Blake’s 7 The Audio Adventures update

May 26, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Blake's 7 Audio AdventuresBlake’s 7 The Audio Adventures series, now streaming exclusively on the Sci-Fi Channel UK website, has been pumping out their short audio drama segments at a delightfully quick pace. Added to the cast, in the more recent episodes, has been Robin Of Sherwood alumnus, Michael Praed. The total run for this show is going to be 36 segments, with new parts released Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

Rebel – Chapter 1: Hard Targets
By Ben Aaronovitch; Performed by a full cast
Streaming Audio – 7 Minutes [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Sci-Fi Channel UK
Published: May 2007

Rebel – Chapter 2: Enemy Of The State
By Ben Aaronovitch; Performed by a full cast
Streaming Audio – 9 Minutes [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Sci-Fi Channel UK
Published: May 2007

Rebel – Chapter 3: First Contact
By Ben Aaronovitch; Performed by a full cast
Streaming Audio – 7.5 Minutes [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Sci-Fi Channel UK
Published: May 2007

Rebel – Chapter 4: The Derelict
By Ben Aaronovitch; Performed by a full cast
Streaming Audio – 7 Minutes [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Sci-Fi Channel UK
Published: May 2007

Rebel – Chapter 5: No Surrender
By Ben Aaronovitch; Performed by a full cast
Streaming Audio – 6 Minutes [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Sci-Fi Channel UK
Published: May 2007

Rebel – Chapter 6: Plan B
By Ben Aaronovitch; Performed by a full cast
Streaming Audio – 6 Minutes [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Sci-Fi Channel UK
Published: May 2007

Rebel – Chapter 7: Space Fall
By Ben Aaronovitch; Performed by a full cast
Streaming Audio – 5 minutes 30 Seconds Minutes [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Sci-Fi Channel UK
Published: May 2007

Rebel – Chapter 8: Survivors
By Ben Aaronovitch; Performed by a full cast
Streaming Audio – 7 Minutes 30 Seconds [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Sci-Fi Channel UK
Published: May 2007

Rebel – Chapter 9: Tertiary Stage
By Ben Aaronovitch; Performed by a full cast
Streaming Audio – 6 Minutes 30 Seconds [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Sci-Fi Channel UK
Published: May 2007

Rebel – Chapter 10: Hero
By Ben Aaronovitch; Performed by a full cast
Streaming Audio – 6 Minutes [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Sci-Fi Channel UK
Published: May 2007

Rebel – Chapter 11: The Offer
By Ben Aaronovitch; Performed by a full cast
Streaming Audio – 7 Minutes [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Sci-Fi Channel UK
Published: May 2007

Rebel – Chapter 12: Exiles
By Ben Aaronovitch; Performed by a full cast
Streaming Audio – 6 Minutes [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Sci-Fi Channel UK
Published: May 2007

Resonance FMAlso, Resonance FM, a community based radio station in London, U.K., has a lengthy “behind the scenes” style interview with the creators of the Blake’s 7 The Audio Adventures. It was recorded at this year’s Bristol international Comic Expo. U.S.A. audio drama creators will be extremely jealous of the obvious popularity of audio drama in the U.K.. Not mentioned in the interview, but also fascinating, is that the actors union in the U.K. has negotiated a precedent setting contract with the B7 Audio Adventures team. Have a listen |MP3|.

The NEW Blake’s 7 Audio Drama IS HERE!

May 8, 2007 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Online Audio 

Doctor Who television series screenwriter Ben Aaronovitch has written in to say: “The first chapters of the B7 Audio are now being streamed off the SciFi Channel UK site.” Ben is the author of this Blake’s 7 revival, and the first three chapters of his series are available for streaming listening RIGHT NOW! Here are the details…

Blake's 7 The Audio Adventures

Blake's 7 Audio AdventuresBlake’s 7 The Audio Adventures is based on the original Blake’s 7 television series that aired between 1978 and 1981 in the UK. It is set a few hundred years in the future and follows the exploits of revolutionary Rog Blake as he leads his band of reluctant rebels against the forces of the totalitarian Earth Federation. The Federation rules Earth and numerous other planets in our galaxy with brute military force, mass surveillance, brainwashing, blackmail, and drugs. Framed as a child molester Blake is sentenced to a penal planet, but he and his fellow prisoners escape and find a tool that just might even the odds for the oppressed masses. Its very much Robin Hood in space, created by the man who invented the Daleks! The B7 universe is full of strong characters, hard-boiled morality and a general melancholic tone. I love this stuff!

