LibriVox: The Frozen Pirate by W. Clark Russell

April 28, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
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LibriVoxDo you like old books about pirates? What about books about old frozen pirates?

If the answer to those questions is “Yes.” Then we’ve got a great audiobook for you. Here are a couple of reviews, circa 1888, of The Frozen Pirate by W. Clark Russell:

“The most enthralling romance which Mr Clark Russell has written since The Wreck of the Grosvenor There has been no finer story of Antarctic adventure at once so thrilling so strange and so realistic In vivid beauty and effect there are passages transcending anything in The Wreck of the Grosvenor or in The Golden Hope and than this no higher praise could be given It did not need The Frozen Pirate to place Mr Russell indisputably foremost among all living writers of sea life but if there were any lingering doubt this romance would settle the uncertainty.” – Academy


“Mr Clark Russell has spun many a good yarn for the delight of landsmen and The Frozen Pirate will rank among the best of them. Vigorous, breezy and healthily exciting the story will be read with keen enjoyment by every one who takes it up.” – Scotsman

Amongst its more ardent fans are:

Dr. John Watson of 221B Baker Street, who can be found reading an 1887 (or earlier) novel by W. Clark Russell in The Five Orange Pips: “Sherlock Holmes sat moodily at one side of the fireplace cross-indexing his records of crime, while I at the other was deep in one of Clark Russell’s fine sea-stories until the howl of the gale from without seemed to blend with the text, and the splash of the rain to lengthen out into the long swash of the sea waves.”

H.P. Lovecraft. His biographer, S.T. Joshi, wrote: “Lovecraft had been fascinated with the Antarctic continent since he was at least 12 years old, when he had written several small treatises on early Antarctic explorers. At about the age of 9, inspired by W. Clark Russell’s 1887 book The Frozen Pirate, Lovecraft had written ‘several yarns’ set in Antarctica.”

And here’s a snippet from a 2002 review by Georges T. Dodds:

“The scenes on the pirate ship are quite gripping and the tension developed when the thawed pirate begins drifting into madness is also very well done. The horror elements are well handled without being over the top, the atmosphere Russell develops in his description of the frozen pirate ship does much more to ‘creep one out’ than any mere description of the dead bodies would have”

Yep, it has all that and a frozen pirate, quickly defrosted, too!

LIBRIVOX - The Frozen Pirate by W. Clark RussellThe Frozen Pirate
By W. Clark Russell; Read by various
32 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 11 Hours 39 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: April 26, 2010
Sailing adventure with storms, icebergs, shipwrecks, treasure, and the reawakening of a pirate frozen in suspended animation for nearly fifty years. First published as a serial in 1887 in “Belgravia, an illustrated London magazine.”

Podcast feed:

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

[thanks also to Nadine Eckert-Boulet, Jessi and Barry Eads]

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

January 15, 2010 by · 1 Comment
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LibriVoxStrange Maps is a fun blog (and now a book) by Frank Jacobs. Here is a smidgen of the proprietor’s post on Treasure Island:

“…was there a real-life model for the generically named Treasure Island – and if so, where was it? It seems to have been a chance invention by Lloyd Osbourne, RLS’s stepson, while holidaying with the family in a Scottish Highland cottage. As Osbourne later recalled:

‘… busy with a box of paints I happened to be tinting a map of an island I had drawn. Stevenson came in as I was finishing it, and with his affectionate interest in everything I was doing, leaned over my shoulder, and was soon elaborating the map and naming it. I shall never forget the thrill of Skeleton Island, Spyglass Hill, nor the heart-stirring climax of the three red crosses! And the greater climax still when he wrote down the words Treasure Island at the top right-hand corner! And he seemed to know so much about it too – the pirates, the buried treasure, the man who had been marooned on the island … . ‘Oh, for a story about it’, I exclaimed, in a heaven of enchantment …’

And that is how Stevenson got started writing Treasure Island – as a back story to the map originally drawn by his stepson.”

Cool hey?

There’s more to the story, and I encourage you to have a read of the original post |HERE|. After that you should be sufficiently primed to download the public domain audiobook version from…

LibriVox - Treasure Island by Robert Louis StevensonTreasure Island
By Robert Louis Stevenson; Read by Adrian Praetzellis
17 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 7 Hours 33 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: December 14, 2007
A mysterious map, pirates, and pieces of eight! When young Jim Hawkins finds a map to pirates’ gold he starts on an adventure that takes him from his English village to a desert island with the murderous Black Dog, half-mad Ben Gunn, and (of course) Long John Silver. Arr Jim lad! R.L. Stevenson (1850-1894) was born in Scotland and travelled extensively in California and the south Pacific.

Podcast feed:

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

A map of Treasure Island:

Treasure Island Map

And the 1934 film version:

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox: The Pirates Own Book by Charles Ellms

November 19, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
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LibriVoxThe Pirates Own Book is a new LibriVox audiobook (originally published in 1837) that I’m not hesitant to recommend despite it being read by multiple narrators. It’s a non-fiction collection of short biographies of REAL LIFE pirates! I haven’t heard all of the different sections yet, but I do recommend you try it out.

Incidentally, one LibriVox narrator who I’m growing fond of is Barry Eads. Eads has a clean mic setup and he enunciates very well. Here is his section (#2) on the subject of “The Danish and Norman Pirates” |MP3|. And here’s the rest…

LibriVox - The Pirates Own Book by Charles EllmsThe Pirates Own Book
By Charles Ellms; Read by various
30 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 13 Hours 21 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: October 22, 2009
Authentic Narratives of the Most Celebrated Sea Robbers.

Podcast feed:

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

[with a special piratical salute to Kikisaulite]

Posted by Jesse Willis

Edgar Allan Poe all over BBC7 this week

January 16, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
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BBC Radio 7 - BBC7 It’s a busy week over on BBC7 with FIVE whole Poe programs playing! All this is in celebration of Poe’s 200th birthday. If Poe were alive today he’d be a rich man, not because any of his writings are still in copyright, but rather because he’d be able to rake in dough just by doing dramatic readings of his own work. But, since he isn’t still alive [as far as YOU know] we’ll just make do with these…

The Strange Case of Edgar Allan Poe
In this imaginative and mysterious drama by Christopher Cook, one of Poe’s own early creations, the detective C. Auguste Dupin investigates the bizarre and strange death of the writer. First broadcast in 1988, it stars John Moffatt and Kerry Shale and is directed by John Powell.
Sunday at 10am and 8pm

The Pit and the Pendulum
Edgar Allan Poe’s chilling short story was first published in 1842. Read by David Horovitch, it is the tale of the torments endured by a prisoner of the Spanish Inquisition. The story was abridged by Richard Hamilton and directed by Emma Harding.
Sunday at 11am and 9pm

The Tell-tale Heart
In another of Poe’s atmospheric short stories, a man coldly calculates and commits what he believes is the perfect murder. When he is confronted by members of the constabulary, will his own heart incriminate him? Directed and produced by Clive Stanhope for CSA Word, this classic example of Gothic fiction is read by Richard Pasco.
Sunday at 11.15am and 9.15am

Edgar Allan Poe’s The Gold Bug
Set in 1838, this is Poe’s story of piracy, slavery and a treasure hunt. It was dramatised by Gregory Evans and first broadcast in 2001. Starring Clarke Peters, John Sharlan, Rhashan Stone and William Hootkins, it is directed by Ned Chaillet.
Saturday at 6pm and Midnight

The Fall of the House of Usher
Our final Edgar Allan Poe offering is read by Sean Barrett. A man’s descent into madness seems bound to the house of his ancestors. It is a Radio 7 commission and was first broadcast in 2003.
Thursday and Friday at 6.30pm and 12.30pm

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Starship: Pirate by Mike Resnick

December 10, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
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SFFaudio Review

Starship: Pirate, Book 2 by Mike ResnickStarship: Pirate, Book 2
By Mike Resnick; Read by Jonathan Davis
Audible Download – 8 Hours 45 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Audible Frontiers
Published: April 2008
Themes: / Science Fiction / Space Opera / Galactic Civilization / Aliens / Piracy / Crime / Military SF /

Seeking to find a new life for themselves, Cole and comrades remake the Teddy R. as a pirate ship and set sail for the lawless Inner Frontier. There, powerful warlords, cut-throat pirates, and struggling colonies compete for survival in a game where you rarely get a second chance to learn the rules. But military discipline is poor preparation for a life of pillaging and plundering, and Cole’s principles limit his targets. Seeking an education on the nature of piracy, Cole hunts more knowledgeable players: the beautiful but deadly Valkyrie, the enigmatic alien fence David Copperfield, and the fearsome alien pirate known as the Hammerhead Shark.

