New Releases: City Of Dragons, The Eerie Silence, Beautiful Assassin

April 7, 2010 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: New Releases 

New Releases

Tantor MediaWhen I compiled this list of the latest new releases from Tantor Media I discovered that there was a very companionable video for nearly every one.

First up is City Of Dragons, a book we’ve decided we’re going to be doing a readalong for. That is a bunch of podcasty bloggy friends will (hopefully) read and/or be listening to this book/audiobook for discussion on an upcoming SFFaudio Podcast! An exciting prospect eh?


TANTOR MEDIA - City Of Dragons by Kelli StanleyCity Of Dragons
By Kelli Stanley; Read by Cynthia Holloway
11 CDs or 2 MP3-CDs – Approx. 13 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Media
Published: April 5, 2010
ISBN: 9781400116645 (cd), 9781400166640 (mp3-cd)
February, 1940. In San Francisco’s Chinatown, fireworks explode as the city celebrates Chinese New Year with a Rice Bowl Party, a three-day-and-night carnival designed to raise money and support for China war relief. Miranda Corbie is a thirty-three-year-old private investigator who stumbles upon the fatally shot body of Eddie Takahashi. The Chamber of Commerce wants it covered up. The cops acquiesce. All Miranda wants is justice—whatever it costs. From Chinatown tenements, to a tattered tailor’s shop in Little Osaka, to a high-class bordello draped in Southern Gothic, she shakes down the city—her city—seeking the truth.

Here’s a science audiobook that’s got Scott pretty excited. Myself I thought the question of whether we are alone in the universe was answered rather definitely by that Charlie Sheen/Ron Silver documentary called The Arrival

TANTOR MEDIA - The Eerie Silence: Renewing Our Search for Alien Intelligence by Paul DaviesThe Eerie Silence: Renewing Our Search for Alien Intelligence
By Paul Davies; Read by George K. Wilson
9 CDs or 1 MP3-CD – Approx. 10 Hours 30 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Media
Published: April 13, 2010
ISBN: 9781400115518 (cd), 9781400165513 (mp3-cd)
Fifty years ago, a young astronomer named Frank Drake pointed a radio telescope at nearby stars in the hope of picking up a signal from an alien civilization. Thus began one of the boldest scientific projects in history, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). But after a half century of scanning the skies, astronomers have little to report but an eerie silence—eerie because many scientists are convinced that the universe is teeming with life. The problem, argues leading physicist and astrobiologist Paul Davies, is that we’ve been looking in the wrong place, at the wrong time, and in the wrong way. Davies should know. For more than three decades, he has been closely involved with SETI and now chairs the SETI Post-Detection Taskgroup, charged with deciding what to do if we’re confronted with evidence of alien intelligence. In this extraordinary book, he shows how SETI has lost its edge, then offers a new and exciting road map for the future. Davies believes that our search so far has been overly anthropocentric: we tend to assume an alien species will look, think, and behave like us. He argues that we need to be far more expansive in our efforts, and in this book he completely redefines the search, challenging existing ideas of what form an alien intelligence might take, how it might try to communicate with us, and how we should respond if we ever do make contact. A provocative and mind-expanding journey, The Eerie Silence will thrill fans of science and science fiction alike.

Here’s a new twist on an War Of The Rats (which was turned into a movie called Enemy At The Gates)…

TANTOR MEDIA - Beautiful Assassin by Michael WhiteBeautiful Assassin
By Michael White; Read by Anne Flosnik
14 CDs or 2 MP3-CDs – Approx. 18 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Media
Published: March 30, 2010
ISBN: 9781400114306 (cd), 9781400164301 (mp3-cd)
Sevastopol, 1942. As the might of the German army threatens to engulf the Soviet Union, a brave, young Red Army sniper named Tat’yana Levchenko becomes a national hero. But who is this beautiful assassin? To the Soviets, she is a refined poet and weapon of destruction with three hundred enemy kills to her name—a dedicated soldier whose skill and courage have rallied a motherland on the brink of despair. To the Americans, she is a Red Communist with movie-star good looks who is championed by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt—a reminder of Soviet suffering and a symbol of the vital need to defeat the Nazis. Invited to the United States at the behest of the White House, Tat’yana sets off on a whirlwind tour with the first lady. Amid the curious crowds, rumors begin to swirl that Tat’yana is a spy, a pawn of politicians and propagandists battling for power and control. But before suspicions can be confirmed, the Soviet soldier vanishes. It will be more than fifty years before a resourceful correspondent uncovers the truth and the full story of the beautiful assassin is finally told.

