Recent Arrivals: AudioGo: H.P. Lovecraft’s Book Of The Supernatural edited by Stephen Jones

August 23, 2012 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Recent Arrivals 

SFFaudio Recent Arrivals

Recently arrived, and currently being soaked in through my skin and ears, is this giant collection of weird fiction. Assembled from a list of stories found in H.P. Lovecraft’s essay Supernatural Horror In Literature, it is a collection of well known and obscure classics by authors that H.P. Lovecraft loved.

Looking at the table of contents I noted that I’d already read several of the stories in this collection – including The Turn Of The Screw (we did a podcast about that one), the engimatic Christmas horror Markheim, the scientific ghost tale What Was It?, the unutterably creepy and horrific The Voice In The Night very recently, and many years ago, perhaps in high school, The Yellow Wallpaper. But even though I’ve read some of these stories already I’m still very excited. Each of the stories seems to be preceded by some relevant words by Lovecraft himself – and at the very least I will be listening to the mini-introductions to those stories I am well familiar with.

Until then I will content myself in listening to the unknown ones. For example, the frightful first person narrative of Who Knows? by Guy de Maupassant is thrilling and wondering me in the exact same way The Horla almost exactly one year ago. It’s wonderful!

AUDIO GO - H.P. Lovecraft's Book Of The Supernatural edited by Stephen Jones

H.P. Lovecraft’s Book Of The Supernatural
Edited by Stephen Jones; Read by Bronson Pinchot, Stephen Crossley, Davina Porter, Madeleine Lambert, Mark Peckham
MP3 DOWNLOAD – Approx. 16 Hours 44 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: AudioGo
Published: August 1, 2012
Written by arguably the most important horror writer of the twentieth century, H.P. Lovecraft’s 1927 essay Supernatural Horror in Literature traces the evolution of the genre from the early Gothic novels to the work of contemporary American and British authors. Throughout, Lovecraft acknowledges those authors and stories that he feels are the very finest the horror field has to offer: Washington Irving, Edgar Allan Poe, Henry James, Rudyard Kipling, Bram Stoker, Robert Louis Stevenson, Guy de Maupassant, Ambrose Bierce, and Arthur Conan Doyle, each prefaced by Lovecraft’s own opinions and insights in their work. This chilling collection also contains Henry James’ wonderfully atmospheric short novel…The Turn of the Screw. For every fan of modern horror, here is an opportunity to rediscover the origins of the genre with some of most terrifying stories ever imagined.

Here’s the table of contents:
Introduction by editor Stephen Jones – Approx. 7 Minutes
Notes on Writing Weird Fiction By H.P. Lovecraft – Approx. 11 Minutes
The Tale of the German Student by Washington Irving – Approx. 14 Minutes
Markheim by Robert Louis Stevenson – Approx. 49 Minutes
Who Knows? by Guy de Maupassant – Approx. 34 Minutes
The Invisible Eye by Erckmann-Chatrian – Approx. 41 Minutes
The Torture by Hope by Villiers de l’Isle Adam – Approx. 15 Minutes
Ms. Found in a Bottle by Edgar Allan Poe – Approx. 29 Minutes
What Was It? by Fitz-James O’Brien – Approx. 34 Minutes
The Middle Toe of the Right Foot by Ambrose Bierce – Approx. 24 Minutes
The Turn Of The Screw by Henry James – Approx. 4 Hours 52 Minutes
The Dead Smile by F. Marion Crawford – Approx. 57 Minutes
The Wind In The Rose-Bush by Mary E. Wilkins-Freeman – Approx. 38 Minutes
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman – Approx. 36 Minutes
The Recrudescence of Imray by Rudyard Kipling – Approx. 30 Minutes
The Hands Of Karma (Ingwa-banashi) by Lafcadio Hearn – Approx. 11 Minutes
The Burial Of The Rats by Bram Stoker – Approx. 1 Hour 7 Minutes
The Red Lodge by H.R. Wakefield – Approx. 35 Minutes
The Captain Of The Pole-Star by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – Approx. 1 Hour 6 Minutes
The Villa Desiree by May Sinclair – Approx. 28 Minutes
The Voice In The Night by William Hope Hodgson – Approx. 36 Minutes
Novel of the White Powder by Arthur Machen – Approx. 48 Minutes

Posted by Jesse Willis

New Releases: AudioGo: The History Of The World In 100 Objects

May 1, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: New Releases 

New Releases

AudioGo has collected the popular BBC Radio 4 programme The History Of The World In 100 Objects as I guess what we’d call a 25 hour radiobook.


In 2010, the BBC and the British Museum embarked on an ambitious project: to tell the story of two million years of human history using one hundred objects selected from the Museum’s vast and renowned collection.

