Reading, Short And Deep #231 – The Sniper by Liam O’Flahrety

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #231

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss The Sniper by Liam O’Flahrety

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

The Sniper was first published in The New Leader, January 12, 1923.

Podcast feed https://sffaudio.herokuapp.com/rsd/rss

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

The SFFaudio Podcast #552 – READALONG: City Of Endless Night by Milo Hastings

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #552 – Jesse, Paul Weimer, Marissa VU, and Evan Lampe talk about City Of Endless Night by Milo Hastings

Talked about on today’s show:
another book with that title, Preston/Child, True Story, June 1919-November 1919, Children Of Kultur, revisions, pictures, pretty amazing book, blown away, more 19th century than early 20th, the chapter titles, more Victorian than Edwardian, so much effort, spoilers for each chapter, Paul fell into it, anticipating, a ruby necklace metaphor, a confrontation, the real Karl, undercooked, bought-off with jewelry, that’s the misogyny speaking, attention to the plot, how is this guy’s german that good, the number of fingers in Inglourious Basterds, just go with it, a treasure trove, it’s amazing, a late Verne?, global hegemony, the ideas!, very forward thinking, he got Nazis exactly right (it’s crazy!), there complete ideology, there breeding programs, their final solution, clearly it was in the culture already, Mein Kampf, Jesse’s hate list includes Bernarr Macfadden, Jesse holds him largely responsible for P.E. class, Physical Culture, an anti-vax column, eight kids with names starting with the letter “b”, Clutch Of The War God by Milo Hasting, “I’m buff, I’m going to live forever”, nutritious breakfast snacks, smoking constantly, anticipating a war between the USA and Japan, aircraft carriers, flat-top ships, under house arrests, obscenity, a beauty contest, all this shit is interconnected, eugenics, Macfadden was a bad guy, scolding the federal government, an extensive amount of research, more science fiction, deep into chicken breeding, THE TALE OF THE ORIENT’S INVASION OF THE OCCIDENT, AS CHRONICLED IN THE HUMANICULTURE SOCIETY’S “HISTORY OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY”, maybe someone on LibriVox, she was really good, obscure vocab, USA’s war with Japan, USA’s war with Germany, a cold war after WWIII, the German monarchy, the communists, Maximum German Expansion in the Second World War (1988), League Of Nations, again, did Hitler read this book?, a reflection of American propaganda about Germany, an extant philosophy, distilling and capturing an actual strain of pre-fascism and pre-Nazism, the House of Hohenzollern, the workers, the weird, Germany’s 1919 failed workers revolution, the Wiemar Republic, William the Great (aka William II), if Heinlein was doing it, zeroing in on the origins of fascism, Evan’s favourite book on this: Fascism by Mark Neocleous, the worker’s revolution is inevitable, the general strike, the centrality of will and struggle, working class resentment, Das Kapital by Karl Marx, Benito Mussolini, these ideas were floating around, something changed, the enlightenment framework, fin de sicile pessimism, Arditi, the CSA vs. the Union, resentment, echoes long after, the strongest fascist movements were losers, Hungary, Austria, Germany, where Hitler came from, people hearing him speak, all my friends died and this is the shit we have to eat?, Italian fascism, there is no action that can have no consequence, you can’t just suppress and hide the shit that you’ve done, Germany will rise again, entirely foreseeable, the logic, the natural masters of the Earth, science and industry, the subtle explanation for the power dynamic, 300 million people in Berlin, that ray, the worker controls the society in the way the king doesn’t, science advisors to the king, an alternate universe version of our Nazis, this is also Saudi Arabia, 15,000 members of the Saudi Royal family, analyzing it from a feminist perspective, control of women bodies, in what sense are the women free?, super-interesting science fiction (and tech-free), breeding and nutrition, perfect himself, eat the right foods, vegetarianism, scientific management of breeding programs, Germany’s obsession with it, Nazi breeding programs, Himmler was a chicken farmer, Gregor Mendel, former chicken farmer, get a few hens together, an egg a day, evolutionarily wasteful, costly to the chicken, getting that much calcium together, one of Milo Hastings patents, a million egg incubator, a [fascinating] fact about eggs, baby chicks are hot, birds are hotter than mammals, waste heat from late eggs to heat early eggs, a machine, a grey goo problem (but with chickens), what the breeding program is, Ford’s scientific