The SFFaudio Podcast #278 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Wonderful Window by Lord Dunsany


The Wonderful Window by Lord Dunsany

The SFFaudio PodcastDowncastThe SFFaudio Podcast #277 – The Wonderful Window by Lord Dunsany; read by John Feaster. This is an unabridged reading of the story (11 minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Jesse and John Feaster.

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

Talked about on today’s show:
Saturday Review, February 4th, 1911, the secret story behind of all of modern fantasy, do you listen to podcasts?, our SPONSOR: Downcast, an app for iPhone and iPad, small size, big impact, location based downloading, a super-customized experience, audio drama, The Red Panda Adventures, Decoder Ring Theater, Downcast allows you to lock episodes, the key to understanding, the beginning of binge-watching, Sidney Sime, The Book Of Wonder by Lord Dunsany, its criminal that Lord Dunsany, H.P. Lovecraft, J.R.R. Tolkien, a new podcast idea, Appendix N: Inspirational And Educational Reading, The Dungeon Master’s Guide, take up this mantle, Gary Gygax, Dunsany’s last champion, Poul Anderson, John Bellairs, Leigh Brackett, Frederic Brown, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Lin Carter, L. Sprague de Camp, Fletcher Pratt, August Derleth, Lord Dunsany, Philip Jose Farmer, Gardner Fox, Robert E. Howard, Sterling Lanier, Fritz Leiber, H.P. Lovecraft, A. Merritt, Michael Moorcock, Andre Norton, Andrew J. Offutt, Fletcher Pratt, Fred Saberhagen, Margaret St. Clair, J.R.R. Tolkien, Jack Vance, Stanley Weinbaum, Manly Wade Wellman, Jack Williamson, Roger Zelazny, let’s understand it, S.T. Joshi, “the death of wonder”, bullshit, the inaccessibility of our fantasies, did the Arabic man see Golden Dragon City?, wouldn’t we see something different?, “the magi”, the Scheherazade salesman, its about writing fantasy, its about reading fantasy, reading life and real life, getting addicted to Game Of Thrones, it seems like it is about television, serial fiction, the August days are growing shorter, winter is coming, George R.R. Martin, prose poems, deft brushstrokes, a more devastating fairy tale, is the window a metaphor within that world, The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs, the yellow robes, mood and temperament, what would Oprah see?, a soap opera, silent pictures, the constellations, The Crystal Egg by H.G. Wells, science fiction, Jesse’s pet theory on the opening credit sequence of Game Of Thrones, the four houses, dragons and bears, orrery, Ptolemy vs. Copernicus, epicycles, orbital clockworks, Ringworld by Larry Niven, the inside of a Dyson sphere, Westeros, a fish-eye lens, a D&D style hex system, the mechanistic unplaying of the plot, it’s not a half-assed Tolkien, HBO, a metaphor for The Wonderful Window, maybe it’s a bowl?, a fantastically wealthy Lannister home?, that guy’s based on The Kingpin, credit sequence, Dexter‘s morning routine, murdering coffee, “oh my god it’s over”, envisioning greater lives, some guy in Golden Dragon city is looking through a window at 1911 London, Lion City (London), make it WWI, the zeppelin terror, had it been written a few years later would we not assume the red bear as Communist Russia, escape to the secondary world, beaten down into the proper shape for Business, capital “B” business, “a touch of romance”, daydreaming, a frock coat, a bookstore, “emporium”, Walmart as a soul crushing emporium, howling newsboys, the birds in the belfries, “the seven”, analogues for priests and nuns, dragons the most evocative fantasy animal, a silver field, what prompts the destruction of Golden Dragon city, Darkon (2006), LARPers, interesting, good, and sad, fantasy lives on the weekend, a cardboard factory, typical American upper-lower class jobs, religion, plunking away god-dollars, the popular conception of D&D, video games, Elvis’ hips, KISS, better jobs, Detroit in ruins, work, podcasts to stave off the rats gnawing, John’s gaming group, soul crushing and beautiful, Edward Plunkett, H.G. Wells, toy soldiers, the start of modern war-gaming, empire, “this dang story”, 14th century Hungary, Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway, names, Friend, Spork, Carmilla (is a savory name), carnstein (flesh-stone), Mergin and Chater -> margin and cheater?, a used bookstore business is not one designed to make money (precisely), Chapters, the artificial love of books, the way Scrooge would run his business, the one room apartment, “tea-things”, we ended on a happy note, fantasy and escapism, there’s not much else past The Silmarillion, Elmore Leonard, Jack L. Chalker‘s last unpublished book, old-fashioned TV watching (no recording), “this window goes nowhere”, Mr. Sladden’s destruction of the window is better than had it been broken by someone else, the scent of mysterious spices, a breath of Golden Dragon City.

