Review of Space Magic by David Levine

September 8, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Space Magic by David D. LevineSpace Magic
By David D. Levine; Read by David D. Levine
Publisher: Book View Café
Publication Date: 25 June 2013
ISBN: 978-1-61138-281-5
[UNABRIDGED] – 7 hours; 56 minutes

Themes: / short stories / interstellar salesman / comic book fantasy / space  magic /

Publisher summary:

This Endeavour Award-winning collection pulls together 15 critically acclaimed science fiction and fantasy stories that take readers from a technicolor cartoon realm to an ancient China that never was, and from an America gone wrong to the very ends of the universe. Including the Hugo Award-winning Tk’Tk’Tk, the Writers of the Future Award winner Rewind, Nucleon, The Tale of the Golden Eagle, and many other highly-praised stories, Space Magic shows David D. Levine’s talents not only as a gifted writer but as a powerful storyteller whose work explores the reaches of space as well as the depths of the human heart.

Space Magic is a collection of short stories by David D. Levine that are either Science Fiction, Fantasy, or some combination of those together. I really enjoyed this short story collection. Short stories in general sometimes feel underdeveloped or trivial, but the stories in this collection each do a great job of introducing a whole new world, what’s going on, and coming to a satisfying conclusion. If you like science fiction or fantasy of any kind, this is a great collection of stories.

Here were some of my more favorite stories:

Nucleon – This was like Mr. Magorium’s wonder imporium at a junkyard. A fun concept and likeable characters.

Zauberschrift – Really cool story about a scribe who used to apprentice with feuding wizards needs to help a village plagued by bad magic. Really cool magic ideas and insights into mob mentality.

Rewind – This story really reminded me of Equilibrium in how you have someone from an elite force of some totalitarian government join in with the rebellion with his super abilities/powers. So many possibilities in this story.

Brotherhood – A great story of the labor force in their struggles with the man that will have you wondering why it’s in this collection for most of the story…(in a good way)

Tk’Tk’Tk – This story takes the problems of a salesman selling to a different culture to the extreme. What if you were an interstellar salesman coping with the cultures of another species you could barely understand?

Charlie the Purple Giraffe Was Acting Strangely – This story is crazy. What happens to comic characters between the cells and between the comics?

The Ecology of Faerie – This story is like Faerie horror. I don’t know how Mr. Levine did it, but he made a Faerie story like Night of the Living dead and it’s awesome!

David D. Levine does his own reading for this book, and does a decent job.

Posted by Tom Schreck

The SFFaudio Podcast #221 – NEW RELEASES/RECENT ARRIVALS

July 15, 2013 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: New Releases, Podcasts, Recent Arrivals 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #221 – Jesse and Jenny talk about audiobook NEW RELEASES and RECENT ARRIVALS.