The Sci-Fi Channel’s site suggests you use Internet Explorer 7 to listen in-browser. But it seems to work just fine with my Firefox 2.0.0.3. I’ve heard the first three chapters, and these three parts race through the plot of the first and second episode of the television series. This is quality audio drama folks.

Rebel – Chapter 1: Hard Targets
By Ben Aaronovitch; Performed by a full cast
Streaming Audio – 7 Minutes [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Sci-Fi Channel UK
Published: May 2007

Rebel – Chapter 2: Enemy Of The State
By Ben Aaronovitch; Performed by a full cast
Streaming Audio – 9 Minutes [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Sci-Fi Channel UK
Published: May 2007

Rebel – Chapter 3: First Contact
By Ben Aaronovitch; Performed by a full cast
Streaming Audio – 7.5 Minutes [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Sci-Fi Channel UK
Published: May 2007

Review of Mazer in Prison by Orson Scott Card

October 17, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

Science Fiction Audiobook - Mazer in Prison by Orson Scott CardMazer In Prison
By Orson Scott Card; Read by Stefan Rudnicki
1 MP3 FILE – 1 Hour 2 Minutes 10 Seconds [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show
Published: Oct. 15th 2005
Themes: / Science Fiction / Spaceships / War /

Prolific science fiction author Orson Scott Card has launched a new online fiction magazine entitled Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, the first issue of which includes an audio edition of Mazer In Prison, a terrific short story set in the “Enderverse” (stories that have sprung from the novel Ender’s Game). But before I tell you how much I liked this story… I’ll have to tell you my biggest concern about it – you shouldn’t read this story before you’ve read either Ender’s Game or Ender’s Shadow if you do you are in for spoilers. Now on to the spoilers….

IGMS LogoTrapped aboard a tiny starship traveling near lightspeed on a parabolic course designed to preserve him for a future battle Admiral Mazer Rackam, hero of the Bugger war, uses all the weapons he has to fight the most insidious enemy of them all – Earth’s bureaucracy. This is a neat little branch off of the Ender’s Game tree. Card knows how to write canny characters who even when they guess wrong guess smartly. The events of this tale happen before both Ender’s Game and Ender’s Shadow (two novels which mirror each other) what is particularly neat about this tale is that it “fills in the corners” as the Hobbits say, giving us just that much more of a delicious dish we so enjoyed. Hopefully this will be the first of many audio delectables coming from Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show.

And hopefully will we see reader Stefan Rudnicki reading them. Rudnicki, who is ably helming the Audio Renaissance’s series of audiobooks set in the “Enderverse” also reads Mazer In Prison in the convivial way he reads every audiobook. He’s scary in the scary bits and cute in the cute bits. Mazer In Prison is a cool story well told.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Ender’s Game: Special 20th Anniversary Edition by Orson Scott Card

September 28, 2005 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Reviews, SFFaudio essential 

Science Fiction Audiobooks - Ender's Game by Orson Scott CardEnder’s Game: Special 20th Anniversary Edition
By Orson Scott Card; Read by Stefan Rudnicki, Harlan Ellison, Gabrielle de Cuir, David Birney and a FULL CAST
9 CDs – 10.5 hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Audio Renaissance
Published: 2004
ISBN: 1593974744
Themes: / Science Fiction / War / Children / Military / Politics / Spaceships / Space Station / Aliens /

Andrew ‘Ender’ Wiggin isn’t just playing games at Battle School; he and the other children are being tested and trained in Earth’s attempt to find the military genius that the planet needs in its all-out war with an alien enemy. Ender Wiggin is six years old when his training begins. He will grow up fast. Ender’s two older siblings, Peter and Valentine, are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world–if the world survives.

