Review of Have Spacesuit, Will Travel by Robert A. Heinlein

Science Fiction Audiobooks - Have Spacesuit Will Travel by Robert A. HeinleinHave Spacesuit, Will Travel
By Robert A. Heinlein; Performed By A Full Cast
8 CDs – 8 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Published by Full Cast Audio
Published: 2003
ISBN: 1932076417
Themes: / Science Fiction / Young Adult / The Moon / Galactic Civilization /

One minute Kip Russell was walking about in his backyard, testing out an old space suit and dreaming about going to the Moon — and the next he was out cold, the captive of an insidious space pirate. The whole thing seemed like a bad dream until Kip discovered there were other prisoners on board, and they were all on their way to the Moon — and a fate worse than death!

When Kip Russell wins a runner’s up prize in a soap jingle contest, an intergalactic journey to decide the fate of humanity results. Kip goes from soda jerk to spacesuit winner to alien abductee. Along the way Kip is joined by a pint-sized genius named PeeWee and an empathetic alien known as “the Mother Thing” who together must overcome the alien invaders who want to colonize the Earth. A far-fetched Hard Science Fiction story chock full of pathos and fun! First published in 1958, Have Spacesuit, Will Travel was nominated for a Hugo Award and has steadily remained in print for over 45 years. Though originally marketed as a book for teenage boys, it has found legions of admirers in many other age groups since then. I personally know of a high school English teacher who still uses it to get his students interested in reading! And like most science fiction fans, Robert Heinlein’s juvenile novels hold a special place in my own pantheon of SF novels. They speak to the excitable youth in us like few other books do.

When I heard about this particular adaptation I was skeptical. It uses multiple actors, music, and sound effects – this all sounded more like a radio dramatization to me than a straight reading. I’ve been disappointed by many audio dramatizations, I’ve found they often try to “improve” the text and end up cutting it to shreds. I figure you don’t mess with perfection, its just asking for trouble. Well the folks at FULL CAST AUDIO have messed with perfection and come away like heroes! This is a faithful adaptation. The only differences between a straight unabridged reading and this production are a few attributives, the “he said” and “she saids” that are redundant with either a versatile single performer or a full cast of actors. The acting is uniformly excellent, the original music and special voice effects enhance their performance. In short, this production truly shines. But that’s not all. The attention to detail found in the audio production extends to the fit and finish of the packaging. The original cover art is really great, rivaling the superb Del Rey paperback cover art. The CD case too is remarkable… it’s a new design and I’d never seen anything like it before. It resembles a thick DVD style case, with the CDs stacked and held in place by two durable plastic clamps – a space saving and efficient design that also pleases the eye. This audiobook is pure unpasteurized goodness and I truly hope FULL CAST AUDIO does some more Heinlein juvenile novels just like it. Have FULL CAST AUDIO, will listen!

On ABC Radio Australia! Short Story: March 7,…

On ABC Radio Australia!

Short Story: March 7, 2004 at 8.30am

Real Men

URL: http://www.abc.net.au/rn/arts/sstory/stories/s1041881.htm

by Rosaleen Love

Rosaleen Love is a Melbourne writer who writes on science and technology from a number of angles, including this example of science fantasy – or is it science fact?

Airplay: March 7, 2004 at 3pm

An Eye on Venus

URL: http://www.abc.net.au/rn/arts/airplay/s1041611.htm

by Paul Livingstone

Molly and Reg Winter have been to the shops. As they have done for the past thirty-two years. An Eye On Venus is about an unusual afternoon in their lives. On their way home to Terrigal, Molly and Reg Winter are abducted by aliens. Two very ordinary people, in an extraordinary situation.

Posted by Jesse Willis

KUSP radio broadcasting out of Santa Cruz, Califor…

SFFaudio Online Audio

KUSP radio broadcasting out of Santa Cruz, California has a plethora of science fiction and fantasy author audio interviews available.

Interviewed by Rick Kleffel:

Alastair Reynolds – His webpageInterview

Chuck Palahniuk – His webpageInterview 1Interview 2

Jonathan Carroll – His webpageInterview

Robert Jordan – His webpageInterview

Carter Scholz – Interview

Cory Doctorow – His webpageInterview

Alan Dutschman – His webpageInterview

Ira Sher – Interview

Margaret Weis – Her webpageInterview

Christopher Moore – His webpageInterview

Douglas Coupland – His webpageInterview

Dan Simmons – His webpageInterview

Terry Goodkind – His webpageInterview

Mary Roach – Interview

James Barclay – His webpageInterview

Charles de Lint – His webpageInterview

Terry Pratchett – His webpageInterview

John Shirley – His webpageInterview

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of No Truce with Kings by Poul Anderson

Science Fiction Audiobook - No Truce With Kings by Poul AndersonNo Truce With Kings
By Poul Anderson; Read by Tom Teti
4 Cassettes – 4 Hours 40 minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Dercum Press Audio [ActiveBooks #ABS02]
Published: September 1987 – OUT OF PRINT
ISBN: 1556562675
Themes: / Science Fiction / Exploration / Sea Voyage / Civil War / Military / Galactic Civilization / Telepathy /

DERCUM ACTIVE BOOKS
Dercum’s Active Books are a contemporary approach to classic literature. This collection, when complete, will number over sixteen volumes and will be one of the most comprehensive anthologies of science fiction and fantasy stories ever produced. Book Notes are and exclusive feature of all Dercum Fantasy Listening Cassettes. At key points in our stories, musical accents are added for your listening pleasure.

Though it doesn’t state it in the title, this audiobook actually contains two tales by Poul Anderson, the 1961 Hugo winning novelette “The Longest Voyage” and the 1964 Hugo winning novella “No Truce With Kings”. “The Longest Voyage” follows a junior officer on board the ship of a latter day Magellan. But this global circumnavigation is on a faraway planet, populated by humans who have lost their ancient technologies. As their society has rebuilt itself it builds new caravels that can take them farther and farther afield. But the new civilizations they discover on a distant shore hold a secret to both their past and their future.

“No Truce with Kings” is set in a post-apocalyptic United States, a feudal future made up of small nations constantly at war with each other. As the battles and intrigues unfold, hidden societies and shadowy organizations begin to show that their wars do not go unnoticed.

“The Longest Voyage” was enjoyable, it reminded me of Robert J. Sawyer’s Farseer, minus the talking dinosaurs. “No Truce With Kings” was well conceived, a cross between Mad Max and Jeremiah, but the execution was less than I had hoped for. Still and all, I enjoyed both stories and it was a very good listen.

This audiobook is a curious mix of excellence and shoddiness. The stories are certainly very worthy of adaptation, the reader Tom Teti is decent if not spectacular, providing only a minimal performance. But the packaging is just plain bad, missing digits in the ISBN, the reader’s name would be unknown except that the packaging has come unglued and revealed it beneath one of the two cassette holders (a place where no one would ever possibly see it!). They also ignored a title, no mention of the inclusion of “The Longest Voyage” appears except on the cassettes themselves and in small font on the back of the package. The jacket design is almost non-existent giving us only some generic clipart. In addition, the genre is labeled fantasy when both stories are actually science fiction. On the other hand the recording and the sound production is truly excellent! Including as always with Dercum Active Book titles the haunting Dercum Audio music, which starts to play before the story and which re-appears when a story ends or when a tape flip is coming up. It is a truly excellent theme music for science fiction or fantasy audio production and one which I am always pleased to hear. But the best part, the very best part of this audiobook is the added introduction which is so very appropriate and so well written, introducing the stories and the author, really enhancing the experience. Overall I’m very glad to have finally found a copy of this out of print and obscure audiobook, but I can’t say its perfect, I have to wonder if some of the reasons for the fall of Dercum Audio have anything to do with their lack of follow through? To get such a great property, to execute the recording so well, to produce it with such forethought and then to package it in an unattractive and poorly designed package… its a real tale of what might have been.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Neuromancer by William Gibson

SFFaudio Review

TIME WARNER AUDIO - Neuromancer by William GibsonNeuromancer
By William Gibson; Read by William Gibson
4 Cassettes – Approx. 6 hours [ABRIDGED]
Publisher: Time Warner AudioBooks
Published: August 1994
ISBN: 1570420599
Themes: / Science Fiction / Cyberpunk / Dystopia / Artificial Intelligence /

Neuromancer sent massive shockwaves though science fiction and popular culture upon its release in 1984. Those shockwaves can still be felt after 20 years. Neuromancer is the tale of Case, a console cowboy, otherwise known as a computer hacker who goes on a futuristic Odyssey spanning a nihilistic near-future Earth and slightly beyond. A rich background, experimentalist prose, cuttingly future-modern dialogue and a prophetic dystopian vision combine with a heist plot reminiscent of Elmore Leonard to make a novel that will undoubtedly win William Gibson an eventual title of GRANDMASTER.

Created for the 10th anniversary of the publication of William Gibson’s first and best novel, this audiobook is a SFFaudio listener’s delight! A careful abridgment and a masterfully executed production, this is perhaps the best version of Neuromancer in any form. While Gibson is by no means a trained actor or even a professional narrator, his voice is uniquely suited to this novel and his characters. Supplementing the terrific reading is a unique soundtrack made up of two U2 remixes, which really does amazing things. Now normally I’d say that the combination of accenting music, a non-professional narrator and an abridgment of the novel all would be a recipe for disaster. But this version of Neuromancer defies all my expectations, and makes this my candidate for perhaps THE BEST ABRIDGED AUDIOBOOK EVER PRODUCED!

Posted by Jesse Willis