The SFFaudio Podcast #264 – READALONG: The Martian by Andy Weir

May 12, 2014 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #264 – Jesse, Jenny, Tam, Julie, Bryan, and Mike discuss The Martian by Andy Weir.

Talked about in this episode:
Dust on Mars is too thin to allow for sandstorms; terpkristin says NASA would never build a faulty antenna; and we finally introduce the book; is The Martian science fiction?; the one-way Mars mission Mars One; reminiscent of Heinlein’s Farmer in the Sky; Mike tracks Watney’s journey through Google Mars; why NASA picks boring locations to land their first missions; Andy Weir on Science Friday; the most far-fetched element of the book is its lack of budgetary concerns; Bradley Cooper in the film adaptation?; The Martian and Gravity have depressing implications; the novel’s (Heinleinian?) lack of character development; Mark Watney is in “full on Macgeyver mode”; most pilots are boring; many LOLs in the book; Andy Weir’s webcomic Casey and Andy; strong language in the novel; stoichiometry; feasibility of plot points; engineer-as-hero motif pitted against bureaucracy; Martian Odyssey by Stanley G. Weinbaum; Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe; Robinson Crusoe on Mars starring Adam West; The Makeshift Rocket by Poul Anderson, a spaceship powered by beer; From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne and First Man on the Moon by H.G. Wells; Robinsoniad; Thunder and Lightning series by John Varley; Rocket Ship Galileo by Heinlein, featuring Nazis on the Moon!; the United States falling behind in the Space Race; Stephen Hawking on the dangers of artificial intelligence; Mars Attacks!; the novel’s lack of Earth focus makes it literally escapist; Heinlein’s prophetic Destination Moon; send more potatoes to space; pop culture references; “I’m a space pirate.”; The Case for Mars by Bob Zubrin, a non-fiction proposal for reaching the Red Planet; Red Mars and other Kim Stanley Robinson novels; Marooned starring Gregory Peck; GravityApollo 18, a found-footage horror film; Falling Skies; Bruce Campbell and Martin Koenig in MoontrapPrincess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs; A Walk in the Sun by Geoffrey Landis; Transit of Earth by Arthur C. Clarke bears a strong resemblance to The Martian; new party game: “You an astronaut on Mars. What’s the last music you listen to before you die?”; We Who Are About To by Joanna Russ; hope in fantasy and science fiction; Jesse hopes they don’t make a sequel; locked-room scenarios; Portal; would Earth really expend so many resources to save a single human being?; Ascent by Jed Mercurio; T-Minus: The Race to the MoonLimit by Frank Schätzing; PlanetesThe Souther Reach by Jeff VanderMeer for more botanist action; The Apollo Quartet by Ian Sales; Voyage by Stephen Baxter, dramatized by BBC Radio.

The Martian by Andy Weir

The Martian by Andy Weir (Mars Itinerary)

Posted by Jesse Willis

Tantor Media: Exclusive 35% off MP3 Audiobook Downloads

November 2, 2011 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Audio Drama, News 

SFFaudio News

Tantor MediaTantor Media, which has recently set up an excellent MP3 download audiobook store, is offering SFFaudio readers 35% off download orders placed until November 15th!

Use Code: SFFNovember
Code expires: November 15, 2011

There are now more than 1,300 audiobooks currently available for download. To see the complete listing click HERE.

Here are some of the Tantor titles that I’ve both heard and can heartily recommend to you:
The Caves Of Steel by Isaac Asimov |READ OUR REVIEW|
Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan |READ OUR REVIEW|
The Coming Of Conan The Cimmerian by Robert E. Howard |DISCUSSED ON SFFaudio Podcast #42|
The Steel Remains by Richard K. Morgan |READ OUR REVIEW|
Ascent by Jed Mercurio |READ OUR REVIEW|
Nightmares On Congress Street IV (Audio Drama) |READ OUR REVIEW|

And here are just four promising looking titles:
Up Jim River by Michael Flynn
We by Yevgeny Zamyatin
Nightmares On Congress Street V (Audio Drama) |READ OUR REVIEW|
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

I placed an order for two MP3 audiobooks just a few days ago. I found it a pretty smooth process. The files downloaded very quickly and came in zipped folders containing well labelled and well ordered MP3s. Also very well done is the “My Bookshelf” section, which allows you to re-download titles you’ve already ordered. What Tantor has done here is take Audible.com’s good features and left out the terrible one – Tantor has no crippling DRM!

