LibriVox: The Sky Is Falling by Lester del Rey

SFFaudio Online Audio

LibriVoxNarrator Karen Savage comes from the plainspoken school of audiobook narration. Her reading is crisp and clean, and, barring accidents will be listened to for at least several centuries. The Sky Is Falling is a weird and fascinating tale that blends a hard Science Fiction attitude with a grotesque Fantasy world. The brushing and melding of two incommensurable fiction paradigms, like this, was also done in Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle’s Inferno |READ OUR REVIEW|.

LIBRIVOX - The Sky Is Falling by Lester del ReyThe Sky Is Falling
By Lester del Rey; Read by Karen Savage
10 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 3 Hours 16 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: March 28, 2010
After dying in a terrible accident at a building site, Dave Hanson finds himself being brought back to life in a world where magic is real, and where the sky is breaking apart and falling. And he is expected to put it back together again. Will he be able to save this strange world, and his own new life?

Podcast feed:

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

Also of note, this production completes the entire audiobooking of ACE DOUBLE #76960 (the other half being Lester del Rey’s Badge Of Infamy:

LIBRIVOX - Badge Of Infamy by Lester del ReyBadge Of Infamy
By Lester del Rey; Read by Steven H. Wilson
15 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 3 Hours 19 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: January 17, 2007
Daniel Feldman was a doctor once. He made the mistake of saving a friend’s life in violation of Medical Lobby rules. Now, he’s a pariah, shunned by all, forbidden to touch another patient. But things are more loose on Mars. There, Doc Feldman is welcomed by the colonists, even as he’s hunted by the authorities. But, when he discovers a Martian plague may soon wipe out humanity on two planets, Feldman finds himself a pivotal figure. War erupts. Earth is poised to wipe out the Mars colony utterly. A cure to the plague is the price of peace, and only Feldman can find it

Podcast feed:

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

Here’s the first appearance of these two novels together:

Galaxy Magabook - The Sky Is Falling / Badge Of Infamy by Lester del Rey

And here’s the 1973 ACE Double appearance of these two novels together:

Ace Double- Badge Of Infamy / The Sky Is Falling by Lester del Rey

[thanks also to mim@can]

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Transition by Iain M. Banks

SFFaudio Review

Science Fiction Audiobook - Transition by Iain M. BanksTransition
By Iain M. Banks; Read by Peter Kenny
13.5 Hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Published: 2009
Themes: / Science Fiction / Alternate Realities / Consciousness / Culture /

It was my understanding that Iain Banks published his non-science fiction under this name and his science fiction as Iain M. Banks. I haven’t read any of his other books, despite having Consider Phlebas on my book shelf for the last twenty one years. After reading Transition that book has suddenly jumped a lot closer to actually getting read. Sadly it isn’t available in audio or it would be a done deal.

Transition tells the disjointed, non-linear story of Tumudjin Oh. Oh is one of the many agents for The Concern, an organisation that spans the multi-verse, also known in some realities as l’Expédience. His job involves traveling to different realities and performing a wide range of tasks. From leaving a leaflet so that someone will see it and change their life, or stopping someone from entering a building moments before is collapses and even outright assassination. Banks employs the Many-Worlds variant of alternate realities and the implications of what realities they do, and more importantly do not
encounter, are central to the core conflict. Travel between realities is not by means of a portal or vehicle, but by the use of a drug, septus. This allows individuals to send their personalities to different realities, where they take over the body of someone already there. Usually, the invaded body is of a similar age and body type, but that isn’t set in stone. Once in the host body, they have access to the skills, knowledge and languages of their host. Travel is not a there and back, but a never-ending series of forward jumps that periodically may return to previously visited realities, but not necessarily into the same host as before.

Oh is very much the pawn between the rival Madame d’Ortolan and Mrs Mulverhill. d’Ortolan is the unofficial head of l’Expédience, and is grooming Oh. Much as the rebel Mrs Mulverhill does. He has a small case of OCD that follows him from body to body, sometimes stronger than others. We follow Oh in the present as he is sent on a mission by Madam d’Ortolan and also flashbacks telling how he has come to this point. Mrs Mulverhill, always wearing a veil in whatever reality and
body she has, attempts to seduce Oh both physically and politically.

There are other view points that we cycled throughout the book. Some are told in the first-person, others in third. Patient 8262 is a Transitioner who has hidden himself in a clinic in a reality where he hopes to escape his mysterious pursuers. Madame d’Ortolan has plans concerning the governing Council of the Concern, which Mrs Mulverhill objects to. Oh, who’s points-of-view sections are titled The Transitionary, meets d’Ortolan and received his orders. There are also
points of views from other characters, including Adrian Cubbish, a drug dealer turned financier, who we comes from our own reality.

Banks’ explore a range of topics, particularly in their first person narrations, from Christian Terrorists, torture, limited liability companies and drugs. Adrian goes into detail about his love affair with Cocaine, comparing it to the variety of alternatives.

The several points of view, particularly the multiple first person narrators confused me at first. I had to replay the first chapter or so once I figured out what was happening. Listen out for those POV changes, they could have been made clearer with a slightly longer pause perhaps.

The narrator, Peter Kenny, is outstanding. You can hear the thought behind the intonation of every phrase. A very detailed and thought out narration. The high point for me was Bisquitine’s insane ramblings. Jumping accent and voice sentence by sentence to bring her madness to life. Yet he uses the technique to make a certain sense of the stream
of apparently random phrases. I’ll be looking out for more from this narrator, even out with the SF genre.

As I mentioned at the start, I’ve not read any of Bank’s work before. If Transition has taught me nothing, it’s that I’ve been sorely remiss in this. Transition is a very dense, detailed story. The scenes come to life in only a few words, Banks’ prose is a delight to read. I’m certain that I’ll appreciate it even more on a second, and probably a
third listen. I’m sure I’ll understand more of the depth of the plot and the character’s machinations. Banks doesn’t dwell on what makes each reality distinct. Experienced transitioners can sense the make up of a reality, and their almost check-list breakdown as they assimilate into their new host body covers it. The realities themselves aren’t the centre stage, the only exception is Calbefraques, the base reality of l’Expédience. Instead the story focuses on the character’s.

After my single listen, I’m not sure about some aspects of the story, such as why so much time was spent with some characters. Adrian in particular, but also Patient 8262. Not that these sections weren’t entertaining, but I struggle to see what their character’s were contributing. Patient 8262 at least provided exposition on Transitioning and the setting as a whole, and so served as an overall narrator of sorts.

An engrossing listen that appeals to my love of complexity and traveling amongst alternate realities. Highly recommended.

Posted by Paul [W] Campbell