The SFFaudio Podcast #593 – READALONG: Omnilingual by H. Beam Piper

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #593 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Will Emmons, and Trish E. Matson talk about Omnilingual by H. Beam Piper

Talked about on today’s show:
a fairly big H. Beam Piper fan, Alec Nevela-Lee’s Astounding, James Blish, M.C. Pease, what stature does and did it have, “a classic”, pretty interesting, almost completely public domain, he shot himself in the head 1964, project gutenberg, LibriVox, an artificial understanding of Piper’s popularity, outsized, Little Fuzzy, Asimov, a minor piece?, what is a classic?, deserving of respect, the progressive elements, a female scientist without a romance subplot, a mixed nationality crew, Turko-German, exploring history, a really cool aspect, a character arc, Salim Von Ohmhorst, an old Hittite expert, a lot to get interested in, huge for a no-name, best understood as a cult author, a place in the cannon, Murder In The Gunroom, his obsession, smoking, such little hands, oiling the gun, smoking while handling artifacts, Mack Reynolds, John Scalzi’s rewriting of Little Fuzzy, a re-imagining, a reboot, short stories don’t sell, a nice tight focus, the perfect length, an example of why Astounding isn’t total shit, c’mon man, telepathy can’t travel in time?, he was a speculator, what he purchased was what he was arguing for, a story about science, archaeology, linguistics, how we got Linear-B, how we got Egyptian hieroglyphics, we all share the same atomics, reading Martian, on the level of Tolkien, a hard SF masterpiece about social science, hard soft SF, The Riddle Of The Labyrinth by Margalit Fox, Arthur Evans, Philip K. Dick, poor Will, web 1.0, there was good stuff on the internet before YouTube, the young whippersnappers of this world, the amazing thing it was to be able to talk to a person who knew a ton of shit pre-internet, people who read a lot of books, Wilhelm II, Albert Speer, this is what H. Beam Piper is, infodumps about history and technology, James Burke (the guy from Connections) super-useful, they read a book a long time ago, what if the Martians came to the planet Earth, the caption: Man chopping wood, only had one good arm, a long line of Kaisers, in exiles because of Nazis, mustache, queen, they just discovered the Martian internet and they can’t figure out how to type in queries, what this story is really about, this story is about Jesse, why things are happening the way they are, the Martians don’t have to deal with copyright problems, the audio drama, a metallurgy magazine or a sexy stories magazine, Spicy Adventure Stories, Spicy Mystery, what the dash between Spicy and Adventure, separate units, what does it linguistically mean, Famous Fantastic Mysteries, another meaning of mysteries, mysteries as marvels, Fantastic Novels, what does the word novels, they were a new thing 500 years ago, essay writing, an essay is an attempt, a try, trying to communicate a series of thoughts, do or do not there is no try, a patron, maybe incestuous, thank you to Connor, studying German, Der Orchideengarten, translating German poetry into English poetry, a dream project, I’m in it for the politics, I wanna be famous, this is what I am now, I’m a Weinbaum guy, I’m a martian metallurgy guy, finding meaning in discovery, the Indus civilization people, what bridge?, Lord Kalvan Of Otherwhen, his hobbies, he was a nightwatchman, the metathings, a self-taught guy, his grasp on academia, bickering rivalries, unlike his editor (John W. Campbell), the court case in Little Fuzzy, a fun book, some grammatically questionable choices, a very action oriented writer, a dynamic approach to his prose writing, assembling the micro jigsaw puzzle, very scanny, why you need to scan, the paper just falls apart, chipping, replacing letters, we don’t know what the actual word was, I did what I always wanted to do as a kid, they’re scanners, someday someone will figure out what it means, hundreds of thousands of pages, a treasure that we all need to have access to, denying someone access to the internet is a crime, for scholars of every kind, we need to preserve that information, all these space-marines on Mars, the post war buildup, one of those guys left in Europe in 1946, the recovery, if you look at the art, on page 24, a second pass through, a Martian life-form, a mammal, a bird-like creature, a bigger project than just the people we’re seeing, mobilizing the armies of Earth, Asimov or Heinlein or Anderson, Paratime, Man came from Mars, sitting at the keystone, Philip Jose Farmer, the obsession with linguistics, the everyman who read a bunch of books, Two Hawks From Earth, a Europe dominated by American Indian cultures, simpatico qualities, a better craftsman, Farmer had a longer career, repackaging pulp heroes, if its cutesy and fun and interesting (and anthropological), Star Trek’s Measure Of A Man, Jerry Was A Man, the hyperchicken lawyer from Futurama, a simple hyperchicken lawyer, a backwoods asteroid, Clarence Darrow but a chicken, Picard is not a science fiction TV show, Futurama, CHUDS, exploring all the tropes of science fiction, Buck Rogers, the whole premise is a ripoff, Buck Rogers, Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy, Disenchanted, one of the few Netflix shows that’s good, how language shifts in the story, a very lyrical passage, the purple tinged copper sky, what had been burying the city for the last fifty-thousand years, a couple of repeated descriptions, made immediate and very present, Farmer was more fanboy than craftsman, supporting a family, more stable, there’s a lot of stuff in this story, did they add a scene?, why does it stand out more in the audio drama, hear the shock and amazement, more distant in the text, the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company, some Heinlein, a 2009 recording, a reporter’s dispatches, Babylon 5, xenoarchaeology, recounting how these discoveries happened, they didn’t loose their meaning, meaning doesn’t evaporate, how could this exist?, a whole world opens up, that unlocking, all the Roman novels, The Golden Ass, a Roman villa near Pompeii, a charcoal-like, smouldered rather than combusted, pieced together from charcoal, a bundle of carbonized scroll, recycled as firelighters, a nice clean flame, burning Roman