METAtropolis: Cascadia

November 17, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: New Releases 

SFFaudio News

Metatropolis : Cascadia

 
 

The provocative sequel to the Hugo and Audie Award-nominated METAtropolis features interconnected stories by today’s top speculative fiction writers, performed by a galaxy of Star Trek ® stars.

As the mid-21st century approaches, the Pacific Northwest has been transformed — politically, economically, and ecologically — into the new reality of Cascadia. Conspiracies and secrets threaten the tenuous threads of society. The End of Days seems nearer than ever. And the legend of the mysterious Tygre Tygre looms large.

METAtropolis: Cascadia is the creation of Hugo and World Fantasy Award nominee Jay Lake; Mary Robinette Kowal, winner of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer; New York Times best-selling author Tobias S. Buckell; Hugo Award winner Elizabeth Bear; Aurora Award winner Karl Schroeder; and critically-acclaimed author Ken Scholes.

The team of narrators is any sci-fi fan’s dream: Star Trek’s Rene Auberjonois (“Odo”), Kate Mulgrew (“Capt. Kathryn Janeway”), Wil Wheaton (“Wesley Crusher”), Gates McFadden (“Dr. Beverly Crusher”), Jonathan Frakes (“Cmdr. William Riker”), and LeVar Burton (“Geordi La Forge”). Jay Lake, who also served as Project Editor, introduces this stunning sequel, written and produced exclusively for digital audio.

Exciting! Audible is also offering one of the stories from last year’s METAtropolis for free – |DETAILS HERE|. And |HERE| is our review of that excellent collection.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Review of Lamentation by Ken Scholes

April 24, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Lamentation by Ken ScholesSFFaudio EssentialLamentation
By Ken Scholes; Read by Scott Brick, William Dufris, Maggi-Meg Reed, and Stefan Rudnicki
12 CDs – 15 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Published: 2009
ISBN: 9781427206251
Themes: / Fantasy / Epic Fantasy / Religion / Politics /

A pillar of black smoke rises from the plains where the ruins of a city lie. Four people watch it. Petros, an old fisherman; Nebios, a boy who is the only eyewitness; Rudolfo, the Gypsy King and Lord of the Ninefold Forest; and Jin Lee Tam, consort of a powerful madman. Each takes up the story in turn and we learn as they do what has happened and what changes it bodes for the Named Lands.

Through their eyes, Ken Scholes masterfully unfolds layer upon layer of complexity to reveal an epic tale of the struggle not only for power but to serve the Light. This struggle between vengeance, knowledge, mercy, and justice is what drives the main characters. Scholes takes us into a world where Machiavellian politics are constantly intertwined between characters’ motivations. However, because he uses interesting characters to tell his story, it always feels personal and we realize the “epic” quality only as we look back over storyline development. As well, he skillfully manipulates these believable people (and, let us admit it, his readers as well) so that I literally went from worrying about one character being killed to hating him to coming back into sympathy and understanding again by the end of the book. In the end, what we see is that despite epic qualities, the question the book is asking is a simple one. Who was the evil mastermind that destroyed Windwir and why?

Scholes’ world is a mesh of societies that come from disparate sources but which blend seamlessly into an intriguing whole. Reminiscent of medieval times are the city-states and trading factions wielding great power. The people of the Ninefold Forests put one in mind of Robin Hood with their wood-wise ways that shun large, established cities. The Church has a pope and an Androfrancine order that seeks ceaselessly to acquire knowledge and store it for the common good. This too hearkens back to our historical past, yet there are also distinct elements informing us that this is instead a distant future after mankind’s knowledge was used to wreak a terrible calamity resulting in The Time of Laughing Madness. There is a distinctive steam-punk flavor to be found in the inventions that are discovered and released by the monks into general society.

This is a world in which long distance communication is done by messenger bird but where robots exist (mecho-servitors). As well as spoken, coded conversation, there is a fascinating finger tapping code used by those in the know. We also meet one of the mecho-servitors, Isaak, whose suffers from extreme guilt over possibly being used for the destruction and who seems to be developing a soul.

Finally, although we breathlessly follow the characters on their journeys, knowing that there are several books to follow in the series, Scholes does us the courtesy of tying up the story lines for all but a very few situations. This was extremely refreshing and much appreciated. Simultaneously, he opened a few intriguing threads of possibility that lead us to eagerly await the next novel. True to the mastery that we saw in the rest of the book, he does so with a few well written scenarios that leave the reader realizing that these are situations that were hinted at but essentially “hidden in plain sight” until the author decided to pull them into use.

