Lightspeed: The Streets Of Ashkelon by Harry Harrison

October 12, 2012 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

“For me, it’s one of those stories that does what SF does so very well, shining a light into those murky places where mundane fiction either will not or can not go: asking difficult questions about the nature of faith, belief and pride (and taking a few well aimed and accurate shots at the nature of colonialism along the way).” – James Lecky

Two Tales And Eight Tomorrows by Harry Harrison - art by Jim Burns

The Streets Of Ashkelon is a terrific tale audiobooked as part of last month’s issue of Lightspeed. Sometimes classified as a horror, often reprinted, it’s a classic SF story that’s in dialogue with James Blish’s A Case Of Conscience. Maria Doria Russell’s The Sparrow could also be considered a part of this long conversation. But unlike either of those novels this fifty year old short story takes the other side, stridently offering a challenge to the authority of faith’s promulgators. It asks an important question:

Ought evangelists and proselytizers have any business promoting their religion to aliens?

This is an SF story in the vein of Star Trek and H.G. Wells, so ought we not to read the innocent aliens as an allegory for something a little closer to home?

Decide for yourself.

Lightspeed MagazineLightspeed – The Streets Of Ashkelon
By Harry Harrison; Read by Paul Boehmer
1 |MP3| – Approx. 49 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: Lightspeed
Podcast: September 2012
First published in New Worlds Science Fiction, #122, September 1962.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Commentary: A “Top 100 Sci-Fi Audiobooks” List

September 16, 2012 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Commentary 

SFFaudio Commentary

Sci-Fi ListsLast year somebody* pointed out that a list of “The Top 100 Sci-Fi Books” (as organized by the Sci-Fi Lists website) was almost entirely available in audiobook form!

At the time of his or her compiling 95 of the 100 books were available as audiobooks.

Today, it appears, that list is approaching 99% complete!

I’ve read a good number of the books and audiobooks listed, and while some of them are indeed excellent, I’d have to argue that some are merely ok, and that others are utterly atrocious.

That said, I do think it is interesting that almost all of them are available as audiobooks!

Here’s the list as it stood last year, plus my added notations on the status of the missing five:

01- Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card – 1985
02- Dune – Frank Herbert – 1965
03- Foundation – Isaac Asimov – 1951
04- Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – Douglas Adams – 1979
05- 1984 – George Orwell – 1949
06- Stranger In A Strange Land – Robert A Heinlein – 1961
07- Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury – 1954
08- 2001: A Space Odyssey – Arthur C Clarke – 1968
09- Starship Troopers – Robert A Heinlein – 1959
10- I, Robot – Isaac Asimov – 1950
11- Neuromancer – William Gibson – 1984
12- Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – Philip K. Dick – 1968
13- Ringworld – Larry Niven – 1970
14- Rendezvous With Rama – Arthur C. Clarke – 1973
15- Hyperion – Dan Simmons – 1989
16- Brave New World – Aldous Huxley – 1932
17- The Time Machine – H.G. Wells – 1895
18- Childhood’s End – Arthur C. Clarke – 1954
19- The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress – Robert A. Heinlein – 1966
20- The War Of The Worlds – H.G. Wells – 1898
21- The Forever War – Joe Haldeman – 1974
22- The Martian Chronicles – Ray Bradbury – 1950
23- Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegut – 1969
24- Snow Crash – Neal Stephenson – 1992
25- The Mote In God’s Eye – Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle – 1975
26- The Left Hand Of Darkness – Ursula K. Le Guin – 1969
27- Speaker For The Dead – Orson Scott Card – 1986
28- Jurassic Park – Michael Crichton – 1990
29- The Man in the High Castle – Philip K. Dick – 1962
30- The Caves Of Steel – Isaac Asimov – 1954
31- The Stars My Destination – Alfred Bester – 1956
32- Gateway – Frederik Pohl – 1977
33- Lord Of Light – Roger Zelazny – 1967
34- Solaris – Stanisław Lem – 1961
35- 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea – Jules Verne – 1870
36- A Wrinkle In Time – Madeleine L’Engle – 1962
37- Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut – 1963
38- Contact – Carl Sagan – 1985
39- The Andromeda Strain – Michael Crichton – 1969
40- The Gods Themselves – Isaac Asimov – 1972
41- A Fire Upon The Deep – Vernor Vinge – 1991
42- Cryptonomicon – Neal Stephenson – 1999
43- The Day of the Triffids – John Wyndham – 1951
44- UBIK – Philip K. Dick – 1969
45- Time Enough For Love – Robert A. Heinlein – 1973
46- A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess – 1962
47- Red Mars – Kim Stanley Robinson – 1992
48- Flowers For Algernon – Daniel Keyes
49- A Canticle For Leibowitz – Walter M. Miller – 1959
50- The End of Eternity – Isaac Asimov – 1955
51- Battlefield Earth – L. Ron Hubbard – 1982
52- Frankenstein – Mary Shelley – 1818
53- Journey To The Center Of The Earth – Jules Verne – 1864
54- The Dispossessed – Ursula K. Le Guin – 1974
55- The Diamond Age – Neal Stephenson – 1995
56- The Player Of Games – Iain M. Banks – 1988
57- The Reality Dysfunction – Peter F. Hamilton – 1996
58- Startide Rising – David Brin – 1983
59- The Sirens Of Titan – Kurt Vonnegut – 1959
60- Eon – Greg Bear – 1985
61- Ender’s Shadow – Orson Scott Card – 1999
62- To Your Scattered Bodies Go – Philip Jose Farmer – 1971
63- A Scanner Darkly – Philip K. Dick – 1977
64- Lucifer’s Hammer – Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle – 1977
65- The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood – 1985
66- The City And The Stars – Arthur C Clark – 1956
67- The Stainless Steel Rat – Harry Harrison – 1961
68- The Demolished Man – Alfred Bester – 1953
69- The Shadow of the Torturer – Gene Wolfe – 1980
70- Sphere – Michael Crichton – 1987
71- The Door Into Summer – Robert .A Heinlein – 1957
72- The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch – Philip K. Dick – 1964
73- Revelation Space – Alastair Reynolds – 2000
74- Citizen Of The Galaxy – Robert A. Heinlein – 1957
75- Doomsday Book – Connie Willis – 1992
76- Ilium – Dan Simmons – 2003
77- The Invisible Man – H.G. Wells – 1897
78- Have Space-Suit Will Travel – Robert A. Heinlein – 1958
79- The Puppet Masters – Robert A. Heinlein – 1951
80- Out Of The Silent Planet – C.S. Lewis – 1938
81- A Princess of Mars – Edgar Rice Burroughs – 1912
82- The Lathe of Heaven – Ursula K. Le Guin – 1971
83- Use Of Weapons – Iain M. Banks – 1990
84- The Chrysalids – John Wyndham – 1955
85- Way Station – Clifford Simak – 1963
86- Flatland – Edwin A. Abbott – 1884
87- Altered Carbon – Richard Morgan – 2002
88- Old Man’s War – John Scalzi – 2005
89- COMING SOON (October 15, 2012)Roadside Picnic – Arkady and Boris Strugatsky – 1972
90- The Road – Cormac McCarthy – 2006
91- The Postman – David Brin – 1985
92- NEWLY AVAILABLEStand On Zanzibar – John Brunner – 1969
93- VALIS – Philip K. Dick – 1981
94- NEWLY AVAILABLE The Cyberiad: Fables for the Cybernetic Age – Stanisław Lem – 1974
95- NOT AVAILABLE AS AN AUDIOBOOK – Cities In Flight – James Blish – 1955
96- The Lost World – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – 1912
97- The Many-Colored Land – Julian May – 1981
98- Gray Lensman – E.E. ‘Doc’ Smith – 1940
99- The Uplift War – David Brin – 1987
100- NEWLY AVAILABLEThe Forge Of God – Greg Bear – 1987

In case you were wondering, the list was compiled using the following criteria:

“A statistical survey of sci-fi literary awards, noted critics and popular polls. To qualify a book has to be generally regarded as science fiction by credible sources and/or recognised as having historical significance to the development of the genre. For books that are part of a series (with some notable exceptions) only the first book in the series is listed.”

The “Next 100”, as listed over on Sci-Fi Lists, has a lot of excellent novels and collections in it too, check that out HERE.

[*Thanks to “neil1966hardy” from ThePirateBay]

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #143 – NEW RELEASES/RECENT ARRIVALS

January 16, 2012 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: New Releases, Podcasts, Recent Arrivals 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #143 – Scott, Jesse, Tamahome, and Kristin (A.K.A Terpkristin) talk about recently arrived audiobooks, new releases and more.

