Andre Norton’s The Defiant Agents claimed for our SFFaudio Challenge

SFFaudio News

Meta SFFaudio - SFFaudio Contest - Make audiobook win an audiobookCindy Woods, a repertory player and producer for the long running Arbiter Chronicles, has written in to claim The Defiant Agents by Andre Norton. Yep, this is one of the titles in our SFFaudio ‘Make An Audiobook Challenge.’

Cindy is aiming to finish the recording by summer’s end, though as an already busy contributor and editor for the Prometheus Radio Theatre podcast it may take a bit longer.

While this novel fits into the variously titled, “Time Trader,” “Ross Murdock” and “Time War” series it is eminently readable on its own.

The novel’s premise posits a future “cold war” background in which the opposing Russian and U.S. governments use two of their subject peoples (Apache and Mongol) to colonize a distant planet. What starts off as two colonization programs soon escalates into an all-out proxy war. The Defiant Agents is a fun Science Fiction adventure tale from 1962. Here’s the Manybooks.net description:

Alien technology scavenged by U.S. and Russian scientists has started a race to colonize planets outside our solar system — and the U.S. scientists are losing! In a desperate move the American government decides to use a group of Apache volunteers in an experimental attempt to colonize a primitive planet, but before they can even begin their spaceship crashes on the planet Topaz…

And to help Cindy reach her Summer 2007 completion date here’s our inspirational art:Science Fiction Audiobook - The Defiant Agents by Andre Norton

Go Cindy! Go!

Review of Of Fire and Night by Kevin J. Anderson

Science Fiction Audiobook Review

Science Fiction Audiobook - Of Fire and Night: Saga of the Seven Suns Book 5 by Kevin J. AndersonOf Fire and Night: The Saga of Seven Suns Book 5
By Kevin J. Anderson; Read by David Colacci
16 CD’s or 2 MP3-CDs – 19 hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: 2006
ISBN: 9781597372176 (CD), 9781597372213 (MP3-CD)
Themes: / Science Fiction / Space Opera / Military / Colonization / Alien Races / Political Intrigue / War /

In the science fiction/fantasy world, it’s not uncommon to be presented with the distinct challenge of writing a review of a middle volume of an ongoing saga without revealing anything that might spoil the previous volumes for potential readers. I’m very enthusiastic about this worthwhile series, though, so the job is made easier. In short, I’ve enjoyed all five books in the Saga of Seven Suns to date, and this volume in particular.

The Saga of Seven Suns is an epic space opera by the prolific Kevin J. Anderson. As the fifth volume in the epic, Of Fire and Night has much backstory and a couple of volumes to go before the story ends. In this book, humankind faces serious odds in a war against the Hydrogues, an alien race that lives inside gas giant planets. As faction after faction turns against the humans, things are dire indeed. Political and military maneuverings amongst humans and aliens are the order of the day here as humanity fights for their very survival.

Other players include the faeros, who are beings that live in suns. The Green Priests who are changed humans that are able to communicate with each other through the living World Tree, no matter where they are. The Roamers, a human faction of space dwellers that are determined to be separate from the Earth-based Hansa, but are called back into the fold by the threat to all humanity. And the enigmatic Ildyrians, whose entire history is collected in a book called “The Saga of Seven Suns”. In this universe, Anderson has created a long list of compelling characters and a darned good story.

Following this now for five volumes (all available on audio – the first two from Recorded Books and the rest from Brilliance Audio), this series has lived up to the hopes I had for it. It is thoroughly entertaining, and I find myself eager for the next volume, which is due next year. Anderson turns up the heat with each book, and juggles the many ingredients of the saga like a masterful chef. I highly recommend the entire series. It’s science fiction that has the “kick your shoes off and settle in” quality of an epic fantasy.

David Colacci is also masterful in his narration, and I’m not using that word lightly. I find him on par with some of the best narrators out there. He was as engaging and entertaining as any narrator I’ve heard throughout this long audiobook. There are some readers that I very much look forward to hearing, and Colacci is now on that list.

And a tip of the hat to the sound engineers. At times, Colacci’s voice is enhanced, like when a hydrogue is speaking, for example. I’ve said over and over again on this site how terrible a mistake it is to do that in an unabridged novel, and yet here it is, perfectly done. The vocal enhancements were sparse and completely effective.

In addition, each audiobook after the first in the series has a “the story so far” segment of significant length (20+ minutes of detail). I appreciate that very much as I’ve listened to the audiobooks as they’ve been released, around a year apart. I checked, and the segment is indeed part of the print version of the books. I found it a particularly helpful part of each audiobook, and am glad it was included.

LINKS

  • Saga of Seven Suns section of Kevin J. Anderson’s website
  • Audio Sample of this book from Brilliance Audio
  • Posted by Scott D. Danielson