New Releases

May 27, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio 

New Releases

Smoky Mountain Horrors by Weston OchseSmoky Mountain Horrors
By Weston Ochse; Read by Weston Ochse
Audible Download – 4 Hours 47 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Kanigit Media / Audible.com
Published: May 11, 2009
Set mostly in Appalachian country, backwood characters will leave you laughing in pain and gasping in horror. You will learn something new about Weston’s horrific mountain tales every time you listen. They are not for the feint of heart. A collection of short horror stories. Two of the stories available for free HERE.

Tantor - The Coming Of Conan The Cimmerian by Robert E. HowardThe Coming Of Conan The Cimmerian (Book One in the Conan of Cimmeria Series)
By Robert E. Howard; Read by Todd McLaren
14 CDs or 2 MP3-CDs – 16 Hours 30 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Published: June 11th, 2009
ISBN: 9781400112234 (cd) , 9781400162239 (mp3-cd)
Thirteen of Robert E. Howard’s legendary stories starring Conan the barbarian, a swordsman who cuts a swath across the lands of the Hyborian Age, facing powerful sorcerers, deadly creatures, and ruthless armies of thieves and reavers.

Haze
By L.E. Modesitt, Jr.; Read by William Dufris
10 CDs or 1 MP3-CD – 11 Hours 30 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Published: June 25th, 2009
ISBN: 9781400112913 (cd), 9781400162918 (mp3-cd)
A war is about to start between planets in this new science fiction novel by the bestselling author of the Recluce series.

Red Seas Under Red Skies (Book 2 of the Gentleman Bastard series)
By Scott Lynch; Read by Michael Page
20 CDs or 3 MP3-CDs – 25 Hours 30 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Published: June 4th, 2009
ISBN: 9781400110520 (cd), 9781400160525 (mp3-cd)
In The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch took us on an adrenaline-fueled adventure with con artist extraordinaire Locke Lamora. Now Lynch brings back his outrageous hero for a caper so death-defying, nothing short of a miracle will pull it off.

From Recorded Books’ SCI-FI AUDIO imprint (First quarter 2009 new releases on CD)…

Rollback
By Robert J. Sawyer; Read by George K.Wilson
9 CDs – 10 Hours 45 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Recorded Books / Sci-Fi Audio
Published: 2009
ISBN: 9781436186506
Dr. Sarah Halifax earned worldwide fame for deciphering the first alien message received on Earth. Now nearing the end of her days, she learns that, at long last, the reply has come.

Shaman’s Crossing (Book One of The Soldier Son Trilogy)
By Robin Hobb; Read by
16 CDs – 18.5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Recorded Books / Sci-Fi Audio
Published: 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4361-7968-3
Nevare Burvelle was born to be a
soldier in the Gernian army. But as Nevare’s career takes off, his worldview alters considerably. Corruption and nepotism reign, and now Nevare questions his own ideals, wondering why he continues fighting for the empire.

Fifty Degrees Below
By Kim Stanley Robinson; Read by Richard Ferrone
15 CDs – 18 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Recorded Books / Sci-Fi Audio
Published: 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4361-8634-6
When the Gulf Stream stalls, dangerously low temperatures grip the Eastern Seaboard and Western Europe. While multinational corporations attempt to exploit the disaster, humankind’s only hope may be a desperate move to dump millions of tons of salt into the ocean.

Mean Streets
By various; Read by various
9 CDs – 9.5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Recorded Books / Sci-Fi Audio
Published: 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4361-9217-0
Featuring New York Times best-selling authors Jim Butcher and Simon R. Green, and national best-selling authors Kat Richardson and Thomas E. Sniegoski, Mean Streets offers four novellas from the hottest names in contemporary paranormal suspense. Running the gamut from demons and werewolves to zombies and black magic, these whodunits crackle with otherworldly secrets, making for a noir collection with an extra set of fangs.

Fool’s Experiment
By Edward M. Lerner; Read by George K.Wilson
10 CDs – 11.5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Recorded Books / Sci-Fi Audio
Published: 2009
ISBN: 9781436164849
As a NASA engineer, critically acclaimed author Edward M. Lerner developed a background in science and technology perfectly suited to his fast-paced SF thrillers. In Fools’ Experiments, the military-industrial complex unwittingly unleashes a devastating threat to humanity after government programmers experiment with viruses and worms. But what escapes is no ordinary computer virus, and when the deadly artificial life-form reaches the Internet, humanity’s very existence is at stake.

