut down the freeway), so I probably payed a bit more attention to it than I otherwise would have. They discussed Jose Luis Borges’ The Garden of Forking Paths and Fair Game by Philip K. Dick. I was introduced to the Borges story by my academic adviser during a quantum mechanics class he was teaching and I was not groking. Interestingly I was introduced to Borges for the first time during a mathematics seminar by a visiting professor who specialized in the math underlying String theory. Borges’ writing is fractal. The deeper you dig into it the more you find and the more it makes sense (or the more confused you get – most often both if you really understand the issues he’s wrestling with.) Grab a collection of Borges Collected Fictions. And keep it close at hand for when you need some mental exercise. Fair Game sounds neat too. |MP3|

Posted by Steven Klotz

Commentary: SFSignal Mind Meld on favourite audiobooks (and audio drama) of all time

January 19, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Commentary 

SFFaudio Commentary

SFSignal.comJohn DeNardo, of the magnificent SFSignal blog, recently asked me to participate in another “Mind Meld.”

Here’s the topic:

“What are your favorite SF/F/H audiobooks and/or audio fiction stories of all time?”

Here’s what I wrote:

As one of the people behind SFFaudio, a website devoted to SFF in the audio format, this is about the hardest question you could possibly ask me. I can’t even begin to start ranking all the gloriously wonderful audio I’ve had the honor of listening to over the last 20 years (unless you count SFFaudio as exactly that). But, I can throw out some titles that are absolutely terrific!

Since I began listening in earnest (around 1991), and to make it manageable, I’ll limit myself to just one audiobook (or audio drama) per year (sorted by publication date). To make it even easier, I’ll list only commercial productions – we have plenty of love for podcasts and other amateur audio on SFFaudio.com. For starters check out our series called Five Free Favourites.

1991: The Best Fantasy Stories Of The Year 1989 (Dercum Audio – ISBN: 1556561431)
1992: The Wind From A Burning Woman by Greg Bear (Recorded Books) |READ OUR REVIEW|
1993: The Children Of Men by P.D. James (Recorded Books) |READ OUR REVIEW|
1994: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick (Time Warner – ISBN: 9781570420528)
1995: Mind Slash Matter by Edward Wellen (Durkin Hayes) |READ OUR REVIEW|
1996: Friday by Robert A. Heinlein (Blackstone Audio – ISBN: 0786110546)
1997: Sci-Fi Private Eye ed. Isaac Asimov and Martin H. Greenberg (Dercum Audio) |READ OUR REVIEW|
1998: Martian Time Slip by Philip K. Dick (Blackstone Audio) |READ OUR REVIEW|
1999: Ringworld by Larry Niven |READ OUR REVIEW|
2000: The Reel Stuff edited by Brian Thomsen and Martin H. Greenberg |READ OUR REVIEW|
2001: Minority Report And Other Stories by Philip K. Dick |READ OUR REVIEW|
2002: Two Plays For Voices by Neil Gaiman (Seeing Ear Theatre / Harper Audio) |READ OUR REVIEW|
2003: The Terminal Experiment by Robert J. Sawyer |READ OUR REVIEW|
2004: Ender’s Game (25th Anniversary Edition) by Orson Scott Card |READ OUR REVIEW|
2005: The Dark Worlds Of H.P. Lovecraft Volume 1 by H.P. Lovecraft (Audio Realms) |READ OUR REVIEW|
2006: The Chief Designer by Andy Duncan (Infinivox) |READ OUR REVIEW|
2007: Blake’s 7 – Audio Adventures (Trilogy Box Set) (B7 Media) |READ OUR REVIEW|
2008: The Accidental Time Machine by Joe Haldeman (Recorded Books) |READ OUR REVIEW|
2009: Earth Abides by George R. Stewart (Audible Frontiers/Brilliance Audio ) |SFFaudio Podcast #073|
2010: The Stainless Steel Rat by Harry Harrison |READ OUR REVIEW|

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #032

August 3, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #032 – Jesse and Scott are ramifying and missling things as they talk about recently arrived and newly released audiobooks. We’ve got fists the size of baked hams in this episode so we say crazy things like:

“Soccer is cool!” – “The great thing about Laserdiscs…”

“Tele-Vision. It’s a Science Fiction-sounding word” – “…stupid Morlocks!”

We’re also asking the deep questions like: “Is there anybody more exciting than Robert Silverberg?” Indeed, it’s our most Reganesque show.