I’m a huge fan of Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe. This new edition features the talented Simon Prebble, who I’ve really enjoyed listening to since I first heard his reading of The Great Train Robbery by Michael Crichton. This new edition of Ivanhoe, as with many of Tantor Media public domain sourced audiobooks, features a eBook of the full novel as well.

TANTOR MEDIA - Ivanhoe by Sir Walter ScottIvanhoe
By Sir Walter Scott; Read by Simon Prebble
15 CDs or 2 MP3-CDs – Approx. 18. Hours 30 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Media
Published: March 30, 2010
ISBN: 9781400116065 (cd), 9781400166060 (mp3-cd)
The epitome of the chivalric novel, Ivanhoe sweeps listeners into Medieval England and the lives of a memorable cast of characters. Ivanhoe, a trusted ally of Richard the Lion Hearted, returns from the Crusades to reclaim the inheritance his father denied him. Rebecca, a vibrant, beautiful Jewish woman, is defended by Ivanhoe against a charge of witchcraft—but it is Lady Rowena who is Ivanhoe’s true love. The wicked Prince John plots to usurp England’s throne, but two of the most popular heroes in all of English literature—Richard the Lion Hearted and the well-loved, famous outlaw Robin Hoo—team up to defeat the Normans and regain the castle. The success of this novel lies with Sir Walter Scott’s skillful blend of historic reality, chivalric romance, and high adventure.

Methinks the teen doth protest too much!

TANTOR MEDIA - I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan WellsI Am Not A Serial Killer (Book 1 in the John Cleaver series)
By Dan Wells; Read by John Allen Nelson
6 CDs or 1 MP3-CD – Approx. 7 Hours 30 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Media
Published: March 30, 2010
ISBN: 9781400115792 (cd), 9781400165797 (mp3-cd)
John works in his family’s mortuary and has an obsession with serial killers. He wants to be a good person but fears he is a sociopath, and for years he has suppressed his dark side through a strict system of rules designed to mimic “normal” behavior. Then a demon begins stalking his small town and killing people one by one, and John is forced to give in to his darker nature in order to save them. As he struggles to understand the demon and find a way to kill it, his own mind begins to unravel until he fears he may never regain control. Faced with the reality that he is, perhaps, more monstrous than the monster he is fighting, John must make a final stand against the horrors of both the demon and himself.

TANTOR MEDIA - Beowulf by anonymousBeowulf
By anonymous; Read by Rosalyn Landor
3 CDs or 1 MP3-CD – Approx. 3 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Media
Published: March 29, 2010
ISBN: 9781400115990 (cd), 9781400165995 (mp3-cd)
When sleep was at its deepest, night at its blackest, up from the mist-filled marsh came Grendel stalking… Thus begins the battle between good and evil, for lying in wait and anxious to challenge the ogre Grendel is a young man, strong-willed and fire-hearted. This man is Beowulf, whose heroic dragon-slaying deeds were sung in the courts of Anglo-Saxon England more than a thousand years ago. Beowulf is our only native English heroic epic. In the figure of Beowulf, the Scandinavian warrior, and his struggles against monsters, the unknown author depicts the life and outlook of a pagan age. The poem is a subtle blending of themes—the conflict of good and evil, and an examination of heroism. Its skillful arrangement of incidents and use of contrast and parallel show it to be the product of a highly sophisticated culture.

This new collection of Robert E. Howard Horror fiction includes more than one story that freaked me out when I read them in paperback. Howard is of course best known for famous character Conan of Cimmeria. But some of his best writing was in the horror genre. One story, Pigeons From Hell, was adapted for television for an episode of an anthology series called Thiller (hosted by Boris Karloff). Like most of Howard’s work, it translates well, when in capable hands.

