Just got a press release announcing the creation o…

Just got a press release announcing the creation of a company named Paperback Digital. The company will publish audiobooks in MP3 format for sale on it’s website (www.paperbackdigital.com) and on Fictionwise.com. The audiobooks will be sold on MP3-CD and as download!

Paperback Digital will make it titles available for the first time over Labor Day weekend at the World Science Fiction Convention being held in Boston. The titles that will be available:

1634: The Galileo Affair by Eric Flint and Andrew Dennis, $19.95, Length: 21 Hours; 2 MP3-CDs

Eric Flint moves the focus of his best-selling alternate history series to Venice and a host of new characters. Hippy Tom Stone founds a modern pharmaceutical industry while his sons rescue a very different Galileo than the history books record. Meanwhile Father Mazzare defends Galileo at his trial and faces the Church, testing his faith and showing the complexities of 17th Century theology…

Hardcover published by: Baen Books

Spirits In The Wires by Charles de Lint, $14.95, Length: 17 Hours; 1 MP3-CD

When the popular Newford website Wordwood crashes, everyone who was logged in disappears into thin air. Writer Christy Riddell and his friends must travel into that netherworld of spirits and elves to rescue their companions by doing battle with the spirit who powers this world before it can cause more harm…

Simultaneous publication with TOR Books trade paperback release

Coming October 1st will be:

Cally’s War by John Ringo and Julie Cochrane, $25.00, Length: 14 Hours; 1 MP3-CD

For as long as Cally could remember, she had lived in danger. While her father was off fighting the invading Posleen she had been raised by her grandfather, on the front-lines of a war that had erased five billion humans from the face of the earth. Cally has been fighting for the future of the human race, but now she’s in a war for the survival of her soul….

Simultaneous publication with Baen Books hardcover release

And on Halloween:

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris, $14.95, Length: 12 Hours 30 Minutes; 1 MP3-CD

The first book in Harris’ best-selling Southern Vampire Mystery series. Roadhouse

waitress Sookie Stackhouse has a problem: she can read minds. And who wants to go on a date with a guy when you can’t get near him without seeing the images of yourself flitting through his head. It was just easier to stay home and watch TV. Until the night she got a bottle of beer for a new customer and found one man whose minds was a blank wall to her. What difference did it make that he was a vampire? …

Mass Market paperback published by: Ace Books

On November 1st, Paperback Digital will release:

Reflex by Steven Gould, $23.95, Length: 14 Hours, 1 MP3-CD

The sequel to Gould’s 1992 best-selling debut novel, Jumper, this new novel picks up 10 years later, when Davy is kidnapped by a fanatic who wants the secret of teleportation and his wife, Millie, has to rescue him. She has no idea of where or how to start, until she falls and reflexively jumps to safety.

Simultaneous publication with TOR Books hardcover release

On December 1st, Paperback Digital will release:

Survival, Species Imperative 1 by Julie E. Czerneda, $14.95, Length: 16 Hours, 1 MP3-CD

When her field research station is mysteriously attacked, marine biologist Dr. Mackenzie Connor must flee for her life. Joining forces with an alien archaeologist, she escapes to his planet on a quest to find a defense against the unknown aggressor—before they launch a fullscale invasion of Earth.

Hardcover published by: DAW Books

All my best to them! May Paperback Digital enjoy a prosperous long life!

Review of Bimbos of the Death Sun by Sharyn McCrumb

Bimbos of the Death Sun
By Sharyn McCrumb; read by Ruth Ann Phimister
4 Cassettes – 6 Hours /[UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Recorded Books
Published: 1999
ISBN: 0788768867
Themes: / Science Fiction Convention / Mystery / Humor / Fandom /

“A quaint airport hotel hosts an SF convention that is positively swarming with sword and sorcery aficionados, unfortunately the guest of honor is found with a bullet through his cold little heart. Its obvious who did it, its author, Sharyn McCrumb”*
-Commander Rick, Prisoners Of Gravity

Appin Dungannon, the guest of honor at RubiCon, a regional science fiction convention has been murdered. He had written a seemingly endless, and highly profitable, series of swords-and-sorcery novels about a Celtic warrior with a magic sword. He had spent every moment at this particular con, and many previous, making a general nuisance of himself and ridiculing his own fans and the costume contest entrants. So its no real wonder that he wound up dead. The only question is ‘who did it?’ With so many suspects how can the murder be solved? After all the police don’t know the terrain, they don’t understand Klingon! Thankfully, Jay Omega, an engineering professor at a local university and author of the lamentably titled “Bimbos of The Death Sun” is up to the task of separating the murderers from the mere nerds.