Talked about on today’s show:
Blackstone Audio, Flashforward by Robert J. Sawyer, The Quitaglio Ascension, End Of An Era, Golden Fleece, CERN, Flash Forward (TV series), The 4400, WWW: Wake, Nightmare At 20,000 Feet by Richard Matheson, Infinivox, The Year’s Top Ten Tales of Science Fiction edited by Alan Kaster, The Twilight Zone, William Shatner, John Lithgow, Where There’s A Will by Richard Matheson and Richard Christian Matheson, The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells, The Magicians by Lev Grossman, The Man In The High Castle by Philip K. Dick, The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, Codex, B>Wahammer: Slayer Of The Storm God by , Warhammer: 40,000: Heart Of Rage by James Swallow, Danielson Kid (age 14), Major League Soccer, soccer, Audible Frontiers, The Mote In God’s Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, Lucifer’s Hammer, Footfall, The Stand by Stephen King, post-apocalypse, Timothy Lahaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, Wild Seed by Octavia E. Butler, Fledgling, BBC Audiobooks America, 2000X: Bloodchild, Brilliance Audio, Moonrise by Ben Bova, the Grand Tour novels, Omni magazine, Analog, The Precipice, The Rock Rats, The Silent War The Aftermath, the Asteroid Wars sub-series, releasing digitally on Audible before hardcopy, the MP3-CD format is the best, VHS, Laserdisc, DVD, BluRay, digital copies, Gun With Occasional Music by Jonathan Lethem, Raymond Chandler and Philip K. Dick, The Automatic Detective by A. Lee Martinez, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, the Retrieval Artist series, what is noir?, detective fiction, Young Adult fiction, The Cambridge Companion Science Fiction, Brian Stableford, Gary K. Wolfe, Kathryn Cramer, Andy Duncan, Ken MacLeod, The Oxford Dictionary Of Science Fiction, neural (adj), visi-screen (noun), visi-plate (noun), ansible (noun), Kerguelen (proper noun), mind-meld (verb), mind-meld (noun), Recorded Books, Bimbo’s Of The Death Sun by Sharyn McCrumb |READ OUR REVIEW|!

Posted by Jesse Willis

New Year? New Releases!

January 12, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, New Releases 

Audiobook New Releases

Audio Renaissance starts a bold new series, and at 30 hours long so will you be…

Audio Renaissance - Off Armageddon Reef by David WeberOff Armageddon Reef
By David Weber; Read by Oliver Wyman
25 CDs – 30 hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Audio Renaissance
Published: January 2007
ISBN: 1427200653
Humanity pushed its way to the stars—and encountered the Gbaba, a ruthless alien race that nearly wiped us out. Earth and her colonies are now smoldering ruins, and the few survivors have fled to distant, Earth-like Safehold, to try to rebuild. But the Gbaba can detect the emissions of an industrial civilization, so the human rulers of Safehold have taken extraordinary measures: with mind control and hidden high technology, they’ve built a religion in which every Safeholdian believes, a religion designed to keep Safehold society medieval forever.

What’s next for Michael Crichton? Yes…

Harper Audio - Next by Michael CrichtonNext
By Michael Crichton; Read by Dylan Baker
CDs – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Harper Audio
Published: November 2006
ISBN: 006087306X
Is a loved one missing some body parts? Are blondes becoming extinct? Is everyone at your dinner table of the same species? Humans and chimpanzees differ in only 400 genes; is that why an adult human being resembles a chimp fetus? And should that worry us? There’s a new genetic cure for drug addiction—is it worse than the disease?The audiobook also includes an interview with Crichton!

Written by a 15 year old, who sold it to the movies! Now here’s the true test of his success, the audiobook…

Random House Audio - Eragon by Christopher PaoliniEragon
By Christopher Paolini; Read by Gerard Doyle
CDs – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Random House Audio
Published: October 2006
ISBN: 0739330942
Fifteen-year-old Eragon believes that he is merely a poor farm boy—until his destiny as a Dragon Rider is revealed. Gifted with only an ancient sword, a loyal dragon, and sage advice from an old storyteller, Eragon is soon swept into a dangerous tapestry of magic, glory, and power. Now his choices could save—or destroy—the Empire.

