Commentary: A “Top 100 Sci-Fi Audiobooks” List

SFFaudio Commentary

Sci-Fi ListsLast year somebody* pointed out that a list of “The Top 100 Sci-Fi Books” (as organized by the Sci-Fi Lists website) was almost entirely available in audiobook form!

At the time of his or her compiling 95 of the 100 books were available as audiobooks.

Today, it appears, that list is approaching 99% complete!

I’ve read a good number of the books and audiobooks listed, and while some of them are indeed excellent, I’d have to argue that some are merely ok, and that others are utterly atrocious.

That said, I do think it is interesting that almost all of them are available as audiobooks!

Here’s the list as it stood last year, plus my added notations on the status of the missing five:

01- Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card – 1985
02- Dune – Frank Herbert – 1965
03- Foundation – Isaac Asimov – 1951
04- Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – Douglas Adams – 1979
05- 1984 – George Orwell – 1949
06- Stranger In A Strange Land – Robert A Heinlein – 1961
07- Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury – 1954
08- 2001: A Space Odyssey – Arthur C Clarke – 1968
09- Starship Troopers – Robert A Heinlein – 1959
10- I, Robot – Isaac Asimov – 1950
11- Neuromancer – William Gibson – 1984
12- Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – Philip K. Dick – 1968
13- Ringworld – Larry Niven – 1970
14- Rendezvous With Rama – Arthur C. Clarke – 1973
15- Hyperion – Dan Simmons – 1989
16- Brave New World – Aldous Huxley – 1932
17- The Time Machine – H.G. Wells – 1895
18- Childhood’s End – Arthur C. Clarke – 1954
19- The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress – Robert A. Heinlein – 1966
20- The War Of The Worlds – H.G. Wells – 1898
21- The Forever War – Joe Haldeman – 1974
22- The Martian Chronicles – Ray Bradbury – 1950
23- Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegut – 1969
24- Snow Crash – Neal Stephenson – 1992
25- The Mote In God’s Eye – Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle – 1975
26- The Left Hand Of Darkness – Ursula K. Le Guin – 1969
27- Speaker For The Dead – Orson Scott Card – 1986
28- Jurassic Park – Michael Crichton – 1990
29- The Man in the High Castle – Philip K. Dick – 1962
30- The Caves Of Steel – Isaac Asimov – 1954
31- The Stars My Destination – Alfred Bester – 1956
32- Gateway – Frederik Pohl – 1977
33- Lord Of Light – Roger Zelazny – 1967
34- Solaris – Stanisław Lem – 1961
35- 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea – Jules Verne – 1870
36- A Wrinkle In Time – Madeleine L’Engle – 1962
37- Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut – 1963
38- Contact – Carl Sagan – 1985
39- The Andromeda Strain – Michael Crichton – 1969
40- The Gods Themselves – Isaac Asimov – 1972
41- A Fire Upon The Deep – Vernor Vinge – 1991
42- Cryptonomicon – Neal Stephenson – 1999
43- The Day of the Triffids – John Wyndham – 1951
44- UBIK – Philip K. Dick – 1969
45- Time Enough For Love – Robert A. Heinlein – 1973
46- A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess – 1962
47- Red Mars – Kim Stanley Robinson – 1992
48- Flowers For Algernon – Daniel Keyes
49- A Canticle For Leibowitz – Walter M. Miller – 1959
50- The End of Eternity – Isaac Asimov – 1955
51- Battlefield Earth – L. Ron Hubbard – 1982
52- Frankenstein – Mary Shelley – 1818
53- Journey To The Center Of The Earth – Jules Verne – 1864
54- The Dispossessed – Ursula K. Le Guin – 1974
55- The Diamond Age – Neal Stephenson – 1995
56- The Player Of Games – Iain M. Banks – 1988
57- The Reality Dysfunction – Peter F. Hamilton – 1996
58- Startide Rising – David Brin – 1983
59- The Sirens Of Titan – Kurt Vonnegut – 1959
60- Eon – Greg Bear – 1985
61- Ender’s Shadow – Orson Scott Card – 1999
62- To Your Scattered Bodies Go – Philip Jose Farmer – 1971
63- A Scanner Darkly – Philip K. Dick – 1977
64- Lucifer’s Hammer – Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle – 1977
65- The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood – 1985
66- The City And The Stars – Arthur C Clark – 1956
67- The Stainless Steel Rat – Harry Harrison – 1961
68- The Demolished Man – Alfred Bester – 1953
69- The Shadow of the Torturer – Gene Wolfe – 1980
70- Sphere – Michael Crichton – 1987
71- The Door Into Summer – Robert .A Heinlein – 1957
72- The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch – Philip K. Dick – 1964
73- Revelation Space – Alastair Reynolds – 2000
74- Citizen Of The Galaxy – Robert A. Heinlein – 1957
75- Doomsday Book – Connie Willis – 1992
76- Ilium – Dan Simmons – 2003
77- The Invisible Man – H.G. Wells – 1897
78- Have Space-Suit Will Travel – Robert A. Heinlein – 1958
79- The Puppet Masters – Robert A. Heinlein – 1951
80- Out Of The Silent Planet – C.S. Lewis – 1938
81- A Princess of Mars – Edgar Rice Burroughs – 1912
82- The Lathe of Heaven – Ursula K. Le Guin – 1971
83- Use Of Weapons – Iain M. Banks – 1990
84- The Chrysalids – John Wyndham – 1955
85- Way Station – Clifford Simak – 1963
86- Flatland – Edwin A. Abbott – 1884
87- Altered Carbon – Richard Morgan – 2002
88- Old Man’s War – John Scalzi – 2005
89- COMING SOON (October 15, 2012)Roadside Picnic – Arkady and Boris Strugatsky – 1972
90- The Road – Cormac McCarthy – 2006
91- The Postman – David Brin – 1985
92- NEWLY AVAILABLEStand On Zanzibar – John Brunner – 1969
93- VALIS – Philip K. Dick – 1981
94- NEWLY AVAILABLE The Cyberiad: Fables for the Cybernetic Age – Stanisław Lem – 1974
95- NOT AVAILABLE AS AN AUDIOBOOK – Cities In Flight – James Blish – 1955
96- The Lost World – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – 1912
97- The Many-Colored Land – Julian May – 1981
98- Gray Lensman – E.E. ‘Doc’ Smith – 1940
99- The Uplift War – David Brin – 1987
100- NEWLY AVAILABLEThe Forge Of God – Greg Bear – 1987