First published in 1988, the computer technology references, like everyone still using floppy diskettes (!), is the only thing that really dates this funny novel.

Billed as a murder mystery satire, Bimbos of the Death Sun does have those elements. But considering the murder takes place more than half way through the book and the requisite whodunit scenes aren’t the primary focus even after the late murder, I see it more as straight satire of the convention culture that fans of fantasy and science fiction have built for themselves. For those interested, in such a straight mystery with a comedic touch I highly recommend you check out Isaac Asimov’s much underrated Murder At The ABA. Bimbos though, does have a few of the murder mystery necessities – like the very Rex Stoutish ‘I suppose your wondering why I’ve gathered you all here’ scene, but even then it does take place over a game of Dungeons and Dragons. McCrumb, an Edgar award winner, apparently got a strong negative reaction to the novel from what she calls “the sort of person who has a degree in physics and works at McDonalds, but its okay because on weekends he’s a Viking warrior.”* I can kind of see why though, she’s pretty ruthless – exposing the extreme geekitude of many SF conventioneers, but given that she appears to be carrying an outsider’s perspective (McCrumb is mainly known as a mystery author) its surprising just how accurately she’s portrayed the atmosphere of a con. I think she’s a little too familiar with the convention mindset to be entirely in contempt of it. And remember that in 1988 being a nerd wasn’t quite the same thing as being a nerd now. One other minor worry is that for such a short novel, a mere 6 hours (224 pages), the many character perspectives would seem to hamper the mystery elements, and I suppose it would if I were to critique it as a murder mystery alone it would be a concern. A mystery fan alone may have felt cheated, as a fan of both mysteries, science fiction, and its satirization, I didn’t.

Bimbos comes on four cassettes and packaged in the “Collector’s Edition,” an affordably priced, lightweight packaging that’s durable enough for a private collection but not durable enough for a library. A clear plastic sheet protects the printed insert containing the original cover art, which depicts the in-novel described cover art of Jay Omega’s own novel. Such touches are much appreciated by collectors like myself and Recorded Books has always been the standard bearer for outstanding original cover art on audiobooks.

Bimbos is full of jokes and comedic commentaries of fannish behavior, there’s plenty of fun for narrator Ruth Ann Phimister to play with. Her performance, including a funny Scottish accent, was always most appropriate and always in tone with the mood of the text, a lighthearted performance of a lighthearted visit to a fictional SF convention. I truly look forward to her reading of the sequel, entitled Zombies Of The Gene Pool, which is also available from Recorded Books.

* Quotations taken from Prisoners Of Gravity episode on “S.F. Mysteries”.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Here’s an interesting audio story from NPR’s Morni…

SFFaudio Online Audio

Here’s an interesting audio story from NPR’s Morning Edition entitled: Dungeons and Dragons Turns 30.

This Thursday night in Indianapolis, fans of role-playing and war games will gather for the annual GenCon convention. And this year, they’ll be marking the 30th anniversary of the most popular game in the genre’s history — Dungeons and Dragons, known by its fans by the shorthand “D and D.”

In the modern era of virtual reality, NPR’s Rick Karr reports that the original, unplugged version of the game remains popular and has proved a key influence on the next generation of video games.

Click here for the whole story, which includes a link to listen to the NPR story and a web extra link to listen to a game of D & D being played.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Here’s a quick survey of new Science Fiction and F…

New Releases

Here’s a quick survey of new Science Fiction and Fantasy audiobook releases:

Blackstone Audio

Lost Boys by Orson Scott Card, read by Stefan Rudnicki, Unabridged

Stefan Rudnicki reads this deeply affecting novel by Orson Scott Card. It’s a great novel, and in Rudnicki’s hands it will be treated well.

