The SFFaudio Podcast #084


The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #084 – Jesse talks recent arrivals and new releases with Paul W. Campbell, Luke Burrage, Rick Jackson and Gregg Margarite

WATCH OUT FOR THE FALSE ENDINGS (mostly attributable to Luke)

Talked about on today’s show:
Role playing game names, “Tom And His Friends” Dungeons And Dragons comedy (aka Farador), SFFaudio Challenge #2, Rebels Of The Red Planet by Charles L. Fontenay, Mars, martian rebels,, Cossmass Productions, Mark Douglas Nelson, Dan Simmons’ Hyperion, the least interesting vs. the least fitting, I’m Dreaming Of A Black Christmas by Lewis Black, Christmas = Fantasy?, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Suck It, Wonder Woman |READ OUR REVIEW|, Star Wars, what makes Star Wars Science Fiction is a sense-of-wonder?, Star Trek, METAtropolis: Cascadia, Star Trek The Next Generation narrators vs. Battlestar Galactica narrators, Wil Wheaton as a narrator, Dove Audio, Levar Burton as a narrator, liking Star Trek for all the wrong reasons, Theodore Sturgeon, Harlan Ellison, assimilation is a neat idea, “who the hell are the Borg?”, The Unincorporated Man by Dani Kollin and Eytan Kollin |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Unincorporated War, “is there true Science Fiction to be found in sequels?”, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Peter F. Hamilton’s The Void Trilogy, Blackout by Connie Willis, The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis |READ OUR REVIEW|, Firewatch, dragging the story out, Whiteout by Connie Willis, World War II, Katherine Kellgren as a narrator, Jenny Sterlin as a narrator, Recorded Books, Brilliance Audio,,, Earth Abides by George R. Stewart, Deep Six by Jack McDevitt, introductions to audiobooks, the introduction as an apology for the book, Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Stainless Steel Rat by Harry Harrison, The Time Traders by Andre Norton, H.G. Wells, The First Men In The Moon, Around The Moon, Jules Verne, continuing characters rather than continuing series, Sherlock Holmes, Khyber Pass vs. Reichenbach Falls, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Valley Of Fear, The Hound Of The Baskervilles, Lois McMaster Bujold’s Miles Vorkosigan series, does reading a series defeat the hope of being surprised? Priest Kings Of Gor by John Norman, A Game Of Thrones by George R.R. Martin |READ OUR REVIEW|, fun vs. funny, crime and adventure vs. ideas, A Princess Of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Bill The Galactic Hero, Slippery Jim DiGriz, The Stainless Steel Rat’s Revenge, This Immortal by Roger Zelazny, The Speed Of Dark by Elizabeth Moon, Books On Tape, Grover Gardner, Gregg has a grumbly voice, The Space Dog Podcast, The Science Fiction Oral History Association, Gordon Dickson, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Cordwainer Smith, Scott Westerfeld, Ben Bova, Luke’s next podcast project, NaNoWriMo, what podcast schedule should you have?, Robert Silverberg AUDIOBOOKS are coming from Wonder Audio, the old stuff vs. the new stuff, Jay Snyder as a narrator, a Science Fiction story that has little SF content, autism, Charly, Understand by Ted Chiang, Flowers For Algernon, interacting with the world, I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells, psychopathy, an unreliable first person narrator, young Dexter, Asperger syndrome, The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time by Mark Haddon, a detached (but reliable) narrator, the two audiobook versions of The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time, Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson, the Baroque Cycle, Anathem, John Allen Nelson as a narrator, Phat Fiction, The Way Of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, The Towers Of Midnight by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson, walking around central park as a retired person as my new career, who listens to audiobooks?, working the unworked niche, they really like Gregg’s voice!, no RSS-feed = soooo sad, Sam This Is You by Murray Leinster, Black Amazon Of Mars by Leigh Brackett, The World That Couldn’t Be Clifford D. Simak, The Idiot by John Kendrick Bangs, The Hate Disease, Asteroid Of Fear, Industrial Revolution by Poul Anderson, A Horse’s Tale by Mark Twain, anthropomorphic fiction, A Dog’s Tale by Mark Twain, Gregg has bugles lying around, Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels, Thought You Were Dead by Terry Griggs, Iambik Audio‘s upcoming Science Fiction audiobooks, LibriVox, working with small press publishers, Extract From Captain Stormfield’s Visit To Heaven, Blackstone Audio, The Many Colored Land by Julian May, Bernadette Dunne as a narrator, time travel, The Pliocene Epoch, sequel and prequel fatigue, flooding the Mediterranean, Blake’s 7: Zen : Escape Veloctiy is a Science Fictiony audio drama series, Firesign Theatre? (he means Seeing Ear Theatre), The Moon Moth based on the story by Jack Vance, Don’t Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me The Pliers, Mistborn, Terminal World by Alastair Reynolds, Lord Of Light by Roger Zelazny, Finch by Jeff Vandermere, Flood by Stephen Baxter, thematic exploration vs. bad writing,, Eifelheim by Michael Flynn |READ OUR REVIEW|, Luke’s books should be audiobooks, The Fifth Annual SFFaudio Challenge, all the cool Science Fiction ideas in Luke’s books, Gregg Margarite is a secret author with a secret pseudonym, Eric Arthur Blair, the publishing industry headache is intolerable to many, good writers + savvy marketers = sales success?, Redbelt, David Mamet, drowning in an ocean full of crap, the Jesse Willis bump?, catering to the listeners (or readers) desires vs. publishers desires, Pogoplug, Out Of The Dark by David Weber, artificial robots vs. natural robots, What Technology Wants by Kevin Kelly, art and techne, does evolution have goals?, the Cool Tools blog, eyes vs. I, natural selection, zero-point energy, the Cat in Red Dwarf was pulled to the fish dispensing vending machine, if you won’t give me eyes at least give me bilateral symmetry, goals vs. patterns or positions, starfish vs. Inuit, technology is a function of evolution, Luke re-writes The War Of The Worlds in under 20 minutes, red weed and green mist, stomach-less martians, “the final final part” and the musical version, flipping over the narrative is fun, Ender’s Game vs. Ender’s Shadow, what do the martians have against doors?, keeping the martian cannon canon, The Dragon With The Girl Tattoo by Adam Roberts.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon

Science Fiction Audiobook - The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth MoonThe Speed of Dark
By Elizabeth Moon, Read by Grover Gardner
9 cassettes – 13 hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Books on Tape, Inc.
Published: 2003
Themes: / Science fiction / Gene Therapy / Autism /

In the near future, disease will be a condition of the past, cured genetically at birth or soon afterward. But for the generation born before this development, it is too late, and they must get along as best they can. Lou Arrendale is in this lost generation. He is a high-functioning autistic with a job, friends and a love of fencing. But now, an experimental treatment will cure his autism. The question is, will he be the same person after he receives the treatment?

This is the first time I’ve been really happy that a book was on tape as opposed to CD. Normally I like not having to change cassettes or flip them over, but The Speed of Dark hooked me so deeply that I took it everywhere with me. I dragged my little portable tape player around the house and then would pop the tape out and put it in the car stereo while I was running errands. I couldn’t stop listening.

Most of the novel is told from Lou Arrendale’s first person point of view and Grover Gardner gave a pitch-perfect performance. His clipped and precise delivery captured the precision with which Lou dealt with the world. Coupled with Ms. Moon’s evocative language, the story unfolded with the inevitable beauty of a Bach cantata–events surprised me, but there was no other way for the story to unfold.

One of the most fascinating things was how Ms. Moon dealt with Lou’s perceptions of normal people. He had been taught that it was rude to interrupt other people, but normal people could interrupt and it was not rude. He is fascinated by how normal people can pick up on subtle social cues so that they seem to read each others minds. His wonder at the complex pattern of group conversation is so palpable that I felt it too, and found myself watching a conversation of my friends with some of the same awe. How do we know when it’s time to stop talking and let someone else, or when it is okay to interrupt and when it is not?

Other sections of the book are briefly told from the point of view of other characters, but Ms. Moon stays with third person for them. The writing is as clear, but I never connected with the other characters and sometimes found myself shifting in my seat, anxious to get back to Lou. These sections provide necessary plot information, and are also a fine way to view Lou from the outside. I suspect that in written format, my impatience would be less pronounced, but since Lou’s sections are in first person I came to associate Mr. Gardner’s voice with Lou. When he was reading other characters it seemed like a mask. A good mask, but I wanted Lou back.

And that is the crux of the novel. Ms. Moon made me care about Lou by showing me the inside of his thoughts. I could not fathom how he could possibly be the same person if he were not autistic. The dilemma is fascinating.

I won’t tell you what decision Lou makes in the end. Why? The gift-giving season is upon us; rather than recommending this as an item for your gift-giving list, you should have a copy of The Speed of Dark for yourself.

Posted by Mary Robinette Kowal