Many male children covet uniforms and the manly art of war – and on the surface that is what Ender’s Game appears to be about, a wish-fulfillment novel for the pre-teen set. But it isn’t only that. Science Fiction is an accumulative literature, perhaps more so than any other kind. Good creations stick in SF and accumulate and grow. Robots once invented, need not be reinvented. Faster than light travel, time travel or Asimov’s “three laws” are tools which once created need not be ignored as outside the scope of another SF novel, quite the contrary in fact. Simply ask yourself; in what other literature could a constructed story device like an “ansible” (invented by Ursula K. Le Guin in 1966 but used in Ender’s Game) be mentioned without renaming it? But it is not just the story props that SF shares, the concepts and themes of science fiction can never be fully appreciated in isolation. Every science fiction story is in dialogue with another.

Ender’s Game is especially engaged with two other superlative science fiction novels that preceded it, namely Robert A. Heinlein’s Starship Troopers and Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War, and like those two masterpieces of science fiction Ender’s Game has something new and unique to say. Whereas Starship Troopers can be viewed as the relationship between a teenager’s individualism and his relationship to society (a neo-Hobbesian social contract concept typical of mid-career Heinlien), and The Forever War as a discussion of that same relationship but with a college aged young man and his more skeptical worldview (the post Vietnam influence) Ender’s Game engages neither an adult’s nor a teen’s relationship to his society its war. Instead Ender’s Game is that relationship from a child’s perspective. It is also, paradoxically, not a grunt’s view of a war, as was the case with both Heinlein’s and Haldeman’s novels, but rather is about how the supreme commander of an interstellar war is created.

Orson Scott Card has not ignored the disconnect between a child’s desire to play at war and the brutal cost of killing, and the burden of ultimate responsibility. We primarily follow Ender and his classmates as they train to command Earth’s military in a genocidal war against a hostile alien threat, but the parallel story of his two siblings back on Earth compels equally. Each character in this novel is in a chess match of emotional and philosophical conflict with one another and their society. There are a few better hard science fiction stories, and a few better soft science fiction stories, but there are fewer science fiction stories as well constructed and emotionally satisfying as this one.

The 20th anniversary of the novel’s re-publication brought about this audiobook. It is regrettable that the cover art of this edition is as generic as it is because the folks at Audio Renaissance have quite literally have brought greatness to the text. They’ve included an introduction and a postscript read by Card himself, both of which place the novel and the audiobook in its context as well as enlightening us to the author’s method of its construction. Multiple readers lead by Stefan Rudnicki work perfectly to vocally illustrate each chapter, character and scene. Stefan Rudnicki, Harlan Ellison, Gabrielle De Cuir, David Birney and the rest of the readers have given us an audiobook perfectly rendered. In what is the pattern for the Enderverse novels adapted for Audio Renaissance readers trade off at the ends of chapters, and when two unplaced voices are unattributed – except by what they actually say – two actors engage in conversation. Multi voiced readings have never been better.

And so it is with great pleasure that we enter this Special 20th Anniversary edition of Ender’s Game as the first into the ranks of the SFFaudio Essential audiobooks.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein

June 3, 2003 by · 8 Comments
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein
Themes: Science Fiction / Politics / War / Military / Spaceships

“The historians can’t seem to settle whether to call this one ‘The Third Space War’ (or the fourth), or whether ‘The First Interstellar War’ fits better. We just call it ‘The Bug War.’ Everything up to then and still later were ‘incidents,’ ‘patrols’ or ‘police actions.’ However, you are just as dead if you buy the farm in an ‘incident’ as you are if you buy it in a declared war…”
-excerpt from Starship Troopers

Written fewer than 15 years after the end of World War II, Starship Troopers (originally titled “Starship Soldier” for its first incarnation in Fantasy & Science Fiction Magazine’s Oct & Nov issues of 1959) was to have been another of Heinlein’s beloved juvenile novels. Its content and far-reaching exploration of the society made it instead into the classic of hard science fiction it has become.