In case you were wondering, the list was compiled using the following criteria:

“A statistical survey of sci-fi literary awards, noted critics and popular polls. To qualify a book has to be generally regarded as science fiction by credible sources and/or recognised as having historical significance to the development of the genre. For books that are part of a series (with some notable exceptions) only the first book in the series is listed.”

The “Next 100”, as listed over on Sci-Fi Lists, has a lot of excellent novels and collections in it too, check that out HERE.

[*Thanks to “neil1966hardy” from ThePirateBay]

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #164 – READALONG: The House On The Borderland by William Hope Hodgson

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #164 – Jesse, Wayne June and Mirko Stauch talk about The House On the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson.

Talked about on today’s show:
Wayne undersold the novel, it’s shockingly interesting, you can really see the influence on Lovecraft, Supernatural Horror In Literature by H.P. Lovecraft, blasphemous hybrid anomalies, “a classic of the first water”, the framing sequence, The Willows by Algernon Blackwood, description of sense experience, the best you can expect from the universe is indifference, cosmic horror, Olaf Stapledon, Star Maker, Last And First Men, reading in translation, Chad Pfifer, the readalong concept, getting into the book, Under The Knife by H.G. Wells, the swine beasts, the sister – “she knows he’s fucking nuts”, there’s a lot of going to bed in this book, a very relatable character, Arthur C. Clarke, one of the finest works of Science Fiction ever written, marking the transition from Gothic horror to cosmic horror, 2001: A Space Odyssey, the cover art, the Corben comic book cover, the town (or street) that can’t be found, it’s a kind of haunted house story, compression of time, Einsteinian relativity, Pepper is dead and dust, Brian Stableford, Camille Flammarion, The Night Lands by William Hope Hodgson, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Percival Lowell, S.T. Joshi, parallel development, authors write cosmic horror in cosmic horror time, astronomy,

“In the future, when the end of things will arrive on this earth, the event will then pass completely unperceived in the universe. The stars will continue to shine after the extinction of our sun, as they already shone before our existence.”

