Review of Around The World In Eighty Days by Jules Verne

SFFaudio Review

LISTENING LIBRARY - Around The World In Eighty Days by Jules VerneAround The World In Eighty Days
By Jules Verne; Read by Jim Dale
7 CDs – Approx. 7 Hours 42 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Listening Library
Published: 2005
ISBN: 0307206424
Themes: / Adventure / 19th Century / Gambling / Religion / Mormonism /

Shocking his stodgy colleagues at the exclusive Reform Club, enigmatic Englishman Phileas Fogg wagers his fortune, undertaking an extraordinary and daring enterprise to circumnavigate the globe in eighty days. With his French valet Passepartout in tow, Verne’s hero traverses the far reaches of the earth, all the while tracked by the intrepid Detective Fix, a bounty hunter certain he is on the trail of a notorious bank robber. Combining exploration, adventure, and a thrilling race against time, Around The World In Eighty Days gripped audiences upon its original publication and remains hugely popular to this day.

When I get into a subject, I really get into it. I think I’m becoming something of an Around The World In Eighty Days expert. I’ve tracked down the episode of Have Gun Will Travel that includes a visit from Phileas Fogg. I’ve gotten my mitts on several audiobook versions, and a BBC radio dramatization too. I’ve watched the Michael Palin series that took inspiration from the novel. I poured over the Classics Illustrated comics version.

Phileas Fogg, who seems to epitomize a certain kind of stereotypical Englishman, is described as emotionless. He makes his calculations, and like the watch he carries, ticks away without a wasted movement. At one point a certain travelling companion makes a remark something like “this is the only time I’ve seen you become emotional” this when confronted by the prospect of sitting idly by while a woman is burned alive. Fogg’s reponse: “I am emotional, when I have the time.” That burning, by the way, takes the form of a Hindu “suttee.” Later on in Utah, Passepartout, Fogg’s manservant, takes in a sermon in the form of a lecture on the history of Mormonism. It’s a hilarious scene, and as such this book is one of the few classics that I will probably re-read. Around The World In Eighty Days overflows such gems. It’s biggest failing is that a good deal of the suspense Verne injects comes from out of nowhere, clunks around the pages, making waste, only to sputter out into utter forgetability at the end.

Narrator Jim Dale, best known for his work on the Listening Library Harry Potter audiobooks, brings a full range of accents and voices to this audiobook. Dale does a really terrific Passepartout! The production includes some seemingly randomly insterted music and sound effects that nearly drown out Dale’s performance. That’s bad. Additional mistakes include an image of a hot air balloon on the cover. There is absolutely no balloon in this novel, though one appears in a couple of video adaptations.

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #067


The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #067 – Scott and Jesse talk to Dan Carlin, of the Hardcore History and Common Sense podcasts!

Talked about on today’s show:
Hardcore History, Common Sense, the Rashomon effect, Gilligan’s Island, Fox News, MSNBC, ABC, defensive reporting, nuance vs. talking points, BBC, NPR, PBS, Wikileaks, Common Sense Show #179 – GenX Journalism, the Martian political position, comics, What If…, Niall Ferguson, “counterfactual history“, “how different would voting be if there were no money impacting the political system at all?”, the toothless United Nations, the Canadian political system vs. the U.S. political system, the Congress Of Vienna, WWI, WWII, the Napoleonic Wars, the Rwandan Genocide, the Korean War, the Gaza flotilla incident, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iraq War, unilateral action, Panama, NATO, imagine if the United Nations wasn’t toothless, Wikileaks’ “Collateral Murder” video, Grenada, a “muscular” foreign policy, “air on the side of reality”, Julian Assange, unreleased Abu Ghraib prison video, podcasting, “how cool is it to have an international program?”, Pierre Trudeau, “we live in reaction to you”, U.S. foreign policy, Barack Obama, first contact in Science Fiction, first contact in history, Despoilers Of The Golden Empire by Randall Garrett, Fransisco Pissaro, United States expedition to Korea, “Korea is a dagger, in the hand of China, pointed at the heart of Japan”, Globalization Unto Death, “the hermit kingdom”, Magellan expedition, Steppe Stories, an island off the coast of India, Commodore Perry‘s expedition to Japan, Sid Meier’s Civilization, Civilization (board game), Sparta, the freedom of podcasting.

Posted by Jesse Willis

BBC Radio 4: Journey Into Space and Torchwood

SFFaudio Online Audio

BBC Radio 4Prepare to get the valves warmed up on the wireless set for it looks like a cracking good time on the BBC airwaves next week…

The Saturday Play: Journey Into Space – The Host
Approx. 1 Hour [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: BBC Radio 4
Broadcast: Saturday 27th June 2009 @ 14:30-15:30
Says the Radio Times: “Jet Morgan and his crew get a distress call from an abandoned freighter. They must find a way to defeat the superior ‘Host’ and save mankind from becoming a stepping-stone to a new chapter in evolution. By Julian Simpson from the series created by Charles Chilton.”

Afternoon Play: Torchwood – Asylum
Approx. 45 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: BBC Radio 4
Broadcast: Wednesday 1st July 2009 @ 14:15-15:00
“When PC Andy arrests a teenager for shoplifting, he thinks it’s going to be an open-and-shut case. Then he sees the weapon she’s carrying and decides to call in Torchwood. Anita Sullivan’s sci-fi adventure is the first of three this week.”

