Recent Arrivals: Warriors (Volume 2) edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois

May 30, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Recent Arrivals 

SFFaudio Recent Arrivals

Brilliance Audio sent us this audiobook: Warriors 2 (aka Warriors Volume 2) edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois – 9 CDs, 10 Hours 45 Minutes, UNABRIDGED.

This audiobook is titled Warriors 2 on the box, and titled Warriors: Volume 2 in the narration. Either way it’s a collection of seven novelettes, novellas and short stories. The readers are Patrick Lawlor and Christina Traister.

Brilliance Audio - Warriors 2 edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois

It’d be hard to tell which stories are included in the collection from a quick look at the packaging, but they are there, buried in the miniature copyright text at the bottom left of the back:

Brilliance Audio - Warriors 2 (BACK) edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois

And, as is all too typical with audiobook releases of collections, once yopu’ve opened it up the discs themselves don’t help either – none of them say anything about which story can be found on which disc. Which is where your friendly neighbourhood SFFaudio comes in…

Disc 1:
Track 2: Introduction: Stories From The Spinner Rack by George R.R. Martin – Read by Patrick Lawlor
Track 4: Seven Years From Home by Naomi Novik – Read by Christina Traister

Disc 2:
Track 7: Dirae by Peter S. Beagle – Read by Christina Traister

Disc 3:
Track 5: Ancient Ways by S.M. Stirling – Read by Patrick Lawlor

Disc 4:
Track 7: The Scroll by David Ball – Read by Patrick Lawlor

Disc 5:
Track 8: Recidivist by Gardner Dozois – Read by Patrick Lawlor

Disc 6:
Track 3: Ninieslando by Howard Waldrop – Read by Patrick Lawlor
Track 12: Out Of The Dark by David Weber – Read by Patrick Lawlor

Posted by Jesse Willis

TWIT’s Security Now podcast science fiction episode

February 7, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Usually the Security Now podcast covers the latest stress-inducing security holes in Windows, Flash, Acrobat, and Java.  But at the end of last December in episode 333 Steve Gibson devoted an episode to his favorite science fiction.  He started with some movies:  This Island Earth, Forbidden Planet, and The Day The Earth Stood Still.  But most of the episode covered books, and Steve has good taste and likes Hard SF.  He started with Asimov’s Robot mystery novels, beginning with The Caves Of Steel.  His favorite Larry Niven is Protector, but The Mote In God’s Eye was ok too.  He also enjoyed Fred Saberhagen’s Berserker series.

And I actually learned about Peter F. Hamilton from him: the Mandel Series, the Night’s Dawn series (huge), Fallen Dragon (standalone novel), and the Pandora’s Star/Judas Unchained duology.

Next came an independent author who sells from his own site, Michael McCollum at scifi-az.com.  Michael has the Antares series and the Gibralter series.  Someone told me to check out his 1st 2 books from the 80’s.  There’s also The Sails Of Tau Ceti.  Some free short stories are available.  There’s no audiobooks unfortunately (an opportunity for someone?), unless you count some computer generated audio files.

Steve also mentioned Jack Campbell’s Lost Fleet series, Graham Sharp Paul’s Helfort’s War series, David Weber’s Honor Harrington series, Greg Bear’s Eon, and Gregory Benford’s Galactic Center saga.

Feed:  http://leo.am/podcasts/sn

MP3: http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/aolradio.podcast.aol.com/sn/sn0333.mp3

Posted by Tamahome

Review of Out of the Dark by David Weber

October 25, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Science fiction audiobook - Out of the Dark by David WeberOut of the Dark
By David Weber; Read by Charles Keating
17 hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Published: 2011
Themes: / Science Fiction / Military / Aliens / Alien invasion / Historical /

No one would have believed in the early years of the 15th Century that human affairs were being watched from the orbiting ships of the Galactic Hegemony’s Survey Force. No-one could have dreamed that we were being scrutinised as the French and English forces advanced towards each other across the field of Agincourt. Few men even considered the possibility of life more vegetarian than ours and yet, from their survey ships, minds immeasurably more craven than ours, regarded this Earth with horrified revulsion. And slowly and surely, they drew their plans against us.

