New Releases for a new year!

SFFaudio New Releases

The announcement of a new Infinivox “Great Science Fiction Stories” title is always a time of happiness, this one, by Maureen F. McHugh, was nominated for both the Hugo and Nebula Award…

Science Fiction Audiobook - The Cost To Be Wise by Maureen F. McHughThe Cost To Be Wise
By Maureen F. McHugh; Read by Vanessa Hart
2 CDs – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Infinivox
Published: January 2008
ISBN: 188461275X
Listen to an MP3 sample!
Set on a distant planet, this is a gripping tale about Sckarline, a colony that believes in “appropriate technology adoption.” A heavily armed clan arrives at the colony while it is being visited by off-world anthropologists. Sckarline’s technological beliefs are put to the test when events spiral out of control. Told from the viewpoint of a young woman, she soon learns just how high the price of wisdom can be.

Another title in the ever popular Miles Vorkosigan series…

Diplomatic ImmunityDiplomatic Immunity
By Lois McMaster Bujold; Read by Grover Gardner
9 Cassettes; 1 MP3-CD or 10 CDs – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
Published: January 2008
ISBN: 1433213137 (cassettes), 1433213151 (MP3-CD), 1433213144 (Cds)
A rich Komarran merchant fleet has been impounded at Graf Station in distant Quaddiespace after a bloody incident involving the convoy’s Barrayaran military escort. Lord Miles Vorkosigan and his wife, Lady Ekaterin, have other things on their minds, such as getting home in time to attend the long-awaited births of their first children. But when duty calls in the voice of Barrayar’s Emperor Gregor, Miles, as imperial auditor, has no choice but to answer.

A short novel from 1966, Blackstone has released it to Audible.com first with plans to follow it up with a hard copy later…

Science Fiction Audiobook - Planet of Exile by Ursula K. LeGuinPlanet of Exile
By Ursula K. LeGuin; Read by Carrington MacDuffie & Steven Hoye
1 Audible File – 4.5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks / Audible.com
Published: 2007
The Earth colony of Landin has been stranded on Werel for 10 years. Ten of Werel’s years are over 600 terrestrial years, and the lonely and dwindling human settlement is beginning to feel the strain. Every winter, a season that lasts for 15 years, the Earthmen have neighbors, the humanoid hilfs: a nomadic people who only settle down for the cruel cold spell. The hilfs fear the Earthmen, who they think of as witches and call the farborns. But hilfs and farborns have common enemies: the hordes of ravaging barbarians called gaals and eerie preying snow ghouls. Will they join forces or be annihilated?

Halo: Contact Harvest by Joseph StatenHalo: Contact Harvest
By Joseph Staten; Read by Holter Graham and Jen Taylor
10 CDs – 11 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Published: December 10, 2007
ISBN: 1427202494
This is how it began… It is the year 2524. Harvest is a peaceful, prosperous farming colony on the very edge of human-controlled space. But we have trespassed on holy ground–strayed into the path of an aggressive alien empire known as the Covenant. What begins as a chance encounter between an alien privateer and a human freighter catapults mankind into a struggle for its very existence.
But humanity is also locked in a bitter civil war known as the Insurrection. So the survival of Harvest’s citizens falls to a squad of battle-weary UNSC Marines and their inexperienced colonial militia trainees. In this unlikely group of heroes, one stands above the rest…a young Marine staff sergeant named Avery Johnson.

This one sounds like its tackling some of the same science as did Bill DeSmedt’s SFFaudio Essential designated novel Singularity

Blashphemy by Douglas PrestonBlasphemy
By Douglas Preston; Read by Scott Sowers
11 CDs – 14 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Published: January 08, 2008
ISBN: 1427202745
The world’s biggest supercollider, locked in an Arizona mountain, was built to unlock the secrets of the very moment of creation: the Big Bang itself. The Torus is the most expensive machine ever created by humankind, run by the world’s most powerful supercomputer. It is the brainchild of Nobel Laureate William North Hazelius. Will the Torus divulge the mysteries of the creation of the universe? Or will it, as some predict, suck the earth into a mini black hole? Or is the Torus a Satanic attempt, as a powerful televangelist decries, to challenge God Almighty on the very throne of heaven?

The first multiple narrator recording of the third book in Frank Herbert’s original Dune series…

Children Of Dune by Frank HerbertChildren Of Dune
By Frank Herbert; Read by Simon Vance, Scott Brick and Others
14 CDs – 17 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Published: January 22, 2008
ISBN: 1427202915
The bestselling science fiction series of all time continues! In this third installment, the sand-blasted world of Arrakis has become green, watered and fertile. Old Paul Atreides, who led the desert Fremen to political and religious domination of the galaxy, is gone. But for the children of Dune, the very blossoming of their land contains the seeds of its own destruction. The altered climate is destroying the giant sandworms, and this in turn is disastrous for the planet’s economy. Leto and Ghanima, Paul Atreides’s twin children and his heirs, can see possible solutions—but fanatics begin to challenge the rule of the all-powerful Atreides empire, and more than economic disaster threatens…

The Kraken Wakes by John WyndhamThe Kraken Wakes
By John Wyndham; Performed by a full cast
2 CDs – 1 Hour 25 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Publisher: BBC Audiobooks America
Published: January 2008
ISBN: 9780792754121
John Wyndham’s classic tale of monsters from the deep, alien invasion, and ecological disaster comes alive in this full-cast BBC radio dramatization. At first, the fireballs seemed to be nothing more than a dazzling display of lights in the sky, plunging into the deepest oceans and disappearing without trace. But when ships started sinking inexplicably and the sea lanes became impassable, it seemed that the world was facing a threat of unprecedented proportions. Mike and Phyllis Watson, both radio journalists, are caught up at the center of events, well aware that it’s not the cold war or international conflicts that are causing these crises, but something infinitely more deadly-an alien invasion. And that’s not all: the sea level is rising, the ice caps are melting, London and other cities are flooding, millions of people are drowning, and ecological disaster looms. And whatever the alien beings are, they have begun to emerge from the sea…

Here’s an oddity, The Reign of Terror was the final story of Doctor Who’s first season on television (this adventure was set in 1794 in and around Paris, during the French Revolution). The story was originally wiped from the BBC’s archives, but episodes 1-3 and 6 have been recovered from a foreign TV station and a private film collector here is the result…

Doctor Who - The Reign Of Terror RADIO DRAMADoctor Who: The Reign Of Terror
By Dennis Spooner; Performed by a full cast with narration by Carole Ann Ford
2 CDs – 2 Hours 31 Minutes [TELEVISION AUDIO TRACK]
Publisher: BBC Audiobooks America
Published: December 2007
ISBN: 9780792750048
William Hartnell, William Russell, Jaqueline Hill and Carole Ann Ford star in this original television soundtrack of a classic Doctor Who adventure. The Tardis brings the Doctor and his companions to Robespierre’s Paris, where they discover the French Revolution to be in full swing. Separated from each other, the group find themselves caught up in history as they struggle to stay alive and find their individual way back to the Tardis. Linking narration is provided by Carole Ann Ford, who played Susan in the original series. In a short bonus interview she recalls the time she spent working on the program.

Merging Science Fiction and Chandleresque detective stories, Jonathan Lethem’s first novel, Gun, With Occasional Music, was a finalist for the 1994 Nebula Award, and placed first in the “Best First Novel” category of the 1995 Locus Magazine reader’s poll! Sounds good huh?

Gun, With Occasional Music by Jonathan LethemGun, With Occasional Music
By Jonathan Lethem; Read by Nick Sullivan
7 CDs or MP3-CD – 8 Hours 40 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: BBC Audiobooks America
Published: December 2007
ISBN: 9780792750567 (cds), 9780792750871 (mp3-cd)
Gumshoe Conrad Metcalf has problems–not the least of which are the rabbit in his waiting room and the trigger-happy kangaroo on his tail. Near-future Oakland is an ominous place where evolved animals function as members of society, the police monitor citizens by their karma levels, and mind-numbing drugs such as Forgettol and Acceptol are all the rage. In this brave new world, Metcalf has been shadowing the wife of an affluent doctor, perhaps falling a little in love with her at the same time. But when the doctor turns up dead, our amiable investigator finds himself caught in the crossfire in a futuristic world that is both funny–and not so funny.

