The SFFaudio Podcast #408 – READALONG: Friday by Robert A. Heinlein

February 13, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #408 – Jesse, Paul, Marissa, and Maissa

Talked about on today’s show:
1982, the last readable Heinlein novel, head-shaking, one of the most awkward books, transgender stuff, a New York times article, I Will Fear No Evil, body swap, an old man in a young woman’s body, Predestination (2014), All You Zombies, sex-change and time travel, another example of a Heinlein character getting a sex-change, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, even the computer is gender fluid, Podkayne Of Mars, Heinlein is the man in Science Fiction who really believes in women, the spring of 1991, re-reading experience, characters who defy human emotion and reality, made of human DNA, the Pinocchio story, focusing on the overbuilding, not just sex but odd sex, anti-male homosexuality but he likes lesbianism, a whiff of – but no sex on screen, Red Thursday, there’s a rape at the beginning and she marries her rapist at the end, it needs an editor, losing track of plotting, he let me pee, he’s a nice rapist, it makes sense!, Stranger In A Strange Land, what do we do about it?, horrible Heinlein thoughts, a lot of “doxy” training, an enhanced person vs. an artificial person, increased sexuality bred into them?, Dr. Baldwin engineered her, Gulf by Robert A. Heinlein, supermen, Olympia, late Heinlein is giving up on what early Heinlein wrote, travel reading, line marriages and serial marriages, making families, Christchurch, Winnipeg, Heinlein went to a swingers party and said “let’s do this all the time”, seeing a person’s mind over time, a plotless meandering travelogue/memoir, so many coincidences, that just happened to happen?, from set-piece to set piece, Bellingham, the AP guy never comes back, Chekhov’s gun that turns out to be a red herring, it wasn’t serialized for Playboy but should have been, sex for sex-sake, he’s got the 1997 World Wide Web in this book, Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game did forums, A Fire Upon The Deep by Vernor Vinge, Hathitrust, terminals vs. PCs, kittens, cats, how many breakfasts, hungry the whole time, that “triggered” me, Jesse explains this book, Canada, California, Las Vegas, New Zealand, Australia, credit cards, she takes his Diner’s Club card, clothing, Heinlein went on a cruise, transient ischemic attack (TIA), Grumbles From The Grave, lots of eating, good food, cruise ship food, movies, cruise-like, sitting at the captain’s table, Heinlein being respected, touring the United States, crazy governments, “long pig” = human pig, rich “slitch”, playing psychoanalyst, the Earth is doomed, Heinlein is obsessed with the frontier, Time Enough For Love, the frontier hypothesis, racism you wouldn’t notice, law and order in peaceful British Canada, the remainders of the US, the Bear Flag Republic of California, the Free State of Las Vegas, Vicksburg, the Chicago Imperium includes Minnesota, getting Paul’s revolution on, everybody is Amish now, driving draft horses, semi-ballistic skyport, the world’s best batteries: shipstones, Ayn Rand, a libertarian streak, the Galt’s Gulch approach to patents, an unresolved plot point, an internal revolt, they own everything, making an argument, an analogy for the oil industry, s-groups, freeing women up to work, Friday can run 30 km per hour, rolling around on the floor with kittens and babies, housewives, the lesbian couple-ship with Goldie, tension between roles of women, all those contradictions, why is Friday sterile, childless Heinleins, write what you want, Heinlein as a gold bug, making America great again by tearing down the wall between the USA and Mexico, pushing gold hard, politeness is society, no flame wars on Heinlein’s internet, paperbooks vs. ebooks, Google book scans, nobody knew about the internet, the pay internet, the pay web, SOPA and PIPA, a free and open internet, Friday‘s enthusiasm for the web was realistic, I can learn everything, you have no excuse today for not knowing everything, know what you don’t know and don’t talk about it, learning about the world by reading Heinlein novels, the word “knave”, The Queen of Hearts, claques, stylites, particularism, secessionist California, Texas, a balkanized USA, Job: A Comedy Of Justice, alternate dimensions, the Rapture,