Enlightenment thinking and the decline of religion – tying your own shoes for eternity, The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe, you can’t love anything in this universe, the jade house in the arena, mythological creatures, Kalpas (is Sanskrit for aeons), it’s meta, before this book we’re living in a world run by God and after this book were living in a post God world, deep time, the recluse, are the swine people are the villagers, what book is the recluse reading?, two incommensurable realities, Messrs Tonnison and Berreggnog, haunting, Clarke’s third law, Poltergeist, the door inward, the start as poets but they don’t end that way, the unnamed lover (let’s call her Lenore), The Crawling Chaos (SFFaudio Podcast #138), The Conqueror Worm by Edgar Allan Poe, The House Of Usher, Roger Caillois: “The fantastic is always a break in the acknowledged order, an irruption of the inadmissible within the changeless everyday legality” (from Au Coeur Du Fantastique), reading old literature, C.S. Lewis, a passion for commas, a gripping book (while the character’s mind wanders), a pregnant book.

Ed Emshwiller painting for The House On The Borderland by William Hope Hodgson

Vertigo Richard Corben -The House On The Borderland

William Hope Hodgson's The House On The Borderland

The House On The Borderland by William Hope Hodgson - illustration by Ian Miller

Freeway Press - The House On The Borderland by William Hope Hodgson

The House On The Borderland by William Hope Hodgson - dustjacket

The House On The Borderland - illustration by Peter Manesis

PANTHER - The House On The Borderland by William Hope Hodgson

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #158 – READALONG: The Syndic by C.M. Kornbluth

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #158 – Last week’s podcast was an unabridged reading of The Syndic by C.M. Kornbluth. This week Jesse discusses it with the narrator, Mark Douglas Nelson!

Talked about on today’s show:
SciPodBooks.com, the SciPodCast, The Syndic by C.M. Kornbluth, The City At World’s End by Edmond Hamilton, the virtues of democracy, Oath Of Fealty by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, H. Beam Piper, Space Viking, a wealth of ideas, Frederik Pohl, the story as a straw man, Robert A. Heinlein, telepathy, witches, dystopia, utopia, polo played with jeeps (mounted with 50 caliber machine guns), the syndicate vs. the mob, Ireland, Iceland, libertarianism, the Prometheus Unbound review of The Syndic, polyandry, an economy run on alcohol, sex, and gambling, laissez faire capitalism, monopolies, robber barons, taxes vs. shakedowns, “a real mess of a book”, should a society compromise its ideals to save itself?, is the joke on us?, a velvet gloved invisible hand, The High Crusade by Poul Anderson, the children’s crusade, WWII, rule by mob vs. rule by mobsters, Ron Paul, the sustainability of a war based economy need not much concern the arms manufacturer, Isaac Asimov, The City At World’s End has a real plot, disaster stories, new ideas trump big flaws, “writing by the seat of your pants”, space opera, E.E. “Doc” Smith, respect for science and scientists, Farnham’s Freehold by Robert A. Heinlein, The Green Odyssey by Philip Jose Farmer, LibriVox.org, Riverworld series, rolling ships, Hyperion by Dan Simmons, the problem of endless series, StarShipSofa, The Truth Is A Cave In The Black Mountains by Neil Gaiman, A Princess Of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs, A Voyage To Arcturus by David Lindsay, “philosophy, philosophy, philosophy”, it starts with a séance, C.S. Lewis, Right Ho, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse, Jeeves And Wooster, Leave It To Jeeves, LibriVox’s new funding (from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation), Orson Scott Card, Harlan Ellison, Airborn by Kenneth Oppel, Gregg Margarite, Lone Star Planet by H. Beam Piper, Kevin J. Anderson, Principles Of Economics, iambik audio, Wonder Audio, All Or Nothing by Preston L. Allen, The Tattoo Murder Case by Akimitsu Takagi, Toshiro Mifune, Akira Kurosawa, High And Low, Netflix, Sweet And Lowdown, One O’Clock Jump by Lise McClendon, A Is For Alibi by Sue Grafton, Talents Incorporated by Murray Leinster, goofy, the William Woodsworth Microphone Showdown, do expensive mics make great narrators?

Posted by Jesse Willis

Five Free Favourites: Memorial Day Weekend

SFFaudio Online Audio

Five Free Favourites

Every Memorial Day Weekend, thousands of Americans take to the roads for a vacation over the long weekend. Since the price of gasoline is so high, vacationers might want to take advantage of these free audiobooks about travel. These books were chosen to be fun, well-produced, and short, so go ahead and download more than one. Click on the title of each book for a full review and other download options.

1. Traveling with children:The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.

Narrated by Chrissi Hart

Ancient Faith Radio (iTunes link)

It may be too warm to travel by sled, but this classic about children traveling to a magical world by way of a wardrobe is sure to keep both you and the kids entertained.

2. Traveling to a foreign nation:

The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope.

