Review of Tarkin: Star Wars

January 6, 2015 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Tarkin Star Wars coverTarkin: Star Wars
By James Luceno; Narrated by Euan Morton
Publisher: Random House Audio
Publication Date: 4 November 2014
[UNABRIDGED] – 9 hours, 27 minutes

Themes: / star wars / empire /

Publisher summary:

He’s the scion of an honorable and revered family. A dedicated soldier and distinguished legislator. Loyal proponent of the Republic and trusted ally of the Jedi Order. Groomed by the ruthless politician and Sith Lord who would be Emperor, Governor Wilhuff Tarkin rises through the Imperial ranks, enforcing his authority ever more mercilessly….and zealously pursuing his destiny as the architect of absolute dominion.

Rule through the fear of force rather than force itself, he advises his Emperor. Under Tarkin’s guidance, an ultimate weapon of unparalleled destruction moves ever closer to becoming a terrifying reality. When the so-called Death Star is completed, Tarkin is confident that the galaxy’s lingering pockets of Separatist rebellion will be brought to heel – by intimidation…or annihilation.

Until then, however, insurgency remains a genuine threat. Escalating guerrilla attacks by resistance forces and newfound evidence of a growing Separatist conspiracy are an immediate danger the Empire must meet with swift and brutal action. And to bring down a band of elusive freedom fighters, the Emperor turns to his most formidable agents: Darth Vader, the fearsome new Sith enforcer as remorseless as he is mysterious; and Tarkin – whose tactical cunning and cold-blooded efficiency will pave the way for the Empire’s supremacy…and its enemies’ extinction.

Tarkin is one of the first books in the rebooted Star Wars expanded universe. The story gives us a lot of Tarkin’s back story and how he came to be a Grand Moff of the Empire. The story started a bit slow but picked up as less back story and more plot took place. Tarkin is a very interesting character because of his intelligence and ruthlessness (he actually reminds me strongly of Grand Admiral Thrawn in some ways). Star Wars fans will like this book but I will say that it felt more like the prequels than the original trilogy.

The plot of the story isn’t a linear narrative and spends a lot of time giving flash backs of Tarkin’s youth. These flash backs give interesting perspective into how he thinks but also kind of disrupt the story happening in the present. The flash backs show that Tarkin isn’t just some plain old officer in the Empire but he has had his trials and tribulations to earn his place.

I think one large reason why I liked this book instead of “really liked” is how much the prequels are brought into the plot. Everyone who has seen the prequels saw the Death Star plans came from Geonosys and saw the younger version of Tarkin in the movies, so this story definitely has a place in the prequels…except I don’t really like the prequels.

On the audio side of things, Euan Morton brings a different style of narration to this story from what I’m used to in a Star Wars book. I think the idea is that he’d do well with a British accent to match that of Tarkin from the movies and he pulls it off well. All the usual music and sound effects are present as you’d expect and I still think they’re doing a better job with the use of music lately. I should also add that I don’t remember any annoying/repetitive/distracting background ambiance sounds as in some other Star Wars audio books.

Posted by Tom Schreck

Review of Star Wars: Millennium Falcon by James Luceno

February 26, 2009 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Star Wars: Millennium Falcon by James LucenoStar Wars: Millennium Falcon
By James Luceno, Read by Marc Thompson
8 CDs – 10 hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Random House Audio
Published: 2008
ISBN: 9780739377130
Themes: / Star Wars / Science Fiction / Fantasy / Religion / Space Travel / Adventure / Hardware /The Star Wars audiobook has been around for a long time. I use them often to illustrate the evolution of the audiobook: they started with two cassette abridgments, moved to CD, then the abridgments got longer, and now, as we are seeing the rest of the industry move (nearly) completely away from abridged audio, Star Wars novels are now… unabridged.

Marc Thompson does the reading here, after a very long stretch of excellent Star Wars narration by Jonathan Davis. The series is in good hands. Marc Thompson is a bit of a impressionist, able to invoke Harrison Ford’s Han Solo merely by the tone and meter of his voice. Most of the time it works great, but every now and then I got a clear view of David Puddy in my head (Elaine’s boyfriend from Seinfeld, played by Patrick Warburton). Who knew that Ford’s and Warburton’s voices were so near each other? These times are few, though, and Marc Thompson is a narrator I’d listen to any time.

