LibriVox: Short Science Fiction Collection Vol. 017

SFFaudio Online Audio

LibriVox - Short Science Fiction Collection Vol. 017Short Science Fiction Collection Vol. 017
By various; Read by various
10 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 4 Hours 6 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: May 21, 2009
Science fiction (abbreviated SF or sci-fi with varying punctuation and case) is a broad genre of fiction that often involves sociological and technical speculations based on current or future science or technology. This is a reader-selected collection of short stories, first published between 1951 and 1962, that entered the US public domain when their copyright was not renewed.

Podcast feed: http://librivox.org/bookfeeds/short-science-fiction-collection-017.xml

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

LibriVox - Belly Laugh by Randall GarrettBelly Laugh
By Randall Garrett; Read by Jozef Nagy
1 |MP3| – Approx. 5 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: May 21, 2009
You hear a lot of talk these days about secret weapons. If it’s not a new wrinkle in nuclear fission, it’s a gun to shoot around corners and down winding staircases. Or maybe a nice new strain of bacteria guaranteed to give you radio-active dandruff. Our own suggestion is to pipe a few of our television commercials into Russia and bore the enemy to death.

LibriVox - Citadel by Algis BudrysCitadel
By Algis Budrys; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 53 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: May 21, 2009
He was looking for a privacy his strange personality needed. And—never quite seemed to achieve it. All his efforts were, somehow—great triumphs of the race, and great failures for him! From the February 1955 issue of Astounding Science Fiction. This story is told from only one side of the conversation.

LibriVox - Cully by Jack EganCully
By Jack Egan; Read by Jozef Nagy
1 |MP3| – Approx. 11 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: May 21, 2009
By all the laws of nature, he should have been dead. But if he were alive … then there was something he had to find. From Amazing Stories, January 1963.

LibriVox - The Defenders by Philip K. DickThe Defenders
By Philip K. Dick; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 50 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: May 21, 2009
No weapon has ever been frightful enough to put a stop to war—perhaps because we never before had any that thought for themselves! From Galaxy Science Fiction January 1953.

LibriVox - The Good Neighbors by Edgar PangbornThe Good Neighbors
By Edgar Pangborn; Read by Bellona Times
1 |MP3| – Approx. 15 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: May 21, 2009
You can’t blame an alien for a little inconvenience—as long as he makes up for it! First published in Galaxy magazine, June 1960.
A first contact story.

LibriVox - In The Avu Observatory by H.G. WellsIn The Avu Observatory
By H.G. Wells; Read by Nacelle Droll
1 |MP3| – Approx. 19 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: May 21, 2009
“The observatory at Avu, in Borneo, stands on the spur of the mountain. To the north rises the old crater, black at night against the unfathomable blue of the sky. From the little circular building, with its mushroom dome, the slopes plunge steeply downward into the black mysteries of the tropical forest beneath.” Set in Borneo. First published in 1894.

LibriVox - Postmark Ganymede by Robert SilverbergPostmark Ganymede
By Robert Silverberg; Read by tabithat
1 |MP3| – Approx. 17 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: May 21, 2009
Consider the poor mailman of the future. To “sleet and snow and dead of night”—things that must not keep him from his appointed rounds—will be added, sub-zero void, meteors, and planets that won’t stay put. Maybe he’ll decide that for six cents an ounce it just ain’t worth it. From Amazing Stories, September 1957.

LibriVox - Toy Shop by Harry HarrisonToy Shop
By Harry Harrison; Read by Albatross
1 |MP3| – Approx. 12 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: May 21, 2009
The gadget was strictly, beyond any question, a toy. Not a real, workable device. Except for the way it could work under a man’s mental skin… From Analog April 1962.

LibriVox - Vital Ingredient by Gerald VanceVital Ingredient
By Gerald Vance*; Read by James Christopher
1 |MP3| – Approx. 16 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: May 21, 2009
Frankie was ready for the big test—Ten-Time Winner of the world title. He was young and fit and able; also, he had Milt’s cunning brain to direct every feint and punch. This left only one thing in doubt, the— From Amazing Stories September 1956. *This story may have been written by Randall Garrett.

LibriVox Science Fiction - Vortex Blaster by E. E. Doc SmithThe Vortex Blaster
By E. E. “Doc” Smith; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 46 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: May 21, 2009
The Lensman and the observer helped Storm into his heavily padded armor. Their movements were automatic—the ointment, the devices— From the pages of the pulp magazine Comet, July 1941.

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox: Short Science Fiction Collection Vol. 013

SFFaudio Online Audio

LibriVox Here’s another recent collection from the good people at LibriVox.org. I’ve made a few notes on just a few of these tales. Feel free to add your own as comments (we all should do more of that).

So here are those notes: My listening of Faithfully Yours was slightly distracted, but from what I heard it was a pretty good tale. I’m going to have to listen to it one more time to come to any final judgments about it. Unfortunately many mispronunciations mar Blair Buckland’s reading of The Invaders – but, the story still works – it would make a great tale to re-record. The Next Logical Step, by Ben Bova, is a very solid cold war piece that feels rather more modern than its 1962 vintage would normally suggest. It has an almost cyberpunk feel with its VR computer equipment – and the ending is absolutely rock solid. It has a great title too!

LibriVox - Short Science Fiction Collection Vol. 013Short Science Fiction Collection Vol. 013
By various; Read by various
10 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 4 Hours 31 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: April 24, 2009
Science fiction (abbreviated SF or sci-fi with varying punctuation and case) is a broad genre of fiction that often involves sociological and technical speculations based on current or future science or technology. This is a reader-selected collection of short stories, first published between 1951 – 1962, that entered the US public domain when their copyright was not renewed.

Podcast feed: http://librivox.org/bookfeeds/short-science-fiction-collection-vol-013.xml

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

LibriVox - Faithfully Yours by Lou TabakowFaithfully Yours
By Lou Tabakow; Read Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 40 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: April 24, 2009
If it’s too impossibly difficult to track down and recapture an escaped criminal … there’s a worse thing one might do…
From “Astounding Science Fiction” December 1955.

LibriVox - The Golden Judge by Nathaniel GordonThe Golden Judge
By Nathaniel Gordon; Read by Hollis Hanover
1 |MP3| – Approx. 44 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: April 24, 2009
A suggestion and a highly intriguing one–on how to settle the problems that involve face-saving among nations! From Astounding Science Fiction December 1955.

LibriVox - The Invaders by Benjamin FerrisThe Invaders
By Benjamin Ferris; Read by Blair Buckland
1 |MP3| – Approx. 34 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: April 24, 2009
Magic—there’s no such thing. But the crops were beginning to grow backwards… From Weird Tales March 1951.


LibriVox - Moment Of Truth by Basil WellsMoment Of Truth
By Basil Wells; Read by Betsie Bush
1 |MP3| – Approx. 10 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: April 24, 2009
“Basil Wells, who lives in Pennsylvania, has been doing research concerning life in the area during the period prior to and following the War of 1812. Here he turns to a different problem—the adjustment demanded of a pioneer woman, not in those days but Tomorrow—on Mars.” From Fantastic Universe December 1957.

LibriVox - The Next Logical Step by Ben BovaThe Next Logical Step
By Ben Bova; Read by Bill Ruhsam
1 |MP3| – Approx. 14 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: April 24, 2009
Ordinarily the military least wants to have the others know the final details of their war plans. But, logically, there would be times— From Analog Science Fact & Fiction May 1962.

LibriVox - Pandemic by J.F. BonePandemic
By J.F. Bone; Read by Hollis Hanover
1 |MP3| – Approx. 45 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: April 24, 2009
Generally, human beings don’t do totally useless things consistently and widely. So—maybe there is something to it—
From Analog Science Fact and Science Fiction February 1962.

LibriVox - The Perfectionists by Arnold CastleThe Perfectionists
By Arnold Castle; Read by Betsie Bush
1 |MP3| – Approx. 32 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: April 24, 2009
Is there something wrong with you? Do you fail to fit in with your group? Nervous, anxious, ill-at-ease? Happy about it? Lucky you! From Amazing Science Fiction Stories January 1960.

LibriVox - Reluctant Genius by Henry SlesarReluctant Genius
By Henry Slesar; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 6 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: April 24, 2009
It is said that Life crawled up from the slime of the sea-bottoms and became Man because of inherent greatness bred into him before the dawn of time. But perhaps this urge was not as formless as we think. From Amazing Stories January 1957.

LibriVox - Tight Squeeze by Dean IngTight Squeeze
By Dean Ing; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 35 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: April 24, 2009
He knew the theory of repairing the gizmo all right. He had that nicely taped. But there was the little matter of threading a wire through a too-small hole while under zero-g, and working in a spacesuit! From Astounding Science Fiction February 1955.

LibriVox - We Didn't Do Anything Wrong, Hardly by Roger KuykendallWe Didn’t Do Anything Wrong, Hardly
By Roger Kuykendall; Read by Betsie Bush
1 |MP3| – Approx. 11 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox.org
Published: April 24, 2009
After all—they only borrowed it a little while, just to fix it— From Astounding Science Fiction May 1959.


Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Ascent by Jed Mercurio

SFFaudio Review

Science Fiction Audiobook - Ascent by Jed MercurioAscent
By Jed Mercurio; Read by Todd McLaren
6 CDs – 7.5 7.5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Published: 2007
ISBN: 9781400103683
Themes: / Science Fiction / Alternate History / War / Cold War / The Moon /

The sun swings behind the world. Night engulfs him. The dull metal craft plunges through space, its portholes pale beacons containing the silhouette of a man, and the only other lights are the stars themselves.

This alternate history novel is a faithful depiction of the Soviet Union’s race against the United States to put a man on the Moon. The sad reality is that it never happened this way, but that doesn’t nullify a tremendously magnetic story of how it very well could have done. The viewpoint character is Yefgeni Yeremin an orphan of WWII, a fighter pilot and a Korean air-war ace. His story is as compelling a depiction of a quasi-Nitzchean overman as I’ve seen in fiction. Yeremnin is a more human, more plausible kind of Ayn Randian character – but he’s also hard to empathize with. He’s a man who can’t quite break free of his upbringing, his colleagues, his country, but who despite this achieves what must be viewed as the ultimate in overcoming. The Ascent of the title is not just that of a man from the surface of the Earth, but of mankind from Earth and that which came before. Just as birth is the obvious, but arbitrary line in the moral sand of personhood, so too is the actual landing of a human being on the surface of the moon.

Ascent starts with a shock, builds brilliantly during the Korean War scenes and then plateaus. Mercurio tells a powerful story – the first half of the audiobook absolutely riveted the headphones to my head. That which follows is engaging, but not as impactful. Perhaps the tale could have been told in another manner. Perhaps part of the problem is in the novel form itself. I wonder if it might not have been better, shorter – as a novella say. Yeremnin too is hard to take at this length – he is a hard man, from a hard world, with little in him other than will. The technical jargon that predominates his space voyage, while I’m certain accurate, is burdensome, and the problems that face the protagonist are less thrilling than those in the first half of the book. The end, when it comes, simply…. is. It isn’t wrong for the book, but it isn’t right either. It may be that this kind of tale, with this kind of character, is not actually tellable another way. Todd McLaren helps, he does Russian accented English but doesn’t overplay it – this is a matter of fact delivery. I hope Mercurio can find another topic within Science Fiction with as much passion as that which he put into Ascent, this was a tremendously compelling listen.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of The Sky People by S.M. Stirling

SFFaudio Audiobook Review

Science Fiction Audiobook - The Sky People by S.M. StirlingThe Sky People
By S.M. Stirling; Read by Todd McLaren
1 MP3-CD or 9 CDs – Approx. 10.5 Hrs [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Published: 2006
ISBN: 140015345X (MP3-CD), 9781400103454 (CDs)
Themes: / Science Fiction / Alternate History / Adventure / Venus / Dinosaurs / Neanderthals / Airships / Cold War / Pulp /

CRACK!

He swayed back against the recoil and worked the bolt with a quick flick of his first three fingers. A body exploded out of the patch of tall grass he’d aimed at. It was a biped, about his own size and covered in yellow-green feathers except for a crest of crimson plumes that snapped out in reflex as the lizard body writhed in death. The jump put it a good twelve feet into the air; a good deal of its length was the powerful digitigrade legs, both with a great sickle-shaped claw held up against the hock. That flashed out in equally automatic reflex as the vicious predator struck out in one last attempt to disembowel whatever had hurt it. A steam-engine hiss escaped the long fanged mouth, scarlet-purple within, and a spray of blood came with it from the lungs shredded by the powerful expanding bullet.

“Raptor pack!” Marc shouted to the herdsman.

The Sky People fits into that alternate history sub-genre of SF but not in the usual way. Generally, alternate history tales follow the events of the real world with one event changed in the past that creates a different outcome and changes history from that point forward. This may be the South winning the Civil War or Mary, Queen of Scots, becoming the Queen of England. The departing point for this novel took place approximately 200 million years ago. But it didn’t occur so much on our own planet but on Venus and Mars. This means this alternate Earth’s history doesn’t change until the U.S. and Soviet Union start exploring interplanetary space.

The prologue features the landing of an American rocket ship on Venus in 1962. The planet’s surface appears as a lush jungle – then running into view of the film camera is an exotic and beautiful scantily fur-clad female with her clan’s people.

The novel proper then begins 22 years later in 1988. The Cold War has changed from an arms race into a competitive interplanetary space race to explore and stake their claims on Venus and Mars. Marc Vitrac, a citizen of Jamestown, the U.S.-Commonwealth scientific colony, welcomes the newly arrived rocket passengers. Their mode of transportation from the landing site to Jamestown is on the back of dinosaurs through the jungle lushness of Venus.

Meanwhile, on the nearby Venusian continent, the Soviet bloc has set up their own scientific outpost. When one of their shuttle crash lands in the relative vicinity of Jamestown, a rescue party is put together to search for survivors. They travel via airship, and it does not fair well against the natural hostile environment. What’s more, there is a saboteur among the blimp’s crew.

The story grows more intriguing as Marc Vitrac and the stranded party of the airship meet with a clan of primitive humans. The two parties join forces to face off against a tribe of armed Neanderthals!

As you might imagine, this novel reads as a love letter to the early pulp master, Edgar Rice Burroughs. But it’s no mere pastiche of the creator of Tarzan, John Carter of Mars, and most pertinently, Carson of Venus. Stirling uses hard science justifications for his world building. And there’s also more of an emphasis on cultural diversity that you’d expect from a novel written in the 21st century. Sterling is a capable writer, whether it is a turning of a phrase or a description of lush imagery, he’s able to handle it all without getting too far from the gloriously pulpy action. Burroughs is often mentioned in the book as being a major influence on the many of the denizens of the scientific colony.

What exactly happened those 200 million years ago isn’t exactly clear. Why is the planet’s evolution so closely tied to that of Earth’s? The reigning hypothesis in The Sky People is that aliens seeded the planets nearest Earth. There are mysteries here that are to be answered over the length of the trilogy.

Todd McLaren handles the dialects deftly without overemphasizing the accents. Some novels are well-suited to be adapted to audiobook, as if they were written for that treatment. The Sky People is one of these, it makes an ideal audiobook. The large ranch of characters with multi-cultural backgrounds enables Todd McLaren to apply his talent for dialect and keeping the listening experience fresh and varied. Sterling also writes with sounds effects—meaning, he literally writes “Unnnngg-OOOK!” for a bellowing dinosaur, so it’s like the story has the sound effects built in, which McLaren gets to vocalize.

The Sky People is a rare pleasure—well-written, thrill-ride excitement, fun characters, lush settings, and all wrapped-up in a wonderful vocal performance. This is the first novel in a projected trilogy. I sincerely hope that Tantor Audio, with the talents of Todd McLaren, publishes the complete series.