The SFFaudio Podcast #489 – AUDIOBOOK/READALONG: The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume One, 1929-1964: The Roads Must Roll by Robert A. Heinlein

September 3, 2018 by · Leave a Comment
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Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastBlackstone Audio - The Science Fiction Hall Of Fame Volume 1 edited by Robert SilverbergThe SFFaudio Podcast #489 – The Roads Must Roll by Robert A. Heinlein; read by L.J. Ganser. This is an unabridged reading of the novelette (1 hour, 33 minutes) followed by a discussion of the Blackstone Audio audiobook of The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume One, 1929-1964 and The Roads Must Roll.

Participants in the discussion include Jesse, Scott, Paul Weimer, and Marissa Vu

Talked about on today’s show:
The Science Fiction Hall Of Fame, Volume I, the mid-1980s, this one looks really long, a good exercise, reviewing collections, summarizing stories, quick opinion, get the audiobook and dole them out very gently, Microcosmic God, disgusting to rush, the audiobook is fantastic, superior, so good, one caveat, songs, tunes, Fondly Fahrenheit may be the greatest science fiction ever written, Cold Equations is important, Alfred Bester, tension apprehension and dissension have begun, reet in the heat, missing tunes, X-Minus One, cheery and cool, Oliver Wyman, Scanners Live In Vain, the cranch voice, if you had to narrate which story would you pick?, all so different all so good, Paul would go with Coming Attraction, that sad mournful ending, New York, tugging at Paul’s heart, the mangled Empire State Building, the girl is playing him, Paul could bring that pain, such male author stories, Stanley Weinbaum’s A Martian Odyssey, Judith Merril, The Quest For Saint Aquin by Anthony Boucher, very Catholic, the pope keeps his ring in his shoe, apostolic, the filth encrusted wooden table, robass – a robot donkey, jeep, The Huddling Place, Clifford D. Simak, no conflict in his stories, the guy needs to leave his house, the stakes are big, caught by Simak, The Goblin Reservation, so relatable, too late, sort of a metaphor for life right now, conversations about which stories to read, this is great!, science fiction stories can resonate even stronger later on than when they were published, 1944, all about today, all his friends are elsewhere, bullshit at the airport and the border, stay home in my mansion, the horrors of bureaucratic awfulness, hotel food, you fight to travel, the shore I know, a traveling armchair, The Caves Of Steel by Isaac Asimov, agoraphobia, where Asimov read Simak, City, we need a narrator for The Trouble With Ants by Clifford D. Simak, future history, the rise of the dogs, Jesse would narrate Born Of Man And Woman by Richard Matheson, not my life experience, Marissa gets it now, Jesse’s Roof Bear friends, ESL/EAL, making acronyms, drawing little pictures, bare means naked, a bare roof has no bear, Cellar Feller, a green monster chained to the wall of the basement, unchained the monster, told from the monster’s point of view, Flowers For Algernon, “Screen Stars”, you have to infer so much, a simple and thoughtful POV, it has niceness inside of it, after yet another beating, That Only A Mother, the horrors of mutation, The Crawlers, The Golden Man, Philip K. Dick, radiation, E.E. Doc Smith, Them! (1954), giant ants, the psychic wound of nuking cities, the white guys do science fiction anthology, sameness in assumed viewpoint, plenty of SF women writers, James Nichol, Nebula award folks (SFWA writers), introductions, a terrible introduction for telling you about the stories, one decision of editors, novelists and co-writers, switching over to weird fiction, ‘women had to hide their identities behind male pseudonyms’, weird fiction authors, science fiction poetry and novels are well represented, one and half women, Nightfall is a dud because it is long and it doesn’t need to be, it needs to be read, writing to an image and a final scene, slow buildup, that final realization, fear vs. wonder, the celestial mechanics don’t really work, a wondrous image, that religious or anti-religious thing, who are we arguing with, the writers from 1970, The Country Of The Kind by Damon Knight, Arena by Fredric Brown, Tishiro Mifune vs. Lee Marvin (Hell In The Pacific), where is Philip K. Dick?, Little Black Bag by C.M. Kornbluth, The Marching Morons, terrible but interesting, The Cold Equations by Tom Godwin, an important story, a rage inducing story, the most influential science fiction story ever written?, responses to it, very H.G. Wells in its execution of thought, clean and pure vs clunky and arbitrary, character is really not very important in science fiction, western genre, baseball magazines, railroad magazines, True Detective, those are all dead and gone, they’re not full of idea, the universe doesn’t care about you, you are mistaken sir, designed by committee, John W. Campbell, the story that it is, the story we needed, take a spacewalk, fascinating, pure poetry, Ray Bradbury, Roger Zelazny, serviceable, all about the idea, The Nine Billion Names Of God, beautifully executed and a mindblower, The Star, was it right for God to destroy a whole civilization just to get a baby Jesus, Microcosmic God by Theodore Sturgeon, More