Starship Troopers won of the Hugo Award for 1959. It is the story of Juan “Johnny” Rico, recent high school graduate and new recruit to the Mobile Infantry, a futuristic paratrooper force which only takes the best. Just as Juan is ready to wash-out in shame, war is declared, and it’s up to Rico and the Roughnecks to mop up a little bug problem. J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of The Rings inspired hundreds of novels and revitalized modern fantasy storytelling. Similarly, Robert A. Heinlein’s Starship Troopers probably influenced more Science Fiction readers than any other novel of the last half of the 20th century. Spawning more imitators than was probably wise and even inspiring a whole sub genre of Science Fiction called “Military SF”. As with The Lord of the Rings the original inspired so many imitators for a good reason. It was a REALLY REALLY GOOD READ! Starship Troopers is spectacular SF. Semper mobilius.

The Recorded Books version.
Read by George Wilson
7 Cassettes – 9.75 hours, UNABRIDGED
Publisher: Recorded Books
Date Published: 1998

Its cover features original commisioned art, the library binding, available for additional cost, is of the durable vinyl clamshell type which makes for attractive and secure storage of tapes. Unlike the Blackstone Audiobooks version, there is very little extra material in the introduction and this is a disappointment. But, in its favor, it does include every word of the text and for that I am very pleased. In comparison to the superb Blackstone Audiobooks narration read by the gifted Lloyd James, George Wilson stacks up quite well, reading with obvious gusto. But if you were to twist my arm I’d still have to say in this case the Recorded Books edition is the lesser of the two.

The Blackstone Audiobooks version.
Read by Lloyd James
7 Cassettes – 9.75 hours, UNABRIDGED

Like all of Blackstone’s productions this one comes in a library style clamshell binding, which makes for attractive and secure storage of tapes. Its cover features the handsome art from 1987 ACE paperback release (the signature cover). And this superb production includes every single word in the book, including the teaser back cover, something I regard as akin to a necessary extra.

Lloyd James is terrific as the narrator, able to infuse his voice with the wide-eyed innocence of Rico and gruffness of Sgt. Zim. James’ is a voice you can count on, and this is an absolutely fabulous audiobook, and to my ears, the definitive version. So come on you apes pop a tape in and get listnin’.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Bonus:

Starship Troopers #LEGOized by me

LEGO Starship Troopers

Review of Double Star by Robert A. Heinlein

April 25, 2003 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Double Star by Robert A. Heinlein; Read by Lloyd James
5 Cassettes – 7.5 hours [UNABRIDGED]
Blackstone Audiobooks
Date Published: 1999
List Price: USD $39.95 – IN PRINT
ISBN: 0786117451
Themes: Science Fiction / Sci-Fi / Fantasy / Mystery / Pulp / Politics / Mars / Spaceships / Acting / Theatre / Shakespeare

One minute, down and out actor Lorenzo Smythe was – as usual – in a bar, drinking away his troubles as he watched his career go down the tubes. Then a space pilot bought him a drink, and the next thing Smythe knew, he was shanghaied to Mars. Suddenly he found himself agreeing to the most difficult role of his career: impersonating an important politician who had been kidnapped. Peace with the Martians was at stake – failure to pull off the act could result in interplanetary war. And Smythe’s own life was on the line – for if he wasn’t assassinated, there was always the possibility that he might be trapped in his new role forever!

Some Heinlein readers believe that the philosophy in Starship Troopers was Heinlein’s personal philosophy. They’re wrong. Heinlein’s primary philosophy was to provoke thought by explicating political consequences of certain philosophies… and to be entertaining doing it. Double Star proves this emphatically, presenting a completely different political system than Starship Troopers. The plot is a well known one. As old as the fairy tale The Prince and The Pauper, The Prisoner of Zenda or The Man In The Iron Mask; As new as the Hollywood movie Dave (1994) starring Kevin Kline.

This unabridged audiobook has so much more: Interplanetary space travel, alien contact and political upheaval. But it also has a fully realized political system, political campaigns, theory of government, theory of acting, kidnapping, murder, dirty tricks and its a mystery! There really is no better science fiction writer than Robert A. Heinlein. There are other great books by other great writers but none is as great as the dean of science fiction RAH. The reason? Simply put, he tells damn fine stories and does so constantly. This novel is a great example of just that. With a wild premise and a somewhat divergent plot (from Heinlein’s various themes) it tells an implausible story plausibly with emotional impact. This book won a Hugo award for 1956 (Heinlein’s first) and deserved it. It’s a fun ride and highly enjoyable. Pop it in your cassette deck and enter a different world.

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