Star Wars: Millenium Falcon spans a lot of history. The famous ship has been around, and James Luceno takes us on a tour of its busy life. Han Solo and Leia are married, for those who haven’t been keeping up, and have grandkids (yes, a LOT has happened), one of which is named Allana. One day she asked Han about the history of the ship, which prodded him into looking more into it.

In the meantime, a previous owner of the ship (before Lando) has been in stasis for quite a few years. He wakes up and immediately goes after something he left on the ship. Eventually, their paths cross.

This is an entertaining adventure that ties together the whole Star Wars saga through the history of the Millenium Falcon. It’s extremely well done, and lots of fun for a fan like me.

Random House Audio Star Wars page

After listening to this audiobook, I was curious – did the Millennium Falcon make an appearance in Episodes I, II, or III? The answer is yes, but only briefly:

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

The SFFaudio Podcast #022

January 26, 2009 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Audio Drama, Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #022 – Jesse and Scott are guestless so they decide to talk about themselves and audio in the third person.

Talked about on today’s show:
LibriVox’s releases 1, 2, Wonder Audio, Mark Douglas Nelson, Audible.com’s “first book in a series” offer, Mike Resnick’s Starship Mutiny, Richard K. Morgan’s Altered Carbon, Robert J. Sawyer’s Hominids, the Science Fiction Book Review Podcast, Robert J. Sawyer, Wake, Golden Fleece, multiple voice recordings, Dune, Ted Chiang (“best short story writer ever”), Exhalation, Nightshade Books, Eclipse Two, British Science Fiction Awards, Tony Smith’s StarShipSofa, The Merchant And The Alchemist’s Gate by Ted Chiang; read by James Campanella |MP3|, Gene Wolfe, The Tree Is My Hat |MP3|, Edgar Allan Poe’s 200th birthday, Wayne June‘s readings of Poe Into That Darkness Peering Vol. 1 |READ OUR REVIEW|, Mars, Usher II by Ray Bradbury, Leonard Nimoy, Tommorow’s Crimes by Donald E. Westlake, Anarchaos, Drukin Hayes, Nackles, Santa’s Twin by Dean Koontz, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls by Robert A. Heinlein, By His Bootstraps, The Green Hills Of Earth, Gentlemen Be Seated, psychedelic William Shatner readings, Mimsy Were The Borogroves, Star Trek: New Voyages (aka Phase II), Star Trek audiobooks, Star Wars: Millennium Falcon by James Luceno; read by Mark Thompson, Star Wars: Splinter In The Minds’s Eye by Alan Dean Foster, Jonathan Davis, radio drama: Slipsteam by Simon Bovey, WWII, Fallout 3, The Adventures Of Herbert Daring Dashwood, 1950s, The Republic of Dave, Agatha’s song.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Recent Arrivals from Random House Audio

December 3, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Recent Arrivals 

SFFaudio Recent Arrivals

Poe's Children, ed by Peter StraubPoe’s Children: The New Horror, an Anthology
Ed by Peter Straub, Read by Various
12 CD’s – 15.5 hours – [UNABRIDGED SELECTIONS]
Publisher: Random House Audio
Published: 2008
ISBN: 9780739375990

A first-rate anthology of stories by writers that editor Peter Straub calls “literary writers and genre writers at the same time”. Here’s the full Table of Contents:

