Reading, Short And Deep #168 – Strange Eden by Philip K. Dick


Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #168

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss Strange Eden by Philip K. Dick

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

Strange Eden was first published in Imagination, December 1954.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

New Releases: Catacombs by John Farris

New Releases

Our friend David Stifel, of the Fantastic Worlds Of Edgar Rice Burroughs, has a new audiobook up on Sez David:

“Originally published in 1980, it’s a wonderful 17 hour epic that I’d best describe as a really fine Tom Clancy style geopolitical thriller, with a Chariots of the Gods type foundation.”

It apparently has a “huge international set of very colorful characters, a really fun plot and really good writing!” And of course with David doing the narration it should sound terrific. As for the plot, it seems reminiscent of Scott Sigler’s first novel, Earthcore, but Catacombs was written earlier. It might make a nice comparison.

Crossroads Press - Catacombs by John FarrisCatacombs
By John Farris; Read by David Stifel
Audible Download – Approx. 16 Hours 51 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Crossroad Press
Published: September 27, 2012
Deep within the volcanic rock of Mt. Kilamanjaro lie the Catacombs, the enormous hidden burial caves of a vanished African society more sophisticated and technologically advanced than ours. A civilization that has left the formula for present-day domination by a world power etched into blood-red diamonds – the rarest gemstones known. When a prestigious archaeological expedition discovers the valuable ‘bloodstones’, the stage is set for a duel between agents of superpowers and powerful Africans that will be fought to the death deep within the caverns of the ancient ‘Lords of the Storm’.

Here’s the paperback cover put out by Dell books in the 1908s:
DELL - Catacombs by John Farris

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox: Short Science Fiction Collection 028

SFFaudio Online Audio

LibriVoxHere’s a new assemblage of short Science Fiction stories, in audiobook form, that are in the public domain. You can re-cut them, sell them, give them away, put them in your podcast or anything else you want. That’s what “public domain” means! The only thing you can’t do with them is copyright them. These are mostly new stories to LibriVox, mostly from the mid-20th century, but the final story in the collection is from the 19th century. Written by Edgar Allan Poe, fictionalizing a new alchemical invention by a real life contemporary of Poe’s. It comes off as plausible – to readers of the period it may have been mistaken as true, given the time and who the central character is. But we know it’s definitely SF. Right?

tabithat’s reading of The Servant Problem by Robert J. Young is another new story in this collection. It offers an intriguing premise. A ghost town needs to be sold off and appraised by an scrupulously honest real estate agent. The town’s only remaining resident is mum on the issue. But what made everyone else leave and where did they go? The answer is neat, even if it is kind of a shaggy dog tale. Whether it’s a legitimate “Feghoot” or not I’ll leave more discerning listeners to decide.

George O. Smith’s Instinct will probably be more likable to many than my estimation of it. It’s well written, but to mind it’s not particularly fruitful. Sort of a “racial memory” story – which when you think a bit about it is kind of the flip side of “ancient astronauts.” Meh.

LibriVox - Short Science Fiction Collection Vol. 028Short Science Fiction Collection 028
By various; Read by various
10 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 4 Hours 50 Minutes Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: October 11, 2009
Science Fiction is speculative literature that generally explores the consequences of ideas which are roughly consistent with nature and scientific method, but are not facts of the author’s contemporary world. The stories often represent philosophical thought experiments presented in entertaining ways. Protagonists typically “think” rather than “shoot” their way out of problems, but the definition is flexible because there are no limits on an author’s imagination. The reader-selected stories presented here were written prior to 1962 and became US public domain texts when their copyrights expired.

Podcast feed:

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

LIBRIVOX - Attention Saint Patrick by Murray LeinsterAttention Saint Patrick
By Murray Leinster; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 46 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: October 11, 2009
Legends do, of course, get somewhat distorted in the passage of time. In the future, the passage across space to other planets may cause a slight modification here and there… From Astounding Science Fiction, January, 1960.

GALAXY Science Fiction Magazine - July 1956Bad Medicine
By Robert Sheckley; Read by Megan Argo
1 |MP3| – Approx. 38 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: October 11, 2009
A man is mistakenly treated by a psychotherapy machine intended for Martians. while big corporations rule the world, paying a separate police department to enforce brand loyalty. First published in Galaxy Science Fiction Magazine July, 1956

Astounding Science Fiction September 1955Blessed Are the Meek
By G.C. Edmondson; Read by Mark F. Smith
1 |MP3| – Approx. 13 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: October 11, 2009
Every strength is a weakness, and every weakness is a strength. And when the Strong start smashing each other’s strength … the Weak may turn out to be, instead, the Wise. This story was first published in the September 1955 issue of Astounding.

LibriVox - Has Anybody Here Seen Kelly? by Kenneth O'HaraHas Anybody Here Seen Kelly?
By Bryce Walton; Read by Bellona Times
1 |MP3| – Approx. 26 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: October 11, 2009
The body tanks had to be replenished and the ship had to be serviced—and the crew was having a Lotus dream in its bed of protoplasm. But Kelly knew how to arouse them… From If Worlds of Science Fiction July 1954.

LibriVox - Instinct by George O. SmithInstinct
By George O. Smith; Read by Ric F
1 |MP3| – Approx. 29 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: October 11, 2009
You can keep a good man down, if you’ve got enough headstart, are alert and persistent … so long as he limits himself to acting like a good man… From Astounding Science Fiction March 1959.

Fantastic Universe January 1957Mex
By Laurence M. Janifer; Read by soualhi1
1 |MP3| – Approx. 5 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: October 11, 2009
Talented William Logan [Laurence M. Janifer], though he hails from Dodger territory, tells a quiet story from down near the Mexican border, where men are very close to ancestral memories and to the things which dwell in the shadows. Logan is one of the more interesting of the newer writers. From Fantastic Universe January 1957.

