OnThePod.net – a podcast about Audiobooks, Podcasts and Music

May 27, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

SFFaudio Online Audio

OnThePod.net podcastOnThePod.net podcast talks about audiobooks and podcasts (and music). A couple of the shows interested me, check these out…

On the audiobook of Halo: Contact Harvest by Joseph Staten |MP3|

On Nathan Lowell‘s podiobooks |MP3|

[via Forgotten Classics]

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Halo: Contact Harvest by Joseph Staten

May 7, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Science Fiction audiobook - Halo Contact HarvestHalo: Contact Harvest
By Joseph Staten; Read by Holter Graham and Jen Taylor
10 CDs – 11 hrs [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Published: 2008
ISBN: 9781427202499
Themes: / Science Fiction / Military / Tactics / Gaming / Aliens /

This is how it began… It is the year 2524. Harvest is a peaceful, prosperous farming colony on the very edge of human-controlled space. But we have trespassed on holy ground–strayed into the path of an aggressive alien empire known as the Covenant. What begins as a chance encounter between an alien privateer and a human freighter catapults mankind into a struggle for its very existence. But humanity is also locked in a bitter civil war known as the Insurrection. So the survival of Harvest’s citizens falls to a squad of battle-weary UNSC Marines and their inexperienced colonial militia trainees.In this unlikely group of heroes, one stands above the rest…a young Marine staff sergeant named Avery Johnson.

Before I move into this review, I need to say a couple of things. One, I am not a fan of the Military SF sub-genre. I don’t hate it, but a few weapon descriptions go a long way for me. Two, I am not a gamer, though the first time I saw Halo 3 on the Xbox 360, it made me want to sell my Wii.

Now that you know that I can say that Halo: Contact Harvest was almost exactly what I expected it to be. There is a whole lot of automatic weapons fire by a whole lot of soldiers who say things like “look sharp!”, “give me some cover!”, and “lock and load!”. There is plenty of futuristic weaponry discussed and model numbers of vehicles tossed about. If that’s the kind of thing you enjoy, here it is!

My impression now, having played a bit of Halo 3 at a friend’s house and having heard this book, is that story plays a large role in the game. Like good writers, the game makers (the author, Joseph Staten, is one of that team) imagined and wrote a great deal, then spawned the game from that, leaving most of the story untold, because, let’s face it, the gamers want to blow things up, not watch a movie. Yet the story does make the game much more interesting and gives it a surprising (to me) depth. This novel is a way to tell some of the backstory to those interested, and since the hardcover spent a few weeks on the bestseller list, there is obviously plenty of interest.

In the first Halo game, humans are already at war with aliens that are called “The Covenant”. This novel is a prequel to that game, and it describes the start of the conflict between The Covenant and humans. The story is told from two points of view – the humans (led by Staff Sergeant Avery Johnson), and the aliens. The humans have claimed a world called Harvest as their own, but the aliens object because the surface is covered with artifacts made by the “Forerunners”, an extinct race that the aliens worship. Bullets fly. But to stop there is to not give the story credit, because there are some good things in there, including a revelation that the aliens want to suppress because their very beliefs are threatened.

Overall, this is a good audiobook, because the main narrator (Holter Graham) is excellent, and the writing isn’t bad either. The emphasis on military jargon is something that turns me off, but that’s just me. I suspect that military SF fans will like this audiobook a great deal, and I’m pleased to have heard it myself, if only to learn of story’s significant place in the gaming market.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Recent Arrivals – Lovecraft, Dick and new Infinivox

February 20, 2008 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Recent Arrivals 

Science Fiction Audiobook Recent Arrivals

Some great stuff in the SFFaudio mailbox to show ya. 

Horror Fantasy Audio Drama - Lovecraft's At the Mountains of MadnessDark Adventure Radio Theatre: At the Mountains of Madness By H.P. Lovecraft; Performed by FULL-CAST
1 CDs, 71 min – [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: H.P. Lovecraft Society
Published: 2006

This title brings Lovecraft’s tale to life as it might have been adapted for radio during his lifetime. In the style of The War of the Worlds and The Shadow, Dark Adventure Radio Theatre dramatizes HPL’s story with a cast of professional actors, exciting sound effects and original music by Troy Sterling Nies, (conductor ofThe Call of Cthulhu). Relive the excitement of 1930s radio with one of HP Lovecraft’s most exciting and fascinating stories. 

