Markheim by Robert Louis Stevenson

SFFaudio Online Audio

William Coon, who appeared on SFFaudio Podcast #063, has a terrific sounding UNABRIDGED recording of Markheim by Robert Louis Stevenson over on LibriVox. Here’s what one of the proofers said about Bill’s narration:

“[Markheim] is GREAT! You’ve got just the right balance of shrewdness and madness and you really bring it off well. I listened to it over and over, catching new things every time. Thanks for several wonderful days of listening!”

Myself I’ve also been enjoying this narration as well as an abridged reading I found over on (Markheim was also recorded for the first episode of a four part BBC Radio 7 Drama series entitled Short History of Gothic).

In a strange way Markheim is a kind of hardboiled/noir version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Like Scrooge, Markheim is a sinner who at Christmas, finds himself confronted by the consequences of his sin. But whereas 19th century miserliness is Scrooge’s big problem, Markheim’s issue is of a more alarming type. His petty crimes have slowly accelerated from his youth, until now, when he finds himself, in this tale, a bloody-handed murderer. But like A Christmas Carol, both characters (Scrooge and Markheim) find their hinge points only when confronted by a visit from the supernatural.

Markheim as illustrated by Michael Lark

Illustration by Michael Lark, found in The Essential Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde – The Definitive Annotated Edition.

By Robert Louis Stevenson; Read by William Coon
1 |MP3| – Approx. 44 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: 2006

BBC Radio 7 - BBC7A Short History Of Gothic – Markheim
By Robert Louis Stevenson; Read by Hugh Bonneville
1 Broadcast – Approx. 30 Minutes [ABRIDGED]
Broadcaster: BBC Radio 7
Broadcast: December 12, 2009
“Hugh Bonneville reads Robert Louis Stevenson’s macabre tale charting one man’s rapid fall from grace.”

The Weird CircleWeird Circle – Markheim
Based on the short story by Robert Louis Stevenson; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 25 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: May 20, 1945
This is a radical adaptation, set in a contemporary (to 1945) setting, and providing much of the presumed back-story (stuff that isn’t actually in the text of Stevenson’s original tale).

Here are a couple more Markheim illustrations [this time by Lynd Ward – found in The Haunted Omnibus (1937)]

Robert Louis Stevenson's Markheim as illustrated by Lynd Ward - from The Haunted Omnibus (1937)

Robert Louis Stevenson's Markheim as illustrated by Lynd Ward - from The Haunted Omnibus (1937)

[also via Golden Age Comic Book Stories]

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #067 – TALK TO: Dan Carlin


The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #067 – Scott and Jesse talk to Dan Carlin, of the Hardcore History and Common Sense podcasts!

Talked about on today’s show:
Hardcore History, Common Sense, the Rashomon effect, Gilligan’s Island, Fox News, MSNBC, ABC, defensive reporting, nuance vs. talking points, BBC, NPR, PBS, Wikileaks, Common Sense Show #179 – GenX Journalism, the Martian political position, comics, What If…, Niall Ferguson, “counterfactual history“, “how different would voting be if there were no money impacting the political system at all?”, the toothless United Nations, the Canadian political system vs. the U.S. political system, the Congress Of Vienna, WWI, WWII, the Napoleonic Wars, the Rwandan Genocide, the Korean War, the Gaza flotilla incident, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iraq War, unilateral action, Panama, NATO, imagine if the United Nations wasn’t toothless, Wikileaks’ “Collateral Murder” video, Grenada, a “muscular” foreign policy, “air on the side of reality”, Julian Assange, unreleased Abu Ghraib prison video, podcasting, “how cool is it to have an international program?”, Pierre Trudeau, “we live in reaction to you”, U.S. foreign policy, Barack Obama, first contact in Science Fiction, first contact in history, Despoilers Of The Golden Empire by Randall Garrett, Fransisco Pissaro, United States expedition to Korea, “Korea is a dagger, in the hand of China, pointed at the heart of Japan”, Globalization Unto Death, “the hermit kingdom”, Magellan expedition, Steppe Stories, an island off the coast of India, Commodore Perry‘s expedition to Japan, Sid Meier’s Civilization, Civilization (board game), Sparta, the freedom of podcasting.

