Librivox: Short Science Fiction Collection Vol. 030

SFFaudio Online Audio

LibriVoxI’m still got several of the new to LibriVox recordings in this collection to listen to. But I’ve made a few notes on a few of them:

The Beast Of Space by F.E. Hardart is a tale of a woman hating asteroid miner who finds himself on a rescue mission. The writing is fairly clunky, but the ideas aren’t too bad.

Lester del Rey’s Dead Ringer is about an alien invasion by things that look like, but aren’t, human. The hero of the story, Dane Phillips, began gathering the evidence after a grenade tore the throat out of one of his buddies on Guadalcanal. This tale, as read by Gregg Margarite, is well worth a listen! In fact it’s a first rate short story, quite evocative, kind of The Twilight Zone-esque and would make an excellent audio drama.

tabithat’s reading of Herbert D. Kastle’s The First One is also worth checking out. Set in 2020, it features an astronaut who has returned from long space voyage. It should be a time of celebration, he is the first one to return, but after the parade a troubling uncertainty grips his family members – does it have something to do with the long frightening scars all over the astronauts body? You bet it does!

Pushbutton War, by Joseph P. Martino (a retired USAF Colonel), is a story about an Apache astronaut who takes inspiration from his grandfather’s warrior code to count coup on a hydrogen bomb. It’s a kind of Strategic Defense Initiative story but it also makes a nice companion piece to one of the Malcolm Gladwell-style anecdotes about radar screen operators and their ability to discern, in the blink of an eye, between enemy missiles and friendly aircraft. And I like the idea of a Space Apache!

It took me a couple of attempts to get into The Skull by Philip K. Dick. But with PKD you have to keep trying, so I kept trying. Reading along with the text helped, and after about 150 words or so I could manage the story without the extra textual assistance. I guess this is one of those stories that doesnt translate to audio that well. That said, once I got into it it was worth it. The Skull is a time travel story that makes a nice companion piece to Michael Moorcock’s Behold The Man. It’s about a future criminal who goes on a mission to kill a religious revolutionary from the 1960s.

LIBRIVOX - Short Science Fiction Collection Vol. 030Short Science Fiction Collection Vol. 030
By Various; Read by various
15 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – 6 Hours 36 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: November 01, 2009
Science Fiction is speculative literature that generally explores the consequences of ideas which are roughly consistent with nature and scientific method, but are not facts of the author’s contemporary world. The stories often represent philosophical thought experiments presented in entertaining ways. Protagonists typically “think” rather than “shoot” their way out of problems, but the definition is flexible because there are no limits on an author’s imagination. The reader-selected stories presented here were written prior to 1962 and became US public domain texts when their copyrights expired.

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LibriVox Science Fiction - As Long As You Wish by John O'KeefeAs Long As You Wish
By John O’Keefe; Read by Bellona Times
1 |MP3| – Approx. 13 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: November 01, 2009
If, somehow, you get trapped in a circular time system . . . how long is the circumference of an infinitely retraced circle? First published in Astounding Science Fiction, June, 1955.

LIBRIVOX - The Beast Of Space by F.E. HardartThe Beast Of Space
By F.E. Hardart; Read by Mark Nelson
1 |MP3| – Approx. 31 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: November 01, 2009
A tale of the prospectors of the starways—of dangers— From Comet July 1941.

LIBRIVOX - The Big Trip Up Yonder by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.The Big Trip Up Yonder
By Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 23 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: November 01, 2009
If it was good enough for your grandfather, forget it … it is much too good for anyone else! From Galaxy Science Fiction January 1954.

LIBRIVOX - Cost Of Living by Robert SheckleyCost Of Living
By Robert Sheckley; Read by tabithat
1 |MP3| – Approx. 20 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: November 01, 2009
If easy payment plans were to be really efficient, patrons’ lifetimes had to be extended! From Galaxy Science Fiction December 1952.

LIBRIVOX - Dead Ringer by Lester del ReyDead Ringer
By Lester del Rey; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 24 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: November 01, 2009
There was nothing, especially on Earth, which could set him free—the truth least of all! From Galaxy Science Fiction November 1956.

Fantastic Universe September 1955The Doorway
By Evelyn E. Smith; Read by Bellona Times
1 |MP3| – Approx. 12 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: November 01, 2009
A discerning critic once pointed out that Edgar Allan Poe possessed not so much a distinctive style as a distinctive manner. So startlingly original was his approach to the dark castles and haunted woodlands of his own somber creation that he transcended the literary by the sheer magic of his prose. Something of that same magic gleams in the darkly-tapestried little fantasy presented here, beneath Evelyn Smith’s eerily enchanted wand. From Fantastic Universe September 1955.