This is absolutely beautifully packaged.  Comes in a jewel box but also contains vintage newspaper clipping about the M.U. expedition, a map of the expedition’s route, photographs of the Elder City.  And even a page from Danforth’s notebook.  All these facsimile are exactingly done.  The website states that “it’s beautifully produced and packaged with the same deranged attention to detail that you’ll find in other HPLHS products.” I’d have to agree.

Blade Runner by Philip K. DickBlade Runner (Do Android Dream of Electric Sheep?)
By Philip K. Dick; Read by Scott Brick
8 CDs – 9.5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Random House Audio
Published: 2007
ISBN: 9780739342756

It was January 2021, and Rick Deckard had a license to kill.
Somewhere among the hordes of humans out there, lurked several rogue androids. Deckard’s assignmet–find them and then.. .”retire” them. Trouble was, the androids all looked exactly like humans, and they didn’t want to be found!

Joy–finally an unabridged version of this PKD classic!  And now two from one of the best (if not the best) small audiobook publishers.

Beyond the Aquila RiftBeyond the Aquila Rift
By Alastair Reynolds; Read by Tom Dheere
1 CD – 72 min [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Infinivox
Published: Feb 22, 2008
ISBN: 9781884612770

Beyond the Aquila Rift. It’s shorthand for the trip no one ever hopes to make by accident. The one that will screw up the rest of your life, the one that creates the ghosts you see haunting the shadows of company bars across the whole Bubble. Men and women ripped out of time, cut adrift from families and lovers by an accident of an alien technology we use but rarely comprehend.


Science Fiction audiobook - Cost to be Wise by Maureen F. McHughThe Cost to Be Wise
By Maureen F. McHugh; Read by Venessa Hart
2 CDs – 135 min [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Infinivox
Published: 2007
ISBN: 188461275X

Set on a distant planet, this is a gripping tale about Sckarline, a colony that believes in “appropriate technology adoption.” A heavily armed clan arrives at the colony while it is being visited by off-world anthropologists. Sckarline’s technological beliefs are put to the test when events spiral out of control. Told from the viewpoint of a young woman, she soon learns just how high the price of wisdom can be.

Science Fiction audiobook - Diplomatic ImmunityDiplomatic Immunity
By Lois McMaster Bujold; Read by Grover Gardner
9 CDs – 11 hrs [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
Published: 2008
ISBN: 9781433213144

A Miles Vorkosigan audiobook never disappoints.

A rich Komarran merchant fleet has been impounded at Graf Station in distant Quaddiespace after a bloody incident involving the convoy’s Barrayaran military escort. Lord Miles Vorkosigan and his wife, Lady Ekaterin, have other things on their minds, such as getting home in time to attend the long-awaited births of their first children. But when duty calls in the voice of Barrayar’s Emperor Gregor, Miles, as imperial auditor, has no choice but to answer. Waiting on Graf Station are diplomatic snarls, tangled loyalties, old friends, new enemies, racial tensions, lies and deceptions, mysterious disappearances, and a race with time for life against death in horrifying new forms. The downside of being a high-level troubleshooter comes when trouble starts shooting back.

Science Fiction audiobook - Halo Contact HarvestHalo: Contact Harvest
By Joseph Staten; Read by Holter Graham and Jen Taylor
10 CDs – 11 hrs [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Published: 2008
ISBN: 9781427202499

This is how it began… It is the year 2524. Harvest is a peaceful, prosperous farming colony on the very edge of human-controlled space.But we have trespassed on holy ground–strayed into the path of an aggressive alien empire known as the Covenant.What begins as a chance encounter between an alien privateer and a human freighter catapults mankind into a struggle for its very existence. But humanity is also locked in a bitter civil war known as the Insurrection.So the survival of Harvest’s citizens falls to a squad of battle-weary UNSC Marines and their inexperienced colonial militia trainees.In this unlikely group of heroes, one stands above the rest…a young Marine staff sergeant named Avery Johnson.

New Releases for a new year!

