Silly Asses by Isaac Asimov

August 22, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Silly Asses by Isaac Asimov

Maissa Bessada narrates for us Silly Asses a one page (400 word) satirical short story by Isaac Asimov.

|MP3|

Also available is a |PDF| made from a scan of the original publication in Future Science Fiction, February 1958.

And here is the complete text:

Silly Asses by Isaac Asimov

Naron of the long-lived Rigellian race was the fourth of his line to keep the galactic records.

He had a large book which contained the list of the numerous races throughout the galaxies that had developed intelligence, and the much smaller book that listed those races that had reached maturity and had qualified for the Galactic Federation. In the first book, a number of those listed were crossed out; those that, for one reason or another, had failed. Misfortune, biochemical or biophysical shortcomings, social maladjustment took their toll. In the smaller book, however, no member listed had yet blanked out.

And now Naron, large and incredibly ancient, looked up as a messenger approached.

“Naron,” said the messenger. “Great One!”

“Well, well, what is it? Less ceremony.”

“Another group of organisms has attained maturity.”

“Excellent. Excellent. They are coming up quickly now. Scarcely a year passes without a new one. And who are these?”

The messenger gave the code number of the galaxy and the coordinates of the world within it.

“Ah, yes,” said Naron. “I know the world.” And in flowing script he noted it in the first book and transferred its name into the second, using, as was customary, the name by which the planet was known to the largest fraction of its populace. He wrote: Earth.

He said, “These new creatures have set a record. No other group has passed from intelligence to maturity so quickly. No mistake, I hope.”

“None, sir,” said the messenger.

“They have attained to thermonuclear power, have they?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Well, thats the criterion.” Naron chuckled. “And soon their ships will probe out and contact the Federation.”

“Actually, Great One,” said the messenger, reluctantly, “the Observers tell us they have not yet penetrated space.”

Naron was astonished. “Not at all? Not even a space station?”

“Not yet, sir.”

“But if they have thermonuclear power, where do they conduct the tests and detonations?”

“On their own planet, sir.”

Naron rose to his full twenty feet of height and thundered, “On their own planet?”

“Yes, sir.”

Slowly Naron drew out his stylus and passed a line through the latest addition in the small book. It was an unprecedented act, but, then, Naron was very wise and could see the inevitable as well as anyone in the galaxy.

“Silly asses,” he muttered.

Asimov wrote Silly Asses on July 29, 1957. To put that in context, just ten days earlier (July 19, 1957), as a part of Operation Plumbbob the USAF filmed five Air Force officers standing directly under an atmospheric nuclear detonation. The idea was to demonstrate the safe usage of nuclear weapons over civilian populations.

Silly asses.

Posted by Jesse Willis

There Will Come Soft Rains by Ray Bradbury

June 6, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Set in either 2026 or 1985, this story – the tale of a lonely house in California is the first that sprung to mind after I heard about Ray Bradbury’s death this morning.

Part of The Martian Chronicles, but first published in the May 6th, 1950 issue of Collier’s Weekly, the entire text of Ray Badbury’s classic There Will Come Soft Rains is viewable at UNZ.org:

Colliers, May 6th 1950 - There Will Come Soft Rains by Ray Bradbury

Here’s a printable |PDF|.

Audiobooks:

Lively Arts - Burgess Meredith Reads Ray BradburyThere Will Come Soft Rains
By Ray Bradbury; Read by Burgess Meredith
1 |MP3| – Approx. 18 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Lively Arts
Published: 1962
Product #: LA 30004


CAEDMON There Will Come Soft Rains and Usher II by Ray BradburyThere Will Come Soft Rains
By Ray Bradbury; Read by Leonard Nimoy
1 |MP3| – Approx. 15 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Caedmon
Published: 1975




Radio dramatizations:

Dimension XDimension X – There Will Come Soft Rains
Adapted by George Lefferts; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 29 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: NBC
Broadcast: June 17, 1950


X-Minus OneX-Minus One – There Will Come Soft Rains (and Zero Hour)
Adapted by George Lefferts; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: NBC
Broadcast: December 5, 1956

There’s only a snippet from the beginning of this one…

BBC Radio 4There Will Come Soft Rains
Adapted by Malcolm Clarke
1 |MP3| – Approx. 2 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: BBC Radio 4
Broadcast: May 11, 1977

Wally Wood’s depiction of the house from the comic adaptation in Weird Fantasy #17:

Weird Fantasy #17 - There Will Come Soft Rains - adapted by Wally Wood
There Will Come Soft Rains...

Video adaptations:


There will fall soft rains by DublinBen

There Will Come Soft Rains from Peter Cotter on Vimeo.

Fallout 3 homage:

The original poem:
And finally, part of the inspiration for the story, here is the Sarah Teasdale poem as read by Ruth Golding for LibriVox: |MP3|

Posted by Jesse Willis

New Releases – Wonder Audio, Leiber and Weinbaum

January 22, 2009 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: New Releases 

SFFaudio Recent Arrivals

Did you know you can get either of these titles, as well as any other Wonder Audio title for free?  Just sign up at Audible.com/WonderAudio

The Night of the Long KnivesThe Night of the Long Knives
By Fritz Leiber; Read by Mark Douglas Nelson
3hr,  37 min.- [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Wonder Audio
Published: 2009

Available at Audible & iTunes

A Deathlander’s life is a rough one. Atomic radiation, murder and sex preoccupies the sparse inhabitants of what used to be a great portion of America’s West. Kill or be killed is the law of this sickened land. Multicolored radioactive dusts floats in the atmosphere of this nuclear desert.

