FREE LISTENS review: A Princess of Mars

August 3, 2010 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Reviews 

Review

Source: Librivox | (14 zipped mp3s)
Length: 7 hr, 26 min
Reader: Mark Nelson
The book: While prospecting for gold in the Wild West, John Carter, formerly of the Confederate Army, is attacked by a band of hostile Apaches. He escapes into a cave, but finds himself mysteriously transported to Mars. On Mars, or as the natives call it, “Barsoom”, he finds several races of intelligent Martians, including the giant six-limbed Tharks and beautiful Dejah Thoris, a princess of the human-like red-skinned Martians.

John Carter’s Barsoom adventures are frankly preposterous, even for Burroughs’ day when people thought there might really be canals on Mars. However, the story has a momentum that propels it too fast to allow the reader to reflect on the inconsistencies of the plot or of the world Burroughs created. The constant cliffhangers and mild titillation gave the book great popularity among several generations of readers, including a number of science fiction writers who cited it as an important early influence. This book is a old-fashioned treat.

Rating: 8/10

The reader: Mark Nelson has a deep, strong voice that sounds like an old school news announcer. His cadence is slow and repetitive, but he changes his inflection enough to keep the reading interesting. He does some light voices, not straying too far from his natural voice into campiness. The recording setup he uses has very little background noise and is clear. Nelson is a reader worth seeking out in other books.

Posted by Seth

New Releases: Sherlock Holmes, Jack London, Hitler vs. Stalin, Alastair Reynolds

June 9, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: New Releases 

SFFaudio Online Audio

If there’s one public domain novel I don’t mind seeing endless re-releases and re-recordings of it’s this one…

RANDOM HOUSE AUDIO - The Call Of The Wild by Jack LondonThe Call Of The Wild
By Jack London; Read by Jeff Daniels
CDs – Approx. 3 Hours 12 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Random House Audio
Published: May 25, 2010
ISBN: 9780307710260
Sample |MP3|
Jack London’s The Call Of The Wild was written in 1903, but Buck’s gripping adventure makes for a thrilling listen on audio more than 100 years after it was first published. This gripping story follows the adventures of the loyal dog Buck, who is stolen from his comfortable family home and forced into the harsh life of an Alaskan sled dog. Passed from master to master, Buck embarks on an extraordinary journey that ends with his becoming the legendary leader of a wolf pack.

Now this should be interesting…

BLACKSTONE AUDIO - Wolf: The Lives Of Jack London by James L. HaleyWolf: The Lives of Jack London
By James L. Haley; Read by Bronson Pinchot
10 CDs or 1 Mp3-CD – Approx. 13 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: May 25, 2010
ISBN: 9781441758965 (cd), 9781441758972 (mp3-cd)
Jack London was born a working-class, fatherless San Franciscan in 1876. In his youth, he was a boundlessly energetic adventurer on the bustling west coast—by and by playing the role of hobo, sailor, and oyster pirate. From his vantage point at the margins of Gilded Age America, he witnessed such iniquity and abuses that he became a life long socialist and advocate for reform. His adventures in the American wilderness and underworld informed his fiction, and his writing came to captivate the nation as it defined his era. Within his own short lifetime, London became the most popular, and bestselling, author of his generation. By adulthood he had matured into the iconic American author of such still-universally loved books as The Call Of The Wild, White Fang, and Sea Wolf, but in spite of his success, he was at war with himself. The highest-paid writer in America, he was constantly broke. Famous as he was for conjuring the brutality of nature in story after story and novel after novel, upon the actual deaths of his favorite animals he would dissolve into helpless tears. Sick, angry, and disillusioned, after a short, breathless life, he passed away at age forty, but he left behind him a glorious literary legacy. Award-winning author James L. Haley explores the forgotten Jack London—a man bristling with ideas, whose passion for social justice roared until the day he died. In Wolf, Haley returns Jack London to his proper place in the American pantheon, resurrecting the author of White Fang in his full fire and glory.

