Review of Edgar Allen Poe Collected Stories and Poems

October 1, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Poe Stories and PoemsEdgar Allan Poe – Collected Stories and Poems
By Edgar Allen Poe; Performed by Ralph Cosham
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
[UNABRIDGED] – 4 hours
Themes: / short stories / poems / horror / classics/ locked door mystery / suspended animation / mesmerism /
Publisher summary:

Hundreds of books and articles have been written about Edgar Allan Poe. Even so, no one is really sure who Poe was. Many people say that he was as crazy as the characters he wrote about. Others say that Poe was a driven man with a simple wish. He wanted to write and to make a living by his writing. Even though Poe lived a miserable life, he wrote some of the most interesting and original literature ever created. This collection of his stories and poems includes:“The Raven”“The Cask of Amontillado”“The Fall of the House of Usher”“The Pit and the Pendulum”And more!

Table of Contents:
* The Raven
* The Cask of Amontillado
* The Tell-Tale Heart
* The Black Cat
* The Bells
* The Fall of the House of Usher
* Manuscript Found in a Bottle
* The sleeper
* The Man of the Crowd
* The Pit and the Pendulum
* Annabel Lee
* The Man that was Used Up: A Tale of the Late Bugaboo and Kickapoo Campaign
* The System of Dr. Tarr and Prof. Fether
* The Oval Portrait
* Eleonora
* The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar
* Berenice
* The Murders in the Rue Morgue

This Edgar Allan Poe collection is accessible, and leans heavy to the short story with a smattering of poetry. Readers will recognize many of the titles, but some may discover new Poe within this volume.

One of my favorite Poe works to contemplate, “The Cask of Amontillado,” still resonates. Two new pieces that struck a pleasing chord were the poem “The Bells” and the short story “Manuscript Found in a Bottle,” which made me grin in readerly delight. I enjoyed most of the selections, and only a few felt soured with age or redundant verbosity.

The audiobook is both wonderful and slightly choppy. Ralph Cosham is the narrator, and his pacing, his timbre, his ability to capture and project Poe’s atmosphere of the strange and macabre renders an intimate listening experience. But it sounds as if the various pieces were lifted from separate audio productions and then spliced together. I distinctly heard discrepancies between selections in recording clarity, recording volume, and the sense that Cosham’s voice reflected the reader at different ages. In one piece, Cosham sounds like a vigorous young man barely out of his thirty’s; in another his voice sounds as if two decades vanished. You should definitely give this a listen, and come to your own conclusions.

Posted by Casey Hampton.

LibriVox: Short Science Fiction Collection Vol. 018

June 6, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

LibriVoxHere’s another LibriVox short story collection for you. As usual there are a few repeats sprinkled among the first time recorded tales. Of those latter tales I’ve made a few notes:

Narrator Bellona Times has a nice setup and a decent voice for Breakaway. This tale is Science Fiction for astronauts. An utterly unselfconscious telling of the first Earth to Moon mission – written and published more than a dozen years before it actually happened.

In Edgar Allan Poe’s satire Some Words With A Mummy an amateur Egyptologist gets his hands on an ancient Egyptian mummy. He decides to unwrap it, with startling results. This isn’t Poe’s greatest story, it seems to be very much of its era, but because it is still Poe it is still very good. Narrated by the ever capable Gregg Margarite.

Mex was written by what appears to be a Laurence M. Jannifer (under a pseudonym). It is hard to follow as narrator Daniele races through the standard LibriVox introduction then does some very strange things to what should be Mexican accented English.

I hadn’t even heard of Walt Sheldon prior to the two tales released in this collection. First up, Two Plus Two Makes Crazy has a great title! It depicts a Logan’s Run-like society as seen from the tech department. Fun.

A wacky physics professor stars in the other Sheldon tale: This Is Klon Calling. This one is a mite predictable, but it is entertaining nonetheless. Both Sheldon tales are read by the ever talented Gregg Margarite.