The Queen of Hearts
She made some tarts,
All on a summer’s day;
The Knave of Hearts
He stole those tarts,
And took them clean away.
The King of Hearts
Called for the tarts,
And beat the knave full sore;
The Knave of Hearts
Brought back the tarts,
And vowed he’d steal no more.

its so easy not to appreciate all we have, I pity all the fools, The Number Of The Beast, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Gay Deceiver, there’s no way to fix this!, To Sail Beyond The Sunset, the thing he has about incest, Heinlein’s Future History, Philip K. Dick does the opposite, it all hangs together, someone is hanging himself in a closet, Heinlein’s periods, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, The Door Into Summer, Professor Eric S. Rabkin, walls dilate open, women: I kinda wanna be one, The Puppet Masters, a similar organization, a boss with a bunch of agents, the boss just dies, writing the novel with a pair of dice or the I Ching, weird coincidences, part of the story just falls away, the Dungeon Master, Friday as a pick-a-path book, on the whole we enjoyed it, the writing style, Hillary Huber was the narrator for Blackstone Audio version, a fun listen, I wouldn’t say that I liked it, fun in places, what is an artificial person, if you prick me do I not leak?, people born of three parents, a future person, GMO fruit vs. organic fruit, people have been fucking with fruit forever, Jesse expounds on apples, all apples for harvest are grafts, Maissa expounds on bananas, Paul expounds on corn, corn is in everything in the USA, you’re 80% corn, the enhanced talking dog, kobold miners, Saturn’s Children by Charles Stross, the main character is a robot, no biological creatures, the illegitimate worries that Friday has are programmed into the main character of Saturn’s Children, a romp novel with everybody dead, straight out of Heinlein’s subconscious, Reading, Short & Deep, Who Can Replace A Man? by Brian Aldiss, Ian Tregillis’ Alchemy War novels, Spartacus, Botany Bay, there is a destiny that shapes our lives, an allusion to Hamlet

BLACKSTONE AUDIO - Friday by Robert A. Heinlein

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #385 – READALONG: The Parasite by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

