Since the country is going through a Harry Potter …

SFFaudio Commentary

Fantasy Audiobooks - Harry Potter 3Since the country is going through a Harry Potter frenzy right now, I feel I should mention how wonderful I’ve found the Harry Potter audiobooks published by Listening Library. I’ve listened to two of them, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (currently in production as a feature film) and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I also joined the fray last weekend and purchased the audiobook of the newest title, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which won’t get to right away. (My wife and son are currently enjoying it.) I’ll write up a proper review when I do.

Fantasy Audiobooks - Harry Potter 4But until then: Both of the volumes I have listened to are simply excellent. If you’ve seen the films, you really know what to expect, especially from Volume 3. In the fourth book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J.K. Rowling really takes it up a notch. This book actually won a Hugo award a couple of years back as the best novel of the year, and I admit that I was surprised at that result. I felt that George R.R. Martin’s A Storm of Swords should have won the award. After listening to this novel, though, I feel that it was worthy of consideration (though I still would have voted for Martin’s book). It is thicker and certainly darker in both character and theme than the previous three books. It is a novel written for young adults, but there’s plenty in there to appeal to us older folks.

Fantasy Audiobooks - Harry Potter 5Jim Dale narrates all of the Potter novels. His range in these performances is incredible. There are many different characters in this book, and Dale provides distinct voices to each one. He acts them all with great skill. It’s true that many of the characters are not particularly deep – an evil character is simply evil and does evil things without us really knowing why. At least not yet. But in Jim Dale’s reading, we know who is who because the manner of each character shines through.

I’m looking forward to this latest volume and didn’t hesitate to buy it.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

I just updated the New Releases page… Current…

New Releases

I just updated the New Releases page…

Currently, I’m listening to Deathstalker: Rebellion, Part 1 by Simon Green from Defiance Audio, read by several people. It’s an action-packed story in the Star Wars mold; empire, rebellion, aliens of all types, sword fights…

I’d like to see more companies adopt their style of publication. Deathstalker and Deathstalker: Rebellion are big books – they’d make for a large unabridged audio. Large enough, in fact, that most of their target audience (teens) wouldn’t be able to afford them. Instead of going that route, Defiance has made a series of them, releasing the novel in five three-hour portions at a very comfortable $9.95 a piece (or a mere $6.95 if you download them off the website).

This could serve as a model for the production of some excellent but bulky stuff like George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series. Why not release it in parts? As long as the end result is unabridged, I’d buy them.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Review of Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King

SFFaudio Review

The Dark Tower II: The Drawing Of The Three by Stephen KingThe Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three
By Stephen King; Read by Frank Muller
Publisher: Penguin Audiobooks [UNABRIDGED]
Date Published: November 1997
ISBN: 0140867155
Themes: / Fantasy / Parallel worlds /

This is the second book in Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. I read the first volume a few months ago (in print) and found it very different from Stephen King’s other work. To start with, it was not set in our world, where King sets nearly all of his novels. This volume is set both in the wasteland of the first novel and this world. King expertly uses the setting along with his unforgettable characters to explore the notions of Good and Evil in a grand fashion.

The main character in the books is Roland, a gunslinger, possibly the last gunslinger, who travels in a world separate but somehow connected to our own. This second volume starts within hours after the first ends. Roland is required to draw three people from our world into his to help him on his quest to reach the Dark Tower. If none of this makes sense, that’s okay. I’m hesitant to provide too much detail. It is enough to say that what you have here is a contemporary fantasy novel written by one of the finest creators of believable characters in fiction.

And Frank Muller does the narrating. I’ve never been disappointed in a Muller narration, and this certainly is no exception. His voice is perfect for this material – I imagine Roland’s voice to be Muller’s – and the great energy which he provides this novel probably made it more interesting than it actually was. Several times when listening time came to and end, I took an extra lap around the block or listened for an extra ten minutes… and Muller’s reading is as responsible for that as King’s writing.

I am definitely a Stephen King fan. I enjoy nearly all of his stories. My favorites are from his early career, The Stand and Salem’s Lot especially. Neither of those have audio versions, unfortunately. (Well, there is a version of The Stand available from Books on Tape, but it is not the complete version of the novel that King released later in his career.)

For more info on the Dark Tower series, check the Dark Tower Compendium.

On June 7, the Horror Writers Association gave the…

SFFaudio Online Audio

On June 7, the Horror Writers Association gave their 2002 Bram Stoker Awards. There are audio editions of a few of the winners.


The Lovely Bones, Alice Sebold, narrated by Alyssa Bresnahan, Unabridged, Recorded Books


One More for the Road by Ray Bradbury, read by Campbell Scott, Harper Audio


Coraline by Neil Gaiman, read by the author, Unabridged, Harper Audio


“Imagination Box”, Steve & Melanie Tem, Lone Wolf Publications (multimedia CD)

J. N. Williamson and Stephen King were given Lifetime Achievement Awards. Find all the awards here.

Personally, the only work listed here that I’ve read is Gaiman’s Coraline which I enjoyed very much. Congrats to all the winners!

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Review of Time Bride by Gardner Dozois and Jack Dann

SFFaudio Review

Time Bride
by Gardner Dozois and Jack Dann; Read by Barbara Rosenblat
One cassette – 67 minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Durkin Hayes Publishing Ltd.
Date Published: October 1992 – Out of Print
ISBN: 0886466202
Themes: / Science Fiction / Time Travel / Children /

The man who wasn’t there first spoke to Marcie when she was eight years old. Sitting in a mud puddle outside her house a disembodied voice spoke to Marcie. It said “My name is Arnold Waxman and someday I’m going to marry you”. The voice knew all about Marcie, and was constantly trying to control her behavior, it would scold her for being naughty and tell her what she should think and do. “With my guidance,” It said. “You’ll grow up to be a perfect young lady, the perfect bride.” Marcie didn’t like the voice and she was determined that she would not marry Arnold Waxman when she grew up. She will get her revenge… in time.

Gardner Dozois a Nebula Award winning author, as well as a Hugo Award winning editor has teamed up with Jack Dann himself an honoured editor to construct this neat little SF fable. Originally published in “Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine” December 1983 issue, Time Bride is read by Barbara Rosenblat who has been named a “Golden Voice” by Audiofile magazine and as such she’d been recognized as one of the audiobooks industry’s top narrators. While this tale won’t blow your mind with its originality it will surely entertain you. Barbara Rosenblat reads Dann and Dozois’ dialogue with obvious relish and the dénouement when it comes is very well done indeed. Unfortunately due to Durkin Hayes being out of business you may have great difficulty finding a copy of this audiobook. A search of eBay may turn up a copy.