Review of Edgar Allen Poe Collected Stories and Poems

October 1, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

Poe Stories and PoemsEdgar Allan Poe – Collected Stories and Poems
By Edgar Allen Poe; Performed by Ralph Cosham
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
[UNABRIDGED] – 4 hours
Themes: / short stories / poems / horror / classics/ locked door mystery / suspended animation / mesmerism /
Publisher summary:

Hundreds of books and articles have been written about Edgar Allan Poe. Even so, no one is really sure who Poe was. Many people say that he was as crazy as the characters he wrote about. Others say that Poe was a driven man with a simple wish. He wanted to write and to make a living by his writing. Even though Poe lived a miserable life, he wrote some of the most interesting and original literature ever created. This collection of his stories and poems includes:“The Raven”“The Cask of Amontillado”“The Fall of the House of Usher”“The Pit and the Pendulum”And more!

Table of Contents:
* The Raven
* The Cask of Amontillado
* The Tell-Tale Heart
* The Black Cat
* The Bells
* The Fall of the House of Usher
* Manuscript Found in a Bottle
* The sleeper
* The Man of the Crowd
* The Pit and the Pendulum
* Annabel Lee
* The Man that was Used Up: A Tale of the Late Bugaboo and Kickapoo Campaign
* The System of Dr. Tarr and Prof. Fether
* The Oval Portrait
* Eleonora
* The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar
* Berenice
* The Murders in the Rue Morgue

This Edgar Allan Poe collection is accessible, and leans heavy to the short story with a smattering of poetry. Readers will recognize many of the titles, but some may discover new Poe within this volume.

One of my favorite Poe works to contemplate, “The Cask of Amontillado,” still resonates. Two new pieces that struck a pleasing chord were the poem “The Bells” and the short story “Manuscript Found in a Bottle,” which made me grin in readerly delight. I enjoyed most of the selections, and only a few felt soured with age or redundant verbosity.

The audiobook is both wonderful and slightly choppy. Ralph Cosham is the narrator, and his pacing, his timbre, his ability to capture and project Poe’s atmosphere of the strange and macabre renders an intimate listening experience. But it sounds as if the various pieces were lifted from separate audio productions and then spliced together. I distinctly heard discrepancies between selections in recording clarity, recording volume, and the sense that Cosham’s voice reflected the reader at different ages. In one piece, Cosham sounds like a vigorous young man barely out of his thirty’s; in another his voice sounds as if two decades vanished. You should definitely give this a listen, and come to your own conclusions.

Posted by Casey Hampton.

The SFFaudio Podcast #173 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: A Thousand Deaths by Jack London

August 13, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #173 – A Thousand Deaths by Jack London, read by Julie Hoverson (of 19 Nocturne Boulevard). This is a complete and unabridged reading of the short story (29 Minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Tamahome, Jenny, Julie Hoverson, and Matthew Sanborn Smith

Talked about on today’s show:
Jack London’s first professional sale, “the hirsute fruit”, the LibriVox version, is the protagonist supposed to be female?, “I don’t know what’s real”, a disintegrated Saint Bernard, a Freudian story, The Island Of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells, vivisection on a South Pacific Island, a mad scientist, oedipal literature, London’s own life, H.P. Lovecraft, re-animation, archaic language, Frankenstein, a well educated sailor with an interest in science, obliquely obtuse, The Call Of The Wild, peregrinating, “overly smarty-pantsy”, is it all a dream?, a conscious death, horror, drowned sailors owe their revivers, Poultrygeist, the catalyst event, “an amoral scumbag”, Phineas Gage, blowing smoke up the near drowned, the disintegration door, Doctor Manhattan, Fallout: New Vegas, the disintegration ray, dis-integrate, anti-gravity, electrolysis, synthetic clothing, “animal charcoal”, The Shadow And The Flash is Jack London’s take on The Invisible Man, not just dogs and boats, London’s Polynesian stories, sink the Farallones, San Francisco, suspended animation, chest tampering, death vs. approaching death, drowning vs. poisoning, exploring the boundaries of death, Premature Burial by Edgar Allan Poe, zombies, coffin bells, meteor insurance, “I brought you in [to this world] and I can take you back out”, Bill Cosby, Jack London’s writing voice, action³, verb heavy vibrancy, a raging socialist, is it interesting or is it good?, lockjaw, psychological damage, the ending is ambiguous, a dilettante and a wastrel, do deaths mature you?, an inversion of the prodigal son, what would Eric S. Rabkin say about this story?, time travel, early Stephen King and Ramsey Campbell, H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe -> Fitz-James O’Brien -> Lord Dunsany -> William Hope Hodgson -> Ambrose Bierce, “gonzo”, “where do your ideas come from?”, There’s a Crapp For That, picturemypoo.com, eww, Flatliners, spiritualism vs. materialism, ghosts, patents, olympics, Julie Hoverson’s copyright, patent and trademarks podcast?, shotgun shelled powered battering ram, Julie Hoverson is incredibly busy, thanks Julie!, Jonathan Davis, “don’t surprise the actors”,