David Weber attempts to take the traditional alien invasion and add an unusual twist. The twist, unfortunately, isn’t brought to fruition until very nearly the end of the book, where it clangs into place more like a late addition, a Deus Ex Machina.

Out of the Dark starts as a typical alien invasion: ships arrive in-system, observe us for a while to find where the big cities and military bases are, then strike them from orbit. Wipeout the majority of the population and then attempt to sweep in to rule over the cowering survivors. Shock and Awe. Unsurprisingly the aliens discover how tenacious we humans are. They struggle to comprehend why we are unhappy about having half the population of Earth wiped out in an afternoon. Is there something wrong with us? Are we not civilised?

In the Galactic Hegemony vegetarianism is the norm for intelligent star-faring races. Omnivores and carnivores being too aggressive to develop the required technological base required to reach the stars without wiping themselves out. There is one exception to this rule, the Shongairi, and they make the other races in the Hegemony nervous just by existing. So, in an attempt to weaken the Shongairi, the Hegemony grant them the right to colonise three other worlds, including one discovered some 500 years before. A world that also has the pacifistic Hegemony worried.

According to the Colonisation rules of the Hegemony, any race that has not advanced enough technologically are fair game to be colonised. Naturally their assumption is that Earth, being populated by a crazy race that commits such bloodthirsty battles as that observed at Agincourt five centuries earlier, will still be very low on their technology scale. The Shongairi are then somewhat surprised to find that we have developed so far as we have, indeed possessing some technologies that rival their own. We may still be trapped upon our home planet, but we have advanced computer technology and encryption techniques that make them think we should really be classed at a level where we would be granted a protected status. Considering the expense of the time and resources involved in the launch this offensive, the Shongairi Commander decides to sweep that data under the carpet and hope that no-one notices. Bombing us back to the stone-age to hide the evidence if necessary. And thus the invasion goes ahead and half the world’s population is lost to a kinetic bombardment.

The novel follows several characters, although most are expended showing how effective our weaponry is against an alien ground force that expected to face nothing more advanced than a bow and arrow. They are expended in that they demonstrate, repeatedly, that the Shongairi react with overwhelming orbital strikes. This pattern repeats several times through out the book and does become a little tedious.

The Shongairi alien nature is basically that of a predatory pack animal, almost canine in nature. Their philosophy is that when faced with an overwhelming opponent you surrender. That humans refuse to acknowledge the Shongairi’s superiority confuses them. This mentality reminded me a lot of the elephant-like aliens from Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle’s Footfall from the ’80’s.

The characters include Master Sergeant Stephen Buchevsky who finds himself a passenger on a military cargo plane flying over Eastern Europe when the aliens strike and his plane is force to make a crash landing. With only a handfull of other US personnel from the plane he begins gathering locals around him as he becomes their protector. He joins up with a local group who’s charismatic leader seems to be too friendly, helpful and successful at defending against the Shongairi. Buchevsky is a gee-shucks hero doing the best he can.

One of the other main characters is Dave Dvorak. Or, as I think of him, Dave “Mary Sue” Dvorak. Dvorak is one of the most prepared people to hide out in the Carolina hills, in what reads like a palatial cabin with his family and friends. Although he actually does very little plot-wise he becomes a middle-man for lots of other survivors in the area and through these contacts we hear about much of what is happening in the world. When we aren’t watching sacrificial attacks against Shongairi troops. We do get to hear in excruciating detail how, over the previous few years, he and his brother-in-law converted a family cabin in the woods into a home away from home, complete with redundant power generators, hidden food and weapon caches and a huge underground fresh water tank.

We are also shown the invasion from the alien’s perspective. Much of their emotions are expressed in the positioning and twitching of their ears, reinforcing the K-9 impression that their omnivore and pack nature suggests. There is almost no physical description of them, that I remember, beyond this.

The cover blurb talks of the survivors receiving help from an “old enemy”. I’m not going to spoil this aspect of the book, although I guessed it just from reading the blurb and was actually looking forward to it. Other readers have claimed to have been blind-sided by it. I can see why, but only if they simply hadn’t read the book cover. It is not a genre I’m aware Weber has written in before. I was disappointed with the execution of this aspect. The surprise element doesn’t feel integrated into the book as a whole. It really felt like the story had originally been written without it, then realising that he had dug a hole too deep for humanity to get out of, he had to go back and add this in to tip the scales in our favour. The conclusion wraps up very quickly; like a TV series been told they are being cancelled and only have two episodes to wrap everything up. Or he got bored with the story and wanted to finish it and move on to something else.

