FREE LISTENS Review: Anthem by Ayn Rand

December 8, 2008 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Free Listens BlogAnthem
By Ayn Rand
Source: Thought Audio
Length: 2 hr, 12 min
Reader: Michael Scott

The book:Set in the future following a catastrophic war, the society portrayed in Anthem is collectivism taken to the extreme. Individuality has been nearly wiped out. The first person singular is outlawed and forgotten, replacing “I” with “we”. People do not not have names, but designations containing a societal quality combined with a number. Equality 7-2521 is a man who feels the pull of individualism and is punished for it. When in the course of his duties, he discovers an old tunnel from before the wars, he gains a chance to break free.

Rand’s portray of this society has much in common with works produced during the rise of communism, such as George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and Aldus Huxley’s Brave New World. Unlike these other examples of the sub-genre, I found Rand’s dystopia lacking in realism and therefore less compelling. Anthem‘s society is a city all on its own without any sense of a larger world other than an ill-defined wilderness. Surely other pockets of humanity would have survived even the most horrific war and become a rival society to out-compete the anti-technology society portrayed here.

The other main problem that I have with the book is that the danger it forecasts in collectivism is no longer the pressing spectre it was to Rand, who had lived in Stalinist Russia. In the present, we are more in danger of the opposite, a world of complete individuals with no sense of brotherhood or the collective good. Just as science in Anthem is impossible because no one can become any greater than others, science in a world where every technique or discovery is patented and jealously guarded is equally impossible. Likewise art is equally difficult when the artist or writer is not allowed to be different as when anything mildly derivative runs the danger of a copyright lawsuit. For this reason, I see Anthem not as a story for our time, but as a historical document of the fear that collective society once held.

Rating: 7/10

The Reader: Scott has a deep, announcer-sounding voice that is very pleasant for listening. This stentorian voice, however, is one of the drawbacks as well. Scott speaks with such confidence and power that it is sometimes discordant with the position of the protagonist, who has been trained to see himself as just like everyone else. The steady patterns of his cadence and the radio-quality voice are great assets to make the words very understandable, so only true purists need worry about the incongruity of the voice. Some edits are audible through digital artifacts, but otherwise the audio is professionally produced with very little background noise.

Note: Thought Audio’s books have sometimes been free and other times behind a pay wall. If you would like this book, but find you cannot download it, try the always-free LibriVox version.

Posted by Seth

New Releases – Jack O’Connell, Edgar Allan Poe, Tee Morris, C.S. Lewis, Ayn Rand

April 20, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: New Releases 

New Releases

This sounds just up our alley! it’s described as “Gritty noir fiction, mind-bending fantasy, and medical thriller combine in a new novel by an author dubbed the ‘cyberpunk Dashiell Hammett.'” Noir and Fantasy! Yum yum!

The Resurrectionist
by Jack O'ConnellThe Resurrectionist
By Jack O’Connell; Read by Holter Graham
9 CDs -11½ Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Highbridge Audio
Published: April 2008
ISBN: 9781598875942
[LISTEN TO AN MP3 SAMPLE]
Sweeney is a druggist by trade; Danny, his son, is in a persistent coma, the victim of an accident. Hoping for a miracle, they have come to the Peck Clinic, a fortress-like haven in a post-industrial city overrun by gangs. Doctors there claim to have resurrected two patients who were similarly lost in the void. Gradually, Sweeney realizes that the cure for his son’s condition may lie in “Limbo,” a fantasy comic-book world into which Danny had been drawn at the time of his accident. Plunged into the intrigue that surrounds the clinic, Sweeney searches for answers and instead finds sinister back alleys, brutal dead ends, and terrifying rabbit holes of mystery.

Narrator Wayne June assures us that he’s done his research on this new series of definitive Edgar Allan Poe readings…

Into That Darkness Peering: Nightmarish Tales Of The Macabre Vol. 1Into That Darkness Peering: Nightmarish Tales Of The Macabre – Vol. 1
By Edgar Allan Poe; Read by Wayne June
1 CD – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: AudioBookCase.com
Published: March 2008
ISBN: 0977845303
Three tales from the original master of horror fiction, Edgar Allan Poe! Included in this collection are “The Raven”, “The Black Cat” and “The Cask Of Amontillado.”

Tee Morris returns to his, and the world’s first podiobook, restoring lost scenes, adding more production and voices from other favorite podcasters. Read our review of the original version HERE, then set sail with Rafe and Askana again…

Morevi RemasteredMorevi: The Chronicles of Rafe and Askana (Remastered)
By Tee Morris and Lisa Lee; Read by Tee Morris and others
Podiobook (a podcast novel) – [UNABRIDGED?]
Publisher: Podiobooks.com
Published: 2008
Morevi, a landlocked kingdom shrouded by jungles and mystery, falls under the rule of Askana Moldarin. In the dawn of this New Age, hidden traitors in her own regime threaten to destroy everything. The First Queen, independent of council, seeks help to reveal the conspiracy against her… Enter Rafe Rafton, captain of the Defiant.

