Commentary: MP3-CD Audiobooks (old and new)

January 25, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Commentary 

SFFaudio Commentary

The video below is a quick exploration of the MP3-CD audiobook format. It’s my favourite format for physical audiobooks. The packaging is small, the files are ready to be used, and they are cheaper audiobooks than their regular CD equivalent. The only disadvantage to the MP3-CD format is they don’t play on all CD players, and the ones they do play on may limit the volume output.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #068

July 26, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts, Recent Arrivals 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #068 – Scott and Jesse talk about recently arrived audiobooks.

Talked about on today’s show:
Recent arrivals, Penguin Audio, The Books Of Elsewhere: The Shadows by Jacqueline West, The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe, TheBooksOfElsewhere.com, inherited books, The Green Knowe series, kids love series, Nelson DeMille’s The Lion, Lion’s Game, Collected Fictions by Jorge Luis Borges, The Gospel According To Mark by Jorge Luis Borges, Gene Wolfe, George Guidall, Anne McCaffery’s Dragonriders Of Pern: Dragon Girl by Todd McCaffrey, Mexico, Mexico City, “turista”, Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey, the thread threat, the Honor Harrington series, Mission Of Honor by David Weber, Paul W. Campbell, On Basilisk Station by David Weber |READ OUR REVIEW|, Lois McMaster Bujold, Full Cast Audio, The Unicorn Chronicles: Book 4: The Last Hunt by Bruce Coville, Doctor Proctor’s Fart Powder by Jo Nesbo, Mobile Infantry vs. the immobile infantry, re-write Starship Troopers as Warehouse Troopers, Water Steps by A. LaFaye, Sense And Sensibility And Sea Monsters for kids, Spaceship Rat, baby rat trauma, capybara, Brilliance Audio, The Deed Of Paksenarrion: Book 2: Divided Allegiance by Elizabeth Moon, The Sad Tale Of The Brothers Grossbart by Jesse Bulington, The Vampire Earth: Valentine’s Rising by E.E. Knight, space vampires, Graphic Audio, The Immortals: Book 4: The Realms Of The Gods by Tamora Peirce, More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon (read by Stefan Rudnicki and Harlan Ellison), gestalt, fix-up, Baby Is Three by Theodore Sturgeon, Caedmon, H.G. Wells, Microcosmic God by Theodore Sturgeon, Falling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold (read by Grover Gardner), The Reader’s Chair, Falling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold |READ OUR REVIEW|, Paul Is Undead by Alan Goldsher (as read by Simon Vance), zombies, has the public domain classics remixed with supernatural horror jumped the shark?, A Picture Of Dorian’s Gray, Quirk Books, “paranormal romance has got completely out of hand”, Dark Shadows, soap operas, Soap, M*A*S*H, Three’s Company, Bosom Buddies, Blackstone Audio, the Newford series, Widdershins by Charles De Lint, urban fantasy alert, Mindswap by Robert Sheckley, Tom Weiner, Altered Carbon, A Galaxy Trilogy: Volume 3, Giants Of Eternity by Manly Wade Wellman, The War Of The Worlds, “standing on the shoulder of giants”, The Girls With Games Of Blood by Alex Bledsoe, The Return: Book IV of Voyagers by Ben Bova, “sensawunda”, first contact, the Grand Tour series, the Asteroid Wars series, the 2006 Harlan Ellison interview, City Of Darkness by Ben Bova |READ OUR REVIEW|, Neil Gaiman, Around The World In Eighty Days by Jules Verne (as read by Jim Dale), Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy: Live In Concert, Footfall by Larry Niven by Jerry Pournelle, Audible Frontiers, Police Your Planet by Lester Del Rey, Lest Darkness Fall by L. Sprague de Camp, The Sword Of Shannara, The Elfstones Of Shannara, Neal Stephenson, Anathem, Boneshaker, The City And The City, Julian Comstock by Robert Charles Wilson |READ OUR REVIEW|, Palimpsest, WWW: Wake, The Windup Girl, ebooks, Fictionwise, PaperbackDigital, Kelli Stanley, The Functional Nerds Podcast interview of Mike Resnick, Pump Six and Other Stories by Paulo Bacigalupi, The Alchemist And The Executioness by Tobias S. Buckell and Paulo Bacigalupi, Scott’s Pick Of The Week: Despicable Me, Jesse’s Pick Of The Week: Police Your Planet by Lester Del Rey, Zombie Astronaut, The Frequency Of Fear, The Frequency Lite.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #065

July 5, 2010 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #065 – Scott and Jesse and Luke Burrage talk about the latest audiobook releases!

