The SFFaudio Podcast #654 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: Star Ship by Poul Anderson

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #654 – Star Ship by Poul Anderson; read by Paul Harvey (for LibriVox). This is an unabridged reading of the story (1 hour 32 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Paul Weimer, and Scott Danielson.

Talked about on today’s show:
Planet Stories, Fall 1950, the description therein, The strangest space castaways of all!, weirdly medieval, the life-boat cracked up, an AI that rebelled against them, this episode of Star Trek Voyager, all simulation, Paul unleashed, “The Paradise Syndrome”, not good depictions of Native Americans, C.J. Cherryh’s the Foreigner series, 12 novels vs. 90 minutes, padded vs. lean and mean, the backstory is all in here, a two part Voyager episode, Star Trek The Next Generation, an episode of The Orville, time works differently down there, Interstellar (2014), “Blink Of An Eye”, Dragon’s Egg by Robert L. Forward, “Mad Idolatry”, Sandkings by George R.R. Martin, Ted Sturgeon’s Microcosmic God, accelerated rate vs. accelerated time, all they needed was a remote control, Aliens (1986), the orbiting Sulaco, their away mission included the entire crew, Apollo 11, you gotta leave Michael Collins up there, subspace vortex, your people with your equipment, one in a billion chance, one ion storm, wrong timeline?, what Heinlein did, Poul Anderson’s complete psychotechnic league, the third story, Flandry, egalitarian, looser, Sandra Miesel, Startling Stories, Winter 1955, back in the early 1940s Robert A. Heinlein let it be known, The Snows Of Ganymede, a bare outline, fantasy and prophecy, the first 250 years, 2875, The Star Ways, some of them are as yet unwritten, Cold Victory wasn’t published until the 1980s, Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West, Arnold J. Toynbee, anthropoid robot invented, anti-robot riots, a historical view, a me discovering this, psychodynamics was created, the early death of Dwight D. Eisenhower. U.S. Socialism in the 1950s, like Asimov’s psychohistory, influence government policy and popular attitudes, his own Foundation, uncomfortable questions, realism vs. idealism, Anderson’s political beliefs, he reversed his strong support for the United Nations, more cynical, cycles of history, libertarian?, internationalist, individualist, any other stories, a reversal of The High Crusade, capes, cannons, siege engines, medieval futuristic, Jack Vance, only three generations, a mix of elements, The Dragon Masters, worldbuilding happened outside of the plot, like reading Heinlein, he has a plan, Friday is set in the same universe as Farmer In The Sky, part of a greater universe, reading his openings more than once, nobody with amnesia,

With sunset, there was rain. When Dougald Anson brought his boat in to Krakenau harbor, there was only a vast wet darkness around him.

the aliens when we get to them, fur with clothes, he swished his tail, my gosh look at that alien!,

The Khazaki was humanoid, to be sure—shorter than the Terrestrial average, but slim and lithe. Soft golden fur covered his sinewy body, and a slender tail switched restlessly against his legs. His head was the least human part of him, with its sloping forehead, narrow chin, and blunt-muzzled face. The long whiskers around his mouth and above the amber cat-eyes twitched continuously, sensitive to minute shifts in air currents and temperature. Along the top of his skull, the fur grew up in a cockatoo plume that swept back down his neck, a secondary sexual characteristic that females lacked.

the original art, it just looks like a mohawk, this picture is from right near the end of the story, funny things going on in the background, a little post-medieval, the Khazaki – Kozakis – Cossacks, in the analogue that is Poul Anderson’s brain, Japanese, Scandanavian guy, lucky, plot magic, a lot of females, Ching Chun Chen aka Ensign Kim, taught astrogation from her grandfather, our Conan figure, prematurely old looking, a forehead scar, had many women attracted to him (including the native women), L. Sprague de Camp, rishathra, cultural vs. wenching,

He looked away, his face hot in the gloom, realizing suddenly why Masefield Carson hated him. Briefly, he wished he hadn’t had such consistent luck with women. But the accident that there was a preponderance of females in the second and third generations of Khazaki humans had made it more or less inevitable, and he—well, he was only human. There’d been Earthling girls; and not a few Khazaki women had been intrigued by the big Terrestrial. Yes, I was lucky, he thought bitterly. Lucky in all except the one that mattered. Right after, Anse felt a small hand laid on his arm. He looked down into the dark eyes of DuFrere Marie. She was a pretty girl, a little younger than he, and until he’d really noticed Ellen he’d been paying her some attention.

“I don’t care about equality,” she whispered. “A woman shouldn’t try to be a man. I’d want only to cook and keep house for my man, and bear his children.”

It was, Anse realized, a typical Khazaki attitude. But—he remembered with a sudden pity that Carson had been courting Marie. “This is pretty tough on you,” he muttered. “I’ll try to see that Carse is saved…. If we win,” he added wryly.

“Him? I don’t care about that Masefield. Let them hang him. But Anse—be careful—”

a very Conan guy, escape to the moon, I was promised a STAR SHIP, not a science fiction story in its main action, that’s what Planet Stories is about, the whole purpose is to get to another place, fun, planetary romance, a novelty, Planet Stories is way ahead, picking up on Science Fiction in the 1950s, maybe there’s something to this stuff, as opposed to romance or railroad or baseball fiction magazines, extrapolative science fiction, some real thing behind it, some scientific idea, the reason we like Dragon’s Egg, if we had a neutron-star, put in a ton of brain work, the speed of their metabolism, how do I tell it as a story, all that brainwork lends some sort of truth to the story, a mediocre story, still good, he has some stuff going on in his mind, the struggle we’ll see between the Soviets and the United States, the Moon is a tangible object in the sky, plot the mountains of the Moon, Mission Of Gravity by Hal Clement, the Mesklinites, we’re gonna be friends, a very masculine story, give me your sword,

He added, after a moment: “A man has to stand by his comrades.”

Janazik nodded, very slowly. “Give me your sword,” he said.

“Eh?” Anse looked at him. The blue eyes were unseeing, blind with pain, but he handed over the red weapon. Janazik slipped his own glaive into the human’s fingers.

Then he laid a hand on Anse’s shoulder and smiled at him, and then looked away.

We Khazaki don’t know love. There is comradeship, deeper than any Earthling knows. When it happens between male and female, they are mates. When it is between male and male, they are blood-brothers. And a man must stand by his comrades.