Talked about on today’s show:
The origin of the name ‘Terpkristin’, Scott has a pile of audio, (see also the NewAudioBookIn twitter feed), Hominids and Humans from Robert J. Sawyer, evolved Neanderthals, Farseer (the dinosaur book), Flashforward, Kristin’s scientific evaluations, “needs more ego”, Pamela Sargent’s Earthseed (Seed, #1), Greg Bear’s Forge of God, memorable earth destruction, Peter F. Hamilton’s Void Trilogy (‘Hawking m-sink’ weapon), the Star Trek movie, Burning Chrome anthology by William Gibson includes Johnny Mnemonic, when will they list all the short stories on the audiobook package?, precursor to Neuromancer, William Gibson’s non-fiction Distrust That Particular Flavor is out from Tantor (Jesse will establish later), he’s a crossover, who will read Sisterhood Of Dune?, extending a series, Zelazny’s Amber series, Glasslands (Halo, #8) by Karen Traviss (she also did a lot of Star Wars books), “stuff happens fiction”,  Eve Online, “gateway books”, James Blish Star Trek books, Splinter Of The Mind’s Eye, The Thirteen Hallows by Michael Scott and Colette Freedman, I Am Number Four, YA series, “contractual sweatshop”, Infernal Devices by K.W. Jeter, a steampunk pioneer, “quick off the mark”, Little Big by John Crowley narrated by the author, Stephan Rudnicki was denied Aegypt (at 43 min), the legend of the Cottingley Fairies, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle believed it, “the Fairy Gap”, Larry Niven’s The Ringword Engineers and The Ringworld Throne, The Protector, the Security Now science fiction episode, “The Ringworld is unstable!  The Ringworld is unstable!”, A Canticle For Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr., NPR dramatized it, good for Scott and Julie’s A Good Story Is Hard To Find podcast?,  Working For The Devil (Dante Valentine, #1) by Lilith Saintcrow, Dante is a woman?, Neal Stephenson’s Currency (The Baroque Cycle, Book 3, Vol. 7), they broke it down, Kristin read the whole thing!, Tantor has drm-free downloads, A Fall Of Moondust by Arthur C. Clarke, a Poseidon adventure on the moon, BBC Radio drama version, Timecaster by Joe Kimball, sounds like Minority Report, an idea for someone else to write, the Assassin’s Creed game, Brent Weeks’s Night Angel trilogy, hoodies are popular, the comic Chew‘s gruesome premise, Mur Lafferty likes it (5 stars on Goodreads!), Aces High (Wild Cards, #2) edited by George R.R. Martin, Jenny’s special message about A Wrinkle In Time, the 50th anniversary, a parallel world thing, the Pern series, The Greg Mandel trilogy by Peter F. Hamilton, my review of Mindstar Rising (Greg Mandel, #1), psychic powers, Lady And The Tramp, Scott’s box of audio has become infected with a zombie virus, Rise by Gareth Wood, “we’re not desolate or empty!”, entering New Releases territory, Blackstone, Raylan by Elmore Leonard, Justified tv show does a good Leonard, style, Out Of Sight movie and book, it was J-lo’s best, Sixth Column by Heinlein, Jesse can’t remember it, The Voice From The Edge series by Harlan Ellison, he’s got a passion, I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream was dramatized on BBC radio too, Robert Sheckley’s Immortality, Inc. (our readalong should be out next week), Bronson Pinchot narrated, (I think this is where I lost my mic because I was trying to say “transplant!” from that audiobook), A Door Into Ocean by Joan Slonczewski, a classic feminist science fiction novel, no men needed, Brilliance audiobooks are cheap!, “Someone explain the point of Audible” (at least I can still text), “What’s the fascination with zombies?”, societal significance or commercial? (I’m starting to think they’re ignoring me), Twilight and their ilk, Night Of The Long Knives by Fritz Leiber, how these subgenres are grouped together, vs the U.K., Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey is fantasy or science fiction?, Star Wars gadgetry, Alan Moore’s Lovecraft salute comic Neonomicon, the Audible app, Tamahome is in the hole

Posted by Tamahome

The Drama Pod: The Thing In The Attic by James Blish

January 15, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

The Drama PodPreviously available as a LibriVox audiobook, and now mysteriously not, Gregg Margarite’s narration of The Thing In The Attic is available from The Drama Pod! This is one of James Blish’s “Pantropy” tales and makes up one quarter of his fixup novel The Seedling Stars. Here’s a snippet from the Wikipedia entry on pantropy:

“Pantropy is a hypothetical process of space colonization in which rather than terraforming other planets or building space habitats suitable for human habitation, humans are modified (for example via genetic engineering) to be able to thrive in the existing environment.”

Other examples of pantropic fiction include Olaf Stapledon’s Last And First Men, Clifford D. Simak’s Desertion, Poul Anderson’s Call Me Joe and Frederick Pohl‘s Man Plus.

The Thing In The Attic by James BlishThe Thing In The Attic
By James Blish; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 83 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: The Drama Pod
Podcast: January 8, 2012
Honath the Pursemaker is a heretic. He doesn’t believe the stories in the Book of Laws which claims giants created his tree-dwelling race. He makes his opinion known and is banished with his infidel friends to the floor of the jungle where dangers abound. Perhaps he’ll find some truth down there. First published in the July, 1954 edition of If: Worlds of Science Fiction magazine.