LibriVox - Short Science Fiction Collection Vol. 018Short Science Fiction Collection Vol. 018
By various; Read by various
10 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 2 Hours 6 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: June 3, 2009
Science fiction (abbreviated SF or sci-fi with varying punctuation and case) is a broad genre of fiction that often involves sociological and technical speculations based on current or future science or technology. This is a reader-selected collection of short stories that entered the US public domain when their copyright was not renewed.

Podcast feed:

http://librivox.org/bookfeeds/short-science-fiction-collection-018.xml

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

LibriVox - Belly Laugh by Randall GarrettBelly Laugh
By Randall Garrett; Read by glenford2000
1 |MP3| – Approx. 6 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: June 3, 2009
You hear a lot of talk these days about secret weapons. If it’s not a new wrinkle in nuclear fission, it’s a gun to shoot around corners and down winding staircases. Or maybe a nice new strain of bacteria guaranteed to give you radio-active dandruff. Our own suggestion is to pipe a few of our television commercials into Russia and bore the enemy to death.

Breakaway by Stanley GimbleBreakaway
By Stanley Gimble; Read by Bellona Times
1 |MP3| – Approx. 14 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: June 3, 2009
She surely got her wish … but there was some question about getting what she wanted. From Astounding Science Fiction December 1955.

LibriVox - Cully by Jack EganCully
By Jack Egan; Read by Bellona Times
1 |MP3| – Approx. 14 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: June 3, 2009
By all the laws of nature, he should have been dead. But if he were alive … then there was something he had to find. From Amazing Stories, January 1963.

LIBRIVOX Science Fiction - Earthmen Bearing Gifts by Frederic BrownEarthmen Bearing Gifts
By Fredric Brown; Read by Bookman
1 |MP3| – Approx. 7 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: June 3, 2009
“Mars had gifts to offer and Earth had much in return—if delivery could be arranged!” First published in the June 1960 issue of Galaxy magazine.

Fantastic Universe January 1957Mex
By Laurence M. Janifer; Read by Daniele
1 |MP3| – Approx. 5 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: June 3, 2009
Talented William Logan [Laurence M. Janifer], though he hails from Dodger territory, tells a quiet story from down near the Mexican border, where men are very close to ancestral memories and to the things which dwell in the shadows. Logan is one of the more interesting of the newer writers. From Fantastic Universe January 1957.

LibriVox - The Putnam Tradition by Sonya DormanThe Putnam Tradition
By Sonya Dorman Read by Bellona Times
1 |MP3| – Approx. 15 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: June 3, 2009
Through generations the power has descended, now weaker, now stronger. And which way did the power run in the four-year-old in the garden, playing with a pie plate? From Amazing Stories January 1963.

LibriVox - Some Words With A Mummy by Edgar Allan PoeSome Words With A Mummy
By Edgar Allan Poe; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 36 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: June 3, 2009
Some amateur Egyptologists get their hands on an ancient Egyptian mummy. They decide to unwrap it, with startling results. First published in the April 1845 issue of American Review: A Whig Journal.

Summit by Mack ReynoldsSummit
By Mack Reynolds; Read by M.White
1 |MP3| – Approx. 10 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: June 3, 2009
Almost anything, if it goes on long enough, can be reduced to, first a Routine, and then, to a Tradition. And at the point it is, obviously, Necessary. First published in Astounding Science Fiction’s February, 1960 issue.

Fantastic Universe August - September 1953This Is Klon Calling
By Walt Sheldon; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 9 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: June 3, 2009
One sure way to live dangerously is to become a practical joker. Should you have any doubts about it you might ask Professor Dane. From the Aug-Sept 1953 issue of Fantastic Universe.

Fantastic Universe March 1954Two Plus Two Makes Crazy
By Walt Sheldon; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 9 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: June 3, 2009
Walt Sheldon is bitter-bright in this imaginative short satire of Man’s sell-out by a group of staunch believers in the infallibility of numbers. From Fantastic Universe March, 1954.

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox releases Horror Story Collection 003 stories by Poe, Wells, Lovecraft, Howard and more!

