[audio drama] Review of In the Embers

June 16, 2015 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama 

SFFaudio Review

Audio Drama - In the EmbersIn the Embers
A Great Northern Audio Theatre Production
Written, Directed, and Produced by Brian Price and Jerry Stearns
[AUDIO DRAMA] – 1 Hour, 19 Minutes
Published: 2015
Themes: / Audio Drama / time / archaeology / jazz / quantum physics /

A song, a pressed flower, and the sound of two girl’s voices recovered from a burned wooden beam by using a laser to read its charred surface like the grooves of an old 78rpm record. These are the clues that archaeologist, Digger Morgan, discovers while working on a routine Maryland plantation dig. Who were the girls? When was the fire? The answers all lead to 1920s jazz pioneer, Kit Jeffers, whose voice mysteriously appears on Digger’s computer, and whose existence remains haunted by a singular tragic event.

The first sounds offered by this wonderful work of audio drama are the broken haunting voices of two people trying to escape a barn fire. I can hear them as I type this. The voices were impressed on charred barn beams until archaeologist Digger Morgan discovered a way to read them with a laser. Hearing those voices was a powerful moment for me, a moment in which I not only felt the emotion of two people trapped in a fire, but also in which I considered the possibility of strong emotion leaving an imprint on our surroundings.

“In the Embers” doesn’t shy away from considering the implications either. In fact, this fine work of science fiction goes even further. How large an imprint could one leave? And could emotion somehow be transmitted through time? What would be the effect?

The story is excellent, the music is excellent, the audio quality is excellent, and so are the actors. Robin Miles as Kit Jeffers was particularly outstanding. From the riveting opening to the emotional closing scene, this is a drama that goes in the permanent collection. I’ll be listening to this again, no question.

“In the Embers” premiered at last weekend’s HEAR Now Festival in Kansas City, and will be broadcast on Sound Affects over two weeks – June 21 and 28.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Review of The Engines of God by Jack McDevitt

July 19, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Science Fiction Audiobooks - The Engines of God by Jack McDevittThe Engines of God
By Jack McDevitt; Read by Tom Weiner
14 Hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: 2012
Themes: / Science Fiction / Archaeology / Climate Change / Aliens / Space / Space Exploration /

Climate change has Earth on the brink of disaster. The only viable solution is terraforming other planets to ensure survival. For a small group of archaeologists, however, terraforming is the worst possible solution. The only suitable planet is also the one planet with the most promising artifacts of an unknown alien race. Known as the Monument Makers, the aliens’ buildings feature a seemingly uncrackable code on them. The team is looking for the alien equivalent of the Rosetta Stone and must race against time to finish excavations before terraforming begins.

Despite the fact that the book begins by talking about climate change, which always gives me a sinking feeling, that is just the pretext for launching readers into a mystery. The team’s quest takes them to outer space, other planets, and into extreme danger as they follow the Monument Makers’ trail to discover their whereabouts and why every alien civilization has been abandoned.

This book reads as if it were a series of four novellas strung together with the common thread of tracking the Monument Makers. Each of the completed stories gives Jack McDevitt the opportunity to take the reader a bit further into archaeological mysteries while also examining different planets, space travel, and alien beings. Transitions between “novellas” are minimal at best and character development is weak. Still McDevitt wove a mystery that kept me listening at a red-hot pace. This is surprising because the author revealed his story in a very straight forward manner with plenty of foreshadowing. In McDevitt’s case, however, the telling itself was so compelling that I was fascinated to hear what would happen next.

In short, I enjoyed this very much, although at the end the story suddenly threw off narrative and resorted to bullet points to finish things off. “In audio, it was an abrupt ending that startled me, however, that didn’t spoil it as the story itself was done. In fact, I didn’t care about the “[insert name here] went on to do this” summary and it could have been left out without hurting anything.

Tom Weiner did a fine job of narrating the book. His reading was not something that stood out for any reason but which carried the story along very well. It left me with the memory of story rather than reader, which is surely what good narration should accomplish.

McDevitt tells a very good mystery that gives answers to some questions and leaves others to the readers’ speculation. Engines of God is ultimately a satisfying adventure which introduces us to a universe that he went on to write other novels about and which I will be seeking out.

Posted by Julie D.

The SFFaudio Podcast #036

September 14, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #036 – Jesse and Scott are joined by Julie of Forgotten Classics to talk with Allan Kaster, the editor of Infinivox’s new audiobook anthology: The Year’s Top Ten Tales Of Science Fiction! We discuss this terrific audiobook, in depth, as well as a few other new releases and recent arrivals.