they don’t have any gays on this planet, a dozen words for betrayal but not a single word for love, teach me this earth thing you call kissing, humans have to teach sex to the aliens, in the Doctor Who universe, unusual on Earth, you have sex all the time?, what’s wrong with you?, build a rocket, there is this past, the first space-boat, a vivid past, Jerry Pournelle’s King David’s Spaceship, bootstrap a spaceship, you can’t colonize us, quasi-medieval, ran in the same circles, so many ideas, starships won’t even be necessary, Peter F. Hamilton, wormhole on Mars, Pandora’s Star, rockets that grow like trees, Beowulf Schaeffer, engineered by the Pak?, interesting tidbit, fishbowl helmet, any way to get to space, living and working in space, to go to another place, international space station, The Integral Trees and The Smoke Ring, space is the absence of a place, what if…, raiding across the galaxy, I could make this go another way, fun stuff, similar situation, somehow the humans are the dominant ones, take out our macbooks and upload a virus, Independence Day 2 (2016), hey that H.G. Wells and the War Of The Worlds thing?, I’m doing that, a computer virus, a fun movie, waiting for the Americans doing something, Independence Day: UK, when talking to Julie Davis, the Russians won WWII in Europe, Operation Market Garden, Western front vs. Eastern front, we gotta get the Chinese market, throw in a Chinese character, Dwayne Johnson, a scene set in Seoul, Skyscraper (2018), it lands badly, if you’re building the rocket ship, spoilers and scoops and pinstripes on a rocket, it doesn’t overstay its welcome, only 90 minutes, a very small story, a little planetary romance, detailed backstory that the author knows and we can surmise, a good outline, a couple of Heinlein stories, the rise of the prophet, the crazy years, with a science fiction setting, a standard Green Odyssey sort of story, Conan/action, blood brothers, pirates, a barbarian by comparison, ringmail, a blonde mane, a sword, a higher gravity planet, how it got to be as fine as it is for a very pulpy story, really obsessed with Iceland?, he makes it work, obsessed with the norther lands, an Icelandic saga, The Man Who Came Early, Poul Anderson’s answer to Lest Darkness Fall by L. Sprague de Camp, detail and place, I’m only going to tell stories set in the Black Forest, scandinavian history, Star Ways, he’s not top tier, consistently never terrible, Andre Norton, how did he manage to make a good story?, leaning on Conan, leaning on the same things, one of the reasons we know Howard writes so well, leaning heavily on history, almost never has magic as a major function, an evil wizard whose casting a spell, this tower is made of magic, fighting a literal god, leaning on the science, that is beauty, that’s poetic, NESFA, serviceable, very watered down mead, Njáls Saga, Netflix watch party, the Skiffy and Fanty people, Ragnarok, the final verdict, oh shit we gotta write a whole series, Netflix is planetary, Norsemen, funny silly stuff, leaning heavily on the facts of Norwegian life, its legit, the gutter of pulp, weak ass stories, a Conan pastiche, Tarzan, Hour 25, Sherlock Holmes, novels and collections, Delenda Est, the time patrol stories, more coming our all the time, the good news, finally hitting gutenberg, Three Hearts And Three Lions, Jeffro Johnson, The Broken Sword, Appendix N, a book of reviews, what they contributed to Dungeons & Dragons, Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax, Jack Vance’s magic system, if you’re a dungeon master, lift from these guys, Jerome Bixby, The Man From Earth (2007), Star Trek actors sitting in a room for 90 minutes, an ideas guy, Planet Stories, all Star Trek things, four episodes of the original Star Trek, ideas are incredibly important for science fiction, nice prose vs. characters, a crappily written story that’s interesting, a first contact protocol, teleportation aka transporters, Star Trek basics, Star Trek ideas in non-Star Trek stories, “By Any Other Name”, “Mirror, Mirror”, goateed Spock, “Day Of The Dove”, “Requiem For Methuselah”, “Galileo Seven”, a shuttle, “Metamorphosis”, mate with the giant guys who throw rocks, The Twilight Zone, “It’s A Good Life”, a good ideas story, his two tricks, somehow you can get a career, Lord Dunsany, Clark Ashton Smith, a staple of Jesse’s diet, a Poul Anderson, a Ray Bradbury Podcast: Bradbury 100, Science Fiction 101, more general, the Silverberg anthology (Worlds Of Wonder), an introduction to Science Fiction, old stuff, current stuff, future stuff, looking back over your life, you tripped and fell into an open grave, at night, on a Thursday, this is a good podcast, distilled it down, a novelette, Paul’s having a brain freeze because of Covid-19 and the vaccine for same, will Scott ban himself from the Baen forums, it doesn’t seem to be that big a deal, Trump should make a militia, Harold Lamb, historical fiction guy, Marching Sands, Omar Khayyam: A Life, Genghis Khan: King Of All Men, need more Rubáiyát in my life, the LibriVox version is preferable, Cirsova, Julian Hawthorne’s The Cosmic Courtship, astral projection, a professional narrator, leverage more stuff, our narrator today, like Jesse reading, the majority are pretty good, share the wealth, if pizza was still under trademark, Pizza authorized restaurant, no cheerios pizza!, let our pizzas free, champagne, parmesan, Cheddar, let people make their own pizzas, we’ve had a pizza flourishing, the ketchup on hot-dogs, its allowed, the right condiments for hotdogs, don’t lock down my hot dog, The Ship Of Ishtar by A. Merritt, Planet Stories series, Sword Of Rhiannon by Leigh Brackets, Robots Have No Tails by Leigh Brackett, Stefan Rudnicki, Johnny Heller, Nightfall And Other Stories, 40 or 50 titles, more officially public domain, 1923 was a cutoff until 2 years ago, the late 1920s pretty soon, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Leonardo Dicaprio (the short guy from Titanic), push books to sell to the high schools, oh shit the copyright’s expiring, the Philip K. Dick estate, the Folio Society collection of The Complete Short Stories of Philip K. Dick, Bryan Alexander, a monstrosity, $750 for four books, Jesse’s complaints are legion, Americans tend to do that, the artistic objects, collecting old things, a half million dollar revenue project, does not include Dick’s juvenile, a handful or two handfuls not in there, lazy as fuck, the colours are fluorescent, commissioning new art, too highbrow and too generic, The Infinites, Colony, a pointless argument, people like art, these are objections for collection, like buying a sculpture, a phenomenon in art, this is a way of storing value, artificial scarcity, art as one object, not for the billionaires, above the funko pop level, The Book Of The New Sun, a new Tor version, zener card symbols are public domain, this is bad cover art, is art objective or subjective, a minimalist room, Scott doesn’t complain about art, The Doomsday Book by Connie Willis, Kivrin, $750!, Subterranean Editions, The Best Of David Brin, The Best Of Elizabeth Bear, Nancy Kress.

Star Ship by Poul Anderson

Star Ship by Poul Anderson

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The SFFaudio Podcast #309 – NEW RELEASES/RECENT ARRIVALS

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #309 – Jesse, Jenny, and Tamahome talk about new audiobook releases and recent audiobook arrivals.

Talked about on today’s show:
Contemporary Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, MagicsAn Unwelcome Quest (Magic 2.0 #3) by Scott Meyer, Finn Fancy Necromancy by Randy Henderson, The Mermaid’s Sister by Carrie Anne Noble, Monster Hunter Nemesis by Larry Correia, Sad puppy Hugo campaignUnseen (Unborn #2) by Amber Lynn Natusch, just read the first sentence, Claimed (Servants of Fate #2) by Sarah Fine, Hellbender (Fangborn #3) by Dana Cameron, Kate Rudd and Paul Rudd?, The Syndrome: The Kingdom Keepers Collection by Ridley Pearson

Alternative History1636: Commander Cantrell in the West Indies (Ring of Fire #15) by Eric Flint and Charles E. Gannon

Virtual Reality/CyberpunkMountain Of Black Glass (Otherland, Book 3) and Sea Of Silver Light (Otherland, Book 4)  by Tad Williams, these are chunky books

Military Sci-FiGemini Cell (Shadow Ops #4) by Myke Cole, the Jump Universe and the Vicky Peterwald series by Mike Shepherd, not narrated by Matthew McConaughey, Tarnished Knight (The Lost Stars #1) by Jack Campbell, pronunciations, a new #1, Time Patrol (Nightstalkers #4) by Bob Mayer, Heir to the Jedi: Star Wars by Kevin Hearne, King of Thieves (Odyssey One: Star Rogue) by Evan Currie

Epic/Traditional FantasyBlack God’s Kiss by C. L. Moore, she’s a woman, The Black Fire Concerto (The Stormlight Symphony #1) by Mike Allen, “ensorcelled” gains popularity, A Blink of the Screen: Collected Shorter Fiction by Terry Pratchett, Hypnogoria (Jim Moon) podcast covered Terry PratchettToll the Hounds (Malazan Book of the Fallen #8) by Steven Erikson, the Circle of Magic and The Circle Opens and (later) the Immortals Quartet series by Tamora Pierce, Full Cast Audio is sort of audio drama, The Light Princess by George MacDonald, The Keeper (Watersmeet #3) by Ellen Jensen Abbott

Space Sci-FiRobot Dreams by Isaac Asimov, vs I, Robot, short story highlights, The Fortress in Orion (Dead Enders #1) by Mike Resnick, Under Different Stars (The Kricket #1) and Sea of Stars (The Kricket Series #2) by Amy A. Bartol, Old Venus edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, we can pronounce “Dozois”, Venus as it should be, S.M. Stirling