And yet, this is not the worst aspect of this book for me. I have also been listening to Weber’s Safehold series, but have abandoned it after the third book, in large part due to this flaw. Weber has started writing massive monologues for many of his characters that run on for tens of minutes at a time. They are both internal and external discourses where the characters go into minute detail about what has already happened, their current position, beliefs, expectations and plans. Two or three times per book I could swallow, but this feels like it is becoming Weber’s go-to method of filling out a scene. They feel completely unnatural, especially when it is one character talking at another. In some situations this would be okay, a specific character who was prone to this sort of thing, or that the situation called for the character to speak for such an extended time, without any apparent aide-memoire or time to prepare. Even if it helped to move the plot on quickly, I might be tempted to forgive it, but it seldom does. It is often a repeat of information we already know, explained from the current character’s slightly different perspective. Yet not actually adding anything to the story other than word count. Unfortunately any interruption to my listen during one of these monologues meant that when I returned I had no little or no idea who was talking. I could eventually infer who was talking, after a few minutes, based on the geography and names of characters they mentioned, but seldom from how the character spoke. Neither the writing nor unfortunately the narration had enough colour when it came to most of the character voices.

The narrator, Charles Keating, does well with most of the book, especially the alien lisping Shongairi. Unfortunately he too struggles to bring life into Weber’s indigestible, interminable speeches.

This had the potential to be an interesting hybrid of genres, but really feels like something bolted on at the end. Weber’s editor needs to get tough with him and curtail those endless monologues.

Posted by Paul [W] Campbell

The SFFaudio Podcast #128

October 3, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: New Releases, Podcasts, Recent Arrivals 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #128 – Scott, Jesse, Tamahome and Luke Burrage talk about recently arrived audiobooks, new releases and more.

Talked about on today’s show:
Germline by T.C. McCarthy, Russia vs. United States, Kazakhstan, Blackstone Audio, Hannah, Finland, unapologetic fairy tale imagery, Brothers Grimm, Tama is a sucker for girls who kick ass, Kick-Ass, Bourne Identity, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Firefly, Full Cast Audio, Tunnel In The Sky by Robert A. Heinlein, interplanetary survival course, “Rod Walker, as Heinlein Intended“, Ozzy in Pandora’s Star by Peter F. Hamilton, Between Planets, Space Cadet, Perseus by Geraldine, Hercules, Odyssey, Magic Steps by Tamora Pierce, young adult books, The City And The Stars, abstracting the voices of the characters, Jesse enthuses about Full Cast Audio’s format, Blackstone Audio, Downward To Earth by Robert Silveberg (it draws from Heart Of Darkness, The Secret Sharer by Robert Silverberg, The Secret Sharer by Joseph Conrad, “the heart of lightness”, The Hidden by Jessica Verday, The Hidden (movie) with Kyle MacLachlan, The Hollow, The Haunted, supernatural/romance/YA, “maybe Jenny can take up the lance”, Macmillan Audio, How Firm A Foundation by David Weber, On Basilisk Station, “Steve Gibson loves it”, George R.R. Martin, the Writing Excuses podcast, I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells, “it’s very tempting to kill everyone”, Star Wars: Heir To The Empire by Timothy Zahn (20th Anniversary Edition), Mark Thompson, Splinter Of The Mind’s Eye (Luke and Leia get married), the Han Solo novels, Michael A. Stackpole, Star Trek novelizations vs. Star Wars novelizations, Wookipedia, perhaps Lucas was lucky and not talented, Leigh Brackett, Lawrence Kasdan, Stories Of The Golden Age: The Tramp and Shadows From Boothill, Jenny is late, War Of The Worlds by H.G. Wells, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury, The Island Of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells, Moxyland by Lauren Beukes, Zoo City, South Africa, China Miéville audiobooks flood audible, Iain M. Banks, Audible Frontiers vs. Audible Ltd., Ready Player One sounds like nostalgia not SF, everybody who wears spandex and legwarmers likes Ready Player One, the Gweek podcast, virtual world, Daemon by Daniel Suarez, Blackstone Audio, The Ringworld Engineers, To Sail Beyond The Sunset by Robert A. Heinlein, Origin Of The Species by Charles Darwin, Recorded Books, Amnesia Moon by Jonathan Lethem, Lawrence Block audiobooks, Hard Case Crime, Getting Off by Jill Emerson (Lawrence Block), AudioGo, Such Men Are Dangerous by Lawrence Block, The Specialists, Coward’s Kiss, You Could Call It Murder, Small Town, Paul Kavanagh, Michael Crichton, Eaters Of The Dead, Smoke by Donald E. Westlake, The Comedy Is Finished by Donald E. Westlake, Psycho by Robert Bloch, Stand On Zanzibar by John Brunner, Luke’s novel Minding Tomorrow, does Stand On Zanzibar have a cylindrical structure?, long stuff tends to be crappy, Luke is on Audible’s platinum plan, Spin by Robert Charles Wilson, Courtney Brown’s Science Fiction And Politics podcast, Spellwright by Blake Charlton, spell errors?, “as you well know…”, Flashforward by Robert J. Sawyer, The Swarm by Frank Schatzing, Beyond This Horizon by Robert A. Heinlein, tie-in novels, Dan Abnett’s Warmhammer 40,000: Horus Heresy series, Black Library, “a fist the size of a baked ham”, Jesse’s meta review of Luke’s meta review of Sword Of The Lichtor by Gene Wolfe, Halting State by Charles Stross, Luke’s pick of the week: Monty Python’s The Life Of Brian, Jesus’ final words on the cross, Jesse’s pick of the week: Invincible Ultimate Edition Volume 1 written by Robert Kirkman, Ed Brubaker, Gregg Rucka, Scott’s pick of the week: Declare by Tim Powers, On Stranger Tides, is Declare idea fiction?, Kim Philby, Tamahome’s pick of the week: The Mote In God’s Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle.