LIBRIVOX - The First One by Herbert D. KastleThe First One
By Herbert D. Kastle; Read by tabithat
1 |MP3| – Approx. 26 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: November 01, 2009
The first man to return from beyond the Great Frontier may be welcomed … but will it be as a curiosity, rather than as a hero…? From Analog July 1961.

Fantastic Universe January 1957Grove Of The Unborn
By Lyn Venable; Read by tabithat
1 |MP3| – Approx. 24 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: November 01, 2009
Glamorous Lyn Venable of Dallas, Texas, makes a first appearance in these pages (but by no means her first appearance in this field), with this sensitive story of a young man who needn’t have run. A contributor to William Nolan’s (Of Time And Texas, November, 1956, Fantastic Universe) famous Ray Bradbury Review, Miss Venable wants, very very much, to be a part, albeit small, of the comeback of science fiction that is seen today, as she wrote us recently. From Fantastic Universe January 1957.

LIBRIVOX - The Hour Of Battle by Robert SheckleyThe Hour Of Battle
By Robert Sheckley; Read by Megan Argo
1 |MP3| – Approx. 14 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: November 01, 2009
As one of the Guardian ships protecting Earth, the crew had a problem to solve. Just how do you protect a race from an enemy who can take over a man’s mind without seeming effort or warning? From Space Science Fiction September 1953.

Fantastic Universe March 1954The Man From Time
By Frank Belknap Long; Read by Norm
1 |MP3| – Approx. 30 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: November 01, 2009
The method by which one man might be pinpointed in the vastness of all Eternity was the problem tackled by the versatile Frank Belknap Long in this story. And as all minds of great perceptiveness know, it would be a simple, human quality he’d find most effective even in solving Time-Space. From Fantastic Universe March 1954.

LIBRIVOX - The Meteor Girl by Jack WilliamsonThe Meteor Girl
By Jack Williamson; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 46 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: November 01, 2009
Through the complicated space-time of the fourth dimension goes Charlie King in an attempt to rescue the Meteor Girl. From Astounding Stories, March 1931.

LIBRIVOX - Pushbutton War by Joseph Paul MartinoPushbutton War
By Joseph Paul Martino; Read by FNH
1 |MP3| – Approx. 40 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: November 01, 2009
In one place, a descendant of the Vikings rode a ship such as Lief never dreamed of; from another, one of the descendants of the Caesars, and here an Apache rode a steed such as never roamed the plains. But they were warriors all. From Astounding Science Fiction August 1960.

LIBRIVOX - Satellite System by Horace Brown FyfeSatellite System
By Horace Brown Fyfe; Read by Bellona Times
1 |MP3| – Approx. 31 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: November 01, 2009
Fyfe’s quite right … there’s nothing like a satellite system for a cold storage arrangement. Keeps things handy, but out of the way… From Analog Science Fact & Fiction October 1960.

Worlds Of If - September 1952The Skull
By Philip K. Dick; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 50 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: November 01, 2009
Conger agreed to kill a stranger he had never seen. But he would make no mistakes because he had the stranger’s skull under his arm. From If Worlds of Science Fiction September 1952.

LibriVox Science Fiction - Star Mother by Robert F. YoungStar Mother
By Robert F. Young; Read by TC Parmelee
1 |MP3| – Approx. 12 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: November 01, 2009
A touching story of the most enduring love in all eternity. From Amazing Stories January 1959.

[Thanks also to Wendel Topper and Lucy Burgoyne]

Posted by Jesse Willis

New Releases: Dan Simmons, James Patterson and Craig Robertson

New Releases

Two upcoming audiobooks from Hachette Audio that we talked about on the most recent SFFaudio Podcast…

HACHETTE AUDIO - Black Hills by Dan SimmonsBlack Hills
By Dan Simmons; Read by Erik Davies and Michael McConnohie
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Published: February 24, 2010
ISBN: 1600247865
When Paha Sapa, a young Sioux warrior, “counts coup” on General George Armstrong Custer as Custer lies dying on the battlefield at the Little Bighorn, the legendary general’s ghost enters him – and his voice will speak to him for the rest of his event-filled life. Seamlessly weaving together the stories of Paha Sapa, Custer, and the American West, Dan Simmons depicts a tumultuous time in the history of both Native and white Americans. Haunted by Custer’s ghost, and also by his ability to see into the memories and futures of legendary men like Sioux war-chief Crazy Horse, Paha Sapa’s long life is driven by a dramatic vision he experienced as a boy in his people’s sacred Black Hills. In August of 1936, a dynamite worker on the massive Mount Rushmore project, Paha Sapa plans to silence his ghost forever and reclaim his people’s legacy-on the very day FDR comes to Mount Rushmore to dedicate the Jefferson face.