From Recorded Books’ SCI-FI AUDIO imprint (Second quarter 2009 new releases on CD)…

Forest Mage (Book Two of the Soldier Son Trilogy)
By Robin Hobb; Read by John Keating
22 CDs – 19 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Recorded Books / Sci-Fi Audio
Published: 2009
ISBN: 9781436179706
Nevare Burvelle has survived major combat and is making a quick recovery from a disease plaguing his fellows in the King’s army. He also believes he is free from the Speck magic that held him under its sway. Now traveling home to rendezvous with his fiancée, Nevare suffers haunting visions and soon realizes that malicious magic still resides within him—and is intent on destroying everything he holds dear.

Brightness Reef
By David Brin; Read by George K.Wilson
20 CDs – 17 hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Recorded Books / Sci-Fi Audio
Published: 2009
ISBN: 9781436179744
Persecuted refugees from six separate alien races have migrated to the idyllic planet Jijo. And despite their incredible diversity, the inhabitants live together in blissful harmony. However, settlement on Jijo is illegal—and it’s only a matter of time before the residents of this forbidden paradise are discovered by the galactic powers-that-be.

Iron Sunrise
By Charles Stross; Read by George Guidall
11 CDs – 13 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Recorded Books / Sci-Fi Audio
Published: 2009
ISBN: 9781440710575
PlanetMoscow is vaporized by an unnatural star explosion, prompting those who escaped to counterattack the likely culprit—planet New Dresden of the neighboring system.
But New Dresden wasn’t to blame, and as worlds go to war, an unseen enemy labors to destroy the universe itself.

Counting Heads
By David Marusek; Read by Kevin R. Free
13 CDs – 14 Hours 45 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Recorded Books / Sci-Fi Audio
Published: 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4361-8640-7
The debut novel from highly regarded short-story author David Marusek, Counting Heads pushes the limits of the genre. Life in the year 2134 is nearly perfect, with nanotechnology and medical science granting people near immortality. But when Sam Harger is flagged as a terrorist, his powerful wife dies in a plane crash, and his daughter’s cryogenically frozen head becomes a sought-after prize, Sam must fight to save the human race from a secret cabal.

The Fabulous Riverboat (Riverworld Saga, Book 2)
By Philip José Farmer; Read by
10 CDs – 12 hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Recorded Books / Sci-Fi Audio
Published: 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4361-8636-0
The Fabulous Riverboat tells of a world where all of humanity has been mysteriously resurrected on the banks of one mighty river. Samuel Clemens (a.k.a.MarkTwain) is tasked with finding a fallen meteorite and using its ore to build a massive riverboat. But in order to succeed, he’ll have to outwit some of history’s most nefarious villains.

Into Looking Glass
By John Ringo; Read by L.J. Ganser
10 CDs – 12 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Recorded Books / Sci-Fi Audio
Published: 2009
ISBN: 9781440710612
When a subatomic physics experiment causes a massive explosion, interdimensional gateways open in Florida—and aliens pour out. Some intend to bring Earth to its knees. Others seem willing to help, but will annihilate the planet if Navy SEAL Command Master Chief Robert Miller can’t stop the menace from spreading.

And from Recorded Books’ new “Mystery” imprint…

The Somnambulist
By Jonathan Barnes; Read by John Curless
9 CDs – 11 hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Recorded Books Mystery
Published: 2009
ISBN: 978143618066-5
Set amidst Victorian London’s seamy, fog-shrouded underworld. Meet Edward Moon, an illusionist and detective who operates solely with the aid of his hulking, mute sidekick.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of The Dreaming Void by Peter F. Hamilton

August 9, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Science Fiction Audiobook - The Dreaming Void by Peter F. HamiltonThe Dreaming Void
By Peter F. Hamilton; Read by Toby Longworth
20 CDs – 23 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Audio UK
Published: February 2008
ISBN: 9780230709829
Themes: / Science Fiction / Aliens / Artifact / Nanotechnology / Politics / Singularity / Space Travel /
AD 3580. The Intersolar Commonwealth has spread through the galaxy to over a thousand star systems. It is a culture of rich diversity with a place for everyone. Even death itself has been overcome. But at the centre of the Commonwealth is a massive black hole. This Void is not a natural artefact. Inside there is a strange universe where the laws of physics are very different to those we know. It is slowly consuming the other stars of the galactic core – one day it will devour the entire galaxy. Inigo, a human, has started to dream of a wonderful existence in the Void. He has a following of millions of believers and they now clamour to make a pilgrimage into the Void to live the life they have been shown. Other starfaring species fear their migration will cause the Void to expand again. They are prepared to stop them no matter what the cost. And so the pilgrimage begins…

The Dreaming Void is a very big book and it’s an even bigger audiobook. Peter F. Hamilton’s story is one of the better recent SF stories that I’ve experienced in any form, full of fascinating settings, situations, and ideas. It has many fully realized subplots and varied characters, too many. What could have been at least two brilliant stories, one of the commonwealth dealing with the potentially disastrous consequences of an attempted pilgrimage into the Void, and one of the much more low-key story of Inigo’s dreams, is instead merely a long opening to a longer trilogy.

The main plot(s) of the story are wonderful. It is science fiction as it should be. It takes the imagination to new vistas, mixing newer ideas (the Void, gaiafield, etc) with core traditions of SF (space travel, aliens, etc). Indeed, the basic story is nearly perfect but with all the stretching, it greatly overstays its welcome. Somewhere around the twelve hour mark, listening to The Dreaming Void became a chore. If I had not already committed so much time to the story, I would have quit then.

Final analysis: The Dreaming Void is just too big a novel, filled with many unnecessary subplots and distractions. It is far too easy loose track of the multitude of characters inhabiting this enormous beginning to the “Void Trilogy.” Yet, it is far from a hopeless audiobook. Throughout the epic story, the skill of both author and the reader are quite apparent and each part of the story is interesting. I am still of very mixed opinions about the story. I will look for more stories written by Peter F. Hamilton and more read by Toby Longworth, but only if they are about half this length or shorter. However, the audiobook might well be worth the effort for someone who has a lot of free time and is willing to take notes.

Posted by David Tackett

U.K. Audio Drama Podcast: Estalvin’s Legacy

December 1, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

SFFaudio Online Audio

SFFaudio Challenge entrant Paul Campbell (he’s working on Rebels Of The Red Planet) has been podcasting his Science Fiction audio drama series Estalvin’s Legacy since early this summer. This promising series features “Mystery, Adventure, Romance, Disaster and War across Alternate Realities” – all that and a cast of a dozen U.K voice actors! There are three episodes out so far. I’ve listened to the first, it drops you straight into the middle of a cast of complex characters with a backstory that begins to be revealed – very promising! And Estalvin’s Legacy has possibly the best tagline for an audio drama series I’ve ever heard:

“The universe exists – for now.”

Have a listen to the slick promo |MP3| and then check out the series itself…

Estalvin’s Legacy - A Science Fiction Podcast Audio DramaEstalvin’s Legacy
By Paul W. Campbell; Performed by a full cast
Podcast – [AUDIO DRAMA]
Podcaster: Cossmass Productions
Podcast: Started June 2007
Ranging across the many parallel, and not so parallel, alternate realities of the Cossmass. Things aren’t right in the greater reality know as the Cossmass. It encompasses thousands upon thousands of alternate realities. The stability of the Cossmass has been weakening. The collapse of an entire reality stream is no longer a mere theory. The Kalsorin have an uneasy truce with the La’Shareti. Both have influence across several Reality Clusters. But the Kalsorin are keeping a secret from the La’Shareti that would bring a war that they could not win. In a remote Cluster: Nicolas is older than he looks, and his memory is fading fast. Sarah and Peter have only known each other a short time when Liam appears. Liam has travelled the Cossmass for many years, always keeping out of sight of the Kalsorin. Until now.