Than Human, Some Of Your Blood, Venus Plus X, the Frankenstein story retold, the definite mad scientist story, Sandkings by George R.R. Martin, in dialogue, massive differences, Kidder, ideas vs. entertainment, Dragon’s Egg by Robert L. Forward, incredibly well written, Sturgeon’s style, that Heinleinian feel, First Contact by Murray Leinster, Star Trek, a view of the 20th century, feeling futuristic still, visiplates, when flatscreens first came out, visiplates everywhere, mirrors out the visiplates, the Apollo program had mirrors, A Martian Odyssey by Stanley G. Weinbaum, a story of The Martian by Andy Weir, a great description, a bird monster alien being eaten by a cthulhu creature, Tweel, better aliens than any aliens, language, a United Nations of accents, a classic of Science Fiction, laying the groundwork for later SF, the entirety of John W. Campbell’s theory, Jack Vance, really good story, delightfully light and fun and thought provoking, impossible, funny and tragic in so many little moments, Twilight by John W. Campbell, a hitchhiking time traveller, light and breezy and old fashioned sexist?, Helen O’Loy by Lester Del Rey is a satire, out of context, its beautiful, she kills herself, true love, porn addiction, it feels very modern, very influential, The Stepford Wives, Ex Machina, Fondly Fahrenheit, The Weapon Shop by A.E. Van Vogt, PKD became obsessed with A.E. Van Vogt, the Null stories, The Voyage Of The Space Beagle, the alien from Alien, Slan, a very good reading, the arbitrary weirdness that happens and the small businessman, how you feel when you’re reading a PKD book, community, migrating to another planet, somebody gets me!, these are the rules now, no boobs, sentient nipples, nobody cheating on his wife, Rudyard Kipling really influenced Heinlein, The Seesaw, Mimsy Were The Borogroves by Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore, creepy weird SF, Alice In Wonderland, Kuttner’s radical viewpoint, C.L. Moore’s style and image, Zero Hour by Ray Bradbury, Reading, Short And Deep, very pairable, Vintage Season, like a business, making a living together, our Scanners Live In Vain show, the best Martian Chronicles story, There Will Come Soft Rains, The Million Year Picnic, Usher II, Kornlbuth was snarky or amazing, Surface Tension by James Blish, pantropic series, a Joseph Smith and the golden plates going on, using their gametes, they won’t remember us, untarnishable, a few microns, a science fiction story about sea monkeys, rocket technology, a whole funny cute little thing, Stephen Baxter’s Flux, Adrian Tchaikovsky’s The Expert System’s Brother, Jerome Bixby’s A Good Life, The Twilight Zone episode, Daniel Keyes, the shorter version is better, adapted many times, an emotional trainwreck, Ted Chiang’s Understand, Beggars In Spain by Nancy Kress, exploring the consequences of giving superhuman abilities, developmental disabilities, mocked by the people at the bakery, if you just become a libertarian…, the Ayn Rand version of this story, The Country Of The Kind is in dialogue with The Country Of The Blind by H.G. Wells, there’s no such thing as vision, a horror story about an evil man, Alfred Bester’s The Roller-Coaster, Robert Silverberg’s Passengers, putting avatars through hell for your own amusement, once the people in your VR worlds are smart enough to feel real, the pleasure-pain syndrome is not available in this unit, A Rose For Ecclesiastes by Roger Zelazny, Mars getting smaller and smaller, strong religious themes, Lord Of Light, a Hindu thing going on, an Amber fan, when he uses his kung-fu, smoking, “Mr Gee, piped Morton.”, why was this Heinlein story chosen, it’s a representative story, Gentlemen, Be Seated, a character who knows things taking someone around and giving him a tour, social stuff, a rebellion of labour against “the Man”, functionalism, how important a position is to economics, a real phenomenon, a real paper from 1930, a certain kind of philosophy, Douglas-Martin screens, the mid-sixties, The Man Who Sold The Moon, cars are not a really great idea, how are we going to recover from it?, the rise of suburbia, the depletion of inner cities, urban sprawl, cars are going to kill us, what are the social implications, going for big ideas, a labour intensive technology, he works it out in such detail, we should all expect rockets to the Moon, ancient journeys to the Moon, what about slidewalks, airports have them, a conveyor belt that pulls people along, castles in the sky but in science fiction, I have this vision of the United States remade, how would all this work, the union that runs this machine, a militarized union, a fascinating exploration of Science Fiction that proves the point Scott is making, here’s an idea – what would it mean, some guy from Australia, Airplane! (1980), it all comes to nothing (except its amazing), a weird strain of science fiction, look at what people can do, grand ideas to solve upcoming problems, the law of unintended consequences, who are putting you life in the hands of, so different physically, the internet cables, shutting the internet off for 8 hours, when Wikipedia shutdown, the screen is black, so many people are affected, why is my website not working?, when Ronald Regan broke the air traffic controller’s union, if you accept the basic premise,