Zombies, Apocalypse, Dystopia, Steampunk, Horror (Grab bag!)The Sky-Riders by Paul Dellinger and Mike Allen, Pinkerton (detective agency)Islands of Rage & Hope (Black Tide Rising #3) by John Ringo, Firefight (Reckoners #2) by Brandon Sanderson, The Utterly Uninteresting and Unadventurous Tales of Fred, the Vampire Accountant by Drew Hayes, sexy title, The Mechanical: The Alchemy Wars #1 by Ian Tregillis, clockpunk?, The Fire Sermon (Fire Sermon #1) by Francesca Haig, twins, Cheech and Chong, The Intruder and The Hunger, and Other Stories by Charles Beaumont, Untouched by Human Hands by Robert Sheckley, readalong by Sffaudio (no Tama), Fury by Henry Kuttner, old Venus is back

Related Non-fictionAlan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges, part of the Guardian Essential Library, apples, The Interstellar Age by Jim Bell, read by the author, Scott will review, slingshot effect, back seat drivers, The Sagas of Ragnar Lodbrok translated from the Old Norse by Ben Waggoner, Vikings

Black God's Kiss by C.L. Moore

Posted by Tamahome

The SFFaudio Podcast #297 – NEW RELEASES/RECENT ARRIVALS

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #297 – Jesse, Jenny, and Tamahome talk about NEW RELEASES and RECENT ARRIVALS.

Talked about on today’s show:

Lowball : A Wild Cards Novel edited by George R. R. Martin and Melinda Snodgrass, The New Annotated H. P. Lovecraft edited by Leslie S. Klinger, a reference book readalong?, Marked: Servants Of Fate, Book 1 by Sarah Fine, conflict of interest, Until The End Of The World by Sarah Lyons Fleming, Until The End Of The World (movie), The Dark Thorn by Shawn Speakman, the Seattle underground, Entangled: The Eater of Souls by Graham Hancock, lots of research, Half-Off Ragnarok (InCrytpID Book #3) by Seanan McGuire, V Wars: Blood and Fire: New Stories of the Vampire Wars edited by Jonathan Maberry, a dime a dozen, Wildalone by Krassi Zourkova, At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft, didn’t Southpark adapt this?, annotations, pdf of original story with illustrations hosted by SffaudioKaiju Rising: Age of Monsters (editor?)not inspired by Pacific Edge by Kim Stanley Robinson, similar short story overdose, The Playground and Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, killer baby, Tam remembers the Good Story Episode (#21) on Something Wicked, Ray Bradbury storytelling festival, Something Wicked vs The Night Circus, or maybe Good Omens (which is a BBC radio audiodrama now), “@DirkMaggs:  we are thrilled that the series has been so enjoyed. The CD/Download version released in January runs nearly 50mins longer in all” (RT’d by @SDDanielson), British tests, Hypnobobs podcast on Christmas AnnualsThe Strange Library by Haruki Murakami, The Maker Of Moons by Robert W. Chambers, The True Detective tv series, The Last American Vampire by Seth Grahame-Smith, the picture of the navy guy kissing the woman, ATLAS by Peter Berkrot, Mech Warrior game, The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu and translated by Ken Liu, the three-body problem explained, (Ken Liu is a lawyer and programmer, Jenny), David Brin gave it 5 stars on GoodreadsThe Jesus Incident by Frank Herbert and Bill Ransom, Carbide Tipped Pens: Seventeen Tales Of Hard Science Fiction edited by Ben Bova and Eric Choi, that’s hard!, The Year’s Top Ten Tales Of Science Fiction 6 edited by Allan Kaster, The Cosmic Puppets by Philip K. Dick, Lock In by John Scalzi, why two audio versions??, The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury, |Listen to our readalong|, Proxima by Stephen Baxter, but Jenny wants to know the plot, Fahrenheit 451 (narrated by Tim Robbins), Plague Year by Jeff Carlson, The Long Dark game, two more quickly, WHITE PLAGUE: A Joe Rush Novel by James Abel, and Near Enemy: A Spademan Novel by Adam Sternbergh

thelastamericanvampire

Posted by Tamahome

Review of Dangerous Women

SFFaudio Review

Dangerous Women Dangerous Women: Stories
Edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois
Narrated by Scott Brick, Jonathan Frakes, Janis Ian, Stana Katic, Lee Meriwether, Emily Rankin, Harriet Walter, Jake Weber
Publisher: Random House Audio
Publication Date: 3 December 2013[UNABRIDGED] – 32 hours, 49 minutes
Listen to an excerpt: | MP3 |

Themes: / short stories / fantasy / women /

Publisher summary:

All new and original to this volume, the 21 stories in Dangerous Women include work by twelve New York Times bestsellers, and seven stories set in the authors’ bestselling continuities—including a new “Outlander” story by Diana Gabaldon, a  tale of Harry Dresden’s world by Jim Butcher, a story from Lev Grossman set in the world of The Magicians, and a 35,000-word novella by George R. R. Martin about the Dance of the Dragons, the vast civil war that tore Westeros apart nearly two centuries before the events of A Game of Thrones.

