The SFFaudio Podcast #565 – READALONG: Last Days Of Thronas by Stuart J. Byrne

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #525 – Jesse and Paul Weimer talk about Last Days Of Thronas by Stuart J. Byrne

Talked about on today’s show:
and today we’re reading…, John Bloodstone, an old science fiction novel, why wouldn’t I read this book?, public domain, never heard of this guy, Science Stories, February 1954, house names or pseudonyms, tiers of science fiction magazines, armchair fiction, digging into the issue, the cover has nothing to do with the contents of the story, a brilliant 45,000 word novel, a singular spaceship, J. Allen St. John, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan, Warlord Of Mars, The Moon Maid, a Burroughsian planetary romance, splash page, the creature, his former lover, a precursor, L. Sprague de Camp’s Viagens Interplanetarias, against the rules, find each other attractive, tentacles out of eyebrows, an ancient spaceship, the subjugated people have invented gunpowder, backgrounded to Garthanas’ story, what Paul would be thinking about Jesse would be thinking about the worldbuilding, how little this book has been published, it does was it says on the tin, a man off his world (or not our world), the ending, a solar system with two and a half inhabitable planets, Thronas is the fifth world, Carson of Venus, Hamardeen, the math and the names, a panspermia story, dinosaur time, Dalathasheen, Haven, Adamas, a tropical haven, a vast natural garden which they named…, Atlantis,

Their dreams of old we, too, have known,
But we are flesh and they are
stone,
And Yesterday is dust…

just some rando, a weird way to start a story, Tolkien, narrator Tim Harper, preeeety good job, so good, very specific vocab, names of days, all of the logic, names of ranks, layer up this world, as logical and rational as possible, lovely detail, the amphitheater, very vivid, very colourful, a real sense of embodiment, the interests of the author, elf names, etymological construction to the names of things, the measuring system, worldbuilding and making a whole universe (or solar system) for a FIVE HOUR BOOK, and to make the story work as well, the same trick over and over: a secret identity, he’s teaching us, you like Twelfth Night, you like Shakespeare, he’s turning evil, what if I’ve been rooting for a monster this whole time, that’s good writing, the AI of the ship, the metal god, a very early AI, from such an oblique angle, The Great C by Philip K. Dick, he Kirks the computer, I love that idea, the computer doesn’t say, if Kirking is a verb, apparently Gene Roddenberry was a fan, “I’d stand in a line in the rain for one of Stu Byrne’s stories”, back when Paul was young and strong, Thundarr The Barbarian Garth Ennis, one of the many many rip-off’s if Conan, make the show to sell the toys, unpublished Tarzan novel, fan fiction, the Pellucidars, the Barsoom books, male romancesque, lost to time, when the book is THIS interesting, the archaeology of this sort of thing, born in 1911, Jam Packed with Burroughs, more of the same, He-Man, She-Ra, Red Sonja (from the comics), filed-off serial numbers, friendship works differently in Burroughs-world, honor-based friendship, more sex and drinking, more carousing, no animal friend, no Woola, The Green Odyssey, a loving-parody-comedy vs. straight-up, Michael Moorcock, Glory Road by Robert A. Heinlein, hard to escape the orbit of Burroughs, S.M. Stirling, Tantor Media, The Sky People, In The Courts Of The Crimson Kings, he goes wide, characterizing the responses to Burroughs, dinosaurs on Mars, Leigh Brackett, aliens, A World Of Difference by Harry Turtledove, a collapsed empire, the golden ship is a great piece, with that ending he’s cutting off all the sequels, what it turns this book into is a science fiction book of the mainstream type, acceleration, artificial gravity, a force of nature like the tides, the worship of many many gods, how much work he put into this, not a work of slapdashery, Goodreads reviews, the used bookstores podcast, Goodreads is owned by Amazon, many moral hazards in the universe, AbeBooks is owned by Amazon, Byrne is from St. Paul,

It has all the hallmarks of a hastily-written product plus one whose creator has a very specific beginning and endpoint in mind and is working to bridge the two. Byrne occasionally has to paste in the gaps with backstory or offstage events–clearly he was not going to go back and revise–and this leaves the impression that more interesting things are happening to more interesting people while Garthanas is standing around waiting or being talked to.

The story is also strangely unspecific about the context. It’s implied that the oppressed Harmarians are some kind of ethnic minority who are slowly being deported to planet Hamardeen (Mars) because the Thronasians would prefer to be served by the unpredictable and violent nonhuman polar inhabitants, but nobody says this and it is not explained clearly. The half-explanations conspire to baffle and not tantalize with unseen depths.

“Space barbarians” is arrived at uniquely, with a robotic Golden Ship left behind by an earlier civilization. It is a tragedy that this is the only remnant of super-science and one wonders what more Byrne could have added to liven up this story.

The final moments, as it starts to wrap up, do achieve power. Byrne finally has a specific vision with a specific end goal and Garanthas is in place to witness it all and to act appropriately. But the overall impression is less “tale of multigenerational tragedy” than “muddled mess”.

hanging out with a Roman slave who knows how the Roman Empire works, a case of reviewism, a disease that effects many reviewers, space barbarians, a trope, maybe it needed more pondering, a lot of battle scenes, before we talk about the art, action packed, almost the script for Buck Rogers, so many court scenes, sneaking around inside of a space ship, a Star Wars (1977) level of action, kissing, intrigue, how you are when you come to something, a serious problem when they do reviews a lot, IMDB or Rotten Tomatoes, he’s writing to his own conclusion, award winning is a bad word in Jesse’s mind, The Aquiliad: Aquila In The New World by S.P. Somtow, you need to know what the author is doing, answers to What If, the artist knew truth, the only person better at sculpting than me is my master, a very small pair of worlds, another connection to Star Wars, hello Jupiter, reading into it, he wanted to have philosophy in it without getting into it, a thinker king like King Kull, appreciating the art, about that meditation, a John Carter who is appreciating the martian sculptures, normally that’s us when reading the books, the statue at the end, it’s in that opening song, a future echo, an echo of the past, Battlestar Galactica, page 13, we are flesh and they are stone, playing with, the word “Truth”, Ozymandias by Percy Shelley, Ozymandias by Horace Smith, On A Stupendous Leg Of Granite…, hubris is a great problem, uh huh and yup and we’re going to be the same way, more political, Lovecraftian vs. science fictional, that projection, Beyond Thirty by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert Charles Wilson’s Darwinia, the journals and a report about what’s going on in North America, Planet Of The Apes, fast paced, Jack McDevitt’s Eternity Road, so many great books that are just hidden away, ratings are a part of the problem of reviewism, star ratings, clouding judgement, it straight jackets you, the pain management chart, hangnail 1, gaping flesh wound from sword stab 8, a standard of one person, the way Luke Burrage justifies his rating system, this is not a classic like a The House On The Borderland, The Time Machine, more worldbuilding than The Green odyssey, Tolkien vs. Narnia, portal fantasy vs. secondary world, six hours well spent, thank you to Tim Harper,

Last Days Of Thronas by S.J. Byrne - illustration by J. Allen St. John

Last Days Of Thronas by S.J. Byrne - illustration by J. Allen St. John

Last Days Of Thronas by S.J. Byrne - illustration by J. Allen St. John

Last Days Of Thronas by S.J. Byrne - illustration by J. Allen St. John

Review of The End is Nigh

SFFaudio Review

The End is NighThe End is Nigh (Apocalypse Triptych #1)
Edited by John Joseph Adams and Hugh Howey (full author and performer list below)
Publisher: Broad Reach Publishing
Publication Date: 8 April 2014
[UNABRIDGED] – 15 hours, 8 minutes

Themes: / apocalypse / destruction / short stories /

Publisher summary:

Famine. Death. War. Pestilence. These are the harbingers of the biblical apocalypse, of the End of the World. In science fiction, the end is triggered by less figurative means: nuclear holocaust, biological warfare/pandemic, ecological disaster, or cosmological cataclysm.

But before any catastrophe, there are people who see it coming. During, there are heroes who fight against it. And after, there are the survivors who persevere and try to rebuild.

Table of contents and audiobook narrator listings copied directly from John Joseph Adams’ website. If you want more detailed summaries of each story, I found the review at Tangent very good, particularly because it is so hard to keep track of short stories when you are listening instead of reading!

The audio was an incredible asset to this anthology, although I will probably also need to buy this for my shelf o’ anthologies. The best in audio are Removal Order, BRING HER TO ME, and The Fifth Day of Deer Camp.

My favorite stories were BRING HER TO ME and Goodnight Moon.

I’m most interested in the next installment (so please let there be a next installment) of Removal Order, Pretty Soon the Four Horsemen are Going to Come Riding Through, and Spores.

What do I mean by next installment? The End is Nigh is the first volume of a triptych. It will be followed by The End is Now and The End Has Come, with some authors contributing linked stories. Very exciting concept, and as the Queen of Apocalypse there is no way I couldn’t read this.

Here are my more detailed impressions, story by story!

Read More

The SFFaudio Podcast #181 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Beckoning Fair One by Oliver Onions

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #181 – The Beckoning Fair One by Oliver Onions, read by Julie Davis (of Forgotten Classics and A Good Story Is Hard To Find). This is a complete and unabridged reading of the novella (2 Hours 40 Minutes) followed by a discussion of it. Participants in the discussion include Scott, Jesse, and Julie Davis!