HACHETTE AUDIO - Fang by James PattersonFang (A Maximum Ride Novel)
By James Patterson; Read by Jill Apple
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Published: March 25, 2010
ISBN: 9781600247897
Max and the Flock are flying high over Africa, but this time they’re not alone. A sky full of cargo planes accompanies the team as they bring much-needed aid to the continent’s poverty stricken regions. Among the volunteers is the mission’s benefactor–the mysterious billionaire, Dr. Hans Gunther-Hagen. Max is intrigued by his generosity, but there’s also something about him–and his intense scrutiny of the Flock–that makes her nervous. But Dr. Hans isn’t the only puzzling thing about their trip. The Flock also receives a cryptic message from a young girl, who tells them, “The sky will fall.” Max and the Flock are ready to return home, still unable to make sense of her statement. But the surprises don’t end with their departure, and something unbelievably momentous shakes up the Flock–pushing Max and Fang closer than ever. Will the team be able to stick together through the chaos?

And here’s one I got told about by the author hisself… - Anon Time by Craig RobertsonAnon Time
By Craig Robertson; Read by Craig Robertson
Podcast – Approx. 7 Hours 42 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: 2009
What if you weren’t who you thought you were, what others saw you to be? What if the structure of time depended on you to keep it steady. What if unseen forces, both good and evil, surrounded you, effecting your life in way’s you could not begin to imagine? Well, if that were the case, you’d be Mark De Martel, unobtrusive advertising agent in Los Angeles. Or would you? Possibly you were a Mark, but possibly you would be a powerful warrior, using skills such as the manipulation of gravity itself to save existence.

Posted by Jesse Willis

LibriVox release of Jules Verne’s The Fur Country

SFFaudio Online Audio

More happy CANADA DAY releases! Completed a full month ahead of schedule, The Fur Country is a lenghty unabridged novel from LibriVox and public domain audiobook narrator extraordinaire Esther (AKA Starlite). Set at “Seventy Degrees North Latitude” in Canada’s far north, this is one of Jules Verne’s least known novels. The perfect choice for a July 1st release!

The Fur Country by Jules VerneThe Fur Country
By Jules Verne; Read by Esther
47 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – Approx. 13.5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Published: July 1st 2007
“In 1859, officers of the Hudson’s Bay Company are given the mission to found a fort at 70 degrees north of the polar circle. At some point, an earthquake occurs, and from then on, laws of physics seem altered (a total eclipse happens to be only partial; tides are not perceived anymore). They eventually realise that they are not where they are supposed to be.”

Get the entire novel in podcast form via this feed:

Andre Norton’s The Defiant Agents claimed for our SFFaudio Challenge

SFFaudio News

Meta SFFaudio - SFFaudio Contest - Make audiobook win an audiobookCindy Woods, a repertory player and producer for the long running Arbiter Chronicles, has written in to claim The Defiant Agents by Andre Norton. Yep, this is one of the titles in our SFFaudio ‘Make An Audiobook Challenge.’

Cindy is aiming to finish the recording by summer’s end, though as an already busy contributor and editor for the Prometheus Radio Theatre podcast it may take a bit longer.

While this novel fits into the variously titled, “Time Trader,” “Ross Murdock” and “Time War” series it is eminently readable on its own.

The novel’s premise posits a future “cold war” background in which the opposing Russian and U.S. governments use two of their subject peoples (Apache and Mongol) to colonize a distant planet. What starts off as two colonization programs soon escalates into an all-out proxy war. The Defiant Agents is a fun Science Fiction adventure tale from 1962. Here’s the description:

Alien technology scavenged by U.S. and Russian scientists has started a race to colonize planets outside our solar system — and the U.S. scientists are losing! In a desperate move the American government decides to use a group of Apache volunteers in an experimental attempt to colonize a primitive planet, but before they can even begin their spaceship crashes on the planet Topaz…

And to help Cindy reach her Summer 2007 completion date here’s our inspirational art:Science Fiction Audiobook - The Defiant Agents by Andre Norton

Go Cindy! Go!