Also included are original stories of dangerous women–heroines and villains alike–by Brandon Sanderson, Joe Abercrombie, Sherilynn Kenyon, Lawrence Block, Carrie Vaughn,  S. M. Stirling, Sharon Kay Penman, and many others.
 
Writes Gardner Dozois in his Introduction, “Here you’ll find no hapless victims who stand by whimpering in dread while the male hero fights the monster or clashes swords with the villain, and if you want to tie these women to the railroad tracks, you’ll find you have a real fight on your hands.  Instead, you will find sword-wielding women warriors, intrepid women fighter pilots and far-ranging spacewomen, deadly female serial killers, formidable female superheroes, sly and seductive femmes fatale, female wizards, hard-living Bad Girls, female bandits and rebels, embattled survivors in Post-Apocalyptic futures, female Private Investigators, stern female hanging judges, haughty queens who rule nations and whose jealousies and ambitions send thousands to grisly deaths, daring dragonriders, and many more.”

Stories and Narrators (in order of appearance):
“Some Desperado” by Joe Abercrombie; Read by Stana Katic
“My Heart Is Either Broken” by Megan Abbott; Read by Jake Weber
“Nora’s Song” by Cecelia Holland; Read by Harriet Walter
“The Hands That Are Not There” by Melinda Snodgrass; Read by Jonathan Frakes
“Bombshells” by Jim Butcher; Read by Emily Rankin
“Raisa Stepanova” by Carrie Vaughn; Read by Inna Korobkina
“Wrestling Jesus” by Joe R. Lansdale; Read by Scott Brick
“Neighbors” by Megan Lindholm; Read by Lee Meriwether
“I Know How to Pick ’Em” by Lawrence Block; Read by Jake Weber
“Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell” by Brandon Sanderson; Read by Claudia Black
“A Queen in Exile” by Sharon Kay Penman; Read by Harriet Walter
“The Girl in the Mirror” by Lev Grossman; Read by Sophie Turner
“Second Arabesque, Very Slowly” by Nancy Kress; Read by Janis Ian
“City Lazarus” by Diana Rowland; Read by Scott Brick
“Virgins” by Diana Gabaldon; Read by Allan Scott-Douglas
“Pronouncing Doom” by S.M. Stirling; Read by Stana Katic
“Name the Beast” by Sam Sykes; Read by Claudia Black
“Caregivers” by Pat Cadigan; Read by Janis Ian
“Lies My Mother Told Me” by Caroline Spector; Read by Maggi-Meg Reed
“Hell Hath No Fury” by Sherilynn Kenyon; Read by Jenna Lamia
“The Princess and the Queen” by George R. R. Martin; Read by Iain Glen

It took me a really long time to make it through this book, even with skipping stories, and that was a big sign that it wasn’t working for me. I love and read a lot of anthologies, and Dangerous Women was odd in that it only paid lip service to the theme. Most of these stories had nothing to do with women, dangerous or otherwise, instead focusing on men talking about women. Overall, while I was disappointed in this anthology, and would not recommend it, here are my spoiler thoughts on some of the best and worst individual stories (scroll to the end for a link to more!):

“The Hands That Are Not There” by Melinda Snodgrass
Jonathan Frakes from Star Trek: the Next Generation is the narrator!!! Fortune 500? Strip club? OK, I’m missing the dangerous women portion of this story at the beginning, and am a little confused overall. The main character doesn’t seem to have a great opinion of women in general. Suppose that’s not surprising considering this takes place during a bachelor party. “Sassy little buttocks”? I giggled when he shouted “blackout’. Genetic manipulation? What am I listening to?

