Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World with Eric Rabkin

SFFaudio News

Our good friend, Professor Eric S. Rabkin, is teaching one of the free summer Coursera courses. It’s entitled Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World and all of the required readings, except for two of the novels, are available free online!

Here’s the official description:

Fantasy is a key term both in psychology and in the art and artifice of humanity. The things we make, including our stories, reflect, serve, and often shape our needs and desires. We see this everywhere from fairy tale to kiddie lit to myth; from “Cinderella” to Alice in Wonderland to Superman; from building a fort as a child to building ideal, planned cities as whole societies. Fantasy in ways both entertaining and practical serves our persistent needs and desires and illuminates the human mind. Fantasy expresses itself in many ways, from the comfort we feel in the godlike powers of a fairy godmother to the seductive unease we feel confronting Dracula. From a practical viewpoint, of all the fictional forms that fantasy takes, science fiction, from Frankenstein to Avatar, is the most important in our modern world because it is the only kind that explicitly recognizes the profound ways in which science and technology, those key products of the human mind, shape not only our world but our very hopes and fears. This course will explore Fantasy in general and Science Fiction in specific both as art and as insights into ourselves and our world.

This course comprises ten units. Each will include a significant reading, typically a novel or a selection of shorter works. I will offer video discussions of each of the readings and also of more general topics in art and psychology that those readings help illuminate. Each unit will include online quizzes and ask you to write a brief essay offering your own insights into the reading. In order, the units are:

Grimm — Children’s and Household Tales
Carroll — Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass
Stoker — Dracula
Shelley — Frankenstein
Hawthorne & Poe — Stories and Poems
Wells — The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Invisible Man, “The Country of the Blind,” “The Star
Burroughs & Gilman — A Princess of Mars & Herland
Bradbury — The Martian Chronicles
LeGuin — The Left Hand of Darkness
Doctorow — Little Brother

In Unit I, the specific stories are the ones in the Lucy Crane translation (1886) which was published by Dover and is available online through Project Gutenberg (http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/5314). In Unit V, the specific readings are: Hawthorne’s “The Birthmark,” “Rappaccini’s Daughter,” “Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment,” and “The Artist of the Beautiful“; Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Black Cat,” “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar,” “The Bells,” “The Raven,” “Annabel Lee.” All the readings except Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles and Ursula K. LeGuin’s The Left Hand of Darkness will be available online at no charge.

[thanks Jenny!]

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #102

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #102 – Scott, Jesse and Tamahome talk about new audiobook, book, and comic book releases.

Talked about on today’s show:
The Infinite Worlds Of H.G. Wells, Sherlock Holmes, Memory by Donald E. Westlake, Hard Case Crime, A Good Story Is Hard To Find, nihilism, SFSignal’s 122 books that bring Scott to tears, All The Lives He Led by Frederik Pohl (a semi-nihilistic novel), Yellowstone, “half minus negative zero”, A Matter Of Time by Glen Cook, The Black Company, Abel One by Ben Bova, blood and flesh and shirtless, Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente, BoingBoing, Russian Ark, Enigmatic Plot vs. Enigmatic Pilot, Enclave (aka Razorland) by Ann Aguirre, The Maze Runner by James Dashner, The Scorch Trials, The Hunger Games, Hunt The Space Witch and Other Stories by Robert Silverberg, WWW: Wonder by Robert J. Sawyer, Starstruck, Blair Butler, “Geoff Boucher’s Los Angeles Times Hero Complex ‘Get Your Cape On’ pick of the week”, The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi, Macmillan Audio, Audible.com, Brilliance Audio, Warriors edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, Forever Bound by Joe Haldeman, Lawrence Block, O. Henry-ish, “I see no reason to buy through iTunes” (vs. Audible.com), Limitless (aka The Dark Fields) by Alan Glynn, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Flowers For Algernon, Understand by Ted Chiang, acquiring a whole bag of pills, “smart people are neat”, Tantor Media, History Is Wrong by Erich von Däniken, Jesse becomes momentarily depressed, The Guns Of August by Barbara W. Tuchman, John Lee, the John Cleaver series, have world events have sped because of modern technology?, Libya, Tripoli, “The Graveyard Of Empires”, “from the halls of Montezuma to the shores Tripoli”, NPR, A History Of The World In Six Glasses by Tom Standage, beer, wine, spirits, tea, coffee, cola, the Today In Canadian History podcast, the Canadian Navy, I Don’t Want To Kill You by Dan Wells, I Am Not A Serial Killer, “normally I don’t do this”, Dexter, the Writing Excuses podcast, Homeward Bound by Harry Turtledove, alternate history, We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, Grover Gardner, Eric S. Rabkin, George Orwell’s 1984, Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, William Dufris, binary fission, Tantor Media is very innovative in including ebooks with their audiobooks, we need a new demarcation to desperate urban fantasy romance from SF, “conspiracy and ignorance based books”, The Prefect by Alastair Reynolds, Tales From A Thousand Nights And The Night (aka 1,001 Nights!) translated by Richard Burton, The Thousand Nights And A Night is the first fix-up novel, Nostromo by Joseph Conrad, South America, Three Men In A Boat (To Say Nothing Of The Dog) by Jerome K. Jerome, To Say Nothing Of The Dog by Connie Willis, Have Spacesuit, Will Travel by Robert A. Heinlein, Atlantis And Other Places by Harry Turtledove, Slave To Sensation shouldn’t be a science fiction novel, Orson Scott’s Card Intergalactic Medicine Show, Rejiggering The Thingamajig by Eric James Stone on Escape Pod #277, body-swapping, I Will Fear No Evil by Robert A. Heinlein, gender-swapping, For Us The Living: A Comedy Of Customs by Robert A. Heinlein, Heinlein’s old theme: “naked people talking to each other”, Heinlein likes to examine social preconceptions and social prejudices, “not a Heinlein classic but still classic Heinlein”, Eifelheim, Luke Burrage, Idiot America by Charles P. Pierce, George Washington riding a dinosaur, The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson, contemporary with Tolkien (rather than derivative of Tolkien), Michael Moorcock, Eric Birghteyes by H. Rider Haggard, Bronson Pinchot, The Plague Dogs by Richard Adams, anthropomorphic fiction, quasi-Science Fiction, quasi-Fantasy, Coyotes In The House by Elmore Leonard |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Call Of The Wild by Jack London, We Three by Grant Morrison, Transmetropolitain, Warren Ellis, Tama’s pet peeve in comics is silent panels, Audible Frontiers, The Death Of Grass by John Christopher, The Tripods, The Sam Gunn Omnibus, The Steel Remains, Cliffs Notes are now available as audiobooks, Brave New World, The Spiral Path by Lisa Paitz Spindler, Eat Prey Love by Kerrelyn Sparks, William Coon’s Eloquent Voice titles, Andre Norton’s The Time Traders, Gilgamesh The King by Robert Silverberg |READ OUR REVIEW|, Philip K. Dick, Henry James, Anton Chekov, Paul of Cthulhu, Yog-Sothoth.com The Whisperer In Wax, wax cylinder tech, Embedded by Dan Abnett, SFSignal.com.

Posted by Jesse Willis

FREE LISTENS Top 10 Free Stories

Review

Free Listens Blog

A few weeks ago Jesse posted my list of Best Free Audiobooks. I got a great response for this post, so I thought I’d do another one with my favorite free short stories that I’ve reviewed at Free Listens. Of course such lists are inherently silly, as they depend upon the listmaker’s tastes, current mood, memory, and a host of other little factors that have nothing to do with the quality of the story. So, if you’d rather, here’s a list of 10 really darn good stories (but maybe not the best):

  1. “The Lottery” – Shirley Jackson
  2. “A Rose for Emily” – William Faulkner
  3. “The Gospel According to Mark” – Jorge Luis Borges
  4. “The Gift of the Magi” – O. Henry
  5. “Nightfall” by Isaac Asimov
  6. “Bullet in the Brain” – Tobias Wolff
  7. “A Sound of Thunder” – Ray Bradbury
  8. “The Monkey’s Paw” – W.W. Jacobs
  9. “The Open Window” – Saki
  10. “The Yellow Wallpaper” – Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Hope you enjoy these!

Posted by Seth

Miette’s Bedtime Story Podcast

SFFaudio Online Audio

Miette’s Bedtime Story PodcastHere’s a podcast that I’ve been listening to, on and off (mostly off), for years. Miette is a mystery to me and seemingly pretty much everyone else. She’s been putting out a weekly (or so) podcast since 2005 and yet we don’t know a lot about her. We know she loves to read short stories. That she’s got an accent people don’t easily pin down, and that she’s got a dog. Other than that…. well, we really don’t know.

What makes it all even more puzzling is that she’s an “obscurantist.”

Now I like the obscure, but she, well… she’s just out there – Miette has gone past the obscure and into the hinterlands of the truly odd. Every once in a while I want to throw her a lasso (or a lifeline) but I’m kind of afraid because she might pull me out there with her!

That sheer out-there-ness also makes me feel so normal. Miette’s the absolute omega to the omnivorous celebrity mainstream and me I’m just the guy who gets to say “sorry I don’t have TV” three or four times a week.

Perhaps Miette is from a parallel universe?

It would explain a lot.