Posted by Jesse Willis

ABC Radio National: The Philosopher’s Zone – conciousness, sensation and BLINDSIGHT

SFFaudio Online Audio

ABC Radio National - The Philosopher’s ZonePeter Watts‘ novel Blindsight (the audiobook for which is available from Recorded Books) takes its title from a phenomenon, of the same name, first observed by philosopher and psychologist Nicholas Humphrey. Humphrey is the guest on an episode of my favourite Australian podcast The Philosopher’s Zone. Here’s the description:

You are in a darkened lecture hall looking at a patch of red projected onto a screen in front of you. What’s involved in “seeing red”? This week, we meet the philosopher and psychologist Nicholas Humphrey who uses the phenomenon of seeing red as way into the mystery of consciousness.

If you think the phenomena of consciousness is interesting and wonder whether dogs think about themselves then have a listen |MP3|

Podcast feed:

Posted by Jesse Willis

ABC Radio National: Wake In Fright by Kenneth Cook

SFFaudio Online Audio

ABC Radio National - Book ReadingSo Canada’s public radio book reading program Between The Covers is podcast. One whole channel (BBC Radio 4) for the U.K. is available through Radio Downloader subscription. So what about our friends in Australia? Are they making their shows available?

Yes, they sure aren’t!

ABC Radio National is still in bad shape podcasting wise. They’ve got their terrific non-fiction programs like The Philosopher’s Zone and All In The Mind pleasing everyone all over the world but their book reading program, called Book Reading, isn’t available except via 20th century tech called “streaming audio” (RealAudio or Windows Media). This is really bad.

I’ve said it before, and before and before and before, and most assuredly before – when oh when will ABC Radio National join the 21st century?

I bring this up because they’ve got a terrific sounding novel being broadcast right now:

Wake In Fright is an open-eyed nightmare played out under a scorching outback sun. On one level it’s a great, mad, hallucinatory yarn about landing yourself in the ultimate geographical cul-de-sac – a place without exit. But underneath its compulsively readable surface lurks another, even darker story; a sort of ‘bush existentialist’ tale about the nature of self-entrapment, and the way in which we are often the architects of our own worst dreams.

ABC Radio National - Wake In Fright by Kenneth CookWake In Fright
By Kenneth Cook; Read by Gabriel Andrews
15 Broadcasts – Approx. 3 Hours 45 Minutes [ABRIDGED]
Broadcaster: ABC Radio National / The Book Reading
Broadcast: 2006 / 2009
An open-eyed nightmare played out under a scorching outback sun, Wake in Fright is on one level a great, mad hallucinatory yarn about landing yourself in the ultimate geographical cul-de-sac, a place without exit. But underneath its compulsively readable surface lurks another, even darker story; a sort of ‘bush existentialist’ tale about the nature of self-entrapment, and the way in which we are often the architects of our own worst dreams.

Sounds great don’t it? Too bad almost no-one will listen to 3.75 hours of story sitting in front of their monitors.

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox: The History Of Rasselas, Prince Of Abissinia by Samuel Johnson

SFFaudio Online Audio

LibriVoxThere are a lot of new audiobooks showing up on LibriVox every day of the week. This means I get to pick and choose amongst a vast roster of titles that I could possibly tell you about. One that I was not planning to post about was a 1759 Fantasy novel by Samuel Johnson. I had nothing against Johnson. I just hadn’t read any of his books. Sure I knew he had written a dictionary, but it wasn’t one of the ones that I had read. The problem really was I just didn’t know enough about Johnson to be interested in his novel. Frankly, the first thing that came to mind when I thought of Dr. Samuel Johnson was how great a character he was in the Ink and Incapability episode of Blackadder. That one never gets old.

But, then today I was listening to my favourite Australian podcast, ABC Radio National’s The Philosopher’s Zone, and they mentioned this book. I suspect this wasn’t fated, it being the 300th anniversary of Johnson’s birth people around the world are thinking about old Johnson – but even if it was fate – either if I changed my mind or my mind was changed – after listening to that show I’m telling you about this novel now. The show |MP3| was actually on Johnson’s stoic christian philosophy – or rather his reaction to the ancient stoics. Host Alan Saunders, and guest, John Wiltshire, talked about a poem and then this book and it’s position in Johnson’s philosophy. It was fascinating! Now to listen…

LibriVox - The History Of Rasselas, Prince Of Abissinia by Samuel JohnsonThe History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia
By Samuel Johnson; Read by Martin Geeson
17 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 5 Hours 31 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: September 25, 2009
In this enchanting fable (subtitled The Choice of Life), Rasselas and his retinue burrow their way out of the totalitarian paradise of the Happy Valley in search of that triad of eighteenth-century aspiration – life, liberty and happiness. According to that quirky authority, James Boswell, Johnson penned his only work of prose fiction in a handful of days to cover the cost of his mother’s funeral. The stylistic elegance of the book and its wide-ranging philosophical concerns give no hint of haste or superficiality. Among other still burning issues Johnson’s characters pursue questions of education, colonialism, the nature of the soul and even climate alteration. Johnson’s profoundest concern, however, is with the alternating attractions of solitude and social participation, seen not only as the ultimate life-choice but as the arena in which are played out the deepest fears of the individual: “Of the uncertainties of our present state, the most dreadful and alarming is the uncertain continuance of Reason.”