Review of The Shadow Killer by Matthew Scott Hansen

SFFaudio Audiobook Review

Science Fiction Audiobook - The Shadow   Killer by Matthew Scott HansenThe Shadow Killer
By Matthew Scott Hansen; Read by William Dufris
2 MP3 CDs or 12 CDs; Approx. 15 hrs – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Published: 2007
ISBN: 1400153255 (MP3-CDs); 9781400103256 (CDs)
Themes: / Horror / Sasquatch / Paranormal / Indigene / Monster / Mystery / Mythical Creature /

At first I thought to myself. Bigfoot? Really? It just seemed like the sort of thing you might find in the B-movie isle at Blockbuster. In a way, yes, it is, but not in that cheap, cheesy sort of way, where you feel like you’re just a little dirtier, just a little dumber just for watching. No, The Shadow Killer by Matthew Scott Hansen is a novel that takes all the known clichés from this sort of monster/disaster stories and hones in on the razor sharp edges of them. He does this while still keeping the book compulsively fun.

You know how Bigfoot always seems like a really tall guy in a monkey suit? Well, this is not that kind of Bigfoot story. The luxury of Bigfoot in written form, is that Bigfoot can be as big as the author wants him to be. In fact, there is much of the book spent avoiding the specifics of the actual size, allowing the reader/listener to come up with their own idea of how big it is.

This sasquatch is an angry one. The beginning of the story tells of how his tribe, clan, family, kin have been wiped out and killed by a forest fire. He is the lone survivor and is set off on a mission of revenge towards “The Keepers of Fire”, who just turn out to be us humans. He starts wreaking havoc and slowly builds up to a terrorizing rampage. But, since the existence of Bigfoot has never been proven, it’s not exactly easy to catch him, or even figure out what exactly is going on.

This edge-of-your-seat thriller centers around an ensemble cast who each have varying degrees of faith in the actual existence of this giant. There is a retired software engineer, whose life has been in shambles since he actually encountered a different Bigfoot three years prior, while on vacation. No one believed him, of course, and he has been obsessed ever since. There’s a Sheriff’s Detective who gets assigned to the investigation of all the strange occurrences and missing people in the area. There is even a bloodthirsty TV reporter who has aspirations towards the big time, and she too latches on to the story, willing to do anything to get higher ratings. Last, there’s my favorite character; Ben, aging Indian, who has been having dreams about being chased by this enormous beast. He seems to be connected to this animal and begins searching for it, not knowing exactly what will happen when he finds it. The story seems like a bunch of people being eaten and terrorized for the first several chapters, until Ben is introduced. He’s instantly likeable.

The story is relentless. Once it gets going, it does not let up, and while a few of the characters of this book are still standing in the end, no one gets out with out a few battle wounds, both physically and emotionally. These people get run through the wringer and you go through the wringer with them. As the reader, you start to wonder how much more of this they can take. The writing and descriptions of these scenes are of laser intensity. You know within just a few words of meeting a character whether you are going to like that character or hate them, and once you do like or hate a character the rest of the tale only strengthens your feelings in that direction.

For me, the most enjoyable part of listening to this book was the narration by William Dufris. He is a master of capturing the emotion and feeling of a moment, and in such a way that it really plays out in your mind. Where some narrators might perform a little bit, putting some feeling in to the character’s dialogue and descriptions, Dufris turns his reading in to a tour de force.

This book has numerous characters, all with different voices and attitudes. He can make you laugh, cry, cringe and feel out of breath, all with a few simple inflections to his voice. Female characters somehow sound like real women, and there is not one ounce of discomfort or sense of overacting. Dufris does the reading so well, that you forget that you are actually listening to one man doing all of this by himself. All the while making it seem like it is the simplest of actions. Just like most masters of their craft, William Dufris makes his vocation, audiobook narration, look easy.

All in all, this audio book is a highly entertaining listen. Its got a little bit of everything. But, be warned this is adult material. There are verbose detailed sexual situations and gore that place very interesting pictures in your head. Including one scene of murder where the animal can sense that the woman he is killing is “ready to mate”. What follows after, is one of the few times I have ever felt queasy about what I was listening to. That scene is very well written and extremely vivid, but still discomforting. When you think it’s as bad as it is going to get for this woman, it gets even worse, and I’ll just leave it at that.

So, if you have a strong stomach, like a monster story with great characters and a great narrator, this audio book does what I feel audio books should do for the listener; it won’t let you stop listening to it. In the 15 hours I spent listening to this novel, I never felt bored and my sense of dread and fear for the characters was omnipresent. Maybe, by the time you finish listening, you’ll believe in Bigfoot too.