Here are four recently arrived audiobooks. They’ll join their friends on the teeming shores of SFFaudio’s PO BOX. But, before they can take up proper residence (on someone’s bookshelf) they’ll need one of our officials (that’s me) to unseal their carefully wrapped packages, do a “whole cover imaging” (which involves our totally non invasive and completely harmless photonic scanners technology), riffle through their intimate contents, and generally fondle them both inside and out in what we like to call “an enhanced manual inspection.” It’s the law here at SFFaudio AND it’s for your protection.
Heh-heh. I think I’ll start with the slim and sexy beauty standing at the head of the line here…
Zen, the artificial intelligence featured in this audio drama, is the master computer aboard the Deep Space Vehicle 2 (later to be re-named Liberator). In the television series “Zen’s history, like that of the Liberator itself, is unknown prior to its first appearance.” This audio drama answers much of the mystery surrounding Zen and the Liberator
Blake’s 7: The Early Years: Zen: Escape Velocity (Volume 2.1)
By James Swallow; Directed by Andrew Mark Sewell; Performed by a full cast
1 CD – Approx. 1 Hour [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: B7 Productions
Published: April 26, 2010
Based on Terry Nation’s seminal 70s science fiction TV series, The Early Years is a prequel series of audio stories that explores the origins of key Blake’s 7 characters prior to them meeting rebel leader Roj Blake. This latest entry to the ever-expanding series takes a new twist, concentrating on a character that doesn’t breathe or have any parents, the synthetic intelligence known only as Zen. When Roj Blake first stepped on board the mysterious, derelict alien spaceship Liberator, his every movement was monitored by the ship’s controlling intelligence, Zen Luckily, Blake and his rebel crew managed to gain the ‘confidence’ of this creation from an alien world and so he was able to use the Liberator in their quest for justice against the Federation. But the origins of Zen have remained a mystery, until now. What terrible catastrophe left the Liberator drifting and shattered? What drove the ship’s intelligence to murder its original crew? What dark secrets lie at the heart of this alien machine? And are Blake and his crew really safe on board the Liberator? Featuring Zoë Tapper, Jason Merrells, Tracy-Ann Oberman and Alistair Lock as Zen.
Here’s a title mentioned on The SFFaudio Podcast #065, narrator Steve West has a gentle, smoky English voice. Videos follow.
The Left Hand Of God
By Paul Hoffman; Read by Steve West
10 CDs – Approx. 12.5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Published: June 15, 2010
Listen, The Sanctuary of Redeemers on Shotover Scarp is named after a damned lie, for there is little redemption that goes on there and less sanctuary… In the Redeemer Sanctuary, the stronghold of a secretive sect of warrior monks, torture and death await the unsuccessful or disobedient. Raised by the Redeemers from early childhood like hundreds of other young captives, Thomas Cale has known only deprivation, punishment, and grueling training. He doesn’t know that another world exists outside the fortress walls or even that secrets he can’t imagine lurk behind the Sanctuary’s many forbidden doorways. He doesn’t know that his master Lord Bosco and the Sanctuary’s Redeemers have been preparing for a holy war for centuries-a holy war that is now imminent. And Cale doesn’t know that he’s been noticed and quietly cultivated. Then, Cale decides to open a door. It’s a door that leads to one of the Redeemers’ darkest secrets and a choice that is really no choice at all: certain death or daring escape. Adrift in the wider world for the first time in his young life, Cale soon finds himself in Memphis, the capitol of culture-and the den of Sin. It’s there that Cale discovers his prodigious gift: violence. And he discovers that after years of abuse at the hands of the Redeemers his embittered heart is still capable of loving-and breaking. But the Redeemers won’t accept the defection of their special subject without a fight. As the clash of civilizations that has been looming for thousands of years draws near, a world where the faithful are as brutal as the sinful looks to young Cale to decide its fate.
By the author of the “Kiki Strike” series (which is about “the adventures of six girls in Manhattan” who encounter a “hungry ghost” and “giant squirrels”). The cover depicts a sort of Ouroboros, and the novel is apparently about reincarnation and/or past lives with romance, aimed at the YA market. Book and audiobook trailers follow.
The Eternal Ones
By Kirsten Miller; Read by Emma Galvin
9 CDs – Approx. 11 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Published: August 10, 2010
Haven Moore has always lived in the tiny town of Snope City, Tennessee. But for as long as she can remember, Haven has experienced visions of a past life as a girl named Constance, whose love for a boy called Ethan ended in a fiery tragedy. One day, the sight of notorious playboy Iain Morrow on television brings Haven to her knees. Haven flees to New York City to find Iain there; she is swept up in an epic love affair that feels both deeply fated and terribly dangerous. Is Iain her beloved Ethan? Or is he her murderer in a past life?
Most of the talk I’ve heard about this book has described it as ‘not really science fiction.’ Presumably part of their rationale is that’s because it isn’t set in the future. But as a deep SFF literature fan surely realizes, setting isn’t the key indicator of SF – Gibson’s approach, in every book I’ve read of his – has been the determining factor of its SF-ness. I’m willing to bet Zero History is SF.
By William Gibson; Read by Robertson Dean
9 CDs – Approx. 11 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Published: September 7, 2010
Hollis Henry worked for the global marketing magnate Hubertus Bigend once before. She never meant to repeat the experience. But she’s broke, and Bigend never feels it’s beneath him to use whatever power comes his way — in this case, the power of money to bring Hollis onto his team again. Not that she knows what the “team” is up to, not at first. Milgrim is even more thoroughly owned by Bigend. He’s worth owning for his useful gift of seeming to disappear in almost any setting, and his Russian is perfectly idiomatic – so much so that he spoke Russian with his therapist, in the secret Swiss clinic where Bigend paid for him to be cured of the addiction that would have killed him. Garreth has a passion for extreme sports. Most recently he jumped off the highest building in the world, opening his chute at the last moment, and he has a new thighbone made of rattan baked into bone, entirely experimental, to show for it. Garreth isn’t owned by Bigend at all. Garreth has friends from whom he can call in the kinds of favors that a man like Bigend will find he needs, when things go unexpectedly sideways, in a world a man like Bigend is accustomed to controlling. As when a Department of Defense contract for combat-wear turns out to be the gateway drug for arms dealers so shadowy that even Bigend, whose subtlety and power in the private sector would be hard to overstate, finds himself outmaneuvered and adrift in a seriously dangerous world.
While this book will likely shoot to it’s highest prominence next summer with the release of the next Disney movie about pirates in the Caribbean, a more interesting (and lesser known) factoid about this novel is that it inspired the LucasArts Monkey Island series of games! Now if only someone could tell me what inspired Their Finest Hour and it’s amazing 192-page ring bound manual!
On Stranger Tides
By Tim Powers; Read by Bronson Pinchot
10 CDs – Approx. 11.7 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: August 2010
On Stranger Tides follows the exploits of John “Jack Shandy” Chandagnac, who travels to the new world after the death of his puppeteer father to confront his uncle, who has apparently made off with the family fortune. During the voyage, he befriends Beth Hurwood and her father Benjamin Hurwood, an Oxford professor. Before they arrive at their destination, their ship is waylaid by Blackbeard and his band of pirates. With the help of the professor and his assistant, the captain is killed and Chandagnac is pressed into piracy and sorcery as Blackbeard searches for the Fountain of Lost Youth. Chandagnac, newly dubbed “Jack Shandy,” must stop the evil plot and save Beth Hurwood.
Posted by Jesse Willis