Talked about on today’s podcast:
“Spaaaaaaaaace and Military Sci-Fi and Aliens”, Humans by Matt Haig, Mark Meadows, Simon & Schuster Audio, Publisher’s Weekly, Jenny is a librarian, Douglas Adams, The Radleys, Boo Radley’s family?, The Simpsons Futurama Crossover Crisis, Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Red Dwarf, Atticus Finch, To Kill A Mockingbird, a whole pile of stereotypes, Space Magic by David D. Levine, Tk’tk’tk, Escape Pod, aliens, Ancient China, Rewind, The Tale Of The Golden Eagle, are author collections more rare these days?, Charley The Purple Giraffe Was Acting Strangely, Twitter authority, Jenny’s stereotypical powers, “Classic/Epic/Traditional Fantasy (swords! magic! etc!)”, unclothed unicorns, A Discourse In Steel by Paul S. Kemp, Nick Podehl, Angry Robot, Brilliance Audio, Bryce L., Jenny’s fault!, Elisha Barber by E.C. Ambrose, James Clamp, terpkristin, historical epic fantasy, a biblical name, the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons = Doctor -> to Mr., Ms., or Mrs., The Coming Of The Ice by G. Peyton Wertenbaker, urban fantasy, Cast In Shadow by Michelle Sagara, Khristine Hvam, “something is stirring again”, “vaunted”, Gameboard Of The Gods by Richelle Mead, Emily Shaffer, Penguin Audio, Dawn V., Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace, ONAN, The United States of North America, H20 (TV miniseries), a crime novel set in the future, steampunk, Romulus Buckle & the City of the Founders by Richard Ellis Preston, Jr., Luke Daniels, Springheeld Jack, fun names, do we have aliens in steampunk?, high-octane steampunk?, Rose Davis, cyberpunk, post-humans, robots, iD (Machine Dynasty #2) by Madeline Ashby, Luke Daniels, self-replicating human robots must have rights too!, The Year’s Top Ten Tales of Science Fiction 5 edited by Allan Kaster, Tom Dheere, Nancy Linari, Dara Rosenberg, Infinivox, Invisible Men by Christopher Barzak, Close Encounters by Andy Duncan, Bricks, Sticks, Straw by Gwyneth Jones, Arbeitskraft by Nick Mamatas, The Man by Paul McAuley, Nahiku West by Linda Nagata, Tyche And The Ants by Hannu Rajaniemi, Katabasis by Robert Reed, The Contrary Gardener by Christopher Rowe, Scout by Bud Sparhawk, katabasis as a trip to the underworld, Carniepunk by Rachel Caine, Rob Thurman, Kevin Hearne, Seanan McGuire, Jennifer Estep, Allison Pang, Kelly Gay, Delilah S. Dawson, Kelly Meding, Candace Thaxton, Kirby Heyborne, Simon & Schuster, Sweeney Todd, carnival themed, Joyland by Stephen King, Like Water For Elephants, The Night Circus, The Boys In The Boat: Nine Americans And Their Epic Quest For Gold At The 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown, Edward Herrman (the grandpa on Gilmore Girls), At The Mountains Of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft, Charlie Chan At The Olympics, Mary Lou Retton, Doctor Jekyll And Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, Wayne June, Algernon Blackwood, William Hope Hodgson, Jesse thinks Wayne June is awesome, not scary but chilling, Neonomicon by Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows, Jenny hates censorship!, a horrifying book, Mike Bennett’s narration of The Shadow Over Innsmouth, this horrible wonderful book, necessary but not shown, From Hell, Johnny Depp, Jack The Ripper, Watchmen, what would that do to our world?, The Fall (TV miniseries), Gillian Anderson, Dexter, Breaking the Fourth Panel: Neonomicon and the Comic Book Frame, don’t look under the bed, angry reviews, Alan Moore is working on a new comic book series set in Providence and with H.P. Lovecraft as the main character, The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories by H.P. Lovecraft (edited by S.T. Joshi), A Good Story Is Hard To Find, The Dunwich Horror, ragged end paper?, Classic Tales Of Vampires And Shapeshifters, Mileskelly.net, The Horla by Guy de Maupassant, The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, Ghosted, Image Comics, WWW: Watch by Robert J. Sawyer, Luke Burrage’s Science Fiction Book Review Podcast, inaudible audioboks from Audible!, podcasts have had this problem, the cost of not proof listening an audiobook or podcast is multiplied by its number of listeners, how many new audiobooks have been published through Audible Frontiers, unnecessary info-dumping, The Ocean At The End Of The Lane by Neil Gaiman, self-identity, Among Others by Jo Walton, statue wedding, performing as a living statue, Viking Boy, Mike Vendetti, new short audiobooks, Science Fiction: A Very Short Introduction by David Seed, Brian Holsopple, “Lit Crit Punk”, how we got Rabkin, The Great Courses are now on Audible.com, TheGreatCourses.com, the popularity of MOOCs, Eric loves fairy tales, no homework!, Heartburn by Nora Ephron, Meryl Streep, thanks Eric!

Ghosted

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Wild Cards edited by George R. R. Martin

July 31, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Wild Cards edited by George R. R. MartinWild Cards (Wild Cards #1)
Edited by George R. R. Martin; Read by Luke Daniels
19 hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: November 2011
ISBN: 9781455833009
Themes: / alternate history / superpowers / alien virus / superhero / urban fantasy / science fiction / horror /

Publisher Summary:

In the aftermath of WWII, an alien virus struck the Earth, endowing a handful of survivors with extraordinary powers. Originally published in 1987, the newly expanded saga contains additional original stories by eminent writers.