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #031 – NEW RELEASES/AUDIOBOOK: Founding Fathers by Robert Bloch

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #031 – Jesse (that’s me) and Scott (my buddy) are again joined by Rick Jackson of Wonder Audio. We talk about audiobooks, new and newer, a little about radio drama, throw in some politics, some Canada bashing, and then add in two complete short stories. The first short story is read by me (it is only two sentences long) and the other runs about 40 minutes and is performed by a professional narrator. Enjoy it folks!

Talked about on today’s show:
Full Cast Audio, Graceling by Kristin Cashore, Hugo Nominees, Young Adult novels, Little Brother by Cory Doctorow |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins |READ OUR REVIEW|, On Basilisk Station by David Weber, Grover Gardner, Shards Of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold, Barayar, The Honor Of The Queen, Paul W. Campbell, Honor Of The Clan by John Ringo and Julie Cochrane, Cally’s War, Audible Frontiers, Brilliance Audio, Paperback Digital, Hyperion by Dan Simmons, The Canterbury Tales, The Kick-Ass Mystic Ninjas, Black Library Audio, Warhammer 40,000: Heart Of Rage by James Swallow, Warhammer 40,000: Slayer Of The Storm God by Nathan Long, Infinivox, The Year’s Top Ten Tales Of Science Fiction edited by Alan Kaster, Ted Chiang is awesome, Zombie Astronaut posts 5 adaptations of Knock by Frederic Brown, Earthmen Bearing Gifts, Expedition, Arena, Rocket Men: The Epic Story of the First Men On The Moon by Craig Nelson, Penguin Audio, 40th Anniversary of Apollo 11, Digital Apollo by David A. Mindell, MIT Press, Wernher von Braun, I Aim For The Stars (1960), Ascent by Jed Mercurio |READ OUR REVIEW|, Voyage by Stephen Baxter (and adapted by Dirk Maggs to radio drama), Four Sided Triangle by William F. Temple, Ray Bradbury, Damon Knight, William Coon, The Fabulous Clip-Joint by Frederic Brown, The Alcoholics by Jim Thompson, Audible.com/wonderaudio, Rule Golden by Damon Knight, Worlds Of The Imperium by Keith Laumer, Mark Douglas Nelson, This Crowded Earth and Other Stories by Robert Bloch, overpopulation, James Powell, The Vanishing Venusians by Leigh Brackett, noir, The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Lawrence Kasdan, Body Heat (1981), Wolfbane by Frederik Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth, Plague Of Pythons by Frederik Pohl, Passengers by Robert Silverberg, The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi, Old Man’s War, Zoe’s Tale, The Sagan Diaries, Lord Valentines Castle by Robert Silverberg |READ OUR REVIEW|, Stephan Rudnicki, Greg Margarite, LibriVox.org, Deathworld by Harry Harrison, Philip K. Dick, Andre Norton, William Coon, Amazon Kindle, ebooks, where the great lakes came from, Comics, The Iliad by Homer; Adapted by Roy Thomas, The Punisher: From First To Last by Garth Ennis, The Golden Slave by Poul Anderson, The Lies Of Loch Lamora by Scott Lynch = Lankhmar meets Oliver Twist, Harry Potter, Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert, messiahs, clairvoyance, the dangers of charismatic leaders, Dune, Harkonnen government was poor management, BBC versions of the Falco books by Lindsey Davis, Radio Downloader, the Brother Cadfael series by Ellis Peters, The Name Of The Rose (1986), Umberto Eco.

And last, but not least, a complete short story, courtesy of Wonder Audio, by Robert Bloch:

This Crowded Earth and Other Stories by Robert BlochFounding Fathers
By Robert Bloch; Read by William Coon
Approx. 40 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: The SFFaudio Podcast
Podcast: July 20th, 2009
A humorous time travel tale.
First published in Fantastic Universe July 1956.

