CBSRMT: A God Named Smith by Henry Slesar [RADIO DRAMA]

May 9, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio 

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A God Named Smith by Henry Slesar

Henry Slesar was one of the most prolific scripters for the late-1970s early-1980s CBS Radio Mystery Theater. But before his career in radio drama Slesar was an author of Science Fiction. Like Alfred Bester, who also wrote for CBSRMT, Slesar was in the habit of recycling his earlier stories for the hour long anthology series (even though the show calimed to have such episodes written “especially for the Mystery Theater”). One such episode is A God Named Smith. It was first published in Amazing Stories, July 1957. And precisely 20 years later it was an episode of one of the last old time radio dramas.

CBS Radio Mystery TheaterCBSRMT #0658 – A God Named Smith
1 |MP3| – Approx. 44 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: CBS
Broadcast: June 2, 1977
Source: CBSRMT.com
A young child prodigy creates an entire planet of his own, intending it to be a better world than earth. He finds volunteers to populate it, and establishes himself as a god.

Cast:
Russell Horton
Evie Juster
Robert Kaliban
Norman Rose

And here’s a |PDF| of the original story.

Posted by Jesse Willis

CBS Radio Mystery Theater: The Rise And Fall Of The Fourth Reich by Henry Slesar

May 16, 2012 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio 

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Karel Thole illustration for The Rise And Fall Of The Fourth Reich - from Urania #729

I have a sudden desire to eat Uncle Ben’s rice and buy a 1976 Buick. Yes folks I’ve been listening to more CBS Radio Mystery Theater.

The episode this time was called The Rise And Fall Of The Fourth Reich and was written by Henry Slesar.

Slesar was an interesting writer. He wrote in nearly every capacity that a writer can. Being a copywriter (he apparently coined the phrase “coffee break”). But he wrote plenty of fiction too. He was the head writer on an intriguing sounding daytime soap opera (a thriller series modeled after Perry Mason books), he wrote movie screenplays, TV movie scripts, mystery novels, and dozens of radio dramas. But he also wrote a lot of SF short stories – and that’s where things get a bit murky because I’m actually not sure if this story was an adaptation of the text, or if the text was an adaptation of the play. The play of The Rise And Fall Of The Fourth Reich aired first, being broadcast in the spring of 1975. But the short story of the same name came out shortly thereafter in F&SF.

For our purposes I guess it doesn’t really matter too much either way because the only version of the story available in the audio format is the CBS Radio Mystery Theater play.

Set in Mexico, in the 1970s, the storyline isn’t radically dissimilar from the 1976 Ira Levin novel The Boys From Brazil (later to be made into a film of the same name). I enjoyed the plotting, which features both the quest for immortality, the fruit of horrific Nazi experiments, and most of all the desire for revenge.

Here it is, as it aired exactly 37 years ago today…

CBS Radio Mystery TheaterCBSRMT #0275 – The Rise And Fall Of The Fourth Reich
By Henry Slesar; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 46 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: CBS Radio
Broadcast: May 16, 1975
A Nazi fantasy? In this weird tale, two scientists discover an aged and sickly Adolf Hitler in 1970’s Mexico City. They begin to try and restore his health and youth through their experiments. First published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, August 1975.

Cast:
Robert Dryden
Ken Harvey
Paul Hecht
Joe Silver

The Rise And Fall Of The Fourth Reich by Henry Slesar - from Fantasy & Science Fiction, August 1975

[via the wonderful CBSRMT.com]

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox: Short Science Fiction Collection Vol. 023

October 22, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

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LibriVoxIn addition to the readers, this audiobook was produced by:

Book Coordinator: Gregg Margarite
Dedicated Proof-Listener: Wendel Topper
Meta-Coordinator/Cataloging: Lucy Burgoyne

Thanks guys!

I haven’t had a chance to listen to half of these yet but I did get a chance to enjoy the final tale in this collection. It’s by Fritz Leiber and is super-funny. It’s the tale of an alien invasion — of privacy. See when a Martian visitor lands on Earth he has the good sense to make his first contact with a professor of anthropology. The only question is, will the formalities actually start after the naturally necessary bodily functions finish?