Introduction by Peter Straub, read by Don Leslie
“The Bees” by Dan Chaon, read by Mark Deakins
“Cleopatra Brimstone” by Elizabeth Hand, read by Ann Marie Lee
“The Man on the Ceiling” by Steve Rasnic Tem and Melanie Tem, read by Don Leslie and Donna Rawlins
“Body” by Brian Evenson, read by Lincoln Hoppe
“Louise’s Ghost” by Kelly Link, read by Rebecca Lowman
“Leda” by M. Rickert, read by Lincoln Hoppe, Rebecca Lowman, Mark Bramhall, Dominic Hoffman, and Donna Rawlins
“The Two Sams” by Glen Hirschberg, read by Mark Deakins
“Notes on the Writing of Horror: A Story” by Thomas Ligotti, read by Lincoln Hoppe
“Little Red’s Tango” by Peter Straub, read by Dominic Hoffman
“The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet” by Stephen King, read by Mark Bramhall
“Missolonghi 1824” by John Crowley, read by John Lee
“Insect Dreams” by Rosalind Palermo Stevenson, read by Cassandra Campbell
 
 
Star Wars: Millennium Falcon by James LucenoStar Wars: Millennium Falcon
Read by James Luceno, Read by Marc Thompson
8 CD’s – 10 hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Random House Audio
Published: 2008
ISBN: 9780739377130

Two years have passed since Jacen Solo, seduced by the dark side and reanointed as the brutal Sith Lord Darth Caedus, died at the hands of his twin sister, Jaina, Sword of the Jedi. For a grieving Han and Leia, the shadow of their son’s tragic downfall still looms large. But Jacen’s own bright and loving daughter, Allana, offers a ray of hope for the future as she thrives in her grandparents’ care. And when the eager, inquisitive girl, in whom the Force grows ever stronger, makes a curious discovery aboard her grandfather’s beloved spacecraft–the much-overhauled but ever-dependable Millennium Falcon–the Solo family finds itself at a new turning point, about to set out on an odyssey into uncertain territory, untold adventure, and unexpected rewards.
 
 
Widows of Eastwick by John UpdikeWidows of Eastwick
Read by John Updike, Read by Kate Reading
9 CD’s – 11 hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Random House Audio
Published: 2008
ISBN: 9780739370797

More than three decades have passed since the events described in John Updike’s The Witches of Eastwick (also available Unabridged from Random House Audio). The three divorcées–Alexandra, Jane, and Sukie–have left town, remarried, and become widows. They cope with their grief and solitude as widows do: they travel the world, to such foreign lands as Canada, Egypt, and China, and renew old acquaintance. Why not, Sukie and Jane ask Alexandra, go back to Eastwick for the summer? The old Rhode Island seaside town, where they indulged in wicked mischief under the influence of the diabolical Darryl Van Horne, is still magical for them. Now Darryl is gone, and their lovers of the time have aged or died, but enchantment remains in the familiar streets and scenery of the village, where they enjoyed their lusty primes as free and empowered women. And, among the local citizenry, there are still those who remember them, and wish them ill. How they cope with the lingering traces of their evil deeds, the shocks of a mysterious counterspell, and the advancing inroads of old age, form the burden of Updike’s delightful, ominous sequel.
 
 
Posted by Scott D. Danielson

The SFFaudio Podcast #011 – NEW RELEASES/RECENT ARRIVALS

November 10, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: New Releases, Podcasts, Recent Arrivals 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #011 – in which our desperate heroes attempt to display the manliness and fortitude, listing all the recent arrivals, and some recent listens.

Talked about on today’s show:
audiobooks, epic fantasy, science fiction, The Runelords, David Farland, Blackstone Audio, Brilliance Audio, Dragonheart, Todd McCaffery, Pern, Penguin Audio, Jim Butcher, Codex Alera, Furies of Calderon, Kate Reading, Random House Audio, The Widows Of Eastwick, John Updike, Peter Straub, Poe’s Children – an anthology, Stephen King, Star Wars – Millennium Falcon, James Luceno, Macmillan Audio, Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson, Michael Kramer, Richard Stark, Books On Tape, Frank Herbert, Heretics Of Dune, the Alan Smithee version of Dune (1984), Neal Stephenson, Anathem (28 CDs long!), The Book Of Lies, Brad Meltzer, Ender In Exile, Orson Scott Card, Team America World Police, Sherlock Holmes Theatre, Yuri Rasovsky, audio drama, 2000X, Repent Harlequin Said The Tick-Tock Man, Harlan Ellison, Mercedes Lackey, Foundation, Wizard’s First Rule, Terry Goodkind, Legend Of The Seeker, SFSignal.com, iTunes, Infinivox, Guest Law, John C. Wright, Audio Realms, Shadow Kingdoms, Robert E. Howard, Fallout 3, and Team America: World Police‘s song we’re gonna need a montage!

