Review of Solution Unsatisfactory

Solution Unsatisfactory
Adapted by Daniel Taylor from the short story by Robert A. Heinlein; Full Cast Production
1 CD – 68 Minutes UNABRIDGED
Publisher: Atlanta Radio Theater Company
Published: 2003
ISBN: 0929483316
Themes: / Science Fiction / WWII / Nuclear Holocaust / Time Travel /

Solution Unsatisfactory describes an American supersecret project to develop an atomic superweapon that proves vital to the Allied triumph of World War II. ‘So what,’ you say. ‘That’s old news.’ And you’d be right, the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 were the final nails in the coffin of WWII. But what’s weird is, Solution Unsatisfactory was published in 1940, a full half decade before the atom bomb was even known to exists by the general public. What’s more, Heinlein’s story goes on to foresee the coming cold war with the Soviet Union and the concomitant race to arm with atomic weapons. Heinlein’s story doesn’t actually foretell the same events that happened, but the similarities are pretty eerie.

Daniel Taylor and the Atlanta Radio Theater Company have gone to great lengths to perform this difficult-to-adapt tale. Heinlein’s original short story is full of lots of exposition and less dialogue, and it takes place over a number of years, so Taylor has been forced to use propaganda radio transmissions and news bulletins to inform dramatically. The dramatization sounds crystal clear, performances are impactful and it follows the spirit of the text quite faithfully. The audiobook comes packaged in a DVD style amaray case with liner notes on the inside – a very cool idea. For the longest time the colourful cover art really baffled me, I figured it was like a Rorschach, but actually its not projective at all, I just was looking at it wrong. ARTC should be proud of themselves, Solution Unsatisfactory is a chilling reminder of how prescient science fiction can be, and more importantly, how it can serve as a warning.

Also included on the CD are two other shorter dramatizations. The Assassins by Gerald W. Page, a time-travel tale which is highly enjoyable, though predictable. It starts off at a convention of scientists where the topic of the day is to change the present by means of selective historical assassination. It ends in a familiar place. The final dramatization on the CD is the whimsical Grandma’s Diary by Daniel Taylor, which is neither SF or Fantasy, but entertaining.

As with other ARTC productions Solution Unsatisfactory needs a particular environment for maximum enjoyment. Cut out ambient background noise – use snug fitting headphones or a very quiet room (no white noise producers like ceiling fans for instance) with a solid pair of high fidelity speakers.

Posted by Jesse Willis

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