Review of The Little Book by Selden Edwards

SFFaudio Review

The Little Book by Selden EdwardsThe Little Book
By Selden Edwards; Read by Jeff Woodman
13 CDs – 15 Hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Published: Aug 2008
ISBN: 9780143143512
Themes: / Fantasy / Time Travel / Vienna / 19th Century / Philosophy /

The Little Book is the extraordinary tale of Wheeler Burden, California-exiled heir of the famous Boston banking Burdens, philosopher, student of history, legend’s son, rock idol, writer, lover of women, recluse, half-Jew, and Harvard baseball hero. In 1988 he is forty-seven, living in San Francisco. Suddenly he is—still his modern self—wandering in a city and time he knows mysteriously well: fin de siècle Vienna. It is 1897, precisely ninety-one years before his last memory and a half-century before his birth.

The genre aspects of this novel are not, well, novel. At least to the genre-savvy. Like Mark Twain’s Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, the method of time travel is irrelevant. What’s important and interesting is the interaction of Selden Edwards’s fictional characters with their forebears and with historical characters, most notably Sigmund Freud and Mark Twain.

Wheeler Burden has lengthy discussions with Freud, seeming to shape in some way the later ideas that Freud published. He also spends a great deal of time with his own father, who was also in the past for an unknown reason. Since Wheeler’s father had died during World War II, this was an opportunity to get to know each other. Add a very beautiful grandmother, and one can almost hear Freud furiously scribbling notes in the background.

Jeff Woodman is a terrific narrator. He performs accents in a completely believable (and completely understandable) manner. Also notable is his performance of female characters, which is subtle and effective. I’m looking forward to hearing more of his audiobooks.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

The SFFaudio Podcast #013


The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #013 – We’ve got an absolutely unique interview with the incredibly cool Mister Ron from the Mister Ron’s Basement podcast! Mister Ron has a podcast devoted to humorous fiction from the 19th and early 20th century.

In the interview we talked about Mister Ron’s podcast, H.G. Wells, Sherlock Holmes spoofs, August Derleth, Solar Pons, O. Henry, Stephen Leacock, Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court, Edgar Allan Poe, Benjamin Franklin, Bud Grace, Piranha Club, Stanley Huntley, A Journey To The Sun, Pfaff’s Beer Cellar, Mortimer Thomson, podcasting,

Also talked about on today’s show:
Audiobooks, The Little Book, Selden Edwards, The Accidental Time Machine, Joe Haldeman, time travel, James P. Hogan, Thrice Upon A Time, movies, what’s right with Frequency, what’s right and wrong with the Star Wars: Clone Wars movie, and what’s worrisome about the new Star Trek movie trailer and finally what’s playing this week on BBC7.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Mister Ron’s Basement: A Journey To The Sun & The Ghost Exstinguisher

SFFaudio Online Audio

Podcast - Mister Ron's BasementMister Ron, from Mister Ron’s Basement Podcast has a couple of vintage spoofs of SF and Fantasy for us. Ron writes:

“it turns out that Stanley Huntley must have had a passion for spoofing Jules Verne. Just a few months after he had put A Trip to the South Pole in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle in 1880, he went after Around the World in Eighty Days with the story A Journey to the Sun by Jules Verne, Jr. It features the English Baronet Sir Fillemup Frog, who bets his friends that he can climb up to the Sun. It’s a silly, but fun story.”

A Journey to the Sun
By Jules Verne, Jr. (aka Stanley Huntley); Read by Mister Ron
1 |MP3| – Approx. 11 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: Mister Ron’s Basement
Podcast: November 17th 2008
Also up from the basement, from 1905, what may be the original ghost-busting story…

The Ghost-Extinguisher
By Gelett Burgess; Read by Mister Ron
1 |MP3| – Approx. 25 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: Mister Ron’s Basement
Podcast: October 2008
A scientist discovers perfects the Japanese technique for disabling ghosts and putting them in jars.

Posted by Jesse Willis



The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #012 – Our sickest show yet. How sick? Well, I’d like Stanley Kubrick to direct the next Conan movie. We also talk about the SFFaudio Challenge #3, which is not as bad as Red Sonja (1985).

