William Tenn has died

February 7, 2010
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

“There’s too much beauty in religion to let go of it just because you don’t believe in god.”
-William Tenn

SFSignal.com is reporting that William Tenn has just died. You won’t find much written about Tenn (or his alter ego Philip Klass) on the internet. I figure that’s mostly because he wasn’t a very prolific novelist (the default format for most fiction readers). But if you like SF he’s probably someone you should know about.

I think I first read Tenn back in the early 1990s. It may have been his story The Liberation Of Earth. I really got into Tenn in 2004.

Back in 2004 podcasting hadn’t really started. LibriVox.org didn’t exist and audio fiction on the internet was actually quite hard to find. One of the best stories I found back then, and one of my favorite stories that I discovered by chance, was On Venus, Have We Got A Rabbi! by William Tenn. I reviewed it in 2004 |READ OUR REVIEW|.

The story was recorded as part of an interview with David Garland of WNYC’s Spinning On Air. Astonishingly, the ancient file and directory are still there and still online at WNYC’s website. But, like almost all audio back in the bad old days of the interweb it was in the still nigh-unworkable REALAUDIO FORMAT. Getting it to work may still be a serious problem – it didn’t work for me without some serious fiddling. Here’s the hour long show |REALAUDIO|

In the WNYC interview Tenn describes himself “an enlightened pessimist” and “a skeptic in every way.”
But that may be under-stating it. He may be best described as a combination of Jonathan Swift and Mark Twain – but working primarily as a satirist in the field of Science Fiction.

His novel, Of Men And Monsters, is a truly terrific read and would make a wonderful audiobook.

It takes place in the future where the Earth has been invaded by giant aliens who have destroyed most of humanity. People now live in the walls of the aliens homes like mice divided into different groups and tribes where two types of religions have branched out; one that is devoted to technology from the past and the other that is trying to learn and decipher the aliens’ technology. [summary by Cynical-C]

Also available, via the Orthopedic Horseshoes podcast, are some snippets from Confluence 2008
with William Tenn talking about Theodore Sturgeon. |MP3|

Posted by Jesse Willis

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