The SFFaudio Podcast #129 – READALONG: The Mote In God’s Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle

October 10, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #129 – Jesse, Tamahome, Julie and Jenny discuss the Audible Frontiers audiobook of The Mote In God’s Eye by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle.

Talked about on today’s show:
Aliens, first contact, alien aliens, Theodore Sturgeon, Microcosmic God by Theodore Sturgeon, evil genius inventor, a society in a bottle, how do we figure out which information is true, L.J. Ganser, “Fyunch(click)”, space empire, the Horse-Head Nebula, the depth of the alien alienness, who has free will in The Mote In God’s Eye?, “there was little of free will in an engineer”, “humans have free will – we know that”, Ron Paul has gone Crazy Eddie, Outies, The Gripping Hand, Renner is an independent minded contrarian, the CoDominium Series, “an American eagle holding the hammer and sickle”, MacArthur and Lenin, brownies, espionage, Sally never questioned her Fyunch(click), the characters are peripheral to the novel’s power, Niven and Pournelle arguing with each other, perfunctory romance, The Sandkings by George R.R. Martin, Treehouse of Horror VII, god games, Populous, Sid Meier’s Civilization, Master Of Orion, Science Fiction is not really about the future it’s about the present (except for Niven/Pournelle books), Protector by Larry Niven (in which humans are infantilized aliens), “only bad girls take birth control”, Footfall by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, The Mote In God’s Eye is a yellow peril story!, Philip K. Dick’s The Man In The High Castle, gunboat diplomacy, “China has fake Apple stores”, the exotic East, “I asked myself … would that be so bad?”, “they’re not evil, they’re just our enemies”, Declare by Tim Powers, Soviet goals, “every place should be communist”, Russia vs. The USA, an unsustainable quarantine, this book is really about “the pill”, overpopulation, Malthus, Moties are people too (at least most of them are), a non-ideological clash of species, what “sentient” means, Eric S. Rabkin, do they have souls?, is it “scientifically proven” that an untrained kitten can never hunt?, “I don’t eat monkeys”, “nuclear war is the continuation of evolution by other means”, the long pig, is there an unused Chekov’s Gun in this book?, ozone smells good, imitations and perma-smiles, anti-yellow peril blinders, John W. Campbell, “give me an alien that thinks as well as a man but not like a man”, “if only the humans wee more human.”

Posted by Jesse Willis

New Releases: iambik audio’s Science Fiction & Fantasy Collection

May 18, 2011 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: New Releases 

New Releases

Iambik AudiobooksIambik Audiobooks has just released its first Science Fiction & Fantasy Collection! Individual books are $6.99, and you can get the whole collection of nine titles for $43.99.

Use the code “sff-audio-25” and get a 25% discount on your order.

Number one on my to listen list is this classic David Gerrold novel…

IAMBIK AUDIO - The Man Who Folded Himself by David GerroldThe Man Who Folded Himself
By David Gerrold; Read by Charles Bice
MP3 or M4B Download – Approx. 4 Hours 28 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: iambik audio
Published: May 2011
ISBN: 9781926673400
The Man Who Folded Himself, written in 1973 (and reissued by BenBella in 2003) is a classic science fiction novel by award-winning author David Gerrold. This work was nominated for both Hugo and Nebula awards and is considered by some critics to be the finest time travel novel ever written.

IAMBIK AUDIO - An Occupation Of Angels by Lavie TidharAn Occupation Of Angels
By Lavie Tidhar; Read by Elizabeth Klett
MP3 or M4B Download – Approx. 3 Hours 23 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: iambik audio
Published: May 2011
After Archangels materialise over the bloodbaths of WWII, they take up residence in most of the world’s major cities. But what would happen if, more than quarter of a century later, something somehow managed to kill these supreme beings? Killarney knows and, as an agent working for the Bureau, a British agency that’s so secret it doesn’t officially exist, she finds herself embroiled in the consequences as, one by one, the Archangels die. Assigned to trace a missing cryptographer thought to have information on the murders, she travels from England, through France, heading for the frozen wastes of the USSR. But there’s an unknown third party intent on stopping her, and there’s God, who also has an agenda. Not knowing who is friend and who is foe, and with only a brief glimpse of a swastika on angel wings as solid information, Killarney struggles to remain alive long enough to glean sufficient information to put together the pieces of the puzzle and complete what is, without them, an impossible mission.

IAMBIK AUDIO - Ben And The Book Of Prophecies by Kristy RiddifordBen And The Book Of Prophesies
By Kirsty Riddiford; Read by Ruth Golding
MP3 or M4B Download – Approx. 9 Hours 25 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: iambik audio
Published: May 2011
ISBN: 9781926673431
Ben and the Book of Prophecies is the first book of the Prophecies of Ballitor. Ben is the youngest and most successful thief in the royal city of Quadrivium, but an unexpected encounter with Bella, the queen’s mother, changes his life forever. In return for a substantial reward Ben agrees to track down the Book of Prophecies which disappeared from the palace library many years before. It is believed that the Book contains a prophecy which will save the kingdom from an impending war with the rebels. Yet Bella also has an ulterior motive, to find her son who went missing whilst searching for the same book. Ben finds himself catapulted into an unfamiliar world of magic and intrigue where talking eagles and mythical creatures help him on his quest. During his travels he unearths dark secrets as lives are put in peril and an unforeseen reunion surfaces. But not everyone wants the book to be found

IAMBIK AUDIO - Open Your Eyes by Paul JessupOpen Your Eyes
By Paul Jessup; Read by Tadgh Hynes
MP3 or M4B Download – Approx. 3 Hours 23 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: iambik audio
Published: May 2011
ISBN: 9781926673196
Her lover was a supernova who took worlds with him when he died, and as a new world grows within Ekhi, savage lives rage and love on a small ship in the outer reaches of space. A ship with an agenda of its own. Critically acclaimed author of weird fiction Paul Jessup sends puppets to speak and fight for their masters while a linguistic virus eats through the minds of a group of scavengers in Open Your Eyes, a surrealist space opera of haunting beauty and infinite darkness.

IAMBIK AUDIO - Fall From Earth by Matthew JohnsonFall From Earth
By Matthew Johnson; Read by Emma Newman
MP3 or M4B Download – Approx. 9 Hours 3 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: iambik audio
Published: May 2011
ISBN: 9781926673332
Shi Jin is a rebel, the latest in a long line of those who have challenged the Borderless Empire and failed. Dropped with a crew of convicts on an uninhabited planet, Shi Jin – and mankind- encounter alien life forms for the first time. She discovers that she is part of a much bigger game…one that will force her to decide between her desire to defeat the Empire and the future of humanity.

IAMBIK AUDIO - In The Shadow Of Swords by Val GunnIn The Shadow Of Swords
By Val Gunn; Read by Clive Catterall
MP3 or M4B Download – Approx. 10 Hours 15 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: iambik audio
Published: May 2011
ISBN: 9781926673424
When the assassin Ciris Sarn, murders Hiril Altaïr, he unwittingly leaves behind the legendary Books of Promise. They come into the hands of Hiril’s vengeful widow, Marin, and she becomes a target even as she hunts for her husband’s murderer. Meanwhile, Fajeer Dassai, a brutal kingmaker, plots to retrieve the fabled treasure to make himself wealthy beyond imagination. His only obstacle is Pavanan Munif, a capable, but drug-addicted tracker. Soon assassins, sheikhs, spies, and viziers are all embroiled in a potentially world-shattering conspiracy racing to an inevitable showdown where violence and murder is the only path to true redemption.

IAMBIK AUDIO - Space Captain Smith by Toby FrostSpace Captain Smith
By Toby Frost; Read by Clive Catterall (Myrmidon)
MP3 or M4B Download – Approx. 7 Hours 6 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: iambik audio
Published: May 2011
ISBN: 9781926673417
Space Captain Smith is the first book of the Chronicles of Isambard Smith. It’s the 25th Century and the British Space Empire faces the gathering menace of the evil ant-soldiers of the Ghast hive, hell bent on galactic domination and the extermination of all humanoid life forms. Captain Isambard Smith is the square-jawed, courageous and somewhat asinine new commander of the clapped out freighter John Pym, destined to take on the alien threat because nobody else is available. Together with his bold crew- a skull-collecting alien lunatic, an android pilot who is actually a fugitive sex toy and a hamster called Gerald- he must collect new-age herbalist Rhianna Mitchell from the New Francisco orbiter and bring her back to the Empire in safety. Straightforward enough – except the Ghasts want her too and, in addition to a whole fleet of Ghast warships, Smith has to confront void sharks, a universe-weary android assassin and John Gilead, psychopathic naval officer from the fanatically religious Republic of Eden before facing his greatest enemy: a ruthless alien warlord with a very large behind…

