Review of Podkayne Of Mars by Robert A. Heinlein

SFFaudio Review

[Jesse’s Note: This is a first time review from one of my students. Rose sat down with a tattered old paperback copy of Podkayne Of Mars and a brand new Blackstone Audio CD audiobook of Podkayne Of Mars for a readalong – the result was this terrific review – Thanks Rose!]

Fantasy Audiobook - Podkayne of Mars by Robert A. HeinleinSFFaudio EssentialPodkayne of Mars
By Robert A. Heinlein; Read by Emily Janice Card
5 CDs – Approx. 6 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: 2009
ISBN: 1433251612
Themes: / Science Fiction / Adventure / Reproduction / Politics / Family / Gambling / Venus / Mars /

From the author of Friday and Rocketship Galileo comes this classic tale featuring the grand master of science fiction’s most remarkable heroine. Podkayne Fries, a smart and determined maid of Mars, has just one goal in life: to become the first female starship pilot and rise through the ranks to command deep-space explorations. So when she is offered a chance to join her diplomatic uncle on an interstellar journey to distant Earth via Venus, it’s a dream come true—even if her only experience with diplomacy is handling her brilliant but pesky younger brother, Clark. But she’s about to learn some things about war and peace because Uncle Tom, the ambassador plenipotentiary from Mars to the Three Planets Conference, is traveling not quite incognito enough, and certain parties will stop at nothing to sabotage negotiations between the three worlds….

This is the first Robert A. Heinlein audiobook, or Heinlein book, and my first audiobook that I have ever read. I also hadn’t read any Science Fiction before. This was mostly because I thought Science Fiction was just fiction that was “beyond reality,” so I wasn’t really interested in it. However, after reading and listening to Podkayne Of Mars, I found myself considering reading another. Heinlein’s idea, that to freeze babies and decant them whenever the parents want, is fascinating. Since many women are busy with their work and have no time to take care of their babies, I think this practice and technology may come true in the future. One issue for me was I didn’t really like Clark at first. He acts brusquely, seemed selfish and didn’t seem to care about his family. I was, therefore, impressed by Clark when he decided to become more responsible and caring.

Emily Janice Card, daughter of Orson Scott Card, narrated Podkayne Of Mars. Card narrates the whole 176 page story all as Poddy, except seven pages from the end when Clark, her younger brother, takes over. I think Card’s voicing of Poddy was in-sync with a sentimental, skeptical, and ambitious young teen. It made me feel as if Poddy was reading her own story. However, Card’s voicing of Clark wasn’t as harmonious. Probably, this was because she is female. Compared to 1979 paperback edition, Poddy on this cover doesn’t really look like Poddy. Poddy looks quite cynical. I much prefer the 1979 edition because there Poddy looks more of a sentimentalist.

Posted by Rose [장미]

Review of Pretty Maggie Moneyeyes by Harlan Ellison

SFFaudio Review

We’re in the home stretch now… Pick up the ball, and throw it to Who.

Audiobook - Pretty Maggie Moneyeyes by Harlan EllisonPretty Maggie Moneyeyes
Contained in The Voice from the Edge, Volume 3: Pretty Maggie Moneyeyes
By Harlan Ellison; Read by Harlan Ellison
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: 2010
Themes: / Fantasy / Ghosts / Gambling / Slot Machines /

Why don’t more narrators read stories like Harlan Ellison reads stories? I would say that the insistence with which he reads has to do with the fact that he’s delivering his own material, but he won an Audie Award for his narration of a Ben Bova story a while back. So he pours the same personality – and that’s what the quality really is; a personal one, like he’s right there with you – he pours the same personality into stories other than his own. I would therefore love to hear him read an anthology of his favorite stories from other writers.

But the story at hand is “Pretty Maggie Moneyeyes”, a sharp tale about a guy near the end of his luck who pulls the handle on a dollar slot machine and wins the jackpot. Then pulls the handle and wins again. Impossible, you say? Maybe. Maybe not.

I love the fact that after the story Ellison talks about writing it. And that’s an interesting story, too.

