Review of Silence Please by Arthur C. Clarke

March 31, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
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SFFaudio Review

Finis! Happy Birthday to us!

Science Fiction Audiobooks - Earthlight and Other Stories by Arthur C. ClarkeSilence Please
Contained in Earthlight and Other Stories: The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke 1950-1951
By Arthur C. Clarke; Read by Various
Publisher: Phoenix Books
Published: 2010
Themes: / Science Fiction / Pubs / Sound / Opera / Physics /

What is it about a good pub that makes it such a good place to tell a story? Spider Robinson’s Callahan says “Shared pain is lessened; shared joy, increased.” That’s a good enough reason for me. Someone line me up with a pint, and one for my friend Spider. Let’s see who comes along.

“Silence Please” is Arthur C. Clarke’s first White Hart story of the fifteen that were later collected as The Tales of the White Hart. After the unnamed main character tells us of his surroundings (and how difficult this pub called The White Hart is to find), Harry Purvis sidles up to tell the tale of The Felton Silencer, a device that uses noise-canceling technology to deaden sound over a large area. The best use for such an engineering marvel? Revenge, of course!

The physics behind The Felton Silencer are explained fully. Never has an info dump been more entertaining! And the results make me eye those noise-canceling headphones suspiciously. Best use them only for emergencies.

The presentation is superior – Christopher Cazenove gives this one a dramatic read that comes off like a great British comedy.

A long while ago, Fantastic Audio published a series of audiobooks that contained all of the stories in The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke, a huge collection of Clarke’s short fiction that was published (appropriately enough) in 2001. Phoenix Books is now re-issuing these audiobooks on Audible, at excellent prices. The Earthlight and Other Stories (1950-1951) collection is a great one to start with because in addition to this White Hart story, “The Sentinel” (which later inspired 2001: A Space Odyssey), “Time’s Arrow”, and “Earthlight” are there, too.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Selected Radiophonic Works

December 19, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
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SFFaudio Online Audio

BBC Radio 7 - BBC7 Selected Radiophonic Works
BBC Radiophonic Workshop
Saturday, Dec. 20
8pm & 3am GMT

A selection of programmes showcasing the work of the Radiophonic Workshop, which provided music and sound for many BBC (radio & TV) programmes. Includes The Dreams, The Goons and Bath Time.

Most will be familiar with the Radiophonic Workshop’s Doctor Who theme, as well as sfx work for Doctor Who and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy radio and television series.

Note: Selected Radiophonic Works will be available online for six days, through Dec. 26.

Posted by RC of Radio Tales of the Strange & Fantastic

Review of Soundings by Jeff Green

October 11, 2004 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

Review

Audio drama - Soundings by Jeff GreenSoundings
Radio drama by Jeff Green
1 MP3-CD – 7.75 hours [AUDIO DRAMA]
ISBN: 0788763334
Date Published: 1998
Themes: / Science Fiction / Fantasy / Radio drama / Private Investigator / Atlantis / Christmas / Vigilante / Psychiatry / Plague / Sound /

Jeff Green has really created something special here. Included in Soundings are eleven full cast radio dramas. The stories are very good, and the sound? Fantastic. Green really knows how to tell stories in this medium. Sound is used to excellent effect – it is not there to enhance the story in many cases, it is a vital part of the story itself. In “Somebody Talking To You”, voices heard through the media have effects on people. The sound of those voices stays with me. In “Spaxterback”, a computer creates an image of a person known only through the machine’s memory of past media (comic books, television, etc.). The conversations between computer and Spaxter sound both powerful and intimate. In “Vigilante”, a TV obsessed psychic kills people he’s sees on the news – the sound of him flipping through the channels in search of a victim is disturbing indeed. And in “Flash”, the sound of the characters being shown visions of what might be past lives is mesmerizing.

I enjoyed the stories as well. “Plague”, the story of the survivors of a plague that forces them to live under domes, was a particularly excellent example, though I would have preferred less exposition in the form of news stories (though they were riveting) and a longer drama to tell the story instead. I enjoyed “Spaxterback” which I mentioned earlier, for its dialogue between creator and created. “Psychotherapy” was a twisted pretzel of a horror story made even more enjoyable if you are a fan of Edgar Allen Poe. “Xmas is Coming to the District of Drudge” is an atypical Christmas story that reminds us all to live a little.

The actors did a great job at keeping everything believable, and the music was first-rate. This is some fine storytelling. I really enjoyed it.

Check out Jeff Green’s Stranger Media website for a rich multimedia experience.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson