The SFFaudio Podcast #448 – READALONG: The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson

November 20, 2017 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Podcasts 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #448 – Jesse, Scott, and Paul Weimer talk about The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson

Talked about on today’s show:
1954, a reconstruction of a Norse Saga with Dungeons & Dragons elements, Scott loved it, Jesse found it terrible, and Paul has read it thrice, what would have happened…, Eric Bright Eyes by H. Rider Haggard, idiots and assholes and magic, low magic, striving toward wisdom, the nuclear weapons of magic, Odin, sacrificial Paul, the rules, in the realm of mythology, Beowulf, The Lord Of The Rings, Michael Moorcock’s Elric Of Melnibone, archetypes and gods, greater and deeper, mythic vs. inspired by myth, the language was amazing, Jesse’s not saying much, directly inspired by Beowulf, The Völsunga Saga, an insight into 1000 year old society, The Odyssey, the characters tended to not be very wise, semi-historical, Ragnar Lodbrook, simile nice, toning down the massive metaphors, more about power than it is about ideas, the whole magic sword thing, magic items, H.P. Lovecraft, huge and menacing and powerful and on the edge of our ability to perceive, Skafloc, drawing runes, there’s a demon in here, cursed staves, Dreams In The Witch House, his counterpart (his changeling), screwed at birth, cursed in a Greek or Norse way, more action, not an idea book, all about the ideas, The Forever War, the ideas are not front in center, you can’t touch iron, that’s the rule!, The Magic Goes Away by Larry Niven, werewolves, becoming an outlaw, becoming savage, why is he a werewolf, Gilgamesh and Enkidu, not unlike the world was viewed, the revised edition, Bronson Pinchot’s narration, the 1971 revision (made it worse), Gollanz’s reversion, ‘I welded the Broken Sword back together’, a ‘Book For The Blind’ narration, luke warm, The High Crusade, Three Hearts And Three Lions, a WWII officer dropped into the land of fairy, the plot of the Wonder Woman movie, for copyright reasons?, fiddling, the language in this book, poetry, evocative descriptions, half converted Christians, a ghost tells them, that’s the rules, her brother her lover, that’s the tragedy, echoes, the ending was rushed, Valgard, killed by the device, E.F. Bleiler, noir, doomed from the beginning, the characters doom themselves vs. their doomed because of their destiny, why is this happening?, he calls to the raven, hey there’s a battle down the road, dude!? why did you do that?, James M. Cain, for no good reason, stirring the same area of Scott’s brain, pale recreation of Tolkien, thinking about the meta-aspect, that GRAVITAS, WWII, truth, the eternal verities, the truth of story, poetic truth, philosophers, a truth and a resonance, Dunkirk, its hard to criticize anything that is tongue-in-cheek, the bad geography of Middle Earth (Tor.com), philology, Frank Herbert, geology and ecology, monsters doing monstrous things to each other, what makes them powerful, Marissa, imagine you’re copy-editing someone’s work, fixing a falsity, the Goodreads reviews, the reviews of Beowulf, what’s the Bible’s Goodreads reviews, Gilgamesh The King by Robert Silverberg, the epic vs. the novel, ringing false, is this a high fantasy book?, Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, science vs. magic, lets shoot the fireballs at each other, Robert E. Howard, the magic sword mentality, Excalibur and King Arthur, his human thews (though very jaguar-like), the strength of 10-hill giants, a really problematic definition, epic vs. sword and sorcery, about scale and stakes, who is casting the fireballs, “an Atlantean Sword”, the magic is in his manliness, about willpower, born to be screwed, the characters don’t seem to know themselves, they are almost pre-conscious, The Odyssey, I’ve made mistakes – I’m going to make more – and here I go, sticking with the tradition he is writing in, that northern tradition, the Neil Gaiman movie script adaptation of Beowulf, The Saga of Eric Brighteyes, set in Iceland, Henry Treece’s Viking Trilogy, on the PDF Page, Viking Dawn, The Road To Miklagard, Viking Sunset, Beothuk, throw down some quotes, a sequel hook, Ragnarok, the unfinished comic book adaptation from the 1960s, good stuff, a book full of sadness, “whence came you hither, fawn?”, the sacred grove, the dryad screams, The Grove Of Ashtaroth by John Buchan, arbitrary rules, the White Christ, real gods vs. fake gods, who and how much power a particular name has, see American Gods by Neil Gaiman, The Elf-Trap by Francis Stevens, Carcassonne, Kentucky, why are some characters not allowed to touch iron?, that’s the rules, the afterword, a science fiction-y take, when he isn’t being playful, Three Hearts And Three Lions, marrying science fiction with fantasy, how they can intertwine and make sense of each other, when the Devil shows up, Dante (Alighieri), “the White Christ, time and love”, I knew him of old in my incarnation of Loki, things as other things, fairies from China and India, a very old idea, that’s some deep stuff right there, elf girlfriends vs. human girlfriends, mocking eyes, “oh, you’re one of thooose guys”, “like calls to like”, cold mystery, adopted by elves, mythic, Dragon Magazine, some of the cartoons, straight out of Elric (and this), intelligent swords, willful swords, when you’re sword has a higher intelligence that you do, a tragedy, where’s my place in this world, where’s my place in a Norse saga?, sword dances, a novel for Dungeons & Dragons players, “Brutal, romantic and tragic. no cute hobbits.”

Ballantine Books - The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson

The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson (1961) fanzine illustration

comic book adaptation of The Broken Sword

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Vol’jin: Shadows of the Horde

September 10, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Reviews 

SFFaudio Review

VoljinVol’jin: Shadows of the Horde (World of Warcraft)By Michael A. Stackpole; Read by Scott Brick
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Audio
Publication Date: July 2013
[UNABRIDGED] – 11 hours, 42 minutes

Themes: / world of warcraft / trolls /

Publisher summary:

That night, visions mocked Vol’jin. He found himself in the midst of fighters, each of whom he recognized. He’d gathered them for that final assault on Zalazane, to end his madness and free the Echo Isles for the Darkspears. Each of the combatants took on aspects of a jihui cube, faced to be at their maximum power. Not a fireship among them, but this did not surprise Vol’jin.

He was the fireship, but not yet turned to display his maximum power. This was not a fight, though desperate, in which he would destroy himself. Aided by Bwonsamdi, they would slay Zalazane and reclaim the Echo Isles.

Who be you, this troll, who be having memories of a heroic effort? 

This is my first book by Michael A. Stackpole, who is probably best known for his Star Wars books. From the dedication at the beginning, it sounds like he is/was a WoW player at some point. This is book #12 in the World of Warcraft books. As far as I know/could tell it is unrelated to any of the others. I didn’t find myself lost or confused.

As the title would indicate the protagonist of this book is Vol’jin, the Shadow Hunter, leader of the Dark Spears and high general in the Horde.

I would say having quested in Pandaria is almost a pre-requisite. The other main character of this book is Chen Stormstout

I really enjoyed his questline as I leveled this expansion, so it was nice to get more with him. His niece Li-Li also makes an appearance. I haven’t played Horde in awhile, but there looks to be a quest related to this book. Chen finds Vol’jin nearly dead and takes him to the monastery of the Shadow Pan.

The first half of this book is really slow, which is bad considering it’s only about 12 hours long. I was really hoping for more action. There is a lot of self-reflection as Vol’jin tries to heal. The second half of the book has a bit more action and was a slightly faster pace. I did end up listening a little longer than yesterday just to finish it up.

The book made me to want to start playing again, which is probably a large part of the point of these books.  However, I would say if it WASN’T about a world/characters I already really like, that it probably would have gotten an even lower rating.

This is the first book I’ve listened to by Scott Brick. Mr. Brick has a good clear voice. He also does a pretty good Cajun accent for the trolls. My big problem is apart from that everyone sounds the same. The Trolls (both male and female) sounded the same. I couldn’t really tell apart the human character from the Panderan either. It could make some conversations very hard to follow unless it was between Vol’jin and a non-troll. That said, I’d probably listen to something read by Mr. Brick again.

My other gripe with the audiobook was my digital copy had music at the end of EVERY chapter. I’d have been fine with it if it was in-between chapters, but I hate when audiobooks have music while the Narrator is reading the book.

Overall this is just a so-so book, 3 stars.

Review by Rob Zak.

Final Rune: The Troll Of Stony Brook AUDIO DRAMA

July 4, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

Final Rune ProductionsFred Greenhalgh, audio dramatist and host of Radio Drama Revival sez:

Finalrune’s new show! I’ll be releasing it as a free podcast in 5-7 min installments, with a paid download of $2.99 available which includes all episodes as a director’s cut and 2 bonus music tracks.

Fred will be posting a new episodes on Fridays throughout July. But if you’re into it, consider downloading the paid version |HERE|.

The program is genuinely funny, featuring a Philip J. Fry-like goober who hits a troll while driving home from a party he was found too uncool for. The troll, by the way, is more of the “grind your bones to make my bread”-type, rather than the cutesy, pink-haired desktop variety.

Later episodes straddle the line between humor and horror. Audiobook narrator William Dufris, playing the troll, is nearly unrecognizable. It sounds as if he’s been gargling battery acid! And the sound, as with all of the field recorded Final Rune shows, is absolutely wonderful.

The first free episode is available now, check it out…

Final Rune - The Troll Of Stony BrookThe Troll Of Stony Brook
By Frederick Greenhalgh; Performed by a full cast
Podcast or MP3 Download – Approx. 36 Minutes [AUDIO DRAMA]
Podcaster: Final Rune Productions
Podcast: July 2010
An awkward teenager, Jamie, is driving home one night from a party when he hits something – something big. His pushy co-worker, Rick, talks him into going back to the scene of the accident… and what they find will change them both forever.

Standalone Episode 1 |MP3|

As Part of Radio Drama Revival Episode #180 |MP3|

Podcast feed:
http://feeds2.feedburner.com/FinalRune

Here’s the promotional video too:

Posted by Jesse Willis