Subscribe to the podcast via this feed:

http://cossmass.co.uk/series/estalvinslegacy/feed

Posted by Jesse Willis

Lecture: Joe Haldeman on "The Craft of Science Fiction"

June 6, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Uncategorized 

SFFaudio Online Audio

iTunes U iTunes U, is a new section in the iTunes store offering the content of higher education institutions. Lectures and seminars dominate, some video, some audio. A few of the cooler ones that have caught our eyes are up already. The last set is a collection from Seattle Pacific University (a “Christian university of the liberal arts, sciences and professions”) as such these are lectures that look at their subject decidedly Christian POV. For those of you who don’t use iTunes we’ve also tracked down the original sources when we could find them. Either way, listen online or pop into the iTunes store and get U some education!
Massachusetts Institute of Technology “The Craft of Science Fiction”
By Joe Haldeman
iTunes U download or 1 RealAudio file – 1 Hour 47 Minutes – [LECTURE]
University: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Released: Nov. 2006
A lecture by MIT professor (and Science Fiction legend) Joe Haldeman.
Arizona State University “Nano-Ethics through the writing of Science Fiction”
By Rosalyn W. Berne PhD.
iTunes U download or 1 MP3 – 54 Minutes – [LECTURE]
University: Arizona State University
Released: May 2007
Berne is Associate Professor at the University of Virginia.
Seattle Pacific University 4 Tolkien Lectures
By John G. West, Janet Blumberg, Peter Kreeft & Joseph Pearce
iTunes U downloads & 1 Mp3 – Approx. 3 Hours 16 Minutes [LECTURES]
University: Seattle Pacific University
Released: 2001
Lectures included:
Tolkien 1 of 4: “The Lord Of The Rings as a Defense of Western Civilization” by John G. West
Tolkien 2 of 4: “Literary Background of The Lord Of The Rings” by Janet Blumberg
Tolkien 3 of 4: “Wartime Wisdom: Ten Uncommon Insights from The Lord Of The Rings about Evil” by Peter Kreeft |MP3|
Tolkien 4 of 4: “Tolkein, Man and Myth”* by Joseph Pearce

* Please note, Tolkien’s name is spelled wrong in the 4th lecture’s title, be sure to enter the title as it appear above in the iTunes search.

Review of The Precipice by Ben Bova

May 6, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

Science Fiction Audiobooks - The Precipice by Ben BovaThe Precipice
By Ben Bova; Read by Scott Brick, Amanda Karr, and Cast
10 CD’s – 12 hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Audio Renaissance
Published: 2005
ISBN: 1593974906
Themes: / Science Fiction / Asteroids / Environment / Nanotechnology / Space Travel / Moon / Corporations /

The Precipice is first book in Ben Bova’s Asteroid War series, which itself is part of the larger group of novels called The Grand Tour. All of the Grand Tour novels appear on audio, the earliest ones abridged, and the later ones unabridged. Of all the Bova novels I’ve heard on audio (Mars, Return to Mars, and Venus), this is the best, possibly because it’s the first unabridged one I’ve heard, more likely because the novel was fine, traditional science fiction peopled with complex characters. The plot was interesting, and the details more so. I really enjoyed this book.

The driving force of the novel is the adversarial relationship between Dan Randolph and Martin Humphries, who are both extremely successful corporate CEO’s. The world is in environmental disarray because the “Greenhouse Cliff” has been reached – the point at which environmental change becomes rapid and unstoppable. The reaction to this by Randolph is to find a way to help. Humphries’ reaction is to find profit opportunities. They both look toward the asteroid belt, whose mineral wealth Randolph sees as mankind’s savior, and Humphries sees as a giant dollar sign. They both struggle for the upper hand as they prepare mankind’s first trip to the asteroid belt.

The novel has another character well worth mentioning. Her name is Pancho Lane, and the first time we meet her in the novel, she is on a space station conning five fellow workers out of a month’s salary. She’s a smart-mouthed, independent, strong female astronaut that plays a huge role in the plot, and is one of those characters that you miss when a novel is done.

The cover of the audiobook lists the readers as “Scott Brick, Amanda Karr, and cast”. Brick and Karr are very strong readers, and have the largest parts in the book. Amanda Karr read the portions of the novel from Pancho Lane’s point of view, and gave the character just the right amount of attitude.