TANTOR MEDIA - The Horror Stories Of Robert E. HowardThe Horror Stories Of Robert E. Howard
By Robert E. Howard; Read by Robertson Dean
19 Audio CDs or 2 MP3-CD – Approx. 24 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Media
Published: March 30, 2010
ISBN: 9781400112296 (cd), 9781400162291 (mp3-cd)
Robert E. Howard, renowned creator of Conan the barbarian, was also a master at conjuring tales of hair-raising horror. In a career spanning only twelve years, Howard wrote more than a hundred stories, with his most celebrated work appearing in Weird Tales, the preeminent pulp magazine of the era. In this collection of Howard’s greatest horror tales, some of the author’s best-known characters—Solomon Kane, Bran Mak Morn, and sailor Steve Costigan among them—roam the forbidding locales of Howard’s fevered imagination, from the swamps and bayous of the Deep South to the fiend-haunted woods outside Paris to remote jungles in Africa. Included in this collection is Howard’s masterpiece “Pigeons From Hell,” a tale of two travelers who stumble upon the ruins of a Southern plantation—and into the maw of its fatal secret. In “Black Canaan,” even the best warrior has little chance of taking down the evil voodoo man with unholy powers—and none at all against his wily mistress, the diabolical High Priestess of Damballah. Also included is the classic revenge nightmare “Worms Of The Earth” as well as “The Cairn On The Headland.”

TANTOR MEDIA - Journey To The Center Of The Earth by Jules VerneJourney To The Center Of The Earth
By Jules Verne; Read by Ed Sala
9 CDs or 1 MP3-CD – Approx. 10 Hours 30 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: Tantor Media
Published: March 30, 2010
An eccentric geology professor acquires an old book and finds an ancient parchment hidden within its pages. On it is a coded message that reveals directions to a secret passageway that leads deep within the earth’s interior. The professor immediately sets off on a daring journey to Iceland, where he and his companions enter into an extinct volcano and make their way to the center of the earth. They soon find a strange underground world where the laws of science are turned upside down. They discover huge caverns, luminous rocks, a subterranean sea, primitive forests, and fearsome prehistoric creatures that time had forgot. The travelers encounter one stirring adventure after another as they explore deep within the bowels of the earth.

Based on the big RPG Fantasy game I didn’t play last year Dragon Age: Origins

Tantor Media - Dragon Age: The Stolen Dragon Throne by David GaiderDragon Age: The Stolen Throne (Book 1 in the Dragon Age series)
By David Gaider; Read by Stephen Hoye
11 CDs or 2 MP3-CDs – Approx. 13 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Published: Tantor Media
Published: March 23, 2010
ISBN: 9781400116218 (cd), 9781400166213 (mp3-cd)
After his mother, the beloved Rebel Queen, is betrayed and murdered by her own faithless lords, young Maric becomes the leader of a rebel army attempting to free his nation from the control of a foreign tyrant. His countrymen live in fear; his commanders consider him untested; and his only allies are Loghain, a brash young outlaw who saved his life, and Rowan, the beautiful warrior maiden promised to him since birth. Surrounded by spies and traitors, Maric must find a way to not only survive but achieve his ultimate destiny: Ferelden’s freedom and the return of his line to the stolen throne.

Despite its having William Dufris as a narrator, and its having airships, I’m still not 100% convinced I want to listen to…

TANTOR MEDIA - The Dream Of Perpetual Motion by Dexter PalmerThe Dream Of Perpetual Motion
By Dexter Palmer; Read by William Dufris
11 CDs or 2 MP3-CDs – Approx. 14 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Media
Published: March 16, 2010
ISBN: 9781400114962 (cd), 9781400164967 (mp3-cd)
Imprisoned aboard a zeppelin that floats above a city reminiscent of those of the classic films Metropolis and Brazil, the greeting card writer Harold Winslow is composing his memoirs. His companions are the only woman he has ever loved, who has gone insane, and the cryogenically frozen body of her father, the devilish genius who drove her mad. The tale of Harold’s decades-long thwarted love is also one in which he watches technology transform his childhood home from a mere burgeoning metropolis to a waking dream, in which the well-heeled have mechanical men for servants, deserted islands can exist within skyscrapers, and the worlds of fairy tales can be built from scratch. And as he heads toward a final, desperate confrontation with the mad inventor, he discovers that he is an unwitting participant in the creation of the greatest invention of them all—the perpetual motion machine.

