The SFFaudio Podcast #054

April 12, 2010 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #054 – Jesse and Scott talk about audiobooks, the recent arrivals, the new releases and the current listens.

Talked about on today’s show:
Full Cast Audio, Kenneth Oppel, Starclimber, alternate, Lionsgate City (aka Vancouver), Space Station Rat by Michael J. Daley, Red Planet by Robert A. Heinlein |READ OUR REVIEW|, Little Brother by Cory Doctorow |READ OUR REVIEW|, 1984 by George Orwell, Brilliance Audio, A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire, Mary Robinette Kowal, Where Angels Fear To Tread by Thomas E. Sniegoski, angels, Roger Zelazny, Blackstone Audio, Frostbite by David Wellington, werewolves, 13 Bullets by David Wellington, vampires, Let The Right One In, Dead Snow, David Wellington’s “Monster Trilogy”, zombie apocalypse, Survivors (2008), Terry Nation, Survivors (1975 – 1977), 30 Days Of Night, dreamy vampires, Blackstone Audio, Vampire$ by John Steakley, John Carpenter’s Vampire$, bounty hunting, Dark Is the Sun by Philip Jose Farmer, Recorded Books, Saturn’s Children by Charles Stross, LibriVox.org, Rastignac The Devil by Philip Jose Farmer, Gregg Margarite, The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas, Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert, Love Bites by Lyndsay Sands, the paranormal romance problem, Blue Moon by Laurell K. Hamilton, Obsidian Butterfly by Laurell K. Hamilton, Single White Vampire by Lyndsay Sands, Penguin Audio, The Silent Sea by Clive Cussler and Jack DeBrule, Dirk Pitt, “Jacque Cousteau as James Bond”, Cujo by Stephen King, Firestarter by Stephen King, The Monster Of Florence by Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Running Man by Stephen King = reality television, Robocop, Thinner by Stephen King, The Long Walk by Stephen King, The Long Walk by Sławomir Rawicz, Siberia, walking from Siberia to India, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins |READ OUR REVIEW|, Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Maze Runner by James Dashner, Cube, dragons, How To Train Your Dragon, Anne McCaffrey, Eragon, Around The World In Eighty Days by Jules Verne, Komodo dragons, Dragonslayer, Dragonheart, Smaug, The Geek’s Guide To The Galaxy podcast, DragonLance, Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George, Roadwork by Stephen King, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy meets The Omega Man, where the pseudonym “Richard Bachman” came from, “everything comes back to Donald E. Westlake”, Blackstone Audio, Empire Builders by Ben Bova, Nova Audiobooks, NASA, cutting the Constellation program, CBS coverage of Apollo 11, Robert A. Heinlein was a commentator for Apollo 11, why do we have so little Heinlein audio and video?, Sheepfarmer’s Daughter by Elizabeth Moon, Oath Of Fealty by Elizabeth Moon, Graphic Audio, The Serrano Legacy, Galaxy Press, A Matter Of Matter by L. Ron Hubbard, The Crossroads by L. Ron Hubbard, time travel, Captive Market by Philip K. Dick, economics, Brilliance Audio, Saucer by Stephen Coonts Saucer: The Conquest by Stephen Coonts, Peter Watts, The Eyes Of The Overworld by Jack Vance, Breaking Point by James Gunn |READ OUR REVIEW|, Tales Of Dying Earth by Jack Vance, “Vance has ideas and style”, The Last Castle by Jack Vance, The Moon Moth by Jack Vance |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Geek’s Guide To The Galaxy interviews The Tolkien Professor.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Aural Noir review of The Monster Of Florence by Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi

April 2, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Aural Noir, Reviews 

Aural Noir: Review

HACHETTE AUDIO - The Monster Of Florence by Douglas Preston and Mario SpeziThe Monster Of Florence: A True Story
By Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi; Read by Dennis Boutsikaris
8 CDs – Approx. 9.5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Published: 2008
ISBN: 9781600242090
Themes: / Crime / History / Mystery / Murder / Serial Killer / Conspiracy / Italy / Florence / Sardinia / The Renaissance /

In 2000, Douglas Preston and his family moved to Florence, Italy, fulfilling a long-held dream. They put their children in Italian schools and settled into a 14th century farmhouse in the green hills of Florence, where they devoted themselves to living la dolce vita while Preston wrote his best-selling suspense novels. All that changes when he discovers that the lovely olive grove in front of their house had been the scene of the most infamous double-murders in Italian history, committed by a serial killer known only as the Monster of Florence.

If you’re a fan of Douglas Preston’s fiction you’ll be all into digging the biographical details he adds to this illuminating non-fiction account of a real monster and the labyrinthine twists and turns the investigation took. Those readers looking for insight into Thomas Harris’ Hannibal novels can find this story impactful too. Myself, I was most interested in the unparalleled access this fearsome story details, namely the historical forces that shaped Florence, Tuscany and Sardinia from ancient days, through the Renaissance, the 1960s, 1970s, and on up to the present. Preston, with help from Spezi, provides elucidating details about how the killer (or killers) got away with 16 murders that took place between 1968 and 1985. Their book, this audiobook, is an indictment of Florentine and Italian journalists, the Italian national police , the Florentine investigators, and one prosecutor in particular. In short, after more than 30 years of criminal investigation the case remains an unsolved mystery. Spezi and Preston do take a guess at the culprit, and they back that guess up with a logic chain that is a helluva-lot-more compelling than the official explanation. But, just thinking about it all, a week or two later, I’m still shaking my head. The final disgrace of this story came as a result of a convergence between the Public Minister of Perugia, Giuliano Mignini, and a fraud psychic named Gabriella Carlizzi. Together they explained to themselves, and the arresting police, that Mario Spezi was actually involved in the murders and was a member of a satanic cult.

Even more worrisome, if it is possible to imagine, is what Preston argues is a fairly widespread Italian cultural embrace of something called “dietrologia.” Literally meaning “behindology,” dietrologia is the practice of assuming that nothing notable is as it actually appears – that something hidden (often sinister, cynical and/or conspiratorial) is behind any and all notable events. In Canada we might call it acting paranoid, or being a conspiracy theorist. In Italy, apparently, it is regularly practiced around the dinner table. And it’s all fun and games, I guess, until you end up throwing innocent people in jail. During the writing of The Monster Of Florence Spezi was arrested for either being a collaborator with the Monster or actually being the serial killer himself. Meanwhile Douglas Preston was interrogated, told to confess, threatened with arrest, and forced to leave Italy upon pain of prosecution. The Monster Of Florence case was completely bungled. This was a clusterfuck on par with the notorious California’s McMartin preschool investigation and trial. I guess it all goes to show that police and prosecutorial incompetence is alive and well in the new and old worlds both.

Reader Dennis Boutskaris takes full control of the narrative, becoming the voice of Preston (and Spezi) for the entire audiobook. To my untrained ears his Italian accent sounded fine. The cover art, as mentioned in the audiobook, comes from a photograph of a statue in Piazza della Signoria, in Florence (The Rape of the Sabine Women by Giambologna |JPG|). In addition, on the final disc, there is an informative interview with Douglas Preston.

Posted by Jesse Willis