Holy. Hell.

Aside from the novelty of the narrator, this was just bad. The characterization of women left a bad taste in my mouth. The prose was an unfortunate shade of purple. The plot twist was silly. So. Bad.

“Bombshells” by Jim Butcher – A Harry Dresden story
I’ve never read any of the Dresden books, although I’m vaguely familiar with the story, and this was a sorely needed palette cleanser after the last story. Except for the leg-shaving bit. Wut? That came across as trying a bit too hard. Bit more telling than showing than is to my taste. And hearing the phrase ‘soul gaze’ spoken out loud just pointed out how silly it is. Holy infodump on how magic works, but overall both the narrator and writing was A+.

“Raisa Stepanova” by Carrie Vaughn
Eeeeeee! Night witches! I love female pilots!

The writing is concise and easy to follow, but full of effective details that really conveyed the feeling of a fire fight. The plot was just heartbreaking. And a lovely relationship between siblings is the focus, rather than a romantic one. Such a nice change! This was an excellent portrayal of female non-competitive friendship. So good. One of the highlights of the anthology.

Narrator had a distinctive, lovely voice.

“I Know How to Pick ’Em” by Lawrence Block
Noir up the wazoo! This was a man’s man kind of a story, I guess. Wow. I had to skip this after he started fantasizing about beating the woman he was with. He had so much hate for women. I felt a little sick just listening.

Narrator has great, gritty voice.

“Shadows For Silence in the Forests of Hell” by Brandon Sanderson
This was a great story. Silence was amazing, and the world had just enough detail for you to believe and fill in the rest of the blanks. Her background as a bounty hunter was inventive, and I loved seeing the people people who crossed her get their eventual comeuppance.

Narrator had just enough weariness in her voice to be pleasing and appropriate to the story.

“The Girl in the Mirror” by Lev Grossman – A Magicians story
Fabulous characterization of mischievous girls at a magical school. Their talk is real, and the details are well delineated. Think Harry Potter but darker and meaner. Adorable short story. Just lovely.

As an added bonus, Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa Stark on Games of Thrones, was the narrator. She hit the perfect tone, and I would definitely listen to her narration again.

“Second Arabesque, Very Slowly” by Nancy Kress
This was a very quiet, intense, and bleak story. The women are essentially kept for breeding in a post-apocalyptic setting, but during a young girl’s ‘budding’ ceremony, one woman voices her desire to be more. The narrator is the nurse, in charge of the health of the other women. There’s an undertone of packs and the urban forest in this story, like I was waiting for them to turn into werewolves. Women have dressed codes to avoid tempting men, but are somewhat in charge of deciding who they have sex with. The group finds a TV and get it to work. They watch a ballet. Now one of the beta males wants to learn how to dance to entertain the pack. They find a moment of beauty, but lose it just as quickly.

The narrator has an understated style that worked really well for this.

“Pronouncing Doom” by S.M. Stirling – An Emberverse story
This was the most unpleasant part of this whole experience.

At first I was interested, as there was a main character traveling with a baby and some practical discussion of how life with children after the apocalypse works. There were disabled characters, and the women seemed to have some autonomy in the society.

However, the story then turned into a rape trial. The victim recounts escalating abuse from one man, and how the other women blamed her for his actions. Then she describes his violent sexual assault of her, and I turned it off. I had no motivation to finish this story.

The narrator was very pleasant, and her deadpan accounting of the assault was chilling.

“Caretakers” by Pat Cadigan
It starts out with an innocent question about female serial killers. These two sisters live together and while one is obsessed with Red Dawn (Go Wolverines!) the other loves to watch shows about serial killers. There was a lot of realistic characterization driving the story, and rising tension as you begin to wonder exactly how much the sister likes serial killers.

Narrator did a fantastic job, fading back to let the story stand on its strengths.

“Lies My Mother Told Me” by Caroline Spector – A Wild Cards story
I felt a little behind by the abrupt entrance of the first scene, but loved the discussion of prettiness in relation to society. Parades and zombies and consumerism. Mothers and daughters and self-esteem. Fat and bubbles as defense. The villain was such a dick, and such a stereotype of gamer dudes. Overall amazing!

