Review of Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

August 12, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

RANDOM HOUSE AUDIO - Dark Matter by Blake CrouchDark Matter
By Blake Crouch; Read by Jon Lindstrom
10 Hours 8 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Random House Audio
Published: July 26, 2016

“Are you happy with your life?” Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious. Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits. Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

So, the only other experience I have with Blake Crouch is through the ridiculously insanely pulpy, Drakulas … written by three other authors. I can’t say I was able to tell who wrote what, so it really wasn’t a huge help. Other than that I had good feelings going in because Drakulas is amazing. Read it, do it.

Dark Matter is difficult to explain without spoilers, but let’s just say it involves … science. Wow, could this review get more boring than that. Okay, there’s got to be a minor amount of spoilers to get this review moving, so let’s say spoiler warning for the first quarter of the book.

Our protagonist, Jason Dessen, has the perfect life and, more importantly, the perfect family. Okay, his marriage isn’t perfect, but it’s a place he loves being in more than anything. In fact, it’s something he gave up a budding science career to pursue.

Like anyone, he always imagines what it would be like if he’d made different choices. The only difference is that he actually gets to see for himself.

While tightly plotted with one heck of a twist at the end (I thought), this book packs more of a punch in the psychological aspects. Considering the implications of the science (which I’m really trying not to spoil), the questions addressed by Dessen are what really got me. Thinking about what I would do in the same situation is what will keep this book in my brain for some time.

What would you do for your family? What lengths would you go to to be with them? To save them? To permit them to be happy? What if that choice makes you miserable?

4 out of 5 Stars (highly recommended)

Note on the narrator: Jon Lindstrom is one of those voices that really needs to fit the character if that makes any sense. I feel like there are some books that his voice wouldn’t work for. It worked for Jason Dessen. Craig Wasson (11/22/63 and many others) is one of those voices for me as well.

I received an audio copy from the publisher for review.

Posted by Bryce L.

Reading, Short And Deep #079 – The Star by H.G. Wells

August 9, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #079

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss The Star by H.G. Wells

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

The Star was first published in The Graphic, December 1897.

Podcast feed https://sffaudio.herokuapp.com/rsd/rss

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

The SFFaudio Podcast #432 – READALONG: Counter-Clock World by Philip K. Dick

July 31, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
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Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #432 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa VU, and Wayne June talk about Counter-Clock World by Philip K. Dick