Invincible Ultimate Collection Volume 1

Posted by Jesse Willis

Recent Arrival: How Firm A Foundation by David Weber

September 12, 2011 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Recent Arrivals 

SFFaudio Recent Arrivals

Science Fiction Audiobook - How Firm a Foundation by David WeberHow Firm a Foundation
By David Weber; Read by Charles Keating
29 hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Published: 2011

Book 5 of the SAFEHOLD series.

The Charisian Empire, born in war, has always known it must fight for its very survival. What most of its subjects don’t know even now, however, is how much more it’s fighting for. Emperor Cayleb, Empress Sharleyan, Merlin Athrawes, and their innermost circle of most trusted advisers do know. And because they do, they know the penalty if they lose will be far worse than their own deaths and the destruction of all they know and love.

For five years, Charis has survived all the Church of God Awaiting and the corrupt men who control it have thrown at the island empire. The price has been high and paid in blood. Despite its chain of hard-fought naval victories, Charis is still on the defensive. It can hold its own at sea, but if it is to survive, it must defeat the Church upon its own ground. Yet how does it invade the mainland and take the war to a foe whose population outnumbers its own fifteen to one? How does it prevent that massive opponent from rebuilding its fleets and attacking yet again?

Charis has no answer to those questions, but needs to find one…quickly. The Inquisition’s brutal torture and hideous executions are claiming more and more innocent lives. Its agents are fomenting rebellion against the only mainland realms sympathetic to Charis. Religious terrorists have been dispatched to wreak havoc against the Empire’s subjects. Assassins stalk the Emperor and Empress, their allies and advisers, and an innocent young boy, not yet eleven years old, whose father has already been murdered. And Merlin Athrawes, the cybernetic avatar of a young woman a thousand years dead, has finally learned what sleeps beneath the far-off Temple in the Church of God Awaiting’s city of Zion.

The men and women fighting for human freedom and tolerance have built a foundation for their struggle in the Empire of Charis with their own blood, but will that foundation be firm enough to survive?

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Recent Arrivals: Eloquent Voice, Blackstone Audio, Macmillan Audio, Penguin Audio

November 1, 2010 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Recent Arrivals 

SFFaudio Recent Arrivals

Hey folks! Here’s a new batch of audiobooks, fresh from the publishers. It’s amazing really, wonderous! These missives were written, transcribed, recorded, digitized, burned, stamped, mailed, opened, scanned, emailed and then posted. All for one “recent arrivals” post!

Here’s the first in Andre Norton’s redoubtable “Forerunner” series…

ELOQUENT VOICE - The Time Traders by Andre NortonThe Time Traders
By Andre Norton; Read by William Coon
OverDrive Download – Approx. 6 Hours 50 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Eloquent Voice
Published: November 1, 2010
ISBN: 9780983089803
‘To anyone who glanced casually inside the detention room the young man sitting there did not seem very formidable…unless one was observant enough to note those light-gray eyes and catch a chilling, measuring expression showing now and then for an instant in their depths.’ The young man in question, Ross Murdock, is about to embark upon the adventure of his life. In order to avoid prosecution, he reluctantly joins Operation Retrograde, whose members are exploring various time periods. Their goal? To find out where – and when – the ‘Reds’ are obtaining certain scientific breakthroughs, in order to maintain the balance of global power. An outsider in his own time, Ross becomes an outsider in other times as well, and faces one challenge after another. Will he succeed? Or will he inadvertently alter time forever?

The Disney movie, John Carter of Mars, is supposed to be based on the first three novels in this series. We best better buckle-in for audiobooks now, lest we be overwhelmed by the giant four-armed green ads for the video version!

A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice BurroughsA Princess of Mars (Book One Of The Martian Series)
By Edgar Rice Burroughs; Read by William Dufris
6 CDs – Approx. 7.5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: July 15, 2010
ISBN: 9781441718662
Ex–Confederate Army captain John Carter finds himself suddenly and unwittingly transported to Mars while fleeing Apache Indians. This new world is populated by a race of monstrous Martians whose culture is based on the ability to fight for their race. Captured by the savage green men of Thark, John discovers that the gravitational difference between Mars and Earth has endowed him with the strength that he will need for survival on this hostile planet. He battles ferocious Martian creatures and gains the respect and friendship of the Barsoomians. Along the way he encounters the beautiful Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium, and earns her everlasting devotion.

I reviewed the first book in the Larry Niven/Edward M. Lerner series, Fleet Of Worlds |READ OUR REVIEW|, back in 2008…

Betrayer of Worlds by Larry Niven and Edward M. LernerBetrayer Of Worlds (Fleet of Worlds Series, Book 4)
By Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner; Read by Tom Weiner
8 CDs – Approx. 9.3 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: October 2010
ISBN: 9781441761408
Since fleeing the supernova chain reaction at the galactic core, the cowardly Puppeteers of the Fleet of Worlds have—just barely—survived one crisis after another: the rebellion of their human slaves, the relentless questing of the species of Known Space, the spectacular rise of the starfish-like Gw’oth, the onslaught of the genocidal Pak. Now fresh disaster looms, as though past crises have returned and converged. Who can possibly save the Fleet this time?

While Blackstone Audio has been busily re-recording many of the Miles Vorkosigan books, many had been previously recorded by the now defunct The Reader’s Chair), this one is wholly and entirely new, and has never before been audiobooked…

Cryoburn by Lois McMaster BujoldCryoburn (A Miles Vorkosigan Adventure)
By Lois McMaster Bujold; Read by Grover Gardner
9 CDs – Approx. 10.5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: October 2010
ISBN: 9781441747464
Kibou-daini is a planet obsessed with cheating death. Barrayaran Imperial Auditor Miles Vorkosigan can hardly disapprove—he’s been cheating death his whole life, on the theory that turnabout is fair play. But when a Kibou-daini cryocorp—an immortal company whose job it is to shepherd its all-too-mortal frozen patrons into an unknown future—attempts to expand its franchise into the Barrayaran Empire, Emperor Gregor dispatches his top troubleshooter, Miles, to check it out. On Kibou-daini, Miles discovers generational conflict over money and resources is heating up, even as refugees displaced in time skew the meaning of “generation” past repair. Here he finds a young boy with a passion for pets and a dangerous secret, a Snow White trapped in an icy coffin who burns to rewrite her own tale, and a mysterious crone who is the very embodiment of the warning “Don’t mess with the secretary.” Bribery, corruption, conspiracy, kidnapping—something is rotten on Kibou-daini, and it isn’t due to power outages in the Cryocombs. And Miles is in the middle—of trouble!