Word Cloud for The Wonderful Window by Lord Dunsany

Game Of Thrones as Golden Dragon City

Masters Of Fantasy - Lord Dunsany by Neil Austin

Posted by Jesse Willis

BBCR4 + A Night With A Vampire – David Tennat reads stories by Calmet, Tolstoy, Maupassant, Freeman, Gautier

SFFaudio Online Audio

BBC Radio 4RadioArchive.ccLast year The Book At Bedtime, BBC Radio 4’s evening book reading program, also had a collection of five short stories called A Night With A Vampire (you may have noticed I just posted about the sequel).

The first story in this collection of five vampire tales was written by a Benedictine Monk. It purports to be non-fiction (the author having surveyed Europe for real life eighteenth century stories in his book The Phantom World). The second story, by Aleksey Nikolayevich Tolstoy (a Soviet SF writer with an asteroid named after him) may be the best of the bunch – it’s romantic and creepy. The third story, by Guy de Maupassant, well we did a whole show on that one, is extremely abridged with only about a quarter of the original text still present. Numbers four and five didn’t do much for me, but maybe you’ll find them more engaging than I did.

From November 22nd to 26th, 2010 (BBC R4 22:45-23:00) David Tennant narrated five 14 minute (abridged) short stories. The complete set is available as a |TORRENT| from

1. Dead Persons In Hungary by Antoine Augustin Calmet – Read by David Tennant [ABRIDGED]
Antoine Augustin Calmet published an apparently serious anthropological history of the Vampire throughout Europe in the early 19 century called “The Phantom World.” All the people he spoke to were adamant about what they had witnessed. His account therefore appears all the more disturbing and became the basis for the flights of Vampiric fancy that took off in the Victorian age.

2. The Family Of The Vourdalak by Alexis Tolstoy – Read by David Tennant [ABRIDGED]
Leo Tolstoy’s lesser known brother has written this compelling story about a patriarch who sets off on a mysterious mission but fears he may come back a Vampire. If he should return to their village after 10 days – he begs his family to deny him access and plunge a stake through his heart.

3. The Horla by Guy de Maupassant – Read by David Tennant [ABRIDGED]
After an unusual Brazilian ship enters the harbour – our hero suddenly begins to feel unwell, and starts to have feverish and disturbing visions. Only too late does he discover the demonic nature of the South American ship’s cargo.

4. Luella Miller by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman – Read by David Tennant [ABRIDGED]
Luella Miller seems incapable of surviving on her own – so she calls on friends, relatives and lovers to help her. And they all die – one by one – until there is no one left to lift a finger to assist this most demanding of women. An unusual tale – set in small town America.

5. Clarimonde by Theophile Gautier – Read by David Tennant [ABRIDGED]
As a young man approaches his first moments as a priest his eyes glance to heaven – and sees leaning over the sanctuary railing – a young woman of extraordinary beauty. And so begins a sensational struggle for his soul…

Producer: Clive Brill
A Pacificus production for BBC Radio 4.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The Black Stone by Robert E. Howard

SFFaudio Online Audio

Robert E. Howard's The Black Stone - art by Gene Day

The Black Stone is one of Robert E. Howard’s Cthulhu Mythos stories. I happen to think it’s is one of his best – which is saying something because Robert E. Howard was an absolutely terrific Horror writer. I probably first encountered it as an adaption, it was a backup story written by Roy Thomas and illustrated by Gene Day in the March 1982 issue of Savage Sword Of Conan (#74). That was actually quite a spectacular issue of the magazine and the The Black Stone, which only took up ten pages, was wonderful. FNH has posted a two part reading of the story to his Cthulhu podcast and it’s well read too:

