The Coming Of The Ice by G. Peyton Wertenbaker

July 16, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

The Coming Of The Ice - illustrated by Frank R. Paul

I posted about this story, as part of a larger LibriVox collection, back in 2009. Then, I described it thusly:

The Coming Of The Ice explains the strange and sad fate of a man who undergoes an operation to make him immortal (and sterile).

I had somehow forgotten about it. But, as I heard someone describe it recently I was reminded of it, tracked it down again, and enjoyed it wholly afresh today.

The Coming Of The Ice deserves to be far better known. Not only is it a really terrific story, but the narration, by Giles Baker, is absolutely outstanding too!

Sam Moskowitz, in his introduction to the 1961 reprint of The Coming Of The Ice wrote the following about it:

One of the gravest editorial problems faced by the editors of AMAZING STORIES when they launched its first issue, dated April, 1926, was the problem of finding or developing authors who could write the type of story they needed. As a stop-gap, the first two issues of AMAZING STORIES were devoted entirely to reprints. But reprints were to constitute a declining portion of the publication’s contents for the following four years. The first new story the magazine bought was Coming Of The Ice, by G. Peyton Wertenbaker, which appeared in its third issue. Wertenbaker was not technically a newcomer to science fiction, since he had sold his first story to Gernsback’s SCIENCE AND INVENTION, The Man From the Atom, in 1923 when he was only 16! Now, at the ripe old age of 19, he was appearing in the world’s first truely complete science fiction magazine. The scope of his imagination was truly impressive and, despite the author’s youth, Coming of
the Ice
builds to a climax of considerable power.

Back in 1926 the editorial introduction, presumably by Hugo Gernsback himself, said this about The Coming Of The Ice:

This powerful and tragic story by the author of “The Man From The Atom” tells of a man who acquired terrestrial immortality – tells of a world many centuries hence – a time when everything is changed. This one man remains as a relic of the 20th century, He is alone with strangely developed human beings, the product of ages of evolution. Climactic changes are taking place. The world begins to grow cold. New York is almost in the Arctic region and Italy is covered with snow all the year around. In spite of their enormous intellectual development, all human beings must perish. Our hero alone can withstand the intense cold. He wanted eternal life – and he got it – eternal life, purely intellectual. What does he do with all his years? And how does he enjoy them?, Read this powerful story.

LibriVoxThe Coming Of The Ice
By G. Peyton Wertenbaker; Read by Giles Baker
1 |MP3| – Approx. 40 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: February 4, 2009
“Strange men, these creatures of the hundredth century, men with huge brains and tiny, shriveled bodies, atrophied limbs, and slow, ponderous movements on their little conveyances … it was then that I was forced to produced my tattered old paper, proving my identity and my story.” First published in Amazing Stories, June 1926.

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Here are two PDF versions:

Amazing Stories, June 1926 |PDF|
Amazing Stories, July 1961 |PDF|

[Thanks also to David T. and Carlo!]

Posted by Jesse Willis

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.

X Minus One: A Pail Of Air based on the short story by Fritz Leiber

August 31, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Here’s an adaptation of a science filled Science Fiction story (about climate change) that I’ve posted about previously – I’m quite fond of it. Check out the wonderful original magazine illustrations to go with it!

X-Minus OneA Pail Of Air
Based on the short story by Fritz Leiber; Adapted by George Lefferts; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: NBC
Broadcast: March 28, 1956
Provider: Internet Archive
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The dark star passed, bringing with it eternal night and turning history into incredible myth in a single generation! First published in the December 1951 issue of Galaxy magazine.

Illustrations by Ed Alexander:

A Pail Of Air by illustrated by Ed Alexander

A Pail Of Air by illustrated by Ed Alexander

Posted by Jesse Willis

2 versions of A Pail Of Air up on Zombie Astronaut

April 15, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio 

Online Audio

MP3 webzine - Zombie AstronautThe Zombie Astronaut has again posted up two adaptations of the same script, this time its Fritz Leiber‘s classic short story A Pail Of Air.

Alfred and Effie live on an Earth that has been knocked off it’s orbit and is drifting without the warmth and light of the Sun. The last radio station went off the air a year before their son, Bud was born. They survive in an apartment building, slowly burning what coal they can find to keep warm and keep the air from freezing. Then one day when Bud went out to get a pail of frozen air, he saw a light moving through the building across the way…

WNBC X-Minus One |MP3|
WMUK Special Projects Future Tense |MP3|

Posted by Jesse Willis