Talked about on today’s show:
1967, expanded from Your Appointment Will Be Yesterday, what the hell’s going on, illuminating things, more direct, Wayne is pretty damn proud of himself, the difference between the two, crossover, the entropy is the same, applying shaving cream and whiskers, cleaner and cleaner clothes, some of the same logical problems as Superman‘s Bizzaro world, exactly the opposite, taking it to the logical conclusion, one of the fun things about it, what is passed over, the Hobart Phase, with participation, DC Comics, Superman spinoffs, Supergirl going through Superman’s baby photos, Jimmy Olsen, Lois Lane, Us Do Opposite Of All Earthly Things, the first issue of Action Comics, square wheels, is superman supposed to be smart?, how the economy works, don’t try to make it work logically, the ending, weird senses, LSD grenades, embryonic robots, what’s that mean?, let it happen to you, is there some overarching metaphor we’re missing?, every time it fell into plot, the graveyard, Jesus and Lazarus, breathing tubes, certain skills, everything’s reversed, Officer Tinbane, Ray Roberts, Robert Raymond, you shouldn’t try to prove the existence of God, does that have anything to do with this character?, searching out in a desperate attempt, question-answer, Centurion Longinus, a shocking death, Hermes is a psychopomop, a small business, the abortion, when does the soul enter the corpse, sperm shooting out of eggs, what is he actually saying right here?, hilarious passing references, soghum through the anus, throwing up whole foods, spirit soghum, a small bamboo Korean flute, time-bombs of hilarity, the substance and the style, the philosophical ramifications, random man, find a nearby womb, falling in love with a baby, Philip K. Dick’s twin sister, Colorado, Bishop James Pike, one of PKD’s marriages, falling in love with her sister, agonizing over sin, taking advantage, is that a crime?, Nancy Hackett, In search Of (hosted by Leonard Nimoy), dead in the desert, mind going a million miles a minute, having trouble deciding who he loves and doesn’t love, super-liberal, pro-gay, pro-black, the four parts of the USA, 10,000 politically motivated bombings, heaven isn’t real, secular saints, Copernicus, counseling Philip K. Dick, everybody’s consenting here, things are rough, her own psychological issues, she’s tiny and he’s huge, daughter sized and aged, treating kids like adults, things probably shouldn’t be happening in that park, what are we to make of the robots?, either pearls before swine or pigfood before jewelers, coming away from it without getting inside his head, not previously an aficionado, The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch, seeing the religious aspect as being interesting, the key to unlocking, Anarch Peak, highest point and without, a black Jesus figure coming back from the dead, two oblique angles, our John The Baptist character, attacking not from the front door, the Trojan horse method, coincidence?, 400 shows, a combination of subconscious and coincidence, Reading, Short And Deep, When Time Turned by Ethel Watts Mumford, kind of Science Fiction, living his life backwards from the point of his wife’s death, the dome of his skull expanded, from a female point of view, experiencing things in reverse, people remember what happened in the future, physical and mental knowledge is being destroyed, the swabble, the patent office, sucking the ink out of the page, never approaching it ion the normal everyday way, the fact that a robot is secretly and immorally implanting microscopic sperm sized robots, these librarians have stuff backing them up, the librarians are the bad guys, if you reverse everything, how does this work?, what does it mean?, robots are ambiguous, are they a distraction?, espionage, putting it on his left arm as an armband, a counter acting agent (operating in reverse [forward] time), if you know the past why don’t you act differently, Arrival and The Story Of Your Life, the ash of memory, mmmm coffee, reverse sewer trucks?, don’t think about this for too long, what’s in these sorgum pipes and where did you get it?, Red Dwarf, Season 3 Episode 1, Backwards, he’s literally taking a shit, the economy, taking its science fiction seriously but playing for comedy, money is something you want to get rid of, becoming impoverished is everyone’s goal, what is the equivalent of counter-fitting?, the money loses value, hyperinflation, the first review on Goodreads is written backwards, insight, the factions, they never believed the passage from Corinthians, death where is thy sting?, it might just be Philip K. Dick’s critique of how history has treated the Christ story, profound and doesn’t make any sense, ruminate and disgorge (don’t digest), he’s exploring but not landing on any square, that’s Pike’s thing too, harrowing hell, Sebastian Hermes, specially attuned, another Jesus figure?, always has to turn it into a small business, every chapter starts with a quote, inverted quotes?, Saint Thomas Aquinas, what the Hobart event was, almost a weapon, the FMN doesn’t have the Hobart Phase, Mars doesn’t have it either, like radiation from a Russian Hobart bomb, we need to escape this place it’s why you had the abortion, this Orange County, everybody’s playing this real estate game, the effects they see in the world are other people, the robot comes to the office, treat me as this other person, my future is your yesterday, another reading (at least), chimeras through the hold thing, you can call me Carl, Carl Jr, Karl Jung, Uditi -> U-Die -> You Die -> U as in U-Turn, Jung’s collective unconscious, the group mind, a death cult is a life cult, positive racism, the Roman Church, Pentecostals, Baptists, an excoriation against people who think they have all the answers, the TRUTH, contradictory to each other, the People’s Topical Library, why are they so scared to go to the library, destruction of books, he who destroys knowledge controls knowledge, conflicted loyalties, the black hats, Niehls, Lance Arbuthnaut, inventors, Edison types, technology, minus money, arbeit-naught? = doesn’t work, hit by meteors, hit by anti-matter?, from the macro point of view, is Earth orbiting in the wrong direction, going backwards and forwards in time, inconsistencies, does geology work in reverse, an undestroyed building, before the Anarch is brought back to life, a big convention, a special waiver, this is what happens when you take LSD, PKD wrote almost nothing about this book, we need annotations, the embryonic robots snuck into a filing cabinets, payoff, somehow reversed mirrored later on with the human sex, unpregnant herself, the process still exists, are the robots also effected by reverse time?, you can’t really see the connection between them, Kryten, the manuscript is called HOW I MADE MY OWN SWABBLE OUT OF CONVENTIONAL HOUSEHOLD OBJECTS IN MY BASEMENT DURING MY SPARE TIME vs. HOW I DISASSEMBLED MY SWABBLE INTO ORDINARY HOUSEHOLD OBJECTS IN MY BASEMENT DURING MY SPARE TIME, Thomas Alva Edison, maybe it didn’t all gel, or maybe it gelled well, how most people rated it, fun, really ambitious, plot machinations, once the paper for the swabble is eradicated time reverses again, stuck in an infinite loop, Saint Paul will be resurrected in 2,000 years, Jesse thinks Philip K. Dick had the dream at the end of this book, what roles do dreams play, you’re a crank!, Lister comes out of the Starbug, a sore back, Nodnol, you come up with your theory and then you test your theory, Bulgarian bicycles, reverse bar fight, sucking the pain out of his face, punching his tooth back in, the YouTube of Backwards [played backwards], backwards English, switching to reverse, flowing in reverse, totally confusing, you’re driving on the wrong side of the road backwards and backwards in time, our entire experience with reality seem to be one direction, deja vu, no wonder we’re confused, that makes sense, more about this in his next books, The Transmigration Of Timothy Archer, Valis, Ubik, more of what he’s playing with, John Dryden, Peter S. Beagle,