Cthulhu PodcastThe Black Stone
By Robert E. Howard; Read by FNH
2 MP3 Files – Approx. 41 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: Cthulhu Podcast
Podcast: July 2011
A biliophile, with extensive knowledge of history, anthropology and ancient religion, reads of a forgotten geological feature in the mountains of Hungary. He decides to take his vacation there, mid-summer, and encounters legend, history and a terrible manifestation from an unspeakably distant epoch. First published in the November 1931 issue of Weird Tales.

Part 1 |MP3| Part 2 |MP3|

Podcast feed:

Here’s another reading, from a cool podcast I’ve just discovered. I expect to be listening to a lot more episodes from it:

The Black Stone by Robert E. HowardThe Black Stone
By Robert E. Howard; Read by Jim Moon
1 |MP3| – Approx. 56 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: Hypnobobs
Podcast: January 23, 2011
A biliophile, with extensive knowledge of history, anthropology and ancient religion, reads of a forgotten geological feature in the mountains of Hungary. He decides to take his vacation there, mid-summer, and encounters legend, history and a terrible manifestation from an unspeakably distant epoch. First published in the November 1931 issue of Weird Tales.

Podcast feed:

The Black Stone is also available in print. The Ballantine Del Rey collection titled The Horror Stories Of Robert E. Howard (ISBN: 0345490207) was released as an audiobook edition available from Tantor Media (read by Robertson Dean):

Horror Audiobook - The Horror Stories of Robert E. Howard by Robert E. HowardThe Horror Stories of Robert E. Howard
By Robert E. Howard; Read by Robertson Dean
2 MP3-CDs – Approx. 24 hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Audiobooks
Published: 2010
Sample |MP3|

And of course there have been several other talented artistic interpretations of The Black Stone, here’s just a few:

The Black Stone - illustrated by Greg Staples

The Black Stone - illustrated by Lee Brown Coye (from Sleep No More)

Wolfshead cover illustration by Paul Lehr

Wolfshead cover illustration by Paul Lehr

Wolfshead cover illustration by Paul Lehr

Wolfshead cover illustration by Paul Lehr

The Black Stone - art by Jim & Ruth Keegan

The Black Stone - art by Jim & Ruth Keegan

Posted by Jesse Willis

CBC Spark: Robert J. Sawyer on his WWW trilogy (and Mindscan)

SFFaudio Online Audio

CBC Radio - SparkNora Young‘s uncut interview with Robert J. Sawyer, recorded for an upcoming episode of CBC Radio One’s Spark podcast, is available for download |MP3|.

From the Spark blog:

Yesterday, Nora interview the award-winning Canadian science fiction author Robert J. Sawyer. He’s just published the third installment of his WWW trilogy, called Wonder. It speculates about a possible world in which the web develops consciousness and becomes “Webmind.”

Spark PLUS Podcast feed:

Bonus: A three part video interview with Sawyer in Hungary.

Sawyer talks about: FlashForward, other Sawyer-related TV shows, dinosaurs, awards, his upcoming book (Triggers), memory, research, assassination, ebooks, Japan, piracy, DRM, advice to aspiring writers, teaching writing, the University Of Toronto, travel, translations and RJS book covers from around the world.

[via RJS’ blog]

Posted by Jesse Willis

P.S. CBC owes us Apocalypse Al.

Review of Hunt Through The Cradle Of Fear by Gabriel Hunt (aka Charles Ardai)

SFFaudio Review

AUDIO REALMS - Hunt For Adventure: Through The Cradle Of Fear by Gabriel HuntSFFaudio EssentialHunt: Through The Cradle Of Fear (#2 in the Adventures Of Gabriel Hunt series)
By Gabriel Hunt (aka Charles Ardai); Read by Jim VanDusen
6 CDs – Approx. 8 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Audio Realms
Published: November 2009
ISBN: 9781897304761
Themes: / Adventure / History / Mythology / Fantasy / Hungary / New York / Egypt / Greece / Sri Lanka / Libya / Noir /

