Max Warp

October 28, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio
BBC Radio 7 - BBC7Doctor Who: Max Warp
Full cast audio drama
Stars Paul McGann and Sheridan Smith
Written by Jonathan Morris
Directed by Barnaby Edwards
Produced by Big Finish Productions
52 minutes

Just heard this on BBC7 and it’s really fun so I thought I’d better post it before it slips away. (Since it already aired last Sunday, oops, it’s only available until November 1, so get cracking!)

Max Warp is a sort of Agatha Christie style murder mystery (eh, well, you’ll see…hear) that crosses paths with Douglas Adams (with one or two direct references as well) and then ends up in Doctor Who’s lap. Terrible sentence I know but where this tale takes place is probably the most fun part.  Here’s the skinny from the Big Finish page:

Broadcasting live from the Sirius Inter-G Cruiser Show. Hosted by outspoken columnist and media personality Geoffrey Vantage, with spaceship-guru-extraordinaire O’Reilley and daredevil pilot Timbo ‘the Ferret’…When a test flight of the new Kith Sunstorm ends in disaster, the Sirius Exhibition Station is plunged into a web of murder and intrigue. Someone – or something – is trying to re-ignite a war between the Varlon Empire and the Kith Oligarchy…only two investigators, the Doctor and Lucie, can hope to uncover the truth.

And so it goes, and I’d love to tell you more about this story but that would be spoiling things.  Listen to Max Warp yourself.  You can do so right now by clicking here!

Posted by RC of RTSF

BBC7 presents: Down and Safe (Blake’s 7)

August 26, 2008 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Audio Drama 

SFFaudio Online Audio

BBC Radio 7 - BBC7

Down and Safe: A Celebration of Blake’s 7
Presented by fan Mitch Benn.
Airdate: August 25, 2008 (aired 3 times).

Holy moly, I was busy and away and almost missed this excellent radio retrospective of Blake’s 7. (Fortunately for all of us, it is still available to listen to -see below.) Clocking in at three hours, Down and Safe covers the whole shebang, from the groundbreaking and influential late 70’s television series to the latest version reimagined and presented as audio drama, with clips and snippets and informed commentary and…

…And, speaking of audio drama, well, check out the BBC7 blurb: The BBC 7 bank holiday rebellion starts with the history and rebirth of a sci-fi classic, with episodes including The Syndleton Experiment (1999), Liberator (2007) and When Vila Met Gan (2008).

Yep, you heard right. Three complete full cast audio plays -they form the bulk of the show; three different and very entertaining takes on the Blake’s 7 universe that you shouldn’t miss (unless you have a very good excuse like, say, hives). So, space science fiction luvvers everywhere, be sure to check out Down and Safe here, here, here (RealPlayer required) or here (webpage – RealPlayer required) through Sunday, August 31!

Posted by RC of RTSF

Review of Now and Forever by Ray Bradbury

August 21, 2008 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Science Fiction Audiobook - Now and Forever by Ray BradburyNow and Forever
By Ray Bradbury; Read by Paul Hecht
4 CDs – 4.75 hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Recorded Books
Published: 2008
ISBN: 9781428198258
Themes: / Fantasy / Collection / Novella / Small town / Nostalgia / Starship / Aliens / Telepathy /

In some ways the most interesting part of the two novellas that make up this book are Ray Bradbury’s introductions. He explains that both “Somewhere the Band is Playing” and “Leviathan ‘99” have their origins in his long ago days as a Hollywood screenwriter. These explanations hang on in the listener’s mind and provide insights and color for the stories that follow.

“Somewhere the Band is Playing” evokes the memories of the idyllic towns that Bradbury loves to write about, a la “Mars is Heaven” in The Martian Chronicles. One wonders if this bucolic turn-of-the-20th-century setting has its roots in his own youth in Waukegan, Illinois. The story is told by James Cardiff, a reporter who awakens one morning mysteriously drawn to Summerton, Arizona, which does not appear on the map although the train stops there. As he explores the town he finds it is full of mysteries that seemingly defy explanation such as adult inhabitants, but no children; a graveyard, but no dates of death on the tombstones. This story gently invites the listener to consider questions of immortality, paradise, and the consequences of our choices.

Moby Dick was the inspiration for “Leviathan ‘99”. In Bradbury’s tale, the white whale has become a huge comet, Ishmael is a young astronaut, Queequeg is a mind-reading alien, and Captain Ahab a nameless starship captain who is madly pursuing his nemesis after their original encounter left him blind. Ray Bradbury is known for his love of words which comes through strongly in in the Shakespearean-like soliloquies through which The Captain shows his descent into madness. I especially liked the use of Quell the mind-reader to show us The Captain’s true frame of mind when he was elsewhere. Even the reader who has barely a speaking acquaintance with Moby Dick will appreciate the parallels that Bradbury employs and thrill to the question of how he will choose to end the story.

Neither of these stories has the depth of Ray Bradbury’s great works such as Something Evil This Way Comes or Fahrenheit 451. However, they are novellas and perhaps it may be better to compare them to his short stories. On a first listening, they left me rather flat, wondering, “Is that all there is?” However, further contemplation made it obvious that there is a common theme of man’s blindness, the wonders that are just within reach, and the consequences of our choices. I would not recommend these as a first outing for someone who hasn’t read Bradbury before but to the reader who already appreciates this author, they have much to recommend them.

Paul Hecht’s narration is perfect and his ability to voice characters is exceptional. It is a mystery to me how such a deep voice can portray a woman so well without using falsetto or sounding ridiculous but Hecht does it with little effort. His characters spring to life within the listener’s mind and add depth to the story.

Highly recommended for those who enjoy Ray Bradbury’s writing.

Posted by Julie D.

ed. – This is our first review of an audiobook from the new Sci-Fi imprint from Recorded Books. Click here for a look of what’s coming up from this imprint, which is shaping up to be a fine selection from the literary end of science fiction and fantasy.