The other readers also performed well. I recall in an earlier post on this site, I mentioned that I wasn’t too fond of multiple-reader audiobooks, and that I preferred single narrators. I did mention Ender’s Game as an exception, which was produced by Stefan Rudnicki, as this one was. Since then, I’ve heard enough of these multiple-reader audiobooks (all produced by Rudnicki) to realize that if an audiobook is edited properly and you have capable performers all around, then the multiple-narrator technique employed here is preferable to single-narrator audiobooks for the simple fact that I immediately know whose POV the story is coming from at any time, which makes listening a more immersive experience. The voices drew me in faster as I picked up the book after putting it down between listens, as if the characters themselves were doing the reading.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Review of Ringworld’s Children by Larry Niven

October 21, 2004 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Ringworld's Children by Larry NivenRingworld’s Children
By Larry Niven; Read by Barrett Whitener
8 CDs – Approx. 9.5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: 2004
ISBN: 0786185384
Themes: / Science Fiction / Hard SF / Physics / Genetics / Aliens / Nanotechnology / Evolution /

The Ringworld is a landmark engineering achievement, a flat band three million times the surface of the Earth, encircling a distant star. Home to trillions of inhabitants, not all of whom are human, and host to amazing technological wonders, the Ringworld is unique in all of the universe.

The blurb above is a bit of a lie, no longer is Ringworld unique. There is Rama, Arthur C. Clarke’s giant tube shaped alien habitat, Bob Shaw’s Orbitsville, a huge Dyson’s Sphere built by mysterious aliens and the hungry alien construct called Gaea of John Varley’s Titan. Indeed, there have also been three other books in the Ringworld series – admittedly all of them are set on the same Ringworld. But the first Ringworld novel, published in 1970, was the first of this new kind of SF novel; the novel of the big big thoughts, or as David Gerrold calls it, “the enormous big thing”. An idea, a ‘what if’ so massive and so imaginative, so rife with unforeseen consequences that the characters must investigate it just as we do. Kind of like science fiction for science fiction characters! Ringworld was such a big idea in fact, that the three sequel novels were published in an effort to examine the impossible gigantitude of the consequences of its existence. In this the fourth, and perhaps final installment of the Ringworld series, we see more of the problems of existence of such a structure fixed, visit with old characters (Louis Wu, Acolyte, The Hindmost and Tunesmith being major players) and meet some new ones too. There are some genuine surprises here, and some edge of your seat excitement, but as with the previous two sequels the biggest surprise is still the same one from the first novel – and that of course is, just how massively huge the Ringworld is! Its size still staggers the imagination… a narrow ring, only 0.997×106 miles wide, with two perimeter walls climbing 1000 miles high, to hold in the air, the ring itself is 93 million miles in radius, a single spinning world shaped like a ribbon around a star – with a habitable area of over 3 million Earths. What couldn’t happen in a place that big?

Author Larry Niven cemented himself as the standard barer of Hard Science Fiction, with the publication of Ringworld. If he had done nothing else, he’d still be thought of as a prodigious figure in the field. But he’s not rested upon his laurels; he’s expanded, refined and continued the Ringworld adventure. In a way, that was a mistake. You can’t top an idea this big by telling more adventures about the same world. On the other hand, I personally wouldn’t have had it any other way. I enjoyed nearly every minute of the nine and a half hours of listening in Ringworld’s Children. In fact, I would have been happy with another nine hours! There were a few parts that were dry, sure, but they didn’t last very long and they moved the plot along. I do wish Niven had spent some more time exploring the inhabitants of his creation; we meet only a few new hominid species, and unlike in previous installments, we don’t get a full sense of their ecological niches. But given that much of the action takes place in space around the Ringworld perhaps it couldn’t be helped. Much of this action is necessary though as many threads from the previous two sequels needed tying up, especially if this is indeed the final chapter in the Ringworld series.

Barrett Whitener, who seems to be recording nearly every Blackstone science fiction title coming out these days, was actually not a great choice as reader for Ringworld’s Children. It’s not that his reading is poor – it wasn’t. In fact, I like the way Whitener read it, I just think that his tone was all wrong for this particular novel. His various alien voices didn’t sound at all alien. Mark Sherman, who did such a terrific job with the alien voices in Larry Niven’s Protector (also recorded for Blackstone Audio) would have been a much better choice to give voice to Ringworld’s Children and its many alien characters. That said, I still enjoyed the heck out of the audiobook, and I can’t fault Whitener’s performance in the least. When the numbers and the physics are coming fast and furious it’s nice to be given the words by a good reader who can handle the text. Ringworld’s Children, all in all, is truly a worthy addition to the Ringworld novels. Long live Larry Niven!

Posted by Jesse Willis

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