The fictional social movement he calls functionalism (which is unrelated to the real-life sociological theory of the same name), advances the idea that one’s status and level of material reward in a society must and should depend on the functions one performs for that society.

meritocracy, the elite that runs the country, we need superdelgates, who are the depolarables?, binders full of assholes, anybody who didn’t go to an ivy league university or doesn’t work for a military contractor, testing out his whole theory, what the saboteurs want, the philosophy behind the story, compare with Starship Troopers and The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress, votes for veterans, “fight the wars” say the chickenhawks, a real problem, if you cant service the servos, in today’s society, why is Heinlein even talking about this?, in the Navy, peacetime officers, during wartime incompetence can kill you, the Scientology Wikipedia entry, L. Ron Hubbard, removed from command twice for incompetence, this is not a tenable situation in an emergency, these guys deserve more power because they have more skill, exploring the idea, they’re all competent, extreme competence, breaking psychologically, for the good of society, a fascinating fact, the R.C.M.P., Preston, Nelson, Dudley, a paramilitary force, when the RCMP are protesting they wear jeans, Coquitlam, Vancouver, Port Moody, what are the union members fighting for?, the right to quit and take another job, the plot comes after the idea, so awesome, a roadside diner on a moving road, how to move people, buses and trains, railroad magazines, every kind of of thing you can imagine about railroading, solar power, obsessed with the idea, the poor Australian, under what circumstances aren’t there better choices?, not practical, he proves they are impractical, all these engineers, a story about a bus company, the buses are shutdown, he maximizes it in certain places, general strikes, a strong man at the top, a straw man to knock down, someone with large hands, New York City stopping allowing cars, self-driving cars, a really efficient traffic pattern, a Netflix subscription service, electric scooters parked everywhere, the key to efficiency, what Scott sees, ransomwaring, working at Vodafone, loyalty to the company, X-Minus One, Dimension X, a fairly long story, tumblebugs, Segways, how humiliating it is, child sized bikes, the cover of Astounding, June 1940, they have guns, engineer and policeman, engineer and soldier, the ultimate in Heinleinian competence, we have to come to some arrangement, horror danger, going the horror direction, Farnham’s Freehold, some doofus, old man and his son-in-law, castration for being an idiot, nuclear war, are they going to be aiming here?, Fallout 3 or 4, a park of the black overlords, listen to papa boss, what would the United States be like if Heinlein had become president?, The Return Of William Proxmire by Larry Niven, failed politician, science fiction happens anyway, public works, moon program, an Eisenhowery-father figure, super-anti-communist, what kind of sex scandals would we be having in the White House if Heinlein were President?, what Secretary should Philip K. Dick become, Secretary of The Interior, Jack Vance could be Secretary Of State, James Triptree Jr could be director of CIA, Cordwainer Smith, Ray Bradbury as Vice President, Isaac Asimov as Science advisor, H.P. Lovecraft on immigration, somebody could write a book, Fredosphere, an interdimensional adventure, The Astounding, the Amazing, and the Unknown by Paul Malmont, L. Sprague De Camp, Lester Dent, Doc Savage, Green Fire by Eileen Gunn, Andy Duncan, Pat Murphy and Michael Swanwick, wild and weird, 2011, Jack London, Hawaii, The Philadelphia Experiment, final thoughts, the Scientology people outside, “Trying to live in a high-speed world with low-speed people is not very safe. The way to happiness is best traveled with competent companions.”, “Do Not Murder”, the way to happiness.

