Review of The Game of Rat and Dragon by Cordwainer Smith

SFFaudio Review

Gathering, shindig, or hootenanny? You decide!

Science Fiction Audiobook - The Game of Rat and Dragon by Cordwainer SmithThe Game of Rat and Dragon
By Cordwainer Smith; Read by Matthew Wayne Selznick
32 Minutes – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Wonder Audio
Published: 2007
Themes: / Science Fiction / Space Travel / Telepathy / Cats /

Cordwainer Smith (Paul Linebarger) was an interesting guy who wrote very interesting fiction. He was an American intelligence officer during World War II, he traveled the world, and was an advisor to President Kennedy. In science fiction, his most famous work is probably the only novel he ever published: Norstilia. His short fiction is rich and creative.

“The Game of Rat and Dragon” was written in one sitting in 1956, according to J.J. Pierce (writing in another one of those Ballantine Best Of’s). Long distance space travel in this future occurs with the help of telepaths, but there’s a catch. Once a telepath is “out there” skipping along toward a destination, or “planoforming”, the telepath is in danger of being touched by entities called dragons – insanity is the usual result. The solution? Partners. Partners fly alongside ships in football-sized ships of their own, telepathically connected to the pilot. They are quicker than humans, and are able to destroy dragons before they make contact with ships – almost every time. Who are these partners? Purr.

The idea that there’s baddies living in some kind of hyperspacial plane has been visited often. Babylon 5 leaps to mind as a recent example. But Smith’s descriptions of “pinlighting” are poetic and uncommon. There’s not a heck of a lot of conversation in this one, but Matthew Wayne Selznick is up to the narrating challenge. The combination of Smith’s prose and Matthew Wayne Selznick’s voice worked very well – never a dull moment!

Wonder Audio (along with all their audio short stories) can be found: |HERE|

If you want to buy these stories on Audible (this one costs only $2.37), find the whole catalog |HERE|

Want to see the cover of The Best of Cordwainer Smith? Me too!

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

LibriVox: Short Science Fiction Collection Vol. 025

SFFaudio Online Audio

LibriVoxHere’s a new collection made possible by volunteer narrators reading public domain Science Fiction (found at Project Gutenberg). In addition, three specific volunteers made the collection as a whole possible:

Book Coordinator: Gregg Margarite
Dedicated Proof-Listener: Wendel Topper
Meta-Coordinator/Cataloging: Lucy Burgoyne

Thanks everybody!

LibriVox - Short Science Fiction Collection Vol. 025Short Science Fiction Collection Vol. 025
By various; Read by various
Approx. 5 Hours 33 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: September 3, 2009
Science Fiction is speculative literature that generally explores the consequences of ideas which are roughly consistent with nature and scientific method, but are not facts of the author’s contemporary world. The stories often represent philosophical thought experiments presented in entertaining ways. Protagonists typically “think” rather than “shoot” their way out of problems, but the definition is flexible because there are no limits on an author’s imagination. The reader-selected stories presented here were written prior to 1962 and became US public domain texts when their copyrights expired.

Podcast feed:

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

LibriVox - The Game Of Rat And Dragon by Cordwainer SmithThe Game Of Rat And Dragon
By Cordwainer Smith; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 32 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: September 3, 2009
Only partners could fight this deadliest of wars—and the one way to dissolve the partnership was to be personally dissolved! From Galaxy Science Fiction, October 1955.

LibriVox - Hall Of Mirrors by Fredric BrownHall Of Mirrors
By Fredric Brown; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 15 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: September 3, 2009
It is a tough decision to make—whether to give up your life so you can live it over again! From Galaxy Science Fiction December 1953.

Fantastic Universe September 1955The Hoofer
By Walter M. Miller, Jr.; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 24 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: September 3, 2009
A wayfarer’s return from a far country to his wife and family may be a shining experience, a kind of second honeymoon. Or it may be so shadowed by Time’s relentless tyranny that the changes which have occurred in his absence can lead only to tragedy and despair. This rarely discerning, warmly human story by a brilliant newcomer to the science fantasy field is told with no pulling of punches, and its adroit unfolding will astound you. From Fantastic Universe September 1955.

LibriVox - Martians Never Die by Lucius DanielMartians Never Die
By Lucius Daniel; Read by Barry Eads
1 |MP3| – Approx. 27 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: September 3, 2009
It was a wonderful bodyguard: no bark, no bite, no sting … just conversion of the enemy! From Galaxy Science Fiction April 1952.

LibriVox - Monkey On His Back by Charles V. De VetMonkey On His Back
By Charles V. De Vet; Read by Bellona Times
1 |MP3| – Approx. 33 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: September 3, 2009
Under the cloud of cast-off identities lay the shape of another man — was it himself? First published in Galaxy magazine, June 1960.

LibriVox - The Moon Is Green by Fritz LeiberThe Moon Is Green
By Fritz Leiber; Read by Bellona Times
1 |MP3| – Approx. 43 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: September 3, 2009
Anybody who wanted to escape death could, by paying a very simple price—denial of life! From Galaxy Science Fiction April 1952.