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox: The Facts In The Case Of M. Valdemar by Edgar Allan Poe

August 4, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

LibriVoxIn my reading about The Frozen Pirate, back in 2010, I discovered that Edgar Allan Poe’s The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar was possibly the first account of suspended animation.

I normally mention The Case Of M. Valdemar as part of a set lecture I give, explaining to my students why root words are important. I start by asking them if they’ve read any Harry Potter. They usually have, and that’s when I point out that they know, just from the sound of his name, that Voledemort is a bad guy. I point out that J.K. Rowling chose this name carefully, even pointing out that “Voldemort is pronounced with a silent ‘t’ at the end, as is common in French.” I point out that Draco Malfoy’s name too, is just as connotatively powerful. Then I point out that J.K. Rowling didn’t invent these names in a vacuum. I point to Edgar Allan Poe’s The Facts In The Case Of M. Valdemar.

Hypnosis itself is a somewhat mysterious psychological phenomenon. It arose from the proto-psychological work of the 18th century physician Franz Mesmer. For those in the know “mesmerism” and “animal magnetism” had, by the time of Poe, lost most of their occult mystique. But for the general public, even today, there is a left-over supernatural feel – to the phenomenon – owing in part to the the strangeness of the phenomenon itself, and in part to Poe’s stories about it.

Etymologically the word itself, “hypnosis”, takes its name from Greek – “Hypnos” meaning “sleep” and the suffix “-osis” meaning “disorder” or “abnormal state”.

LIBRIVOX - The Facts In The Case Of M. Valdemar by Edgar Allan PoeThe Facts In The Case Of M. Valdemar
By Edgar Allan Poe; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 22 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: August 12, 2009
In an attempt to halt rumors surrounding a widely publicized incident, the author gives the facts about a grisly experiment in mesmerism that he recently conducted. First published in the December 20, 1845, issue of the Broadway Journal.

Here’s a |PDF| version of the story as taken from the April 1926 issue of Amazing Stories (the very first issue).

The Facts In The Case Of M. Valdemar - illustration by Irv Docktor

The Facts In The Case Of M. Valdemar - illustrated by Harry Clarke

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox: The Frozen Pirate by W. Clark Russell

April 28, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

LibriVoxDo you like old books about pirates? What about books about old frozen pirates?

If the answer to those questions is “Yes.” Then we’ve got a great audiobook for you. Here are a couple of reviews, circa 1888, of The Frozen Pirate by W. Clark Russell:

“The most enthralling romance which Mr Clark Russell has written since The Wreck of the Grosvenor There has been no finer story of Antarctic adventure at once so thrilling so strange and so realistic In vivid beauty and effect there are passages transcending anything in The Wreck of the Grosvenor or in The Golden Hope and than this no higher praise could be given It did not need The Frozen Pirate to place Mr Russell indisputably foremost among all living writers of sea life but if there were any lingering doubt this romance would settle the uncertainty.” – Academy

and

“Mr Clark Russell has spun many a good yarn for the delight of landsmen and The Frozen Pirate will rank among the best of them. Vigorous, breezy and healthily exciting the story will be read with keen enjoyment by every one who takes it up.” – Scotsman