literature, Harry Turtledove, overawe the locals, Agora (2009), Hypatia of Alexandria, it looks like a blockbuster style, the strongly religious, a touchy figure, witchburnings before witchburnings, a surveyor in the background, a symbol, scientific symbols, the guy in the turban, symbolic of what is coming, her heads, her pencil, when the archaeologist are called in real life, bulldozing shit, some law, why they’re there, that’s all coming, the interior illustrations by Frank Kelly Freas, the scan on Project Gutenberg, in its pulpy glory, our heroine needs oxygen, worries about it being about Martians, a Martian version of Astounding, not fiction because it had science in the title, Analog, digital sounds more futuristic, that metaphor, a big joke, the nature of the paragraphs, making fun of John W. Campbell’s editorials on twitter, a thread, just thinking it through, fill those pages up, Lester del Rey was bad at it, being a weekly columnist, essay writing, what word count is, why is this paragraph suddenly changing, it turned out to be about metallurgy, predecessor and antecedent, Arthur C. Clarke’s The Star, the kids these don’t read Clarke, a Jesuit on a spaceship, a radioactive beacon, something terrible, it’s shaken my faith to its core, the supernova that was the star of Bethlehem, Jesse feels like a super-genius, Mark VI, the best episode of The Next Generation: The Inner Light, the meaning is there to be discovered, be enriched, it’s about treasure, don’t you want to share my treasure?, don’t lock it down Gollum, Rendezvous With Rama, Jack McDevitt, L.E. Modesitt, 250 degrees below zero, The Sentinel, not the greatest way, modern archaeological adjacent, Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s Diving Into The Wreck, Babylon 5 comic book that’s in canon, web 1.0, The Lurker’s Guide To Babylon 5, DC comics, Garabaldi, new Star Trek, Star Wars, no Mara Jade, the Timothy Zahn Thrawn books, working for Thrawn in Tie Fighter, all going over Will’s head, Dan Simmons’ Hyperion, again backwards, Nightfall by Isaac Asimov, suffering cycles, every 1400 years, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle’s The Mote In God’s Eye, why archaeology is important, what’s the history of what we did, what did mom do?, mom put all my comic books in the basement!, the science fiction tropes, imperialist literature, imperialist fantasy literature, King Solomon’s Mines, She is kind of about archaeology, the same burning, finding what was and coming back with it, baked in from the beginning, weird archaeology, conspiracy Qanon stuff for archaeological stuff, clearly this was cut with a circular saw, were pretty sure this is batteries in ancient Babylon, electroplating?, did they do that? Antikythera mechanism, Archimedes’ death ray, Hephaestus, a mechanical owl, only the records, Archimedes’ screw, Greek fire, one way to interest boys: teach them nuclear bombs, your biggest is getting a whole lot of Uranium, that knowledge is available to everybody, nobody writes it down, In Our Time: The Tale Of Sinuhe, Lovecraft wrote more than we have, Evan Lampe, Some Notes On Fairyland, if we had more we would have more, newspapers are designed to be ephemeral, were lucky to have anything, enslave and poison, native labourers, the soldiers are the cheap labour, very mixy, worried about ghosts, a couple of lines, it feels kind of eerie, The Scarlet Plague by Jack London, his grandkids, we sheltered in the university for a while, ravishing the grounds, trying to hold back the horror, don’t let the infected come in, The Mask Of The Red Death, the mystery of what killed the Martians, like Barsoom, the story isn’t really about the death of the Martians, the potential of all those books, is it a reflection of what’s going to happen to us, a robust and powerful society because we have magazine, have you seen Time magazine lately?, oh good, what’s cool about Star Trek…, its about the process of understanding another language, that’s all that it’s really about, it isn’t a metaphor, it isn’t a simile, its about the process, its about the progress, if you have the records, finding the meaning, the value of coming at things from different perspectives, Gloria Standish, they’re kind of like us, a linguist by inclination, the periodic table in the classroom, even moreso than the mural, SETI, the Ted Chiang story, the Voyager prob, Arrival (2016), Story Of Your Life, we should practice on sea mammals, symbolical thoughts, listening to the whales, they riff off of each other, Olaf Stapledon’s A World Of Sound, Peter And The Wolf, each character has a theme, he falls asleep, like in Francis Stevens’ The Elf Trap, Fitz James O’Brien’s The Diamond Lens, Pygmalion’s Spectacles by Stanley G. Weinbaum, spend more time in the water, with the dolphins, hula-hoop oriented, Alex the african grey parrot, “What matter?”, there’s no culture there, communicating with your dog, walkies?, why are you always doing that with your foot?, we don’t have it, we need to find a way to be dolphins, Wild Seed by Octavia Butler, metaphorical grammar, we could talk to animals, we’ll see, talking to vs. talking with, the purest joy, he’s got stuff to say, emotions he wants to communicate, this dumb creature, much more isolated, an orangutan at the zoo washing her hands, there’s gotta be something between them, thrushes singing so much, whales are singing love songs to each other, something to do cuz you got no hands, dogs only have the one hand, it’s the mouths, we have three mouths, only one of them is for eating, we’re fucking aliens to dogs, we’re the long lived elves to the dogs short lived humans, theyre controling us, we’re definitely the bad guys in their scenarios, Lawrence M. Schoen’s Barsk, uplift, Zecharia Sitchin, they taught us so much, the ancient astronauts stuff, it makes cultural sense, Christianity by other means, look at the records, we have these artificats, The Faithful by Lester del Rey, a breaky in halfy story, David Brin, he did it all in nine pages, give the nuclear codes to the dogs and cats, if you tame something you’re responsible for it, The Little Prince, LibriVox, the ancient aliens need to give us UBI, a very fruitful book, a female protagonist, lotsa girls, they’re not women, give it a break, we don’t call eachother men, whatever dude, smoking cigarettes, things that should be scolded.