September 5, 2016 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #385 – Jesse, Mr Jim Moon, and Maissa Bessada talk about The Parasite by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Talked about on today’s show:
1894, 1895, 1970, in the shadow of Holmes, lurking like a post hypnotic suggestion, first reactions, unfolds like a novel but with a short story ending, it’s over?, the thinking of the time, animal magnetism, mesmerism, the society for psychical research, hypnotic sleep for minor surgery, hypnosis in lieu of pharmacological anesthetic, dental hypnosis, yo best believe it will work if you have not other options, The Power Of Dreams by Brian Inglis, maybe we missed a trick, helping people get inside their own heads, reading closely, it made sense, an interesting idea about the ending, Miss Penclosa died at half-past three, a bottle of vitriol, a lucky escape for the girlfriend (Agatha), the parasitism, a vampire story, a psychic vampire story, the “will”, consciousness transference, what was Miss Penclosa’s evil plan?, romantic possession vs. actual possession, the cost of sorcery, had the story continued…, where do you go?, astral projection, that half-hour killed her, the broken journal entry, the crutch, from Trinidad, she’s a witch (past 40), she’s old, a young and vigorous 34, a “hag” and “hag-ridden”, pseudo-scientific power, Wilson, alienism, psychology with a spiritual bent, set in London, Charles Sadler, the punch up, the skeptic, off-page action, breaking into a bank, sitting rooms, a 1950 TV adaptation, a 2015 short film, 1980sor90s feature film, two thumbs down, modern adaptations, not sexist, but rooted in the society of the day it was set, psychology is not a proper science, he turns every firefly into a star, early Doyle, The Horla by Guy de Maupassant, super-science fiction, super-horror, a different approach, the story formats, March 24th, a florid start, “everywhere the work of reproduction going forward”, very sex, if Eric S. Rabkin were here…, “stiff with sap”, May 8th, the striking hypnosis scene in The Horla, July 16th, Dr. Parent, English scientists, another skeptic, close to a mystery, physiology vs. psychology, the Work-Man Creator, a presentiment of something new, as if to fascinate – to interest but also to fix to attach, a visiting card, he is twisting his mustache, “that is quite enough”, 5,000 francs, Agatha’s breaking off of the engagement, crazy interesting, similar opening, a lot of shared DNA, more adventure and crime/mystery, a two-fisted man-of-action, May 5th and May 8th, from London to Normandy, going to see such demonstrations, an issue of the age, the history of hypnotism, hypnotized into crime, hypnosis against the will, now that’s a great idea for a story, post-hypnotic suggestion, “regular hypnosis”, lose weight, stop smoking, hypnotic susceptibility vs. hypnotic ability, understanding what hypnosis is, reading a really good story and buying it, this is preposterous!, the willing suspension of disbelief, “dude, we’re appreciating the story”, that word: will, one kind of will that is so powerful, even the state is forced to submit to a certain kind of will, their “will” does not exist beyond their grave, under the right circumstances…, professional wrestling, non-concomitant injuries, the act of reading as an act of self-hypnosis, a skillful author can put voices and images in your head, seeing the book play out in your mind, people with an imagination are better hypnotic subjects, the skill of the hypnotist, Steve Jobs and Jesse’s mom: the reality distortion field, a great book can become a part of you and you can act upon it, Hitler’s speeches, Trump’s hypnotic ability, self-exclusion, the mob-mentality, work-training talks, what planet is he from?, usually there are no pictures in Maissa’s head, a sudden image, “did you see me?”, he projected himself into Maissa’s mind, convincing someone to adopt a vision, religion: “there’s this book!”, L. Ron Hubbard, adopting Sam Gamgee, confabulation, a dream, why are your boots dirty?, making something you’ve read a memory, thinking about what a will is, stage hypnosis, clucking like chickens and barking like dogs, a Las Vegas hypnotist, going along with it, there’s something going on, thinning the line, thoughts become more permeable, a verification, there’s something really deep there, the two theories of what hypnosis is: participating actors (psychological) and the trance (physiological), the thesis: you can’t do anything against your moral nature, robbing banks, splashing acid, the Symbionese Liberation Army, Patty Hearst, Stockholm syndrome, the winnowing process needs to happen, a glass of water, it’s all right – we’re not evil mind-control wizards, given permission to be extroverted…, perception of circumstances, littering, broken windows, a shopkeeper robbed by a hypnotist, an instant trigger, a skill you learn, Jim Moon struggles with chopsticks, Stephen King: talent is a knife, The Manchurian Candidate, the Jason Bourne series, Call Of Duty: Black Ops, “programmed”, The Men Who Stare At Goats, post-hypnotic suggestion as programming, MKUltra, Lee Harvey Oswald, “I’m a patsy”, the motivation all leads back to him, not completely bunk!, The Thing On The Doorstep by H.P. Lovecraft, a sub-genre of evil mesmerists, foreign mystics, a racist element?, Miss Penclosa is not of voodoo descent, the Horla comes from Brazil, interesting!

Howard Pyle illustration of The Parasite by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Howard Pyle illustration of The Parasite by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Howard Pyle illustration of The Parasite by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Howard Pyle illustration of The Parasite by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Last Call by Tim Powers

September 11, 2012 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Last Call by Tim PowersLast Call
By Tim Powers; Read by Bronson Pinchot
16 CDs – Approx. 19.1 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: December 2010
ISBN: 9781441757364
Themes: / Fantasy / Gambling / Immortality / Las Vegas / Poetry / Arthurian Legend / Greek Mythology / Egyptian Mythology

Scott Crane abandoned his career as a professional poker player twenty years ago and hasn’t returned to Las Vegas, or held a hand of cards, in ten years. But troubling nightmares about a strange poker game he once attended on a houseboat on Lake Mead are drawing him back to the magical city. For the mythic game he believed he won did not end that night in 1969—and the price of his winnings was his soul. Now, a pot far more strange and perilous than he ever could imagine depends on the turning of a card. Enchantingly dark and compellingly real, this World Fantasy Award–winning novel is a masterpiece of magic realism set in the gritty, dazzling underworld known as Las Vegas.

Tim Powers’ Last Call (1992 William Morrow and Co.; 2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.) is studded with references to old myths, snatches of T.S. Eliot’s “The Wasteland,” the art of poker playing, and the unique culture and atmosphere of old and new Las Vegas. It contains numerous major and minor characters, overarching themes and subplots, and digressions into probability theory. In other words, it demands close reading and attention to detail. Listening to it in half-hour chunks as I did while driving to work was probably not the best idea, and may have affected my review of the book, but what follows is an honest appraisal.

There’s a lot to like in Last Call, and I lot I liked. At its heart it’s really about the vast, mysterious forces driving the universe and the ways in which they manifest in our lives. Why does tragedy pass over a criminal and take a good person instead? Why does a disease like cancer randomly strike a family man with a wife and children to support? Although life appears chaotic and meaningless, perhaps there are active, purposeful forces of fate at work as well, old gods that exist outside our typical suburban lives but can be sought out and appealed to, and even manipulated. In Last Call Powers breathes new life into ancient myths like the Arthurian Fisher King, the Greek god Dionysus, and the Egyptian goddess Isis, incorporating themes of resurrection and physical health tied to spiritual health. These ancient demigods reappear in the forms of unlikely modern-day characters, including broken-down ex-gambler Scott Crane and his estranged foster-sister Diana. Last Call also includes a cast of memorable bad guys, including a bloated fat hit man Trumbull who is convinced that eternal life can be had through the consumption of raw flesh, and the chief baddie Georges Leon, a mystic who achieves immortality through stealing and possessing the bodies of the living. Crane is the central figure in the story, a man who in 1969 played a portentous game of Assumption with a powerful set of tarot cards. Twenty years later Crane returns for a second game against Leon with nothing less than his soul on the line.

Last Call is ultimately a hopeful book, as it implies that there may be a purpose to our lives and a way to control one’s destiny, if you can read the cards and master the archetypes of the Tarot. In Powers’ hands playing cards are a metaphor for the mysteries of life and the skill and luck required to navigate its uncertain waters.

Neil Gaiman’s American Gods employs a similar conceit of old gods reincarnated in the modern world but I must say I enjoyed Gaiman’s take better. Powers is a talented writer and I enjoyed his descriptions of the seedy soul of Las Vegas, as well as some memorable set-pieces he creates, including an encounter with the ghost of the infamous gangster Bugsy Siegel beneath the waters of Lake Mead. But the slow pace of the narrative, the meandering plotline, the too-numerous characters and plotlines that drop in and out of the story without sufficient explanation and resolution (Crane’s wife Susan, for example), and tedious descriptions of card game after card game make Last Call a difficult listen and at times an outright chore, despite the fine narration by Bronson Pinchot.

Perhaps my lukewarm reaction to Last Call has something to do with the fact that I I’m not a fan of card playing; Vegas is a cool place to visit and I’ve tried my hand at a few slot machines, but sitting down at a table in the company of hardcore gamblers has zero appeal for me. If you read Last Call watch closely for the signs, the subtle flush of cheek or restless eyes that the best card players know how to detect and interpret. As for casual readers: Beware.

Posted by Brian Murphy

New Releases: Heinlein, Moers, Powers, Matheson, Faye, Collins, Spillane, Swift, Frank, Conrad, Niven, Pournelle

December 25, 2010 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Audio Drama, New Releases 

New Releases

Here’s a wonderful batch of audiobooks that didn’t show up under an SFFaudio Xmas tree. Stupid Santa!