Amongst its more ardent fans are:

Dr. John Watson of 221B Baker Street, who can be found reading an 1887 (or earlier) novel by W. Clark Russell in The Five Orange Pips: “Sherlock Holmes sat moodily at one side of the fireplace cross-indexing his records of crime, while I at the other was deep in one of Clark Russell’s fine sea-stories until the howl of the gale from without seemed to blend with the text, and the splash of the rain to lengthen out into the long swash of the sea waves.”

H.P. Lovecraft. His biographer, S.T. Joshi, wrote: “Lovecraft had been fascinated with the Antarctic continent since he was at least 12 years old, when he had written several small treatises on early Antarctic explorers. At about the age of 9, inspired by W. Clark Russell’s 1887 book The Frozen Pirate, Lovecraft had written ‘several yarns’ set in Antarctica.”

And here’s a snippet from a 2002 SFSite.com review by Georges T. Dodds:

“The scenes on the pirate ship are quite gripping and the tension developed when the thawed pirate begins drifting into madness is also very well done. The horror elements are well handled without being over the top, the atmosphere Russell develops in his description of the frozen pirate ship does much more to ‘creep one out’ than any mere description of the dead bodies would have”

Yep, it has all that and a frozen pirate, quickly defrosted, too!

LIBRIVOX - The Frozen Pirate by W. Clark RussellThe Frozen Pirate
By W. Clark Russell; Read by various
32 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 11 Hours 39 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: April 26, 2010
Sailing adventure with storms, icebergs, shipwrecks, treasure, and the reawakening of a pirate frozen in suspended animation for nearly fifty years. First published as a serial in 1887 in “Belgravia, an illustrated London magazine.”

Podcast feed: http://librivox.org/rss/4043

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

[thanks also to Nadine Eckert-Boulet, Jessi and Barry Eads]

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox: Short Science Fiction Collection Vol. 010

May 20, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

LibriVoxHere’s the recently released Short Science Fiction Collection Vol. 010 from LibriVox! I had a chance to listen to most of the stories and I’ve highlighted a few:

1. As Long As You Wish, a cool kind of time travel tale, seems at first to have some volume problems, but it actually doesn’t, it’s a little creative interpretation that will become clear later in the story. The Coming Of The Ice is old, feels old fashioned, but isn’t so dated as to be unreadable. In fact, the story is rather terrific! It feels very much like a H.G. Wells story.

2. The Coming Of The Ice explains the strange and sad fate of a man who undergoes an operation to make him immortal (and sterile). This is a really terrific reading by the English accented Giles Baker (who could have a career in audiobooks ahead of him). The story itself is also significant in another respect – it was the first all new story ever purchased or published in Amazing Stories magazine (the first all-science fiction mag).

3. The Eternal Wall, deals similarly, offering a man another kind of one way trip to the future, this time though, not of his choosing. Speaking of Wells stories, the last tale in this collection is a Wells story – and it feels as close as Herbert George ever came to noir. From the perspective of a noir aficionado, there’s one flaw with it (and with War Of The Worlds for that matter) – in that Wells sets it all up well but he doesn’t have the guts for the all important follow through. But, speaking from a non-noir-loving perspective, it’s a damn fine story – and proves once again that Wells had more original ideas kicking around than almost anybody else before or since. Narrator Gregg Margurite’s setup isn’t perfect, he sounds a little muffled, but his reading voice is very good.

4. The K Factor Also read by Gregg Margurite, with the same setup as with all his recordings, muffled. Margurite has also recorded a full length Harrison Novel Deathworld! Societics is “The applied study of the interaction of individuals in a culture, the interaction of the group generated by these individuals, the equations derived therefrom, and the application of these equations to control one or more factors of this same culture.” It feels as if Harrision had been reading some Isaac Asimov and then Thomas Kuhn had been reading this story.

5. Star Mother while well written, is barely Science Fiction at all, seeing as the events that it reports would be happening mere 2 years after the story was originally published. Unfortunately Janet Moursund’s reading of Star Mother has too many mouse clicks in the recording.

6. Solander’s Radio Tomb is pretty funny, though more than anything else what I took away from it was an even greater fear of legal wills than I already had – if making plans are what make us human then the ability to revoke a plan does also – unfortunately, being dead you aren’t up for revoking much. So ya, I’m afraid of legal wills.

LibriVox - Short Science Fiction Collection Volume #010Short Science Fiction Collection Vol. 010
By various; Read by various
10 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 5 Hours 38 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: February 04, 2009
Science fiction (abbreviated SF or sci-fi with varying punctuation and case) is a broad genre of fiction that often involves sociological and technical speculations based on current or future science and technology. This is a reader-selected collection of short stories that entered the US public domain when their copyright was not renewed.

LibriVox Science Fiction - As Long As You Wish by John O'KeefeAs Long as You Wish
By John O’Keefe; Read by Sean O’Hara
1 |MP3| – Approx. 10 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: February 2008
If, somehow, you get trapped in a circular time system . . . how long is the circumference of an infinitely retraced circle? First published in Astounding Science Fiction, June, 1955.

LibriVox Science Fiction - The Coming Of The Ice by G. Peyton WertenbakerThe Coming of the Ice
By G. Peyton Wertenbaker; Read by Giles Baker
1 |MP3| – Approx. 40 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: February 2008
Strange men these creatures of the hundredth century …
First published in Amazing Stories June 1926, reprinted in Amazing Stories July 1961 with an introduction by Sam Moskowitz.

LibriVox Science Fiction - The Eternal Wall by Raymond Z. GallunThe Eternal Wall
By Raymond Z. Gallun; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 26 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: February 2008
A scream of brakes, the splash into icy waters, a long descent into alkaline depths … it was death. But Ned Vince lived again—a million years later! From Amazing Stories April 1956, first published in Amazing Stories November 1942.

LibriVox Science Fiction - The K-Factor by Harry HarrisonThe K Factor
By Harry Harrison; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 54 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: February 2008
Speed never hurt anybody—it’s the sudden stop at the end. It’s not how much change that signals danger, but how fast it’s changing…. From Analog December 1960.

LibriVox Science Fiction - Lease To Doomsday by Lee ArcherLease To Doomsday
By Lee Archer; Read by Tom Weiss
1 |MP3| – 35 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: February 2008
The twins were a rare team indeed. They wanted to build a printing plant on a garbage dump. When Muldoon asked them why, their answer was entirely logical: “Because we live here.” From Amazing Stories September 1956.

LibriVox Science Fiction - ...Or Your Money Back by Randall Garrett…Or Your Money Back
By Randall Garrett; Read by Tom Weiss
1 |MP3| – Approx. 51 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: February 2008
There are lots of things that are considered perfectly acceptable … provided they don’t work. And of course everyone knows they really don’t, which is why they’re acceptable…. From Astounding Science Fiction, September 1959 (published under the David Gordon pseudonym).

LibriVox Science Fiction - Question Of Comfort by Les CollinsQuestion Of Comfort
By Les Collins; Read by Tom Weiss
1 |MP3| – Approx. 52 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: February 2008
From Amazing Science Fiction Stories March 1959. The Gravity Gang was a group of geniuses—devoting its brilliance to creating a realistic Solar System for Disneyland. That was the story, anyway. No one would have believed all that stuff about cops and robbers from outer space.

LibriVox Science Fiction - Solander's Radio Tomb by Ellis Parker ButlerSolander’s Radio Tomb
By Ellis Parker Butler; Read by qqqsimmons
1 |MP3| – 18 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: February 2008
First published in Amazing Stories June 1927, later in Amazing’s April 1956 issue. “I first met Mr. Remington Solander shortly after I installed my first radio set. I was going in to New York on the 8:15 A.M. train and was sitting with my friend Murchison and, as a matter of course, we were talking radio.”