LibriVox Science Fiction - No Moving Parts by Murray F. YacoNo Moving Parts
By Murray F. Yaco; Read by mkargo
1 |MP3| – Approx. 37 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: September 3, 2009
From Amazing Stories May 1960. We call them trouble-shooters. They called ’em Gypsies. Either way, they were hep to that whole bit about….

Fantastic Universe August 1957Small World
By William F. Nolan; Read by mezzogal
1 |MP3| – Approx. 25 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: September 3, 2009
What will happen when the alien ships strike Earth? And later? Who will survive? What will life be like in that latter-day jungle? William F. Nolan, well known in SF circles on the West Coast, returns with this grim story of the days and the nights of Lewis Stillman—survivor … From Fantastic Universe August 1957.

LibriVox - Spawn Of The Comet by Harold Thompson RichSpawn Of The Comet
By Harold Thompson Rich; Read by Bellona Times
1 |MP3| – Approx. 1 Hour 4 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: September 3, 2009
A swarm of huge, fiery ants, brood of a mystery comet, burst from their shells to threaten the unsuspecting world. From Astounding Stories November 1931.

LibriVox - With No Strings Attached by Randall GarrettWith No Strings Attached
By Randall Garrett; Read by Troy Bond
1 |MP3| – Approx. 34:23 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: September 3, 2009
A man will always be willing to buy something he wants, and believes in, even if it is impossible, rather than something he believes is impossible.So … sell him what he thinks he wants! First published in Analog, February 1963.

Posted by Jesse Willis

New Releases – Lovecraft, Pohl, Williamson, del Rey, Smith

New Releases

[editor’s note-A slew of releases from my audiobook company, Wonder Audio.  A nice range of titles that I’m proud to present.  Vintage Stories+Classic Authors+Great Narrators=Massive Goodness :) ]

Preferred Risk tnPreferred Risk
By Frederik Pohl & Lester del Rey; Read by Mark Douglas Nelson
7 hrs. – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Wonder Audio
Availiable at Audible and iTunes

The Company was a powerful, efficient, and monstrous insurance organization that controlled the entire world, scientifically regulating everything in life: war, epidemics, one-a-day food pills and test-tube sex…all through the use of its patented, terrifying human deep-freeze vault.

Claims Adjuster Wills, a great believer in the Company, begins to have second thoughts when he meets beautiful and sorrowful Rena, whose radical father lies in a frozen subterranean vault.

Scanners Live in Vain tnScanner Live in Vain
By Cordwainer Smith; Read by Jeremiah Costello
1.5 hrs. – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Wonder Audio
Availiable at Audible and iTunes

Man has conquered space, but not without costs. To maintain the space lanes, Scanners have to undergo an operation in which their brain is severed from their sensory inputs to block the Pain of Space.

Wolves of Darkness tnWolves of Darkness
By Jack Williamson; Read by William Coon
3 hrs. – [UNABRIDGED] 
Publisher: Wonder Audio
Availiable at Audible and iTunes

When Clovis McLaurin receives an urgent letter from his father, Dr. Ford McLaurin, he rushes in the dead of winter to his father’s ranch. Clovis arrives to find the local townspeople being attacked and killed by a pack of wolves. As he journeys to the ranch of his father, a scientist who has been doing revolutionary experiments, he is also attacked.

But wolves are not the only thing running with the pack. Stella Jetton, the daughter of his father’s assistant, is running with the wolves, dressed in only a silk slip in the bitter cold. Clovis recognizes the blood-stained face of the girl he loves, but not her eyes. How could his father’s experiment have untapped the unimaginable horror that Clovis is about to confront?

The Colour Out of Space TNThe Colour Out of Space
by H.P. Lovecraft; read by Mark Douglas Nelson
1.5 hrs- [UNABRIDGED] 
Publisher: Wonder Audio
Availiable at Audible and iTunes

As a man surveys the countryside for the construction of a reservoir, he comes across a stretch of barren farmland leeched of life. An aged survivor of the town tells him the tale of a rural farmer’s family and their path to madness and unspeakable horror.

Lovecraft considered “The Colour Out of Space” to be the best of all his stories. Originally appearing in the September 1927 issue of Amazing Stories, it is one of his most frequently anthologized tales.

Posted by The Time Traveler of the Time Traveler Show

New Releases – 5 Classic SF Titles – Wonder Audio

SFFaudio New Releases

Five classic Science Fiction tales. Five more reasons to set up an or iTunes account.