Presented by the British Museum’s Director Neil MacGregor, each episode focuses on a single object – from a Stone Age tool to a solar-powered lamp – and explains its significance in human history.

Music, interviews with specialists and quotations from written texts enrich the listener’s experience. On each CD, objects from a similar period of history are grouped together to explore a common theme and make connections across the world. Seen in this way, history is a kaleidoscope: shifting, interlinked, constantly surprising and shaping our world in ways that most of us have never imagined.

This box set also includes an illustrated booklet with additional background information and photographs, and each CD includes PDF images of the featured objects.

The landmark series on BBC Radio 4 that tells the story of humanity through 100 man-made objects from the British Museum’s unique collection.

Posted by Jesse Willis

AudioGo: Fangoria: Dreadtime Stories: The Late Shift by Dennis Etchinson – FREE AUDIO DRAMA

April 1, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

AudioGo - Fangoria: Dreadtime Stories - The Late Shift by Dennis Etchinson

AudioGo AudioGo has started releasing a new series of HORROR SHORTS that they’re calling DREADTIME STORIES. And they’ve given us the first one to give to you TOTALLY FREE!

This FREE GIVEAWAY will expire on April 15th, 2012, so do download it straight away!

You can get the rest of the series at the AudioGo website where they offer hassle-free MP3 downloads for just $1.49 each! Other tales in the series were penned by authors like Steve Nubie, M.J. Elliott, and Max Allan Collins!

Dreadtime Stories #01 – The Late Shift
By Dennis Etchinson; Performed by a full cast
1 MP3 – Approx. 39 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: AudioGo
Published: 2012
“Ever wonder what the dead might have to say when they are alone with each other? It turns out that the dead are neither comical nor menacing. They are just tired and lost and in search of peace. They are people like you and me who want to rest now that their work is done. The problem is, the system wants to continue to exploit them even beyond death. It’s a grim proposition but the logical extension of our society when a sinister company reanimates corpses in order to provide free labor for the late night shifts in stores and garages. Hosted by Malcolm McDowell and commissioned by Fangoria–America’s #1 source for horror–this original short story is fully dramatized to thrill and chill you!”

Posted by Jesse Willis

Aural Noir Review of The Hook by Donald E. Westlake

March 24, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aural Noir, Reviews 

Aural Noir: Review

AUDIOGO - The Hook by Donald E. WestlakeThe Hook
By Donald E. Westlake; Read by William Dufris
MP3 Download – Approx. 7 Hours 17 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: AudioGo
Published: 2012
ISBN: 9781609988654
Themes: / Crime / Murder / New York /

Bryce Proctorr has a multimillion-dollar contract for his next novel, a trophy wife raking him over the coals of a protracted divorce, a bad case of writer’s block, and an impending deadline. Wayne Prentice is a fading author in a world that no longer values his work. He’s gone through two pseudonyms, watched his book sales shrivel, and is contemplating leaving the writing life. Proctorr has a proposition: If Prentice will hand over his unsold manuscript to publish under Proctorr’s name, the two will split the book advance fifty-fifty. There’s just one small rider to the deal…

I’m a literal babe in the woods when it comes to mystery/suspense. The Hook by Donald Westlake would be … the first book I’ve ever read in the genre. No, really. So if you’re interested in an evaluation of The Hook’s place among the all-time great works of crime fiction, or of learned comparisons to other like authors and works, you’ve come to the wrong place. But if you’re interested in reading the opinion of a purely neutral observer—a Fantasy/SF fan’s clear-eyed observations of a completely alien genre—read on.

I liked The Hook. It was a lot of fun. It’s obviously the product of a man with a lot of writing experience under his belt. This certainly describes Westlake (1933-2008), a legend in the genre more than a hundred novels and non-fiction books to his credit. The prose is effortless and engaging, the dialogue convincing. It’s mainly suspense, not action, though the violence is unexpected and shocking, and well-portrayed.

Bryce Proctorr is a bestselling mystery/suspense author in the midst of an ugly divorce with a terrible case of writer’s block. With his bills mounting, alimony looming, and a million-plus dollar advance hung up on a book he cannot produce, Bryce asks a former friend, Wayne Prentiss, a struggling mid-list author, to give him his manuscript in exchange for half the advance. The only caveat: Wayne has to kill Bryce’s wife first. Yikes.

The ending is not predictable, save as one possible outcome among many. Westlake keeps you guessing: Have Wayne and Bryce sufficiently covered up their tracks? Will the persistent New York detective Johnson solve the crime? Will Wayne decide that Bryce is too unbalanced and kill him to save his own skin? Will Bryce go off the deep end, cracking under the strain of covering up an awful deed and the mounting pressures in his life? These questions keep you reading on to a chilling end.