If you find another good one in this collection put in a comment. I’d be much obliged!

LibriVox - Short Science Fiction Collection Vol. 023Short Science Fiction Collection 23
By various; Read by various
10 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 4 Hours 22 Minutes [UNABRIDGED
Publisher: LibirVox.org
Published: August 4, 2009
Science Fiction is speculative literature that generally explores the consequences of ideas which are roughly consistent with nature and scientific method, but are not facts of the author’s contemporary world. The stories often represent philosophical thought experiments presented in entertaining ways. Protagonists typically “think” rather than “shoot” their way out of problems, but the definition is flexible because there are no limits on an author’s imagination. The reader-selected stories presented here were written prior to 1962 and became US public domain texts when their copyrights expired.

Podcast feed:

http://librivox.org/bookfeeds/short-science-fiction-collection-23.xml

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

LibriVox - Bolden's Pets by Floyd L. WallaceBolden’s Pets
By Floyd L. Wallace; Read by Bev J. Stevens
1 |MP3| – Approx. 45 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibirVox.org
Published: August 4, 2009
The price of life was a life for a life—which was all the reward the victim looked for! From Galaxy Science Fiction, October, 1955.


LibriVox - A Filbert Is A Nut by Rick RaphaelA Filbert Is A Nut
By Rick Raphael; Read by Linda Dodge
1 |MP3| – Approx. 20 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibirVox.org
Published: August 4, 2009
That the gentleman in question was a nut was beyond question. He was an institutionalized psychotic. He was nutty enough to think he could make an atom bomb out of modeling clay! From Astounding Science Fiction November 1959.

LibriVox - The Hated by Frederik PohlThe Hated
By Frederik Pohl; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 23 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibirVox.org
Published: August 4, 2009
After space, there was always one more river to cross … the far side of hatred and murder! From Galaxy Science Fiction January 1958.


The Plattner Story
By H.G. Wells; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 46 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibirVox.org
Published: August 4, 2009

LibriVox - Regeneration by Charles DyeRegeneration
By Charles Dye; Read by Wendel Topper
1 |MP3| – Approx. 24 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibirVox.org
Published: August 4, 2009
So long as there are men and women alive, in a livable environment, then a new beginning is possible. From Future combined with Science Fiction stories September 1951.

Fantastic Universe May 1954Rex Ex Machina
By Frederic Max; Read by Synergy
1 |MP3| – Approx. 6 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibirVox.org
Published: August 4, 2009
The domination of the minds of tractable Man is not new. Many men have dreamed of it. Certainly some of them have tried. This man succeeded. A science fictional letter from a father to a son. From Fantastic Universe May 1954.

Tales of Space and Time; The Star
By H.G. Wells; Read by Linda Dodge
1 |MP3| – Approx. 32 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibirVox.org
Published: August 4, 2009

LibriVox - The Success Machine by Henry SlesarThe Success Machine
By Henry Slesar; Read by Troy Bond
1 |MP3| – Approx. 25 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibirVox.org
Published: August 4, 2009
Mechanical brains are all the rage these days, so General Products just had to have one. But the blamed thing almost put them out of business. Why? It had no tact. It insisted upon telling the truth! From Amazing Science Fiction Stories January 1960.

LibiVox - Unspecialist by Murray F. YacoUnspecialist
By Murray F. Yaco; Read by Wendel Topper
1 |MP3| – Approx. 29 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibirVox.org
Published: August 4, 2009
A machine can be built to do any accurately described job better than any man. The superiority of a man is that he can do an unexpected, undescribed, and emergency job … provided he hasn’t been especially trained to be a machine. From Astounding Science Fiction, January, 1960.

LibriVox - What's He Doing In There? by Fritz LeiberWhat’s He Doing In There?
By Fritz Leiber; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 12 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibirVox.org
Published: August 4, 2009
He went where no Martian ever went before—but would he come out—or had he gone for good? From Galaxy Science Fiction December 1957.