Talked about on today’s show:
Infinivox (an imprint of Audiotext), biology, study guides, chemistry, Great Science Fiction Stories, Bioware (from medical software to video games), Mass Effect, The Year’s Top Ten Tales Of Science Fiction, A Walk In The Sun by Geoffrey A. Landis |READ OUR REVIEW|, Guest Of Honor by Robert Reed, The Shobies’ Story by Ursula K. Le Guin, Hollywood Kremlin by Bruce Sterling, immortality, Hard SF, Robert Reed, vampires are rather liberal (for being immortal), Five Thrillers by Robert Reed, sociopathy, Ted Chiang, StarShipSofa’s (#88) interview with Ted Chiang, Exhalation by Ted Chiang, consciousness, souls, religion, transcendence, Ray Gun: A Love Story by James Alan Gardner, meta-science fictional stories, “ray guns and spaceships”, Adrift by Scott D. Danielson, World Of The Ptavvs by Larry Niven, Star Trek Animated Series (The Slaver Weapon), “The Soft Weapon” by Larry Niven, romance, Galileo’s Children: Tales of Science vs. Superstition edited by Gardner Dozois, The Dream Of Reason by Jeffrey Ford, The Empire Of Ice Cream by Jeffrey Ford, The Dreaming Wind by Jeffrey Ford (on StarShipSofa AD #75), sense of wonder, 26 Monkeys, Also The Abyss by Kij Johnson, Fantasy vs. Science Fiction, Mini-Masterpieces Of Science Fiction, The Gambler by Paolo Bacigalupi, Fast Forward 2, Fencon 2009 (Dallas, TX), Aliens Rule edited by Alan Kaster, How Music Begins by James Van Pelt, Carolyn Ives Gilman, Laws Of Survival by Nancy Kress, City Of The Dead by Paul McAuley, Shoggoths In Bloom by Elizabeth Bear, H.P. Lovecraft, lovecraftian homage, we need an audio collection of stories inspired by H.P. Lovecraft, frontier, space western, archaeology, aliens, Ray Bradbury, Mrs. Carstairs And The Merman by Delia Sherman, Dercum Audio, 1930s, 19th century, sea creatures, squids, Greg Egan, Peter Watts, The Art of Alchemy by Ted Kosmatka, industrial espionage, The N Word by Ted Kosmatka, Seeds Of Change edited by John Joseph Adams, future releases from Infinivox, Infinivox on Audible.com, Mike Resnick’s Kirinyaga cycle, Guest Law by John C. Wright, Beggars In Spain by Nancy Kress, physics, pirates, Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers, Charles Stross, Antibodies, Lobsters, A Colder War, The Chief Designer by Andy Duncan |READ OUR REVIEW|, Michael Swanwick, The Edge Of The World by Michael Swanwick, The Griffin’s Egg by Michael Swanwick, the state of the magazine industry, Fast Forward 2, Sidewise In Time, Eclipse 2, Extraordinary Engines, Penguin Audio, Level 26: Dark Origins by Anthony E. Zuiker and Duane Swierczynski, Brilliance Audio, The Beastmaster by Andre Norton, Richard J. Brewer, Audible Frontiers, The Short Victorious War by David Weber, The Rise Of Endymion by Dan Simmons, caterbury tales in space, Luke Burrage’s SFBRP on the Hyperion series, Kick-Ass Mystic Ninjas on Simmons’ Hyperion series, Ilium by Dan Simmons, The Terror by Dan Simmons, novella length stories, Escape Route by Peter F. Hamilton, a recent interview with Audible’s founder, The Law Of Nines by Terry Goodkind, Mark Deakins, Rammer by Larry Niven, narrator Pat Bottino, the MP3-CD format vs the CD format, The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury, Gateway by Frederik Pohl, Robert J. Sawyer, Man Plus by Frederik Pohl

Posted by Jesse Willis

Uvula Audio: Divers Down! Adventure Under Hawaiian Seas by Hal Gordon

May 15, 2009 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Uvula AudioJames J. Campanella, podcaster, audiobook narrator, science popularizer and lecturer writes in to say:

Uvula Audio is starting a new bookcast this week. It is a science fiction book only in the sense that it has science in it and it is a fictional story, but it is an excellent young adult novel from 1971 which is now rare and long out of print. Starting tomorrow, we will be presenting Divers Down! Adventure Under Hawaiian Seas by Hal Gordon.

This was one of my favorite books in my youth and one of the books that pushed me in the direction of science as a career.

Divers Down! Adventures Under Hawaiian Seas by Hal GordonDivers Down! Adventure Under Hawaiian Seas
By Hal Gordon; Read by James J. Campanella
Podcast – [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: Uvula Audio Bookcast
Podcast: May 2009 –
The story concerns Kip Morgan, a student from Connecticut with an interest in undersea engineering. He comes to Hawaii to take part in the Makapuu Oceanic Center’s summer program. There he meets a number of other young scientists, including several from Hawaii, and gets involved in raising the “Ilikai,” a large canoe that sank in the 1860s while carrying a huge stone idol, a representation of the Hawaiian god Kane. Along the way, Kip’s friendship with archaeologist Julie turns romantic, he develops a rivalry with another summer student, and he has adventures under the beautiful Pacific.The story is also an excellent introduction to scuba diving and the Hawaiian language.

Here’s the first file |MP3|. Look for more in the feed soon!

Podcast feed:

http://www.uvulaaudio.com/kids/Kids.xml

Posted by Jesse Willis