IAMBIK AUDIO - The Golden Casket And The Spectres Of Light by Katie PatersonThe Golden Casket And The Specters Of Light
By Katie Paterson; Read by Karen Savage
MP3 or M4B Download – Approx. 8 Hours 44 Minutes Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: iambik audio
Published: May 2011
ISBN: 9781926673448
The Golden Casket And The Specters Of Light is the second book of the Chronicles of Valonia. Three years after Rachel and Gareth’s lives had returned to normal, they are forced to revisit Valonia, after receiving an unsettling phone call. The Golden Casket And The Specters Of Light pursue them back into the heart of danger, this time to face an even greater threat, as they attempt to unravel a mysterious disappearance. The twins find themselves in a race against time beside a trio of evil sorcery.

IAMBIK AUDIO - The Jewels Of Valonia by Katie PatersonThe Jewels Of Valonia
By Katie Paterson; Read by Karen Savage
MP3 or M4B Download – Approx. 7 Hours 43 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: iambik audio
Published: May 2011
ISBN: 9781926673394
The Jewels Of Valonia is the first book of the Chronicles of Valonia. It follows 12-year-old twins, Gareth and Rachel, as they embark on a mystical adventure after travelling to the remote village of Valonia, where everything is far from what it seems. An encounter with a stranger leads them into a world of sorcery and danger. As they pass through the realms of time, the twins realise that their destiny lies within powers that they have yet to understand and control.

IAMBIK AUDIO - Science Fiction And Fantasy Collection No. 1Complete Science-Fiction & Fantasy Collection 1
By various; Read by various
MP3 or M4B Download – Approx. 62 Hours 53 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: iambik audio
Published: May 2011
This collection includes all the titles in Iambik’s first release of Science-Fiction and Fantasy books.

Titles in the collection:
Ben And The Book Of Prophecies by Kirsty Riddiford
Fall From Earth by Matthew Johnson
In The Shadow Of Swords by Val Gunn
The Man Who Folded Himself by David Gerrold
An Occupation Of Angels by Lavie Tidhar
Open Your Eyes by Paul Jessup
Space Captain Smith by Craig Smith
The Jewels of Valonia by Katie Paterson
The Golden Casket And The Spectres Of Light by Katie Paterson

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Live Free or Die by John Ringo

September 20, 2010 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Science Fiction Audiobook - Live Free or Die by John RingoLive Free Or Die
By John Ringo; Read by Mark Boyett
17 Hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: 2010
Themes: / Science Fiction / Military / Politics / Aliens / First contact /

All authors have political opinions. Those opinions reveal themselves in authors’ novels. Most authors reveal those opinions subtly, probably figuring an in-your-face approach will only turn off some readers.

John Ringo is not most authors. In Troy Rising: Live Free or Die, Ringo (and his Mary Sue protagonist, named Tyler Vernon) wear their politics on their sleeves. It is a robust libertarian brand of politics. This is a little refreshing, and a lot distracting. Readers who dislike celebrations of conservative culture and Don’t Tread On Me economics are going to have to work very hard to ignore the constant needling. In particular, “socialist p***ies” are urged to approach this novel with deflector shields set to maximum.

Even plot points fulfill Ringo’s wishes in surprising ways. When aliens drop rocks on our cities, the result is that the surviving electorate skews rural. . .and conservative. This is just the kind of thinking-through-the-implications work that a good speculative fiction author is required to do. Yet, Ringo takes just a tiny bit of, well, satisfaction from the deaths of millions of misguided liberal urbanites. More blatantly self-indulgent is a plot point involving an alien-engineered virus that makes all the blond women in the world soooper horny. No joke.

You can call this space opera; ear candy; action-packed. The prose is breezy and the plot is intelligently constructed. The narration, by Mark Boyett, is a pleasure to listen to. He’s either an enthusiastic conservative, or a liberal with superb acting skills. (Either scenario is plausible.)

The novel divides into three clear sections. The first act describes a first-contact scenario, with aliens installing an interstellar transport gate in our solar system with precious little warning. The resulting transformation of all human civilization into a galactic third-world country is quite plausible. It’s a disturbing reminder of the way colonial powers are viewed by the colonized.

The second act tells of the ascendancy of Tyler Vernon from unemployed everyman to the richest tycoon in human history. He finds the one commodity unique to Earth that aliens value. Here, the novel becomes less plausible—a little silly, really—and worse, the idea is not original, resembling a plot device in Harry Turtledove’s WWII alt history, where gingerroot turns aliens into crackheads. I won’t give away what the substance is in this case; suffice it to say it comes from a region of the world known for its culture of prickly independence, which dovetails with Ringo’s politics with neat precision. A nifty authorial trick, that.

The third act is the longest, and it describes the building the Troy, an excellent Big Dumb Object—a fantastically massive battle station. Even more impressive is a system of mirrors that concentrate sunlight into powerful beams measured in terawatts or even petawatts. These weapons give Earth a fighting chance against the oppressors. The question nags: could humans think up technology that surprises millennia-old civilizations? Very unlikely.

This book brings to mind another tale of lowly humans besting an established galactic order. Poul Anderson’s The High Crusade describes how medieval knights commandeer an alien space ship and, ultimately, overthrow a space empire. That book is more enjoyable because it’s not even remotely serious. Live Free or Die aspires to a more serious level, but ultimately works only if the reader’s sense of fun can withstand the concentrated sunlight of plausibility.

Posted by the Fredösphere

The SFFaudio Podcast #068

July 26, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts, Recent Arrivals 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #068 – Scott and Jesse talk about recently arrived audiobooks.

Talked about on today’s show:
Recent arrivals, Penguin Audio, The Books Of Elsewhere: The Shadows by Jacqueline West, The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe, TheBooksOfElsewhere.com, inherited books, The Green Knowe series, kids love series, Nelson DeMille’s The Lion, Lion’s Game, Collected Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges, The Gospel According To Mark by Jorge Luis Borges, Gene Wolfe, George Guidall, Anne McCaffery’s Dragonriders Of Pern: Dragon Girl by Todd McCaffrey, Mexico, Mexico City, “turista”, Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey, the thread threat, the Honor Harrington series, Mission Of Honor by David Weber, Paul W. Campbell, On Basilisk Station by David Weber |READ OUR REVIEW|, Lois McMaster Bujold, Full Cast Audio, The Unicorn Chronicles: Book 4: The Last Hunt by Bruce Coville, Doctor Proctor’s Fart Powder by Jo Nesbo, Mobile Infantry vs. the immobile infantry, re-write Starship Troopers as Warehouse Troopers, Water Steps by A. LaFaye, Sense And Sensibility And Sea Monsters for kids, Spaceship Rat, baby rat trauma, capybara, Brilliance Audio, The Deed Of Paksenarrion: Book 2: Divided Allegiance by Elizabeth Moon, The Sad Tale Of The Brothers Grossbart by Jesse Bulington, The Vampire Earth: Valentine’s Rising by E.E. Knight, space vampires, Graphic Audio, The Immortals: Book 4: The Realms Of The Gods by Tamora Peirce, More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon (read by Stefan Rudnicki and Harlan Ellison), gestalt, fix-up, Baby Is Three by Theodore Sturgeon, Caedmon, H.G. Wells, Microcosmic God by Theodore Sturgeon, Falling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold (read by Grover Gardner), The Reader’s Chair, Falling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold |READ OUR REVIEW|, Paul Is Undead by Alan Goldsher (as read by Simon Vance), zombies, has the public domain classics remixed with supernatural horror jumped the shark?, A Picture Of Dorian’s Gray, Quirk Books, “paranormal romance has got completely out of hand”, Dark Shadows, soap operas, Soap, M*A*S*H, Three’s Company, Bosom Buddies, Blackstone Audio, the Newford series, Widdershins by Charles De Lint, urban fantasy alert, Mindswap by Robert Sheckley, Tom Weiner, Altered Carbon, A Galaxy Trilogy: Volume 3, Giants Of Eternity by Manly Wade Wellman, The War Of The Worlds, “standing on the shoulder of giants”, The Girls With Games Of Blood by Alex Bledsoe, The Return: Book IV of Voyagers by Ben Bova, “sensawunda”, first contact, the Grand Tour series, the Asteroid Wars series, the 2006 Harlan Ellison interview, City Of Darkness by Ben Bova |READ OUR REVIEW|, Neil Gaiman, Around The World In Eighty Days by Jules Verne (as read by Jim Dale), Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy: Live In Concert, Footfall by Larry Niven by Jerry Pournelle, Audible Frontiers, Police Your Planet by Lester Del Rey, Lest Darkness Fall by L. Sprague de Camp, The Sword Of Shannara, The Elfstones Of Shannara, Neal Stephenson, Anathem, Boneshaker, The City And The City, Julian Comstock by Robert Charles Wilson |READ OUR REVIEW|, Palimpsest, WWW: Wake, The Windup Girl, ebooks, Fictionwise, PaperbackDigital, Kelli Stanley, The Functional Nerds Podcast interview of Mike Resnick, Pump Six and Other Stories by Paulo Bacigalupi, The Alchemist And The Executioness by Tobias S. Buckell and Paulo Bacigalupi, Scott’s Pick Of The Week: Despicable Me, Jesse’s Pick Of The Week: Police Your Planet by Lester Del Rey, Zombie Astronaut, The Frequency Of Fear, The Frequency Lite.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #067

