Reading, Short And Deep #163 – Travel Diary by Alfred Bester

Podcast

Reading, Short And DeepReading, Short And Deep #163

Eric S. Rabkin and Jesse Willis discuss Travel Diary by Alfred Bester

Here’s a link to a PDF of the story.

Travel Diary was first published in the 1958 collection Starburst.

Podcast feed https://sffaudio.herokuapp.com/rsd/rss

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

New Releases – Wonder Audio, Leiber and Weinbaum

SFFaudio Recent Arrivals

Did you know you can get either of these titles, as well as any other Wonder Audio title for free?  Just sign up at Audible.com/WonderAudio

The Night of the Long KnivesThe Night of the Long Knives
By Fritz Leiber; Read by Mark Douglas Nelson
3hr,  37 min.- [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Wonder Audio
Published: 2009

Available at Audible & iTunes

A Deathlander’s life is a rough one. Atomic radiation, murder and sex preoccupies the sparse inhabitants of what used to be a great portion of America’s West. Kill or be killed is the law of this sickened land. Multicolored radioactive dusts floats in the atmosphere of this nuclear desert.

When Ray Baker meets a woman on his sojourn, he doesn’t know if he wants to kill her or sleep with her. Ray doesn’t understand his urge to murder. But he feels it like all the other Deathlanders. Just as he knows the girl feels it. Laying down their arsenal of weapons will leave them both vulnerable. The cost of a moment of intimacy may lead to the last moments of their lives. And what to do when the act is over, and both their minds turn back to murder.

Parasite Planet: The Ham & Pat StoriesParasite Planet: The Ham & Pat Stories
By Stanley G. Weinbaum; Read by Mark Douglas Nelson
3hr, 47 min.- [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Wonder Audio
Published: 2009

Available at Audible & iTunes

The short and meteoric career of Stanley G. Weinbaum produced many instantly hailed classics. None had the breadth of wonder, and adventure with philosophic insight as the trilogy of stories that feature Ham Hammond and Patricia Burlingame.

Parasite Planet begins with Ham Hammond trekking across the surface of Venus. The environment is parasitic, filled with bizarre alien life forms like the lasso throwing Jack Ketch Trees and the doughpots, a mindless omnivorous ball of animate cells that devour all living things in their path. When Ham meets the contentious Patricia Burlingame, they have to march across Venus to safety. It’s not clear what is going to kill them first, Venus’s hostile environment or each other.

In The Lotus Eaters, Ham and Pat are on a special scientific expedition to the dark-side of Venus. They discover a strange warm-blooded plant. The most disconcerting thing about the plant is when it begins speaking English and waxing philosophically.

The Planet of Doubt brings the duo to Uranus on another special scientific expedition. The cloudy shrouded terrain strikes terror into the heart of Ham as tries to find the lost Pat who he hopes is still be alive!

Posted by The Time Traveler of the Time Traveler Show

Slipstream & Silent Planet

SFFaudio Online Audio

BBC Radio 7 - BBC7 Slipstream
Full cast audio drama
Written by Simon Bovey
Directed by Marc Beeby
5 episodes
Begins on Monday, November 24
Episodes air daily at 6PM and 12AM GMT

March 1945 and the Allies’ victory in Europe is a forgone conclusion. But then over a hundred RAF bombers are shot down in one night by a shimmering aircraft. Is this a new terror weapon? One that could turn the tide of war back in the Germans’ favour?

I enjoyed Slipstream. I’ve read other perhaps more original war themed science fiction stories, yet this one, in this case a cleverly conceived audio play, still sticks with me. Probably because it manages to elevate a fairly stock “secret weapons of the Luftwaffe” idea a step or two further with…sheer oomph. Slipstream is ballsy, it takes chances and the performances are good, particularly “Barton”, the mission team leader, the kind of character that you “love to hate”. Really nice production as well, rounding Slipstream out to a solid three out of four stars for me. Maybe three and a half if I’m feeling generous. See what you think.