[editor’s note – These titles below all come from a fellow editor’s audiobook company (Wonder Audiobooks). I’m begging you to give them a try. Its hard to appear purely fannish about these stories (given that I’m such good friends with the publisher) so I’ll just forget about trying to appear altogether unbiased and say these are really terrific listens. Fondly Fahrenheit alone will make you scream for joy. Reet!]

fondly_fahrenheit_150.jpgFondly Fahrenheit & Will You Wait?
By Alfred Bester; Read by Pat Bottino
70 min – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Wonder Audiobooks
Availiable at Audible and
Androids cannot kill! Yet that is the case for James Vandaleur’s rare multiple-aptitude android. Feeling he has no choice, Vandaleur flees the authorities, and finds himself in encompassed in even more horrendous murders. The heat is affecting the man-made servant, but scarier still is what is effecting Vandaleur’s mind. A pyrotechnic tour de forceby one the greatest writer and stylist of science fiction.

Chosen by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America as one of the greatest science fiction stories.

Cover - It's a Good LifeIt’s a Good Life
By Jerome Bixby; Read by William Dufris
51 min – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Wonder Audiobooks
Availiable at Audible and
What is more idyllic than a small mid-western agricultural town? Peaksville would sound like a scene right out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Except , little Anthony is a monster! What happens when a child is omnipotent, and with his mind he can execute his every desire and petulant whim? Tonight, there’s a birthday party for Dan Hollis at Anthony’s house. It’s a party all the townspeople will remember . . . always!

Another story voted as one of the greatest stories by SFFWA. The story was adapted into a classic Twilight Zone episode.

devil-on-salvation-bluf-150.jpgThe Devil on Salvation Bluff
By Jack Vance; Read by Candace Platt
61 min – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Wonder Audiobooks
Availiable at Audible and
On the planet, Glory, missionaries live in a constant unpredictable environment. Sister Mary and her husband, Brother Raymond, try to contend with the flits, which live satyr-like existences. The missionaries are exasperated with this world’s seemingly disregard for cause and effect. The only constant is the clock that they brought with them. And therein lies the problem.

the-game-of-rat-and-dragon-150.jpgThe Game of Rat and Dragon
By Cordwainer Smith; Read by Matthew Wayne Selznick33 min – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Wonder Audiobooks
Availiable at Audible and
Future humanity has found the secret of faster-than-light travel, but it comes with great dangers. To minimize these dangers, man can pilot ships through the up-and-out with cats as their partners. Underhill share his mind with his cat-partner, the Lady May, and must travel to the terrible open places between the stars. Only be working together can they defend themselves and the ship’s passengers against the dragons in the emptiness of space.

last-of-the-deliverers-150.jpgThe Last of the Deliverers
By Poul Anderson; Read by William Coon
32 min – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Wonder Audiobooks
Availiable at Audible and
A small town in Ohio leads a peaceful Utopian existence in a world after the collapse of the super powers. Their pastoral existence is rattled when an old communist comes to their village. Uncle Jim, the resident old capitalist wages an ideological battle with the traveling guest to the townspeople’s dismay.

Posted by Jesse Willis

StarShipSofa Podcast covers James Tripree Jr.

SFFaudio Online Audio

Starship Sofa PodcastStarshipSofa , the terrific U.K. podcast that specializes in Science Fiction authors has one heck of a show there. The hosts, Tony and Ciaran, have an especially crackin’ show this week, one that I am truly chuffed to tell you about. On offer today is a show on James Tiptree Jr. (AKA Alice Sheldon), a writer who lived a very extraordinary life. As the boys say, she “blazed across the Science Fiction skies” with her short stories of the 1970s. And stay tuned for her shocking ending!

Download the show direct |MP3| or subscribe to the feed:

And don’t forget to revisit their earlier subjects:

Show # 1: Classic Author: Alfred Bester |MP3|
Show # 2: Classic Author: John Brunner |MP3|
Show # 3: Classic Author: Algis Budrys |MP3|
Show # 4: Classic Author: Cordwainer Smith |MP3|
Show # 5: Classic Author: Stanislaw Lem |MP3|
Show # 6: Classic Film: Dark Star |MP3|
Show # 7: Classic Author: Philip K. Dick (Part 1) |MP3|
Show # 8: Classic Author: Philip K. Dick (Part 2) |MP3|
Show # 9: Classic Author: Philip K. Dick (Part 3) |MP3|
Show # 10: Classic Film: Capricorn One |MP3|
Show # 11: Classic Author: Henry Kuttner |MP3|
Show # 12: Classic Author: Robert Silverberg |MP3|
Show # 13: Classic Author: Joe Haldeman |MP3|
Show # 14: Classic Author: L. Ron Hubbard |MP3|
Show # 15: Classic Author: Harlan Ellison |MP3|
Show # 16: Classic Author: Douglas Adams (Part 1) |MP3|
Show # 17: Classic Author: Douglas Adams (Part 2) |MP3|
Show # 18: Classic Author: Robert Sheckley |MP3|
Show # 19: Classic Author: Roger Zelazny |MP3|
Show # 20: Classic Author: Iian M. Banks |MP3|
Show # 21: Classic Author: Ursula K. LeGuin |MP3|
Show # 22: Christmas Special Part 1 |MP3| & 2 |MP3|
Show # 23: Email Show |MP3|