Talked about on today’s show:
The Year’s Top Ten Tales Of Science Fiction – Volume 2 edited by Allan Kaster, Infinivox, On The Human Plan by Jay Lake, Tarnsman Of Gor by John Norman, Gorean subculture, The Chronicles Of Counter-Earth, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Boris Vallejo, Brilliance Audio, Dog Blood by David Moody, Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League, Hater by David Moody |READ OUR REVIEW|, David J. Williams, editing your novel, Gerard Doyle, Guillermo del Toro, Borders Of Infinity by Lois McMaster Bujold, The Reader’s Chair, Grover Gardner, Falling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold |READ OUR REVIEW|, Penguin Audio, The Left Hand Of God by Paul Hoffman, Name Of The Wind by Patrick Rothfus, A Local Habitation by Seanan McGuire, Rosemary And Rue by Seanan McGuire, “urban fantasy warning”, fey vs. fairy, Audio Realms, Double Shadow by Clark Ashton Smith, H.P. Lovecraft, Weird Tales, William F. Nolan, Michael Bishop, F. Marion Crawford, Wayne June, The Empty House And Other Ghost Stories by Algernon Blackwood, Robert E. Howard, The Willows by Algernon Blackwood, The Things That Are Not There by C.J. Henderson, naming your weapons, Happiness Is a Warm Gun, Gonji: Red Blade From The East by T.C. Rypel, the anti-Marco Polo, Hunt: Through The Cradle Of Fear by Gabriel Hunt, The Hunt For Adventure series, Charles Ardai, Hard Case Crime, manly adventure, Christa Faust, Money Shot by Christa Faust, the Hitchhiker’s Guide series, Nancy Drew, James Reasoner, People Of The Dark: The Weird Works Of Robert E. Howard – Volume 2, CONAN, Queen Of The Black Coast, Castaways by Brian Greene, A Princess Of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the Disney edition (John Carter Of Mars), chain-mail bikini, Chicks In Chainmail, hauberk and coif, Gust Front: Legacy of the Aldenata by John Ringo, the Legacy of the Aldenata series, “military science fiction warning”, Flag In Exile (Book 5 In The Honor Harrington Series) by David Weber, “there is no happily ever after in a series”, Mass Effect, Steam, the wikipedia entry for Elder Race, big dumb objects, xenoarchaology, uplifting as a god replacement, Sid Meier, Babylon 5, Absolution Gap by Alastair Reynolds, Heechee vs. XeeLee, lamp-shading the foam forehead, GoodReads.com, Smoke by Donald E. Westlake, Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, House Of Suns by Alastair Reynolds, Century Rain, Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds, The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester, Audible.com, Audible Frontiers, Footfall by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, Oath Of Fealty by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, Fallen Angels by Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle and Michael Flynn, Eifelheim by Michael Flynn, The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Chrysalids by John Wyndham, Steve Feldberg, Ubik by Philip K. Dick, Science Fiction And Politics podcast, Lost, Geek Nights podcast, The Darkness That Comes Before, The Lies Of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch |READ OUR REVIEW|, middle grade vs. young adult vs. vampire romance, The Books Of Elsewhere: The Shadows by Jacqueline West, Penguin Audio, Song Of The Dragon by Tracy Hickman, Brilliance Audio, fantasy, Harriet Klausner, Tracy And Laura Hickman’s Eventide, Adventures In Sci-Fi Publishing, Medal Of Honor (pre-order), Dragonlance, 23 Hours by David Wellington, vampires, comics, Classics Illustrated #3: The Count Of Monte Cristo, Epic Illustrated, The Rook, Unknown Worlds Of Science Fiction, Behold The Man by Michael Moorcock, Conan: Black Colossus, Garth Ennis’ The Boys, Herogasm, the video review of Herogasm, The Guns Of August by Barbara Tuchman, GraphicAudio, Batman: Inferno by Alex Irvine, “I’m Batman”, Elantris, Writing Excuses, Cory Doctorow, Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson, Anathem by Neal Stephenson, The Way Of Kings, A Game Of Thrones by George R.R. Martin, Luke’s Pick Of The Week: The Writing Excuses Podcast, “stories have to have an end”, Epic Fantasy’s appeal is that it has no end, The Lord Of The Rings vs. A Game Of Thrones, Eric S. Rabkin, I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells, Scott’s Pick Of The Week: GraphicAudio’s Batman: Inferno by Alex Irvine, Jesse’s Pick Of The Week: The Sandbaggers, BFS Entertainment, Ian Mackintosh, James Bond, espionage, Queen & Country by Gregg Rucka,

