Fast Forward: Contemporary Science Fiction interviews David Weber

Online Audio

Fast Forward  Contemporary Science Fiction LogoFast Forward: Contemporary Science Fiction is our favorite TV show that is also an MP3 podcast! If you haven’t already subscribed to this feisty interview show, you’re missing out. Upcoming interviews will include authors Cory Doctorow, Ken MacLeod, and Charles Stross! But the post on hand today is a WEB EXCLUSIVE, A FF Special interview with David Weber. The interview was taped January 22, 2007, Weber talks with host Tom Schaad about his new novel, Off Armageddon Reef (SFFaudio review forthcoming), which is the first volume in his new SF book series.

Download the interview direct |MP3| or subscribe to the Fast Forward Podcast:

Review of Lobsters by Charles Stross

SFFaudio Audiobook Review

Infinivox Audiobook - Lobsters by Charles StrossLobsters
By Charles Stross; Read by Shodra Marie and Jared Doreck
1 CD – Approx. 70 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Infinivox
Published: 2005
ISBN: 1884612466
Themes: / Science Fiction / Technology / Love / Politics /

Manfred’s on the road again, making strangers rich. It’s a hot summer Tuesday and he’s standing in the plaza in front of the Centraal Station with his eyeballs powered up and the sunlight jangling off the canal, motor scooters and kamikaze cyclists whizzing past and tourists chattering on every side. The square smells of water and dirt and hot metal and the fart-laden exhaust fumes of cold catalytic converters; the bells of trams ding in the background and birds flock overhead.

Let’s just say it’s a crying shame and leave it until later to explain why.

Manfred Macx is a patent junkie, spending his days dreaming up ideas that will make him rich, very rich indeed; patents them and offers them up to whomever for free. In doing so has shunned the want for cash, preferring to live off the generosity from his benefactors. Enter into this story, uploaded lobsters wanting to defect, investigations from the IRS and a dominatrix ex- girlfriend who works for said IRS and you’ve got yourself a hip post-cyberpunk tale.

With Lobsters, Charles “Charlie” Stross has set his stopwatch to just 70 minutes. In that time he’s allowed to blast your senses with an array of images and visualizations and does so with perfect storytelling, skill and timing. Image after image explode onto your brain with the speed of a flashing strobe light. He throws away metaphors and similes as if he’d robbed the World Vocabulary bank. One after the other they hit you with delight and clarity until the end, and like all addictive tales, Lobsters leaves you a word junkie, aching for more.

There are two themes filtering through Stross’ Lobsters. On one hand you have Manfred, a high octane, finger on the pulse, grab it before its gone guy, focused on the moment, on the idea and on the deal. Live for the moment. Then you have Stross’ craftily ability to weave Manfred’s ex-girlfriend into the story, bringing her subtle but very practical approach to the future. Is Manfred up for this latest and most challenging proposal of his life? It’s a question we might all ask ourselves at one point through our lives.

The audio zips into your ears with ease. Both Jared Doreck and Shondra Marie deliver a fine production and tackle Stross’ rapid image bursts with gusto. The folks at Infinivox can hold their heads high with this production and at $7.99 it’s a pop!

Charlie Stross dips his toes in Science Fiction, Fantasy and Lovecraftian Horror and is part of the new generation of British Science Fictions writers that are taking the genre by the throat until it squeals. Living in Edinburgh his first short story The Boys appeared in the Science Fiction magazine, Interzone in 1987. Since then he has gone on to be nominated for a Hugo three times for recent novels.

So, is it a crying shame that he has still has not won a Hugo for one of his novels? No, it won’t be long, I promise you that. He has already won one for his novella, The Concrete Jungle.

No… it’s a crying shame that I have not yet heard more of his work.

Review of Antibodies by Charles Stross

SFFaudio Audiobook Review

Science Fiction Audiobook - Antibodies by Charles StrossAntibodies
By Charles Stross; Read by Jared Doreck and Shondra Marie
1 CD – 54 Minutes 16 Seconds [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Infinivox
Published: 2005
ISBN: 1884612474
Themes: / Science Fiction / Singularity / Conspiracy / Artificial Intelligence / Parallel Worlds /

– Click HERE to hear a sample –

“Damn it, Bob, I really had high hopes for this world-line. They seemed to be doing so well for a revelatory Christian-Islamic line, despite the post-Enlightenment mind-set.”

The announcement of the solution to the traveling salesman problem heralds the imminent destruction of humanity. No more salesman; no more problem. The story begins when a computer programmer is notified by RSS feed that all NP-complete problems lie in P, and thus computer encryption is forever compromised. Knowing the disaster for what it is, he flees, but with this being such a hard-takeoff he might not make it.

