AUDIO ROUNDUP: Masters Of Science Fiction

August 5, 2007 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Masters Of Science FictionMasters Of Science Fiction aired its first episode last night on ABC stations in the USA. We’ve got all the audio dope on this video program…

HERE‘s an audio recording from NPR and TV critic David Bianculli talking about the show. What makes this series so intriguing is that it is using actual Science Fiction stories (GASP!) for its episodes…

The first tale was based on John Kessel’s A Clean Escape (which was previously adapted into a Seeing Ear Theatre Original Playhouse audio drama (no longer available online). Hardcopies of this audio drama can be found in an out of print collection, available on ABEBooks.com (and one is currently on on ebay.com):

Seeing Ear Theater, Volume 1
By Terry Bisson, Brian Smith, James Patrick Kelly, Allen Steele, John Kessel and Gregory Benford
FULL CAST PRODUCTIONS with introductions by Harlan Ellison
2 Cassettes – Approx 3 hrs. [UNABRIDGED DRAMATIZATIONS]
ISBN: 0787118133
Date Published 1998
Published by Dove Audio

Stories Included:
THREE ODD COMEDIES by Terry Bisson
“They’re Made Out of Meat”
“The Toxic Donut”
“Next”
Into The Sun by Brian Smith
Think Like a Dinosaur by James Patrick Kelly
The Death of Captain Future by Allen Steele
A Clean Escape by John Kessel
The Bigger One by Gregory Benford

Also, BuddyTV.com has an |MP3| interview with Sam Waterson about his role in the Masters Of SF first episode A Clean Escape (and irreverently about his role on Law and Order).

More, WUNC in North Carolina has a terrific radio interview |MP3| with Kessel about the adaptation of his short story A Clean Escape to TV.

Review of Here Today …Gone to Tomorrow edited by Isaac Asimov and Martin Greenberg

May 16, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Audiobook Review

Science Fiction Audiobook - Here Today ... Gone TomorrowHere Today …Gone Tomorrow (Asimov’s All Time Favorite Time Travel Stories)
Edited by Isaac Asimov and Martin Greenberg; Read by various
4 Cassettes – Approx. 6 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Dercum Audio
Published: 1998
ISBN: 1556562586 [out of print]
Themes: /Science Fiction /Time travel /Anthology /

Stories: “Try and Change the Past” by Fritz Leiber, read by Bill Fantini; “A Loint of Paw” by Isaac Asimov, read by Bill Fantini; “The Long Remembering” by Poul Anderson, read by Nelson Runger; “There Is A Wolf In My Time Machine” by Larry Niven, read by Bill Fantini; “The Light Of Other Days” by Bob Shaw, read by Nelson Runger; “The Kings Wishes” by Robert Sheckley, read by Nelson Runger; “The Little Black Bag” by C.M. Kornbluth, read by Ann Wilcox.

Old school. That’s what this collection of time travel stories is, with all the blessings and baggage that implies. The stories concern mainly white men, with women appearing mostly as henpecking baffles for their claustrophobic concerns, and, in general, the voices presenting the stories are brusque and hairy-chested, like those from a third grade filmstrip on pool safety (and if that simile has any resonance for you, then I think you appreciate what I mean by “old school”). A female voice does narrate C.M. Kornbluth’s “The Little Black Bag”, but the story is so piquant with elitism and misogyny, it might as well be read by a Victorian-era Harvard College president.

The cover claims the stories were hand selected by Isaac Asimov from his own personal library, and the photo shows the great one with his trademark facial fur and engaging grin in front of a tall shelf packed with his own works.* Happily, his own works do appear in this collection, but only in the delightful – a word to describe almost anything Asimov uttered aloud – introduction he delivers himself, and the brief, forgettable story “A Loint Of Paw” which he does not.

The list of authors is impressive. The stories, however, while enjoyable, are neither essential nor groundbreaking. The best of them, and the only one to offer even a glimpse of the wistful ache that is the primary motivation for the idea of time travel, is Bob Shaw’s “The Light Of Other Days.” I was caught off guard after the relatively bland intellectual exercises of the forgoing stories because this one starts out looking similarly simple and heartless, yet builds to a subtle and profoundly moving finish.

As a whole, this is a decent collection, but not one I’d risk any injury rushing out to acquire. If it falls in your lap, or if you are a rabid fan of old school SF, I’d give it a listen. Otherwise, I think you could easily find something more satisfying to fill your ears with.

[editor’s note – the cover depicted above does not match Kurt’s description. Kurt’s scan of his copy of this audiobook was not available at the time of this post]

Posted by Kurt Dietz

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