Posted by Jesse Willis

CBC: Writers And Company: Hodd by Adam Thorpe (a reimaginaing of Robin Hood)

March 27, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

CBC Radio One - Writers And CompanyHost Eleanor Wachtel, of CBC’s Writers And Company, interviewed novelist Adam Thorpe in a fascinating podcast from January 31, 2010. Here’s the show description:

“From the Middle Ages to the 21st century, the legend of Robin Hood has fascinated us. England’s Adam Thorpe subverts the myth in his new novel, Hodd.”

Wachtel elicits a brief history of Robin Hood from Thorpe. He talks about the 1950s black and white TV version The Adventures Of Robin Hood (and it’s McCarthy-era fleeing writers), Sir Walter Scott‘s portrayal of Hood as a kind of proto-socialist, the Roger Lancelyn Green version, as well as the scholarly historical possibilities as dug up by J.C. Holt. Thorpe seems to have also taken equal inspiration for Hodd from the monsters of 20th century politics. Wachtel is one of the finest interviewers on radio.

As is quite typical with my consumption of the CBC’s Writers And Company podcast, I was listening to an older (dropped from the feed) episode. This means if you, just now, have subscribed to the official CBC feed you wouldn’t be find it available at all. But, thanks to some skillful web-fu, I’ve sussed out the still available (though hidden) |MP3|. Enjoy!

Here’s the first episode of The Adventures of Robin Hood Ep. 01 (The Coming Of Robin Hood):And here’s the trailer for the upcoming Ridley Scott version of Robin Hood:

Posted by Jesse Willis

P.S. J. Michael Straczynski’s radio drama series The Adventures Of Apocalypse Al is still being suppressed by CBC Radio. What a pity!

Commentary: Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe

February 3, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Commentary 

SFFaudio Commentary

Speaking of Sir Walter Scott and Ivanhoe… I’ve been much into Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe over the last six months. I’ve watched three different video adaptations. One was a theatrical version from the 1950s, one was a TV movie from the early 80s and one a TV miniseries from just a few years ago. I am currently re-reading the black and white comic book adaptation by Pocket Classics and I’ve also snagged the audiobook from LibriVox.

LIBRIVOX - Ivanhoe by Sir Walter ScottIvanhoe
By Sir Walter Scott; Read by various
44 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 19 Hours 25 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: June 09, 2009
The fortunes of the son of a noble Saxon family in Norman England as he woos his lady, disobeys his father, and is loved by another. Set in late 12C England and in Palestine with Richard Cœur-de-Lion at the Crusades.

Podcast feed: http://librivox.org/bookfeeds/ivanhoe-by-sir-walter-scott.xml

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

[Thanks also to Annise and Snemand]

Besides being a rollicking adventure, a heartfelt romance, a rough history lesson and a plea for peace between Christians and Jews, Ivanhoe is also a series of fun etymological English lessons. Consider, the first few sentences of the novel’s dialogue. Ivanhoe begins with a conversation between two Saxon slaves:

“The swine turned Normans to my comfort!” quoth Gurth; “expound that to me, Wamba, for my brain is too dull, and my mind too vexed, to read riddles.”

“Why, how call you those grunting brutes running about on their four legs?” demanded Wamba.

“Swine, fool, swine,” said the herd, “every fool knows that.”

“And swine is good Saxon,” said the Jester; “but how call you the sow when she is flayed, and drawn, and quartered, and hung up by the heels, like a traitor?”

“Pork,” answered the swine-herd.

“I am very glad every fool knows that too,” said Wamba, “and pork, I think, is good Norman-French; and so when the brute lives, and is in the charge of a Saxon slave, she goes by her Saxon name; but becomes a Norman, and is called pork, when she is carried to the Castle-hall to feast among the nobles; what dost thou think of this, friend Gurth, ha?”

Above Gurth (the fool) explains to Wamba (the swineherd) the logic behind calling meat that’s still on the hoof and meat that’s on the table by two different English words. “Swine” is the Saxon word for pig and “porc” [pork] is the Norman [French] word for pig. Soon after this scene these two Saxon slaves are confronted by troupe of Norman knights who proceed to turn one of Wamba’s Saxon swine into proper Norman pork.