Omnilingual from Astounding, February 1957

Omnilingual from Astounding, February 1957

Omnilingual from Astounding, February 1957

Omnilingual from Astounding, February 1957

Omnilingual from Astounding, February 1957

Posted by Jesse WillisBecome a Patron!

[audio drama] Review of In the Embers

SFFaudio Review

Audio Drama - In the EmbersIn the Embers
A Great Northern Audio Theatre Production
Written, Directed, and Produced by Brian Price and Jerry Stearns
[AUDIO DRAMA] – 1 Hour, 19 Minutes
Published: 2015
Themes: / Audio Drama / time / archaeology / jazz / quantum physics /

A song, a pressed flower, and the sound of two girl’s voices recovered from a burned wooden beam by using a laser to read its charred surface like the grooves of an old 78rpm record. These are the clues that archaeologist, Digger Morgan, discovers while working on a routine Maryland plantation dig. Who were the girls? When was the fire? The answers all lead to 1920s jazz pioneer, Kit Jeffers, whose voice mysteriously appears on Digger’s computer, and whose existence remains haunted by a singular tragic event.

The first sounds offered by this wonderful work of audio drama are the broken haunting voices of two people trying to escape a barn fire. I can hear them as I type this. The voices were impressed on charred barn beams until archaeologist Digger Morgan discovered a way to read them with a laser. Hearing those voices was a powerful moment for me, a moment in which I not only felt the emotion of two people trapped in a fire, but also in which I considered the possibility of strong emotion leaving an imprint on our surroundings.