Ringworld’s Children by Larry Niven, read by Barrett Whitener, Unabridged

Another novel from Larry Niven! Definitely a welcome sight. I’ve heard Barrett Whitener read several books, and have enjoyed him very much. This release is a darned good excuse to revisit the whole series. Blackstone also carries the first Ringworld novel, read by Patrick Cullen.

Recorded Books

Horizon Storms by Kevin J. Anderson, read by George Guidall, Unabridged

This is Book 3 of Anderson’s The Saga of the Seven Suns. In a way, it’s like a fantasy epic series only in a science fiction setting. I’ve heard Book 2 and Guidall is wonderful with this (and pretty much all other) material.

Audio Renaissance

The Dragon’s Son by Margaret Weis, read by Stefan Rudnicki and Gabrielle de Cuir, Unabridged

This is a sequel to Weis’ first solo effort, Mistress of Dragons, which was a good audiobook. In these, there is a powerful Dragon Parliament which has agreed to keep their hands out of human affairs, but someone of dragon kind has broken that oath. Let the hunt begin!

Dune: The Battle of Corrin by Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson, read by Scott Brick, Unabridged

Kevin Anderson is a busy man! I haven’t followed the Dune prequels, but this is the last of the second prequel trilogy, and Scott Brick is an excellent reader.

All of the books above, except for Lost Boys and Horizon Storms, are also available on-line at Audible.com.

I wish you all good listening!

I will compile a similar new-release list for post monthly – if you have a release you’d like me to mention, please contact me here.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Review of Catskin by Kelly Link

By Kelly Link; Read by Kelly Link
|REALAUDIO|* – Approx. 56 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Broadcaster: WNYC
Broadcast: Nov. 1st 2002
Themes: / Fantasy / Horror / Magic / Witchcraft / Cats /

This short story by Nebula, World Fantasy, and James Tiptree Jr. Award winning author Kelly Link can be heard by listening to this archived radio show.

This is an unusual tale of the death of a lonely witch whose magical family must deal with the death of their mother. Frightening mental images and an unconventional approach to traditional horror and fantasy marks much of Kelly Link’s work . Like Neil Gaiman, Link is working with traditional themes, but overturning our expectations and that’s a good thing. Unfortunately, Link reads this tale very matter-of-factly, something all too common with author-performed stories and of course this adds nothing to an otherwise interesting tale. Link’s reading is also accompanied by a constant tinkling and trumpeting musical background – if it merely introduced and concluded the reading it would be great but because it doesn’t it simply distracts from the telling. One other minor issue is the long pauses up to six seconds. Such pauses make the listener think the reading has concluded prematurely. Despite these audio production problems, Catskin makes for a chilling Halloween themed listen.

*Be sure to zip all the way to the end of the first hour of the show and then to the 2 minute mark of the second hour of the show.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of To Your Scattered Bodies Go By Philip Jose Farmer

Science Fiction Audiobooks - To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip Jose FarmerTo Your Scattered Bodies Go
By Philip Jose Farmer; Read by Paul Hecht
6 Cassettes – 7.75 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Recorded Books Inc.
Published: 2000
ISBN: 0788763261
Themes: / Science Fiction / Resurrection / Society / Aliens /

Paul Hecht reads this Hugo Award-winning novel by Philip Jose Farmer. The novel begins with the resurrection of millions of people from throughout human history. They awaken in a great river, swim to the surface, and emerge onto the shore.

The story’s main character is Sir Richard Burton, an adventurer who lived from 1821 to 1890. He immediately finds himself leader of a small group of people which includes a prehistoric man, a Victorian woman, and an alien. This afterlife is no heaven, though, as people barely get over the fact that they are alive again before they start fighting each other for the usual reasons humans do.

Burton’s attention turns to the river itself, and he decides to build a boat and find its source, hoping then to find the answers to his questions – Who resurrected them? And why? The answer to this question changes throughout the book as more is revealed and the characters figure things out.

Another significant character is Nazi Hermann Goering who picks up from where he left off on Earth, enslaving Jews and engaging in battle wherever he can find it. The exchanges between Goering and Burton are the highlight of the book. That humankind can be resurrected without changing is a dismal thought, and I think the main theme of this novel. But mankind’s adventurous spirit is also represented as honorable in Burton’s character.

Paul Hecht is a good reader who does well with this material. He was a bit dry at times, but was very listenable and successfully held my attention.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson