Aural Noir Review of the Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

March 19, 2010 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Aural Noir, Reviews 

Aural Noir: Review

The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock HolmesThe Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Edited by John Joseph Adams; Read by Simon Vance and Anne Flosnik, John Joseph Adams (uncredited)
18 CDs – 22 hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: 2010
ISBN: 1441839070
Themes: / Mystery / Crime / Alternate History / Science Fiction / Horror / 19th Century / London /

“When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” This famous Sherlock Holmes quote is the impetus which drives this intelligent, inventive, and at times irreverent compilation of Sherlock Holmes stories written in the last few decades. As John Joseph Adams explains in his introduction, his aim in compiling these stories is to explore the uneasy peace between the cold clear logic of the deerstalker-wearing, pipe-smoking detective and the unanswered, perhaps unanswerable mysteries which continue to thwart human investigation to this very day. While many of the stories miss the mark of this goal entirely, the collection as a whole succeeds in pushing Holmes in new directions while staying true to the spirit of Sir Arthur Conan Doyles’s original work.

The stories in this collection fall into one of three categories. First, there are the traditional mysteries. These are stories that, with but slight alteration, might easily have found a home among Conan Doyle’s own work. The best of these tales expand upon characters or cases mentioned in the original œuvre only in passing. Mrs. Hudson’s Case by Laurie R. King, for instance, features Holmes’s protégé Mary Russell as its protagonist and reveals the character of Holmes’s long-suffering landlady. Edward D. Hoch’s A Scandal In Montreal, meanwhile, reunites Sherlock Holmes with his sometime nemesis Irene Adler. As a whole, however, this category fits rather uneasily into the collection because, by and large, there is little in the way of “the improbable” in any of these stories. All are well-written and most are engaging; they simply miss the point.

The second category I would call historical, or pseudo-historical. In most respect these stories are similar to those of the first category, with one redeeming addition: Sherlock Holmes crosses paths with historical figures from the Victorian era. Stephen Baxter’s The Adventure of the Inertial Adventure sees our detective join forces with author of scientific romances H.G. Wells, while Tony Pi’s Dynamics Of A Hanging brings mathematician Charles Dodgson (better known as Lewis Carroll) into the Holmesian world. The highlight of this grouping, though, is The Adventure Of The Field Theorem by Vonda N. McIntyre, in which Sherlock Holmes investigates crop circles at the behest of none other than Arthur Conan Doyle.

The last category throws Sherlock Holmes–and let’s not forget Doctor Watson, through whose eyes we see most of these tales unfold–into genres as wide-ranging as alternate history, horror, and science fiction. Subjectively, I liked these stories best because they fall into genres which I most commonly read. Objectively, these stories succeed because they deliver on the promise of “improbable adventures.” The collection opens with a chilling tale by horror master Tim Lebbon, which unlike most Holmes stories is never intellectually resolved. The Singular Habits Of Wasps by Geoffrey A. Landis, perhaps my favorite story in the collection, puts a fascinating otherworldly spin on the mysterious murders of Jack the Ripper. Robert J. Sawyer’s closing story, You See But You Do Not Observe, pits Holmes’s intellect against the fermi paradox concerning extraterrestrial life. The collection is worth the price of admission for these entries alone.

Simon Vance carries the bulk of the narration, with Anne Flosnik reading only a few stories featuring female protagonists. Flosnik performs solidly in her few appearances. Simon Vance’s portrayal of Holmes and Watson is spot-on; the former speaks with a whip-sharp voice, while the latter lumbers along in a more lugubrious manner. He falls short only when narrating the few “New World” characters who figure in the stories, but these cases are uncommon and Vance’s accent isn’t off by much. John Joseph Adams himself narrates the collection’s introduction, as well as introductory passages to each story.

Whether you’re a fan of mystery, history, or something further afield, chances are high you’ll find something to sate your appetite in The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. I’ll venture out on a limb and say that visitors to this site will likely be most interested in the tales of speculative fiction. I assure you, in particular, that you’ll not be disappointed.

Posted by Seth Wilson

Blackstone Audio and Audiofile Magazine: FREE Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland audiobook

March 3, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Blackstone Audio and Audiofile Magazine are giving away a FREE unabridged audiobook of Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll!