The stories contained in the audiobook are:
“Prologue” by George R. R. Martin
“Thirty Minutes Over Broadway!” by Howard Waldrop
“The Sleeper” by Roger Zelazny
“Witness” by Walter Jon Williams
“Degradation Rites” by Melinda Snodgrass
“Captain Cathode and the Secret Ace” by Michael Cassutt
“Powers” by David D. Levine
“Shell Games” by George R. R. Martin
“The Long, Dark Night of Fortunato” by Lewis Shiner
“Transfigurations” by Victor Milán
“Down Deep” by Edward Bryant and Leanne C. Harper
“Strings” by Stephen Leigh
“Ghost Girl Takes Manhattan” by Carrie Vaughn
“Comes a Hunter” by John J. Miller

There are also a variety of “Interludes” in between the stories, which are short bits mostly written in the form of newspaper or magazine articles or first-hand witness accounts. These interludes are often used to bridge the narrative with real events from US history, to provide the reader with insight as to the feelings in this “alternate history” type world.

Generally, this is a story of the effects of an alien virus on humanity between the time shortly following World War II through the late 70’s/early 80’s. The virus was brought to earth by aliens from a planet called Takis. It was developed as a device to give Takisians superpowers to be used as a part of large-scale family wars on Takis. The aliens wanted to test it, so sought to release it on Earth, as humans are genetically very similar to Takisians. “Prologue” introduces us to an alien who is called (by the humans, as his name is not well-suited to human speech) Dr. Tachyon and the “Wild Cards” virus. Dr. Tachyon is also a Takisian, but tried to prevent the release of the virus on Earth. “Prologue” sets the scene and tone for the world of the book. It also provides an insight into Dr. Tachyon’s values: he doesn’t ask first for the President of the US, he instead asks for the top scientists and thinkers. This is an obvious nod by George R. R. Martin to those who have true powers in the US.

“Thirty Minutes Over Broadway!” tells the story of Jet Boy, an American superhero, and the release of the Wild Cards virus over Manhattan in September, 1946. Jet Boy is a true hero, an all-American kid who came back from fighting in World War II with a superhero story of his ace flying abilities. He is the only superhero in the book who wasn’t a superhero because of the virus, but because of his innate abilities and selflessness. In a theme that becomes common through the book, the reader is reminded that a hero is a hero because of what they do, not because of their skills. Jet Boy tries—and fails—to stop the virus from being released.

The virus is brutal. It only impacts humans, with no effects on other species. It kills most of its victims, but those who survive (only about a tenth of those exposed to the virus) are not left unscathed. Through the rest of the book, the reader is introduced to various people impacted by the virus. The first stories tell mainly of “Aces,” those who get super powers from the virus (usually in the form of telekinesis and/or greatly enhanced physical abilities. Later, the reader is introduced to the concept of “Jokers,” who become horribly deformed due to the virus. The first interlude presents the concept of “Deuces,” those who get an “ace-like” ability that is not particularly useful, like “Mr. Rainbow,” whose ability is to change the color of his skin.

The narrative takes the reader through time: each story is a snapshot of a period in US history and provides a sort of “alternate history” of how that time may have been different if there had been these Aces and Jokers were around. Some of the early stories, taking place during the era of HUAC and McCarthyism, show how the aces became subjects of witch hunts and were forced into service in the US military or intelligence agencies. Jokers are looked upon as second-class beings, a theme that plays a large role during the stories set in the 60’s and 70’s, mirroring the US Civil Rights Movement. Some of the stories are sad, such as “The Sleeper” and “Witness.” Some are a bit more uplifting and triumphant, such as “Shell Games.” A lot of the stories, especially the later ones, become a bit creepy, with people using their powers for selfish reasons, as in “Strings.”

All in all, Wild Cards serves as an interesting statement on humanity through the guise of a “what if” scenario. All of the stories are eminently believable—at no time did anything that happened seem overwhelmingly unlikely. To some extent, that’s a bit of a sad statement on humanity—as the book goes on, aces and jokers alike seem to be only interested in helping themselves, looking out for their own (often misguided) interests.

The narration, done by Luke Daniels, was pretty good in the audiobook. He had a good speed and good intonation for most of the characters, and it was easy to tell each character apart. As often happens with male narrators trying to do female voices, some of the females sounded whiny, but it wasn’t so over the top so as to be unlistenable. After listening to this narration, I’ll be keeping Luke Daniels on my radar when looking at audiobooks.

Personally, I preferred the stories in the first half of the book to those in the second half. In the second half, the stories got quite a bit darker, more creepy and violent. After the strong lead-in with the Prologue and “Thirty Minutes Over Broadway,” I quite enjoyed the origin stories and the weaving-in of events in US history. As the book progressed, the stories didn’t seem quite as engaging—for one, I actually repeatedly fell asleep while listening, and ended up having rewind and re-listen to some of the others. There was also one story that was too graphic both in terms of sex and violence for me, “The Long, Dark Night of Fortunato” by Lewis Shiner. By the end, I wasn’t interested in more stories of people serving their own interests. There are other books in the series, which I have heard are more like the stories at the end of the book—I’m not sure that they’ll be for me. But I enjoyed this anthology well enough and would recommend it to others interested in a cross of science fiction, general fiction, and horror genres.