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Falling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold

May 16, 2005 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

Science Fiction Audiobooks - Falling Free by Lois McMaster BujoldFalling Free
By Lois McMaster Bujold; Read by Michael Hanson and Carol Cowan
7 Cassettes – 9 hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: The Reader’s Chair
Published: 1996
ISBN: 0962401099
Themes: / Science Fiction / Genetic Engineering / Space Travel / Space Stations / Slavery / Corporations /

When I heard about The Reader’s Chair going out of business, I couldn’t help but to revisit this book. I first started writing about audiobooks back in 2001, and one of the first columns I wrote for SFSite was about The Reader’s Chair. In that column, I said:

The audio versions are first-rate. Hanson and Cowan read the books with enthusiasm, providing different characters with different inflections. Great care was taken to make these novels a listening pleasure.

Upon listening to this Nebula-winning novel, and after hearing I have no clue how many audiobooks since, I can still say that the Reader’s Chair titles are amongst the finest out there. Michael Hanson has a deep sonorous voice that demands attention, and Carol Cowan is a warm yet feisty counterbalance.

Falling Free is a novel that fits into Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan series, but the events occur 200 years before the birth of the famous Miles Vorkosigan. The story involves a corporation that genetically engineers a new race of humans (called Quaddies) that are uniquely adapted for work in zero-gravity. Enter Leo Graf, an engineer hired to teach zero-g welding techniques to this new race of slave labor. When he sees how the Quaddies are treated, he becomes very uneasy. Think you know where this is heading? Bujold pulls it off brilliantly.

This one is now officially out of print, but well worth finding. The Reader’s Chair productions are top notch, from the high quality production value to the sturdy and fine-looking packaging. I’m very sorry to see them go.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Review of Falling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold

July 18, 2003 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

Science Fiction Audiobooks - Falling Free by Lois McMaster BujoldFalling Free
By Lois McMaster Bujold; Read by Michael Hanson and Carol Cowan
7 Cassettes – 9 hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: The Reader’s Chair
Published: 1996
ISBN: 0962401099
Themes: Science Fiction / Genetic Engineering / Slavery / Space Travel /

Wikipedia defines Space Opera as “a subgenre of science fiction that emphasizes romantic adventure, faster-than-light travel and space battles where the main storyline is interstellar conflict.” A fair definition, I think. I also think that this definition of Space Opera is what most folks outside of science fiction fandom would accept as a definition of the whole genre of science fiction. The perception is both well-earned and difficult to fight since nearly every successful science fiction film and television series fits that definition of Space Opera. I’ve expressed several times how I wish that perception wasn’t true, because I enjoy only so much of this kind of SF. I like my science fiction to have meat on the bones, and there is plenty of that around in written SF. Enough, in fact, that the average Space Opera doesn’t even have to be on the menu.

Of course, there are the exceptions and Lois McMaster Bujold is one of them. She’s the author of the Vorkosigan series of novels – an extremely well-written series which proves that Space Opera can be done well. Falling Free is a Nebula-award winning novel in a series that has also picked three Hugos. The story, which takes place 200 years before the other books, involves a company that genetically engineers a new race of humans (Quaddies) that is uniquely adapted for work in zero-gravity. Enter Leo Graf, an engineer hired to teach zero-g welding techniques to this new race of slave labor. Think you know where this is heading? Bujold pulls it off brilliantly.

The audio version of this book is another exception. It’s performed by two narrators – Michael Hanson and Carol Cowan. They swap narrating duties with changes in the story’s point of view – a technique I first heard in this audiobook and that I find very effective. The two narrators also perform some conversations together during the story, somewhat like an audio drama. This is something I have found to be extremely INeffective in other audiobooks I’ve heard since this one, but here I enjoyed their interplay and didn’t experience the jarring effect that I’ve felt in other books that have attempted the same technique.