Review of Tears of the Tin God

Science Fiction Audiobook Review

Science Fiction Audio Drama - Tears of the Tin God by T. Ray GordonTears Of The Tin God
By T. Ray Gordon; Narrated by Richard Sellers and a Full Cast
1 CD – 80 Minutes [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Apex Audio Theatre
Published: 2007
UPC: 701376158028
Themes: / Science fiction / Alien Artifact / Space travel /

If I were allowed only two words to review this audio drama, I would choose these: Harmless junk. But if I had to shave my word count, I wouldn’t know where to cut. Tears Of The Tin God is not a terrible audio drama. The sound and sound effects are fine, but the script is plagued by over-explanation of the familiar (as in: “…she frowned, making a face…”), juxtaposed with under-explanation of the novel. A few of the science fictional ideas are unconvincing, and the ending feels rushed and emotionally unsatisfying. Still, the enthusiastic production and the short running time make it kinda likable.

The plot is provocative, if not stunningly original: Seven future astronauts have been sent across space to investigate some immense alien artifacts on a planet called Borne 7. Upon landing on the surface of the largest artifact, one of the astronauts is ingested by it, becoming an integral part of a being with god-like power and knowledge. But are its intentions good or evil, alien or human?

The same concept is explored by Michael Crichton, sans space suits, in his novel Sphere. That one isn’t great, either, but it is superior to this one in the quality of its prose, the depth of its explanations, and the delicious thrill of its sustained tension. Tears Of The Tin God won’t take years off your life, but it kills an hour you might miss later.

Posted by Kurt Dietz

Recent Arrivals – Asimov, Richard K. Morgan & Audiodrama

Science Fiction Audiobook Recent Arrivals

Science Fiction Audio Drama - Tears of the Tin God by T. Ray GordonTears of the Tin God
By T. Ray Gordon; Narrated by Richard Sellers, Full Cast
1 CD, 80 min.- [AUDIODRAMA]
Publisher: Apex Audio Theatre
Published: 2007

Honorable Mention for the 2006 Mark Time Science Fiction Award.

On a distant world, monolithic alien machines are discovered, some as large a skyscraper. The spacecraft Columbus and her sister ship, the Magellan, are dispatched to investigate. Upon arrival, contact is lost with one ship and an astrornaut is dead, or is he? Soon it is revealed that at least one of the great machines is operational.

Commander Gina Adams must now determine the purpose of the alien mechanisms. . . even at the cost of the lives of her crew and the safety of her ship. A giant has awoke from it’s eons of slumber. . . now the universe itself will tremble.

The Naked Sun by Isaac AsimovThe Naked Sun
By Isaac Asimov; Read by William Dufris
7 CDs or 1 MP3-CD – 8 Hours 30 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Media
Published: June 2007
ISBN: 140010422X (CDs), 1400154227 (MP3-CD)

A millennium into the future, two advancements have altered the course of human history: the colonization of the Galaxy and the creation of the positronic brain.

On the beautiful Outer World planet of Solaria, a handful of human colonists lead a hermit-like existence, their every need attended to by their faithful robot servants. To this strange and provocative planet comes Detective Elijah Baley, sent from the streets of New York with his positronic partner, the robot R. Daneel Olivaw, to solve an incredible murder that has rocked Solaria to its foundations.

The victim had been so reclusive that he appeared to his associates only through holographic projection. Yet someone had gotten close enough to bludgeon him to death while robots looked on. Now Baley and Olivaw are faced with two clear impossibilities: Either the Solarian was killed by one of his robots—unthinkable under the laws of Robotics—or he was killed by the woman who loved him so much that she never came into his presence!

Science Fiction Audiobook - Thirteen by Richard K. Morgan Thirteen
By Richard K. Morgan; Read by Simon Vance
18 CDs or 3 MP3-CDs -Approx. 23 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Published: July 2007 (�)
ISBN: 1400104319 (CDs), 1400154316 (MP3-CDs)

Thirteen is near-future science fiction, very much in the vein of Bladerunner. A failed government program to produce a more violent, aggressive form of military fighter has resulted in the U.S. rounding up most of the test subjects and isolating them on Mars, a place where no one with any sense would wish to spend their days. But not all of the government subjects have been caught and shipped out to Mars. Enter Carl Marsalis, a hit man who would like nothing more than to stop killing and put his past behind him—and when he’s eventually captured in Miami, it seems like the government might take care of his problems for him.

Unfortunately, around the same time a transport from Mars arrives back on earth. The entire crew has been killed by a stowaway who turns out to be one of these violent superhumans—and maybe something worse. Now Marsalis is given a choice: use his heightened powers to hunt down the killer, or face a fate worse than death.

Review of Strawberry Automatic by T. Ray Gordon

Science Fiction Audiobook Review

Science Fiction Audiobook - Strawberry Automatic by T. Ray GordonStrawberry Automatic
By T. Ray Gordon, Full Cast Production by Richard Sellers
1 CD – 78 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Apex Audio Theatre
Published: 2005
Themes: / Science Fiction / Androids / Terraforming Mars /

The Automatics are androids, and trained fighting machines. When they fought for their own rights, they were, of course, declared non-personal non grata and the ones that could left Earth for other parts of the Solar System colonies. Strawberry Automatic is tall with flaming red hair, beautiful and deadly as they come. On Mars there is a company running the terraforming operation. Naturally someone wants to speed up the process using illegal nukes, and someone else wants to stop them.

I say “of course” and “naturally” because as I listened to this CD I had no trouble keeping slightly ahead of the story line. I kept thinking “This is a 1950s sci-fi story.” On his CD sales website, producer and narrator Richard Sellers says that T. Ray Gordon wrote 72 original manuscripts during the 1950s, which have never been published until now. So I was right. And as seems to be the cliché with pulp and radio writers, he was alcoholic and killed himself in 1961.

As a story Strawberry Automatic is a fairly good sci-fi adventure. As a script it relies too much on narration, some of which could have been written into dialogue or eliminated to keep the story moving faster. This might have made the script longer, though, and it appears they had decided to keep it to one CD. The production values are high, as the producer works as a voiceover artist and knows his trade. He also narrates the story. The acting is quite good, and it shows that Sellers knows his community of good performers. They just need someone to help them develop the script a bit before moving on.

The production values and the fact that it was not a story that had ever been produced before garnered it an Honorable Mention for the 10th Annual Mark Time Awards for Science Fiction Audio this year. Click here for more info.

The first of Gordon’s stories made for audio by Apex Audio Theatre, Inhumanity Quest, was also produced by Richard Sellers, and it shares many of the qualities mentioned here regarding the story, the production quality, and the performances.

I liked the production a little better the second time I heard it, as I could listen a bit more critically. It is well done. But I don’t know if I could listen to 72 of this kind of tale.