July 19, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #067 – Scott and Jesse talk to Dan Carlin, of the Hardcore History and Common Sense podcasts!

Talked about on today’s show:
Hardcore History, Common Sense, the Rashomon effect, Gilligan’s Island, Fox News, MSNBC, ABC, defensive reporting, nuance vs. talking points, BBC, NPR, PBS, Wikileaks, Common Sense Show #179 – GenX Journalism, the Martian political position, comics, What If…, Niall Ferguson, “counterfactual history“, “how different would voting be if there were no money impacting the political system at all?”, the toothless United Nations, the Canadian political system vs. the U.S. political system, the Congress Of Vienna, WWI, WWII, the Napoleonic Wars, the Rwandan Genocide, the Korean War, the Gaza flotilla incident, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iraq War, unilateral action, Panama, NATO, imagine if the United Nations wasn’t toothless, Wikileaks’ “Collateral Murder” video, Grenada, a “muscular” foreign policy, “air on the side of reality”, Julian Assange, unreleased Abu Ghraib prison video, podcasting, “how cool is it to have an international program?”, Pierre Trudeau, “we live in reaction to you”, U.S. foreign policy, Barack Obama, first contact in Science Fiction, first contact in history, Despoilers Of The Golden Empire by Randall Garrett, Fransisco Pissaro, United States expedition to Korea, “Korea is a dagger, in the hand of China, pointed at the heart of Japan”, Globalization Unto Death, “the hermit kingdom”, Magellan expedition, Steppe Stories, an island off the coast of India, Commodore Perry‘s expedition to Japan, Sid Meier’s Civilization, Civilization (board game), Sparta, the freedom of podcasting.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Forgotten Classics: Breaking Point by James Gunn

March 5, 2010 by · 7 Comments
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Forgotten ClassicsMy friend, Julie D. of the Forgotten Classics podcast, has recently completed her unabridged reading of Dorothy Macardle’s novel The Uninvited. Now she’s working on a pure Science Fiction story, picked from SFFaudio Challenge #4. But that’s not all, Julie begins the podcast with some thoughts on James Gunn’s best known work, a series of scholarly collections entitled: The Road To Science Fiction. I have volumes 3 and 4 in my paperbook collection.

The Road To Science Fiction: Volume 1: From Gilgamesh to Wells edited by James GunnThe Road To Science Fiction: Volume 2: From Wells to Heinlein edited by James GunnThe Road To Science Fiction: Volume 3: The Road To Science Fiction: Volume 3: From Heinlein to Here edited by James GunnThe Road To Science Fiction: Volume 4: From Here to Forever edited by James Gunn

There are also two more recent volumes The British Way (Vol. 5) and the other places Around The World (Vol. 6). But I won’t post their cover art here because they really suck.


Forgotten Classics Presents - Breaking Point by James GunnBreaking Point
By James Gunn; Read by Julie D.
Podcast – [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: Forgotten Classics
Podcast: March 2009 –
The ship was proof against any test, but the men inside her could be strained and warped, individually and horribly. Unfortunately, while the men knew that, they couldn’t really believe it. The Aliens could—and did.

Podcast feed:

http://feeds.feedburner.com/forgottenclassics

Posted by Jesse Willis

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