Winner of an AudioFile magazine “Earphones Award”, narrated by a “2010 AudioFile Best Voice winner” –

BLACKSTONE AUDIO - The Wycherly Woman by Ross MacdonaldThe Wycherly Woman: A Lew Archer Novel
By Ross Macdonald; Read by Grover Gardner
7 CDs or 1 MP3-CD – Approx. 8 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: January 2010
ISBN: 9781433278594 (cd), 9781433278624 (mp3-cd)
Phoebe Wycherly was missing two months before her wealthy father hired Lew Archer to find her. That was plenty of time for a young girl who wanted to disappear to do so thoroughly—or for someone to make her disappear. And before he could locate the Wycherly girl, Archer had to reckon with the Wycherly woman, Phoebe’s mother, an eerily unmaternal blonde who kept too many residences, had too many secrets, and left too many corpses in her wake.

Another title beloved of Audiofile magazine: Starring Stacy Keach as Mike Hammer!

BLACKSTONE AUDIO - The New Adventures Of Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer Vol. 2  by Max Allan CollinsThe New Adventures Of Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer, Vol. 2: The Little Death
By Max Allan Collins; From a story by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins; Performed by a full supporting cast
2 CDs or 1 MP3-CD – Approx. 1.9 Hours [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: December 2009
ISBN: 9781441712585 (cd), 9781441712592 (mp3-cd)
Private eye Mike Hammer is no stranger to murder, but this time he has two to untangle: the killing of the Captain, a legless, homeless panhandler, dismissed by the police as “minor,” and the slaying of gambling kingpin Marty Wellman. Marty’s lady friend, Helen Venn, turns to the P.I. for help when the Mob fingers her for the next kill. Seems the new kingpin, Carmen Rich — with whom Hammer has a violent history — thinks Helen made off with ten mil in skim money courtesy of her late lover. But Mike Hammer knows a damsel in distress when he sees one and takes up Helen’s cause, igniting a series of hit attempts on his life by a small army of out-of-town shooters. Such minor distractions can’t prevent the toughest detective of them all from solving two murders and avenging a “little death” in a big way.

I liked the movie. Has anyone read the book?

BLACKSTONE AUDIO - Somewhere In Time by Richard MathesonSomewhere In Time
By Richard Matheson; Read by Scott Brick
9 CDs or 1 MP3-CD – Approx. 10.5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: December 1, 2010
ISBN: 9781441722201 (cd), 9781441722218 (mp3-cd)
Written by one of the grand masters of modern fantasy, Somewhere In Time is the moving, romantic story of a modern man whose powerful love for a woman he has never met allows him to literally transcend time. A dying young playwright staying in a turn-of-the-century hotel becomes captivated by a painting of a beautiful stage actress from the previous century. Obsessed, he begins to study everything he can about the woman and her time and becomes convinced he belongs with her. Through self-hypnosis, he transports himself to 1896, where he finds the soul mate he was fated to meet. But will he be able to stay? Somewhere In Time won the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel and was the basis for the 1980 cult classic movie starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour.

Is this an audiobook about playing poker with the devil? Nice!

BLACKSTONE AUDIO - Last Call by Tim PowersLast Call
By Tim Powers; Read by Bronson Pinchot
16 CDs or 2 MP3CDs – Approx. 19.1 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: December 1, 2010
ISBN: 9781441757364 (cd), 9781441757371 (mp3-cd)
Scott Crane abandoned his career as a professional poker player twenty years ago and hasn’t returned to Las Vegas, or held a hand of cards, in ten years. But troubling nightmares about a strange poker game he once attended on a houseboat on Lake Mead are drawing him back to the magical city. For the mythic game he believed he won did not end that night in 1969—and the price of his winnings was his soul. Now, a pot far more strange and perilous than he ever could imagine depends on the turning of a card. Enchantingly dark and compellingly real, this World Fantasy Award–winning novel is a masterpiece of magic realism set in the gritty, dazzling underworld known as Las Vegas.