In addition to its intrigues The Hook also contains an interesting insider’s look at the publishing business and the squeeze put on midlist writers with the advent of the computer. Wayne’s lament: The bookstores took on 5,000 copies of his last book but only sold 3,100. So for his next work the computer recommends an order of only 3,500 copies. The result is thinner national distribution and lower sales: Wayne’s next book only moves 2,700 copies. So the computer calls for an order of 3,000. And so the downward spiral continues. His advances fall from $75,000 to $20,000. Wayne hits on a workaround: Writing under a pen name, he is able to get a good advance as a “first time” author with a good book. But when his pen name suffers the same fate, he takes up Bryce on his offer to collaborate as a behind-the-scenes ghostwriter. And so the events of The Hook unfold.

It’s hard to go into too much additional detail, lest spoilers ensue. But I will say I can definitely see the appeal of mystery/suspense, which lies in its unpredictability, the tension within and between the characters, and not knowing how or even whether a character’s bad deeds will go unpunished. Will I become a regular mystery reader? Probably not. Would I read something else by Westlake, should the chance arise? Certainly yes. The man can write.

William Dufris does a fine job narrating the tale; my only criticism is his voice portrayal of Bryce Proctorr, which seemed a little too reminiscent of J. Peterman of Seinfeld fame. Overall he has a fine voice for mystery.

Posted by Brian Murphy

The SFFaudio Podcast #152 – READALONG: The Comedy Is Finished by Donald E. Westlake

March 19, 2012 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Aural Noir, Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #152 – Jesse talks with Trent Reynolds and Paul Westlake about the AudioGo and Hard Case Crime novel The Comedy Is Finished by Donald E. Westlake.

Talked about on today’s show:
Is The Comedy Is Finished going to be the last Donald E. Westlake novel to be published?, Memory (and our discussion of it), Charles Ardai, Max Allan Collins, Mickey Spillane, getting paid is a priority for professional writers, the 1970s, Honeydew, USO tours, Bob Hope, the audiobook experience, Peter Berkrot’s narration of the audiobook of The Comedy Is Finished, Koo Davis, Bob Hope as Red Skelton vs. Bob Hope as Gene Kelly, Alfred Hitchcock, Ricky Gervais, Koo Davis narrates his own POV in the present everyday tense sense, “Westlake is the master of sentence by sentence writing”, “in the moment”, “the god-damned Vietnam thing”, “the real Americans”, the redemption, healing vs. moving on, Ronald Reagan, “new normal”, “the Carter malaise” and “festering wounds”, Larry, Peter, Mark has daddy issues, Joyce, the Dortmunder gang if they were all psychotic, “doing a Westlake”, why do Koo’s boys not look like him?, the role of a father, the mirror scene, “genetics don’t matter in fiction”, fatherhood as a choice, leave the messages to Western Union, character arcs, Lindsey, A Sound Of Distant Drums, radio drama, “there are round characters and there are flat characters”, “oh this is a Westlake”, “Charo has become a bitter old woman”, “a romantic writer”, succinct description, taking plots from real life, The Score, “he can heist anything”, The Mourner, The Stepfather, “that’s pretty much how these work”, three Dortmunder ideas, Kahawa should be an audiobook, California, Burbank, Santa Barbara, Elizabeth Taylor’s biography, Under An English Heaven should be an audiobook too, Anguilla, an option has been taken out on Kahawa, the new Parker movie, Stephen King’s filmography vs. Donald Westlake’s filmography, The Hot Rock, Cops And Robbers (1973), The Split (based on The Seventh), Payback, Les Alexander, The Outfit, City Of Industry, The Sour Lemon Score, Made In U.S.A., the Criterion Collection, it’s Clint Eastwood with internal monologue, a Dortmunder TV series, The Limey, Terence Stamp, Idi Amin, Uganda, “the coffee train”, Enough, Ordo, A Slight Case Of Murder, A Travesty, it’s very hard to be a Westlake expert, the sound a girl makes when you’re kissing her, “it’s just a weird name”, Bob Hope was a knight!, Conrad Black, Baron Black of Crossharbour, Westlake’s Science Fiction and Fantasy, Westlake’s renunciation of SF, Anarchaos by Curt Clark, “Rolf Malone is a precursor to Parker”, Theodore Bikel (the fiddler in The Fiddler On The Roof), The Risk Profession, Nackles (is great for kids!), The Twilight Zone, Harlan Ellison’s screenplay for Nackles, the Starship Hopeful series (available on DonaldWestlake.com), Lawrence Block’s fantasy story, SF is very allegorical (and that’s not Westlake), Humans, Westlake’s Smoke vs. Wells’ The Invisible Man, “and everybody’s an asshole”, “everybody one way or another is a jerkoff”, “Joyce goes crazy in the most wonderful way”, a survivor of Chernobyl, “is God really an asshole?”, “angels are assholes”, Milton’s Paradise Lost, The Sacred Monster, Get Real, ridicule in print, Money For Nothing, Westlake never lectured, interior thoughts that are so revealing about the shallowness of a character’s nature, Washington, D.C., “moving up the ladder”, “what does Ginger want?”, “it’s fun to play with fire”, “I’ve got to have something”, did Don hate rock and roll?, he liked classical and atonal jazz, “damn hippie”, 99% of politics is pointless, talking to death, Jimmy The Kid (a Parker novel inside of a Dortmunder novel), kidnapping, Help I Am Being Held Prisoner, Patty Hearst, Gangway, Brian Garfield, Spider Robinson’s Dortmunder homage, Lawrence Block, The Sour Lemon Score, Dashiell Hammett, Piers Anthony, Poul Anderson, Robert A. Heinlein, shiny spaceships, don’t read by genre, read by author, the genre label, Jim Thompson, The Grifters, Trent’s beef with Angelica Huston, a period piece, Paul had a problem with John Cusack, J.T. Walsh, Pat Hingle, Annette Bening, “I’ll never look at a bag of oranges the same way”, Donald Westlake: NYC Personified, The Violent World Of Parker website, Nick Jones, Westlake’s bibliography at DonaldWestlake.com.

AudioGo - The Comedy Is Finished by Donald E. Westlake

Posted by Jesse Willis

Recent Arrivals: AudioGo: Donald Westlake and Richard Stark

March 2, 2012 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Aural Noir, Recent Arrivals 

Aural Noir: Recent Arrivals

AudioGo Hard Case CrimeAudioGo, formerly BBC Audiobooks America and formerly Chivers Audio, has a terrific MP3 download program up and running. It works similarly to Tantor Media, with similar pricing. You can get DRM free MP3 downloads via AudioGo.com after a quick sign up. I just tried it out and found it works really well, almost without a hitch, and doesn’t even require a software download (though that is optional). The files come down as Zipped MP3s, numbered and ready for use. There’s even cover art embedded!

First up, it’s the subject for our next Donald E. Westlake readalong! And apparently the last novel of Westlake’s ever – I have a feeling that Hard Case Crime will dig around until they find a few more – at least I hope they do! That said, this is actually a novel that’s never been published before – and comes from the middle of his writing career. I’m very much looking forward to hearing…

The Comedy Is Finished by Donald E. Westlake; Read by Peter Berkrot – Approx. 10 Hours 44 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

The year is 1977, and America is finally getting over the nightmares of Watergate and Vietnam and the national hangover that was the 1960s. But not everyone is ready to let it go. Not aging comedian Koo Davis, friend to generals and presidents and veteran of countless USO tours to buck up American troops in the field. And not the five remaining members of the self-proclaimed People’s Revolutionary Army, who’ve decided that kidnapping Koo Davis would be the perfect way to bring their cause back to life…

AudioGo - The Comedy Is Finished by Donald E. Westlake

I read The Hook, and loved The Hook, years ago. It was first published in 1990 and may have been the first William Dufris narrated novel I’ve ever heard. It’s a wonderful audiobook and a great book about the publishing industry, writing and murder.

The Hook by Donald E. Westlake; Read by William Dufris – Approx. 7 Hours 17 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

Bryce Proctorr has a multimillion-dollar contract for his next novel, a trophy wife raking him over the coals of a protracted divorce, a bad case of writer’s block, and an impending deadline. Wayne Prentice is a fading author in a world that no longer values his work. He’s gone through two pseudonyms, watched his book sales shrivel, and is contemplating leaving the writing life. Proctorr has a proposition: If Prentice will hand over his unsold manuscript to publish under Proctorr’s name, the two will split the book advance fifty-fifty. There’s just one small rider to the deal…

AudioGo - The Hook by Donald E. Westlake

Also by Westlake, but written under his Richard Stark pseudonym, The Seventh is the seventh book in a long running series of terrific crime novels about a heister named Parker. This new audiobook edition features a new narration by Westlake veteran Stephen R. Thorne! The old one, recorded for Books On Tape by Michael Kramer, is long out of print. The only thing lacking from this edition is the Luc Sante introduction (which is even advertized on the cover art below).

The Seventh by Richard Stark (aka Donald E. Westlake); Read by Stephen R. Thorne – Approx. 4 Hours 26 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

The robbery was a piece of cake. The getaway was clean. And seven men were safely holed up in different places while Parker held all the cash. But somehow the sweet heist of a college football game turns sour, Parker’s woman is murdered, and the take is stolen. Now Parker’s looking for the lowlife who did him dirty, while the cops are looking for seven clever thieves-and Parker must outrun them all. When hunters and hunted meet, some win, some lose…

AudioGo - The Seventh by Richard Stark

Posted by Jesse Willis

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