Avast! All hands take heed of this fine awdio-booke! It be a speedy chaser to Starship: Mutiny – and who among ye haven’t read that yet? The scurvy lot who han’t yet, ought! Those who ha, read on.

Writer of the booke be one named Resnick, he be an experienced one, charting a course that leads to high adventure and much profite. There be little ballast for this be a fast journey. But I forewarn thee, there be parts where you’ll feel clapped in irons (unable to stop listening).

The keel of this story be straight and true. Though to be fair there was one leak into the bilge (a repeated line missed in the editing). Skippering the narration of this yarn be a yank of some experience. Jonathan Davis, he who tole the story of the Teddy R. and crew from the first booke (Starship: Mutiny), returns to bedevil the shores of many star systems again. Me spyglass reports that he be crewing the next booke, Starship: Mercenary as well. That be a good thing. Behind this yarn be Audible Frontiers. A new publisher of some new repute. And their stocks look unto being a great treasure trove of riches – fit nigh for many a plundering (mind ye though there be DRM). Better, and fitter, just sign your X and get an account. It be a wise move me hearties.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Queen Of The Black Coast adapted from the story by Robert E. Howard

November 27, 2008 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Audio Drama, Reviews, SFFaudio essential 

SFFaudio Review

Broken Sea Audio Productions AUDIO DRAMA - Queen Of The Black Coast based on the story by Robert E. Howard (original art by John Bucema and Ernie Chan)Queen Of The Black Coast
Based on the story by Robert E Howard; Performed by a full cast
7 MP3s – Approx. 3 Hours 30 Mintues [AUDIO DRAMA]
Podcaster: Broken Sea’s Hyborean Sagas
Podcast: June 2008 to December 2008
Themes: / Fantasy / Piracy / Magic / Noir /

Okay so the cover art for this one isn’t official, not in the slightest. But, since I’m making it for my own collection I thought I’d share with you. The original art came from my personal copy of issue 100 of Marvel Comics’ Conan The Barbarian. It was rendered by John Buscema and Ernie Chan as the final instalment of the Belit story, which had run since issue 58. Those Marvel comics are what got me into the original Robert E. Howard stories to begin with. And, Queen Of The Black Coast is my favourite Conan story. And, now this is my favourite amateur audio drama.

Bill Hollweg, who spearheaded this project, has faithfully adapted Howard’s original narrative. There are changes, but not too many, and when they exist it’s to make it work as an audio drama. This is the tale that gave Conan his gigantic melancholies. It’s a noir fantasy, rich and powerful, pulpy and inspiring. Conan, a northern barbarian, is on the run from the law and hops aboard an outbound ship. Soon after he’s fighting off pirates, and next becoming one himself. Meeting the Belit, the “queen” of the black coast, he begins a passionate romance with the rash and selfish pirate queen. Their adventures together, his loyalty, and her lust for treasure, lead them up a poisoned river, and ultimately to their doom. It’s bloody wonderful.

The audio tapestry is as rich as any amateur audio production ever recorded – with sound effects and music, narration and acting, all at the top of its form. But, the show wasn’t an instant hit with me. Stevie Farnaby’s Conan turned me off at first. His voice just wasn’t right. Episode 1’s acting, where we first hear his raspy growl, was cartoonish, too brutish, not right. But as episode 2 rolled in, and episode 3 rolled on, and episode 4 became 5, and 6 became 7, I came to the conclusion that Stevie Farnaby is the voice of Conan and I was wrong about what Conan sounded like. I’d been voicing him in my head for about 25 years, he didn’t sound like Stevie Farnaby’s Conan. Other fine work includes the narrator Ralph Walters. He’s the voice of the Zombie Astronaut and about a dozen other characters on the Freqency Of Fear podcast. He’s quite a vocal chameleon and does excellent work here. Other actors include director Bill Hollweg himself, voicing much of Belit’s crew, and Charlene Harris as the titular queen. One thing to remember going into this folks, none of the actors were in the same room when this was recorded. They did their lines in a quiet room with no feedback. This is a huge problem in amateur audio drama – the acting can often feel stiff – I’m happy to say this rarely happens in QotBC. Highly recommend listening for fans of Robert E. Howard’s Conan.

Part 1 |MP3| Part 2 |MP3| Part 3 |MP3| Part 4 |MP3|
Part 5 |MP3| Part 6 |MP3| Part 7 |MP3|

Podcast feed:

Posted by Jesse Willis

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