Made by makers…

TANTOR MEDIA - Made By Hand by Mark Frauenfelder   Made by Hand: Searching for Meaning in a Throwaway World
By Mark Frauenfelder; Read by Kirby Heyborne
7 CDs or 1 MP3-CD – Approx. 8 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Media
Published: June 07, 2010
ISBN: 9781400117819 (cd), 9781400167814 (mp3-cd)
From his unique vantage point as editor in chief of Make magazine, the hub of the newly invigorated do-it-yourself (DIY) movement, Mark Frauenfelder takes listeners on an inspiring and surprising tour of the vibrant world of DIY. The Internet has brought together large communities of people who share ideas, tips, and blueprints for making everything from unmanned aerial vehicles to pedal-powered iPhone chargers to an automatic cat feeder jury-rigged from a VCR. DIY is a direct reflection of our basic human desire to invent and improve, long suppressed by the availability of cheap, mass-produced products that have drowned us in bland convenience and cultivated our most wasteful habits. Frauenfelder spent a year trying a variety of offbeat projects, such as keeping chickens and bees, tricking out his espresso machine, whittling wooden spoons, making guitars out of cigar boxes, and doing citizen science with his daughters in the garage. His whole family found that DIY helped them take control of their lives, offering a path that was simple, direct, and clear. Working with their hands and minds helped them feel more engaged with the world around them.
Frauenfelder reveals how DIY is changing our culture for the better. He profiles fascinating “alpha makers” leading various DIY movements and grills them for their best tips and insights. Beginning his journey with hands as smooth as those of a typical geek, Frauenfelder offers a unique perspective on how earning a few calluses can be far more rewarding and satisfying than another trip to the mall.

I always bet on the man with the bigger mustache…

TANTOR MEDIA - Deathride: Hitler vs. Stalin—the Eastern Front, 1941–1945 by John MosierDeathride: Hitler vs. Stalin—the Eastern Front, 1941-1945
By John Mosier; Read by Michael Prichard
10 CDs or 1 MP3-CD – Approx. 12.5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Media
Published: June 15, 2010
ISBN: 9781400117369 (cd), 9781400167364 (mp3-cd)
John Mosier presents a revisionist retelling of the war on the Eastern Front. Although the Eastern Front was the biggest and most important theater in World War II, it is not well known in the United States, as no American troops participated in the fighting. Yet historians agree that this is where the decisive battles of the war were fought. The conventional wisdom about the Eastern Front is that Hitler was mad to think he could defeat the USSR because of its vast size and population, and that the Battle of Stalingrad marked the turning point of the war. Neither statement is accurate, says Mosier; Hitler came very close to winning outright. Mosier’s history of the Eastern Front will generate considerable controversy both because of his unconventional arguments and because he criticizes historians who have accepted Soviet facts and interpretations. Mosier argues that Soviet accounts are utterly untrustworthy and that accounts relying on them are fantasies. Deathride argues that the war in the East was Hitler’s to lose, that Stalin was in grave jeopardy from the outset of the war, and that it was the Allied victories in North Africa and consequent threat to Italy that forced Hitler to change his plans and saved Stalin from near-certain defeat. Stalin’s only real triumph was in creating a legend of victory.

We’ve talked about it on the podcast, and here it is…

TANTORMEDIA Terminal World by Alastair ReynoldsTerminal World
By Alastair Reynolds; Read by John Lee
15 Audio CDs or 2 MP3-CDs – Approx. 19.5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Media
Publisher: June 1, 2010
ISBN: 9781400117116(cd), 9781400167111 (mp3-cd)
Spearpoint, the last human city, is an atmosphere-piercing spire of vast size. Clinging to its skin are the zones, a series of semi-autonomous city-states, each of which enjoys a different—and rigidly enforced—level of technology. Following an infiltration mission that went tragically wrong, Quillon has been living incognito, working as a pathologist in the district morgue. But when a near-dead angel drops onto his dissecting table, Quillon’s world is wrenched apart one more time. If Quillon is to save his life, he must leave his home and journey into the cold and hostile lands beyond Spearpoint’s base, starting an exile that will take him further than he could ever imagine. But there is far more at stake than just Quillon’s own survival, for the limiting technologies of the zones are determined not by governments or police but by the very nature of reality—and reality itself is showing worrying signs of instability.