“In the Embers” doesn’t shy away from considering the implications either. In fact, this fine work of science fiction goes even further. How large an imprint could one leave? And could emotion somehow be transmitted through time? What would be the effect?

The story is excellent, the music is excellent, the audio quality is excellent, and so are the actors. Robin Miles as Kit Jeffers was particularly outstanding. From the riveting opening to the emotional closing scene, this is a drama that goes in the permanent collection. I’ll be listening to this again, no question.

“In the Embers” premiered at last weekend’s HEAR Now Festival in Kansas City, and will be broadcast on Sound Affects over two weeks – June 21 and 28.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Review of The Engines of God by Jack McDevitt

SFFaudio Review

Science Fiction Audiobooks - The Engines of God by Jack McDevittThe Engines of God
By Jack McDevitt; Read by Tom Weiner
14 Hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: 2012
Themes: / Science Fiction / Archaeology / Climate Change / Aliens / Space / Space Exploration /

Climate change has Earth on the brink of disaster. The only viable solution is terraforming other planets to ensure survival. For a small group of archaeologists, however, terraforming is the worst possible solution. The only suitable planet is also the one planet with the most promising artifacts of an unknown alien race. Known as the Monument Makers, the aliens’ buildings feature a seemingly uncrackable code on them. The team is looking for the alien equivalent of the Rosetta Stone and must race against time to finish excavations before terraforming begins.

Despite the fact that the book begins by talking about climate change, which always gives me a sinking feeling, that is just the pretext for launching readers into a mystery. The team’s quest takes them to outer space, other planets, and into extreme danger as they follow the Monument Makers’ trail to discover their whereabouts and why every alien civilization has been abandoned.

This book reads as if it were a series of four novellas strung together with the common thread of tracking the Monument Makers. Each of the completed stories gives Jack McDevitt the opportunity to take the reader a bit further into archaeological mysteries while also examining different planets, space travel, and alien beings. Transitions between “novellas” are minimal at best and character development is weak. Still McDevitt wove a mystery that kept me listening at a red-hot pace. This is surprising because the author revealed his story in a very straight forward manner with plenty of foreshadowing. In McDevitt’s case, however, the telling itself was so compelling that I was fascinated to hear what would happen next.

In short, I enjoyed this very much, although at the end the story suddenly threw off narrative and resorted to bullet points to finish things off. “In audio, it was an abrupt ending that startled me, however, that didn’t spoil it as the story itself was done. In fact, I didn’t care about the “[insert name here] went on to do this” summary and it could have been left out without hurting anything.

Tom Weiner did a fine job of narrating the book. His reading was not something that stood out for any reason but which carried the story along very well. It left me with the memory of story rather than reader, which is surely what good narration should accomplish.

McDevitt tells a very good mystery that gives answers to some questions and leaves others to the readers’ speculation. Engines of God is ultimately a satisfying adventure which introduces us to a universe that he went on to write other novels about and which I will be seeking out.

Posted by Julie D.

The SFFaudio Podcast #036

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #036 – Jesse and Scott are joined by Julie of Forgotten Classics to talk with Allan Kaster, the editor of Infinivox’s new audiobook anthology: The Year’s Top Ten Tales Of Science Fiction! We discuss this terrific audiobook, in depth, as well as a few other new releases and recent arrivals.