Talked about on today’s show:
Fallout 3 has a built-in radio drama (The Adventures Of Daring Dashwood), The Little Book, Selden Edwards, time travel, The Book Of Lies, Brad Meltzer, Nelson DeMille, The Border, The Third SFFaudio Challenge, Muureen O’Brien, Maria Lectrix Podcast, The Risk Profession, Donald E. Westlake, Spider Robinson, John D. MacDonald, Travis McGee, John Varley, The Persistence Of Vision, Scott Brick, Aural Noir, The Case Of The Dancing Sandwiches, Frederic Brown, The Fabulous Clipjoint, H. Beam Piper, Murder In The Gunroom, Galaxy Press, Elantris, Brandon Sanderson, Dennis Stocks, LibriVox, Masters Of Space, E.E. “Doc” Smith, E. Everett Evans, R.J. Davis, BSAP’s Queen Of The Black Coast, Robert E. Howard, Bill Hollweg, Stevie Farnaby, Brian Murphy, The Silver Key, Brett Ratner’s new Conan movie, HBO’s new A Song Of Ice And Fire show.

Posted by Jesse Willis

FREE LISTENS Review: The Turn of the Screw by Henry James


Free Listens BlogThe Turn of the Screw
by Henry James
Source: Librivox
25 Zipped MP3s
Length: 5 hr, 43 min UNABRIDGED
Reader: Nichole Doolin

The book: A young lady, charmed by a young gentleman in London, agrees to take up a job as a governess to his orphaned niece and nephew. After arriving at the country estate where the children live, the governess begins to see figures around the estate that do not seem to fit with any of the servants currently living there. She learns from other servants that the former governess, Miss Jessel, and her lover, Peter Quint, died mysteriously shortly before she was hired. Are the figures she has been seeing the ghosts of this couple or is it all in her mind?

James keeps up this ambiguity throughout the book, constructing dialogues and events that seem diabolical under one viewpoint and another perfectly innocent by another. The book is told from the 1st person perspective of the governess. This narrator is the only one who seems to notice the ghosts and their effects on the children, but we as readers are not sure we can trust this young lady. The degree to which James draws out the governess’s decent into horror is a bit frustrating at times, but really, this is a short book and a classic in psychology.

Rating:  7/10

The reader: Ms. Doolin sounds like a professional. Her reading is polished, using pauses and inflection to great effect. I found it interesting to compare the voice of the narrator from the first chapters where she is bright and innocent to the later where you can hear the suspicion in her voice.  The other characters are not given full-fledged voices, but Ms. Doolin alters her diction and pitch enough to let us know who is talking. The recording is clean and noiseless.

Posted by Seth

FREE LISTENS Review: War Of The Worlds by H.G. Wells

SFFaudio Review

War of the Worlds
By H.G. Wells
Free Listens Blog

Source:Librivox| Zipped MP3s
Length: 6 hr, 35 min, unabridged
Reader: Rebecca

The book: The basic plot of War of the Worlds was already familiar to me before I read it, though muddled by my hearing a rebroadcast of Orson Welles adaptation. In the book, a giant projectile from Mars lands in south England. Other projectiles follow the first, and soon, Martians in their tripod fighting machines are conquering the human populace. Wells thrusts the reader into the terror and confusion of war by narrating an eyewitness account of battles and the civilian panic. With the hindsight of history, we can recognize that Wells accurately predicted the horror of World War I gas attacks, the ruined landscape of the Blitz, and the dazed fear of 9/11.

The key to understanding War of the Worlds is not in Wells predicting the future, but in his description of his present. In 1898, the British Empire was at the height of its power, with colonies spanning the globe. The Victorians placed great hope in ideals like progress, science, and eugenics to make their lives better. Wells introduces into this world aliens who are more scientifically advanced and more highly evolved for using technology. He then flips the table on the complacent British by having these aliens conquer them, just as they had conquered others. I wonder: If Wells were alive today, what would he make his aliens look like and what would they do to our world?

Rating: 7 / 10

The reader: Although the name listed is Rebecca, the voice sounds rather masculine. Whatever the case may be, the refined English accent is well-suited to the character of the book’s narrator-protagonist. The other character’s voices are equally enjoyable, with my favorite being the artilleryman. The reader makes a few stumbles and there are some faint background sounds, but not anywhere near enough to interfere with this altogether wonderful reading.

Note: This book is still under copyright in the UK and EU, so the version offered here should not be downloaded by users in those countries.

Posted by Seth