LibriVox: Short Science Fiction Collection Vol. 010

SFFaudio Online Audio

LibriVoxHere’s the recently released Short Science Fiction Collection Vol. 010 from LibriVox! I had a chance to listen to most of the stories and I’ve highlighted a few:

1. As Long As You Wish, a cool kind of time travel tale, seems at first to have some volume problems, but it actually doesn’t, it’s a little creative interpretation that will become clear later in the story. The Coming Of The Ice is old, feels old fashioned, but isn’t so dated as to be unreadable. In fact, the story is rather terrific! It feels very much like a H.G. Wells story.

2. The Coming Of The Ice explains the strange and sad fate of a man who undergoes an operation to make him immortal (and sterile). This is a really terrific reading by the English accented Giles Baker (who could have a career in audiobooks ahead of him). The story itself is also significant in another respect – it was the first all new story ever purchased or published in Amazing Stories magazine (the first all-science fiction mag).

3. The Eternal Wall, deals similarly, offering a man another kind of one way trip to the future, this time though, not of his choosing. Speaking of Wells stories, the last tale in this collection is a Wells story – and it feels as close as Herbert George ever came to noir. From the perspective of a noir aficionado, there’s one flaw with it (and with War Of The Worlds for that matter) – in that Wells sets it all up well but he doesn’t have the guts for the all important follow through. But, speaking from a non-noir-loving perspective, it’s a damn fine story – and proves once again that Wells had more original ideas kicking around than almost anybody else before or since. Narrator Gregg Margurite’s setup isn’t perfect, he sounds a little muffled, but his reading voice is very good.

4. The K Factor Also read by Gregg Margurite, with the same setup as with all his recordings, muffled. Margurite has also recorded a full length Harrison Novel Deathworld! Societics is “The applied study of the interaction of individuals in a culture, the interaction of the group generated by these individuals, the equations derived therefrom, and the application of these equations to control one or more factors of this same culture.” It feels as if Harrision had been reading some Isaac Asimov and then Thomas Kuhn had been reading this story.

5. Star Mother while well written, is barely Science Fiction at all, seeing as the events that it reports would be happening mere 2 years after the story was originally published. Unfortunately Janet Moursund’s reading of Star Mother has too many mouse clicks in the recording.

6. Solander’s Radio Tomb is pretty funny, though more than anything else what I took away from it was an even greater fear of legal wills than I already had – if making plans are what make us human then the ability to revoke a plan does also – unfortunately, being dead you aren’t up for revoking much. So ya, I’m afraid of legal wills.

LibriVox - Short Science Fiction Collection Volume #010Short Science Fiction Collection Vol. 010
By various; Read by various
10 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 5 Hours 38 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: February 04, 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 and technology. This is a reader-selected collection of short stories that entered the US public domain when their copyright was not renewed.

LibriVox Science Fiction - As Long As You Wish by John O'KeefeAs Long as You Wish
By John O’Keefe; Read by Sean O’Hara
1 |MP3| – Approx. 10 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: February 2008
If, somehow, you get trapped in a circular time system . . . how long is the circumference of an infinitely retraced circle? First published in Astounding Science Fiction, June, 1955.

LibriVox Science Fiction - The Coming Of The Ice by G. Peyton WertenbakerThe Coming of the Ice
By G. Peyton Wertenbaker; Read by Giles Baker
1 |MP3| – Approx. 40 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: February 2008
Strange men these creatures of the hundredth century …
First published in Amazing Stories June 1926, reprinted in Amazing Stories July 1961 with an introduction by Sam Moskowitz.

LibriVox Science Fiction - The Eternal Wall by Raymond Z. GallunThe Eternal Wall
By Raymond Z. Gallun; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 26 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: February 2008
A scream of brakes, the splash into icy waters, a long descent into alkaline depths … it was death. But Ned Vince lived again—a million years later! From Amazing Stories April 1956, first published in Amazing Stories November 1942.

LibriVox Science Fiction - The K-Factor by Harry HarrisonThe K Factor
By Harry Harrison; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 54 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: February 2008
Speed never hurt anybody—it’s the sudden stop at the end. It’s not how much change that signals danger, but how fast it’s changing…. From Analog December 1960.

LibriVox Science Fiction - Lease To Doomsday by Lee ArcherLease To Doomsday
By Lee Archer; Read by Tom Weiss
1 |MP3| – 35 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: February 2008
The twins were a rare team indeed. They wanted to build a printing plant on a garbage dump. When Muldoon asked them why, their answer was entirely logical: “Because we live here.” From Amazing Stories September 1956.

LibriVox Science Fiction - ...Or Your Money Back by Randall Garrett…Or Your Money Back
By Randall Garrett; Read by Tom Weiss
1 |MP3| – Approx. 51 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: February 2008
There are lots of things that are considered perfectly acceptable … provided they don’t work. And of course everyone knows they really don’t, which is why they’re acceptable…. From Astounding Science Fiction, September 1959 (published under the David Gordon pseudonym).