Assembled below are some of the Miette-read tales that attracted me to her podcast. None of them are youur typical short story – most are experimental in some way, usually they’re at least odd, strange, or weird. The thing is though, these tales that I’ve picked here are the most centric of Miette’s stories!

SFFaudio interest:

Fun With Your New Head
By Thomas Disch; Read by Miette
1 |MP3| – Approx. 7 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

The Cask of Amontillado
By Edgar Allan Poe; Read by Miette
1 |MP3| – Approx. 22 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

The Assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy Considered as a Downhill Motor Race
By J.G. Ballard; Read by Miette
1 |MP3| – Approx. 7 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

The Red Room
By H.G. Wells; Read by Miette
1 |MP3| – Approx. 7 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

I See You Never
By Ray Bradbury; Read by Miette
1 |MP3| – Approx. 11 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

How the World Was Saved
By Stanislaw Lem; Read by Miette
1 |MP3| – Approx. 11 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

The Necrophil
By Felipe Alfau; Read by Miette
1 |MP3| – Approx. 40 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
A story about a woman who dies too much.

The Yellow Wallpaper
By Charlotte Perkins Gilman; Read by Miette
1 |MP3| – Aprrox. 47 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

The Ghosts
By Lord Dunsany; Read by Miette
1 |MP3| – Aprrox. 15 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

On An Experience In A Cornfield
By Robert Sheckley; Read by Miette
1 |MP3| – Approx. 29 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

The Judgment
By Franz Kafka; Read by Miette
1 |MP3| Approx. 30 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

A World of Sound
By Olaf Stapledon; Read by Miette
1 |MP3| – Approx. 18 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas
By Ursula K. Le Guin; Read by Miette
1 |MP3| – Approx. 20 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

of Aural Noir interest:

A Letter to A.A. (Almost Anybody)
By Charles Willeford; Read by Miette
1 |MP3| – Approx. 29 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

The Lost Soul
By Ben Hecht; Read by Miette
1 |MP3| – Approx. 29 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

It Had To Be Murder
By Cornell Woolrich; Read by Miette
2 MP3s – Approx. 84 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Part 1 |MP3| Part 2 |MP3|

Podcast feed:

http://www.miettecast.com/feed/

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox: Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

SFFaudio Online Audio

LibriVoxVirtually forgotten for 64 years since it was first serialized, Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland is a utopian novel with a feminist bent. It’s extremely readable and plays out as a cross between Thomas More’s Utopia and The Man Who Would Be King. Three male chauvinists, adventurers all, but scientifically bent, hear rumor of a mysterious semi-tropical land composed entirely of women. And off they go. As they approach by airship, guns at the ready, they speculate as to what they’ll find and do when they get there. But, what they discover isn’t at all what they expected. Have a listen to just one chapter and you’ll stay for at least another two.

LibriVox Audiobook - Herland by Charlotte Perkins GilmanHerland
By Charlotte Perkins Gilman; Read by various readers
12 Zipped MP3s or podcast – Approx. 5.5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: June 2008
Herland is a utopian novel from 1915, written by feminist Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The book describes an isolated society comprised entirely of Aryan women who reproduce via parthenogenesis (asexual reproduction). The result is an ideal social order, free of war, conflict and domination. It first appeared as a serial in Perkin’s monthly magazine Forerunner.

Subscribe to podcast via this feed:

http://librivox.org/bookfeeds/herland-by-charlotte-perkins-gilman.xml

Posted by Jesse Willis

Librivox.org’s FREE Public Domain Sourced Speculative Fiction Audiobooks

Online Audio

LibriVox We first told you about LibriVox and its many ongoing FREE audiobook projects last year. Since then many of their titles have been completed. The LibriVox volunteers have read and recorded chapters of books, entire novels and short stories from the public domain using their home equipment. Their lofty objective? To eventually make every book in the public domain available in the audio format! That goal is well on its way to success. LibriVox now has more than three dozen Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror titles completed. There are even more “in-progress.” So with that wonderous news in mind here is the complete* list of all the SF Fantasy and Horror with links to the files :


UNABRIDGED BOOKS:

Andersen’s Fairy Tales (Short Stories)
By Hans Christian Andersen; Read by Various Readers
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 5 Hours 51 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

The Marvelous Land of Oz (Book 2 In The Oz Series)
By L. Frank Baum; Read by Paul Harvey
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 4 Hours 32 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

Dorothy And The Wizard in Oz (Book 4 In The Oz Series)
By L. Frank Baum; Read by Judy Bieber
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – ? Hours [UNABRIDGED]

The Road To Oz (Book 5 In The Oz Series)
By L. Frank Baum; Read by Kara Shallenberg
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 4.7 Hours [UNABRIDGED]

