The SFFaudio Podcast #430 – READALONG: The High Crusade by Poul Anderson

July 17, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastDr. Dimension Master Of Spacetime Raising Mullah by S. Ron MarsThe SFFaudio Podcast #422 – Jesse, Scott Danielson, and Paul Weimer talk about The High Crusade by Poul Anderson

Today’s podcast is sponsored by Hotspur Publishing’s Dr. Dimension Master Of Spacetime Raising Mullah. Written by S. Ron Mars and narrated by Fred Wolinsky, this is a comedic Science Fiction audiobook available now on Audible.com

Talked about on today’s show:
A Canticle For Leibowitz, the framing, a thousand years later, the manuscript, make a universe as a playground to play in, feudal Englishman running rampant in interstellar space, appreciations, Eric Flint, David Drake, Greg Bear, rollicking, Astrid Anderson Bear, a rollicking romp of medieval mayhem, fun Catholicism, A Case Of Conscience where the conscience is a little lose, the horrible movie adaptation The High Crusade (1994), it could make a good movie, Monty Python And The Holy Grail, George Pal, no budget, no script, no director, John Rhys Davies, the trailer, a really good trailer, blue skin, Quest by Poul Anderson, this seems to be the Holy Grail, here’s a story where they tried, a little too sloppy, a gaming system, Ares, Poul Anderson wrote a ton of great stuff, paperback reprints, an upbeat ending, grim or ambiguous, a different tone, The Broken Sword, Three Hearts And Three Lions, Philip K. Dick’s Waterspider has Poul Anderson as a character, Call Me Joe by Poul Anderson, Avatar with fewer explosions, following in a line with Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court, our knowledge, awesome mistakes, no defenses, lucky Scott, fun, super-entertaining, history, a healthy respect for factual history, not technically a lie, Babel, an undercurrent of humour from charging knights to launching nukes with trebuchets, historicity, the fall of Rome, barbarians, the Roman Empire, the creation of the dark ages, their own past and their own future, fiefdoms, the church, practicality, stiff armour costumes, almost a complete retelling of what’s going on in Europe, a local chieftain, keep the system going, pastiche, we have to buy so much, rusty axes, pretty hard to buy, a light touch, undeniably well working, L. Sprague de Camp’s Krishna novels and stories, looking for princesses, green skin aliens, an Easter egg, all their conquests, the crusades, the Wersgorix, defeat the horde of Englishmen, Saracens, ripe for a fall, what made Alexander The Great so great, technical definition: a shitshow, sacking Constantinople, attacking the wrong people, loose collectives, a charitable term, mercenary motivations, the sack of Alexandria, they too the wrong turn, the Northern Crusades, the French Crusades, Baltic pagans, holy wars, Christian jihads, radical extremism combined with mercenary avarice, he must speak Latin because he’s a demon, sharp knives and tortures and laughing, it’s all fake, not being horrified, the entire town from Lincolnshire goes to liberate the Holy Land, an enjoyable romp, edible, digestible, enjoyable, nicely, lightly, briefly, reconstructing scenes, reliability, circumstances, third hand, it’s wonderful to be an Englishman, his declensions are atrocious and what he does to irregular verbs can not be mentioned in gentle company, Patricia Kennealy-Morrison, Celts in the stars, Catherine Asaro, Mayans in space, Star Trek, space Romans and space Nazis, the Traveler RPG, Traveler 3000, seeding wolves and humans, plenty of little planets, plucky humans, star empires, elves, wolves in space, building empires, dying in character creation, The High Crusade tactical board game, chits, Avalon Hill, flaws and strengths, tactics, dry ’80s-style war games, actual battles, great cover art, the idea of primitive technology defeating higher technology, Ewoks vs. the Imperial Storm Troopers, Return Of The Jedi, buckskins (Ewok skins), a comic light touch, different kinds of swords, gladius -> longsword -> rapier -> no swords, the heraldry, to learn how to run a spaceship, you don’t even know how to read to learn, ignorance, history, they’re not knowledgeable enough to think they can’t win, hand-to-hand, contrast, thrall army, fort destruction, ionic storm, heresy, playing the heresy card, history, religion, science, space battles, awesome, scenes and jokes, the workings of the physical universe, an inversion, knights with holstered ray guns, laser guns, the English learn quickly, never give up the horses, poor Ansby was left almost deserted, the loading of the ship, a Noah’s Ark story, a good idea, a lot to swallow, so much sugar, worldly goods, what happened to this village?, everybody’s gone, all the cupboards are bare, there’s a story there, “almost deserted”, I’m not getting on this thing!, other races, clever but nuts, the opening framing, a document vs. a novel, The Green Meadow by H.P. Lovecraft and Winifred Virginia Jackson, the most preposterous story ever, alien summer night, socio-technician, modern languages, creatures, thunder and blow-up, hard to believe, no rest for the wicked, impressively ancient, uncials on vellum, a prosaic typescript, home was a long way off, a mystery, pretty cute, they did well, still there, an English Empire stretching down the spiral arm, 2300 A.D., has the Holy Land yet been liberated?, a funny funny book, this book can’t really age, the alien technology of the ship feels very 1950s, their navigator is called an “astrologer”, The Enduring Chill by Flannery O’Connor, Stephen Colbert, a comedian should narrated this novel, John Cleese, the Book For The Blind, massive archives, there has never been a commercial audiobook release of The High Crusade, The Broken Sword, collections, Brain Wave, Tau Zero, Three Hearts And Three Lions, dealing with elves and trolls, Icelandic and Scandinavian myths, Lest Darkness Fall by L. Sprague de Camp, The Man Who Came Early, dark ages Iceland, Eifelheim by Michael Flynn, split time-lines, everything’s short, 180 pages, a big impressive story inside a few number of pages, packing a bigger punch, Harvest Of Stars, these science fiction writers in the 1960s and 1970s were doing idea exploration, The Broken Sword is a classic, Paul will wind up crying again, catharsis, faking us out, “these creatures”, the Owain treachery, the same thing in Quest, double jointed knees, more faithful than everybody else, a planet named Lancaster, there was hardly a peasant who hadn’t been knighted, Alexander’s generals, regional governors founding dynasties, hay stuck in his hair, very strange very funny, the promise of all series novels always offer, all the adventures happen between the page turns, Sir Roger’s cunning, the Wersgorix had no special affection for their birthplace, King John (and the Magna Carta), the rule of law vs. the rule of the word, “don’t you wish you had a plan?”, siege-craft, “when I had been picked up and dusted off”, no simpletons, to reap so rich a harvest, winning with cunning, courage and brute strength, a little pope, the younger people are not careful, Parvus means “little”, my nickname when I was a kid, a good catch, can we trust this document?, of course we have to trust it 100% because it’s cuter that way, why would it lose to anything?, another religious novel, a different kind of humour completely, a very dry humour, what else was nominated?, Rogue Moon by Algis Burdrys, Deathworld by Harry Harrison, Venus Plus X by Theodore Sturgeon, The Longest Voyage, the Tor Double, To Marry Medusa, Far-Seer by Robert J. Sawyer, mini-tyrannosaurs rex, Galileo, a telescope, his “planet”, Poul Anderson’s inspiration, making marvelous wonders, a great story to build on.