When Ray Baker meets a woman on his sojourn, he doesn’t know if he wants to kill her or sleep with her. Ray doesn’t understand his urge to murder. But he feels it like all the other Deathlanders. Just as he knows the girl feels it. Laying down their arsenal of weapons will leave them both vulnerable. The cost of a moment of intimacy may lead to the last moments of their lives. And what to do when the act is over, and both their minds turn back to murder.

Parasite Planet: The Ham & Pat StoriesParasite Planet: The Ham & Pat Stories
By Stanley G. Weinbaum; Read by Mark Douglas Nelson
3hr, 47 min.- [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Wonder Audio
Published: 2009

Available at Audible & iTunes

The short and meteoric career of Stanley G. Weinbaum produced many instantly hailed classics. None had the breadth of wonder, and adventure with philosophic insight as the trilogy of stories that feature Ham Hammond and Patricia Burlingame.

Parasite Planet begins with Ham Hammond trekking across the surface of Venus. The environment is parasitic, filled with bizarre alien life forms like the lasso throwing Jack Ketch Trees and the doughpots, a mindless omnivorous ball of animate cells that devour all living things in their path. When Ham meets the contentious Patricia Burlingame, they have to march across Venus to safety. It’s not clear what is going to kill them first, Venus’s hostile environment or each other.

In The Lotus Eaters, Ham and Pat are on a special scientific expedition to the dark-side of Venus. They discover a strange warm-blooded plant. The most disconcerting thing about the plant is when it begins speaking English and waxing philosophically.

The Planet of Doubt brings the duo to Uranus on another special scientific expedition. The cloudy shrouded terrain strikes terror into the heart of Ham as tries to find the lost Pat who he hopes is still be alive!

Posted by The Time Traveler of the Time Traveler Show

BBC Radio 4: On The Beach by Nevil Shute dramatized

October 28, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

BBC Radio 4Roy of the U.K. writes in to say there’s a “Classic Serial” on BBC Radio 4 that is worthy of our attention. It’s a BBC dramatisation of this recently mentioned Nevil Shute novel: On The Beach

A 1957 novel set in the then future 1963. A nuclear conflict has devastated the northern hemisphere, polluting the atmosphere with radioactive fallout and killing all animal life. While the nuclear bombs were confined to the northern hemisphere, global air currents are slowly carrying the fallout to the southern hemisphere. The only part of the planet still habitable is the far south of the globe, specifically Australia and New Zealand, South Africa, and the southern parts of South America, although all of these areas are slowly succumbing to radiation poisoning as the fallout continues to circulate southwards!

BBC Radio 4 Radio Drama - On The Beach based on the novel by Nevil ShuteOn The Beach
Based on the novel by Nevil Shute; performed by a full cast
2 Parts – Approx. 2 Hours [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: BBC Radio 4 / Classic Serial
Broadcast: Sunday Nov. 2nd 2008 & Sunday Nov. 9th 2008 @ 15:00-16:00

These will each be repeated once at 21:00-22:00 on the following Saturdays.

And, Roy tells us to stick around for the “Bookclub programme” that immediately follows the first broadcast of Part 1 as it features Fay Weldon discussing her 1989 novel The Cloning Of Joanna May. That’s later repeated the following Thursday at 16:00 (30 minutes).

Thanks Roy!

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #008

October 20, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #008 – here there be podcasts – we’ve adorned ourselves in too much gold, now we can’t move! So join us on our 8th show, where we’re always etymologically correct.

Scott: Oh ya right. I just forgot something man. Uh, before we dock, I think we ought to discuss the bonus situation.

Jesse: Right.

Scott: We think… we think we deserve full shares.

Jesse: Right.

Scott: Pass the cornbread.