To His Coy Mistress by Andrew Marvell

Had we but world enough and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.
We would sit down, and think which way
To walk, and pass our long love’s day.
Thou by the Indian Ganges’ side
Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide
Of Humber would complain. I would
Love you ten years before the flood,
And you should, if you please, refuse
Till the conversion of the Jews.
My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires and more slow;
An hundred years should go to praise
Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze;
Two hundred to adore each breast,
But thirty thousand to the rest;
An age at least to every part,
And the last age should show your heart.
For, lady, you deserve this state,
Nor would I love at lower rate.
But at my back I always hear
Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found;
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song; then worms shall try
That long-preserved virginity,
And your quaint honour turn to dust,
And into ashes all my lust;
The grave’s a fine and private place,
But none, I think, do there embrace.
Now therefore, while the youthful hue
Sits on thy skin like morning dew,
And while thy willing soul transpires
At every pore with instant fires,
Now let us sport us while we may,
And now, like amorous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour
Than languish in his slow-chapped power.
Let us roll all our strength and all
Our sweetness up into one ball,
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Through the iron gates of life:
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.

stories and collections, Dan Simmons, an ur text, hey baby we gotta have sex now cuze we can’t when we’re dead, Philip K. Dick using it, Meatloaf’s Paradise By The Dashboard Light, How I Rose From The Dead My Spare Time And So Can You, A Maze Of Death.

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ad for Tales Of The Bizzaro World from Our Army At War, issue 187

Posted by Jesse Willis

Reading, Short And Deep #075 – The Other Now by Murray Leinster

July 12, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #075

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss The Other Now by Murray Leinster

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

The Other Now was first published in Galaxy, March 1951.

Podcast feed https://sffaudio.herokuapp.com/rsd/rss

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Reading, Short And Deep #073 – A Practical Man’s Guide by Jack Vance

June 28, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #073

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss A Practical Man’s Guide by Jack Vance

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

A Practical Man’s Guide was first published in Space Science Fiction, August 1957.

Podcast feed https://sffaudio.herokuapp.com/rsd/rss

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Review of Dan Dare: The Audio Adventures, Volume Two: 1: The Reign Of The Robots, 2: Operation Saturn, and 3: Prisoners Of Space

June 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Dan Dare Audio Adventures - Volume 2Dan Dare: The Audio Adventures, Volume 2, 1: The Reign Of The Robots, 2: Operation Saturn, and 3: Prisoners Of Space
Adapted from the Eagle comic strip; Performed by a full cast
3 Episodes – 3 hours, 9 minutes [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Big Finish
Published: April 2017

Dan Dare: Where Space and Opera Meet To Sing

Is there evil in the universe? Yes. Are there tyrants who take great pleasure in enslaving the human race simply to gratify their unquenchable ego? Yes. Is there any hope for this small blue planet where none but the barest few have any idea of the dastardly dangers all around? Absolutely!