LibriVox Science Fiction - Star Mother by Robert F. YoungStar Mother
By Robert F. Young; Read by Janet Moursund
1 |MP3| – Approx. 13 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: February 2008
A touching story of the most enduring love in all eternity. From Amazing Stories January 1959.


LibriVox Science Fiction - The Story Of The Late Mr. Elevsham by H.G. WellsStory Of The Late Mr Elvesham
By H.G. Wells; Read by James Christopher
1 |MP3| – Approx. 38 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
“I set this story down, not expecting it will be believed, but, if possible, to prepare a way of escape for the next victim. He, perhaps, may profit by my misfortune. My own case, I know, is hopeless, and I am now in some measure prepared to meet my fate.”

Podcast feed:

http://librivox.org/bookfeeds/short-science-fiction-collection-010.xml

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #008

October 20, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #008 – here there be podcasts – we’ve adorned ourselves in too much gold, now we can’t move! So join us on our 8th show, where we’re always etymologically correct.

Scott: Oh ya right. I just forgot something man. Uh, before we dock, I think we ought to discuss the bonus situation.

Jesse: Right.

Scott: We think… we think we deserve full shares.

Jesse: Right.

Scott: Pass the cornbread.

Topics discussed include:
42Blips.com, METAtropolis, Jay Lake, John Scalzi, Elizabeth Bear, Tobias Buckell, Karl Schroeder, Mr. Spaceship, Philip K. Dick, Stefan Rudnicki, Wonder Audio, Anne McCaffrey, The Ship Who Sang, Michael Hogan, Battlestar Galactica, 18th Century Spain, Cascadia (Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and sometimes Idaho), Detroit, “Turking”, The Turk (the chess playing automaton), alternative economy, Kandyse McClure, infodump, shared world, Brandon Sanderson, hard fantasy, Elantris, Larry Niven, The Magic Goes Away, manna, unicorns, dragons, Dungeons & Dragons, Mistborn, Robert Jordan, The Wheel Of Time, Writing Excuses Podcast, Howard Tayler, SchlockMercenary.com, Dan Wells, The Dark Knight, Aural Noir, The New Adventures Of Mike Hammer, Stacy Keach, Mike Hammer, Full Cast Audio, Red Planet, Robert A. Heinlein, Bruce Coville, Mars, Heinlein’s Future History sequence, the Red Planet TV miniseries, Princess Academy, Shannon Hale, Blackstone Audio, The Collected Stories Of Philip K. Dick Volume 1, and Volume 2, Inferno by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, David Farland, Runelords, Collected Public Domain Works Of H.P. Lovecraft, LibriVox.org, October, Ray Bradbury, “Autumn ennui”, AUTHOR PAGES, LEIGH BRACKETT, FREDERIC BROWN, JAMES PATRICK KELLY, BBC7, RadioArchive.cc, Beam Me Up Podcast, MACK REYNOLDS, Robert Sheckley, Religulous, Constantine’s Sword, The Ultimate Encyclopedia Of Science Fiction: The Definitive illustrated Guide edited by David Pringle, space opera, planetary romance, Julie D., Forgotten Classics podcast, The Wonder Stick, time travel, alien intrusions, metal powers, Slan, The Demolished Man, comedic SF, aliens, artificial intelligence, “cosmic collisions”, Deep Impact, cyborgs, dinosaurs, the dying Earth, Gene Wolfe, elixir of life, immortality, Roger Zelazny, Robert Silverberg, genetic engineering, nuclear war, overpopulation, parallel worlds, robots, androids, Joanna Russ, Ben Bova, space travel, suspended animation, teleportation, transcendence = the Singularity ?, Childhood’s End, Arthur C. Clarke, religion, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Monica Hughes, Crisis On Conshelf Ten, Hard SF, cyberpunk, psychology, New Wave, lost races, military SF, science fantasy, shared worlds, steampunk.

Posted by Jesse Willis

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