Get more Robert Bloch read by Willam Coon HERE.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Ascent by Jed Mercurio

November 30, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Science Fiction Audiobook - Ascent by Jed MercurioAscent
By Jed Mercurio; Read by Todd McLaren
6 CDs – 7.5 7.5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Published: 2007
ISBN: 9781400103683
Themes: / Science Fiction / Alternate History / War / Cold War / The Moon /

The sun swings behind the world. Night engulfs him. The dull metal craft plunges through space, its portholes pale beacons containing the silhouette of a man, and the only other lights are the stars themselves.

This alternate history novel is a faithful depiction of the Soviet Union’s race against the United States to put a man on the Moon. The sad reality is that it never happened this way, but that doesn’t nullify a tremendously magnetic story of how it very well could have done. The viewpoint character is Yefgeni Yeremin an orphan of WWII, a fighter pilot and a Korean air-war ace. His story is as compelling a depiction of a quasi-Nitzchean overman as I’ve seen in fiction. Yeremnin is a more human, more plausible kind of Ayn Randian character – but he’s also hard to empathize with. He’s a man who can’t quite break free of his upbringing, his colleagues, his country, but who despite this achieves what must be viewed as the ultimate in overcoming. The Ascent of the title is not just that of a man from the surface of the Earth, but of mankind from Earth and that which came before. Just as birth is the obvious, but arbitrary line in the moral sand of personhood, so too is the actual landing of a human being on the surface of the moon.

Ascent starts with a shock, builds brilliantly during the Korean War scenes and then plateaus. Mercurio tells a powerful story – the first half of the audiobook absolutely riveted the headphones to my head. That which follows is engaging, but not as impactful. Perhaps the tale could have been told in another manner. Perhaps part of the problem is in the novel form itself. I wonder if it might not have been better, shorter – as a novella say. Yeremnin too is hard to take at this length – he is a hard man, from a hard world, with little in him other than will. The technical jargon that predominates his space voyage, while I’m certain accurate, is burdensome, and the problems that face the protagonist are less thrilling than those in the first half of the book. The end, when it comes, simply…. is. It isn’t wrong for the book, but it isn’t right either. It may be that this kind of tale, with this kind of character, is not actually tellable another way. Todd McLaren helps, he does Russian accented English but doesn’t overplay it – this is a matter of fact delivery. I hope Mercurio can find another topic within Science Fiction with as much passion as that which he put into Ascent, this was a tremendously compelling listen.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Tantor Audio offers several Exciting new titles for Spring & Summer 2007

February 19, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: News 

SFFaudio News

Audiobook Publisher - Tantor AudioTantor Audio has some very exciting Speculative Fiction titles on the horizon! First up, there is a simultaneous release of a new Harry Turtledove Alternate History novel, quite far out is the new Richard K. Morgan audiobook (o0f which we have absolutely no plot info) AND best of all there are THREE Isaac Asimov Mystery/Science Fiction classics coming! There are even more titles too!!!

Beyond the Gap
By Harry Turtledove; Read by William Dufris
12 CDs or 2 MP3-CDs – Approx 15 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Published: February 2007 (?)
ISBN: 1400103827 (CD), 1400153824 (MP3-CD)
“In this promising first of a new saga, alternate-history maven Turtledove (Ruled Britannia) depicts a Bronze Age society in transition. A growing gap in the glacier that has formed the Raumsdalian Empire’s northern border for millennia allows Count Hamnet Thyssen and Trasamund the jarl, of the nomadic Northern Bizogot, to become the empire’s Lewis and Clark. They and their entourage, which inconveniently includes Hamnet’s unfaithful ex-wife, Gudrid, depart the empire’s capital city, Nidaris, to explore what lies beyond the glacier and search for the fabled Golden Shrine. On the way, a formidable and attractive (if unbathed) Bizogot shaman, Liv, joins the expedition—and Hamnet under the animal hides. If the Raumsdalians and Bizogots don’t always get along, their culture clash is nothing compared to the threat they face on the other side of the glacier: the Rulers, a tribe of imperious, mammoth-riding warriors. A vivid setting and strong characterization bode well for future installments.”