The Roads Must Roll by Robert A. Heinlein

Posted by Jesse Willis

Lightspeed: The Streets Of Ashkelon by Harry Harrison

October 12, 2012 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

“For me, it’s one of those stories that does what SF does so very well, shining a light into those murky places where mundane fiction either will not or can not go: asking difficult questions about the nature of faith, belief and pride (and taking a few well aimed and accurate shots at the nature of colonialism along the way).” – James Lecky

Two Tales And Eight Tomorrows by Harry Harrison - art by Jim Burns

The Streets Of Ashkelon is a terrific tale audiobooked as part of last month’s issue of Lightspeed. Sometimes classified as a horror, often reprinted, it’s a classic SF story that’s in dialogue with James Blish’s A Case Of Conscience. Maria Doria Russell’s The Sparrow could also be considered a part of this long conversation. But unlike either of those novels this fifty year old short story takes the other side, stridently offering a challenge to the authority of faith’s promulgators. It asks an important question:

Ought evangelists and proselytizers have any business promoting their religion to aliens?

This is an SF story in the vein of Star Trek and H.G. Wells, so ought we not to read the innocent aliens as an allegory for something a little closer to home?

Decide for yourself.

Lightspeed MagazineLightspeed – The Streets Of Ashkelon
By Harry Harrison; Read by Paul Boehmer
1 |MP3| – Approx. 49 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: Lightspeed
Podcast: September 2012
First published in New Worlds Science Fiction, #122, September 1962.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Commentary: A “Top 100 Sci-Fi Audiobooks” List

September 16, 2012 by · 3 Comments
Filed under: Commentary 

SFFaudio Commentary

Sci-Fi ListsLast year somebody* pointed out that a list of “The Top 100 Sci-Fi Books” (as organized by the Sci-Fi Lists website) was almost entirely available in audiobook form!

At the time of his or her compiling 95 of the 100 books were available as audiobooks.

Today, it appears, that list is approaching 99% complete!

I’ve read a good number of the books and audiobooks listed, and while some of them are indeed excellent, I’d have to argue that some are merely ok, and that others are utterly atrocious.

That said, I do think it is interesting that almost all of them are available as audiobooks!

Here’s the list as it stood last year, plus my added notations on the status of the missing five:

01- Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card – 1985
02- Dune – Frank Herbert – 1965
03- Foundation – Isaac Asimov – 1951
04- Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – Douglas Adams – 1979
05- 1984 – George Orwell – 1949
06- Stranger In A Strange Land – Robert A Heinlein – 1961
07- Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury – 1954
08- 2001: A Space Odyssey – Arthur C Clarke – 1968
09- Starship Troopers – Robert A Heinlein – 1959
10- I, Robot – Isaac Asimov – 1950
11- Neuromancer – William Gibson – 1984
12- Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – Philip K. Dick – 1968
13- Ringworld – Larry Niven – 1970
14- Rendezvous With Rama – Arthur C. Clarke – 1973
15- Hyperion – Dan Simmons – 1989
16- Brave New World – Aldous Huxley – 1932
17- The Time Machine – H.G. Wells – 1895
18- Childhood’s End – Arthur C. Clarke – 1954
19- The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress – Robert A. Heinlein – 1966
20- The War Of The Worlds – H.G. Wells – 1898
21- The Forever War – Joe Haldeman – 1974
22- The Martian Chronicles – Ray Bradbury – 1950
23- Slaughterhouse Five – Kurt Vonnegut – 1969
24- Snow Crash – Neal Stephenson – 1992
25- The Mote In God’s Eye – Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle – 1975
26- The Left Hand Of Darkness – Ursula K. Le Guin – 1969
27- Speaker For The Dead – Orson Scott Card – 1986
28- Jurassic Park – Michael Crichton – 1990
29- The Man in the High Castle – Philip K. Dick – 1962
30- The Caves Of Steel – Isaac Asimov – 1954
31- The Stars My Destination – Alfred Bester – 1956
32- Gateway – Frederik Pohl – 1977
33- Lord Of Light – Roger Zelazny – 1967
34- Solaris – Stanisław Lem – 1961
35- 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea – Jules Verne – 1870
36- A Wrinkle In Time – Madeleine L’Engle – 1962
37- Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut – 1963
38- Contact – Carl Sagan – 1985
39- The Andromeda Strain – Michael Crichton – 1969
40- The Gods Themselves – Isaac Asimov – 1972
41- A Fire Upon The Deep – Vernor Vinge – 1991
42- Cryptonomicon – Neal Stephenson – 1999
43- The Day of the Triffids – John Wyndham – 1951
44- UBIK – Philip K. Dick – 1969
45- Time Enough For Love – Robert A. Heinlein – 1973
46- A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess – 1962
47- Red Mars – Kim Stanley Robinson – 1992
48- Flowers For Algernon – Daniel Keyes
49- A Canticle For Leibowitz – Walter M. Miller – 1959
50- The End of Eternity – Isaac Asimov – 1955
51- Battlefield Earth – L. Ron Hubbard – 1982
52- Frankenstein – Mary Shelley – 1818
53- Journey To The Center Of The Earth – Jules Verne – 1864
54- The Dispossessed – Ursula K. Le Guin – 1974
55- The Diamond Age – Neal Stephenson – 1995
56- The Player Of Games – Iain M. Banks – 1988
57- The Reality Dysfunction – Peter F. Hamilton – 1996
58- Startide Rising – David Brin – 1983
59- The Sirens Of Titan – Kurt Vonnegut – 1959
60- Eon – Greg Bear – 1985
61- Ender’s Shadow – Orson Scott Card – 1999
62- To Your Scattered Bodies Go – Philip Jose Farmer – 1971
63- A Scanner Darkly – Philip K. Dick – 1977
64- Lucifer’s Hammer – Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle – 1977
65- The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood – 1985
66- The City And The Stars – Arthur C Clark – 1956
67- The Stainless Steel Rat – Harry Harrison – 1961
68- The Demolished Man – Alfred Bester – 1953
69- The Shadow of the Torturer – Gene Wolfe – 1980
70- Sphere – Michael Crichton – 1987
71- The Door Into Summer – Robert .A Heinlein – 1957
72- The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch – Philip K. Dick – 1964
73- Revelation Space – Alastair Reynolds – 2000
74- Citizen Of The Galaxy – Robert A. Heinlein – 1957
75- Doomsday Book – Connie Willis – 1992
76- Ilium – Dan Simmons – 2003
77- The Invisible Man – H.G. Wells – 1897
78- Have Space-Suit Will Travel – Robert A. Heinlein – 1958
79- The Puppet Masters – Robert A. Heinlein – 1951
80- Out Of The Silent Planet – C.S. Lewis – 1938
81- A Princess of Mars – Edgar Rice Burroughs – 1912
82- The Lathe of Heaven – Ursula K. Le Guin – 1971
83- Use Of Weapons – Iain M. Banks – 1990
84- The Chrysalids – John Wyndham – 1955
85- Way Station – Clifford Simak – 1963
86- Flatland – Edwin A. Abbott – 1884
87- Altered Carbon – Richard Morgan – 2002
88- Old Man’s War – John Scalzi – 2005
89- COMING SOON (October 15, 2012)Roadside Picnic – Arkady and Boris Strugatsky – 1972
90- The Road – Cormac McCarthy – 2006
91- The Postman – David Brin – 1985
92- NEWLY AVAILABLEStand On Zanzibar – John Brunner – 1969
93- VALIS – Philip K. Dick – 1981
94- NEWLY AVAILABLE The Cyberiad: Fables for the Cybernetic Age – Stanisław Lem – 1974
95- NOT AVAILABLE AS AN AUDIOBOOK – Cities In Flight – James Blish – 1955
96- The Lost World – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – 1912
97- The Many-Colored Land – Julian May – 1981
98- Gray Lensman – E.E. ‘Doc’ Smith – 1940
99- The Uplift War – David Brin – 1987
100- NEWLY AVAILABLEThe Forge Of God – Greg Bear – 1987

In case you were wondering, the list was compiled using the following criteria:

“A statistical survey of sci-fi literary awards, noted critics and popular polls. To qualify a book has to be generally regarded as science fiction by credible sources and/or recognised as having historical significance to the development of the genre. For books that are part of a series (with some notable exceptions) only the first book in the series is listed.”

The “Next 100”, as listed over on Sci-Fi Lists, has a lot of excellent novels and collections in it too, check that out HERE.

[*Thanks to “neil1966hardy” from ThePirateBay]

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #143 – NEW RELEASES/RECENT ARRIVALS

January 16, 2012 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: New Releases, Podcasts, Recent Arrivals 

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #143 – Scott, Jesse, Tamahome, and Kristin (A.K.A Terpkristin) talk about recently arrived audiobooks, new releases and more.