Here’s the follow up to First Drop Of Crimson, if the title pattern continues I’d expect that a future book in the series might be Temporary Tatoo Of Blue – or something to that effect…

Eternal Kiss of Darkness by Jeaniene FrostEternal Kiss of Darkness (The Night Huntress World Series, Book 2)
By Jeaniene Frost; Read by Tavia Gilbert
9 CDs – Approx. 10.5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: September 2010
ISBN: 9781441773357
An immortal war has been brewing in the darkness … and now one woman has stumbled into the shadows. Chicago private investigator Kira Graceling should have just kept on walking. But her sense of duty refused to let her ignore the moans of pain coming from inside a warehouse just before dawn. Suddenly she finds herself in a world she’s only imagined in her worst nightmares. At the center is Mencheres, a breathtaking Master vampire who thought he’d seen it all. Then Kira appears—this fearless, beautiful human who braved death to rescue him. Though he burns for her, keeping Kira in his world means risking her life. Yet sending her away is unthinkable. With danger closing in, Mencheres must choose either the woman he craves or embracing the darkest magic to defeat an enemy bent on his eternal destruction.

It seems like there’s a new book in this series every full moon now…

Overwinter by David WellingtonOverwinter (The Werewolf Tales Book 3)
By David Wellington; Read by Tai Sammons
9 CDs – Approx. 10.5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: October 2010
ISBN: 9781441751065
In this stand-alone continuation of the tale begun in Frostbite, horror star David Wellington delivers another gripping werewolf tale in which heroine Chey is once again forced to fight for her own humanity. Overwinter opens as protagonist Chey, bitten by a werewolf and cursed to live out eternity as a monster, prowls the Arctic Circle on the trail of an ancient secret, the one thing that could remove the lycanthropic curse and make her human again. As she hunts for an answer, she realizes that with every passing day the wolf inside her is becoming stronger and her humanity is slipping away. Meanwhile, another werewolf arrives, an evil centuries-old woman, bent on sabotaging Chey’s quest and stealing away the one thing that’s still important to her.

I wonder how this would compare with David Moody’s Hater |READ OUR REVIEW|? I love the cover…

Patient Zero by Jonathan MaberryPatient Zero: A Joe Ledger Novel, Book 1
By Jonathan Maberry; Read by Ray Porter
12 CDs – Approx. 14.2 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: October 2010
From multiple Bram Stoker Award-winning author Jonathan Maberry comes a major new thriller that combines the best of the New York Times bestselling books World War Z by Max Brooks and James Rollins’s Sigma Force Series to kick off the start of a new series featuring Joe Ledger and the Department of Military Sciences. When you have to kill the same terrorist twice in one week there’s either something wrong with your world or something wrong with your skills—and there’s nothing wrong with Joe Ledger’s skills. And that’s both a good and a bad thing. It’s good because he’s a Baltimore detective who has just been secretly recruited by the government to lead a new task force created to deal with the problems that Homeland Security can’t handle. This rapid-response group is called the Department of Military Sciences, or the DMS for short. It’s bad because his first mission is to help stop a group of terrorists from releasing a dreadful bio-weapon that can turn ordinary people into zombies. The fate of the world hangs in the balance.

Here’s an interesting one, James Howard Kunstler is a non-fiction author who is turning to fiction and using the thesis of his non-fiction to create the world! Blackstone Audio, oddly, is classifying it as a “General Fiction” book. Really? Are things really that bad in the USA?

World Made By Hand by James Howard KunstlerWorld Made By Hand
By James Howard Kunstler; Read by Jim Meskimen
8 CDs – Approx. 9.3 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: September 2010
ISBN: 9781441772961
In The Long Emergency, celebrated social commentator James Howard Kunstler explored how the terminal decline of oil production combined with climate change had the potential to put industrial civilization out of business. In World Made by Hand, an astonishing work of speculative fiction, Kunstler brings to life what America might be, a few decades hence, after these catastrophes converge. The electricity has flickered out. The automobile age is over. In Union Grove, a little town in upstate New York, the future is nothing like people thought it would be. Life is hard and close to the bone. Transportation is slow and dangerous, so food is grown locally at great expense of time and energy, and the outside world is largely unknown. There may be a president, and he may be in Minneapolis now, but people aren’t sure. The townspeople’s challenges play out in a dazzling, fully realized world of abandoned highways and empty houses, horses working the fields and rivers, no longer polluted, and replenished with fish. This is the story of Robert Earle and his fellow townspeople and what happens to them one summer in a country that has changed profoundly. A powerful tale of love, loss, violence, and desperation, World Made by Hand is also lyrical and tender, a surprising story of a new America struggling to be born—a story more relevant now than ever.