Narration was brilliantly voiced by Stefan Rudnicki, Scott Brick, William Dufris, and Maggi-Meg Reed. All were perfect for their parts, with Brick doing the heavy lifting on any sections told from a point of view that came from other than the main four characters. What I found most interesting was the opportunity for comparison between how the four readers interpreted different characters. The book changes point of view between characters by stating the person’s name and then using what might be called over-the-shoulder story telling in third person from that point of view. Therefore, each of the narrators is called upon to do dialogue for various characters as they engage in conversation with the protagonist of the moment. Hearing how each interpreted Isaak’s robotic voice or Petros’s aged tones provided fascinating contrasts.

Highest recommendations go to this audio book and author Ken Scholes.

Posted by Julie D.

Orson Scott Card Selects – Lamentation by Ken Scholes

March 23, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Orson Scott Card Selects (presented by Audible.com)
Orson Scott Card’s latest aural essay is up on Audible.com. And like Julie D., who just reviewed it for us, Card is smitten with Ken Scholes’ first novel Lamentation. Card calls it “One of the finest works in [Fantasy] ever….”

Go check it out, or just grab the |MP3| and listen immediately.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #029

March 16, 2009 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #029 – Jesse and Scott are joined by Julie D. of the Forgotten Classic podcast. Listen in as Julie gushes over the new audiobook of Ken Scholes’ novel Lamentation! We also talk Space Opera, libraries, and how to read a paperbook: “Breaking the spine of a book is like breaking the spine of the family dog.” Ya, it’s a Buck Roger-ish show.

Talked about on today’s show:
Hyperion by Dan Simmons, David Weber, “The Honor Harrington” series, On Basilisk Station, military SF, Audible Frontiers, John Ringo, March Upcountry, Off Armageddon Reef, Theodore Sturgeon, More Than Human, Venus Plus X, To Marry Medusa, Nancy Kress, Beggars In Spain, Infinivox, Blackstone Audio, Beggars And Choosers, Beggars Ride, Children Of Men by P.D. James |READ OUR REVIEW|, BBC Audiobooks America, Rollback by Robert J. Sawyer, Doctor Who, Audible’s new format 4, radio drama, audio drama, 2000X: Tales of the Next Millennia |READ OUR REVIEW|, Spoken Books Publishing, Dr. Wasserman’s Time Chamber: Preventing Armageddon by Lee Geiger, Lamentation by Ken Scholes, Fantasy, Foundation by Isaac Asimov, George R.R. Martin, Dune by Frank Herbert, Macmillan Audio, Simon Vance, The Prestige by Christopher Priest, The January Dancer, SciPodBooks, LibriVox, The Green Odyssey, Space Vulture, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Grim Space by Ann Aguirre, the “Gap” series by Stephen R. Donaldson, ScottBrickPresents.com, The Phoenix Legacy, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Tony Smith, StarShipSofa, Trophy Wives, Twitter, Neil Gaiman, OTRcat.com, Worldcat.org, the Amber series by Roger Zelazny, Maria Lectrix, giving up blogs for lent.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #024

February 9, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #024 – Jesse and Scott discuss hardware (which is the best iPod), comics (graphic novels to some), movies (bad and worse) and even a few audiobooks (not so bad at all).

Talked about on today’s show:
Recent arrivals, Od Magic by Patricia A. McKillip, Blackstone Audio, Dreams Underfoot by Charles de Lint, urban fantasy, Pebble In The Sky by Isaac Asimov, BBC Audiobooks America, Gentleman Of The Road by Michael Chabon, In The Electric Mist With The Confederate Dead by James Lee Burke, New Orleans, why there’s no such thing as a “noir” series, Montana, film: Taken, ViolentWorldOfParker.com, Duplicate Effort by Kristine Katherine Rusch, the Moon, Audible.com’s Short Story sale, Coming Attraction by Fritz Leiber, LibriVox + SFFaudio = Instant iTunes Audiobooks, “Here Comes The eBook Revolution” by Mike Elgan, the e-ing of magazines, review of The Book Of Lies by Brad Meltzer, Phantoms by Dean Koontz, revisionism – what authors shouldn’t go back and revise (or update) their published novels, evidence: Star Wars, Star Trek: Amok Time, Escape Pod returns! with a new Ken Scholes short story, Lamentation by Ken Scholes, Springtime for Hitler (and Germany), iPhone’s drawback (battery life), iPod Nano vs. iPod Classic vs. iPod Touch, The Cutie by Donald E. Westlake comes to audiobook on March 1st 2009, Decoder Ring Theatre, Gregg Taylor’s Black Jack Justice is now a webcomic!, Sandman: Brief Lives by Neil Gaiman, Gaiman on CBC,

Posted by Jesse Willis

Recent Arrivals from Macmillan Audio

January 27, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Recent Arrivals 

SFFaudio Recent Arrivals

Lamentation by Ken ScholesLamentation
By Ken Scholes; Read by Scott Brick, William Dufris, Maggi-Meg Reed, and Stefan Rudnicki
12 CDs – 15 hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Published: 2009
ISBN: 9781427206251

Woo hoo! Ken Scholes’ debut novel, in bright shiny audio. Ken Scholes is a remarkable short story writer. For a sample story, check out the mesmerizing “Edward Bear and the Very Long Walk” – it’s Episode 146 of Escape Pod, read by Stephen Eley. That one’s science fiction, this novel is epic fantasy, the first of five volumes. I’m eager to hear it.