Now this sounds very, very interesting…

Tantor Media - The Sky People by S.M. StirlingThe Sky People
By S.M. Stirling; Read by Todd McLaren
12 CDs or 2 MP3-CDs – 15 hours[UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Media
Published: January 2007
ISBN: 1400103452 (CDs), 1400153458 (MP3-CDs)
The first of a series of alternate-history tales based on a brashly entertaining premise: that in the 1960s, Russian and American space probes to Mars and Venus revealed not the arid worlds of our reality, but the colorful Mars and Venus of old pulp Science Fiction adventure. In The Sky People, it’s 1988, the Cold War is still raging, and Marc Vitrac has been assigned to Jamestown, the US Commonwealth base on Venus, near the great Venusian city of Kartahown. But all is not well. There is also a Russian base on Venus. Outside the bases is a wilderness swarming with sabertooths and dinosaurs—and lost races of people who seem to be human. An even greater mystery than lost races awaits Marc—as well as a danger that may well threaten the entire human race.

It is always a good day when you see a new Infinivox title…

Audiobook - The Chief Designer by Andy DuncanThe Chief Designer
By Andy Duncan; Read by Jared Doreck
2 CDs – 132 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Infinivox
Published: 2006
ISBN: 1884612547
An Alternate history novella that won the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. This story, an alternate history masterpiece, as told from the point of view of Korolev, the “Chief” who managed the most crucial years of the secret Soviet space program, and his assistant and eventual successor, Aksyonov. The story spans from World War II, when Korolev was released from a prison camp to design rockets, to 1997 and the Mir space station.

Long promised and now released…

Dandelion Wine by Ray BradburyDandelion Wine
By Ray Bradbury; FULL CAST
MP3-CD, Cassettes or CDs -[RADIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Colonial Radio Theatre / Blackstone Audio
Published: January 2007
ISBN: 9780786173501 (MP3-CD), 978-0786147144 (Cassettes), 9780786165827 (CDs)
Twelve-year-old Douglas Spaulding knows Green Town, Illinois, is as vast and deep as the whole world that lies beyond. It is a pair of new tennis shoes, the first harvest of dandelions for Grandfather’s renowned intoxicant, the distant clang of the trolley bell on a hazy afternoon.

Blackstone continues their release of Heinlein classics! this time with narration by Spider Robinson…

Blackstone Audio - Rocket Ship Galileo Rocket Ship Galileo
By Robert A. Heinlein; Read by Spider Robinson
Cassettes, CDs or MP3-CD – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: January 2007

Ross Jenkins, Art Mueller, and Morris Abrams are not your average high-schools students. While other kids are cruising around in their cars or playing ball, this trio, known as the Galileo Club, is experimenting with rocket fuels, preparing for their future education at technical colleges. Art’s uncle, the nuclear physicist Dr. Donald Cargraves, offers them the opportunity of a lifetime: to construct and crew a rocket that will take them to the moon. Cargraves believes their combined ingenuity and enthusiasm can actually make this dream come true. But there are those who don’t share their dream and who will stop at nothing to keep their rocket grounded.

Plug plug! I’m reliably informed this novel will be complete very shortly, download the first 2/3rds immediately and for free thanks to podiobooks.com…

Badge Of Infamy
By Lester del Rey; Read by Steven H. Wilson
15 MP3s – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Podiobooks.com
Published: December 2006 – January 2007
Status: In Progress
Daniel Feldman was a doctor once. He made the mistake of saving a friend’s life in violation of Medical Lobby rules. Now, he’s a pariah, shunned by all, forbidden to touch another patient. But things are more loose on Mars. There, Doc Feldman is welcomed by the colonists, even as he’s hunted by the authorities. But, when he discovers a Martian plague may soon wipe out humanity on two planets, the authorities begin hunting him for a different reason altogether.

Already reviewed, but a new release nonetheless – is it the first audiobook created on a dare (?)…

Librivox Audiobook - The Green Odyssey by Philip Jose FarmerThe Green Odyssey
By Philip Jose Farmer; Read by Mark Nelson
10 MP3s or 10 OGG Vorbis files – 6 Hours 6 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: December 2006
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Alan Green is a space traveler stranded on a barbaric planet. He’s been taken as a slave and made a consort to an insipid and smelly queen. His slave-wife, though beautiful and smart, nags him constantly. He’s given up hope of ever returning to Earth when he hears of two astronauts who have been captured in a kingdom on the other side of the planet, and sets out on an action-packed journey on a ship sailing across vast grasslands on rolling pin-like wheels in a desperate scheme to save them and return home.

posted by Jesse Willis