Sky Island
By L. Frank Baum; Read by Judy Bieber
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 5 Hours 41 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

Present At A Hanging and Other Ghost Stories (Short Stories)
By Ambrose Beirce; Read by Peter Yearsley
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – ? Hours [UNABRIDGED]

A Princess Of Mars (First In The John Carter Series)
By Edgar Rice Burroughs; Read by Various Readers
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – ? Hours [UNABRIDGED]

Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland (First In The Alice Series)
By Lewis Carroll; Read by Various Readers
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 2 Hours 58 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

Through The Looking-Glass (Second In The Alice Series)
By Lewis Carroll; Read by
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 3 Hours 19 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

The Wind In The Willows
By Kenneth Grahame; Read by Mark F. Smith
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 6 Hours 47 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

Fairy Tales (Short Stories)
By Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm (Brothers Grimm); Read by Various Readers
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 10 Hours 32 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

The Story Of Doctor Dolittle
By Hugh Lofting; Read by Various Readers
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 3 Hours 8 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

Call Of The Wild
By Jack London; Read by Various Readers
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – ? Hours [UNABRIDGED]

White Fang
By Jack London; Read by Various Readers
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 8 Hours 28 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

Great Big Treasury Of Beatrix Potter (Short Stories)
By Beatrix Potter; Read by Various Readers
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 3 Hours 31 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

Frankenstein, Or The Modern Prometheus
By Mary Shelley; Read by Various Readers
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – ? Hours [UNABRIDGED]

Dracula
By Bram Stoker; Read by Various Readers
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 16 Hours 31 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court
By Mark Twain; Read by Steve Anderson
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 13 Hours 42 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

A Journey To The Interior Of The Earth
By Jules Verne; Read by Various Readers
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 8 Hours 10 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

The Invisible Man
By H.G. Wells; Read by Alex Foster
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 4 Hours 54 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

The War Of The Worlds
By H.G. Wells; Read by Rebecca
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – 6 Hours 35 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

The War Of The Worlds
By H.G. Wells; Read by Various Readers
1 Zipped File full of MP3s – Approx 7 Hours [UNABRIDGED]

The Velveteen Rabbit
By Margery Williams; Read by Marlo Dianne
1 MP3 – 28 Minutes 50 Seconds [UNABRIDGED]


UNABRIDGED SHORT STORIES:

The Black Cat
By Edgar Allan Poe; Read by Tom Yates
1 MP3 File – 26 Minutes 58 Seconds [UNABRIDGED]

The Black Cat
By Edgar Allan Poe; Read by Don Morgan
1 MP3 File – 32 Minutes 43 Seconds [UNABRIDGED]

The Pit and the Pendulum
By Edgar Allan Poe; Read by Eric S. Piotrowski
1 MP3 File – 39 Minutes 8 Seconds [UNABRIDGED]

The Telltale Heart
By Edgar Allan Poe; Read by Don Morgan
1 MP3 File – 18 Minutes 8 Seconds [UNABRIDGED]

The Cask of Amontillado
By Edgar Allan Poe; Read by Zach Weissmueller and Ryan Heuser
1 MP3 File – 15 Minutes 45 Seconds [UNABRIDGED]

The Masque of the Red Death
By Edgar Allan Poe; Read by Juan Carlos Bagnell
1 MP3 File – 16 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]

The Monkey’s Paw
By W.W. Jacobs; Read by annegram
1 MP3 File – 25 Minutes 52 Seconds [UNABRIDGED]

The Signal-Man
By Charles Dickens; Read by: Andrew Miller
1 MP3 File – 36 Minutes 58 Seconds [UNABRIDGED]

Tale Of Peter Rabbit
By Beatrix Potter; Read by: Kevin Devine
1 MP3 File – 6 Minutes 26 Seconds [UNABRIDGED]

To Build A Fire
By Jack London; Read by Betsie Bush
1 MP3 File – 40 Minutes 03 Seconds [UNABRIDGED]

The Birth Mark
By Nathaniel Hawthorne; Read by Katy Preston
1 MP3 File – 38 Minutes 8 Seconds [UNABRIDGED]

An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge
By Ambrose Bierce; Read by Matthew Stewart-Fulton
1 MP3 File – 22 Minutes 1 Second [UNABRIDGED]

The Yellow Wallpaper
By Charlotte Perkins Gilman; Read by Justine Young
1 MP3 File – 28 Minutes 18 Seconds [UNABRIDGED]

*Any keeners out there are invited to let me know if I missed any SF Fantasy or Horror audiobooks completed by LibriVox that I didn’t recognize as such. Check out the actual list of all of their completed audiobooks on the LibriVox site HERE.