Podcast feed:

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

In addition to the reader, Martin Geeson, this audiobook was produced by:

Dedicated Proof-Listener: Stav Nisser
Meta-Coordinator/Cataloging: Leni

[Thanks to all three LibriVoxateers]

Posted by Jesse Willis

BBC World Service: Pontypool [the radio drama]

SFFaudio Online Audio

BBC World ServiceThe BBC World Service commissions an annual collection of new radio plays from around the world each year. They call it “Worldplay” and this year’s theme was “science.” Entries came in from the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, the USA and Canada. It was Canada’s entry that has drawn my ear. Not only because it is Science Fictional (and Horror-ish) but also because it happens to be related to a movie that I told you radio drama fans would probably dig. Here’s a CBC Edmonton review of the movie |MP3| (now on DVD). Perhaps this Pontypool radio drama would have been broadcast on CBC Radio One too, had not the CBC radio drama department been virtually mothballed. Luckily, the BBC and ABC Radio National seem interested in airing new Canadian radio drama even if CBC itself isn’t.

Now for a few caveats. As the Horror Squad blog points out this is not, strictly speaking, a new recording but rather a radio drama created by editing the movie’s dialogue and sound effects tracks. Ultimately, this does hurt the piece; it would have been better to have had these terrific actors in the studio to recreate their performances (as was done by the likes of Lux Radio Theatre). But to my ears this edit is good, if not the ideal. Here’s what Horror Squad said:

“This is actually not a new recording, but simply the original audio of the film re-cut as a play. If you haven’t seen the film, I’d highly recommend you do before giving it a complete listen. As fantastic as the audio side is, one of the best things about the film is Bruce McDonald’s [he’s the film’s director] ability to visually trap you within the confines of the radio station, which is something I fear this 40 minute shorter take on the material is without.”

I myself have a couple factoids about Pontypool the radio drama. I’ll throw out there. First, this AD has a different ending than does the film. Second, it’s substantially abridged. The movie runs 97 minutes, with dialogue running over the opening and closing credits; whereas the AD runs only 53 minutes. The AD’s end credits also, by the way, say that Pontypool, was directed by Gregory J. Sinclair as a production for CBC. This is news to me considering I haven’t heard it broadcast on CBC radio this year, or even announced for the fall. Sinclair, incidentally, is the producer of CBC Radio’s last standing radio drama series, Afghanada. Have a listen to Pontypool. It’s a very Canadian zombie story. I really liked it a lot!

BBC World Service - Pontypool by Tony BurgessPontypool
By Tony Burgess; Performed by a full cast
Streaming Audio – Approx. 58 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: BBC World Service / Worldplay
Broadcast: June 21, 2009
“Shock jock Grant Mazzy has, once again, been kicked-off the Big City airwaves and now the only job he can get is the early morning show at CLSY Radio in Pontypool Ontario, which broadcasts from the basement of the small town’s only church. What begins as another boring day of school bus cancellations, due to yet another massive snow storm, quickly turns deadly when reports start piling in of people developing strange speech patterns and evoking horrendous acts of violence start piling in. But there’s nothing coming in on the news wires. Is this really happening? Before long, Grant and the small staff at CLSY find themselves trapped in the radio station as they discover that this insane behaviour taking over the town is actually a deadly virus being spread through the English language itself. Do they stay on the air in the hopes of being rescued or, are they in fact providing the virus with its ultimate leap over the airwaves and into the world? Based on the novel Pontypool Changes Everything. Starring Stephen McHattie, Lisa Poole, Georgina Reilly, Rick Roberts, Hrant Alianak and Daniel Fathers .

This is also available in MP3 format via along with more of the Worldplay dramas.

And, for australian listeners without torrent capability, via ABC Radio National |STREAMING|.

[via Monster Rally]

Posted by Jesse Willis

P.S. I think perhaps it’s time for CBC to sell the J. Michael Straczynski radio drama series that they produced and never aired, to a station that will actually broadcast it! Maybe BBC:WS?