The SFFaudio Podcast #124 – a discussion of the Audible Frontiers audiobook Beyond This Horizon by Robert A. Heinlein with Scott, Jesse, and Tamahome.
Talked about on today’s show:
“We believe that an armed society is a polite society”, under the pen name Anson MacDonald, his 2nd novel, For Us The Living was first, “no nudity or free love”, The Amazing, The Astounding, And The Unknown by Paul Malmont, “a string of ideas broken up by action”, like two novellas put together, a novel about genetics and dueling, list of characters and terms, reversed names like Korea, “he’s a special guy”, moderators, germplasm, “sperm wars”, engineering away violence, Gattaca, Brave New World, “great egg!”, naturals, experimentals, written in the time of Hitler, kids are like Dune, Felix wonders what’s the point, reincarnation?, “says crazy ideas like they’re common sense”, synthesist, Scott has some quotes ready, Felix doesn’t want kids, “Felix just needs a good woman”, rambunctious scene with Felix and Phyllis, “I’m gonna kiss ya!”, Galactic Suburbia would not like this book, Heinlein’s characters, frozen football player, “everyone’s going to be a telepath”, John W. Campbell, “they don’t talk about telepathy anymore”, Podkayne Of Mars, Heinlein and fertility, Heinlein FAQ, the economic system — Social Credit, Beyond This Horizon on Wikipedia, spread the wealth, “What is money?”, it all goes to 0’s and 1’s, waterbed conception, The John W. Campbell Letters, bringing up super-writers, we never change, Campbell hated Dune Messiah, Felix is a “starline”, no Heinlein sequels??, “needs more telepathy”, best Heinlein novel?, Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, Double Star is like Moon Over Parador with Richard Dreyfuss, Starship Troopers has an action-packed start, Heinlein’s short stories like By His Bootstraps with Dreyfuss dramatized on 2000X, Red Planet with pet ball that’s an alien (now I get the Willis joke), Have Spacesuit Will Travel starts well, Heinlein as a dad, Fullcast Audio did a lot of these, Tunnel In The Sky just arrived and is like The Hunger Games, it’s a sci-fi Lord Of The Flies, Full Cast Audio is trying to be family friendly, nudity, worst Heinlein plot?, will the future remember football?, the sport “bligablong”, let’s read the opening, “the halt?”, serialized like The Space Merchants, “it’s all of those things and much more!”, it’s quotable, is the U.S. more polite?, England, duels are stressful, old reviews, 1900-1950 era, 1984, Brave New World, Heinlein starts the SF novel and hardback trend, Hugo Gernsback, Scott loved Foundation, Nazis on the moon, Rocket Ship Galileo, generation ship in Universe (nice old cover), “sucker for space.”
Posted by Tamahome
The Standards of Creation
By James Campanella; Read by James Campanella
MP3 Download – Approx 16.5 hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Uvula Audio
Themes: / Science Fiction / Mars / cybernetics / aliens / telepathy / genetic manipulation /
J.J. Campanella is perhaps best known in audio circles as a frequent narrator on StarShipSofa, which is where I first encountered him. His website, Uvula Audio, features Campanella’s narration of a wide variety of audiobooks ranging from L. Frank Baum to Doc Savage to P.G. Wodehouse. It does not take long to discover that narration is indeed a skill at which Campanella is expert. He handles foreign accents and different voices with an ease that makes it easy for the listener to visualize each speaker.
What is easy to miss, perhaps, is that Campanella’s own written work, The Standards of Creation, is included among the archived files. This is a shame as Campanella has written a fast-paced, multi-layered book that combines the best of action thrillers and science fiction. It definitely deserves to be noticed by more people.
Just a few of the elements woven into the story include:
• Martian colonies of Chinese and Americans, each hiding their secrets while trying to discover those of the other.
• Yarrow Hayes, a Nobel Prize winning biologist born and raised on Mars, who ironically is dying of an incurable disease.
• Alex Arodyne, a young scientific genius whose cynical outlooks threatens to cripple his promise.
• Belle, an undercover NATO agent whose cybernetic enhancements give her unparalleled skills but carry with them a price that lead her to take surprising steps.
• Who are Gabe and his mysterious boss? Is he really an alien using telepathy to speak to Alex in his dreams?
• What is the mysterious alien ship voyaging through the solar system?
• Just what are the standards of creation? How will they change the lives of each person in the story?
All this is set against a background containing some of the most classic science fiction elements: terraforming on Mars, life in the Martian colony, biological scientific development in the future such as the different versions of the cloned NATO officers, and an alien device that looks like a huge black marble silently making its way toward the sun while scientists struggle to communicate. All of this is laced with characters in impossible situations for which there is seemingly no solution.
Above all this is a book of secrets. Every person and every situation has at least one secret beyond those that we think have been revealed. This leads to an indepth look at free will and personal responsibility that both surprisd and delighted me.
I am not even including some of the subplots involving drug trafficking or an order of priests with a surprising yet practical hidden agenda. It might sound as if there is too much crammed into the story to make a good book. However, Campanella handles the many elements with ease to provide us with a truly original novel that is not only thought provoking but which also hearkens back to the times when science fiction included real science. We hope that his future endeavors branch out again from narration to include more novels such as this one.
Posted by Julie D.