Soon to be a major motion picture, already an audiobook!

The Chronicles Of Narnia: Book 2 - Prince Caspian (Movie Tie-In)The Chronicles Of Narnia: Book 2 – Prince Caspian (Movie Tie-In)
By C. S. Lewis; Read by Lynn Redgrave
CDs – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Harper Childrens Audio
Published: April 2008
ISBN: 0061435279
Narnia is in trouble! All the magical creatures and Talking Animals have been forced into hiding by an evil king. Fortunately, young Prince Caspian escapes in time to lead the Old Narnians in the fight for their freedom. But when the battle goes badly, Caspian blows an enchanted horn. Suddenly Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie are pulled back into Narnia from England, where they had returned after defeating the evil White Witch. In a race against time and with the aid of the Great Lion, Aslan, they join Caspian and his army in a battle to restore peace throughout Narnia.

At over 1,000 pages in length this is the longest work of speculative fiction published between two covers (Mission Earth by L. Ron Hubbard was published in separate volumes) – it becomes now one of the longest audiobooks ever made at a backbreaking 38 CDs!

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn RandAtlas Shrugged
By Ayn Rand; Read by Kate Reading
38 CDs – Approx. 40 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Books On Tape
Published: March 2008
ISBN: 1415949247
First published in 1957, Atlas Shrugged was Ayn Rand’s greatest achievement and last work of fiction. In this novel she dramatizes her unique philosophy through an intellectual mystery story that integrates ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, politics, economics, and sex. Set in a near-future U.S.A. whose economy is collapsing as a result of the mysterious disappearance of leading innovators and industrialists, this novel presents an astounding panorama of human life-from the productive genius who becomes a worthless playboy…to the great steel industrialist who does not know that he is working for his own destruction…to the philosopher who becomes a pirate…to the woman who runs a transcontinental railroad…to the lowest track worker in her train tunnels. Peopled by larger-than-life heroes and villains, charged with towering questions of good and evil, Atlas Shrugged is a philosophical revolution told in the form of an action thriller.

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox: Anthem by Ayn Rand

May 3, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

LibriVoxFirst published in 1938, Anthem by philosopher/SF author Ayn Rand is one of the world’s most famous novellas! Anthem depicts a dystopian world that will be familiar to those who’ve read George Orwell’s similiarly-themed 1984 (published a full decade later). Both tales are set far in a future in which “equality” is strictly enforced, and individual thought are banned. In the society of Anthem, even individual names are banned with the protagonist known only as “Equality 7-2521.” His story is written as though it was his forbidden diary. You’ll find the full, fascinating, novella available through LibriVox.org

And here are Virgil Finlay’s illustrations from the June 1953 issue of Famous Fantastic Mysteries:

Anthem by Ayn Rand - Illustrated by Virgil Finlay

Anthem by Ayn Rand - Illustrated by Virgil Finlay

LibriVox - Anthem by Ayn RandAnthem
By Ayn Rand; Read by Chere Theriot
1 Zipped Folder of MP3 Files – 2 Hours 12 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox
Completed: May 2nd 2007
“A dystopic SF story taking place at some unspecified future date. Mankind has entered another dark age as a result of what Rand saw as the weaknesses of socialistic thinking and economics. Technological advancement is now carefully planned (when it is allowed to occur, if at all) and the concept of individuality has been eliminated (for example, the word “I” has disappeared from the language). As is common in her work, Rand draws a clear distinction between the “socialist/communal” values of equality and brotherhood and the “productive/capitalist” values of achievement and individuality. The story also parallels Stalinist Russia, which was currently going on at the time as the story was published.”

LibriVox bills itself as "acoustical liberation …

December 21, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

Online Audio

LibriVoxLibriVox bills itself as “acoustical liberation of books in the public domain”, we bill it as “really cool”! The LibriVox volunteers read and record chapters of books in the public domain using the equipment they have at home, and then release the files as FREE audiobooks. The objective is to eventually make all books in the public domain available in the audio format. Several Science Fiction and Fantasy titles are already under way, and few have already been completed. Here’s a peek:

Completed Novels:
The Road To Oz by L. Frank Baum
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Completed Shorts:
A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift

Multiple Narrator Forthcoming:
Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
The Trial by Franz Kafka
Dracula by Bram Stoker
A Journey To The Interior Of The Earth by Jules Verne

Single Narrators Forthcoming:
Flatland by Edwin A. Abbott
The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson
Sky Island by L. Frank Baum
The Wizard Of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Beowolf
Anthem by Ayn Rand
A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

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