The novel features plenty of back and forth. Indeed the more I think about it, the more I think classic Doctor Who took it’s pacing from Ivanhoe what with folks: being kidnapped, ransomed, dressing in disguise, falling in love with their enemies, forgiving each other, and fighting in chivalric combat. There are plenty of villains too. With an unforgiving father, a witch-smelling warrior-priest [those pesky Knights Templar], an ignoble Norman nobleman (who redeems himself in the end), a kvetching Jew and his fetching Jewess daughter. Yeah, I love this story!

Here’s a cross section of the different audiobook versions of this influential 19th century novel:

Dove Audio - Ivanhoe by Sir Walter ScottIvanhoe
By Sir Walter Scott; Read by David Warner
4 Cassettes – Approx. 6 Hours [ABRIDGED]
Publisher: Dove Audio (NewStar Media)
Published: 1997
ISBN: 9780787110635


Naxos Audio - Ivanhoe by Sir Walter ScottIvanhoe
By Sir Walter Scott; Read by Jonathan Oliver
2 CDs – Approx. 2 Hours 39 Minutes [ABRIDGED]
Publisher: Naxos Audiobooks
Published: 1994
ISBN: 9626340258


Blackstone Audio - Ivanhoe by Sir Walter ScottIvanhoe
By Sir Walter Scott; Read by Frederick Davidson
14 Cassettes – Approx. 20.4 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: 1998
ISBN: 9780786195718


Ivanhoe [Parts 1 and 2]
By Sir Walter Scott; Read by Jim Killavey
14 Cassettes – Approx. 21 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Books On Tape / Jimcin Editions
Published: 1986
ISBN: 9780786195718

Brilliance Audio - Ivanhoe by Sir Walter ScottIvanhoe
By Sir Walter Scott; Read by Michael Page
CDs or MP3-CD – Approx. Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: 2005
ISBN: 9781597370097 (cd), 1597370118 (mp3-cd)


HarperCollons Audio - Ivanhoe by Sir Walter ScottIvanhoe
By Sir Walter Scott; Read by
Brian Cox
2 Cassettes – Approx. 3 Hours 7 Minutes [ABRIDGED]
Publisher: HarperCollins Audio
Published: 1992, 1996
ISBN: 0001049283


Ivanhoe And The Lists Of Ashby
By Sir Walter Scott; Read by Doughlas Fairbanks Jr.
2 33 1/3 RPM LP Records – [ABRIDGED]
Publisher: Caedmon
Published: 1977

Highbridge Audio - Ivanhoe by Sir Walter ScottIvanhoe
By Sir Walter Scott; Read by Ronald Pickup
2 Cassettes – [ABRIDGED]
Publisher: HighBridge Audio
Published: 1997
ISBN: 1565112113

And here’s a peek at the Pocket Classics edition (ISBN: 0883017393):

POCKET CLASSICS - Ivanhoe Pages 6 and 7

I wonder why there isn’t an audio drama version.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Sir Walter Scott Prize

February 3, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: News 

SFFaudio News

Ivanhoe by Sir Walter ScottA neat story from The Guardian this morning:

He is seen as the father of the historical novel, so it’s perhaps only fitting that a new literary prize honouring the genre is to be launched in the name of Sir Walter Scott.

The £25,000 award is being set up by the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch, whose ancestors were closely linked to Scott. They hope the award will help to “properly honour” the author’s “immense achievements”, and “place as one of the world’s most influential novelists”.

Find the whole story |HERE|.

I recall an attempted read of Ivanhoe when I was but a wee man. A quick search for some Sir Walter Scott audio shows that Librivox is on the case.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Naxos Audiobooks: essays from A UNIVERSE OF BOOKS

October 6, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Naxos AudiobooksNaxos Audiobooks produces quite a few abridged novels. I’m not a fan of that. But I am a fan about pretty much everything else they do – including the fact that they pick excellent narrators and research their subject, books, extremely well.

Take for example these AMAZING essays that Naxos has commissioned. All come from a book called:

A Universe of Books: Readings in World Literature by Peter Whitfield

They are both highly informative and brilliantly written. Have a listen for yourself…

Bram Stoker’s Dracula |MP3|

Dante’s Divine Comedy |MP3|

Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe |MP3|

Homer’s Odyssey |MP3|

James Boswell’s The Life of Samuel Johnson |MP3|

The rest of the essays, on books (not yet) under discussion here on SFFaudio.com, can be found HERE.

Posted by Jesse Willis

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