Posted by Jesse Willis

A plethora of pleasures from BBC7

OnlineAudio

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)…

Undone
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

BBC7 For Halloween Week

OnlineAudio

BBC 7's The 7th DimensionBBC 7’s The 7th Dimension has two ghoulishly good readings airing this week as well as a lengthy radio dramatized version of the most famous vampire story ever told:

The Fall Of The House Of Usher
By Edgar Allan Poe; Read by Sean Barratt
STREAMING AUDIO – Approx. 30 Minutes – Stereo – [UNABRIDGED]
Broadcaster: BBC7 / The 7th Dimension
Broadcast: Sunday October 28th and Sunday November 4th
Poe’s chilling short story about a family’s descent into madness.

Trouble With Lichen
By John Wyndham; Read by Joanna Tope
5 Parts – [ABRIDGED]
Broadcaster: BBC7 / The 7th Dimension
Broadcast: Monday through Friday at 6.30 pm and 12.30am
“Biochemist Diana Brackley and her boss Francis Saxover have discovered that a rare strain of lichen can slow the ageing process. Idealistic Diana embarks on a lifelong mission to ensure that their discovery will benefit man-, and more particularly, woman-kind. But the trouble with lichen is that there’s not enough for everyone…”
Directed by Eilidh McCreadie.

Dracula
Adapted from the novel by Bram Stoker; Performed by a full cast
7 Parts – [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: BBC7 / The 7th Dimension
Broadcast: Monday – Friday at 6pm and midnight (concludes Tuesday 6th Nov)
A chilling dramatisation of Bram Stoker’s vampire tale. Young solicitor Jonathan Harker travels to Transylvania and his encounter with Count Dracula has unsettling consequences. Frederick Jaegar stars as Dracula, and the cast includes Bernard Holley, Phyllis Logan, Sharon Maharaj and Finlay Welsh. Dramatized for radio in 7 parts by Nick McCarty and first heard on Radio 4 in 1991, the director was Hamish Wilson.

Posted by Jesse Willis

BBC7 goes apocalyptic with 3 John Wyndham readings

Online Audio

BBC 7's The 7th DimensionThree John Wyndham readings start on BBC Radio 7 over the next few days.

Survival
By John Wyndham; Read by Nicholas Boulton
2 parts – [ABRIDGED?]
Broadcaster: BBC7 / The 7th Dimension
Broadcast: Saturdays at 6pm and 12am
“The instinct for survival is explored in all its complexities when a group of space travellers are trapped on board a shuttle to Mars.
Produced by Gemma Jenkins.

Trouble With Lichen
By John Wyndham; Read by Joanna Tope
5 Parts – [ABRIDGED?]
Broadcaster: BBC7 / The 7th Dimension
Broadcast: Sundays at 6pm and 12am
“Biochemist Diana Brackley and her boss Francis Saxover have discovered that a rare strain of lichen can slow the ageing process. Idealistic Diana embarks on a lifelong mission to ensure that their discovery will benefit man-, and more particularly, woman-kind. But the trouble with lichen is that there’s not enough for everyone…”
Directed by Eilidh McCreadie.

The Day Of The Triffids
By John Wyndham; Read by Roger May
17 Half-hour RADIO BROADCASTS – Approx. 8 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Broadcaster: BBC7 / The 7th Dimension
Broadcast: Weekdays from June 5th to July 2nd at 6:30pm and 12:30am UK TIME.
The consequences when the vast majority of humanity is suddenly rendered blind, in a world that is then quickly overrun with poisonous ambulatory plants (the titular Triffids).
Produced in Belfast by Susan Carson

NOTE: Those outside the UK can snag each installment using the BBC7 Listen Again for up to 6 days following the broadcasts.

posted by Jesse Willis

BBC7 Serializing John Wyndham’s The Day Of The Triffids

Online Audio

BBC 7's The 7th DimensionAiring exclusively on BBC Radio 7 starting Monday June 5th The 7th Dimension will begin rebroadcasting their serialization of The Day Of The Triffids the classic novel by John Wyndham. This is the whopping seventeen part unabridged reading issued in half-hour installments.