The High Crusade by Poul Anderson - illustration by H. R. Van Dongen

The High Crusade by Poul Anderson - illustration by H. R. Van Dongen

The High Crusade by Poul Anderson - illustration by H. R. Van Dongen

The High Crusade by Poul Anderson - illustration by H. R. Van Dongen

The High Crusade by Poul Anderson - illustration by H. R. Van Dongen

The High Crusade by Poul Anderson - illustration by H. R. Van Dongen

The High Crusade by Poul Anderson - illustration by H. R. Van Dongen

The High Crusade by Poul Anderson - illustration by H. R. Van Dongen

The High Crusade by Poul Anderson - illustration by H. R. Van Dongen

The High Crusade by Poul Anderson - illustration by H. R. Van Dongen

The High Crusade by Poul Anderson - illustration by H. R. Van Dongen

The High Crusade by Poul Anderson - illustration by H. R. Van Dongen

The High Crusade by Poul Anderson - illustration by H. R. Van Dongen

The High Crusade by Poul Anderson - illustration by H. R. Van Dongen

The High Crusade by Poul Anderson - illustration by H. R. Van Dongen

The High Crusade by Poul Anderson - illustration by H. R. Van Dongen

The High Crusade - illustration by Larry Elmore

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #258 – READALONG: The Star Rover by Jack London

March 31, 2014 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #258 – Jesse, Seth, and Maissa discuss The Star Rover (aka The Jacket) by Jack London.