Translated from the German…

BLACKSTONE AUDIO - Rumo And His Mircaculous Adventures by Walter MoersRumo & His Miraculous Adventures (A Novel in Two Books)
By Walter Moers; Translated by John Brownjohn; Read by Bronson Pinchot
19 CDs or 2 MP3-CDs – Approx. 22.8 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: December 1, 2010
ISBN: 9781441757982 (cd), 9781441758019 (mp3-cd)
Set in the land of Zamonia, this exuberant, highly original fantasy from Walter Moers features an unlikely hero. Rumo is a little Wolperting—a domesticated creature somewhere between a deer and a dog—who will one day become the greatest hero in the history of Zamonia. Armed with Dandelion, his talking sword, he fights his way through the Overworld and the Netherworld. He meets Rala, a beautiful Wolperting female; Urs of the Snows, who thinks more of cooking than of fighting; Gornab the Ninety-Ninth, the demented king of Netherworld; Professor Ostafan Kolibri, who goes in search of the Non-Existent Teenies; Professor Abdullah Nightingale, inventor of the chest-of-drawers oracle; and, worst luck, the deadly Metal Maiden. Astonishingly inventive, amusing, and engrossing, Rumo is a captivating story from the unique imagination of Walter Moers. Filled with humor, this novel puts a new spin on the usual epic fantasy. The comparisons are many—Douglas Adams, Lewis Carrol, J. K. Rowling, Dr. Seuss, and R. Crumb—but Moers is clearly an original. Long live Zamonia!

One of the Heinlein juvies that I read while in the UK. It, along with Starman’s Quest (by Robert Silverberg) have got to be directly inspired by the famous twin paradox thought experiment!

BLACKSTONE AUDIO - Time For The Stars by Robert A. HeinleinTime For The Stars
By Robert A. Heinlein; Read by Barrett Whitener
6 CDs or 1 MP3-CD – 6.8 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: December 10, 2010
ISBN: 9781433230462 (cd), 9781433230493 (mp3-cd)
Travel to other planets is now a reality, and with overpopulation stretching the resources of Earth, the necessity of finding habitable worlds is growing ever more urgent. There’s a problem though—because the spaceships are slower than light, any communication between the exploring ships and Earth would take years. Tom and Pat are identical twin teenagers. As twins they’ve always been close, so close that it seemed like they could read each other’s minds. When they are recruited by the Long Range Foundation, the twins find out that they can, indeed, peer into each other’s thoughts. Along with other telepathic duos, they are enlisted to be the human transmitters and receivers that will keep the ships in contact with Earth. But there’s a catch: one of the twins has to stay behind—and that one will grow old—while the other explores the depths of space and returns as a young man still.

Hasn’t this been done like four or five times before? Or maybe I just dream’t that?

BLACKSTONE AUDIO - Dust And Shadow - An Account Of The Ripper Killings By Dr John H. WatsonDust And Shadow (An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H. Watson)
By Lyndsay Faye; Read by Simon Vance
8 CDs or 1 MP3-CD – Approx. 9.3 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: December 10, 2010
ISBN: 9781441768117 (cd), 9781441768131 (mp3-cd)
Breathless and painstakingly researched, this is a stunning debut mystery in which Sherlock Holmes unmasks Jack the Ripper. Lyndsay Faye perfectly captures all the color and syntax of Conan Doyle’s distinctive nineteenth-century London. In Dust and Shadow, Sherlock Holmes hunts down Jack the Ripper—the world’s first serial killer—with impeccably accurate historical detail and without the advantage of modern forensics or profiling. Sherlock’s desire to stop the killer who is terrifying the East End of London is unwavering from the start, and in an effort to do so he hires an “unfortunate” known as Mary Ann Monk, the friend of a fellow streetwalker who was one of the Ripper’s earliest victims. However, when Holmes himself is wounded in Whitechapel attempting to catch the villain, and a series of articles in the popular press question his role in the crimes, he must use all his resources in a desperate race to find the man known as “The Knife” before it is too late. Penned as a pastiche by the loyal and courageous Dr. Watson, this debut signals the arrival of a tremendous talent in the mystery and historical fiction genres.