These free downloads are available only until March 16, 2010.

BLACKSTONE AUDIO - Alice's Adventures In Wonderland by Lewis CarrollAlice’s Adventures In Wonderland
By Lewis Carroll; Read by Michael York
Zipped MP3 Files or Zipped M4B Files Download – Approx. 3.1 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: 2008
Alice chases the White Rabbit down a rabbit hole and encounters a world of delightfully eccentric characters like the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, the Cheshire Cat, the Mock Turtle, and the Queen of Hearts. This enduring and evocative tale can be read on many levels and enjoyed by adults and children alike.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Tantor Media is offering a FREE audiobook for feedback

January 6, 2010 by · 5 Comments
Filed under: News 

SFFaudio News

Tantor MediaHow does a great audiobook company celebrate its 10 year anniversary? How about giving away a free audiobook?

Indeed, so to promote their 10th anniversary, test out their newly redesigned website, and get some feedback on their new ordering system, Tantor Media is offering a FREE audiobook by mail!

To get your free audiobook it looks like you’ll need to peruse the newly redesigned website and fill out a questionnaire. After that they’ll send you the audiobook by mail.

That is, you’d get one of these…

TANTOR MEDIA - Alice's Adventures In Wonderland by Lewis CarrollTANTOR MEDIA - The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

…your choice of either H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine or Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland.

Now that’s a sweet deal. Happy 10th Tantor!

[via The Cimmerian blog]

Posted by Jesse Willis

Blackstone Audiobooks Overtstock Sale

December 17, 2009 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Aural Noir, News 

SFFaudio News

Blackstone Audiobooks Overstock SaleBlackstone AudiobooksSFFaudio receives FREE audio media in the mail on a regular basis. They generally arrive unsolicited (though sometimes not) and we take it that their arrival equates with a tacit understanding that we’ll either mention the receipt on the website and/or review the audiobook or audio drama. That’s the extent of our formal relationship with any publisher or retailer. We do not use affiliate links to Amazon, or any other audiobook retailer. This lack of affiliation means that we can never feel pressured into reviewing an audiobook or audio drama more positively (or negatively) than we might otherwise.

Now, with all that said, I think I can speak for most of the folks who work at SFFaudio and say that we are all especially fond of Blackstone Audiobooks.

There are a few reasons for this BA love. Blackstone picks great books to turn into audiobooks, pairing them with terrific narrators, and then releases them in DRM free version. That’s really all what you want from a publisher. But that isn’t the end of it. Every so often they blow-out audiobooks that are cramming their wharehouse space. And that’s why right now they’re offering 237 different audiobooks for just $9.99 each.

That’s a STUNNING DEAL my friends!

And, if you buy two audiobooks (or more) you’ll even get FREE SHIPPING (within the USA). Here are just a few of the many titles they’ve got for sale right now:

THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; read by Ben Kingsley
THE AENEID by Virgil; read by Frederick Davidson
ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND by Lewis Carroll; read by Michael York
THE CALL OF THE WILD by Jack London; read by Ethan Hawke
A CONNECTICUT YANKEE IN KING ARTHUR’S COURT by Mark Twain; read by Carl Reiner
FRANKENSTEIN, OR THE MODERN PROMETHEUS by Mary Shelley; read by Simon Templeman, Anthony Heald, and Stefan Rudnicki
I AM LEGEND by Richard Matheson; read by Robertson Dean |READ OUR REVIEW|
IT’S SUPERMAN! by Tom De Haven; read by Scott Brick
KING KONG by Edgar Wallace and Merian C. Cooper; novelization by Delos W. Lovelace; read by Stefan Rudnicki |READ OUR REVIEW|
THE MARTIAN CHILD by David Gerrold; read by Scott Brick
THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY by Oscar Wilde; read by Simon Vance
THE PRESTIGE by Christopher Priest; read by Simon Vance
THE PRINCE by Niccoló Machiavelli; read by Patrick Cullen
ROCKET SHIP GALILEO by Robert A Heinlein; read by Spider Robinson |READ OUR REVIEW|
THE SPARTANS by Paul Cartledge; read by John Lee
SWEENEY TODD AND THE STRING OF PEARLS by Yuri Rasovsky; Performed by a full cast
TALES OF BEATRIX POTTER by Beatrix Potter; read by Nadia May
TARZAN OF THE APES by Edgar Rice Burroughs; read by Ben Kingsley
THE TEN-CENT PLAGUE by David Hajdu; read by Stefan Rudnicki
THERMOPYLAE by Paul Cartledge; read by John Lee
THE TIME MACHINE by H.G. Wells; read by Ben Kingsley
THE TRIAL by Franz Kafka; read by Geoffrey Howard
UTOPIA by Sir Thomas More; read by James Adams
V FOR VENDETTA by Steve Moore; read by Simon Vance |READ OUR REVIEW|
THE WAR OF THE WORLDS by H. G. Wells; read by Christopher Hurt
WE WISH TO INFORM YOU THAT TOMORROW WE WILL BE KILLED WITH OUR FAMILIES by Philip Gourevitch; read by Jeff Cummings
WHERE’S MY JETPACK? by Daniel H. Wilson; read by Stefan Rudnicki |READ OUR REVIEW|
THE WINTER OF FRANKIE MACHINE by Don Winslow; read by Dennis Boutsikaris
THE WORLD ACCORDING TO NARNIA by Jonathan Rogers; read by Brian Emerson

Posted by Jesse Willis

Librivox.org’s FREE Public Domain Sourced Speculative Fiction Audiobooks

July 1, 2006 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Online Audio 

Online Audio

LibriVox We first told you about LibriVox and its many ongoing FREE audiobook projects last year. Since then many of their titles have been completed. The LibriVox volunteers have read and recorded chapters of books, entire novels and short stories from the public domain using their home equipment. Their lofty objective? To eventually make every book in the public domain available in the audio format! That goal is well on its way to success. LibriVox now has more than three dozen Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror titles completed. There are even more “in-progress.” So with that wonderous news in mind here is the complete* list of all the SF Fantasy and Horror with links to the files :


UNABRIDGED BOOKS:

Andersen’s Fairy Tales (Short Stories)
By Hans Christian Andersen; Read by Various Readers
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 5 Hours 51 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

The Marvelous Land of Oz (Book 2 In The Oz Series)
By L. Frank Baum; Read by Paul Harvey
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 4 Hours 32 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

Dorothy And The Wizard in Oz (Book 4 In The Oz Series)
By L. Frank Baum; Read by Judy Bieber
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – ? Hours [UNABRIDGED]

The Road To Oz (Book 5 In The Oz Series)
By L. Frank Baum; Read by Kara Shallenberg
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 4.7 Hours [UNABRIDGED]

Sky Island
By L. Frank Baum; Read by Judy Bieber
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 5 Hours 41 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

Present At A Hanging and Other Ghost Stories (Short Stories)
By Ambrose Beirce; Read by Peter Yearsley
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – ? Hours [UNABRIDGED]

A Princess Of Mars (First In The John Carter Series)
By Edgar Rice Burroughs; Read by Various Readers
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – ? Hours [UNABRIDGED]

Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland (First In The Alice Series)
By Lewis Carroll; Read by Various Readers
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 2 Hours 58 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

Through The Looking-Glass (Second In The Alice Series)
By Lewis Carroll; Read by
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 3 Hours 19 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

The Wind In The Willows
By Kenneth Grahame; Read by Mark F. Smith
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 6 Hours 47 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

Fairy Tales (Short Stories)
By Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm (Brothers Grimm); Read by Various Readers
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 10 Hours 32 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

The Story Of Doctor Dolittle
By Hugh Lofting; Read by Various Readers
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 3 Hours 8 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

Call Of The Wild
By Jack London; Read by Various Readers
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – ? Hours [UNABRIDGED]

White Fang
By Jack London; Read by Various Readers
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 8 Hours 28 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

Great Big Treasury Of Beatrix Potter (Short Stories)
By Beatrix Potter; Read by Various Readers
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 3 Hours 31 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

Frankenstein, Or The Modern Prometheus
By Mary Shelley; Read by Various Readers
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – ? Hours [UNABRIDGED]