Death Cloud is the first in a series of novels in which Sherlock Holmes is re-imagined as “a brilliant, troubled and engaging teenager”…

PAN MACMILLIAN - Young Sherlock Holmes: Death Cloud by Andrew LaneYoung Sherlock Holmes: Death Cloud
By Andrew Lane; Read by Dan Stevens
3 CDs – Approx. 3 Hours [ABRIDGED?]
Publisher: Pan Macmillian Audio
Published: June 2010
ISBN: 9780230745124
The year is 1868, and Sherlock Holmes is fourteen. His life is that of a perfectly ordinary army officer’s son: boarding school, good manners, a classical education – the backbone of the British Empire. But all that is about to change. With his father suddenly posted to India, and his mother mysteriously ‘unwell’, Sherlock is sent to stay with his eccentric uncle and aunt in their vast house in Hampshire. So begins a summer that leads Sherlock to uncover his first murder, a kidnap, corruption and a brilliantly sinister villain of exquisitely malign intent…

[via Bish’s Beat]

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox: Rastignac The Devil by Philip José Farmer

March 22, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

LibriVoxI get the sense that Rastignac The Devil is a satire, using the furniture of Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers. But I feel really embarrassed about not knowing what is going on, sub-textually, in this interesting, but baffling, novella by Philip José Farmer. Is it all an allegorical satire of some event in 17th century France?

A couple of other notes. Mike Resnick’s Starship series has a character named “Slick.” Slick is an alien with a sentient symbiotic skin (called a “gorib”). Rastignac The Devil has aliens and humans with just such a similar concept – very cool! Gregg Margarite, the narrator, does a very good job with the abundance of French words.

Anyway, like I said, I liked the story, thought it was weirdly cool, but don’t feel like I’ve understood it at all. Could someone fill me in?

LIBRIVOX - Rastignac The Devil by Philip Jose FarmerRastignac The Devil
By Philip José Farmer; Read by Gregg Margarite
2 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 1 Hour 59 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: March 19, 2010
Here is high fidelity fiction at Philip José Farmer’s story-telling best. It’s a vibrant, distractingly different tale of three centuries into the future. And as you read you’ll have a vague, uneasy feeling that it’s all taking place somewhere in the unexplored parts of the universe, even today. From Fantastic Universe May 1954.

Podcast feed: http://librivox.org/rss/4158

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

[Thanks also to Barry Eads (aka KiltedDragon)]

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox: Space Prison by Tom Godwin

December 22, 2009 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

LibriVoxSpace Prison (first published as: THE SURVIVORS) is a new audiobook of an old pulply paperback by Tom Godwin! Narrator extraordinaire Mark Douglas Nelson, has courteously posted it to LibriVox.org for the use by anyone for anything. Being that this is now a public domain audiobook you can do pretty much anything you can think of with it.

Me? Oh, I’m old fashioned. I’ll just be listening to it.

Here’s the teaser:

“One of the truly unusual novels of science-fiction—a vivid portrayal of the deadliest planet ever discovered!”

And here’s the Wikipedia description:

The Survivors is a science fiction novel by author Tom Godwin. It was published in 1958 by Gnome Press in an edition of 5,000 copies, of which 1,084 were never bound. The novel was published in paperback by Pyramid Books in 1960 under the title Space Prison. The novel is an expansion of Godwin’s story ‘Too Soon to Die‘ which first appeared in the magazine Venture.”

LIBRIVOX - Space Prison by Tom GodwinSpace Prison
By Tom Godwin; Read by Mark Douglas Nelson
12 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 5 Hours 59 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: December 21, 2009
AFTER TWO CENTURIES….The sound came swiftly nearer, rising in pitch and swelling in volume. Then it broke through the clouds, tall and black and beautifully deadly — the Gern battle cruiser, come to seek them out and destroy them. Humbolt dropped inside the stockade, exulting. For two hundred years his people had been waiting for the chance to fight the mighty Gern Empire … with bows and arrows against blasters and bombs!

