OSC’s Intergalactic Medicine Show – New Plan

SFFaudio News

A letter from the editor has been posted along with the latest issue of Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show. Editor Edmund R. Schubert says that IGMS will be released bi-monthly (used to be quarterly), the number of stories in each issue will be reduced to five (used to be seven), and that, instead of writing a new story for each issue (which he was having trouble keeping up with), Orson Scott Card will record a story for each issue.

The audio story he records might be one of his own previously published stories; it might be a story by another author published in IGMS; or it might be something from a novel-in-progress.

The latest issue, which went live just yesterday, contains text and audio versions of “The Man in the Tree” by Orson Scott Card, a story from the upcoming novel The Lost Gate.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Review of Cheater by Orson Scott Card

SFFaudio Audiobook Review

Science Fiction Audiobook - Cheater by Orson Scott CardCheater
By Orson Scott Card; Read by Orson Scott Card
1 MP3 File – 33 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show
Published: October 2006
ISBN: None

Han Tzu was the bright and shining hope of his family. He wore a monitor embedded in the back of his skull, near the top of his spine.

A brand new story from the Ender universe. This story is an audio bonus in the current issue of Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show (issue #3). Han Tzu was a minor character in the SFFaudio Essential Ender’s Game, like previous audio entries in the Enderverse of late, this is a tale that ‘fills up the corners’ (as the Hobbits say) giving a backstory to the character nicknamed “Hot Soup.” Fans of the Enderverse will remember that Han Tzu was one of Ender’s toon leaders while he was in Dragon Army during the original novel Ender’s Game. Han Tzu later plays a more prominent role in the novels Shadow Puppets and Shadow Of The Giant. Here though, we meet him younger than anywhere prior in an interesting morality tale about Han Tzu and the circumstances of his admission to Battle School. His mother, who Han Tzu rarely gets to see, is a brilliant scientist. His father is one of the wealthiest men in China, a descendant of a famous Chinese family, and a businessman with long term plans for his son. Poor Han Tzu is never allowed to leave the confines of his father’s estate. Instead, the nation’s finest tutors are brought there to teach him, and even the few friends he gets to play with have been specially chosen, and likely been paid to be his friend. This has all been in an effort to mould him into a man capable of being the next Emperor of China. He might even get that chance, despite his father’s plans.

Though I can’t say I agree with his politics, I cannot dispute the power Orson Scott Card’s writing. This man knows how to tell a story and make you sympathize and love his wonderous worlds. Cheater is only tangentially related to Science Fiction; nothing SF happens in the story that hadn’t happend in Ender’s Game. That said, if you’ve read and liked other stories in the Enderverse you’ll want to hear this story. Like in Ender’s Shadow, spending more time with individuals of Ender’s jeesh (an inner circle or group of close friends) is a special treat. If Card wanted to record one of these tales for the next half-dozen issues of Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show I’d listen, and be eager to hear them. Card recorded this story in a relatively good sounding environment, but there is a noticeable hiss of white noise that follows his reading from start to finish. As to his performance, like a surprisingly high number of author/narrators, Card reads his own work very well though I imagine Stefan Rudnicki’s performance would have been even better.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Middle Woman by Orson Scott Card

SFFaudio Review

Orson Scott Card's InterGalactic Medicine Show Audio Bonus - Middle WomanMiddle Woman
By Orson Scott Card; Read by Mary Robinette Kowal
1 MP3 File – 9 Minutes 57 Seconds [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show
Published: March 2006
Themes: / Fantasy / Fable / Dragons / 3 Wishes /Immortality /

This is the second “Audio Bonus” from Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show online magazine, the plan appears to be to offer one bonus MP3 story per issue. Cool!

Orson Scott Card’s short fiction is connected to people in ways that other speculative fiction often isn’t. Realistic character psychology always takes the lead over scenarios, but his scenarios always test his characters’ psychologies – it makes for a special completeness rarely found in Speculative Fiction. Combine this with a refinement of prose, where every word is perfectly placed, and you get a little piece of magic in every OSC story. In this case, “Middle Woman” is a fable style fiction, another variation of that old saw “the three wishes”. Originally published under OSC’s pseudonym “Byron Walley”, it takes the idea of moderation, something almost always absent from fables, and runs with it. It reminded me of a kinder, gentler version of Robert Bloch’s classic That Hellbound Train. Interestingly, it also offers a more restive solution to W.W. Jacobs’ The Monkey’s Paw. The setting is Eastern, and given the “middle” of the title I suspect it is working in the ‘middle kingdom’ style of storytelling. Whether I’m right about that or not you’ll have to check it out yourself to decide.

Quite short, only 9 minutes, this is ably read by Mary Robinette Kowal who manipulates her voice in all the right ways to lend classic fairy tale reading to this modern fable. In addition to being a terrific narrator, Kowal is a professional puppeteer who also moonlights as speculative fiction author. “Middle Woman” is the Audio Bonus found in Issue Two of the online magazine Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show.

DISCLAIMER: Mary Robinette Kowal, when not reading stories aloud is an SFFaudio reviewer.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Mazer in Prison by Orson Scott Card

Science Fiction Audiobook - Mazer in Prison by Orson Scott CardMazer In Prison
By Orson Scott Card; Read by Stefan Rudnicki
1 MP3 FILE – 1 Hour 2 Minutes 10 Seconds [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show
Published: Oct. 15th 2005
Themes: / Science Fiction / Spaceships / War /

Prolific science fiction author Orson Scott Card has launched a new online fiction magazine entitled Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, the first issue of which includes an audio edition of Mazer In Prison, a terrific short story set in the “Enderverse” (stories that have sprung from the novel Ender’s Game). But before I tell you how much I liked this story… I’ll have to tell you my biggest concern about it – you shouldn’t read this story before you’ve read either Ender’s Game or Ender’s Shadow if you do you are in for spoilers. Now on to the spoilers….

IGMS LogoTrapped aboard a tiny starship traveling near lightspeed on a parabolic course designed to preserve him for a future battle Admiral Mazer Rackam, hero of the Bugger war, uses all the weapons he has to fight the most insidious enemy of them all – Earth’s bureaucracy. This is a neat little branch off of the Ender’s Game tree. Card knows how to write canny characters who even when they guess wrong guess smartly. The events of this tale happen before both Ender’s Game and Ender’s Shadow (two novels which mirror each other) what is particularly neat about this tale is that it “fills in the corners” as the Hobbits say, giving us just that much more of a delicious dish we so enjoyed. Hopefully this will be the first of many audio delectables coming from Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show.

And hopefully will we see reader Stefan Rudnicki reading them. Rudnicki, who is ably helming the Audio Renaissance’s series of audiobooks set in the “Enderverse” also reads Mazer In Prison in the convivial way he reads every audiobook. He’s scary in the scary bits and cute in the cute bits. Mazer In Prison is a cool story well told.

Posted by Jesse Willis