Dracula
By Bram Stoker; Read by Various Readers
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 16 Hours 31 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court
By Mark Twain; Read by Steve Anderson
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 13 Hours 42 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

A Journey To The Interior Of The Earth
By Jules Verne; Read by Various Readers
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 8 Hours 10 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

The Invisible Man
By H.G. Wells; Read by Alex Foster
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 4 Hours 54 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

The War Of The Worlds
By H.G. Wells; Read by Rebecca
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 6 Hours 35 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

The War Of The Worlds
By H.G. Wells; Read by Various Readers
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – Approx 7 Hours [UNABRIDGED]

The Velveteen Rabbit
By Margery Williams; Read by Marlo Dianne
1 MP3 – 28 Minutes 50 Seconds [UNABRIDGED]


UNABRIDGED SHORT STORIES:

The Black Cat
By Edgar Allan Poe; Read by Tom Yates
1 MP3 File – 26 Minutes 58 Seconds [UNABRIDGED]

The Black Cat
By Edgar Allan Poe; Read by Don Morgan
1 MP3 File – 32 Minutes 43 Seconds [UNABRIDGED]

The Pit and the Pendulum
By Edgar Allan Poe; Read by Eric S. Piotrowski
1 MP3 File – 39 Minutes 8 Seconds [UNABRIDGED]

The Telltale Heart
By Edgar Allan Poe; Read by Don Morgan
1 MP3 File – 18 Minutes 8 Seconds [UNABRIDGED]

The Cask of Amontillado
By Edgar Allan Poe; Read by Zach Weissmueller and Ryan Heuser
1 MP3 File – 15 Minutes 45 Seconds [UNABRIDGED]

The Masque of the Red Death
By Edgar Allan Poe; Read by Juan Carlos Bagnell
1 MP3 File – 16 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

The Monkey’s Paw
By W.W. Jacobs; Read by annegram
1 MP3 File – 25 Minutes 52 Seconds [UNABRIDGED]

The Signal-Man
By Charles Dickens; Read by: Andrew Miller
1 MP3 File – 36 Minutes 58 Seconds [UNABRIDGED]

Tale Of Peter Rabbit
By Beatrix Potter; Read by: Kevin Devine
1 MP3 File – 6 Minutes 26 Seconds [UNABRIDGED]

To Build A Fire
By Jack London; Read by Betsie Bush
1 MP3 File – 40 Minutes 03 Seconds [UNABRIDGED]

The Birth Mark
By Nathaniel Hawthorne; Read by Katy Preston
1 MP3 File – 38 Minutes 8 Seconds [UNABRIDGED]

An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge
By Ambrose Bierce; Read by Matthew Stewart-Fulton
1 MP3 File – 22 Minutes 1 Second [UNABRIDGED]

The Yellow Wallpaper
By Charlotte Perkins Gilman; Read by Justine Young
1 MP3 File – 28 Minutes 18 Seconds [UNABRIDGED]

*Any keeners out there are invited to let me know if I missed any SF Fantasy or Horror audiobooks completed by LibriVox that I didn’t recognize as such. Check out the actual list of all of their completed audiobooks on the LibriVox site HERE.

LibriVox bills itself as "acoustical liberation …

December 21, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

Online Audio

LibriVoxLibriVox bills itself as “acoustical liberation of books in the public domain”, we bill it as “really cool”! The LibriVox volunteers read and record chapters of books in the public domain using the equipment they have at home, and then release the files as FREE audiobooks. The objective is to eventually make all books in the public domain available in the audio format. Several Science Fiction and Fantasy titles are already under way, and few have already been completed. Here’s a peek:

Completed Novels:
The Road To Oz by L. Frank Baum
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Completed Shorts:
A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift

Multiple Narrator Forthcoming:
Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
The Trial by Franz Kafka
Dracula by Bram Stoker
A Journey To The Interior Of The Earth by Jules Verne

Single Narrators Forthcoming:
Flatland by Edwin A. Abbott
The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson
Sky Island by L. Frank Baum
The Wizard Of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Beowolf
Anthem by Ayn Rand
A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

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