Talked about on today’s show:
The origin of the name ‘Terpkristin’, Scott has a pile of audio, (see also the NewAudioBookIn twitter feed), Hominids and Humans from Robert J. Sawyer, evolved Neanderthals, Farseer (the dinosaur book), Flashforward, Kristin’s scientific evaluations, “needs more ego”, Pamela Sargent’s Earthseed (Seed, #1), Greg Bear’s Forge of God, memorable earth destruction, Peter F. Hamilton’s Void Trilogy (‘Hawking m-sink’ weapon), the Star Trek movie, Burning Chrome anthology by William Gibson includes Johnny Mnemonic, when will they list all the short stories on the audiobook package?, precursor to Neuromancer, William Gibson’s non-fiction Distrust That Particular Flavor is out from Tantor (Jesse will establish later), he’s a crossover, who will read Sisterhood Of Dune?, extending a series, Zelazny’s Amber series, Glasslands (Halo, #8) by Karen Traviss (she also did a lot of Star Wars books), “stuff happens fiction”,  Eve Online, “gateway books”, James Blish Star Trek books, Splinter Of The Mind’s Eye, The Thirteen Hallows by Michael Scott and Colette Freedman, I Am Number Four, YA series, “contractual sweatshop”, Infernal Devices by K.W. Jeter, a steampunk pioneer, “quick off the mark”, Little Big by John Crowley narrated by the author, Stephan Rudnicki was denied Aegypt (at 43 min), the legend of the Cottingley Fairies, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle believed it, “the Fairy Gap”, Larry Niven’s The Ringword Engineers and The Ringworld Throne, The Protector, the Security Now science fiction episode, “The Ringworld is unstable!  The Ringworld is unstable!”, A Canticle For Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr., NPR dramatized it, good for Scott and Julie’s A Good Story Is Hard To Find podcast?,  Working For The Devil (Dante Valentine, #1) by Lilith Saintcrow, Dante is a woman?, Neal Stephenson’s Currency (The Baroque Cycle, Book 3, Vol. 7), they broke it down, Kristin read the whole thing!, Tantor has drm-free downloads, A Fall Of Moondust by Arthur C. Clarke, a Poseidon adventure on the moon, BBC Radio drama version, Timecaster by Joe Kimball, sounds like Minority Report, an idea for someone else to write, the Assassin’s Creed game, Brent Weeks’s Night Angel trilogy, hoodies are popular, the comic Chew‘s gruesome premise, Mur Lafferty likes it (5 stars on Goodreads!), Aces High (Wild Cards, #2) edited by George R.R. Martin, Jenny’s special message about A Wrinkle In Time, the 50th anniversary, a parallel world thing, the Pern series, The Greg Mandel trilogy by Peter F. Hamilton, my review of Mindstar Rising (Greg Mandel, #1), psychic powers, Lady And The Tramp, Scott’s box of audio has become infected with a zombie virus, Rise by Gareth Wood, “we’re not desolate or empty!”, entering New Releases territory, Blackstone, Raylan by Elmore Leonard, Justified tv show does a good Leonard, style, Out Of Sight movie and book, it was J-lo’s best, Sixth Column by Heinlein, Jesse can’t remember it, The Voice From The Edge series by Harlan Ellison, he’s got a passion, I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream was dramatized on BBC radio too, Robert Sheckley’s Immortality, Inc. (our readalong should be out next week), Bronson Pinchot narrated, (I think this is where I lost my mic because I was trying to say “transplant!” from that audiobook), A Door Into Ocean by Joan Slonczewski, a classic feminist science fiction novel, no men needed, Brilliance audiobooks are cheap!, “Someone explain the point of Audible” (at least I can still text), “What’s the fascination with zombies?”, societal significance or commercial? (I’m starting to think they’re ignoring me), Twilight and their ilk, Night Of The Long Knives by Fritz Leiber, how these subgenres are grouped together, vs the U.K., Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey is fantasy or science fiction?, Star Wars gadgetry, Alan Moore’s Lovecraft salute comic Neonomicon, the Audible app, Tamahome is in the hole

Posted by Tamahome

The Drama Pod: The Thing In The Attic by James Blish

January 15, 2012 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

The Drama PodPreviously available as a LibriVox audiobook, and now mysteriously not, Gregg Margarite’s narration of The Thing In The Attic is available from The Drama Pod! This is one of James Blish’s “Pantropy” tales and makes up one quarter of his fixup novel The Seedling Stars. Here’s a snippet from the Wikipedia entry on pantropy:

“Pantropy is a hypothetical process of space colonization in which rather than terraforming other planets or building space habitats suitable for human habitation, humans are modified (for example via genetic engineering) to be able to thrive in the existing environment.”