Review by terpkristin

The SFFaudio Podcast #049

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #049 – Jesse and Scott talk about recent arrivals, new releases, audiobooks, podcasts and plenty more!

Talked about on today’s show:
SFFaudio.com is 7 years old, So I Married An Axe Murder, San Fransisco, California, Alcatraz, recent arrivals, Brilliance Audio, military SF, Fearless: The Lost Fleet Book 2 by Jack Campbell, space opera, Gene Roddenberry‘s Andromeda, Buck Rogers, Live Free or Die: book 1 in the Troy Rising series by John Ringo, Paperback Digital, Cally’s War by John Ringo and Julie Cochrane |READ OUR REVIEW|, John Ringo can give his books away and sell books too, Time’s Eye: A Time Odyssey Book 1 by Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter, it’s not a sequel it’s an “othrquel“, time is orthogonal to space (in relativity theory), Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke, benevolent aliens, malevolent aliens, H.P. Lovecraft, The Eternal Wall by Raymond Z. Gallun, LibriVox, Gregg Margarite, time travel, Blackstone Audio, Identity Theft by Robert J. Sawyer, Mars, consciousness uploading/downloading, Treason by Orson Scott Card, A Planet Called Treason by Orson Scott Card, Stefan Rudnicki, Spider Robinson, Melancholy Elephants by Spider Robinson |READ OUR REVIEW|, copyright, copyfight, the philosophy of art, The Graveyard Book |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling, Harry Potter, The Dark Is Rising, A Wizard Of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin, ripping off Heinlein is legit when you are Spider Robinson, Friday by Robert A. Heinlein, new releases, Wonder Audio, The Men Return & Worlds Of Origin by Jack Vance, Brilliance Audio, The Songs Of Dying Earth: Stories In Honor Of Jack Vance, Gene Wolfe, The Book Of The New Sun by Gene Wolfe, David D. Levine, Tk’Tk’Tk’ by David D. Levine, The Moon Moth by Jack Vance |READ OUR REVIEW|, Suldrun’s Garden, The Green Pearl, Madouc by Jack Vance, Swimming Kangaroo Books, Need For Magic by Joseph Swope, BBC Audiobooks America, Great Classic Science Fiction: Eight Unabridged Stories, Forgotten Classics podcast talks James Gunn’s The Road To Science Fiction series, paperback book bags, A Game Of Thrones coming to HBO, A Game Of Thrones by George R.R. Martin |READ OUR REVIEW|, Roy Dotrice, John Lee, Shogun (the TV miniseries), FlashForward, Stephen King’s Storm Of The Century, 1408, Scott’s Pick Of The Week: Steve, The First by Matt Watts |READ OUR REVIEW|, @ the CBC store, radio drama, post apocalypse, humor, Canadia: 2056 |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Hitch-hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, Jesse’s Pick Of The Week: The Chronicles Of Solomon Kane, Roy Thomas, Howard Chaykin, Robert E. Howard, The Iliad, Ralph Macchio, Red Shadows by Robert E. Howard, religion, Solomon Kane, The Punisher.

Posted by Jesse Willis

ADDED: an AUTHOR PAGE for DAVID D. LEVINE

May 18, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

David D. LevineJust added to our AUTHOR PAGES is an all new section on DAVID D. LEVINE. Levine is an up and coming SF and Fantasy author who I highly recommend you check out. To make that easier I’ve added a HuffDuffer feed for his writings (there’s also a 2007 podcast interview with him in there too).

|AUTHOR’S WEBSITE| – |AUTHOR’S BLOG|

Podcast Feed:
http://huffduffer.com/jessewillis/tags/david_d._levine/rss

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

Posted by Jesse Willis

The Agony Column Features Nick Mamatas and David Levine from SF in SF

September 22, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

The Agony Column The Agony Column has a couple of new recordings from the recent SF in SF:

Nick Mamatas reading |MP3|

David Levine reading |MP3|

Terry Bisson, Nick Mamatas, and David Levine panel discussion |MP3|

You can subscribe to the feed at this URL:

http://trashotron.com/agony/indexes/tac_podcast.xml

Posted by Charles Tan

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