Dimension X: Almost Human adapted from a story by Robert Bloch

SFFaudio Online Audio

Almost Human illustrated by Rod Ruth

This is a truly terrible story, by someone who is normally perceived to be a great author, Robert Bloch. I suspect Bloch chose the pseudonym for this one because it is so bad. Indeed, I suspect this is precisely the kind of story Isaac Asimov was trying to defeat with his Three Laws of Robotics. But beyond the dangerous robot trope it also features, at least to my ears, the most creepily lascivious robot ever!

Junior is oily, immoral, and oversexed.

Ewww!

Dimension XDimension X – Almost Human
Adapted from the story by Robert Bloch; Adapted by George Lefferts; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 29 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: NBC
Broadcast: May 13, 1950
A gun moll answers an ad to be a nursemaid to a baby robot, things are fine until her boyfriend, a professional thief, shows up and teaches the robot a few things. First published in Fantastic Adventures, June 1943.

UPDATE:
Here’s Robert Bloch’s introductory essay to Almost Human (as written for My Best Science Fiction Story a 1949 anthology edited by Leo Margulies and Oscar J. Friend):

Robert Bloch - "My Best Science Fiction Story" - Almost Human

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Halo: The Thursday War by Karen Traviss

SFFaudio Review

Science Fiction Audiobook - HALO: The Thursday WarHALO: The Thursday War
By Karen Traviss, Read by Euan Morton
15 Hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Published: 2012
Themes: / Science Fiction / Video Game Tie-In / Aliens / Artificial Intelligence / War /

This is the second book in the Halo Kilo-Five trilogy by Karen Traviss. It’s 15 hours of thinking you know what is going to happen, only to have it change right before you.

The Glasslands, Book 1 of the trilogy, got us an introduction to ONI’s Admiral Parangosky special black ops team “Kilo-Five”. The Thursday War lets us see more of who they are and how they think. It starts off right where “Glasslands” left off. No time to breath! Kilo-Five has to get back to Sanghelios to rescue one of their own that was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Those of you that play the Halo video games will really enjoy understanding more about where some of the Halo 4 characters come from. You gotta love the AI for Kilo-Five: Black Box or BB for short. Not only does he give a little attitude to the team but he almost has emotional traits and worries like humans. Or Meat Bags as the team calls them.

I give 5 thumbs up to Karen Traviss and her writing style. For me it was like I was the AI in their systems watching, hearing, and feeling their every move. And not only from the Humans but from the Sangheili (Elites). I was able to look at them as another race not just a target on the screen. The kudagra to all of Sanghelios hopes is the mighty UNSC INFINITY, a floating city. That shows the Sangheili they are no longer top dogs.

If you like the Halo universe then you will love The Thursday War, and the audiobook is so much better with the reading by Euan Morton. He is amazing with how he brings the characters out with their voices.

Posted by Mike

I, Mars by Ray Bradbury

SFFaudio Online Audio

Barton’s younger selves lived on, tormenting him for his living proof that their hopes were dead!

I, Mars by Ray Bradbury
I, Mars by Ray Bradbury - illustration by Hannes Bok
First published in Super Science Stories, April 1949, here’s Jim Moon’s 26 minute unabridged reading of I, Mars by Ray Bradbury. I first encountered this story under it’s alternative title, Night Call, Collect.

|MP3|
|PDF| made from its publication in Super Science Stories.

[Thanks to WonderEbooks!]

Posted by Jesse Willis

Moxon’s Master by Ambrose Bierce

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Moxon's Master by Ambrose Bierce

I’m not a very good chess player, but I love playing. There’s a an elegance and a simplicity to the basics of it. And from those basic rules an incalculable complexity emerges – one that makes every game different. But I don’t much like playing against a computer. There’s little sense of victory if I win and if I lose I tend to question the point in playing at all. There’s something about pitting a mind against a mind – and most chess programs I’ve played against don’t seem to have one.

Moxon’s Master, by Ambrose Bierce, is about chess. It uses some basic analogies and metaphors – in just the way H.G. Wells does so well to make the implausible sound plausible. Bierce wields facts about plant tropism and Herbert Spencer’s definition of life in a skillful argument for machine intelligence. It’s rather masterful actually!

LibriVoxMoxon’s Master
By Ambrose Bierce; Read by Roger Melin
1 |MP3| – Approx. 28 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: May 2, 2012
First published in the San Francisco Examiner, April 16, 1899.

|PDF|

[Thanks also to Laura Victoria and Barry Eads]

Posted by Jesse Willis

CBC: Nightfall: Assassin Game by John G. Fisher

SFFaudio Online Audio

One of the very few legitimately Science Fiction stories in the CBC Nightfall series was this one, Assassin Game by John G. Fisher. It’s set in a then future in which all university students, in the top fifth percentile, are required to play an assassination game. Exceptional players are recruited by all the best transnational mega-corporations which offer free, but illegal, training in the summers. Chris Wiggins, a great voice actor best known perhaps for his role on Friday The 13th: The Series, plays the school’s president. And a very young sounding Saul Rubinek plays the protagonist, a student, and star player, who is unwilling to pick a sponsor. There’s a whole lot going on in this half hour show – with a big back-story, a vintage future sound design (Star Trek and Pac-Man), and a noirish plot.

Devoted readers may note some strong similarities to Robert Sheckley’s Seventh Victim and derivative tales.

CBC - NightfallNightfall #74 – Assassin Game
By John G. Fisher; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 28 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: CBC
Broadcast: November 5, 1982
Source: Archive.org
In the future, your career will be determined by now many students you eliminate at university. Assassin was just a game at first, then it got real.

Cast:
Saul Rubinek … Joel Unson (a computer science student)
Nicky Guadagni … Wendy Hirsch?
David Ferry … Martin (a political science student)
Ralph McPherson … Alex (Joel’s AI)
Peter Jobin … the computer and the man
Chris Wiggins … university president
Barbara Kyle … Miss and the PA announcer

Posted by Jesse Willis