Other examples of pantropic fiction include Olaf Stapledon’s Last And First Men, Clifford D. Simak’s Desertion, Poul Anderson’s Call Me Joe and Frederick Pohl‘s Man Plus.

The Thing In The Attic by James BlishThe Thing In The Attic
By James Blish; Read by Gregg Margarite
1 |MP3| – Approx. 83 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: The Drama Pod
Podcast: January 8, 2012
Honath the Pursemaker is a heretic. He doesn’t believe the stories in the Book of Laws which claims giants created his tree-dwelling race. He makes his opinion known and is banished with his infidel friends to the floor of the jungle where dangers abound. Perhaps he’ll find some truth down there. First published in the July, 1954 edition of If: Worlds of Science Fiction magazine.

The Thing In The Attic by James Blish - illustrated by Paul Orban
The Thing In The Attic - illustration by Paul Orban
The Thing In The Attic by James Blish

Posted by Jesse Willis

The Diamond Lens by Fitz James O’Brien

October 27, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Audio Drama, Online Audio 

SFFaudio Online Audio

The Diamond Lens by Fitz James O'Brien - illustration uncredited - December 1926 issue of Amazing Stories

I’ve created a |PDF| from the printing in the December 1926 issue of Amazing Stories.

Introduction to the October 1933 issue of Amazing in which The Diamond Lens was published

The Diamond Lens - Illustration by Morrey

I’ve created a |PDF| from the printing in the October 1933 issue of Amazing Stories.

In his introductory essay “Expanding The Lens“, found in to the story in The Road To Science Fiction: From Gilgamesh To Wells, editor James Gunn writes:

“[The Diamond Lens] is the first known story in which another world is perceived through a microscope… [this story] opened up another world, not just for readers, but for writers as well.” Gunn goes on to praise O’Brien’s “realistic treatment of the fantastic” and says that “‘The Diamond Lens‘” may be the first modern science-fiction story.”

LibriVox narrator Corrina Schultz describes The Diamond Lens this way:

“This story has a bit of everything – obsessive scientist, psychic medium contacting the dead, clever murder cover-up, racism, creepy stalker, college student shirking his studies, the painful results of pursuing forbidden knowledge, the noble savage…”

Atop those words I myself can heap a few other attractors:

1. The Diamond Lens is bizarre in both plot and focus, with episodic like writing <-Weird for a short story. 2. It has the sensibility of a foreign culture <-The 19th century attitude toward seances is pretty fucking foreign! 3. The protagonist is a mad microscopist. <-Perhaps he was demented by the illicit lure of science? 4. The story features a brutal killing. <-With a whackjob of added racism to complicate matters! 5. It has a noir ending. <-My favourite kind. As you may have guessed I quite enjoyed The Diamond Lens.

Stories like Harl Vincent’s Microcosmic Buccaneers (1929), Theodore Sturgeon’s Microcosmic God (1941) and both Sunken Universe (1942) and Surface Tension (1952) by James Blish all stem from the microscopic pioneering of The Diamond Lens. Whereas the theme, of an alien female object of adoration in an unreachable land, also brings to mind a mighty parallel with Jack Williamson’s The Green Girl (1930). And one final note, a quick read of the Wikipedia entry for Fitz James O’Brien makes me think some of the tale is autobiographical!

LibriVoxThe Diamond Lens
By Fitz James O’Brien; Read by Corinna Schultz
1 |MP3| – Approx. 57 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: LibriVox
Published: FORTHCOMING
A scientist, having invented a powerful microscope, discovers a beautiful female living in a microscopic world inside a drop of water. First published in the January 1858 issue of The Atlantic Monthly.

The Weird CircleThe Diamond Lens
Based on the story by Fitz-James O’Brien; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 25 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: MBS, NBC, ABC
Broadcast: December 31, 1944
Provider: Archive.org

Arthur C. Clarke describes The Diamond Lens (from an article in Playboy)

Posted by Jesse Willis

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