Review of Around The World In Eighty Days by Jules Verne

February 4, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

LISTENING LIBRARY - Around The World In Eighty Days by Jules VerneAround The World In Eighty Days
By Jules Verne; Read by Jim Dale
7 CDs – Approx. 7 Hours 42 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Listening Library
Published: 2005
ISBN: 0307206424
Themes: / Adventure / 19th Century / Gambling / Religion / Mormonism /

Shocking his stodgy colleagues at the exclusive Reform Club, enigmatic Englishman Phileas Fogg wagers his fortune, undertaking an extraordinary and daring enterprise to circumnavigate the globe in eighty days. With his French valet Passepartout in tow, Verne’s hero traverses the far reaches of the earth, all the while tracked by the intrepid Detective Fix, a bounty hunter certain he is on the trail of a notorious bank robber. Combining exploration, adventure, and a thrilling race against time, Around The World In Eighty Days gripped audiences upon its original publication and remains hugely popular to this day.

When I get into a subject, I really get into it. I think I’m becoming something of an Around The World In Eighty Days expert. I’ve tracked down the episode of Have Gun Will Travel that includes a visit from Phileas Fogg. I’ve gotten my mitts on several audiobook versions, and a BBC radio dramatization too. I’ve watched the Michael Palin series that took inspiration from the novel. I poured over the Classics Illustrated comics version.

Phileas Fogg, who seems to epitomize a certain kind of stereotypical Englishman, is described as emotionless. He makes his calculations, and like the watch he carries, ticks away without a wasted movement. At one point a certain travelling companion makes a remark something like “this is the only time I’ve seen you become emotional” this when confronted by the prospect of sitting idly by while a woman is burned alive. Fogg’s reponse: “I am emotional, when I have the time.” That burning, by the way, takes the form of a Hindu “suttee.” Later on in Utah, Passepartout, Fogg’s manservant, takes in a sermon in the form of a lecture on the history of Mormonism. It’s a hilarious scene, and as such this book is one of the few classics that I will probably re-read. Around The World In Eighty Days overflows such gems. It’s biggest failing is that a good deal of the suspense Verne injects comes from out of nowhere, clunks around the pages, making waste, only to sputter out into utter forgetability at the end.

Narrator Jim Dale, best known for his work on the Listening Library Harry Potter audiobooks, brings a full range of accents and voices to this audiobook. Dale does a really terrific Passepartout! The production includes some seemingly randomly insterted music and sound effects that nearly drown out Dale’s performance. That’s bad. Additional mistakes include an image of a hot air balloon on the cover. There is absolutely no balloon in this novel, though one appears in a couple of video adaptations.

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox: A Knyght Ther Was by Robert F. Young

January 27, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

LibriVoxRobert F. Young (1915-1986) was an American public school janitor. In addition to maintaining what I can only assume to have been immaculate hallways and washrooms in Bufallo, NY schools, he is also remembered for having written five novels, as well as a few dozen short Science Fiction stories, novellas and novelettes. His authorial production started in 1953 with a sale to Startling Stories. Later sales were made to Playboy, The Saturday Evening Post, Collier’s and Analog.

This story is inspired in part by Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales and features a rogue time traveler named Tom Mallory who transits to 6th century Europe in search of an unparalleled treasure. Perhaps Terry Gilliam or Michael Palin filched this as a story seed for their 1981 classic Time Bandits?

LibriVox - A Knyght Ther Was by Robert F. YoungA Knyght Ther Was
By Robert F. Young; Read by Roger Melin
6 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 2 Hours 19 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: January 23, 2010
“But the Knyght was a little less than Perfect, and his horse did not have a metabolism, and his ‘castle’ was much more mobile—timewise!—than it had any business being!” In 2178, once time travel had become a simple task, it had also been outlawed. Those who chose to ingnore this law were known as time-thieves, and Tom Mallory was among the best of them. When he learns the precise whereabouts of the Holy Grail in 542, he sets out to obtain it with the intention of returning it to the 22nd century to make a handsome profit and to settle on Get-Rich-Quick Street. Off to the year 542 he travels to the castle of Carbonek where the great Knight Sir Launcelot is said to have possession of the Sangraal. First published in Analog Science Fact & Fiction July 1963.

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Trailer for Time Bandits (1981):

[Thanks also to Betty M. and Annise]

Posted by Jesse Willis