An ancient weapon has completely destroyed the city of Windwir. From many miles away, Rudolfo, Lord of the Nine Forest Houses, sees the horrifying column of smoke rising. He knows that war is coming to the Named Lands.

Nearer to the Devastation, a young apprentice is the only survivor of the city – he sat waiting for his father outside the walls, and was transformed as he watched everyone he knew die in an instant.

Soon all the Kingdoms of the Named Lands will be at each others’ throats, as alliances are challenged and hidden plots are uncovered.

This remarkable first novel from an award-winning short fiction writer will take readers away to a new world – an Earth so far in the distant future that our time is not even a memory; a world where magick is commonplace and great areas of the planet are impassable wastes. But human nature hasn’t changed through the ages: War and faith and love still move princes and nations.

Find an audio sample |HERE|.
 
 
Bones of the Dragon by Margaret Weis and Tracy HickmanBones of the Dragon
By Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman; Read by Stefan Rudnicki
16 CDs – 18 hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Published: 2009
ISBN: 9781427204318

From a debut epic fantasy novel to the beginning of a new series by the masters:

Skylan Ivorson is a sea-raider of the Vindras, an undefeated champion of the Torgun clan, and eventually the Chief of Chiefs of all Vindras clans, an honor he truly feels he deserves as one who has been blessed by Skoval, the god of war. But sometimes a blessing is a curse in disguise.

Skoval and the other ancient gods are under siege from a new generation of gods who are challenging them for the powers of creation…. and the only way to stop these brash interlopers lies within the mysterious and hidden Five Bones of the Vektan Dragons.

It will be up to the Vindras, the dragon-goddess’s champion, to undertake the quest to recover all Five. The fate of the Old Gods and the Vindras’ people rests on their recovery, for this is not only a quest to save the world—it is also a quest for redemption.

Filled with heroes and heroines young and old (as well as human and non) spanning locales of exotic adventure in a magic-forged world, this is a series that fully illustrates the mastery of world-building and storytelling that has made Weis and Hickman into the bestselling fantasy co-authors of all time.

Find an audio sample |HERE|
 
 
Halo: The Cole Protocol by Tobias BuckellHalo: The Cole Protocol
By Tobias Buckell; Read by Jonathan Davis
9 CDs – 10.5 hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Published: 2009
ISBN: 9781427205285

Despite what you may have heard, listening to a Halo audiobook will NOT make you a better player. I know this from personal experience. Turns out that to play the game well, you have to be able to move AND shoot – at the same time! Impossible, I say! Ah, well. Written by Tobias S. Buckell, read by Jonathan Davis… you simply can’t go wrong here.

In the first, desperate days of the Human-Covenant War, the UNSC has enacted the Cole Protocol to safeguard Earth and its Inner Colonies from discovery by a merciless alien foe. Many are called upon to rid the universe of lingering navigation data that would reveal the location of Earth. Among them is Navy Lieutenant Jacob Keyes. Thrust back into action after being sidelined, Keyes is saddled with a top secret mission by ONI. One that will take him deep behind enemy lines, to a corner of the universe where nothing is as it seems.

Out beyond the Outer Colonies lies the planet Hesiod, a gas giant surrounded by a vast asteroid belt. As the Covenant continues to glass the human occupied planets near Hesiod, many of the survivors, helped by a stronghold of human Insurrectionists, are fleeing to the asteroid belt for refuge. They have transformed the tumbling satellites into a tenuous, yet ingenious, settlement known as the Rubble–and have come face-to-face with a Covenant settlement of Kig-Yar . . . yet somehow survived.

News of this unlikely treaty has spread to the warring sides. Luckily for the UNSC, this uneasy alliance is in the path of the Spartan Gray Team, a three-man renegade squad whose simple task is to wreak havoc from behind enemy lines in any way they see fit. But the Prophets have also sent their best—an ambitious and ruthless Elite, whose quest for nobility and rank is matched only by his brutality . . . and who will do anything to secure his Ascendancy and walk the Path.
 
 
Posted by Scott D. Danielson

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