Talked about on today’s show: Yay!, Scott has another busy year, The Odyssey, Beowulf, length vs. content, is The Beckoning Fair One too long for it’s material?, modern colloquial terms (for 1910), Stephen King, The Forbidden Books Group Presents, Necronomipod: The Lair Of The Bookish Worm did a podcast discussion of The Beckoning Fair One, The Shining, writer protagonists, Bag Of Bones, The Haunting Of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, The Turn Of The Screw by Henry James, surprise endings, ambiguity, a writer’s point of view, Julie’s sister can see ghosts, now is the time in the podcast for a personal ghost story, the ghosts of Logan, Utah, troubled or troublesome nuns, are ghostly experiences possible during the daylight?, doppelgänger, an urban phenomena, a haunted hotel room, a vivid vision of a drowning, a disappearing maid, nightmares, a premonition, Christine, why are there no haunted beach?, haunted cars, gremlins, hiking, a haunted hiking trail, machete vs. axe, ‘there’s something wrong with that bedroom’, there’s something wrong with that, the ontological argument, House, M.D., between the ultraviolet and the infrared, a great title, the dripping of a faucet, The Sarah Bennett Quintet, suicide, Oleron is unconscious of the things that he’s conscious of, who’s sleeping in my bed?, a ghostly brushing, “he wakes up to himself”, a harp cover, Oléron is an island in France, and Romilly is a city in France, is the house playing him like a harp?, the final chapter, Jesse’s not super swift, a shut in, vegetable refuse, wig-stands, a large lumpy pudding, the recurring “triangle”, it has esoteric meaning to Freemasons, how did Elsie end up in the closet?, “you get to decide”, an alternative suspect, the tramp in the basement, the Hobo marks, “don’t push the religious angle”, firemarks (fire insurance marks), starving artists, why men have to get married, a Jonathan Swift shout-out, Elsie had a Brobdingnagian complexion, “I need you and I want you to marry me.”, sticking with the spooky, maybe Julie’s in an insane asylum?, Community, Red Dwarf is an excellent Science Fiction show, The Booth At The End, H.P. Lovecraft, Dagon, The Colour Out Of Space, The Statement Of Randolph Carter, The Dunwich Horror, amorphous horror, a gelatinous voice, Gregg Margarite, The Facts In The Case Of M. Valdemar by Edgar Allan Poe, this podcast is making me hurry for rosewater pudding, The Sixth Sense, Signs, Joaquin Phoenix, The Master, Baron Münchhausen, The Takeaway Movie Date, The Big Book Of Ghost Stories edited by Otto Penzler, Donald E. Westlake, the ghost of the paperback, Jesse has a guardian angel?, Parker, Jason Statham is a modern action movie star like they had in the 1980s, The Bank Job, Anarchaos by Curt Clark (aka Donald E. Westlake), Smoke, Humans, Firebird by Jack McDevitt, Will Duquette, Hans Christian Andersen, Oscar Wilde.

Romilly

The Big Book Of Ghost Stories edited by Otto Penzler

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #170 – READALONG: The Fountains Of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #170 – Jesse, Tamahome, and Jenny discuss the Brilliance Audio audiobook of The Fountains Of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke.