Visit the Blackstone Audio website for an audio sample from another of the stories in the Voice from the Edge, Vol. 3 collection.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

LibriVox: Starman’s Quest by Robert Silverberg

SFFaudio Online Audio

LibriVoxHey now! Check out the FREE audiobook of Robert Silverberg’s second ever novel, a “juvenile” written by a juvenile…

“This was my second novel, which I wrote when I was 19, in my junior year at Columbia. I’ve written better ones since. But readers interested in the archaeology of a writing career will probably find much to explore here.”
-Robert Silverberg 17 May 2008

Starman’s Quest is probably most famously remembered for employing the “twin paradox.” Other elements included in the book include a dystopian/utopian earth of the 37th century. Earth overpopulated and jobs are few and far between for anyone who isn’t in a hereditary guild. There’s also “a kind of enforced consumerism” in which it is considered immoral to save money – “everyone must buy, buy, buy.” The only legal profession open to those without a guild is gambling.

LibriVox - Starman's Quest by Robert Silverberg
Starman’s Quest
By Robert Silverberg; Read by Dawn Larsen
20 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 5 Hours 17 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: June 12, 2009
Traveling at speeds close to that of light, spacemen lived at an accelerated pace. When one of the twin boys left the starship, he grew older while his twin in space barely aged. So the starship twin left the ship to find what happened to his brother who was aging away on earth.

Podcast feed:

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

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 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]
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:

iTunes 1-Click |SUBSCRIBE|

LibriVox - Faithfully Yours by Lou TabakowFaithfully Yours
By Lou Tabakow; Read Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 40 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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

Aural Noir Review of Somebody Owes Me Money by Donald E. Westlake

Aural Noir: Review

Somebody Owes Me Money is book number 044 in the Hard Case Crime library. and BBC Audiobooks America audiobook - Somebody Owes Me Money by Donald E. WestlakeSFFaudio EssentialHard Case CrimeSomebody Owes Me Money
By Donald E. Westlake; Read by Stephen Thorne
Audible Download (or 6 CDs) – 6 Hours 37 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: BBC Audiobooks America /
Published: 2008
ISBN: 9780792754534
Themes: / Mystery / Crime / Murder / Humor / Gambling / The Mob / New York /
Cab driver Chet Conway was hoping for a good tip from his latest fare, the sort he could spend. But what he got was a tip on a horse race; which might have turned out okay, except that when he went to collect his winnings, Chet found his bookie lying dead on the living room floor. Chet knows he had nothing to do with it – but just try explaining that to the cops, to the two rival criminal gangs who each think Chet’s working for the other, and to the dead man’s beautiful sister, who has flown in from Las Vegas to avenge her brother’s murder.

If I’m looking for a fun read, something that entertains on every single page, I can always rely on Donald Westlake. The folks at Hard Case Crime know it too. The only author they’ve published more of than Westlake is Lawrence Block. Like Block, Westlake is a Mystery Writers of America Grand Master – and, they’ve both been writing steadily since the 1950s. This particular novel was first published in 1969, and was released in June 2008 by Hard Case Crime, with it’s awesome new cover art. BBC Audiobooks America, as they’ve are doing with far too few of the Hard Case lineup, has released it as an audiobook.

Westlake says he’s “always had a soft spot” for Somebody Owes Me Money, the novel came to him out of the common introductory phrase, “I bet…” – Westlake figured if a guy was going to say that as the opening lines of a novel, he’d be a gambler, and being a gambler, he’d have a tale of woe. Somebody Owes Me Money is the result. And what a result! This is another classic Westlake “nephew” story.

The hero, Chet, is a poker playing New York cab driver who lives with his retired father. Chet’s a little short of cash right now, so when he’s fairly pissed when an uptown fare stiffs him on the tip. The customer instead only drops him a ‘line on a horse.’ Frustrated, but thinking about it on his way home, Chet decides to give his bookie a call and the horse a shot. The next day, to Chet’s surprise, he ends up winning a bundle on the longshot horse! But, when he goes to collect from his bookie, he finds the guy dead, himself without the cash he’d won, and inches away from being charged with the murder. To clear his good name, collect his winnings and recover his money he’ll not only have to find the murderer, but also keep the cops from knowing he’d been illegally gambling. As the mystery progresses Chet finds himself mixed up with a gun toting moll named Abbie, getting shot in the head by persons unknown and playing a few more hands of poker. This is a fast paced, cleverly plotted mystery with an old time New York ambiance. I loved it.

Narrator Stephen Thorne has a voice and range like that of audiobook hero William Dufris. They share an amiable, lighthearted, voice that makes perfect the narration of first-person light comedy mysteries. In other words, this book. This is a letter prefect reading, bright, shiny, fun, solid. SFFaudio Essential listening.

Somebody Owes Me Money by Donald E. Westlake
Somebody Owes Me Money - Doug Johnson illustration from Playboy, July and August 1969

Posted by Jesse Willis