Fantastic narrator.

“The Princess and the Queen” by George R.R. Martin – A Song of Ice and Fire story
Finally. this is the whole reason I was interested in the first place. I’ve read a couple of the ASOIAF books, so I was interested in what Martin would do with two super-powerful women. Not much, it turns out.

Sooooo – everyone in Westeros has always been terrible and power-hungry? OK then. First Night rites? Really? Ahhhh I am so bored. Never has anything with dragons in it bored me as much as this has. It’s about queens, yes, but it’s still the men who do almost everything.

Good narrator, though.

Sarah reviewed each and every story, which you can see on her GoodReads review.

Posted by Sarah R.

The SFFaudio Podcast #279 – NEW RELEASES/RECENT ARRIVALS

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastDowncastThe SFFaudio Podcast #279 – Jesse, Jenny, Tamahome, and Seth talk about NEW RELEASES and RECENT ARRIVALS.

Today’s podcast is sponsored by Downcast, a fantastic podcast app for iPhone and iPad.

Talked about on today’s show:
A long time since we new released or recent arrived, our SPONSOR: Downcast, Seth’s daily routine, NPR News, Writer’s Almanac, Composer’s Datebook, changing playback speed, customizability, no more syncing, app developers being podcast listeners, an app by podcast listeners for podcast listeners, a one man operation?, ads on podcasts, razor blades, clothing clubs, internationality, Audible, a Science Fiction skin, Luke Burrage’s, Dan Carlin, Jenny is thinking of switching to Downcast, adding and dropping with swipes, categories, short stories!, wisdom in literature: first contact, “a lot of self-help literature is crap,” Understanding by Ted Chiang, Flowers for Algernon, wisdom vs. intelligence, Hansel and Gretel, Mercerism in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, wisdom in StardustMagic for Beginners by Kelly Link; Aimee Bender; Reflection by Angela Carter; Joe Hill; Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland by Eric Shanower with art by Gabriel Rodriguez; Rogues edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, featuring a Song of Ice and Fire novella, not strictly genre; Year’s Top Ten Tales of Science Fiction; Hugo Awards going to A Dribble of Ink and SF Signal; time travel mashup category!; The Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne; The Drowned World and other strangeness of J.G. Ballard; Southern Reach trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer; Interlopers by Alan Dean Foster; Interlopers b y Saki a.k.a. H.H. Munro; slipstream, portal fantasy, archaeological fantasy?; Close your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian; Ilium and Olympus by Dan Simmons, Homer in spaaaaaace!; HyperionBoneshaker by Cherie Priest; chaos theory in A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury; The Last Ship on TNT based on a novel by William Brinkley, “perfect for watching while you’re eating your cereal”; Martian Time Slip by Philip K. Dick; The Dark Between the Stars by Kevin J. Anderson, a follow-up to his epic The Saga of Seven Suns series; Kevin J. Anderson dictates his novels while hiking, influences his writing style?; William Shakespeare’s The Jedi Doth Return by Ian Doescher; Jesse prefers Isaac Asimov’s Robots trilogy to his Foundation series; Sarah A. Hoyt’s Ill Met by Moonlight is “Shakespeare with elves”; we try unsuccessfully to care about any of the new epic fantasy titles; a heady discussion about how an author’s gender influences his or her writing; are some books just for women?; Somewhere in Time a.k.a. Bid Time Return by Richard Matheson; The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman concluding his trilogy; the etymology of demimonde; Felix Gilman’s The Half-Made World by Felix Gilman; Curse of the Wolf Girl by Martin Millar; Koko Takes a Holiday by Kieran Shea; Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews; Spyder Robinson’s Callahan series; Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Steakhouse series; Mr. Mercedes, not really genre, is Stephen King losing his edge?; The Shunned House by H.P. Lovecraft; Lovecraft’s writing does not prominently feature tentacles!; Guillermo del Toro’s The Strain is a Dracula retelling; Hello Cthulhu!

Little Nemo Return To Slumberland

Posted by Jesse Willis