Talked about on today’s show:
Skyhooks and space elevators, Sri Lanka, “my first space elevator book”, Robert A. Heinlein, Friday, “it feels like a novel”, “the fictional accounting of a real construction project”, history, Colombo, afterwords, sources and acknowledgements, “what a rip-off”, Sigiriya’s Lion Paws Gate, King Kashyapa I, “past, present, and future”, engineering fiction vs. science fiction, Taprobane, Paradise Regained by John Milton, Jo Walton’s review of The Fountains Of Paradise, religion, “Heinlein in a dress”, an idea book, to think interesting Science Fictional thoughts, hard SF, Clarke’s Laws, space probe, a game changer, Gregg Margarite, Shri Jawaharlal Nehru, The Nine Billion Names Of God, Sigmund Freud, growing out of religion?, Thomas Aquinas, symbolic logic, Bertrand Russell, satellites and their uses, unseen benefits to giant engineering projects and science, Sydney Opera House, the Eiffel Tower, Burj Khalifa, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, “this is what we’re meant to do”, the space age, the 1970s, Jenny gets depressed, Terpkristin‘s visit to French Guiana (PICS!), will we have a Chinese moonbase by 2022?, innovation vs. exploration, Jerry O’Neil, good reasons to go to space, we ought to do things that we can do, Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey, the daily life challenges of a space born population, The Island Worlds by Eric Kotani and John Maddox Roberts, the probe is a person, The Geek’s Guide To The Galaxy #64: John Scalzi, (Star Trek holds us back), “the God Particle”, “you’re going to die soon”, can we empathize with a character that isn’t a human being?, a complimentary cosmonaut, 2001: A Space Odyssey, one day in Jerusalem, the transhuman future in the end of The Fountains Of Paradise, Starglider/Starholme, a well developed solar society, the Wikipedia entry for The Fountains Of Paradise, The Last Theorem, The City And The Stars, a non-off putting post-human story, Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, Ted Chiang, Charles Stross, sequels and science, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Alastair Reynolds, Kim Stanley Robinson, in SF ideas build can on one another whereas others books are more parasitizing upon those ideas, why does it have to be a new book?, ‘these were the stepping stones to today’, a balance of both a good story and good ideas, William Gibson, Embassytown by China Miéville, The City And The City, “garbage, garbage, garbage”, 2312, Playboy’s serialization of The Fountains Of Paradise, Buckminster Fuller, why did Sir Arthur C. Clarke live in Sri Lanka?, Milton is literature, Dante’s Inferno, Lucifer’s fall from heaven, Brilliance Audio, A Fall Of Moondust by Arthur C. Clarke, BBC Radio dramatization of A Fall Of Moondust, Crisis On Conshelf Ten by Monica Hughes, “best book ever”, The Abyss, Tom Swift, Aquaman vs. The Sub-Mariner, Blue Remembered Earth by Alastair Reynolds, The Prefect, Ray Of Light by Brad Torgeson, “Alien sun mirror block deepwater living daughter Glimmer Club surface discovery.”, the Mars tangent, Phobos and Deimos, John Scalzi, “I liked that he didn’t explain it.”, “we don’t build em that way”, “I want it to be hard”, Phobos interference would be a feature not a bug, “wiggle the thread”, atmospheric density and windspeed, carbon nano-tubes vs. buckminsterfullerene, Roald Dahl, Charlie And The Great Glass Elevator, horror, The BFG, Jack McDevitt, a waking dream, in the shadow of Vesuvius, the Prime Directive, Doctor Who, Fantasy vs. Science Fiction, Inferno (Doctor Who episode), Sliders, Doorways by George R.R. Martin, Tom Baker.

BRILLIANCE AUDIO - The Fountains Of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke

Caedmon - Arthur C. Clarke reads Fountains Of Paradise

Del Rey paperback - The Fountains Of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke

Playboy, January 1979 - The Fountains Of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke - illustration by Ignacio Gomez

Playboy, February 1979 - The Fountains Of Paradise by Arthur C. Clarke - illustration by Ignacio Gomez

Posted by Jesse Willis

Recent Arrivals: Blackstone Audio, Brilliance Audio, Macmilian Audio

SFFaudio Recent Arrivals

Check out this freshly scanned batch of audiobooks from Blackstone Audio, Brilliance Audio, and Macmilian Audio. Personally I’m most excited about the two Dick titles (despite the terrible covers) and The Lost World in part because how great the cover is! I can highly recommend Immortality, Inc as we talked about it on SFFaudio Podcast #144 – sadly its boring cover belies the exiting contents and the terrific narration that lies beneath it.

Blackstone Audio - Berserker Prime by Fred Saberhagen

Blackstone Audio - Destiny's Road by Larry Niven

Blackstone Audio - The Engines Of God by Jack McDevitt

Blackstone Audio - Farseed by Pamela Sargent

Blackstone Audio - Immortality, Inc. by Robert Sheckley

Blackstone Audio - The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Blackstone Audio - Mermaid by Carolyn Turgeon

Blackstone Audio - Power Play by Ben Bova

Brilliance Audio - Against The Light by Dave Duncan

Brilliance Audio - The Crack In Space by Philip K. Dick

Brilliance Audio - Penultimate Truth by Philip K. Dick

Brilliance Audio - Resurrection by Arwen Elys Dayton

Brilliance Audio - Wild Cards 1 edited by George R.R. Martin

Macmilian Audio - Shadows In Flight by Orson Scott Card

Posted by Jesse Willis

Tantor Media offers MP3 Downloads (and limited time Buy One Get One Free)

SFFaudio News

MP3 – that’s pretty much the best kind of auidobook format. It’ll work on any device, is convertible to any other format, and is completely DRM free. Tantor Media has begun offering them!

There are now more than 1,000 downloadable titles available to choose from.

Tantor Media - Buy One Get One Free

Use Code: bogo8
Code expires: October 30, 2011

And, here’s the November 2011 Tantor catalogue |PDF| which includes a biography of Nikola Tesla, A Treatise Concerning the Principles of
Human Knowledge
(George Berkeley) and a new novel by Jack McDevitt!

Posted by Jesse Willis