Ascent
By Jed Mercurio; Read by Todd McLaren
7 CDs or 1 MP3-CD – 8 Hours 30 minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Published: March 2007
ISBN: 1400103681 (CD), 1400153689 (MP3-CD)
Yeremin, a Soviet MiG pilot, rises from the privation of a Stalingrad orphanage to the heights of the cosmonaut corps. During the Korean War, as a member of an elite squadron, he shoots down the most American fighter jets—a feat that should make him a national hero, but because the Soviets’ involvement in the war is secret, Yeremin’s victories go unreported. When he is recalled from obscurity to join the race to the Moon, he realizes it is his chance for immortality.

Caves Of Steel
By Isaac Asimov; Read by William Dufris
7 CDs or 1 MP3-CD – 8 hrs 30 min [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Published: May 2007 (?)
ISBN: 1400104211 (CD), 1400154219 (MP3-CD)
A millennium into the future, two advancements have altered the course of human history: the colonization of the galaxy and the creation of the positronic brain. Isaac Asimov’s Robot novels chronicle the unlikely partnership between a New York City detective and a humanoid robot who must learn to work together. Like most people left behind on an over-populated Earth, New York City police detective Elijah Baley had little love for either the arrogant Spacers or their robotic companions. But when a prominent Spacer is murdered under mysterious circumstances, Baley is ordered to the Outer Worlds to help track down the killer. The relationship between Baley and his Spacer superiors, who mistrusted all Earthmen, was strained from the start. Then he learned that they had assigned him a partner: R. Daneel Olivaw. Worst of all was that the “R” stood for robot—and his positronic partner was made in the image and likeness of the murder victim!

The Society Of S
By Susan Hubbard; Read by Joyce Bean
8 Audio CDs or 1 MP3-CD – 10 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Published: May 2007 (?)
ISBN: 1400104262 (CDs), 140015426X (MP3-CD)
Ariella Montero is seeking the true identities of her mother and father—and of herself. She’s been taught literature, philosophy, science, and history, but she knows almost nothing about the real world and its complexities. Her world is one wherein ghosts and vampires commune with humans; where Edgar Allan Poe and Jack Kerouac are role models; where every time a puzzle seems solved, its last piece changes the entire picture.

The Naked Sun
By Isaac Asimov; Read by William Dufris
7 CDs or 1 MP3-CD – 8 hrs 30 min [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Published: June 2007 (?)
ISBN: 140010422X (CD), 1400154227 (MP3-CD)
A millennium into the future, two advancements have altered the course of human history: the colonization of the Galaxy and the creation of the positronic brain. On the beautiful Outer World planet of Solaria, a handful of human colonists lead a hermit-like existence, their every need attended to by their faithful robot servants. To this strange and provocative planet comes Detective Elijah Baley, sent from the streets of New York with his positronic partner, the robot R. Daneel Olivaw, to solve an incredible murder that has rocked Solaria to its foundations. The victim had been so reclusive that he appeared to his associates only through holographic projection. Yet someone had gotten close enough to bludgeon him to death while robots looked on. Now Baley and Olivaw are faced with two clear impossibilities: Either the Solarian was killed by one of his robots—unthinkable under the laws of Robotics—or he was killed by the woman who loved him so much that she never came into his presence!

The Robots Of Dawn
By Isaac Asimov; Read by William Dufris
13 CDs or 2 MP3-CDs – 15 hrs 30 min [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Published: July 2007 (?)
ISBN: 1400104238 (CD), 1400154235 (MP3-CD)
A puzzling case of roboticide sends New York Detective Elijah Baley on an intense search for a murderer. Armed with his own instincts, his quirky logic, and the immutable Three Laws of Robotics, Baley is determined to solve the case. But can anything prepare a simple Earthman for the psychological complexities of a world where a beautiful woman can easily have fallen in love with an all-too-human robot?

Thirteen
By Richard K. Morgan; Read by Simon Vance
22 CDs or 3 MP3-CDs -Approx. 27 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Published: July 2007 (�)
ISBN: 1400104319 (CDs), 1400154316 (MP3-CDs)