The moral horror of colonialism as performed by Kenneth Branagh? Sign me up!

AUDIBLE - Heart Of Darkness by Kenneth BranaghHeart Of Darkness
By Joseph Conrad; Read by Kenneth Branagh
Audible Download – Approx. 3 Hours 51 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Audible Signature Classics
Published: November 23, 2010
Prose that demands to be read aloud requires a special kind of narrator. For the Audible Signature Classics edition of Joseph Conrad’s atmospheric masterpiece, Heart of Darkness, we called upon four-time Academy Award nominee Kenneth Branagh. Branagh’s performance is riveting because he reads as though he’s telling a ghost story by a campfire, capturing the story’s sense of claustrophobia, while hinting at the storyteller Marlow’s own creeping madness. Heart of Darkness follows Captain Marlow into the colonial Congo where he searches for a mysterious ivory trader, Kurtz, and discovers an evil that will haunt him forever. With this landmark work, Conrad is credited with bringing the novel into the twentieth century; we think Branagh brings it into the twenty-first. Stay tuned for more one-of-a-kind performances from actors David Hyde Pierce, Leelee Sobieski, Tim Curry, and more, only from Audible Signature Classics.

This 1959 novel’s title is derived from a few lines in the Book of Revelation

AUDIBLE - Alas, Babylon by Pat FrankAlas, Babylon
By Pat Frank; Read by Will Patton
Audible Download – Approx. 11 Hours 14 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Audible.com
Published: December 21, 2010
This true modern masterpiece is built around the two fateful words that make up the title and herald the end – “Alas, Babylon.” When a nuclear holocaust ravages the United States, a thousand years of civilization are stripped away overnight, and tens of millions of people are killed instantly. But for one small town in Florida, miraculously spared, the struggle is just beginning, as men and women of all backgrounds join together to confront the darkness. Will Patton’s narration paints this classic tale as an ominous picture of the terrible possibilities of the nuclear age.

This audiobook is the subject of an upcoming SFFaudio Readalong…

AUDIBLE - Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan SwiftGulliver’s Travels
By Jonathan Swift; Read by David Hyde Pierce
Audible Download – Approx. 9 Hours 52 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Audible Signature Classics
Published: December 14, 2010
Four-time Emmy Award winner David Hyde Pierce is famous for playing the lovably self-important Dr. Niles Crane in the hit TV series Frasier. Now, he brings the same wit and charming arrogance to his Signature Classics performance of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. More than just a mock travel book and fabulous adventure, Gulliver’s Travels is a character study and social satire that skewers politics, science, religion, philosophy, and pretentiousness with a bite and resonance that remains as fresh today as the day it was published. Maybe that’s why it hasn’t been out of print in nearly 300 years. Set sail with David Hyde Pierce for a smart, fun, new Gulliver’s Travels experience that’s unlike any other. And stay tuned for more one-of-a-kind performances from actors Leelee Sobiesky, Casey Affleck, Tim Curry, and more, only from Audible Signature Classics.

And so is this one!

Audible Frontiers - Oath Of Fealty by Larry Niven and Jerry PournelleOath Of Fealty
By Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle; Read by Jeremy Johnson and Suzanne Toren
Audible Download – Approx. 10 Hours 15 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Audible Frontiers
Published: June 22, 2010
In the near future, Los Angeles is an all but uninhabitable war zone, wracked by crime, violence, pollution and poverty. But above the blighted city, a Utopia has arisen: Todos Santos, a thousand-foot high single-structured city, designed to used state-of-the-art technology to create a completely human-friendly environment, offering its dwellers everything they could want in exchange for their oath of allegiance and their constant surveillance. But there are those who want to see the utopia destroyed, whose answer to tomorrow’s best and brightest hope is mindless violence. And they have just entered Todos Santos.

Posted by Jesse Willis