Topics discussed include:
42Blips.com, METAtropolis, Jay Lake, John Scalzi, Elizabeth Bear, Tobias Buckell, Karl Schroeder, Mr. Spaceship, Philip K. Dick, Stefan Rudnicki, Wonder Audio, Anne McCaffrey, The Ship Who Sang, Michael Hogan, Battlestar Galactica, 18th Century Spain, Cascadia (Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and sometimes Idaho), Detroit, “Turking”, The Turk (the chess playing automaton), alternative economy, Kandyse McClure, infodump, shared world, Brandon Sanderson, hard fantasy, Elantris, Larry Niven, The Magic Goes Away, manna, unicorns, dragons, Dungeons & Dragons, Mistborn, Robert Jordan, The Wheel Of Time, Writing Excuses Podcast, Howard Tayler, SchlockMercenary.com, Dan Wells, The Dark Knight, Aural Noir, The New Adventures Of Mike Hammer, Stacy Keach, Mike Hammer, Full Cast Audio, Red Planet, Robert A. Heinlein, Bruce Coville, Mars, Heinlein’s Future History sequence, the Red Planet TV miniseries, Princess Academy, Shannon Hale, Blackstone Audio, The Collected Stories Of Philip K. Dick Volume 1, and Volume 2, Inferno by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, David Farland, Runelords, Collected Public Domain Works Of H.P. Lovecraft, LibriVox.org, October, Ray Bradbury, “Autumn ennui”, AUTHOR PAGES, LEIGH BRACKETT, FREDERIC BROWN, JAMES PATRICK KELLY, BBC7, RadioArchive.cc, Beam Me Up Podcast, MACK REYNOLDS, Robert Sheckley, Religulous, Constantine’s Sword, The Ultimate Encyclopedia Of Science Fiction: The Definitive illustrated Guide edited by David Pringle, space opera, planetary romance, Julie D., Forgotten Classics podcast, The Wonder Stick, time travel, alien intrusions, metal powers, Slan, The Demolished Man, comedic SF, aliens, artificial intelligence, “cosmic collisions”, Deep Impact, cyborgs, dinosaurs, the dying Earth, Gene Wolfe, elixir of life, immortality, Roger Zelazny, Robert Silverberg, genetic engineering, nuclear war, overpopulation, parallel worlds, robots, androids, Joanna Russ, Ben Bova, space travel, suspended animation, teleportation, transcendence = the Singularity ?, Childhood’s End, Arthur C. Clarke, religion, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Monica Hughes, Crisis On Conshelf Ten, Hard SF, cyberpunk, psychology, New Wave, lost races, military SF, science fantasy, shared worlds, steampunk.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Dr. Bloodmoney by Philip K. Dick

August 24, 2008 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

dr_bloodmoney150.jpgDr. Bloodmoney, or How We Got Along After the Bomb
By Philip K. Dick; Read by Tom Weiner
7 CD – 8.5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: 2008
ISBN: 9781433245503
Themes: / Science Fiction / Telepathy / Post Apocalypse / Nuclear War / Satellites / Psychokinesis / California /

Philip Dick’s post-nuclear-holocaust masterpiece presents a mesmerizing vision of a world transformed, where technology has reverted back to the nineteenth century, animals have developed speech and language, and humans must deal with both physical mutations and the psychological repercussions of the disaster they have caused. The book is filled with a host of Dick’s most memorable characters: Hoppy Harrington, a deformed mutant with telekinetic powers; Walt Dangerfield, a selfless disc jockey stranded in a satellite circling the globe; Dr. Bluthgeld, the megalomaniac physicist largely responsible for the decimated state of the world; and Stuart McConchie and Bonnie Keller, two unremarkable people bent the survival of goodness in a world devastated by evil. Epic and alluring, Dr. Bloodmoney brilliantly depicts Dick’s undying hope in humanity.

The subtitle, of Dr. Bloodmoney is or How We Got Along After the Bomb, the idea for it came from the original publisher (ACE Books) who wanted to capitalize on the subtitle of the movie Dr. Strangelove. I can almost see it too. For me, this wasn’t Philip K. dick’s best novel. But, if you liked his best novel, you’ll like this one. I did. The thing is, no matter which one of Dick’s novels is your favourite, Doctor Bloodmoney will remind you of it – if only for the author’s voice. Dick, more than with any other emotion, writes with sympathy. You feel for his characters, their petty goals, their yearnings, their little prejudices. The plot on this one is almost unimportant, it’s also hard to sum up in a sentence, but I’ll try: A radio repairman with no limbs (due to phocomelia) has superpowers, which he uses to predict/cause WWIII, then becomes ultra-powerful as a big fish in a small pond.

The rule about writing what you know is more difficult in Science Fiction. Nobody’s been to Mars yet. Nobody has met an alien. But you can clearly see what Dick knows showing up on the pages of his SF novels. When he wrote Dr. Bloodmoney he was really into Jungian and Freudian analysis, he was reading Of Human Bondage and was probably an avid mushroom picker. The plot doesn’t really matter as this is a situation with a set of Dickian characters. What stands out, what will remain in my memory are the scenes, characters interacting with each other and themselves. Thinking their thoughts, acting their acts. When we meet the title character, Bruno Bluthgeld, for the second time later in the book, (he’s not the star), he’s showing off his talking sheep dog to a little girl. She asks to hear the dog speak. It does, and the tears came to my eyes. When Stuart McConchie goes into San Fransisco he parks his horse only to come back and find it eaten by the city’s underclass. It really is all there: The salesmen, the repairmen, the cheating wives, the murderous children and the sympathetic animals. Everything we expect from a Dick tale.

Blackstone Audio narrator Tom Weiner is fast becoming a new favourite. His natural timbre is basso but he can do a lot with it. Performance is the key, everybody gets a voice of their own. In this novel that’s especially necessary as there are more than a dozen characters sharing the plot and dialogue. Blackstone has more Dick headed to audiobook too. The Man In The High Castle has already been released. Ubik is winging it’s way to us right now and Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said, Valis, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch should be released over the next few months. We are living in very Dickian times my friends.

Posted by Jesse Willis