LibriVox Science Fiction - The Nothing Equation by Tom GodwinThe Nothing Equation
By Tom Godwin; Read by Mark Nelson
1 |MP3| – Approx. 21 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: October 11, 2009
The space ships were miracles of power and precision; the men who manned them, rich in endurance and courage. Every detail had been checked and double checked; every detail except— From Amazing Stories December 1957.

LibriVox - Scrimshaw by Murray LeinsterScrimshaw
By Murray Leinster; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 35 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: October 11, 2009
The old man just wanted to get back his memory—and the methods he used were gently hellish, from the viewpoint of the others… From Astounding Science Fiction September 1955.

LIBRIVOX - The Servant Problem by Robert F. YoungThe Servant Problem
By Robert F. Young; Read by tabithat
1 |MP3| – Approx. 1 Hour [UNABRIDGED]
Published: October 11, 2009
Selling a whole town, and doing it inconspicuously, can be a little difficult … either giving it away freely, or in a more normal sense of “selling”. People don’t quite believe it… From Analog Science Fact Science Fiction November 1962.

LibriVox -Von Kemplen And His Discovery by Edgar Allan PoeVon Kempelen And His Discovery
By Edgar Allan Poe; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 17 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: October 11, 2009
German chemist, Baron Von Kempelen, possess an alchemical process which can transform lead into gold. The news of the discovery had already caused a two hundred per cent leap in the price of lead in Europe. First published in the April 14, 1849 edition of The Flag of Our Union.

[Thanks also to Wendel Topper and Lucy Burgoyne for proofing and coordinating and cataloging]

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of The Pocket and the Pendant by Mark Jeffrey

Fantasy Audiobooks - The Pocket and the Pendant by Mark JeffreyThe Pocket And The Pendant
By Mark Jeffrey; Read by Mark Jeffrey
13 MP3 Files – 10 Hours 25 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: /
Published: 2005
Themes: / Science Fiction / Young Adult / Physcics / Immortality / Time Travel / Aliens / Time / Ancient Astronauts /

“On April 8th at exactly 3:38 in the afternoon the world STOPPED.”

It is one of the fundamental constants of the universe – every second thrift store one enters will contain a lonely shelf somewhere in the back with a battered paperback copy of Chariots Of The Gods? by Eric von Däniken on it. That is a terrible, terrible book. I encourage you – only partially in jest – to burn down any store that has one. Chariots Of The Gods is a massive failure in every way but one, it’ll help me tell you about a certain 1970s pop culture concept – the “ancient astronauts” theory. This is a speculative/delusional hypothesis that posits that extraterrestrial aliens are responsible for the ancient civilizations of Earth. Basically it argues that ancient people with their distinctive lack of heavy diesel powered machinery, could not possibly have constructed things like the Pyramid of The Sun at Teotihuacán and so the relics of archeological wonders throughout the world must have been constructed by aliens with a ‘higher’ technology. It is of course a ridiculous notion, wholly unsubstantiated by any evidence that wasn’t manufactured by fraudsters. That said, it can occasionally makes for a cool basis for fiction.

Mark Jeffrey’s The Pocket And The Pendant uses the concept of ancient astronauts to very good effect. This is the story of Max Quick a very odd little boy and his companions, other children who’ve found themselves trapped living in a frozen instant of time. Has this time “pocket” has been caused by the strange aircraft in the skies above the USA? What about the almost magical books that everyone who isn’t frozen seem to be after? Only the aptly named “Mr. E.” knows the answer. Weaving together a carefully researched history with an intriguing and well executed scenario Mark Jeffrey has put together an engaging and satisfying adventure that while aimed at a younger audience never talks down to it. Basically Jeffrey does for science fiction what Harry Potter does for fantasy – I’d say he does it better by layering in facts and mythology from many sources. He takes the whacked out theories of Zecharia Sitchin and asks “what if they were true?”, mixes it up with action like The Matrix, the premise of the Doctor Who “Key To Time” arc and with a couple dutiful nod to the 1959 and 1985 The Twilight Zones.

Jeffrey is very inventive with solving the problems he’s created. But there was one thing that bothered me about the story, if Max and his companions are trapped in time how can they see? Let me explain, this is basically the same nitpick I had with H.G. Wells’ The Invisible Man, without light hitting a retina you can’t see. If time is stopped then the light has stopped (in The Invisible Man the title character’s retinas are transparent!). I’m nitpicky.

Jeffrey reads the novel himself, doing accents, adults children boys girls and aliens. The sound quality is very good and well leveled, but there is one caveat, a constant musical score underlies the reading (almost always keyed to characters and events in the tale). In this case it is fairly benign, and certainly allows an atmosphere of emotion to build in the story – but not having heard the tale without music I’m not sure if it wouldn’t have been better just as a clean reading.

SFFaudio COMMENT: This is the second “Podiobook” we’ve reviewed on SFFaudio, and the quality is WAY, WAY UP THERE, not just in terms of podcast novels, but in terms of novels on audio. Combine this fact with the price, which is just a request for a donation if you enjoyed the experience, and you’re literally crazy by not listening to them. The worst that can happen is you listen, enjoy the heck out of it and then feel guilty for a few years because you were to cheap to throw a few $$$ towards the producers. Go ahead now, give yourself a gift, subscribe to Morevi: The Chronicles Of Rafe And Askana and The Pocket And the Pendant you’ll marvel at your own generosity.

Posted by Jesse Willis