January 23, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

I think we’re getting spoiled…

LibriVox Horror Story Collection 003Horror Story Collection 003
By various; Read by various
10 Zipped MP3 Files, or podcast – 3 Hours 18 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: January 23rd 2008
An occasional collection of 10 horror stories by various readers. We aim to unsettle you a little, to cut through the pink cushion of illusion that shields you from the horrible realities of life. Here are the walking dead, the fetid pools of slime, the howls in the night that you thought you had confined to your more unpleasant dreams.

Caterpillars
By E.F. Benson; Read by Andy Minter
1 |MP3| file – Approx. 21 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

The Cats of Ulthar
By H.P. Lovecraft; Read by: Sarah Jennings
1 |MP3| file – Approx. 8 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

The Crawling Chaos
By H.P. Lovecraft; Read by D.E. Wittkower
1 |MP3| file – Approx. 26 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

The Nameless City
By H.P. Lovecraft; Read by Mark Nelson
1 |MP3| file – Approx. 37 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

The Raven
By Edgar Allen Poe; Read by Zoe Earley
1 |MP3| file – Approx. 8 Minutes

Skulls in the Stars
By Robert E. Howard; Read by Paul Siegel
1 |MP3| file – Approx. 22 Minutes

The Spook House
By Ambrose Bierce; Read by Scott Bush
1 |MP3| file – Approx. 9 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

The Statement of Randolph Carter
By H.P. Lovecraft; Read by Glen Hallstrom
1 |MP3| file – Approx. 14 Miuntes [UNABRIDGED]

The Strange Orchid
By H.G. Wells; Read by Pete Williams
1 |MP3| file – Approx. 21 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

The Tomb
By H.P. Lovecraft; Read by D.E. Wittkower
1 |MP3| file – Approx. 32 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

Subscribe to the podcast feed:

http://librivox.org/bookfeeds/horror-story-collection-003.xml

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Caedmon’s Science Fiction Soundbook

April 11, 2006 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Science Fiction Audiobook - Caedmon Science Fiction SoundbookScience Fiction Soundbook
By Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, and Robert A. Heinlein
Read By Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner
4 hours – 4 Cassettes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Caedmon
Published: 1977
Themes: / Science Fiction / Mars / Edgar Allan Poe / Computers / Mathematics / Sociology / Space Travel /

This out-of-print Caedmon set was a wonderful find (thanks, Esther!) because it contains two cassettes (four stories) that are amongst the earliest science fiction audio I ever heard. The stories are “The Green Hills of Earth” and “Gentlemen, Be Seated” by Robert A. Heinlein, and “There Come Soft Rains” and “Usher II” by Ray Bradbury, all read by Leonard Nimoy. Also included here is “The Psychohistorians” by Isaac Asimov and “Mimsy Are the Borogroves” by Henry Kuttner, both read by William Shatner. The audio was originally published in 1977.

I found Leonard Nimoy’s readings to be excellent. In Bradbury’s “Usher II”, he delivers a passionate speech about the evils of book burning with perfection. In “Gentlemen, Be Seated” and “The Green Hills of Earth” he portrays working class spacemen with complete success.

William Shatner, though, was disappointing. I’ve heard him read some Star Trek titles, and felt his delivery was pretty good, but here, on both cassettes, he reads as if he needs to be across town in fifteen minutes. He zips through the text, sometimes fast enough to affect my comprehension.

The stories are all bona-fide 5-star classics:

“There Will Come Soft Rains” by Ray Bradbury, read by Leonard Nimoy
This famous story is about a house. That’s it, just a house. An automatic, programmed house that keeps running and running… but where are its inhabitants? Bradbury manages to tell a very human tale without any actual people.

“Usher II” by Ray Bradbury, read by Leonard Nimoy
A fantastic story, passionately read, about a man who builds Poe’s House of Usher on Mars. Because of the social climate on Earth, it would be illegal to build such a fantastic structure, because stories of fantasy are simply no longer allowed. If you agree with that policy, this fellow would be happy to show you around, and he does get that opportunity. As I mentioned earlier, a highlight is a speech on censorship that was an obvious precursor to Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.