LibriVox Science Fiction - Question Of Comfort by Les CollinsQuestion Of Comfort
By Les Collins; Read by Tom Weiss
1 |MP3| – Approx. 52 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: February 2008
From Amazing Science Fiction Stories March 1959. The Gravity Gang was a group of geniuses—devoting its brilliance to creating a realistic Solar System for Disneyland. That was the story, anyway. No one would have believed all that stuff about cops and robbers from outer space.

LibriVox Science Fiction - Solander's Radio Tomb by Ellis Parker ButlerSolander’s Radio Tomb
By Ellis Parker Butler; Read by qqqsimmons
1 |MP3| – 18 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: February 2008
First published in Amazing Stories June 1927, later in Amazing’s April 1956 issue. “I first met Mr. Remington Solander shortly after I installed my first radio set. I was going in to New York on the 8:15 A.M. train and was sitting with my friend Murchison and, as a matter of course, we were talking radio.”

LibriVox Science Fiction - Star Mother by Robert F. YoungStar Mother
By Robert F. Young; Read by Janet Moursund
1 |MP3| – Approx. 13 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: February 2008
A touching story of the most enduring love in all eternity. From Amazing Stories January 1959.

LibriVox Science Fiction - The Story Of The Late Mr. Elevsham by H.G. WellsStory Of The Late Mr Elvesham
By H.G. Wells; Read by James Christopher
1 |MP3| – Approx. 38 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
“I set this story down, not expecting it will be believed, but, if possible, to prepare a way of escape for the next victim. He, perhaps, may profit by my misfortune. My own case, I know, is hopeless, and I am now in some measure prepared to meet my fate.”

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Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of If I Were You by L. Ron Hubbard

SFFaudio Review

If I Were You by L. Ron HubbardIf I Were You
By L. Ron Hubbard; Read by various
2 CDs – 2 Hours 7 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Galaxy Press
Published: 2008
ISBN: 1592122906
Themes: / Fantasy / Consciousness Transference / Magic /
Circus dwarf Little Tom Little is the king of midgets, loved by crowds and carnival folk alike. Only he doesn’t just want to be a bigger circus star, he wants to be just like the circus’ tall and imposing leader. Trouble begins the moment that a set of ancient books containing the secret of switching bodies finds its way into Tom Little’s tiny hands. When he magically trades his small frame with that of the circus chief, finds himself in a giant-sized heap of trouble—his craving for height has landed him smack in the center ring surrounded by forty savage cats!

If I Were You (Approx. 95 Minutes) – Nancy Cartwright, best known as Bart on The Simpsons, voices Little Tom Little, the little person who has big dreams. Tom Little wants to become the circus ringmaster. So, when the resident circus magician is at death’s door and offers to teach Tom the ancient art of consciousness transference Tom jumps at the chance. Of course the having is not always as good as the wanting as things soon go awry for the tallest little person in the circus. A little drawn out, this tale was first published in a 1940 pulp magazine called Four Novels. It’s plot goes basically where you’d think it’d go. There’s nothing particularly wrong with it, but it doesn’t capture your imagination the way maybe you’d like.

The Last Drop (Approx. 32 Minutes) – This is a fast paced cartoonist fantasy in the tradition of Bugs Bunny, The Food Of The Gods and The Incredible Shrinking Man. A bartender receives a mysterious syrup in the mail from his brother in Borneo. After a little experimentation he discovers that it has the power to change the size of whoever consumes it. The Last Drop is cute, completely ludicrous, and fairly entertaining. As with the other Galaxy Press Hubbard collections, The Last Drop uses multiple actors, voice and sound effects – it’s not an adaptation, but easily could be adapted into a Pixar or Warner Brothers style cartoon. Normally I’d criticize the use of all these enhancements, but with the cartoonish nature of the story, these enhancements don’t spoil the storytelling as badly as they do in other more straight tales. One thing that is rather annoying though, the audio track doesn’t acknowledge the co-authorship of The Last Drop. There is, however, a small print notification on the bottom of the packaging. And, it’s significant. This is the only story that Hubbard collaborated on during his lifetime. The Last Drop was co-authored by L. Sprague de Camp.

The two CDs are handsomely packaged in a cardboard sleeve along with a booklet featuring a brief biography of Hubbard’s career and influences, and an essay by Kevin J. Anderson about the pulp era. The Anderson essay is rife with enthusiasm for the pulps. The author of the Hubbard biographical essay isn’t named, but is nevertheless informative and includes more than a dozen photographs. Curiously, the author of the bio detours for a quick attack at western author Max Brand, when talking about Hubbard’s western stories. This is the same booklet as appears in The Great Secret collection.

Posted by Jesse Willis