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox: Short Science Fiction Collection Vol. 020

October 13, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

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LibriVoxSome terrific new listening, and some re-recorded tales, are found in this collection of LibriVox’s short Science Fiction:

Harry Harrison’s Arm Of The Law is fun, and well written with a sympathetic portrayal of a factory fresh robot turned Martian lawman. Police coruption gets a right royal cleaning when a seemingly Asimovian-lawed robot shows up on Mars. Greg Margarite reads the robot’s few lines extremely well. This is yet more proof he’s a narrator with terrific instincts for characterization.

Philip K. Dick’s The Gun is predictable but still very readable/listenable. Fredric Brown’s Keep Out is, like so many Brown tales, short, sweet and funny!

George O. Smith’s History Repeats features mercenary aliens and talking dogs. Cool! Other than a few almost unnoticeable pauses this is an excellent reading by Bellona Times.

And that’s just a few of these stories! Why not have a listen yourself? Then, please pop your thoughts on each in as a comment. All the cool kids are doing it!

LibriVox - Short Science Fiction Collection Vol. 020Short Science Fiction Collection Vol. 020
By various; Read by various
10 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 3 Hours 16 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: July 1, 2009
Science Fiction is speculative literature that generally explores the consequences of ideas which are roughly consistent with nature and scientific method, but are not facts of the author’s contemporary world. The stories often represent philosophical thought experiments presented in entertaining ways. Protagonists typically “think” rather than “shoot” their way out of problems, but the definition is flexible because there are no limits on an author’s imagination. The reader-selected stories presented here were written prior to 1962 and became US public domain texts when their copyrights expired.

Podcast feed:

http://librivox.org/bookfeeds/short-science-fiction-collection-20.xml

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

LibriVox - 2BR02B by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. 2BR02B
By Kurt Vonnegut, Jr; Read by Bellona Times
1 |MP3| – Approx. 19 minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: July 1, 2009
In the not so distant future an over-populated planet requires that every birth be balanced by a death. When Edward K. Whelig, Jr.’s wife births triplets he needs to find three people willing to enter a local suicide booth and give him the receipt… From Worlds of If, January 1962.

LibriVox - And All The Earth A Grave by C.C. MacAppAnd All The Earth A Grave
By C.C. MacApp; Read by Bellona Times
1 |MP3| -Approx. 19 minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: July 1, 2009
There’s nothing wrong with dying—it just hasn’t ever had the proper sales pitch! From Galaxy Science Fiction, December 1963.


Fantastic Universe August 1958Arm Of The Law
By Harry Harrison; Read by Greg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 34 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: July 1, 2009
How could a robot—a machine, after all—be involved in something like law application and violence? Harry Harrison, who will be remembered for his THE VELVET GLOVE (Nov. 1956) and his more recent TRAINEE FOR MARS (June 1958) tells what happens when a police robot hits an outpost on Mars. From the August 1958 issue of Fantastic Universe.

The Bell Tone by Edmund H. LeftwichThe Bell Tone
By Edmund H. Leftwich; Read by Bellona Times
1 |MP3| – Approx. 13 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: July 1, 2009
It is no use. It’s too late. The earth—I must dig—alone. From the July 1941 issue of Comet.


LibriVox - The Gun by Philip K. DickThe Gun
By Philip K. Dick; Read by Greg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 28 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: July 1, 2009
Nothing moved or stirred. Everything was silent, dead. Only the gun showed signs of life … and the trespassers had wrecked that for all time. The return journey to pick up the treasure would be a cinch … they smiled.

LibriVox - History Repeats by George O. SmithHistory Repeats
By George O. Smith; Read by Bellona Times
1 |MP3| – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: July 1, 2009
There are—and very probably will always be—some Terrestrials who can’t, and for that matter don’t want, to call their souls their own… From Astounding Science Fiction May 1959.