Posted by Jesse Willis

New Releases: A Century of Science Fiction, an unabridged narrat…

November 15, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: New Releases 

New Releases

A Century of Science Fiction, an unabridged narrated history of science fiction film and television, Request Audiobooks
This looks interesting… from the description: “Here are the details of some of the most well known science fiction films and television series ever created: A Trip To The Moon, The Day The Earth Stood Still, The War of The Worlds, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Planet of the Apes, Aliens, Star Wars, Star Trek, and many more. Listen to the recapitulations of sci-fi voyages from the men and women who realized these fantasies. With interviews and sound bites from their films, William Shatner, Samuel L. Jackson, Stephen Spielberg, and Kevin Costner, along with Liam Neeson, Denzel Washington, Raquel Welch, Orson Welles, just to name a few, speak of their excursions into strange, new worlds…”

Eye for Eye by Orson Scott Card, read by Stefan Rudnicki, Unabridged, Request Audiobooks
Here’s an audio version of Orson Scott Card’s Hugo Award-winning novella Eye for Eye.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, read by Christopher Hurt, Unabridged, Blackstone Audio
Ray Bradbury’s classic novel about a fireman whose job it is to burn books. Click here for an audio sample.

A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin, read by John Lee, Unabridged, Random House Audio
Book 4 in the A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy series by George R.R. Martin. Been waiting for this one… It’s also available at Books on Tape in library binding. Yay! Listen to excerpt oneListen to excerpt two.

The Island of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells, read by Jonathan Kent, Unabridged, Tantor Media
A classic H.G. Wells novel from Tantor Media, the fine folks who brought us Edgar Rice Burroughs on audio.

King Kong by Edgar Wallace and Merian C. Cooper, read by Stefan Rudnicki, Unabridged, Blackstone Audio
This is a novelization of the original King Kong script, and includes commentary by Ray Bradbury, Ray Harryhausen, Orson Scott Card, Harlan Ellison, Larry Niven, Catherine Asaro, Jack Williamson, and Marc Zicree. Click here for an audio sample.

March Upcountry by David Weber and John Ringo, read by Stefan Rudnicki, Unabridged, Blackstone Audio
A novel by two masters of military SF – click here for an audio sample.

Master of Dragons by Margaret Weis, read by Suzanne Toren, Unabridged, Audio Renaissance
This is the third novel in a trilogy written by Margaret Weis, who is half of the Weis-Hickman team that wrote many popular epic fantasy novels in the Dragonlance series. Click here for an audio sample.

Run for the Stars by Harlan Ellison, read by the Author, Unabridged, Request Audiobooks
A new (to audio) story by Harlan Ellison. That alone makes it a must-have!

Star Wars: Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader by James Luceno, read by Jonathan Davis, Abridged, Random House Audio
Star Wars! I continue to be impressed with the richness of the Star Wars line of audio novels. Jonathan Davis is the perfect reader, and the production quality is first rate.

The Unnameable: Four Tales by H.P. Lovecraft by H.P. Lovecraft, Read by David Cade, with music by Paolo Barzini, Unabridged, Tales of Orpheus
Contains: “The Book”, “The Music of Erich Zann”, “The Cats of Ulthar”, and “The Unnameable”

The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells, read by Maxwell Caulfield, Unabridged, Request Audiobooks
The original War of the Worlds novel.

And from Escape Pod in the past month:
“The Death Trap of Dr. Nefario” by Benjamin Rosenbaum, read by Chris Miller with Stephen Eley
“The Great Old Pumpkin” by John Aegard, read by Stephen Eley
“Iron Bars and the Glass Jaw” by Jeffrey R. DeRego, read by Jonathan Sullivan
“The Ludes” by Lisa M. Bradley, read by Stephen Eley
“Mount Dragon” by Vera Nazarian, read by Stephen Eley

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

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