Afternoon Play: Torchwood – Golden Age
Approx. 45 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: BBC Radio 4
Broadcast: Thursday 2nd July 2009 @ 14:15-15:00
“The team travels to Delhi in search of a dangerous energy field that triggers the simultaneous disappearance of hundreds of people. Jack discovers that it centres on an old colonial mansion, once the HQ of Torchwood India. Shocked to find that Torchwood India is still going strong – he shut it down over 80 years ago – he’s even more surprised to find that its members, including his old flame the Duchess, haven’t aged a day. Second sci-fi adventure, by James Goss”

Afternoon Play: Torchwood – The Dead Line
Approx. 45 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: BBC Radio 4
Broadcast: Friday 3rd July 2009 @ 14:15-15:00
“When a Cardiff hospital is inundated with patients who have fallen into coma-like trances, The Torchwood team investigates. The trances appear to have been triggered by phone calls, all received on retro phones & made from a number that hasn’t been active for more than 30 years. Sci-fi drama by Phil Ford”

[Thanks so much Roy!]

Posted by Jesse Willis

A plethora of pleasures from BBC7


BBC 7's The 7th DimensionThe next will be one of the busiest weeks ever heard on BBC7, with dramatizations and readings galore! Thankfully, all will be available through the BBC7 ‘listen again’ service. There are two novels by John Wyndham, a vintage Sherlock Holmes vs. vampire story (there have been severals by many hands over the years) as well as a rebroadcast of a popular new original drama (fans of which will be pleased to hear that a second series is set to air in early 2008)…

By Ben Moor; Performed by a full cast
5 Broadcast (5 Episodes) – [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: BBC7 / The 7th Dimension
Broadcast: Sundays at 6pm and midnight (for 5 weeks)
Edna Turner has just moved to London to work on a listings magazine and is naturally excited. Her boss is the friendly Carlo and while her bedsit isn’t exactly a palace, she gets down to work. An encounter at a music club with the strange Tankerton Slopes leads her to travel to the bizarre parallel city of “Undone” and a mission to send radical TV developer Marlboro Fagpacket back home. Read more about Undone on Ben Moor’s site.

A “gripping dramatisation by John Constable”, first broadcast in 1998 airs this Saturday…

Radio Drama - BBC7 - ChockyChocky
Based on the novel by John Wyndham; Performed by a full cast
1 Broadcast – 90 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: BBC7
Broadcast: Saturday @ 12pm (rerun @ 1am) UK Time
Many children have imaginary friends but one father becomes rather concerned that his son, Matthew, is a bit old to have one. His concerns deepen as his son becomes increasingly distressed and blames it on arguments with this unseen companion. As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that the friend is far from imaginary, but is an alien consciousness residing inside Matthew’s mind—a fact that is of intense interest to shadowy government forces.

First broadcast on Saturday Night Theatre back in 1981…

Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula (AKA The Case of the Sanguinary Count)
Based on a novel by Loren D. Estleman; Performed by a full cast
1 Broadcast – [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: BBC7
Broadcast: Sunday at 10am and 8pm
Doctor Watson’s account of how the great detective Sherlock Holmes battled the evil forces of Count Dracula.

A “chilling” 1982 production that first aired on BBC Radio World Service…

Radio Drama - BBC7 - The Midwich CuckoosThe Midwich Cuckoos
Based on the novel by John Wyndham; Performed by a full cast
3 Parts – [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: BBC7 / The 7th Dimension
Broadcast: Wednesday – Friday at 6pm and midnight
Another alien impregnation theme – but this is where it all started – a sleepy English village may be the birthplace for the end of the world.

A season of four tales from around the world exploring the weird and the wonderful, first broadcast as a special commission on BBC 7 earlier this year…

Fantastic Tales – Hell Screen
By Ryunosuke Akutagawa; Read by Togo Igawa
2 Parts – [UNABRIDGED?]
Broadcaster: BBC7 / The 7th Dimension
Broadcast: Monday – Tuesday at 6.30pm and 12.30am
A horror story set in medieval Japan in which a powerful Lord clashes with an arrogant painter, leading to tragedy.

Fantastic Tales – Alarm Clock On The Night Table
By Zoran Zivkovic; Read by Anna Massey
1 Broadcast – [UNABRIDGED?]
Broadcaster: BBC7 / The 7th Dimension
Broadcast: Wednesday at 6.30pm and 12.30am
An unusual occurrence forces an elderly woman to confront a tragedy from her past.

Fantastic Tales – The White People
By Arthur Machen; Read by Ioan Meredith and Louise Collins
1 Broadcast – [UNABRIDGED?]
Broadcaster: BBC7 / The 7th Dimension
Broadcast: Thursday at 6.30pm and 12.30am
An intriguing tale which explores the nature of good and evil and the origins of sin.

Fantastic Tales – Delhi
By Vandana Singh; Read by Shiv Grewal
1 Broadcast – [UNABRIDGED?]
Broadcaster: BBC7 / The 7th Dimension
Broadcast: Friday at 6.30pm and 12.30am
A man living in present-day Delhi is haunted by visions of the city as it was in the past and how it will be in the future.

Posted by Jesse Willis