Talked about on today’s show:
Infinivox (an imprint of Audiotext), biology, study guides, chemistry, Great Science Fiction Stories, Bioware (from medical software to video games), Mass Effect, The Year’s Top Ten Tales Of Science Fiction, A Walk In The Sun by Geoffrey A. Landis |READ OUR REVIEW|, Guest Of Honor by Robert Reed, The Shobies’ Story by Ursula K. Le Guin, Hollywood Kremlin by Bruce Sterling, immortality, Hard SF, Robert Reed, vampires are rather liberal (for being immortal), Five Thrillers by Robert Reed, sociopathy, Ted Chiang, StarShipSofa’s (#88) interview with Ted Chiang, Exhalation by Ted Chiang, consciousness, souls, religion, transcendence, Ray Gun: A Love Story by James Alan Gardner, meta-science fictional stories, “ray guns and spaceships”, Adrift by Scott D. Danielson, World Of The Ptavvs by Larry Niven, Star Trek Animated Series (The Slaver Weapon), “The Soft Weapon” by Larry Niven, romance, Galileo’s Children: Tales of Science vs. Superstition edited by Gardner Dozois, The Dream Of Reason by Jeffrey Ford, The Empire Of Ice Cream by Jeffrey Ford, The Dreaming Wind by Jeffrey Ford (on StarShipSofa AD #75), sense of wonder, 26 Monkeys, Also The Abyss by Kij Johnson, Fantasy vs. Science Fiction, Mini-Masterpieces Of Science Fiction, The Gambler by Paolo Bacigalupi, Fast Forward 2, Fencon 2009 (Dallas, TX), Aliens Rule edited by Alan Kaster, How Music Begins by James Van Pelt, Carolyn Ives Gilman, Laws Of Survival by Nancy Kress, City Of The Dead by Paul McAuley, Shoggoths In Bloom by Elizabeth Bear, H.P. Lovecraft, lovecraftian homage, we need an audio collection of stories inspired by H.P. Lovecraft, frontier, space western, archaeology, aliens, Ray Bradbury, Mrs. Carstairs And The Merman by Delia Sherman, Dercum Audio, 1930s, 19th century, sea creatures, squids, Greg Egan, Peter Watts, The Art of Alchemy by Ted Kosmatka, industrial espionage, The N Word by Ted Kosmatka, Seeds Of Change edited by John Joseph Adams, future releases from Infinivox, Infinivox on Audible.com, Mike Resnick’s Kirinyaga cycle, Guest Law by John C. Wright, Beggars In Spain by Nancy Kress, physics, pirates, Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers, Charles Stross, Antibodies, Lobsters, A Colder War, The Chief Designer by Andy Duncan |READ OUR REVIEW|, Michael Swanwick, The Edge Of The World by Michael Swanwick, The Griffin’s Egg by Michael Swanwick, the state of the magazine industry, Fast Forward 2, Sidewise In Time, Eclipse 2, Extraordinary Engines, Penguin Audio, Level 26: Dark Origins by Anthony E. Zuiker and Duane Swierczynski, Brilliance Audio, The Beastmaster by Andre Norton, Richard J. Brewer, Audible Frontiers, The Short Victorious War by David Weber, The Rise Of Endymion by Dan Simmons, caterbury tales in space, Luke Burrage’s SFBRP on the Hyperion series, Kick-Ass Mystic Ninjas on Simmons’ Hyperion series, Ilium by Dan Simmons, The Terror by Dan Simmons, novella length stories, Escape Route by Peter F. Hamilton, a recent interview with Audible’s founder, The Law Of Nines by Terry Goodkind, Mark Deakins, Rammer by Larry Niven, narrator Pat Bottino, the MP3-CD format vs the CD format, The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury, Gateway by Frederik Pohl, Robert J. Sawyer, Man Plus by Frederik Pohl

Posted by Jesse Willis

Uvula Audio: Divers Down! Adventure Under Hawaiian Seas by Hal Gordon

SFFaudio Online Audio

Uvula AudioJames J. Campanella, podcaster, audiobook narrator, science popularizer and lecturer writes in to say:

Uvula Audio is starting a new bookcast this week. It is a science fiction book only in the sense that it has science in it and it is a fictional story, but it is an excellent young adult novel from 1971 which is now rare and long out of print. Starting tomorrow, we will be presenting Divers Down! Adventure Under Hawaiian Seas by Hal Gordon.

This was one of my favorite books in my youth and one of the books that pushed me in the direction of science as a career.

Divers Down! Adventures Under Hawaiian Seas by Hal GordonDivers Down! Adventure Under Hawaiian Seas
By Hal Gordon; Read by James J. Campanella
Podcast – [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: Uvula Audio Bookcast
Podcast: May 2009 –
The story concerns Kip Morgan, a student from Connecticut with an interest in undersea engineering. He comes to Hawaii to take part in the Makapuu Oceanic Center’s summer program. There he meets a number of other young scientists, including several from Hawaii, and gets involved in raising the “Ilikai,” a large canoe that sank in the 1860s while carrying a huge stone idol, a representation of the Hawaiian god Kane. Along the way, Kip’s friendship with archaeologist Julie turns romantic, he develops a rivalry with another summer student, and he has adventures under the beautiful Pacific.The story is also an excellent introduction to scuba diving and the Hawaiian language.

Here’s the first file |MP3|. Look for more in the feed soon!

Podcast feed:

http://www.uvulaaudio.com/kids/Kids.xml

Posted by Jesse Willis