The Thing In The Attic by James Blish - illustrated by Paul Orban
The Thing In The Attic - illustration by Paul Orban
The Thing In The Attic by James Blish

Posted by Jesse Willis

The Diamond Lens by Fitz James O’Brien

October 27, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

The Diamond Lens by Fitz James O'Brien - illustration uncredited - December 1926 issue of Amazing Stories

I’ve created a |PDF| from the printing in the December 1926 issue of Amazing Stories.

Introduction to the October 1933 issue of Amazing in which The Diamond Lens was published

The Diamond Lens - Illustration by Morrey

I’ve created a |PDF| from the printing in the October 1933 issue of Amazing Stories.

In his introductory essay “Expanding The Lens“, found in to the story in The Road To Science Fiction: From Gilgamesh To Wells, editor James Gunn writes:

“[The Diamond Lens] is the first known story in which another world is perceived through a microscope… [this story] opened up another world, not just for readers, but for writers as well.” Gunn goes on to praise O’Brien’s “realistic treatment of the fantastic” and says that “‘The Diamond Lens‘” may be the first modern science-fiction story.”

LibriVox narrator Corrina Schultz describes The Diamond Lens this way:

“This story has a bit of everything – obsessive scientist, psychic medium contacting the dead, clever murder cover-up, racism, creepy stalker, college student shirking his studies, the painful results of pursuing forbidden knowledge, the noble savage…”

Atop those words I myself can heap a few other attractors:

1. The Diamond Lens is bizarre in both plot and focus, with episodic like writing <-Weird for a short story. 2. It has the sensibility of a foreign culture <-The 19th century attitude toward seances is pretty fucking foreign! 3. The protagonist is a mad microscopist. <-Perhaps he was demented by the illicit lure of science? 4. The story features a brutal killing. <-With a whackjob of added racism to complicate matters! 5. It has a noir ending. <-My favourite kind. As you may have guessed I quite enjoyed The Diamond Lens.

Stories like Harl Vincent’s Microcosmic Buccaneers (1929), Theodore Sturgeon’s Microcosmic God (1941) and both Sunken Universe (1942) and Surface Tension (1952) by James Blish all stem from the microscopic pioneering of The Diamond Lens. Whereas the theme, of an alien female object of adoration in an unreachable land, also brings to mind a mighty parallel with Jack Williamson’s The Green Girl (1930). And one final note, a quick read of the Wikipedia entry for Fitz James O’Brien makes me think some of the tale is autobiographical!

LibriVoxThe Diamond Lens
By Fitz James O’Brien; Read by Corinna Schultz
1 |MP3| – Approx. 57 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox
Published: FORTHCOMING
A scientist, having invented a powerful microscope, discovers a beautiful female living in a microscopic world inside a drop of water. First published in the January 1858 issue of The Atlantic Monthly.

The Weird CircleThe Diamond Lens
Based on the story by Fitz-James O’Brien; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 25 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: December 31, 1944
Provider: Archive.org

Arthur C. Clarke describes The Diamond Lens (from an article in Playboy)

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #099

March 14, 2011 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #099 – Jesse talked with Evo Terra, Steve Eley, Bill Desmedt, Steen Hansen, and Matthew Wayne Selznick in a kaffeeklatsch recorded on Friday August 24, 2006 at LA . .

Talked about on today’s show:
recording for posterity, Evo is not his real name, Milford, Pennsylvania, Damon Knight, James Blish, Larry Niven, Harlan Ellison, I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream, Johnstown, Johnstown, Pennsylvania, Johnstown Flood, podcasting, giant squid?, iRiver MP3 players, Dragon Page: Cover To Cover, “it’s a good pain”, Podiobooks.com, Audible.com, Libsyn, Slice Of Sci-Fi, Farpoint Media, Mech Muse, Escape Pod‘s Steve Eley has (had) a grudge against Mech Muse, what Mech Muse did wrong, Steve doesn’t (didn’t) like a lot of people’s attitudes, Podshow, Adam Curry, what is the advantage of serializing an audiobook (podiobook), Tee Morris, Morevi: The Chronicles Of Rafe And Askana, Scott Sigler, Feedburner, “the magazine model” – serialization, audiobooks vs. podiobooks, William Dufris, how to sound good after dinner: eat an apple, drink lemon juice, or gargle with the juice of hot peppers, LibriVox.org, Anne Of Green Gables, Hugh McGuire, Escape Pod was once the biggest despository of individual stories on audio on the internet.

Posted by Jesse Willis

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