management of a factory floor, apply it to the human production industry, social policy, married couples were forgiven loans when they had four children, early on, the map of the levels in the Syracuse newspaper, 147 children, one cock for a whole bunch of viable hens, roosters wanna kill each other, why so few women, no time spent with kids, the Lebensborn 1935-1945, these aren’t families, the visit to the school, the teaching methods, that classroom is insane, genocide, a mandatory pork eating law, an emigration policy, its hard to get people to leave, Jews in Shanghai, John Rabe, a WWII show, German jews, Polish jews, gassing people in trucks, taking German interests and beliefs, Germans were really into chemistry, lens-grinding, alchemy, synthetic drugs, synthetic gasoline, coal into gasoline, raw material under Arctic ice?, the main character is a chemist, chemically produced food, modern processed foods, petroleum products turned into food, lab-grown meat, he isn’t making this shit up, a replicator, what does Evan make of the factory strike, Germans went on strike a lot, true to life, depoliticized the working class through voting, the whole philosophy of the state was really well thought out and fascinating, socialist, elections every year, just like us, lands of the inferior races, movement cultures, struggle is important, solidarity, divide and conquer, the power and importance of solidarity in achieving goals, fascinating and true to life, workers don’t strike in China, workplace democracy, the propaganda is complete, the education is by movies, they do their education through video, books are for the officers, the propaganda department, a science fiction movie of what it will be like when we conquer the rest of the world, one of the members of ABBA, bringing the Aryan north into Germany, a mixer, you better have a good reason, the endless war of conquering the earth, very widespread, pseudo-scientific breeding, germ-plasm, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, the Master of Hatcheries, making workers genetically suitable for their jobs, Bernard Marx (Bernarr?), man most responsible for gyms, William Hope Hodgson, BOOM, an amazingly fascinating cultural artifact, was this mentioned in The Ministry Of Truth?, listener suggested?, a reference to Bellamism, another Bellamy echo, rationing vs. cornucopia, once there’s post-scarcity…, robber barons, the money is for attracting women, there’s no point in money, a million marks you can’t spend, buy her a necklace, strange economics, The Prisoner Of Zenda by Anthony Hope, Ruritanian romance, a blending of Bellamy with a Ruritanian fantasy, it’s all a dream, The Prince And The Pauper by Mark Twain, more competent than the person he replaced, a whole thing about creativity, that’s science fiction thinking, Dragon’s Egg by Robert L. Forward, by Hal Clement, reading hard SF, social science fiction, he’s basically fucking nailing Nazi Germany because he’s really thinking through…, the people who are pushing eugenics, I have an evil plan…, sterilizing native people, its fucking evil, I’m going to do zis, he’s just a chicken farmer tapping into what’s in the air, H.G. Wells’ stuff, The Land Ironclads, tanks, WWII is all about tanks, you can’t take land with airplanes, you can’t win without tanks, all those people who died from tanks, Fortnite, kids don’t know what a fortnite is, World Of Tanks, he’s pretty much describing tanks, what it would mean to the tactics, what science fiction is, Jules Verne, there’s all sorts of consequences to that, the ending, Evan’s proper ending for this book, this guy really loves his new job, he meets the emperor, he gets promoted, he wins these awards, the Royal level, he’s going to marry someone in the royal family, a memoir of someone who has lived his whole life in the upper echelons, the safety valve, a ticket for the first show, the glory of the dynasty, turning away from his United Statesians, found amongst the papers of a traitor, the library, the rise of the anti-Nazis, working in the system, we’re living in insanity world, the number of people internally, so rudely signed out, all of Jesse’s diatribes, anti-Nazis, the army and the navy, the submarine stuff is very German, Valkyrie (2008), when FDR is on the rise, the Business Plot, Smedley Butler, happening again, educated folks who are trying to be reasonable, how can that go on Saudi Arabia, a royal problem, carbon problem, Hong Kong, Janette Eng’s Hugo acceptance speech, 40% of China’s income was generated in Hong Kong now it’s 2%, a lot of upset folks, how do you negotiate your way out of that, Woodrow Wilson’s official state racism, the 14 points and the League Of Nations, take note of the tiny detail trends, Hastings’ alternate history, a lot of blame towards the USA and the League Of Nations, a dangerous situation, LibriVox narrator Kate Follis, Algernon Blackwood, E.F. Benson, A Little Book Of Profitable Tales, follow the amateur narrators, “George Guidall can do no wrong!”, Frank Muller, American Gods by Neil Gaiman, when Mr Wednesday came back, he’s back!, a terrible motorcycle accident, don’t ride motorcycles, addicted to audiobooks, audiobooks are very addictive, Luke Burrage, Jesse’s mom is reading Clark Ashton Smith’s novel TWO BLACK DIAMONDS, Arabian Nights, Clark Ashton Smith: Emperor Of Dreams, “magnificent!”, a lot more to say, a strength of worldbuilding, take this man to the hospital, sneaking on board the submarine, how he got him in there, a coincidence, his own face on the dead body, a tradition behind it, an excuse to do that, News From Nowhere by William Morris, get in there and tell that story, really good, a lot of tension, oh my god, investigate himself, a whole adventure, the title change, kultur, this Brute Beast, WWI pickle helmets, treating them like Nazis, more technically correct, one more thing, a confession, we were all fooled by the girl who borrowed the book, that same feeling, our last big surprise book, Mockingbird by Walter Tevis, betrayal, soooo on point, being assertive, making a persons way in a terrible situation, sitting around this virtual table, I didn’t like your little book (we don’t like her because she doesn’t like reading), it makes sense, give herself some dignity, that’s what I do, yo, a singer but her voice wasn’t good, an actress but she had no empathy, a tradition femme fatale, parallel, there’s this woman out there who knows him really well, why are you going to the women’s level, he needs socialization, barracks situations, assimilating so well, Maissa was supposed to join us, “Yes alas – although I didn’t really like endless night – although that would probably have made interesting conversation.”, did she finish it?, up to a third of the way through, it might be an evil book, not ultimately an evil book, it just has features, its not propaganda that’s trying to promote autocracy, the anti-Nazi characters, characters who are into the system, what makes it a dystopia exactly?, if you really had this situation, synthesizing and rationing, withholding information, a good follow up to this, on the list of approved books for LibriVox, Thea Von Harbou’s Metropolis, Fritz Lang and Thea Von Harbou, speaking to the audience, a bias against silent films, a trial, watching I, Claudius (shot on videotape), the audio drama adaptation of Metropolis, so many parallels to what’s going on, Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, a girl who sparks an interest, was Metropolis, the audio drama is so good, it’s cyberpunk, a BBC production, super-great, astoundingly great, totally idea based, the depth of power an hour long program is able to achieve, this guy’s really tantalizing me, two assignments for Kate Follis: please spend 6 months of your life recording for us, a YouTube version of it, a great read!, ever since we read the Ministry of Truth, gender politics, Dollar Hen by Milo Hastings, the bible of chicken rearing, if the weather is too cold for raising hens just move away, good advice, public domain, chickens are super-easy food, urban (and suburban) chicken farming, hipster farming, BoingBoing’s Mark Frauenfelder, coyote raids, free eggs, sharem and givem away and sellem, the permaculture people, sustainable vs. industrial means, red peppers and hot peppers, a styrofoam tray, students were hostile, you’re not helping us Evan, give us the keys to Harvard, we (the Chinese) don’t have time to fuck around with hippie shit, industrialize and build up your industry, the Chinese communist party (20 million?), inequality in China is on par in the United States, pro and anti-Chinese demonstrations, funded by the Chinese government, the Falun Gong, there’s good evidence, Taiwan, liberty vs. authoritarianism, Jimmy Lai and John Bloton, neo-liberals, all the allies are pretty gross, a better hope, the future of the left in Hong Kong, Democracy Advocate: bread and roses, the Communist Party of Canada, a moral and economic failure, defining poverty, the number of students, recruiting foreign teachers, form a fucking union, things are so unequal in China, state socialism doesn’t work, an anti-authoritarian complex, the oranges, the greens, the blues, the reds, the blues, some tie between not ruining the rivers, you can be pretty stupid and be an environmentalist, libertarianism is an immature philosophy, anarchist people to follow, fucking stupid memes, the Solarpunk Anarchist on Facebook, Murray Bookchin, social ecologist, leftists groups, Stalinist, weak socialists, not pushy enough, the NDP, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, universal pharmacare, voted to bomb Libya, the Christopher Hitchens left, liberty is a better foundation for socialism, Max Blumenthal, more bars open, pretty fuckin secular, don’t make me go to your church, the story on Syria, a comic book reading communist lawyer (Will Emmonsky) from Kentucky, Elizabeth Warren vs. Bernie Sanders, having principles, the pitchforks are coming, she’s a capitalist to her bones, Sanders’ movement, smart people in the elite realize you’ve got to do something to stop the pitchforks in the next few years, the last choice if Biden fails, Southern redneck communists, anarchists, your dudes, disarming the working class is a bad idea, is the working class becoming more fascist?, crazy people with guns, naked guy with a gun, the Black Panthers position, the John Brown Gun Club, super-principled, against the bad stuff, Jacobin Magazine, somebody is going to be president next year, in change of the U.S. empire, Elizabeth Warren blows like reed in the wind, Bernie Sanders IS principles, Mitt Romney’s whole thing was “I have good hair”, Hillary had writing off people, just listen, be honest, reading about it from the outside, I got mine jack, how you end up like this, racist white coal miners who worked with black coal miners, why Fred Hampton was assassinated by the FBI and the Chicago police, what’s really going on about racism, racism is a way to divide people who have things in common, history, PBS’ Carrier, almost no one is racist, south asian kids, what kids do, looking for differences, exercise of power, racism is best flourishing when there’s top down stuff, remembering being racist as a kid, I did not want to be considered a dark person, “the darkies”, he’s fucking it up, New Zealand, Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, anti-racist books, what the fuck, the most anti-racist, Steen becomes incensed, subject to racism and racist, being in a culture by a majority, being more humble, being ensconced in it, xenophile, Jesse’s mom is kind of a weird lady, barfi, here I am in my anti-racist bubble, cultural issues, a cultural problem, leaning towards communism, principled ideas, libertarian, Ron Paul, reading conservative stuff, flags, Burkean conservatives, inherited rights, the logo of the Communist Party of Canada, black conservatives, public schools and land reform, cultural conservatism, respect but reject, the populous right, drugs, science, production, knowledge, this book’s got us thinkin, social cooperation, their examples are so stupid, so divorced from reality, what do you think about Japan?, Scotty Kilmer, very practical advice, a British motorcycle, a Suzuki copy of a British motorcycle, knock-off cars in China, a Chinese Jeep Wrangler, Philip K. Dick novel, Japanese copy of a British destroyer, iterating after copying, Huawei, Japan has seen that, isn’t that China’s future?, Japan’s funny history, a mature industry, so weird, almost no foreign cars (or products) in Japan, isn’t there something there?, super-racist too, Japanese homesteaders, going back to the land in Japan, who needs Infinity Stones just wait, a fast forward version of something, China and Korea, the Korean birthrate, a demographic transition, capitalism could find a way, Marissa has one projector, a monitor, Jesse has 11 monitors, the Impossible burger, Beyond Meat, half the pigs in the world are consumed in China, a vegetarian going back to meat, a bar meatzvah, the suffering that animals face, unprincipled on many other things, Eric Rabkin is a vegetarian, jerked tofu, an ethics class, that was horrific, no problem with death, the cruelty is not in us its in our nature, tigers are not unethical, they care a lot about food, giving up french fries, how to make a dinner without meat, the opposite of a foodie, Hitler was a vegetarian, he loved his dog, its kind of a religion, playing PUBG with Peruvians, xenophile, the Indian-English accent, reviews of science fiction, vegan, vegans who go to the gym, I’m 58 look at me, so gross, vegan tattoos, those pants, we are the one crucifying Christ through the rape of the Earth, ?, weird Catholic ecology, look at that guy, he’s a fruitarian, what you eat is magic, I’m gonna live forever because I’m pure, Bill Maher, scorn, I live in this society, if I were a cave-man…, go off to Nassau and be a pirate, you really can’t opt-out, are your clothes made by slaves?, violating intellectual property laws, what does it matter where its made?, what does it matter where its manufactured, books are printed in China, nobody trusts the food industry in China, wont that all be fixed in 20 years, production matters, Karl Marx, the magic of currency, commodity fetishism, a show on bitcoin, hidden by the market, such a time investment, pick your battles, arbitrary, I was a fool to be in the apple system for as long as I was, don’t fall into the trap even farther, this sneaking idea, systems and institutions can’t love you, I don’t wanna give Jeff Bezos my money, Jimmy Pattison.

City Of Endless Night - review

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of The Garden of Stones by Mark T. Barnes

SFFaudio Review

The Gardens of StoneThe Garden of Stones (The Echoes of Empire #1)
by Mark T. Barnes, read by Nick Podehl
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
[UNABRIDGED] – 14 CDs; 16 hrs, 53 min.

Themes: / epic fantasy / dynasties / civil war / warrior-mage /

Publisher summary:

An uneasy peace has existed since the fall of the Awakened Empire centuries ago. Now the hybrid Avān share the land with the people they once conquered: the star-born humans; the spectral, undead Nomads; and what remains of the Elemental Masters.

With the Empress-in-Shadows an estranged ghost, it is the ancient dynasties of the Great Houses and the Hundred Families that rule. But now civil war threatens to draw all of Shrīan into a vicious struggle sparked by one man’s lust for power, and his drive to cheat death.

Visions have foretold that Corajidin, dying ruler of House Erebus, will not only survive, but rise to rule his people. The wily nobleman seeks to make his destiny certain—by plundering the ruins of his civilization’s past for the arcane science needed to ensure his survival, and by mercilessly eliminating his rivals. But mercenary warrior-mage Indris, scion of the rival House Näsarat, stands most powerfully in the usurper’s bloody path. For it is Indris who reluctantly accepts the task of finding a missing man, the only one able to steer the teetering nation towards peace.

I was a little hesitant approaching The Garden of Stones by Mark T. Barnes in audiobook form as I’d heard it was a bit akin to Steven Erikson (more than Garden in the titles) where the reader is simply thrown into the action without much, if any explanation. It turns out my fears were not unfounded and yet I would still highly recommend this book.

I’ve noticed in reading books or listening to audiobooks, there are some books I have a harder time with given the medium through which I am experiencing them. I had the hardest time getting into Dune by Frank Herbert when I tried it in paperback because I kept feeling like I had to look up every single word I didn’t understand and I quickly grew tired of it and gave up.

Later, I picked up the audiobook thinking I needed to at least finish this classic of the genre and not only did I do so, I loved the crap out of it. It’s still one of my favorite books and I’ve been meaning to go back and read it in paperback again.

I know, this isn’t a Dune review, but it illustrates the point that some books are more accessible if you just let go, trust that the author will lead you where you need to go, and leave your worries behind. You’ll get it, even if it’s tough. And audiobooks allow you to do so because you don’t have that handy dandy glossary to look through. That’s also not to say that all books and stories work this way.

With The Garden of Stones, I wonder if I would have stalled in my reading. I’m no stranger to being thrown into the action having survived (and thoroughly enjoyed!) Erikson’s masterpiece, The Malazan Book of the Fallen, so that probably wouldn’t have been a problem. I did, however, have a difficult time keeping a lot of the characters, names, and races straight through listening only. Had I had my eyes on this one, I probably would have enjoyed it even more than I already did.

I’m sure I missed a lot of the connections that were being made early on, but I did get my bearings by the end and quite enjoyed this world that Barnes has created. It’s full of wonder and imagination, tons of creatures, and races that were well-crafted and constantly interesting. I enjoyed exploring each new thing in this world and many kudos to Barnes for that. The characters are also highly interesting, Barnes even plays with an Erikson-like main character who is supremely powerful and someone you really don’t want to mess with. I love a good character like that and feel many shy away because it’s easier to write about characters with many weaknesses.

In the competition between paper and audio, I really do think The Garden of Stones would probably work better in paper, though it’s definitely enjoyable in audio.

Another hesitation I had when starting this audiobook is that it’s read by Nick Podehl. The only experience I had with Podehl prior to this was his reading of Kemp’s A Discourse in Steel. In Discourse, there’s quite a bit of banter and it’s overall a light-hearted piece with lots of jokes and humor even in the most deadly situations.

Hearing that same voice again brought back those memories of slapstick from Discourse, when Garden is actually a serious piece lightly sprinkled with humor if at all. It was about midway through the book when I realized that I no longer thought of Podehl that way, as the joke-telling, razzing narrator, but instead I heard him as the serious purveyor of piety. Okay, not that far, but suddenly I was sucked into Podehl’s storytelling and the story itself. I think that says a lot about both Podehl’s strengths as a narrator and the book’s story as well.

4 out of 5 Stars (highly recommended)

Posted by Bryce L.

The SFFaudio Podcast #060

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #060 – Jesse and Scott talk about recently arrived audiobooks!

Talked about on today’s show:
Roger Ebert’s review of The Human Centipede, BoingBoing, World Horror Convention 2008, Salt Lake City, how the horror genre has changed, Hater by David Moody |READ OUR REVIEW|, anti-Americanism, Your Movie Sucks by Roger Ebert, Awake In The Dark by Roger Ebert, Roger Ebert’s review of Reservoir Dogs, recent arrivals, Tantor Media, The Horror Stories Of Robert E. Howard, Pigeons From Hell, Worms Of The Earth, The Cairn On The Headland, I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells, Dexter as a teenager, Columbine by Dave Cullen |READ OUR REVIEW|, the Writing Excuses Podcast, LUTE Brigham Young University, Mr. Monster by Dan Wells, The Eerie Silence by Paul Davies, science, SETI, Scott’s Pick Of The Week: Goodreads.com, social networking that works, Beowulf by Anonymous, Seamus Heaney‘s translation, The Epic Of Gilgamesh BBC Audio Drama, RadioArchive.cc, City Of Dragons by Kelli Stanley, the Bish’s Beat blog, private investigation, San Fransisco, The Spanish Civil War, Brilliance Audio, High Deryni by Katherine Kurtz, The Tales Of Dying Earth, Rhialto the Marvelous by Jack Vance, Seeing Ear Theatre, The Moon Moth by Jack Vance |READ OUR REVIEW|, social science fiction, Tale Of The Thunderbolt by E.E. Knight, vampires, alien invasion, The Space Vampires by Colin Wilson, Lifeforce, Vampires by John Steakley, what Steakley is doing with his novels (examining one small aspect of violence), The Guns Of August by Barbara Tuchman, Heist Society by Ally Carter, Luke Burrage’s review of Robert J. Sawyer’s Calculating God on the Science Fiction Book Review Podcast, WWW: Watch by Robert J. Sawyer, The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi, the Nebula awards, reading the Hugo nominees, Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast by Eugie Foster |READ OUR REVIEW|, Lawrence Santoro, Eros Philia Agape by Rachel Swirsky, Blackstone Audio, Enchantment by Orson Scott Card, Stefan Rudnicki, Sleeping Beauty, Jesse’s Pick Of The Week: Snow Glass Apples by Neil Gaiman, Snow White And the Seven Dwarfs, Bebe Neuwirth, The Dreaming blog, Murder Mysteries by Neil Gaiman, Nadya by Pat Murphy, werewolves, Poland, California, 19th century, Rachel In Love by Pat Murphy, Vampire Zero by David Wellington, civil war, The Bradbury Report by Steven Polansky, The Island, did Ray Bradbury write a cloning story?, what’s the best cloning novel you’ve ever read?, cloning doesn’t really live in fiction, Surrogates, Kiln People by David Brin, Cyteen by C.J. Cherryh, Where Late The Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm, Mimic by Donald A. Wollheim, Red Dwarf is a great hard Science Fiction series!, “what’s the best cloning novel?”, Blood Oath by Christopher Farnsworth, Bronson Pinchot, “shadowy conspiracy” = “secret secret”, The Bradbury 13 by Ray Bradbury, radio drama, The Hitch-hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy isn’t audio drama’s best exemplar (The Bradbury 13 is), City Of Truth by James Morrow, satire, religion, The Invention Of Lying, This Is The Way the World Ends by James Morrow, PaperbackSwap.com, Dan Carlin’s Common Sense podcast, oligarchy, talking points, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Obamacare, “-gate” is not a suffix meaning scandal, the difference between English and French, words map the world, words are the magic in our world, ZBS Foundation, Dinotopia: The World Beneath (audio drama), Yuri Rasovsky, a kid who doesn’t like dinosaurs?, Blake’s 7: The Early Years: Zen: Escape Velocity, Robin Hood, Zen and the Liberator is like Blake’s Sherwood Forest! Babylon 5, J. Michael Straczynski’s City Of Dreams.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Rally Cry: The Lost Regiment by William R. Forstchen

SFFaudio Review

Rally Cry: The Lost Regiment #1Rally Cry: The Lost Regiment #1
By William R. Forstchen; Read by Patrick Lawyor
11 Cassettes, 12 CDs or 1 MP3-CD – 15 Hours 30 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: 2006
ISBN: 0786145056(Cassette), 078617199 (CDs), 078617658X (MP3-CD)
Themes: / Science Fiction / Military / Civil War / Aliens / Early Civilizations / Alien World /

Click here for an audio sample —

“When Union Colonel Andrew Keane led his blue-coated soldiers aboard the transport ship, he could not have foreseen that their next port of call would be neither in the North nor the South but on an alternate world where no human was free.”

In this exciting Military Science Fiction book, we find a regiment of Union soldiers swept away into a tunnel of light to find themselves on an alien planet. These are battle-hardened and battle-weary soldiers who have paid the terrible price of war. Their leader, Colonel Andrew Keane, has not only lost an arm but also his only brother in conflicts with the South.

Their first encounter on this new world is with a society of humans. The society originally came from Earth through that same tunnel of light that brought Keane and his men to this planet. These people were transplanted out of Medieval Russia. The nobles and the Church rule over the peasant serfdom. Conflict ensues as these two different societies battle with weapons from different eras.

There is also a nomadic alien race that lords over the humans of this planet. They are coming to take one out of every five humans as their tribute. What do they do to these humans? Mostly they eat them.

This is the first novel in a long series known as The Lost Regiment. The action is strong and convincing. Patrick Lawford reads the novel with a good range of voices and accents. The story is written in third person omniscient, so we get into the heads of many of the characters. Each character has their own motivations that justifies their actions.

The only disappointment was the lack of alien-ness to the aliens and setting. Sure the aliens are tall fangy creatures that eat humans, but their culture is not much different than many primitive nomadic warrior tribes. They measure their virtue in bravery and prowess in battle. Maybe it’s not fair to expect an alien culture to be different, after all I haven’t encountered any real ones. Maybe primitive cultures of different planets would share many of the same traits, if they are universally advantageous to that species. The setting also lacks in alieness and is very much like Earth except that it has two moons.

Overall, this is a rousing tale with plenty of action. The battle scenes are exciting without glorifying war. The characters suffer real losses, and we feel their anguish. If you are Civil War buff or like Military SF this is a book not to be missed.

The audiobook is only available in library editions. This means the packaging is sturdier and more permanent. Unfortunately this makes the price expensive. A more affordable download version is available at audible.com. Better still, make a request to your local library to carry it (with dozens of other SFF titles, of course).

Review of No Truce with Kings by Poul Anderson

Science Fiction Audiobook - No Truce With Kings by Poul AndersonNo Truce With Kings
By Poul Anderson; Read by Tom Teti
4 Cassettes – 4 Hours 40 minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Dercum Press Audio [ActiveBooks #ABS02]
Published: September 1987 – OUT OF PRINT
ISBN: 1556562675
Themes: / Science Fiction / Exploration / Sea Voyage / Civil War / Military / Galactic Civilization / Telepathy /

DERCUM ACTIVE BOOKS
Dercum’s Active Books are a contemporary approach to classic literature. This collection, when complete, will number over sixteen volumes and will be one of the most comprehensive anthologies of science fiction and fantasy stories ever produced. Book Notes are and exclusive feature of all Dercum Fantasy Listening Cassettes. At key points in our stories, musical accents are added for your listening pleasure.

Though it doesn’t state it in the title, this audiobook actually contains two tales by Poul Anderson, the 1961 Hugo winning novelette “The Longest Voyage” and the 1964 Hugo winning novella “No Truce With Kings”. “The Longest Voyage” follows a junior officer on board the ship of a latter day Magellan. But this global circumnavigation is on a faraway planet, populated by humans who have lost their ancient technologies. As their society has rebuilt itself it builds new caravels that can take them farther and farther afield. But the new civilizations they discover on a distant shore hold a secret to both their past and their future.

“No Truce with Kings” is set in a post-apocalyptic United States, a feudal future made up of small nations constantly at war with each other. As the battles and intrigues unfold, hidden societies and shadowy organizations begin to show that their wars do not go unnoticed.

“The Longest Voyage” was enjoyable, it reminded me of Robert J. Sawyer’s Farseer, minus the talking dinosaurs. “No Truce With Kings” was well conceived, a cross between Mad Max and Jeremiah, but the execution was less than I had hoped for. Still and all, I enjoyed both stories and it was a very good listen.

This audiobook is a curious mix of excellence and shoddiness. The stories are certainly very worthy of adaptation, the reader Tom Teti is decent if not spectacular, providing only a minimal performance. But the packaging is just plain bad, missing digits in the ISBN, the reader’s name would be unknown except that the packaging has come unglued and revealed it beneath one of the two cassette holders (a place where no one would ever possibly see it!). They also ignored a title, no mention of the inclusion of “The Longest Voyage” appears except on the cassettes themselves and in small font on the back of the package. The jacket design is almost non-existent giving us only some generic clipart. In addition, the genre is labeled fantasy when both stories are actually science fiction. On the other hand the recording and the sound production is truly excellent! Including as always with Dercum Active Book titles the haunting Dercum Audio music, which starts to play before the story and which re-appears when a story ends or when a tape flip is coming up. It is a truly excellent theme music for science fiction or fantasy audio production and one which I am always pleased to hear. But the best part, the very best part of this audiobook is the added introduction which is so very appropriate and so well written, introducing the stories and the author, really enhancing the experience. Overall I’m very glad to have finally found a copy of this out of print and obscure audiobook, but I can’t say its perfect, I have to wonder if some of the reasons for the fall of Dercum Audio have anything to do with their lack of follow through? To get such a great property, to execute the recording so well, to produce it with such forethought and then to package it in an unattractive and poorly designed package… its a real tale of what might have been.

Posted by Jesse Willis