Talked about on today’s show:
titled The Jacket in the UK; astral projection; what about alien past lives; the primordial ooze; the book is a laundry list of Jack London’s interests; structure resembles television flashbacks; knuckle-rap Morse Code; The Count of Monte Cristo; Seth recounts his own past-life story; Jesse and Maissa debate plausibility of reincarnation; Plato and the Land of the Forms; “little death” means something else in French; Ragnar Lodbrok based on Norse Mythology; anachronism; Korean history and turtle ships; Jesse attempts to use the Napoleon Complex to debunk reincarnation; everyman (and everywoman); does reincarnation extend beyond humanity?; “there’s only one soul”; Lucretius, star dust, and the recovery of scrolls from Herculaneum; “souls are totally bogus”; past lives as a metaphor for reading widely; prevalence of the number 40; hallucination; Jack London on surfing; multilingual reference as an indicator of fame; prison reform; interrogation, torture, and Guantanamo Bay; loosely adapted in 2005 film The Jacket; the 1923 silent film adaptation is sadly lost; comparing and contrasting with The Iron Heel; T.C. Boyle’s The Relive Box in The New YorkerUntil the End of the World, a film about reliving dreams; on cultivating sleep; frame narrative; sexism; historical basis for character names; H.P. Lovecraft, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and the creative power of dreams; confabulation; Total Recall; “faith in the lordship of my mind”; the odd importance of tobacco; The Island of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells.

The Star Rover by Jack London

The Star Rover by Jack London

The Star Rover by Jack London

The Star Rover by Jack London

The Star Rover by Jack London

from Weird Mystery Tales, issue 6, 1973

from Weird Mystery Tales, issue 6, 1973

from Weird Mystery Tales, issue 6, 1973

from Weird Mystery Tales, issue 6, 1973

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #257 – AUDIOBOOK: The Star Rover by Jack London

March 24, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #257 – The Star Rover (aka The Jacket) by Jack London, read by Barry Eads.

This UNABRIDGED AUDIOBOOK (10 hours 1 minute) comes to us courtesy of LibriVox.org. The Star Rover was first published in 1915.

The next SFFaudio Podcast will feature our discussion of it!

The Star Rover by Jack London - Frontispiece

The Star Rover by Jack London - illustrations by Leonard Everett Fisher

The Star Rover by Jack London - Word Cloud

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of In Enemy Hands by David Weber

December 30, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

In Enemy HandsIn Enemy Hands (Honor Harrington #7)
By David Weber; Narrated By Allyson Johnson
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
[UNABRIDGED] – 20 hours

Themes: / military sci-fi / prisoners of war / tree cats / torture /

Publisher summary:

Honor Harrington has survived ship-to-ship combat, assassins, political vendettas, and duels. But this time, Honor and her crew, ambushed and captured, are aboard an enemy ship, bound for a prison planet aptly named ‘Hell’ – and her scheduled execution. Yet the one lesson Honor has never learned is how to give up. She and her people are going home – even if it means conquering hell to get there!

Weighing in at nearly twenty hours, In Enemy Hands is the seventh volume in the Honor Harrington series by David Weber. If you’re new to this series, I highly urge you to start at the beginning with On Basilisk Station. This is solid military SF and if you can overlook the unnecessary info-dumping that Weber appears to frolic in at length, this is outstanding stuff.

The action scenes are crisp and well presented. And while there are a few ship-to-ship battles, most of the action occurs hand-to-hand. Weber does a pretty nice job at teasing tension out of the story but when he shifts into exposition, and this happens far too frequently, the earlier tension is lost and the reader is left to flail about in the sudden slackness of superfluous narrative. You know that person who talks and talks for no other reason than they like the sound of their own voice? Yeah, this is how it feels when you hit one of these info-dumping spots of Weber. But if you can tough it out and just grit your teeth, you’ll be rewarded with a fun and exhilarating military SF story with believable characters that you can root for.