The Day Of The Triffids
By John Wyndham; Read by Roger May
17 Half-hour RADIO BROADCASTS – Approx. 8 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Broadcaster: BBC7 / The 7th Dimension
Broadcast: Weekdays from June 5th to July 2nd at 6:30pm and 12:30am UK TIME.
Over-sized “killer daffodils” create an “unsettlingly vivid” tale of ecological apocalypse.

NOTE: Those outside the UK can snag each installment using the BBC7 Listen Again for up to 6 days following the broadcasts.

posted by Jesse Willis

Review of The Night Of The Triffids By Simon Clark

The Night of the Triffids by Simon ClarkThe Night Of The Triffids
By Simon Clark; Read by Stephen Pacey
10 Cassettes – 12 Hours 30 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Chivers Audio
Published: 2002
ISBN: 0754007669
Themes: / Science Fiction / Disaster / Society /

I was twelve years old when I discovered John Wyndham’s awe-inspiring The Day of the Triffids. For me, standing between the world of childhood and the mysterious new world of adulthood, it was a revelation [it] wasn’t merely a good story; it was such a powerful transforming experience that the hero’s struggle for survival has stayed with me ever since.”
-Author Simon Clark

Chock full of adventure, action, politics, revolution, and romance, The Night Of The Triffids is horror author Simon Clark’s sequel to the venerable 1951 John Wyndham novel The Day Of The Triffids. Wyndam’s story was about a confluence of two natural disasters – the appearance of some strange green lights in the sky that blinded anyone who looked at them and the subsequent rampage of a carnivorous walking plant called a Triffid – which was previously only a curiosity. The narrator of that tale was Bill Masen, a man who by pure chance managed to avoid becoming blinded like 99% of humanity. At the end of The Day Of The Triffids, the hero, Bill Masen and his wife and four-year-old son David leave the British mainland to join a new colony on the Isle of Wight. In a way that story was a kind of retelling of The War Of The Worlds, excepting that the aliens weren’t from Mars. That novel was a powerful disaster tale heavily influenced by the cold war era in which it was set. Simon Clark’s sequel takes place twenty-five years. It is told by David Masen, Bill Masen’s now grown-up son, who is an aviator in the fledgling Isle of Wight Airforce. The Masen family, along with a handful of other British survivors, have started rebuilding society on that Island off the south of Britain. But when a new disaster strikes humanity in its weakened state may not survive.

There are very few genuine science fiction elements in this book, the closest being the soft science fiction idea of adopting new values for new situations. As an example, the few remaining people have decided to take a crash effort to increase the population – and in so doing have created something called “Mother Houses”. These are convent-like homes where fertile women give birth and infertile women raise babies – all in an effort to maximize the birth rate. I’m not sure if Clark knew it or not but frighteningly, the Nazis’, had something similar – the “Lebensborn,” which were mother houses, set up by Heinrich Himmler to care for unmarried pregnant women whose “racial” characteristics (blond hair, blue eyes) fit the Nazis’ Aryan ideal. “Racially pure” SS members were encouraged to visit often and sire many young children for the Fuhrer. Horrific as such a baby factory sounds in The Night Of The Triffids this is but one of the ‘necessary evils’ that society is experimenting with. The good news is that it all manages to replicate
much of the feel of The Day Of The Triffids, but where Clark really stumbles is with the plotting. The opening scene and the ensuing couple of chapters are very interesting, and made me wonder where it all was going. But that mystery was dropped until a throw away explanation in the final chapter. And as the Brits say that ‘just isn’t cricket’. The whole book has a stumbling along bumbling along plot that doesn’t allow you to guess where it might be going – perhaps this was in part due to what I would assume was to be its target audience – preteens and young teens – heck it may have even been a stylistic choice. I don’t know.

What I do know is that what success Night Of The Triffids does have is due in no small part to the first person perspective. English narrator Stephen Pacey does good work with the compassionate everyman David Masen, his other voices including variously accented Americans are good too, though they were fairly easy to tell that it was a ‘put-on’ accents. If you’re not expecting it to surpass much less equal the original The Night Of The Triffids will be acceptable entertainment.

Posted by Jesse Willis