January 9, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: New Releases 

SFFaudio New Releases

The announcement of a new Infinivox “Great Science Fiction Stories” title is always a time of happiness, this one, by Maureen F. McHugh, was nominated for both the Hugo and Nebula Award…

Science Fiction Audiobook - The Cost To Be Wise by Maureen F. McHughThe Cost To Be Wise
By Maureen F. McHugh; Read by Vanessa Hart
2 CDs – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Infinivox
Published: January 2008
ISBN: 188461275X
Listen to an MP3 sample!
Set on a distant planet, this is a gripping tale about Sckarline, a colony that believes in “appropriate technology adoption.” A heavily armed clan arrives at the colony while it is being visited by off-world anthropologists. Sckarline’s technological beliefs are put to the test when events spiral out of control. Told from the viewpoint of a young woman, she soon learns just how high the price of wisdom can be.

Another title in the ever popular Miles Vorkosigan series…

Diplomatic ImmunityDiplomatic Immunity
By Lois McMaster Bujold; Read by Grover Gardner
9 Cassettes; 1 MP3-CD or 10 CDs – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
Published: January 2008
ISBN: 1433213137 (cassettes), 1433213151 (MP3-CD), 1433213144 (Cds)
A rich Komarran merchant fleet has been impounded at Graf Station in distant Quaddiespace after a bloody incident involving the convoy’s Barrayaran military escort. Lord Miles Vorkosigan and his wife, Lady Ekaterin, have other things on their minds, such as getting home in time to attend the long-awaited births of their first children. But when duty calls in the voice of Barrayar’s Emperor Gregor, Miles, as imperial auditor, has no choice but to answer.

A short novel from 1966, Blackstone has released it to Audible.com first with plans to follow it up with a hard copy later…

Science Fiction Audiobook - Planet of Exile by Ursula K. LeGuinPlanet of Exile
By Ursula K. LeGuin; Read by Carrington MacDuffie & Steven Hoye
1 Audible File – 4.5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks / Audible.com
Published: 2007
The Earth colony of Landin has been stranded on Werel for 10 years. Ten of Werel’s years are over 600 terrestrial years, and the lonely and dwindling human settlement is beginning to feel the strain. Every winter, a season that lasts for 15 years, the Earthmen have neighbors, the humanoid hilfs: a nomadic people who only settle down for the cruel cold spell. The hilfs fear the Earthmen, who they think of as witches and call the farborns. But hilfs and farborns have common enemies: the hordes of ravaging barbarians called gaals and eerie preying snow ghouls. Will they join forces or be annihilated?

Halo: Contact Harvest by Joseph StatenHalo: Contact Harvest
By Joseph Staten; Read by Holter Graham and Jen Taylor
10 CDs – 11 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Published: December 10, 2007
ISBN: 1427202494
This is how it began… It is the year 2524. Harvest is a peaceful, prosperous farming colony on the very edge of human-controlled space. But we have trespassed on holy ground–strayed into the path of an aggressive alien empire known as the Covenant. What begins as a chance encounter between an alien privateer and a human freighter catapults mankind into a struggle for its very existence.
But humanity is also locked in a bitter civil war known as the Insurrection. So the survival of Harvest’s citizens falls to a squad of battle-weary UNSC Marines and their inexperienced colonial militia trainees. In this unlikely group of heroes, one stands above the rest…a young Marine staff sergeant named Avery Johnson.

This one sounds like its tackling some of the same science as did Bill DeSmedt’s SFFaudio Essential designated novel Singularity

Blashphemy by Douglas PrestonBlasphemy
By Douglas Preston; Read by Scott Sowers
11 CDs – 14 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Published: January 08, 2008
ISBN: 1427202745
The world’s biggest supercollider, locked in an Arizona mountain, was built to unlock the secrets of the very moment of creation: the Big Bang itself. The Torus is the most expensive machine ever created by humankind, run by the world’s most powerful supercomputer. It is the brainchild of Nobel Laureate William North Hazelius. Will the Torus divulge the mysteries of the creation of the universe? Or will it, as some predict, suck the earth into a mini black hole? Or is the Torus a Satanic attempt, as a powerful televangelist decries, to challenge God Almighty on the very throne of heaven?