And here’s the sequel…

The Witch of Hebron by James Howard KunstlerThe Witch Of Hebron: A World Made By Hand Novel
By James Howard Kunstler; Read by Jim Meskimen
8 CDs – Approx. 9.3 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: September 2010
ISBN: 9781441772893
In the sequel to his bestselling World Made by Hand, James Howard Kunstler expands on his vision of a post-oil society with a new novel about an America in which the electricity has flickered off, the Internet is a distant memory, and the government is little more than a rumor. In the tiny hamlet of Union Grove, New York, travel is horse-drawn and farming is back at the center of life. But it’s no pastoral haven. Wars are fought over dwindling resources and illness is a constant presence. Bandits roam the countryside, preying on the weak, and a sinister cult threatens to shatter Union Grove’s fragile stability. Here is a novel that seamlessly weaves hot-button issues like the decline of oil and the perils of climate change into a compelling narrative of violence, religious hysteria, innocence lost, and love found—a cautionary tale with an optimistic heart. Already a renowned social commentator and a bestselling novelist and nonfiction writer, Kunstler has recently attained even greater prominence in the global conversation about energy and the environment. In the last two years he has been the focus of a long profile in the New Yorker, the subject of a full-page essay in the New York Times Book Review, and his wildly popular blog and podcast have made him a sought-after speaker who gives dozens of lectures and scores of media interviews each year.

Here’s the first book in a new series from author David Weber. In the audio sample I heard, over on the Macmillan Audio site, there was an alien complaining about another alien being a pain in his “excretory orifice.” See, aliens aren’t so different. It kind of reminded me of the Vogons. Also, regarding that sample, narrator Charles Keating sounds terrific!

Out of the Dark by David WeberOut Of The Dark
By David Weber; Read by Charles Keating
15 CDs – Approx. 18 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Published: September 2010
ISBN: 9781427210616
Earth is conquered. The Shongairi have arrived in force, and humanity’s cities lie in radioactive ruins. In mere minutes, over half the human race has died. Now Master Sergeant Stephen Buchevsky, who thought he was being rotated home from his latest tour in Afghanistan, finds himself instead prowling the back country of the Balkans, dodging alien patrols and trying to organize the scattered survivors without getting killed. His chances look bleak. The aliens have definitely underestimated human tenacity—but no amount of heroism can endlessly hold off overwhelming force. Then, emerging from the mountains and forests of Eastern Europe, new allies present themselves to the ragtag human resistance. Predators, creatures of the night, human in form but inhumanly strong. Long Enemies of humanity…until now. Because now is the time to defend Earth.

From the description, I like the “Sci-Phile” aspect of this audiobook, and the whole Nancy Drew-style plotting sounds pretty interesting too! There’s a website for the book, and the audiobook should be in stores tomorrow.

Virals by Kathy ReichsVirals: Adventures Unleashed
By Kathy Reichs; Read by Cristin Milioti
8 CDs – Approx. 9.5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Published: November 2010
ISBN: 9780142428160
Adventure has always been in fourteen-year-old Tory Brennan’s blood. After all, she is the niece of world-famous forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan. So when she moves to middle of nowhere Morris Island, South Carolina, to live with a marine biologist dad she’s never known, Tory does the best she can to adjust to her new life. There she meets a group of local kids who are just as “Sci-Phile” as she is—science geeks who’ve grown up exploring the backwoods marsh-lands of nearby Loggerhead Island. But there’s something strange going on at the Loggerhead Research Institute… maybe even something deadly. After rescuing a stray wolfdog pup from a top-secret lab, Tory and her friends are exposed to a rare strain of canine parvovirus, changing them—and their DNA—forever. Now, with newly heightened senses and canine-quick reflexes, they’ll have to solve a cold-case murder that’s suddenly become very hot … that is, if they can stay alive long enough to catch the killer’s scent. Fortunately, they are now more than friends. They are a pack. They are VIRALS.

Posted by Jesse Willis

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