From the towers of Manhattan to the jungles of South America, from the sands of the Sahara to the frozen crags of Antarctica, one man finds adventure everywhere he goes: GABRIEL HUNT. Backed by the resources of the $100 million Hunt Foundation and armed with his trusty Colt revolver, Gabriel Hunt has always been ready for anything – but is he prepared to enter… The Cradle Of Fear? When a secret chamber is discovered inside the Great Sphinx of Egypt, the mystery of its contents will lead Gabriel to a remote Greek Island, to a stone fortress in Sri Lanka … and to a deadly confrontation that could decide the fate of the world!

Hunt Through The Cradle Of Fear is a fast paced, well researched, modern adventure tale in the vein of Indiana Jones or Jake Sampson: Monster Hunter. The adventure never flags or gets bogged down in the equipment porn many of the other adventure series I’ve read have. Instead, the story both figuratively and literally jets from scene to scene – with a narration that almost as velocitous. Adding to the fun is Sheba, a distressed damsel who is no mere mcguffin – she’s got skills that both Lajos DeGroe, the billionaire heavy, and Hunt both need. When Gabriel Hunt, the titular hero/author, isn’t stowed away on a private jet, chasing after Sheba to who-knows-where, he’s doing battle from the seat of New York taxi or jumping off ramparts into shadowy abysses. Spanning three-quarters of the circumference of the Earth, this story threads together a plot explaining the various archaeological connections between Greece, Egypt and Sri Lanka. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it.

In Chapter 19 there’s a delightful little scene that shows just how playful this book is. Gabriel Hunt, and his buxom companion, are set to meet a shadowy hacker in an Istanbul landmark when they bump into a pair of married writers – one is named Naomi, and she write historical fantasy, the other, her husband, writes adventure stories. If your a bit familiar with Charles Ardai, who wrote Hunt Through The Cradle Of Fear you’ll instantly recognize, as I did, that that was a cameo by both Charles Ardai and his wife Naomi Novik (author of His Majesty’s Dragon |READ OUR REVIEW|! Fun heh? Also promising is the serial but standalone nature of this book. Each book in the series stands alone, but offers callbacks to the earlier adventures as well as advancing the plot and/or revealing more about the Hunt family fortune. This is book 2 in a series, all attributed to Gabriel Hunt, but all ghost-written by various authors. One brief scene referring to events in book 1 Hunt At The Well Of Eternity, for example, made me want to pick up the first book in the series.

If you’re looking for painterly descriptive passages, or angsty characters, you’d do well to avoid this romp. Gabriel Hunt is an adventurer first and foremost. But, if you, like me, enjoy a little back-story – slowly revealed – between hard-fought gun battles and perilous plunges from high places – you’re in for a real treat. When I talked to Fred Godsmark, of Audio Realms, in SFFaudio Podcast #078 I asked him why he produced book 2 in the Gabriel Hunt series, rather than book one. He told me that its was what he was suggested he start with. If Hunt At The Well Of Eternity is half as good as Hunt Through The Cradle Of Fear it’ll definitely be worth picking up too!

Narrator Jim VanDusen is an absolute keeper. His voice perfectly suits the care-free Hunt. But he’s also able to voice the black-hearted villains, the variously accented henchmen, as well as the brainy but busty beauty Sheba (the female lead). It’s always a delightful surprise to find a new narrator, Jim VanDusen is one of these.

But that’s not all! Tacked on to the end of this novel is a bonus 83 minute novelette by Charles Ardai, also read by Jim VanDusen, called Nor Idolatry Blind the Eye (the etext for which is |HERE|). Nor Idolatry Blind the Eye is a terrific adventure tale set in post WWII Libya and starring a shattered mercenary named Malcolm Stewart who is looking for a reason to live. It reminded me of a cross between one of Robert E. Howard’s ghost stories and the 1943 movie Five Graves To Cairo. Like Hunt Through The Cradle Of Fear it is also well researched, fast paced and truly thrilling. Unlike Cradle it’s grim, a meaty noir tale, in the way that a series story never could be. Highly recommended!

Posted by Jesse Willis