Narrated by Andy Minter

LibriVox (zipped mp3s)

When I visit another country, I want to spend time among the people, not just snap pictures as an outsider. The protagonist of Prisoner of Zenda takes this philosophy a little too far when switches places as a lookalike of the king of the fictional European nation of Ruritania.

3. Traveling to get away:39 steps cover

The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan.

Narrated by Adrian Praetzellis

LibriVox (zipped mp3s or M4B file)

A South African man visits England, but finds London boring. When his chance involvement in a counter-espionage plot goes wrong, he must escape across the British countryside.

4. Traveling to a family reunion:

Thousandth Night by Alastair Reynolds.

Narrated by Sam Mowry

Subterranean Press (part 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15)

In the distant future, humankind can travel across the galaxy and clone themselves into a thousand copies. As one group of clones meets up to share their experiences, a plot is underfoot that could either save or harm the galaxy. Note: This book contains scenes of sex and violence.

5. Traveling through time:TANTOR MEDIA - The Time Machine by H.G. Wells

The Time Machine by H.G. Wells.

Narrated by Scott Brick

Tantor Media (requires free registration)

Going on a long car trip only seems like it takes thousands of years. In H.G. Wells’ classic story, a man actually does travel thousands of years into the future and discovers what humanity has become.

Posted by Seth

Anthony Boucher’s All Stars: 52 best SF books (+6 More) and 12 Fantasy books

SFFaudio Commentary

The Magazine Of Fantasy And Science Fiction - October1958

The “All Star Anniversary Issue” of Fantasy And Science Fiction Magazine (for October 1958) featured famed editor Anthony Boucher’s regular “Recommending Reading” column – but with a twist. In celebration of the magazine’s 9th anniversary Boucher challenged himself to create a list of “Fifty Review Copies I Would Not Part With.” He failed in this herculean task – he just couldn’t pair down the list to fifty (even by restricting what would qualify in a number of ways). Instead, he ended up listing 52 Science Fiction novels or collections that he had no hand in publishing, another six that he did, and twelve Fantasy titles that were absolute must keepers as well. Of them Boucher wrote:

“These are novels and collections which have, from 1949 through 1957, given intense pleasure to a man professionally, obligated to read every s.f. book published in America; and I venture the guess that any reader, novice or habitué of our field, will find stimulation and delight in a high number of these titles.”

That’s good enough for me! I have reproduced as Boucher listed them (in alphabetical order by author). But I’ve added links to extant audiobook editions:

Boucher’s 52 best SF books:
Brain Wave by Poul Anderson |BLACKSTONE AUDIO|

I, Robot by Isaac Asimov [COLLECTION] |READ OUR REVIEW|
The Caves Of Steel by Isaac Asimov |READ OUR REVIEW|
The Naked Sun by Isaac Asimov |READ OUR REVIEW|
Earth Is Room Enough by Isaac Asimov [COLLECTION]

The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester
The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester

The Long Tomorrow by Leigh Brackett

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury [COLLECTION] |READ OUR REVIEW|

What Mad Universe by Fredric Brown
The Lights In The Sky Are Stars by Fredric Brown
Angels And Spaceships by Fredric Brown [COLLECTION]

Cloak Of Aesir by John W. Campbell [COLLECTION]

No Blade Of Grass / The Death Of Grass by John Christopher |AUDIBLE FRONTIERS|

Prelude To Space by Arthur C. Clarke
Expedition To Earth by Arthur C. Clarke [COLLECTION]
Against The Fall Of Night (and The City And The Stars) by Arthur C. Clarke

Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement

The Wheels Of If by L. Sprague de Camp [COLLECTION]
Rogue Queen by L. Sprague de Camp

Nerves by Lester Del Rey

Eye In The Sky by Philip K. Dick |BLACKSTONE AUDIO|

The Third Level by Jack Finney [COLLECTION]

The Man Who Sold The Moon by Robert A. Heinlein [COLLECTION]
The Green Hills Of Earth by Robert A. Heinlein [COLLECTION] |BLACKSTONE AUDIO|BOOKS ON TAPE|CAEDMON|

Bullard Of The Space Patrol by Malcolm Jameson

Takeoff by C.M. Kornbluth
The Explorers by C.M. Kornbluth [COLLECTION]
Not This August by C.M. Kornbluth

Gather, Darkness by Fritz Leiber
The Green Millennium by Fritz Leiber |WONDER AUDIO|

The Big Ball Of Wax by Shepherd Mead

Shadow On The Hearth by Judith Merrril

Shadows In The Sun by Chad Oliver
Another Kind by Chad Oliver [COLLECTION]