“The Psychohistorians” by Isaac Asimov, read by William Shatner
This is the first novelette in the first book of Asimov’s Foundation trilogy. In it, you meet Hari Seldon and Gaal Dornick in an introduction to some of the key elements of the Foundation story, including the Empire in decline and the mathematics of psychohistory. However, I did have difficulty get into Shatner’s narration.

“The Green Hills of Earth” by Robert A. Heinlein, read by Leonard Nimoy
Rhysling is a Spacer who lost his eyesight in a reactor pile accident. Now, he’s a famous bard, and this is his story. The story is an excellent portrayal of what spaceflight might be like from the working stiff’s point of view, once flight becomes common. At least from the perspective of a science fiction writer in 1948. No NASA engineers here.

“Gentlemen, Be Seated” by Robert A. Heinlein, read by Leonard Nimoy
This story is similar to “Green Hills” in that the characters are working class spacemen. One agrees to take a reporter through some new buildings on the moon (yes, he does get overtime pay for it), but an accident occurs during the tour. Another story from the late 1940’s, which is the part of Heinlein’s long career that I enjoy most.

“Mimsy Were the Borogroves” by Henry Kuttner, read by William Shatner
This story fared better under Shatner’s cadence than did “The Psychohistorians”. I was captured by it within 5 minutes or so of concentrated listening, and Kuttner’s story held my attention even when Shatner didn’t. The story involves some toys that were sent back in time by a far-future scientist with too much time on his hands. The toys are found by some kids, who play with them, and are changed by them. The story plays with the ideas of how people think – how kids think, how adults think, and how it could possibly be different. I found it a well-written and entertaining exploration of these ideas. Great science fiction.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Review of Nightmares on Congress Street, Part 5

December 9, 2005 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Nightmares on Congress Street 5Nightmares on Congress Street – Part 5
By Rocky Coast Radio Theatre; Performed by a Full Cast
2 CD’s – 2 hours [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Rocky Coast Radio Theatre
Published: 2005
Themes: / Horror / Science Fiction / Murder / Government / Spirits /

Here’s another top-notch title from Rocky Coast Radio Theatre out of Maine. It contains seven dramatized horror tales:

The Demon of the Gibbet by Fitz-James O’Brien
A horror poem, very nicely rendered.

The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe, adapted by Patrick Bradley
A modern adaptation of Poe’s classic story. Nightmares on Congress Street, Part IV contained Poe’s “A Cask of Amontillado” presented traditionally – this one is also excellent, but the script updates the story to a modern setting.

Retroactive Anti-Terror by Alex Irvine, adapted by William Dufris
This science fiction story portrays a different type of horror – a future where people are prosecuted for what they might do. Alex Irvine’s original story appeared in Salon.com in 2004. The story makes a clear political statement which people from all viewpoints would benefit from hearing.

Much A-Zoo About Nothing written and performed by Michael Duffy
A humorous song in which a guy goes to a zoo and encounters “ten green men with super suits on”.

The Wind by Ray Bradbury, adapted by William Dufris
It starts when Alan calls Herb on the phone obviously very nervous. After a little prodding by Herb, Alan reveals that it’s the wind he’s so worried about, and the tense story takes off from there. Bradbury probably has more stories available as audio drama than any other author, and this wonderful adaptation has me hunting for more.

The Door Below by Hugh B. Cave, adapted by William Dufris
Another good horror story that takes place mostly in a lighthouse… ghosts, anyone?

The Statement of Randolph Carter by H.P. Lovecraft, adapted by William Dufris
This is my favorite of the collection. Dufris and crew perfectly capture the creepy horror of Lovecraft’s original story.

Nightmares on Congress Street V is the second title I’ve heard from Rocky Coast, and I’m convinced that they are one of the top current producers of audio drama. With first-rate acting, the careful placing of sound effects, very good music, and fantastic scripts, these stories capture and hold tight. I can’t recommend this title highly enough for fans of audio drama and horror.

You can get this title from Paperback Digital, Tantor Media, Amazon, and Audible.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson