Commentary: A “Top 100 Sci-Fi Audiobooks” List

September 16, 2012 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Commentary 

SFFaudio Commentary

Sci-Fi ListsLast year somebody* pointed out that a list of “The Top 100 Sci-Fi Books” (as organized by the Sci-Fi Lists website) was almost entirely available in audiobook form!

At the time of his or her compiling 95 of the 100 books were available as audiobooks.

Today, it appears, that list is approaching 99% complete!

I’ve read a good number of the books and audiobooks listed, and while some of them are indeed excellent, I’d have to argue that some are merely ok, and that others are utterly atrocious.

That said, I do think it is interesting that almost all of them are available as audiobooks!

Here’s the list as it stood last year, plus my added notations on the status of the missing five:

01- Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card – 1985
02- Dune – Frank Herbert – 1965
03- Foundation – Isaac Asimov – 1951
04- Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – Douglas Adams – 1979
05- 1984 – George Orwell – 1949
06- Stranger In A Strange Land – Robert A Heinlein – 1961
07- Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury – 1954
08- 2001: A Space Odyssey – Arthur C Clarke – 1968
09- Starship Troopers – Robert A Heinlein – 1959
10- I, Robot – Isaac Asimov – 1950
11- Neuromancer – William Gibson – 1984
12- Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – Philip K. Dick – 1968
13- Ringworld – Larry Niven – 1970
14- Rendezvous With Rama – Arthur C. Clarke – 1973
15- Hyperion – Dan Simmons – 1989
16- Brave New World – Aldous Huxley – 1932
17- The Time Machine – H.G. Wells – 1895
18- Childhood’s End – Arthur C. Clarke – 1954
19- The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress – Robert A. Heinlein – 1966
20- The War Of The Worlds – H.G. Wells – 1898
21- The Forever War – Joe Haldeman – 1974
22- The Martian Chronicles – Ray Bradbury – 1950
23- Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegut – 1969
24- Snow Crash – Neal Stephenson – 1992
25- The Mote In God’s Eye – Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle – 1975
26- The Left Hand Of Darkness – Ursula K. Le Guin – 1969
27- Speaker For The Dead – Orson Scott Card – 1986
28- Jurassic Park – Michael Crichton – 1990
29- The Man in the High Castle – Philip K. Dick – 1962
30- The Caves Of Steel – Isaac Asimov – 1954
31- The Stars My Destination – Alfred Bester – 1956
32- Gateway – Frederik Pohl – 1977
33- Lord Of Light – Roger Zelazny – 1967
34- Solaris – Stanisław Lem – 1961
35- 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea – Jules Verne – 1870
36- A Wrinkle In Time – Madeleine L’Engle – 1962
37- Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut – 1963
38- Contact – Carl Sagan – 1985
39- The Andromeda Strain – Michael Crichton – 1969
40- The Gods Themselves – Isaac Asimov – 1972
41- A Fire Upon The Deep – Vernor Vinge – 1991
42- Cryptonomicon – Neal Stephenson – 1999
43- The Day of the Triffids – John Wyndham – 1951
44- UBIK – Philip K. Dick – 1969
45- Time Enough For Love – Robert A. Heinlein – 1973
46- A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess – 1962
47- Red Mars – Kim Stanley Robinson – 1992
48- Flowers For Algernon – Daniel Keyes
49- A Canticle For Leibowitz – Walter M. Miller – 1959
50- The End of Eternity – Isaac Asimov – 1955
51- Battlefield Earth – L. Ron Hubbard – 1982
52- Frankenstein – Mary Shelley – 1818
53- Journey To The Center Of The Earth – Jules Verne – 1864
54- The Dispossessed – Ursula K. Le Guin – 1974
55- The Diamond Age – Neal Stephenson – 1995
56- The Player Of Games – Iain M. Banks – 1988
57- The Reality Dysfunction – Peter F. Hamilton – 1996
58- Startide Rising – David Brin – 1983
59- The Sirens Of Titan – Kurt Vonnegut – 1959
60- Eon – Greg Bear – 1985
61- Ender’s Shadow – Orson Scott Card – 1999
62- To Your Scattered Bodies Go – Philip Jose Farmer – 1971
63- A Scanner Darkly – Philip K. Dick – 1977
64- Lucifer’s Hammer – Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle – 1977
65- The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood – 1985
66- The City And The Stars – Arthur C Clark – 1956
67- The Stainless Steel Rat – Harry Harrison – 1961
68- The Demolished Man – Alfred Bester – 1953
69- The Shadow of the Torturer – Gene Wolfe – 1980
70- Sphere – Michael Crichton – 1987
71- The Door Into Summer – Robert .A Heinlein – 1957
72- The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch – Philip K. Dick – 1964
73- Revelation Space – Alastair Reynolds – 2000
74- Citizen Of The Galaxy – Robert A. Heinlein – 1957
75- Doomsday Book – Connie Willis – 1992
76- Ilium – Dan Simmons – 2003
77- The Invisible Man – H.G. Wells – 1897
78- Have Space-Suit Will Travel – Robert A. Heinlein – 1958
79- The Puppet Masters – Robert A. Heinlein – 1951
80- Out Of The Silent Planet – C.S. Lewis – 1938
81- A Princess of Mars – Edgar Rice Burroughs – 1912
82- The Lathe of Heaven – Ursula K. Le Guin – 1971
83- Use Of Weapons – Iain M. Banks – 1990
84- The Chrysalids – John Wyndham – 1955
85- Way Station – Clifford Simak – 1963
86- Flatland – Edwin A. Abbott – 1884
87- Altered Carbon – Richard Morgan – 2002
88- Old Man’s War – John Scalzi – 2005
89- COMING SOON (October 15, 2012)Roadside Picnic – Arkady and Boris Strugatsky – 1972
90- The Road – Cormac McCarthy – 2006
91- The Postman – David Brin – 1985
92- NEWLY AVAILABLEStand On Zanzibar – John Brunner – 1969
93- VALIS – Philip K. Dick – 1981
94- NEWLY AVAILABLE The Cyberiad: Fables for the Cybernetic Age – Stanisław Lem – 1974
95- NOT AVAILABLE AS AN AUDIOBOOK – Cities In Flight – James Blish – 1955
96- The Lost World – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – 1912
97- The Many-Colored Land – Julian May – 1981
98- Gray Lensman – E.E. ‘Doc’ Smith – 1940
99- The Uplift War – David Brin – 1987
100- NEWLY AVAILABLEThe Forge Of God – Greg Bear – 1987

In case you were wondering, the list was compiled using the following criteria:

“A statistical survey of sci-fi literary awards, noted critics and popular polls. To qualify a book has to be generally regarded as science fiction by credible sources and/or recognised as having historical significance to the development of the genre. For books that are part of a series (with some notable exceptions) only the first book in the series is listed.”

The “Next 100”, as listed over on Sci-Fi Lists, has a lot of excellent novels and collections in it too, check that out HERE.

[*Thanks to “neil1966hardy” from ThePirateBay]

Posted by Jesse Willis

If Only We Had Taller Been by Ray Bradbury

June 7, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: News 

SFFaudio News

November 12, 1971, on the eve of Mariner 9 going into orbit at Mars, Ray Bradbury took part in a symposium at Caltech with Arthur C. Clarke, journalist Walter Sullivan, and scientists Carl Sagan and Bruce Murray. In this excerpt, Bradbury reads his poem, “If Only We Had Taller Been.”

[via BoingBoing]

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #125 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Horla by Guy de Maupassant

September 12, 2011 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #125 – The Horla by Guy de Maupassant, read by Gregg Margarite (of LibriVox), followed by a discussion of the story – participants include Jesse, Tamahome and Jenny Colvin (of the Reading Envy blog).

Talked about on today’s show:
“c’est magnifique!”, is this Jesse’s favourite story from the 19th century?, H.G. Wells, is The Horla Science Fiction, aliens, ghosts, Guy de Maupassant is crafting our feeling on how the story should be interpreted, Mont Saint-Michel, Ladyhawke, Second Life, Normandy, Paris, France, ghosts, goats with human faces, biblical stories of possessed pigs, metaphor of the wind, the wind as a telekinetic force, invisibility, personal experience vs. faith, succubi, vampires, Jim Moon’s Hypnobobs podcast (reading of The Horla and Dairy Of A Madman), was Guy de Maupassant interested in science?, his prolific output, Sigmund Freud, is this a psychological drama?, the character in the movie vs. the short story, sleep paralysis and depression, is the unnamed protagonist of The Horla bioplar?, syphilis, H.P. Lovecraft, Benjamin Franklin, the character has a Science Fiction attitude (a disposition towards science), a story of possession (like in The Exorcist), glowing eyes, Rouen, “excuse my French”, external confirmation, diagnose yourself, São Paulo, Brazil, The Horla means “the beyond”, what lives beyond the Earth?, Jenny wasn’t thinking aliens at all, creatures from other dimensions, the Predator’s cloaking device, is the horla really Santa Claus?, hypnotism and hypnotists, post-hypnotic suggestion, confabulation, its a quasi-phenomenon, why can’t everyone be hypnotized?, Hamlet, did he burn down his house or did the horla do it?, noir, movies demand the defeat of evil, “Son Of The Horla and Spawn Of The Horla“, science and skepticism, who broke all the drinking glasses?, the Futurama version of a Twilight Zone episode,

“The vulture has eaten the dove, and the wolf has eaten the lamb; the lion has devoured the sharp-horned buffalo, and man has killed the lion with arrow, sword and gun; but the Horla is going to make of man what we have made of the horse and the ox: his chattel, his servant and his food, by the mere exercise of his will. Woe to us.”

Tamahome should read some H.P. Lovecraft, here’s H.P. Lovecraft’s description of The Horla:

“Relating the advent in France of an invisible being who lives on water and milk, sways the minds of others, and seems to be the vanguard of a horde of extra-terrestrial organisms arrived on earth to subjugate and overwhelm mankind, this tense narrative is perhaps without peer in its particular department.”

Lovecraft is using deep time to scare us instead of the supernatural, The Statement Of Randolph Carter, sorry I cant talk right now I’m being digested, Cthulhu’s guest appearance on South Park, the elements, space butterfly,

“We are so weak, so powerless, so ignorant, so small — we who live on this particle of mud which revolves in liquid air.”

a cosmic view, the Carl Sagan view, evil is everywhere, an allegory for science, Frankenstein, “men ought not meddle in affairs normally deemed to women”, the Frankensteinian monster, a warning against science vs. science is our only way of understanding the universe, we have one place to look and that is to science, the propaganda he’s pushing, “there are things we can’t explain”, gentlemen did science back then, Library Of The World’s Best Mystery And Detective Stories on Wikisource, the case of my body being haunted, Edgar Allan Poe, Diary Of A Madman, turn us into batteries, “this is a looking glass”, the main character holding a photograph of himself, foreshadowing, out of body experience, Tama fails the quiz of the lesson earlier, when we don’t know – don’t conclude, we ought not conclude anything from this scene, we are not supposed to know we know the answer, Harvey Keitel’s appearance on Inside the Actor’s Studio, becoming comfortable with the unknown, The Necklace by Guy de Maupassant, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jesse proceeds to recount the entire plot of The Necklace, like a really sad O. Henry story, Somerset Maugham, Henry James, A String Of Beads, “Mais oui.”

The Horla by Guy de Maupassant

The Horla by Guy de Maupassant - illustration by Julian-Damazy

The Horla by Guy de Maupassant - illustration by Julian-Damazy

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #083

November 22, 2010 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #083 – Jesse talks with Jeremy Keith of HuffDuffer.com about his website. HuffDuffer can turn any MP3 file on the web into a podcast! HuffDuffer lets you make your own curated podcasts and share them with the world.

Talked about on today’s show:
HuffDuffer.com, turning loose mp3 files on the web into podcasts, “the benefit of the website happens when you’re not at the website”, maybe planning ahead just isn’t popular?, the HuffDuffer extension for Firefox, Mozilla Firefox vs. Google Chrome, Bookmarklet, “HuffDuffer is the perfectly developed website”, website design, “all software evolves until it becomes an email client” (or Facebook), interacting with iTunes, “it just works”, you can HuffDuff any audio extension (no video thanks very much), audio vs. video, the stigma of audio (and radio), adactio.com (Jeremy Keith’s website), SalterCane.com, BBC, CBC, tagging your podcasts, the Science Fiction tag on HuffDuffer, Sage an RSS catcher for Firefox, the HuffDuffer people page, the HuffDuffer tag cloud page, the use of machine tags, flickr.com, the Philip K. Dick tag, each tag makes its own feed, the Orson Scott Card Selects podcast feed, get satisfaction from HuffDuffer, HuffDuffing computer voiced MP3 files (please don’t), exploring HuffDuffer as a social network, ClearLeft.com and Jeremy Keith’s profile there, the philosophy of website design, how to design a website for every browser, designing SFFaudio’s design, inertia of website design and designers, “website development is the most hostile environments”, three things have changed the internet for me: 1. podcasting 2. HuffDuffer 3. RSS readers, consuming the content the way you want, the Readability bookmarklet, Safari 5, sustainable business models, Dark Roasted Blend, why isn’t HuffDuffer HUGE?, you aren’t competing on the web, niche websites are empowering, what happens if Jeremy Keith gets hit by a bus?, the demise of websites, is Wikipedia too big to fail?, the further demise of websites, “feature creep“, you don’t buy a domain name (you rent it), the Seeing Ear Theatre story, Archive.org, the Science Fiction mindset, The Wayback Machine, the death of Geocities was a tragedy for the future archaeologists of the web, Isaac Asimov’s Foundation, A Canticle For Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr., Anathem by Neal Stephenson, The Long Now Foundation, we need servers on the moon, bury archive.org under the Sea Of Tranquility, Carl Sagan, the Voyager record (it’s the longest of the LPs), reconstructing the phonograph 10,000 years down the road, does Science Fiction make you smarter? Jeremy Keith’s answer: “Only Science Fiction fans can be smart.”

Posted by Jesse Willis

A Glorious Dawn – Cosmos – a song by Carl Sagan and Stephen Hawking

September 30, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

A musical tribute to two great men of science. Carl Sagan and his cosmologist companion Stephen Hawking present: A Glorious Dawn – Cosmos remixed. Almost all samples and footage taken from Carl Sagan’s Cosmos and Stephen Hawking’s Universe series.

[via the Audiobook Corner blog]

Posted by Jesse Willis

The Mars Phoenix lander brought Science Fiction audio to Mars

May 29, 2008 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

The Mars Phoenix DVD - Messages From EarthThe Mars Phoenix lander carries a mini-DVD loaded with art, produced on Earth, about Mars. And very coolly the audio end of Science Fiction is well represented on the disc! Here’s the official word:

“Radio has been associated with Mars ever since Marconi, Tesla, and Edison each expressed interest in the possibility of radio messages coming from Mars to Earth in the early part of the 20th century. In 1938 Orson Welles and Howard Koch reinterpreted the H.G. Wells novel The War of the Worlds for radio, with unexpected and dramatic results. In a section of this disk called RADIO MARS we present some of that and other broadcasts. Arthur C. Clarke supplied us with the rare radio interview featuring a discussion between H. G. Wells and Orson Welles. The radio documentary about the Viking landing is part of a program I made for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in 1976, as part of its documentary radio series IDEAS. The producer was Max Allen of the CBC. Allen helped me organize over 100 hours of material recorded on tape cassettes, and mix it into the audio tapestry heard on this disk. The program includes interviews with many of the important science fiction writers who witnessed this historic event at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. It was a thrilling occasion — a moment when science fiction and real space exploration truly came together. We hope that this program will convey what it was like on the night when the history of human presence on Mars really began. Seventeen years later, Max Allen played an important role in the creation of this disk: locating the original master tapes of our Viking documentary, remixing and editing the Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds broadcast, and recording the greetings from Judith Merril and Carl Sagan. In general he put the impressive technical and studio facilities of the CBC’s then new national headquarters in Toronto at our disposal. Lorne Tulk, a consummate recording engineer at the CBC, who had mixed the Viking program, lent his skills to the assembly of the RADIO MARS portion of this disk. We are also extremely grateful to the distinguished actor Patrick Stewart, well known in our time for his role on the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, for providing the narration for the audio section. In 1993 it was much easier to store sound than to store moving images on CDs. That is the principal reason for including a section on RADIO MARS as opposed to sequences from film or video images of Mars. Radio as a medium has much to recommend it. You can listen to it while driving, for example. Nothing delights the makers of RADIO MARS more than the thought that one day someone might listen to the Welles or Viking broadcast while piloting a vehicle across the martian deserts or through the martian skies!”

The Mars Phoenix Lander Deck May 26th 2008

And there it is, attached to the deck of the lander (next to the flag), the “Phoenix DVD.” I’ve managed to round up some of the audio found on the disc, from around the net. Check it out…

Carl Sagan |LISTEN|

Arthur C. Clarke |LISTEN|

War of the Worlds |MP3| The 1938 radio drama.

Wells and Welles |MP3| A 1940 non-fiction radio piece in which H.G. Wells and Orson Welles met to discuss War of the Worlds.

The Viking Landings |REALAUDIO EXCERPT| Jon Lomberg’s report on the Viking landing on Mars, July 20, 1976. Includes live recordings from mission control at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, and interviews with science fiction writers and actors.

By the way, the DVD is made of a silica glass (instead of regular plastic) so as to withstand long-term exposure on the Martian surface. Now all those Martians will need is a DVD player.

Also, for those curious about what else the lander is doing on Mars; the latest Planetary Radio podcast (put out by the Planetary Society) talks about the lander’s landing and what it’s going to do now that it has landed |MP3|.

Posted by Jesse Willis

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