A Mirror For Observers by Edgar Pangborn

The Space Merchants by Frederick Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth

The Other Place by J.B. Priestly [COLLECTION]

Deep Space by Eric Frank Russell [COLLECTION]

Untouched by Human Hands by Robert Sheckley [COLLECTION]

City by Clifford D. Simak [COLLECTION] |AUDIBLE FRONTIERS|
Strangers In The Universe by Clifford D. Simak

Without Sorcery by Theodore Sturgeon [COLLECTION]
The Dreaming Jewels by Theodore Sturgeon |BLACKSTONE AUDIO|
More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon |BLACKSTONE AUDIO|

Slan by A.E. van Vogt |BBC AUDIOBOOKS AMERICA|
The Weapon Shops and The Weapon Makers by A.E. van Vogt

Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. |AUDIBLE MODERN VANGUARD|

A Martian Odyssey by Stanley Weinbaum [COLLECTION] |LIBRIVOX|

The Throne Of Saturn by S. Fowler Wright

The Day Of The Triffids by John Wyndham |AUDIBLE FRONTIERS|
Re-Birth/The Chrysalids by John Wyndham |AUDIBLE FRONTIERS|

Excellent titles that had origins on the pages of Fantasy And Science Fiction:

Bring The Jubilee by Ward Moore

Tales From Gavagan’s Bar by Fletcher Pratt and L. Sprague de Camp [COLLECTION]

The Sinister Researches Of C.P. Ransom by H. Nearing Jr. [COLLECTION]

One In Three Hundred by J.T. McIntosh

The Star Beast by Robert A. Heinlein |FULL CAST AUDIO|
The Door Into Summer by Robert A. Heinlein |BLACKSTONE AUDIO|

Boucher’s best dozen Fantasy books:

The Devil In Velvet by John Dickson Carr

Fancies And Goodnights by John Collier [COLLECTION]

The Worm Ouroboros by E.R. Eddison |MARIA LECTRIX|

The Circus Of Dr. Lao by Charles G. Finney

The Private Memoirs And Confessions Of A Justified Sinner by James Hogg

Fear by L. Ron Hubbard |GALAXY PRESS|

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson [COLLECTION] |BBC AUDIOBOOKS AMERICA|

The Ghostly Tales by Henry James [COLLECTION]

Pogo by Walt Kelly

Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis |BLACKSTONE AUDIO|

Further Fables For Our Times by James Thurber [COLLECTION]

The Lord Of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien |RECORDED BOOKS|

Posted by Jesse Willis

The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

SFFaudio Online Audio

Here’s a nice surprise! The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis! The Listener, who runs the ever admirable Free Listens blog, sez this:

Rating: 10/10

I’m absolutely amazed that Ancient Faith was able to get permission from HarperCollins and the Lewis estate to podcast this novel. Hart has a pleasing British accent and the confidence of someone who is comfortable in front of a microphone. She makes a couple of repetition errors, but is otherwise flawless. The recording quality is very good, as is befitting such a professionally produced podcast. The other books in The Chronicles of Narnia series are also available for free through the same website, so head on over to collect all seven books.

And, for my part I’ve HuffDuffed all eight files.

The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe by C.S. LewisThe Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe
By C.S. Lewis; Read by Dr. Chrissi Hart
8 Podcast MP3 Files – Approx. 4.5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: Ancient Faith Radio / Under The Grapevine
Podcast: March – May 2009
A fantasy novel for children by published in 1950 and set circa 1940. It is the first-published book of The Chronicles of Narnia series and is the best known book of the series. Although it was written and published first, it is second in the series’ internal chronological order, after The Magician’s Nephew.

Podcast feed: http://huffduffer.com/jessewillis/tags/c.s._lewis/rss

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

Character list:
Lucy Pevensie, the youngest Pevensie child
Edmund Pevensie, the third of the Pevensie children.
Susan Pevensie, the second oldest of Pevensie children
Peter Pevensie, the oldest of the Pevensie siblings
Aslan, a lion
The White Witch
Tumnus, a faun
Professor Digory Kirke, takes the Pevensie children in when they are evacuated from London
Mr. Beaver, a friend of Tumnus
Mrs. Beaver, Mr. Beaver’s wife
The Dwarf, the White Witch’s right hand man (hench-dwarf)
Maugrim (aka Fenris Ulf), a wolf
Father Christmas
Mrs. Macready, the housekeeper for Professor Kirke
Giant Rumblebuffin

[via Free Listens!!!!!]

Posted by Jesse Willis