Podcast feed: http://librivox.org/rss/3659

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

[Special thanks too AnnSterling and Laurie Anne Walden]

Posted by Jesse Willis

Candlelight Stories: A Princess Of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

November 18, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Candlelight StoriesI first experienced Alessandro Cima’s narrative abilities back in 2005. Back then podcasting was barely a toddler – still wobbly legged, with novel length podcasts being few an far between. Cima was reading his own young adult Pirate Jack.Here’s the “Pirate Jack” pitch:

Young Jack Spencer sees his father’s boat-building business destroyed by a powerful land developer. Then Jack unearths three ancient scrolls that propel him on a dangerous adventure through time in search of a pirate treasure. When Jack finds himself aboard the pirate ship Revenge he enters a life or death world of ship battles, jungle islands, prison escapes, gold, and treachery.

It was and is a compelling pirate adventure story (with some fantastic elements). If you’ haven’t heard it you can check it out through the same podcast feed as his latest project. He’s about a third of the way through this novel…

A Princess Of Mars by Edgar Rice BurroughsA Princess Of Mars
By Edgar Rice Burroughs; Read by Alessandro Cima
Podcast – [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: Candlelight Stories
Podcast: 2009
This is the first John Carter of Mars novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the author of the Tarzan books. It was his first novel, published in 1917 and it’s a work of rip-roaring science fiction that has inspired many of the great writers in the genre. The story concerns soldier John Carter who is mysteriously transported to the red planet where he fights to protect his princess against impossible odds and many peculiar creatures. The book is very much a product of its time, with outdated ideas about the red planet and outdated social ideas. But if you can just go along for the adventurous ride, you are in for a sci-fi space opera swashbuckling treat.

Podcast feed:

http://feeds.feedburner.com/CandlelightStoriesAudio

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox: Lone Star Planet by H. Beam Piper and John J. McGuire

October 26, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

LibriVoxMy friend Luke Burrage, of the Science Fiction Book Review Podcast, has been talking with me about the Planetary Romance subgenre of Science Fiction. We’re both big fans of it. It’s an old genre, probably best sired by Edgar Rice Burroughs with his novel A Princess Of Mars.

Here is the definition of Planetary Romance from the introduction to The Ultimate Guide Of Science Fiction: The Definitive Illustrated Guide (edited by David Pringle):

PLANETARY ROMANCE: a romantic adventure story set on a colourful alien planet, often involving an element of swordplay (or science fiction equivalent).

I bring this all up because the most recent Planetary Romance to draw my attention is one that’s Texas-sized in scope, but short in length (running under 3.5 hours). And of course the necessary swordplay element has naturally been replaced by gunplay – it is a planet full of Texans after all!

LibriVox - Lone Star Planet by H. Beam Piper and John J. McGuireLone Star Planet
By H. Beam Piper and John J. McGuire; Read by Mark Douglas Nelson
5 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 3 Hours 22 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: October 25, 2009
New Texas: its citizens figure that name about says it all. The Solar League ambassador to the Lone Star Planet has the unenviable task of convincing New Texans that a s’Srauff attack is imminent, and dangerous. Unfortunately it’s common knowledge that the s’Srauff are evolved from canine ancestors—and not a Texan alive is about to be scared of a talking dog! But unless he can get them to act, and fast, there won’t be a Texan alive, scared or otherwise!

Podcast feed:

http://librivox.org/bookfeeds/lone-star-planet-by-h-beam-piper-and-john-j-mcguire.xml

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

And, if you’re looking for more terrifically narrated Planetary Romance audiobooks you couldn’t do better than to start with another one read by Mark Douglas Nelson … The Green Odyssey by Philip Jose Farmer.

[Thanks also to libraryanne and James Christopher]

Posted by Jesse Willis

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