Stross’ ideas are hard, cold, pure, and funny, but it is his storytelling – the effectiveness of the complete tale – that elevates his perspective SF ideas into Science Fiction excellence. This is the kind of fiction I love; thought provoking with shrewdly surprisingly but necessary consequences of the premise. Stross goes from alpha to omega faster than you can guess, and in so doing delivers a solid entry into SF’s growing dialogue about The Singularity. Antibodies reminded of Isaac Asimov’s similarily elegant short story Living Space. Also refreshing is a humourous conspiracy that explains why Microsoft Windows-based computer viruses are so prevalent.

Allan Kaster, who runs the Infinivox wing of Audiotext, has put deep thought into this tale’s production. The narrators, Jared Dorek and Shondra Marie, pair up to deliver the action in this first-person perspective masterpiece of SF. Marie reads all the female voices and Dorek all the male. When each speaks the role of the hero and heroine, they do so in an amalgamated accent that is implied by the text. The production is carefully woven with transition music designed to show textual scene transitions and time passing. But it is the story that elevates this audiobook to SFFaudio Essential status. With a running time just shy of one hour you aren’t likely to have a more quintissential Strossian experience on audio.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Rick’s Kleffel’s Agony Column Podcast: Charles Stross

SFFaudio Online Audio

Agony ColumnRick Kleffel’s Agony Column podcast has a new interview with Charles Stross. Rick writes: “We covered all the high points that I suspect listeners will want to hear; space opera, economic genre fiction, gender bending and everything from the status of children in so-called Victorian London to Napoleonic space battles over far-flung planets, from the Cory Doctorow-like lead character of Accelerando to the status of children in so-called Victorian England.”

Click to download the MP3 direct!

posted by Jesse Willis

Infinivox New Release – A Dry, Quiet War by Tony Daniel

New Releases

Science Fiction Audiobook - A Dry Quiet War by Tony DanielIt’s been a while since we mentioned Infinivox. Since they produce one of my favorite lines of audiobooks, I’ll take this new release as a chance to talk about them. Infinivox publishes excellent unabridged short science fiction on CD. The story selection and quality of the productions leaves me eager for their next release every time.

This new release is a story called “A Dry, Quiet War” by Tony Daniel. In addition to that, check out Infinivox’s author line-up: Charles Stross, Connie Willis, Stephen Baxter, Greg Egan, George Alec Effinger, Nancy Kress – and that’s just naming a few! Infinivox has great stories, they are very well produced, and are priced just right. You simply can’t go wrong here. Check them out!

Commentary: Back in 1947

SFFaudio Commentary

Back in 1947, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists first informed the world what time it was on the “Doomsday Clock“. Since then, the minute hand of that clock has moved forward and back to reflect the subjective level of nuclear danger and the state of global security. I suggest we SF & F fans institute another clock, one for which we can easily see the subjective coolness of the times in which we are living. When Sci Fiction closes it’s doors the “uncoolness clock” hand sweeps 5 minutes towards Midnight, when Charles Stross writes another awesome story it sweeps the clock’s hand back a minute. Everybody on board with the idea?

Good. Now I have a candidate for sweeping the hand back a minute. Here’s the argument:

We should sweep the hand of the “uncoolness clock” back for reason of Escape Pod. Escape Pod is our favorite Science Fiction Podcast Magazine. It’s been scoring coup after coup in the game of audio Science Fiction coolness at least once a week for more than six months and without fail. And it’s really starting to get popular. Just look at the evidence:

1. Escape Pod got mentioned in the February 2006 issue of the venerable Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine (along with SFFaudio and TellTaleWeekly). Very Cool!

2. E-Pod got a post a few months back – with BoingBoing being the single most popular blog on the internet – the furtive attention of which has crashed many a server due to the mass of click-throughs. Way Cool!

3. Just two weeks ago Escape Pod podcast a Scott Sigler short story entitled Hero. Significant in that Sigler is the only podcast novelist so far with two podiobooks available (EarthCore and Ancestor) both of which encroach on a five digit subscribership. Damn cool!

4. And finally, we come to today’s instalment of Escape Pod, a short story, by maverick Science Fiction author Cory Doctorow entitled Craphound. Keener cool!

That’s four cool reasons why Escape Pod is worthy of sweeping the “uncoolness clock” back a minute from midnight. But perhaps the best reason is E-Pod’s quality, there’s never been a bad story on Escape Pod, with more than 40 tales under the whimisical editorial hand of Steve Eley that’s really saying something. Oh ya and it’s 100% FREE!

So what I’m saying is nuclear annihilation may still loom over us all but I’m telling you thing’s are still really cool in the Science Fiction department. You cool with that?

posted by Jesse Willis