BBC Radio 7 - BBC7 Out of the Silent Planet
Written by C. S. Lewis
Read by Alex Jennings
Unabridged – 12 episodes
Begins on Monday, November 24
Episodes air daily at 6:30PM and 12:30AM GMT

Out of the Silent Planet is the first novel of C. S. Lewis’ highly regarded “Space Trilogy” (followed by a hands down classic, Perelandra, and the concluding book of the series, That Hideous Strength). It’s basically an old fashioned adventure story that becomes a strange kind of interplanetary epic. One thing to note to first timers, this isn’t rockets, robots and ray guns material. These novels are much weirder, more allegorical, more spiritual and bizarrely alien, revealing the real history and truth behind what we humans think we know about the history of the solar system (and of the workings of the cosmos at large).  Good gooey stuff, and Out of the Silent Planet whets the appetite…for goo.

Remember that all BBC7 programs stay online for six days after they air. To catch up on the 7th Dimension selections, just keep an eye on the schedule here.

Posted by RC of RTSF

Review of Protector By Larry Niven

Science Fiction Audiobook - Protector by Larry NivenProtector
By Larry Niven; read by Mark Sherman
5 cassettes – 7.5 hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: 2003
ISBN: 0786123907
Themes: / Science Fiction / Aliens / Interplanetary Travel / Solar-System Civilization / Asteroid Belt / Mars / Evolution / Genetics / Biology / Ballistic Physics /

Phssthpok the Pak had been traveling for most of his thirty-two thousand years. His mission was to save, develop, and protect the group of Pak breeders sent out into space some two and a half million years before. Brennan was a Belter, the product of a fiercely independent, somewhat anarchic society living in, on, and around an outer asteroid belt. The Belters were rebels, one and all, and Brennan was a smuggler. The Belt worlds had been tracking the Pak ship for days, and Brennan figured to meet that ship first. He was never seen again, at least not by those alive at the time.

Humanity has become an interplanetary species; Luna, Mars, Mercury, the Asteroid Belt and the gas giants of Sol are the playground of mankind. But it wasn’t meant to be that way… an alien race from near the galactic core has set its sights on Earth and the cargo it brings will bear some really strange fruit.

Protector is absolutely bursting with awesome SF ideas, and the twists on them, everything from a precursor to Richard Dawkin’s “Selfish Gene Theory”, to realistic spaceship ballistics and sexual politics. Niven himself has been a giant in the SF field since the early 1970s, of the many living authors who still haven’t been bestowed with the honorific “Grand Master,” Niven is the most deserving. Protector was first published in 1973, and is a part of Niven’s ongoing “Known Space” series, one of the foremost continuing visions of the future by an SF author. Like Robert A. Heinlein’s Future History series, the Known Space novels and stories follow the expansion of humans into the galaxy. And Protector is perhaps the best of the Known Space novels, it offers some of the hardest of the Hard SF ever written, something Larry Niven has a particular talent for, and it’s a great story, both unpredictable and fun! But I can’t stress enough just how good this novel is, the plot is unpredictable but relentlessly logical and enthralling at the same time, even better this novel like Richard Matheson’s classic I Am Legend, has a deep psychological and philosophical impact on the reader, and it also has a similar twist ending. It’s simply fantastic!

Reader Mark Sherman appears to have prepared well for what really could have been a very difficult reading. Larry Niven gave the alien names a real alien sound – I had no idea how to pronounce names like “Phssthpok”, but Mark Sherman does a great job in putting voice to it and numerous other unpronounceable words. Blackstone Audiobooks’s production is super smooth, sound quality is terrific, the cassettes come packaged in the awesome library style clamshell case and the original cover art is simply amazing to behold. For those who prefer other formats, Blackstone has also released Protector in two other media types, a 6 CD set or a single MP3-CD. Whatever format you choose you must choose one as this production of Larry Niven’s Protector is nigh unto perfect.

Posted by Jesse Willis