The first multiple narrator recording of the third book in Frank Herbert’s original Dune series…

Children Of Dune by Frank HerbertChildren Of Dune
By Frank Herbert; Read by Simon Vance, Scott Brick and Others
14 CDs – 17 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Published: January 22, 2008
ISBN: 1427202915
The bestselling science fiction series of all time continues! In this third installment, the sand-blasted world of Arrakis has become green, watered and fertile. Old Paul Atreides, who led the desert Fremen to political and religious domination of the galaxy, is gone. But for the children of Dune, the very blossoming of their land contains the seeds of its own destruction. The altered climate is destroying the giant sandworms, and this in turn is disastrous for the planet’s economy. Leto and Ghanima, Paul Atreides’s twin children and his heirs, can see possible solutions—but fanatics begin to challenge the rule of the all-powerful Atreides empire, and more than economic disaster threatens…

The Kraken Wakes by John WyndhamThe Kraken Wakes
By John Wyndham; Performed by a full cast
2 CDs – 1 Hour 25 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Publisher: BBC Audiobooks America
Published: January 2008
ISBN: 9780792754121
John Wyndham’s classic tale of monsters from the deep, alien invasion, and ecological disaster comes alive in this full-cast BBC radio dramatization. At first, the fireballs seemed to be nothing more than a dazzling display of lights in the sky, plunging into the deepest oceans and disappearing without trace. But when ships started sinking inexplicably and the sea lanes became impassable, it seemed that the world was facing a threat of unprecedented proportions. Mike and Phyllis Watson, both radio journalists, are caught up at the center of events, well aware that it’s not the cold war or international conflicts that are causing these crises, but something infinitely more deadly-an alien invasion. And that’s not all: the sea level is rising, the ice caps are melting, London and other cities are flooding, millions of people are drowning, and ecological disaster looms. And whatever the alien beings are, they have begun to emerge from the sea…

Here’s an oddity, The Reign of Terror was the final story of Doctor Who’s first season on television (this adventure was set in 1794 in and around Paris, during the French Revolution). The story was originally wiped from the BBC’s archives, but episodes 1-3 and 6 have been recovered from a foreign TV station and a private film collector here is the result…

Doctor Who - The Reign Of Terror RADIO DRAMADoctor Who: The Reign Of Terror
By Dennis Spooner; Performed by a full cast with narration by Carole Ann Ford
2 CDs – 2 Hours 31 Minutes [TELEVISION AUDIO TRACK]
Publisher: BBC Audiobooks America
Published: December 2007
ISBN: 9780792750048
William Hartnell, William Russell, Jaqueline Hill and Carole Ann Ford star in this original television soundtrack of a classic Doctor Who adventure. The Tardis brings the Doctor and his companions to Robespierre’s Paris, where they discover the French Revolution to be in full swing. Separated from each other, the group find themselves caught up in history as they struggle to stay alive and find their individual way back to the Tardis. Linking narration is provided by Carole Ann Ford, who played Susan in the original series. In a short bonus interview she recalls the time she spent working on the program.

Merging Science Fiction and Chandleresque detective stories, Jonathan Lethem’s first novel, Gun, With Occasional Music, was a finalist for the 1994 Nebula Award, and placed first in the “Best First Novel” category of the 1995 Locus Magazine reader’s poll! Sounds good huh?

Gun, With Occasional Music by Jonathan LethemGun, With Occasional Music
By Jonathan Lethem; Read by Nick Sullivan
7 CDs or MP3-CD – 8 Hours 40 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: BBC Audiobooks America
Published: December 2007
ISBN: 9780792750567 (cds), 9780792750871 (mp3-cd)
Gumshoe Conrad Metcalf has problems–not the least of which are the rabbit in his waiting room and the trigger-happy kangaroo on his tail. Near-future Oakland is an ominous place where evolved animals function as members of society, the police monitor citizens by their karma levels, and mind-numbing drugs such as Forgettol and Acceptol are all the rage. In this brave new world, Metcalf has been shadowing the wife of an affluent doctor, perhaps falling a little in love with her at the same time. But when the doctor turns up dead, our amiable investigator finds himself caught in the crossfire in a futuristic world that is both funny–and not so funny.

Posted by Jesse Willis