Review of The Year’s Top Short SF Novels 6

December 28, 2016 by · Leave a Comment
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SFFaudio Review

The Year's Top Short SF Novels 6The Year’s Top Short SF Novels 6
Edited by Allan Kaster; Narrated by Tom Dheere and Nancy Linari
16 hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Infinivox
Publication Date: December 2016
Themes: / Science Fiction / Novellas / The Moon / Time / Clones / Starships /

The Year’s Top Short SF Novels 6, edited by Allan Kaster, is an audio anthology containing five science fiction novellas from 2015. It’s a diverse, entertaining, and thought-provoking collection, and very well narrated!

Inhuman Garbage by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
I’ve enjoyed Rusch’s Disappeared series since the first novella was published (The Retrieval Artist, 2000). I haven’t the time to keep up with all the novels Rusch has written in the series since but every one I have read has been excellent, including this short one. In a warehouse in a city on the Moon in Rusch’s robust future world, a body has been discovered in a recycling crate. Detective Noelle DeRicci is called in on the case. The story is a perfect blend of SF and mystery fiction.

What Has Passed Shall in Kinder Light Appear by Bao Shu (translated by Ken Liu)
This was an interesting thought experiment. We humans live our lives in a linear fashion, cause preceding effect after effect after effect. The story attempts to portray people living linearly, but in reverse. We see history passing backwards as characters live their lives. Interesting.

The New Mother by Eugene Fischer
Imagine a disease with an effect that allows women to reproduce without men. Offspring are clones, since the genetic material has only one source. Men are no longer part of the process. The idea of men becoming extinct brings past stories to mind, like James Tiptree Jr’s “The Screwfly Solution”. The New Mother is a story that leaves the listener with a lot to think about.

Gypsy by Carter Scholz
I was fascinated by this story about a group of people that decide to take it upon themselves to build a ship, get aboard, and launch to Alpha Centauri. The story is told by various characters who wake up from their long sleeps to do various tasks. How did such a group pull this off? And how far can the group get? Well-written, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Citadel of Weeping Pearls by Aliette de Bodard
There is a lot going on in this novella, the longest in the collection. A rich and interesting culture. Mindships, where minds are installed in and control ships. Uploaded minds of previous emperors that serve as advisors to the current emperor. Terrific. Just a beautiful story.

This anthology is also available as an ebook.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Review of Brad Lansky and the Anti-Starc by J.D. Venne

October 19, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Brad Lansky and the Anti-StarcBrad Lansky and the Anti-Starc
By J.D. Venne; Performed by a full cast
1 Hour 44 Minutes – [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Protophonic
Published: 2010
Themes: / Science Fiction / Hard SF / Audio Drama / Starships / Stars / Artificial Intelligence / Life /

These are troubled times. MARA, the mighty blue supergiant of the Torvus Iubar system is dying, as are the other thirteen ambistars that make up the Ambistar Collective. Billions of lives are in peril. What conceivable force could cause the simultaneous death of fourteen ambistars thousands of light-years apart?

Attention Audiofiles: here is something to sink your ears into. Superior audio design is the hallmark of J.D. Venne’s Brad Lansky audio series, and this latest title (Brad Lansky and the Anti-Starc, the 4th installment) is the best yet. Through rich audio, Venne tells the continuing story of Brad Lansky and his crew, who this time are in search for the cause of the impending destruction of an amazing network of stars.

This audio drama is not your typical fare. The effects, music, and actors combine for an audio experience that reminds me a bit of Meatball Fulton’s Ruby series. Not in subject matter, but in presentation: there and here, the audio is the thing. The sound is as interesting as the story, and Venne’s story is pure hard science fiction. Be sure to use a good set of headphones, and enjoy the ride!

For more info, including samples and purchase data, visit protophonic.net!

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Review of Ender In Exile by Orson Scott Card

January 15, 2009 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Ender in Exile by Orson Scott CardEnder in Exile
By Orson Scott Card; Read by David Birney, Cassandra Campbell, Emily Janice Card, Orson Scott Card, Gabrielle de Cuir, Kirby Heyborne, Don Leslie, Stefan Rudnicki, and Mirron Willis
12 CDs – Approx. 14 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Published: 2008
ISBN: 9781427205124
Themes: / Science Fiction / Colonization / Starships / Religion / Politics / War / Aliens /

Over the last six years or so, Orson Scott Card has had nearly everything he’s written published as an audiobook. His writing is particularly suited to audio; his style is dramatic, clear, and driven by conversations, both internal and external. Card’s storytelling ability is also first rate.

The other half of an audiobook is its presentation, and here Card’s audiobooks also excel. In the Ender and Ender’s Shadow series of audiobooks, Stefan Rudnicki has led a talented crew of narrators in expert productions. Ender in Exile is the ninth novel written in the universe started by Ender’s Game, and all of them have been produced in a similar manner – with multiple narrators that change with shifts in the point of view of the story.

The entire novel takes place between the last two chapters of Ender’s Game. I’ll try not to spoil Ender’s Game for those who haven’t read it, but the main events of that book have finished, and the teenaged Ender Wiggin can not stay on Earth for various and interesting reasons. He is put on a colony ship, and much of the book takes place there. The conflict for him is not over. He’s distrusted by powerful adults, and because of his fame he distrusts the motives of everyone else. He’s still very much alone.

You’d think after four novels about Ender Wiggin that there wouldn’t be anything else to say about him. But Ender in Exile is one of the best novels in the series, mostly because of the insight it provides into the most interesting aspect of Ender Wiggin’s life: his transformation from Battle School student to Speaker for the Dead.

An atypical aspect of this novel is that it is really a sequel to two books: Ender’s Game and Shadow of the Giant. Because of the relativistic effects of space travel, three of the four Shadow novels take place while Ender is en route to his colony. Some of the things that happen in those books affect events in this one.

Despite all that, this book can be read standalone, though a good experience is made even better by knowing the whole story.

And, a bonus mini-review from DanielsonKid: It was very good, but I wouldn’t call it one of his best.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson