LibriVox: Beautiful Joe by Marshall Saunders

SFFaudio Online Audio

I spotted this terrific looking book while browsing book covers at a local big box bookstore.

Beautiful Joe COVER

It turns out the book is a Canadian classic, one I’d never read, or even heard of, but one which I probably should have. The illustrator, Scott Plumbe, writes of it on his blog saying:

“[Beautiful Joe was written] in the 1890s by Canadian author Margaret Marshall Saunders [it was] inspired by a real life dog who had been cruelly maltreated by his owner and was later taken in by the kindly Morris family.”

What makes the novel rather different, and thus all the more interesting, is that it’s told from the perspective of the main character (a dog). Hoping that somebody had recorded it, I did a search and found a single voiced narration of Beautiful Joe over on LibriVox!

The vintage introduction makes it sound as if Beautiful Joe is a religious novel, but the actual text is fairly secular (at least so far). This seems to be a book designed with a message in mind, that cruelty to animals is wrong, worthy of banning.

LIBRIVOX - Beautiful Joe by Marshall SaundersBeautiful Joe
By Marshall Saunders; Read by Allyson Hester
2 M4Bs (1,2), 19 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 10 Hours 2 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: June 6, 2008
Beautiful Joe is a real dog, and “Beautiful Joe” is his real name. He belonged during the first part of his life to a cruel master, who mutilated him in the manner described in the story. He was rescued from him, and is now living in a happy home with pleasant surroundings, and enjoys a wide local celebrity. The character of Laura is drawn from life, and to the smallest detail is truthfully depicted. The Morris family has its counterparts in real life, and nearly all of the incidents of the story are founded on fact.

Podcast feed: http://librivox.org/bookfeeds/beautiful-joe-by-marshall-saunders.xml

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

The Wikipedia entry for Beautiful Joe mentions that there is a park, in Meaford, Ontario, named after Beautiful Joe. When you do a search on YouTube for same you can only get this effable, and oddly unironic, tour:

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox: The Call Of The Wild by Jack London

SFFaudio Online Audio

LibriVoxMy friend Brian Murphy, a too infrequent guest on The SFFaudio Podcast, posted a terrific review of The Call Of The Wild on his blog, The Silver Key back in 2009:

“If you are a [Robert E.] Howard fan frustrated by fruitless searches for like-minded literature, I recommend you turn your gaze backwards, to Howard’s influences, and London in particular. Don’t be turned off by the lack of traditional fantasy trappings in London; while you (unfortunately) won’t find swords, man-eating apes, and giant snakes in The Call of the Wild, there’s plenty here to satisfy lovers of pulp action and adventure, including epic dog duels, murdering Indians, and high-stakes wagers placed on improbable feats of strength. More to the point, there’s more of Howard—the dark philosophy that makes Howard uniquely and greatly Howard—to be found in The Call of the Wild than in most other sword-and-sorcery tales published since Howard’s death. London’s work certainly puts most of the pastiches to shame in this regard.”

You can check out that entire post HERE. I bring it to your attention because there’s now a brand new, ably read, single narrator, public domain audiobook available courtesy of LibirVox!

LIBRIVOX - The Call Of The Wild by Jack LondonThe Call Of The Wild
By Jack London; Read by Mark F. Smith
7 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 3 Hours 24 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: October 17, 2010
Buck is living a happy life in California until he is sold to pay a gambling debt. Taken to the Klondike to become a sled dog, Buck must toughen up and learn the harsher rules of survival in the North. One of the first of these is how to deal with being harnessed in the same team as a dog that wants to kill him. Large, strong and smart, Buck toughens to his new life. But even the toughest dog can be worn down by constant work, and after 3,000 miles of pulling sleds, Buck nears the end of his rope. Cast away as no longer useful, Buck is acquired by greenhorns whose inexperience nearly kills him, but after being saved by John Thornton, he at last finds a man he can love. Then on a remote gold-hunting expedition, Buck hears a call emanating from the woods and speaking to the wild heart of his distant ancestors. The lure of it almost balances the great love he bears for Thornton, but events take him away from his old life… and into legend.

Podcast feed: http://librivox.org/rss/4751

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

[Thanks also to Betty M. and David Lawrence]

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #057

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #057 – Jesse and Scott talk about the recently arrived audiobooks

Talked about on today’s show:
Penguin Audio, Stephen King, Brian Murphy of The Silver Key blog, The Dark Half, The Tommyknockers, Christine, It, reading all of Stephen King’s books, Brilliance Audio, Directive 51 by John Barnes, The Stand, Hater by David Moody, “the worst sin that any book can commit”, Angelology by Danielle Trussoni, reading out loud vs. reading in your head, Lost Fleet: Victorious by Jack Campbell, Audible Frontiers, Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks, The Player Of Games, RadioArchive.cc, audio drama, State Of The Art, the GoodReads.com HARD SF group, Hard SF, space opera, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman |READ OUR REVIEW|, the phenomenon of characters named “Jack“, Jack Bauer from 24, Armor by John Steakley, “Jack Crow”, recycling the names of characters, Vampire$ by John Steakley, the hidden history of Jack, why people like 24, Jane Slayre by Charlotte Brontë and Sherri Browning Erwin, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, the trend of remixing public domain classics with modern monsters, Dancing On The Head Of A Pin by Thomas E. Sniegoski, “magic sword book, with angels”, The Invention Of Lying, WWW: Wake by Robert J. Sawyer |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Dying Earth: Cugel’s Saga by Jack Vance, The Count Of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas, Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, The Android In The Iron Mask, Andre Norton, Web Of The Witch World, Year Of The Unicorn, Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein, what is YA (young adult) fiction?, is YA is for adults too?, Little Brother by Cory Doctorow |READ OUR REVIEW|, Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, Harry Potter, Paul Bishop of the Bish’s Beat blog loves YA books!, would Dirty Harry read YA?, the ability to affect the world, The Science Of Harry Potter, riding on the coattails of another book, the Open Court Presents podcast, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Philosophy: Fear and Trembling in Sunnydale, Firefly‘s philosophy episode Objects In Space, Hitchcock And Philosophy, Alfred Hitchcock‘s Rope, Anne Is A Man, the Catholic Stuff You Should Know podcast, Dan Carlin’s HardCore History “Show 33 – (BLITZ) Old School Toughness”, Murdoch Mysteries, Corner Gas, Dog River, Saskatchewan, Connie Willis wrote a whole book about bells, Bellwether by Connie Willis, Scott’s Pick Of The Week: Blackout by Connie Willis, The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis, To Say Nothing Of The Dog by Connie Willis, time travel, Three Men In A Boat by Jerome K. Jerome, reading about books (in books), Castle, fictional fictional characters (a great wikipedia entry), Bones, The Grasshopper Lies Heavy by Hawthorne Abendsen, is Hawthorne Abendsen supposed to be an alternate universe Robert A. Heinlein?, Colorado, “deeply nested fiction”, Ellery Queen, Dr. John Watson, Swords And Deviltry by Fritz Leiber, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, Sword Of Sorcery, Blackstone Audio, The Musashi Flex by Steve Perry, Peter David, the Audio Drama Review blog, James Snowe’s review of The Zombie Astronaut’s Frequency Of Fear, W. Ralph Walters, awards, Startide Rising by David Brin |READ OUR REVIEW|, Kiln People by David Brin, Surrogates is “a big-old-fashioned-clunky-80s-action-movie”, Halfway To The Grave by Jeaniene Frost, The Twilight Zone Companion, 2nd Edition by Marc Scott Zicree, King Kong |READ OUR REVIEW|, Orson Scott Card, Dercum Audio, A Dirge For Clowntown by James Powell, Dreamsongs Vol. 1 by George R.R. Martin |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Road To Science Fiction, Science Fiction 101 (aka Worlds Of Wonder) edited by Robert Silverberg, Home Is The Hunter by Henry Kuttner, Honest Roger Belamy, New York, The Monsters by Robert Sheckley, Wonder Audio, Fondly Fahrenheit, Scanners Live In Vain by Cordwainer Smith, Little Black Bag by C.M. Kornbluth, Day Million by Frederik Pohl, perhaps the first ever singularity story, Jesse’s Pick Of The Week: Pride Of Baghdad, the second Gulf War, anthropomorphic fiction, Baghdad.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Random House Audio: 5 FREE Audiobooks

SFFaudio Online Audio

Random House Audio is offering five FREE audiobooks to promote their “Carshare Program.” One of the titles, Percy Jackson and The Sword Of Hades had been FREEly released previously, the rest should all be newly FREE. Start your HuffDuffing!

LISTENING LIBRARY - The Mercy Watson Collection Volume1 by Kate DiCamilloMercy Watson To The Rescue” from The Mercy Watson Collection Volume I
By Kate DiCamillo; Read by Ron McLarty
1 |MP3| – Approx. 20 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Listening Library
Published: 2006
To Mr. & Mrs. Watson, Mercy is not just a pig–she’s a porcine wonder. And to the portly and good-natured Mercy, the Watson’s are an excellent source of buttered toast, no to mention that buttery-toast feeling she gets when she snuggles in to bed with them. This is not, however so good for the Watsons’ bed. BOOM! CRACK! Welcome to the wry and endearing world of Mercy Watson.

BOOKS ON TAPE - The Geometry Of Sisters by Luanne RiceThe Geometry Of Sisters
By Luanne Rice; Read by Bernadette Dunne and Jaclyn Gaines
1 |MP3| – Approx. 10 Hours 48 Minutes
Publisher: Books On Tape
Published: 2009
Set amid the opulent mansions on the Rhode Island coast, Newport Academy is a private high school like no other. In the wake of the unthinkable loss of her husband and eldest daughter, Maggie Shaw has come to the school to teach English–and to start a new life with the remnants of her shattered family, her two teenage children. But ghosts from her past await Maggie in Newport, especially the unresolved equations of her breach with her sister years ago. Once again, Luanne Rice exhibits her singular insight into the bonds among friends, lovers and families for which she is so acclaimed

RANDOM HOUSE AUDIO - Percy Jackson And The Olympians: The Demigod Files by Rick RiordanPercy Jackson And The Sword Of Hades” from The Demigod Files
By Rick Riordan; Read by Jesse Bernstein
1 |MP3| – Approx. 1 Hour 17 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Random House Audio
Published: 2009
Persephone calls Percy, Thalia and Nico, all the children of the Big Three, into the Underworld to retrieve Hades’s new sword from a demigod spy who stole it. The problem is that Hades’ keys, which let anyone out or into the Underworld, are in it. Persephone gives them a flower to track the half-blood. When all of the petals fall off, the sword thief has made it out of the Underworld. Percy, Nico and Thalia must retrieve the sword before time runs out. They catch the thief, Ethan Nakamura, but all the petals fall off because Ethan has raised the Titan Iapetus. Percy flings Iapetus into the river Lethe, a river that makes one forget their identity, during a fight. Although Percy also falls in, he stays dry because of his powers, being the son of Poseidon. Percy tells Iapetus that he is Bob and Iapetus believes him and is now harmless. When they return to Hades and Persephone with the sword, Hades is very unhappy about the sword and leaves in anger, threatening Persephone never to disobey him again. They later find out that Persephone requested the sword against Hades’s orders. Rick Riordan wrote this story for World Book Day 2009 it is set between the events of The Battle Of The Labyrinth and The Last Olympian (books 4 and 5 of the Percy Jackson series).

BANTAM DOUBLEDAY DELL AUDIO - Fraud: Unabridged Selections by David RakoffIncluding One Called Hell” from Fraud
By David Rakoff; Read by David Rakoff
1 |MP3| – Approx. 35 Minutes [UNABRIDGED SELECTION]
Publisher: Bantam Doubleday Dell Audio
Published: 2001
Wherever he is, David Rakoff is a fish out of water. Whether impersonating Sigmund Freud in a department store window during the holidays, climbing an icy mountain in cheap loafers, playing an evil modeling agent on a daytime soap opera, or learning primitive survival skills in the wilds of New Jersey, Rakoff doesn’t belong. Nor does he try to. Still, he continually finds himself off in the far-flung hinterlands of our culture, notebook or microphone in hand, hoping to conjure that dyed-in-the-wool New York condescension. And Rakoff tries to be nasty; heaven knows nothing succeeds like the cheap sneer, but he can’t quite help noticing that these are actual human beings he’s writing about. In his attempts not to pull any punches, the most damaging blows, more often than not, land squarely on his own jaw – hilariously satirizing the writer, not the subject. And therein lies David Rakoff’s genius and his burgeoning appeal. The wry and the heartfelt join in his prose to resurrect that most neglected of literary virtues: wit.

RANDOM HOUSE AUDIO - The Alibi Man by Tami HoagThe Alibi Man
By Tami Hoag; Read by Beth McDonald
1 |MP3| – Approx. 6 Hours 2 Minutes [ABRIDGED]
Publisher: Random House Audio
Published: 2007
The Palm Beach elite go to great lengths to protect their own – and their own no longer includes Elena Estes. Once upon a time a child of wealth and privilege, Elena turned her back on that life and chose the life of an undercover cop, with the hunt for justice her personal passion. Then a tragic, haunting mistake ended her career. Now Elena exists on the fringes of her old life. But a shocking event is about to draw her back into the painful vortex she’s fought so hard to leave behind. First she finds a body – not just a victim, but a friend. As Elena delves into her dead friend’s secret life, she discovers ties to a group of powerful and wealthy Palm Beach bad boys…a group that includes Elena’s former fiancé. Finding her friend’s killer will put Elena at odds with her old life, with her new lover, and with herself. But she is determined to reveal the truth – a truth that will shock Palm Beach society to its core, and could very well get her killed.

[via Audiobook DJ]

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #042

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #042 – Jesse is joined by Brian Murphy and Gregg Margarite to talk about the Tantor Media audiobook: The Coming Of Conan The Cimmerian by Robert E. Howard |READ OUR REVIEW|.

Talked about on today’s show:
The Hyena by Robert E. Howard, racism, racism in Robert E. Howard’s fiction, Jack London, H.P. Lovecraft, Solomon Kane, Crom, By This Axe I Rule, Howard/Lovecraft correspondence, plot vs. mood, pessimism, writers who kill themselves, Philip K. Dick, defining chaos, Dark Valley Destiny by L. Sprague de Camp, Blood And Thunder by Mark Finn, Howard’s life and death, The Whole Wide World, Howards’ westerns and historical stories, “with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth”: was Howard or Conan bipolar?, Texas in the early 20th century, Conan’s intellect, The Tower Of The Elephant, Barbarian vs. Cimmerian, Conan’s philosophy (Epicureanism?), fantasy, Howard’s use of magic, The Frost Giant’s Daughter (aka Gods Of The North), magic doesn’t trump steel, existentialism, nihilism, Ymir, The Prisoner, Howard’s animal similes, The God in the Bowl is a murder mystery and a locked room mystery and a detective story!, Yag-Kosha isn’t a great alien design, The Hyborian Age, Marvel’s Conan The Barbarian, The Savage Sword Of Conan, Dark Horse’s Conan, Curtis Magazines, The Scarlet Citadel, big battles and giant snakes, Marvel’s King Conan (Conan The King), The Hour Of The Dragon, Queen Of The Black Coast, barbarian love, Oliver Stone, John Milius, The Howard Conan:

“Let me live deep while I live; let me know the rich juices of red meat and stinging wine on my palate, the hot embrace of white arms, the mad exultation of battle when the blue blades flame and crimson, and I am content. Let teachers and priests and philosophers brood over questions of reality and illusion. I know this: if life is illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. I live, I burn with life, I love, I slay, and am content.”

The Stone/Milius Conan:

“Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of their women.”

How do you pronounce names like Cimmeria and Bêlit?, Clark Ashton Smith, Bêlit’s character, Conan the Daoist, Conan’s character, Conan’s morality, Black Colossus, who the hell is Mitra?, The Cimmerian blog, Rogues In The House, Iron Shadows In The Moon, the Vilayet Sea, A Probable Outline Of Conan’s Career, Red Nails, The Pool of the Black One, Rogues In The House, people are animals, Charles Darwin and Robert E. Howard, Clifford D. Simak, man’s successor (intelligent dogs) take over, Thak is a great character name, writing (or just saying that you are), Fantasy seems to be a novel length genre, The Bloody Crown Of Conan, The Conquering Sword Of Conan, narrator Todd McLaren, character voices, bite the wax tadpole, Roy Thomas.

A 1938 newstand full of pulp magazines

Tantor Media - The Coming Of Conan The Cimmerian, The Bloody Crown Of Conan, The Conquering Sword Of Conan

Posted by Jesse Willis

Commentary: Jack London’s The Call Of The Wild is Science Fiction

SFFaudio Commentary

For almost a year now I’ve been making the argument, to anyone who’d listen, that Jack London’s short story To Build A Fire is Science Fiction.

I’m ready to make the same argument for London’s most famous work, The Call Of The Wild.

First off, the story is told from a dog’s POV. Normally that’d make this a Fantasy novel, in the spirit of Redwall or similar. But, we never hear Buck, the hero, speak, or think thoughts out in words (unlike other anthropomorphic fiction) – yet we are clearly seeing the world through Buck’s alien eyes. Moreover, the premise of the novel, the theme that informs the title of each chapter, was a commonly held idea in fantastic literature of that era. Namely, that ‘barbarism is around every corner, that civilization is a thin veneer, one broken easily.’ You see this in the writings of H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard. London wrote: “…the reign of primitive law … the facts of life took on a fiercer aspect, and while he faced that aspect uncowed, he faced it with all the latent cunning of his nature aroused.” Jack London’s The Call Of The Wild is Science Fiction. The novel was set in the then recent past, and doesn’t have any future tech or extraterrestrial aliens – but that’s not what makes SF. What makes it SF is what makes The Call Of The Wild a classic – the presentation of bold philosophical ideas informed by science.

Below is a free version read by the talented narrator James Campanella. Unfortunately, for me, the reading is spoiled by two serious problems. First, it has a poor recording environment (rectified in later Campanella releases). Second, Jim has added in sound effects. An, imperfect recording environment I can live with, added sound effects I can’t. Check it out for yourself…

Uvula Audio - The Call Of The Wild by Jack LondonThe Call Of The Wild
By Jack London; Read by James Campanella
7 MP3s – Approx. 3 Hours 44 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: Uvuvla Audio
Podcast: 2007
“The Call of the Wild was written by American author Jack London. The plot concerns, Buck, a previously domesticated and even somewhat pampered dog whose primordial instincts return after a series of events finds him serving as a sled dog in the treacherous, frigid Yukon during the days of the 19th Century Gold Rushes in the Northwest. Published in 1903, The Call of the Wild is one of London’s most read books and it is generally considered one of the classics of western adventure literature. Because the protagonist is a dog, it is usually classified as a juvenile novel, suitable for children.”
Part 1 |MP3| Part 2 |MP3| Part 3 |MP3| Part 4 |MP3|
Part 5 |MP3| Part 6 |MP3| Part 7 |MP3|

There’s a LibriVox version also available.

Posted by Jesse Willis