The SFFaudio Podcast #245 – The Best of 2013

December 30, 2013 by · 5 Comments
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

TheSFFaudioPodcast600The SFFaudio Podcast #245 – It’s our -The Best of 2013! episode. For it we invited SFFaudio fans, SFFaudio reviewers, and SFFaudio participants to share their listening highlights of 2013. We asked folks to tell us about their favourite audiobook or podcast episode.

If you don’t see your favourites listed below, feel free to add them as a comment. And remember, it needn’t be a podcast or audiobook from 2013, only one you heard in 2013.

And if you leave a comment in the first week (and a way to contact you) you’ll also be eligible for a a FREE PRIZE audiobook mailed to your home (anywhere in the whole universe*)!

Participants:

Bryce L.

Casey Hampton.

Maissa Bessada

Seth Wilson

Paul Weimer

Jenny Colvin

Scott D.

Posted by Jenny Colvin

*Mirror universe inhabitants need not apply

Review of Boy by Roald Dahl

December 22, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

BoyBoy: Tales of Childhood
By Roald Dahl; Read by Dan Stevens
Penguin Audio
[UNABRIDGED] – 3 hours, 11 minutes

Publisher summary:

Where did Roald Dahl get all of his wonderful ideas for stories?

From his own life, of course! As full of excitement and the unexpected as his world-famous, best-selling books, Roald Dahl’s tales of his own childhood are completely fascinating and fiendishly funny. Did you know that Roald Dahl nearly lost his nose in a car accident? Or that he was once a chocolate candy tester for Cadbury’s? Have you heard about his involvement in the Great Mouse Plot of 1924? If not, you don’t yet know all there is to know about Roald Dahl. Sure to captivate and delight you, the boyhood antics of this master storyteller are not to be missed!

At the start of his book, Roald Dahl says, “An autobiography is a book a person writes about his own life, and it usually filled with all sorts of boring details. This is not an autobiography.”

Rather than a straight autobiography, it’s a short collection of some of his most powerful memories of childhood – the good, the scary, the hilarious and mischievous — all revealed with his amazing ability to paint a scene with the most evocative details and to find humor in even the worst situations.

Roald Dahl knows just the right details to capture your imagination and take you back to that feeling of being a kid, when the world is magical and mysterious and kinda gross, and Dan Stevens does a great job of narrating these tales with an engaging, slightly amused tone. Even readers who don’t know Roald Dahl’s books (they do exist: I know one!) would probably enjoy this book just for the trip back to a child’s perspective.

For fans, though, the collection is even more special, because it’s like taking a tour through Roald Dahl’s mind. Although Dahl rarely mentions it, if you know his work you’ll see the inspirations for his later stories and characters all through these anecdotes.

The most obvious one is in his near-religious awe of the candy shop. It promises so much and is so filled with delights, but the woman who works there is frightening and Roald Dahl in his friends come up with all kinds of conspiracy theories about the seeming-magic of some of the candy: for example, they are convinced the licorice shoelaces are made of rat’s blood, and the ‘tonsil ticklers’ candies are saturated with anesthetic to subdue children.

Then there is Mr. Cadbury, who regularly sent Roald Dahl’s family boxes of unidentified new flavors chocolates to taste-test. It’s not hard to see the seeds for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when you hear Roald Dahl’s childhood revelation that, somewhere, there are people working away in inventing rooms to come up with new and amazing flavors of chocolate.

Along with all the more colorful and whimsical stuff are the darker stories of his boyhood, like having doctors turn up with their surgical bags and chloroform to operate right there in the living room, and many awful dealings with bullies of all sizes – but even the most horrid character becomes someone to delight in because of Roald Dahl’s cheerful wit and playful descriptive detail. You’re right there with him when the sheer force of the “foul and beastly” matron’s voice causes that “massive bosom of hers to quiver like a blancmange.”

Posted by Marissa van Uden

Review of Going Solo by Roald Dahl

January 4, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Going SoloGoing Solo
By Roald Dahl; Narrated by Dan Stevens
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Publication Date: 26 September 2013
[UNABRIDGED] – 4 hours, 38 minutes

Themes: / memoir / World War II / RAF / colonialism / growing up / snakes /

Publisher summary:

Going Solo is the action-packed tale of Roald Dahl’s exploits as a World War II pilot. Learn all about his encounters with the enemy, his worldwide travels, the life-threatening injuries he sustained in a plane accident, and the rest of his sometimes bizarre, often unnerving, and always colorful adventures. Told with the same irresistible appeal that has made Roald Dahl one of the world’s best-loved writers, Going Solo brings you directly into the action and into the mind of this fascinating man.

Going Solo is the gripping autobiographical follow-up to Roald Dahl’s Boy. Whereas Boy tells the story of Dahl’s childhood, this speaks of his time in Africa before the war began, and relays his participation in the RAF. Whereas Boy was an odd concoction of heartwarming sadness that kept me smiling throughout its duration, Going Solo is less amusing and more riveting as we, through Dahl’s eyes, witnessed death.

Dahl doesn’t squander his words. He draws vivid images with powerful verbs and bright adjectives. His sparing prose paints these vignettes so true that we squint for the dust, smell the oily flames, and feel the wind pressing us back.

Dan Stevens narrates this wonderful production from Penguin Audio. Stevens, as he did in Boy, becomes the voice of Roald Dahl. Both this production and the reading of Dan Stevens are beyond improvement. Thank you Penguin Audio, and thank you Dan Stevens.

I’m left feeling a profound sense of wonder. I was constantly forced to remind myself “this is true,” “this is not fiction.” We really do see an African lion carry off the cook’s wife. We really do see the illogical and stubborn face of war. I could go on and on. I could try to tell you how much this book deserves your attention. I could try and relate all the wondrous encounters with snakes or Dahl’s solitary conversation with giraffes. But at this point, you have a good sense as to whether you will or won’t read this. I hope you do. I hope you start with Boy and continue with Going Solo.

This may not be as incredible as Boy, but I don’t believe it’s meant to be. Our childhood is a time separated from adulthood, and should retain a special magic free of weighty responsibility. Oh! And you don’t need me to point out the obvious metaphor in “Going Solo” as it pertains to both flight and life, right? Good, I knew you caught that.

Posted by Casey Hampton.