LibriVox - Keep Out by Fredric BrownKeep Out
By Fredric Brown; Read by Greg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 8 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: July 1, 2009
With no more room left on Earth, and with Mars hanging up there empty of life, somebody hit on the plan of starting a colony on the Red Planet. It meant changing the habits and physical structure of the immigrants, but that worked out fine. In fact, every possible factor was covered—except one of the flaws of human nature… From Amazing Stories March 1954.

Fantastic Universe December 1957My Father, the Cat
By Henry Slesar; Read by Patricia Oakley
1 |MP3| – Approx. 24 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: July 1, 2009
“Henry Slesar, as we have said before, is a young advertising executive who has rapidly become one of the better known writers in the field. Here is an off-trail story that is guaranteed to make some of you take a very searching second look at some of the young men you know.” From Fantastic Universe December 1957.

Fantastic Universe November 1956Of Time And Texas
By William F. Nolan; Read by Joe Pilsbury
1 |MP3| – Approx. 5 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: July 1, 2009
“Twenty-eight-year-old William Nolan, another newcomer to the field, introduces us to the capricious Time Door of Professor C. Cydwick Ohms, guaranteed to solve the accumulated problems of the world of the year 2057.” From Fantastic Universe November 1956.

LibriVox - Operation Lorelie by William P. SaltonOperation Lorelie
By William P. Salton; Read by Bellona Times
1 |MP3| – Approx. 12 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: July 1, 2009
It was a new time and a vast new war of complete and awful annihilation. Yet, some things never change, and, as in ancient times, Ulysses walked again—brave and unconquerable—and again, the sirens wove their deadly spell with a smile and a song. From Amazing Stories March 1954.

[additional thanks to “julicarter” and Lucy Burgoyne]

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox: Short Science Fiction Collection Vol. 013

May 28, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

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LibriVox Here’s another recent collection from the good people at LibriVox.org. I’ve made a few notes on just a few of these tales. Feel free to add your own as comments (we all should do more of that).

So here are those notes: My listening of Faithfully Yours was slightly distracted, but from what I heard it was a pretty good tale. I’m going to have to listen to it one more time to come to any final judgments about it. Unfortunately many mispronunciations mar Blair Buckland’s reading of The Invaders – but, the story still works – it would make a great tale to re-record. The Next Logical Step, by Ben Bova, is a very solid cold war piece that feels rather more modern than its 1962 vintage would normally suggest. It has an almost cyberpunk feel with its VR computer equipment – and the ending is absolutely rock solid. It has a great title too!

LibriVox - Short Science Fiction Collection Vol. 013Short Science Fiction Collection Vol. 013
By various; Read by various
10 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 4 Hours 31 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: April 24, 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, first published between 1951 – 1962, that entered the US public domain when their copyright was not renewed.

Podcast feed: http://librivox.org/bookfeeds/short-science-fiction-collection-vol-013.xml

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

LibriVox - Faithfully Yours by Lou TabakowFaithfully Yours
By Lou Tabakow; Read Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 40 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: April 24, 2009
If it’s too impossibly difficult to track down and recapture an escaped criminal … there’s a worse thing one might do…
From “Astounding Science Fiction” December 1955.

LibriVox - The Golden Judge by Nathaniel GordonThe Golden Judge
By Nathaniel Gordon; Read by Hollis Hanover
1 |MP3| – Approx. 44 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: April 24, 2009
A suggestion and a highly intriguing one–on how to settle the problems that involve face-saving among nations! From Astounding Science Fiction December 1955.

LibriVox - The Invaders by Benjamin FerrisThe Invaders
By Benjamin Ferris; Read by Blair Buckland
1 |MP3| – Approx. 34 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: April 24, 2009
Magic—there’s no such thing. But the crops were beginning to grow backwards… From Weird Tales March 1951.


LibriVox - Moment Of Truth by Basil WellsMoment Of Truth
By Basil Wells; Read by Betsie Bush
1 |MP3| – Approx. 10 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: April 24, 2009
“Basil Wells, who lives in Pennsylvania, has been doing research concerning life in the area during the period prior to and following the War of 1812. Here he turns to a different problem—the adjustment demanded of a pioneer woman, not in those days but Tomorrow—on Mars.” From Fantastic Universe December 1957.

LibriVox - The Next Logical Step by Ben BovaThe Next Logical Step
By Ben Bova; Read by Bill Ruhsam
1 |MP3| – Approx. 14 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: April 24, 2009
Ordinarily the military least wants to have the others know the final details of their war plans. But, logically, there would be times— From Analog Science Fact & Fiction May 1962.

LibriVox - Pandemic by J.F. BonePandemic
By J.F. Bone; Read by Hollis Hanover
1 |MP3| – Approx. 45 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: April 24, 2009
Generally, human beings don’t do totally useless things consistently and widely. So—maybe there is something to it—
From Analog Science Fact and Science Fiction February 1962.

LibriVox - The Perfectionists by Arnold CastleThe Perfectionists
By Arnold Castle; Read by Betsie Bush
1 |MP3| – Approx. 32 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: April 24, 2009
Is there something wrong with you? Do you fail to fit in with your group? Nervous, anxious, ill-at-ease? Happy about it? Lucky you! From Amazing Science Fiction Stories January 1960.

LibriVox - Reluctant Genius by Henry SlesarReluctant Genius
By Henry Slesar; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 6 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: April 24, 2009
It is said that Life crawled up from the slime of the sea-bottoms and became Man because of inherent greatness bred into him before the dawn of time. But perhaps this urge was not as formless as we think. From Amazing Stories January 1957.

LibriVox - Tight Squeeze by Dean IngTight Squeeze
By Dean Ing; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 35 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: April 24, 2009
He knew the theory of repairing the gizmo all right. He had that nicely taped. But there was the little matter of threading a wire through a too-small hole while under zero-g, and working in a spacesuit! From Astounding Science Fiction February 1955.

LibriVox - We Didn't Do Anything Wrong, Hardly by Roger KuykendallWe Didn’t Do Anything Wrong, Hardly
By Roger Kuykendall; Read by Betsie Bush
1 |MP3| – Approx. 11 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: April 24, 2009
After all—they only borrowed it a little while, just to fix it— From Astounding Science Fiction May 1959.


Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Hollywood Fantasies: Ten Surreal Visions of Tinsel Town

July 16, 2004 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Uncategorized 

Science Fiction Audiobooks - Hollywood FantasiesHollywood Fantasies – Ten Surreal Visions of Tinsel Town
By Robert Bloch, Harlan Ellison, Ed Gorman, John Jakes, David Morrell, Michael Reaves, David Schow, Robert Sheckley, Robert Silverberg and Henry Slesar; Read by Susan Anspach, David Birney, Harlan Ellison, Jamie Farr, Laini Kazan, Steve Kmetko, Harley Jane Kozak, Favid Madden and John Rubinstein
4 cassettes – Approx 6 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Dove Audio
Published: 1997 – hardcopy out of print (available for download at Audible)
ISBN: 0787109460
Themes: Fantasy / Hollywood / Movies / Television / Westerns / Witchcraft / Virtual Reality / Magic /

Learn the truth behind the mask of Hollywood in these ten bizarre tales of dreams and dream weavers, movies and movie-makers, by some of the most respected fantasy writers of our time.

This disappointing collection has a few redeeming tales, but few must-listen gems. The majority of the stories feel like filler – many feature tacked on twist endings that are less than stellar. Apparently Harlan Ellison’s reading of his own story, “Laugh Track,” has been modified in the performance – with the addition of a few lines here and there – if anybody’s gonna mess with a story it best be the author. The cover art is utilitarian but colorful, packaging for this audiobook is however very poor, most examples of these 4 cassette plastic cases with cardboard covers have become unbound as the glue holding the two together was not up to its task. Another minor annoyance, the mislabeling of cassette 4, Ed Gorman’s story “Gunslinger” is said to run through all of side 7 and onto 8, when it is the reverse. “Dead Image” starts on side 7 and runs through all of side 8.

Stories Included:

“The Never-Ending Western Movie” by Robert Sheckley
Jamie Farr’s gruff cowboy voice successfully narrates this 1976 short story, which posits an alternate world in which the old-fashioned movie serial westerns and reality television have merged. This is hard enough on the actors, who now have to do their own stunts, but when the prop guns fire real bullets acting scared isn’t too tough.

“One For The Horrors” by David Schow
A run-down movie theater shows prints of lost movie masterpieces like The Man Who Would Be King starring Humphrey Bogart and Clark Gable? The only thing that could top that is what’s playing tomorrow night! This one really is fantasy! Strictly for film connoisseurs – it held my interest but could have exited the stage a little more interestingly. Author David Schow must have done some fascinatingly fun research for this one. Reader Steve Kmetko works some magic of his own in the theater of the ear.

“The Man Who Wanted To Be In The Movies” by John Jakes
George wants to be in movies, so he visits his local licensed witch to cast a spell that’ll do the job. Harley Jane Kozak, the narrator, is fine – but the story itself is absolutely pointless and uninteresting.

“Laugh Track” by Harlan Ellison
Have you ever wondered where the laugh tracks from television sitcoms come from? Meet Wally Modisett, the Phantom Sweetener. Originally appearing in “Weird Tales” Magazine in 1984, this overly lengthy tale is almost made up for in part by Ellison’s enthusiastic performance, told in first person.

“Reality Unlimited’ by Robert Silverberg
Virtual Reality movies. Neat idea, but that’s all it is, the idea is there but the story is M.I.A.. When this tale was written in 1957 it might have had some point to it, today it’s barely a curiosity. A disappointing story by the usually reliable Silverberg. But on the other hand Susan Anspach reading of it was fine.

“The Movie People” by Robert Bloch
Movie extras have been in Hollywood films since the silent era, but just because they have no lines doesn’t mean we can’t read between them. Adequate and with a modicum of originality this tale would have benefited from a few more drafts before publication – it wanted to be a better story. John Rubenstein takes his time with the telling – a laconic voice that doesn’t detract from the story.

“Werewind” by Michael Reaves
A serial killer and a lonely howling wind may be connected. The only question is how. Marginally listenable, Michael Reaves’ story isn’t predictable, but neither is it comprehensible. It feels like a refugee from a Danielle Steele novelization of A Nightmare on Elm Street – and that doesn’t make any sense to me either! David Madden’s reading is far better than this short deserves.

“The Movie Makers” by Henry Slesar
Henry Slesar’s ode to 1950’s science fiction b-movies succeeds – in disappointing the same way those bad movies do – minus the cheesy special visual effect. The twist ending is also predictable. Lainie Kazan’s serviceable reading is adequate to the story’s requirements – though consider the predominant male characterization a female narrator is a questionable choice.

“Gunslinger” by Ed Gorman
In the early Twentieth century cowboys were heading away from the range and towards Hollywood, where they’d take on roles in the burgeoning western film frenzy. One man however is has a score to settle with one of these cowboys turned film actors, and its gonna be real bullets that’ll fly. “Gunslinger is illogically placed in this collection – it is not fantasy. It is set in Hollywood, but isn’t particularly fanciful. David Birney doesn’t have much to do here, but neither does he fail to achieve what’s required – to tell the story.

“Dead Image” by David Morrell
A thinly veiled tale about movie rebel James Dean, that asks the question: If Dean had a second chance at life would he do things any different? This very interesting tale depends upon a listener’s knowledge of James Dean’s life and death – also neat was the appearance of a Dennis Hopper type. Morrell’s tale isn’t likely to be turned into a film itself, but it’s full of neat ruminations on destiny and fame. Jamie Farr’s deep voice makes a second, and very welcome, appearance in this collection. He’s becoming one of my favorite celebrity narrators.

Posted by Jesse Willis