All is right with the twenty first century because Dan Dare and his cohorts, Professor Peabody and Digby are out roaming our solar system, vigilantly keeping villainy and tyranny at bay.

Having defeated the evil Mekon at the end of Season One, Volume One, Dan Dare and his crew are finally able to return home after using the transporter to rid themselves of an alien Armageddon virus.

The first problem that besets them at the beginning of Volume Two is a small issue with the return trip through the transporter that lands them ten years into the future. The bigger problem is that Earth has been enslaved by an army of ruthless robots in, The Reign Of The Robots.

A rollicking space faring adventure of daring do and evil don’t sails on through Operation Saturn and Prisoners Of Space.

Dan Dare is an audio drama of old where the good guy is good through and through, and nasty bigheaded megalomaniacs are rotten to their evil cores. But wait, there’s a back-story running in the undercurrent. This world isn’t quite as black and white as it seems.

A beautiful mix of nostalgia with references to coal-fed engines, and forward-ho, with a ship that can whisk the crew off to Saturn in minutes flat, Dan Dare is perfectly situated in the now. And that now is a science fiction gem with classic lines like, “Resist and you will die” and the quintessential, “Take me to your leader.”

The cast is wonderful throughout and the whole thing is brought to life with a thoroughly engaging, immersive soundscape designed by Wilfredo Acosta.

I was not familiar with the Dan Dare comics before listening to the series, but when I heard, “Colonel Dan Dare! But you were dead!” Followed by, “Only delayed,” I learned everything I needed to know.

Strap on your jet pack if you have. Adventure awaits.

THE REIGN OF THE ROBOTS
Dan Dare and his crew finally return to Earth. Landing in central London, they find the city deserted – or that’s how it seems at first. But soon Dare faces an army of ruthless machines, robots who have conquered the planet and placed the surviving humans in slave camps. The robots are too powerful and too numerous to be resisted, and their invasion is complete. With limited resources, Dare, Digby and Peabody face their greatest challenge yet – to liberate planet Earth. But the task becomes more desperate than ever when Dan discovers the alien force behind the robot invasion…

OPERATION SATURN
As work begins to rebuild planet Earth after the devastation of the robot invasion, Dare and his friends in Space Fleet remain vigilant, certain that it is only a matter of time before the Mekon launches a fresh attack. When the wreck of the Nautilus – an experimental ship lost over a decade before – appears in orbit of the moon, Dare, Digby and Peabody are sent to investigate. They find the ship and its crew were destroyed by advanced alien weapons. All clues lead them to Saturn’s moons. With Earth still vulnerable our heroes must journey to an unknown world – to discover who sent the Nautilus back, not realising that for once the source of their latest conflict comes from a lot closer to home. Not all would-be conquerors of planet Earth are alien…

PRISONERS OF SPACE
After a sequence of near non-stop adventures Dare, Digby and Peabody find themselves in a strange limbo of paranoid calm. Whilst there’s been no sign of the Mekon anywhere in the solar system, Dare is certain Earth hasn’t seen the last of the evil alien. Mysterious spaceship disappearances near Venus, an Academy student accidentally launching a prototype new spacecraft, and a floating prison cell in space… reveal themselves as all part of the Mekon’s latest plan to defeat his archenemy Dan Dare once and for all. The first season of Dan Dare concludes with daring space action, fearless heroics and the revelation of devastating secrets concerning Space Fleet…

Posted by Maissa Bessada

[Find out more about Dan Dare audio adventures, and see the rest of the terrific DAN DARE box-office-style posters, by Brian Williamson, over at the official site: DanDareAudio.com]

Dan Dare - The Audio Adventures - Reign Of The Robots

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