Allyson Johnson narrates this audiobook, and all I can really say about her reading is that it is tolerable, but just barely. I feel a good reader should become the story rather than assuming the role of performer. If I listen to a book and am consciously aware of the narrator, the reader has failed. Not once was I able to focus on Weber’s story without being painfully aware of Johnson’s jarring and awkward rhythm. It felt as if she, Johnson, wanted to convince anyone who was listening that she “could” do the job of reading. Too many narrators try too hard to do their job when all they really need to do is read, just read, nothing more. It’s like climbing up a really tall ladder. Everything will be fine so long as you just climb. You only get into trouble when you start thinking about climbing.

Posted by Casey Hampton.

The SFFaudio Podcast #216 – AUDIOBOOK: The Pit And The Pendulum by Edgar Allan Poe

June 10, 2013 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

Edgar Allan Poe's The Pit And The Pendulum
The SFFaudio PodcastSpoken Freely Presents: Going Public ... In ShortsThe SFFaudio Podcast #216 – The Pit And The Pendulum by Edgar Allan Poe, recorded by Paul Michael Garcia for Spoken Freely: Going Public In Shorts.

Experience Edgar Allan Poe’s chilling short tale of the torments endured by a prisoner of the Spanish Inquisition.

The story is also available on Downpour.com right now.

Previously, Gabrielle de Cuir’s narration of Prince Bull by Charles Dickens is HERE. And next up, will be Dick Hill’s narration of Two Illuminating Stories: The Story Of The Bad Little Boy, and The Story Of The Good Little Boy by Mark Twain, that’s HERE.

Then, check out the full Spoken Freely Presents: Going Public … In Shorts compilation which will be available on June 30, 2013 over on Downpour.com – all proceeds for which go to Reach Out And Read.

The Pit And The Pendulum - illustrated by Byam Shaw

The Pit And The Pendulum - illustration from an ad in Amazing Stories, August 1928

Mark Summers illustration of The Pit And The Pendulum by Edgar Allan Poe

The Pit And The Pendulum - from Puck, May 26, 1909

[Thanks Xe!]

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox: The Iron Heel by Jack London

July 16, 2010 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

LibriVoxThe Iron Heel, one of the books from our 4th Annual SFFaudio Challenge. It is now complete and available free from LibriVox! Narrator Matt Soar sez:

I have just this afternoon finally finished the last chapter of Jack London’s The Iron Heel. Phew! It’s been quite an experience – begun in Montreal, completed in France, six months in the making.

He actually wrote that two months ago. See, Matt decided to make a planned creative commons release release PUBLIC DOMAIN! Woohoo! It’s on LibriVox and it has now been catalogued!

And, over in the “about” section of Matt’s site, TheIronHeel.net Matt wrote:

The entire expe­ri­ence has been intrigu­ing, if not uncanny: The story, about an over­bear­ing, immoral gov­ern­ment char­ac­ter­ized by decep­tion, tor­ture, and war­mon­ger­ing, against a back­ground of civil­ian exploita­tion and reli­gious zealotry, is mainly remark­able for the fact that it was writ­ten a hun­dred years ago — rather than, say, five.

Per­haps the only aspects of The Iron Heel that really age it are its breath­lessly roman­tic hero­ine, occa­sion­ally pro­saic lan­guage, and the author’s fleet­ing use of dubi­ous terms to describe eth­nic minori­ties. These quib­bles aside, I’m really glad I took the time to record it, and hope you enjoy it too.

LIBRIVOX - The Iron Heel by Jack LondonThe Iron Heel
By Jack London; Read by Matt Soar
26 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 8 Hours 18 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox / TheIronHeel.net
Published: July 16, 2010
Generally considered to be the earliest of the modern dystopian novels, The Iron Heel chronicles the rise of an oligarchic tyranny in the United States. It is arguably the novel in which Jack London’s socialist views are most explicitly on display. A forerunner of “soft science fiction” novels and stories of the 1960s and 1970s, the book stresses future changes in society and politics while paying much less attention to technological changes.

Podcast feed: http://librivox.org/rss/4342

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

[Thanks a ton Matt!]

Posted by Jesse Willis