Review of Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne

SFFaudio Review

Alien Voices - Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules VerneJourney to the Center of the Earth
By Jules Verne, performed by a full cast
2 Tapes, Approx. 2 hours – [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Audio
Published: 1998
ISBN: 0671872281
Themes: / Science fiction / Adventure / Exploration / Geology /

One should not drink from the same well of audio books in rapid succession. I recently listened to Alien Voices’ The First Men in the Moon, and found this one just a little too similar for my liking. The main characters in both consist of a crusty professor and a younger, more energetic helper; in both cases the professor is voiced by Leonard Nimoy and the younger man by John DeLancie; and in both cases the two men go off to explore some unknown world and discover amazing adventures.

This book suffers in the comparison not just because it came second, but because it isn’t quite as good. The plot involves a wild trip, but one that brings the characters into contact with only monsters and forces of nature, not other intelligences; whereas The First Men in the Moon brings us into an alien society that has chilling implications for our own. The soundscapes of this book are neither as rich nor as immediately immersive as the first, and the characters are not played that distinctly different. Leonard Nimoy is good, but he’s just so darned good-natured that his character only seems foul tempered by others’ report. His heart isn’t really in it, and Herr Doktor Liedenbrock comes off no less pleasant than the buzzing Professor Caver. And John DeLancie’s true talent comes in portraying morally suspect characters. Here, his sweet Axel, the Doctor’s nephew, never quite rings true.

Not to say either man does a bad job, or that the sound isn’t excellent, or even that the adaptation doesn’t rip right along and offer plenty of adventure, quaint as the concepts are. But it just doesn’t grab you in the gut, it doesn’t feel inevitable, and it doesn’t offer any fresh insight into the human condition. In short, it doesn’t bring a classic story from the dawn of science fiction into our living presence, and as such, it really isn’t worth the time. Based on my previous exposure, I think it would be a mistake to write off other Alien Voices titles, but I wouldn’t break any bones rushing out to get hold of this one.

Posted by Kurt Dietz

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Tertiary Phase Wins Audiobook of the Year

SFFaudio News

Science Fiction Audio Drama - The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy Tertiary PhaseThis just in – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Tertiary Phase was named the Audiobook of the Year by the Audio Publisher’s Association at this weekend’s Audie Awards! Congratulations to adapter/director Dirk Maggs and everyone involved with it. It’s fantastic to see a science fiction audio drama win this award. See the SFFaudio review of this title here.

In a tough Science Fiction category, the winner was Market Forces by Richard K. Morgan. Find the SFFaudio review here.

Genre winners in other categories:

Classic
Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne, read by Jim Dale, Listening Library

Children’s Titles for Ages 8+
The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson, read by Patricia Conolly, Recorded Books

Solo Narration – Female
Davina Porter for A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon

Audio Drama
The Sherlock Holmes Theatre by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, performed by a cast, produced by Yuri Rasovsky, Blackstone Audio
ed – OK, this may not technically be a genre title, but most SF fans like Holmes, and Yuri Rasovsky has genre ties, including the excellent 2000X series.

Achievement in Production
At the Back of the North Wind by George MacDonald, performed by a cast, Focus on the Family

Not a bad genre showing! Find the complete list of winners and nominees at www.theaudies.com. Unfortunately, the website is a little cryptic as of this writing – to see the winners and nominees, you’ve got to download a 6Mb PDF file that is titled “The Audies Sampler”. If I can find a clean HTML list, I’ll let you know.

LibriVox bills itself as "acoustical liberation …

Online Audio

LibriVoxLibriVox bills itself as “acoustical liberation of books in the public domain”, we bill it as “really cool”! The LibriVox volunteers read and record chapters of books in the public domain using the equipment they have at home, and then release the files as FREE audiobooks. The objective is to eventually make all books in the public domain available in the audio format. Several Science Fiction and Fantasy titles are already under way, and few have already been completed. Here’s a peek:

Completed Novels:
The Road To Oz by L. Frank Baum
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Completed Shorts:
A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift

Multiple Narrator Forthcoming:
Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
The Trial by Franz Kafka
Dracula by Bram Stoker
A Journey To The Interior Of The Earth by Jules Verne

Single Narrators Forthcoming:
Flatland by Edwin A. Abbott
The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson
Sky Island by L. Frank Baum
The Wizard Of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Beowolf
Anthem by Ayn Rand
A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells
The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

Though Podiobooks.com is leading the charge of del…

SFFaudio News

Though Podiobooks.com is leading the charge of delivering podcast audiobooks there are a number of independent novelists and podcasters who’ve started publishing on their own. We’ve assembled a list of some of the Science Fiction, Fantasy and related titles:

Ancestor
By Scott Sigler; Read by Scott Sigler and others
– STATUS: IN PROGRESS
A technothriller centered on a transnational corporation’s scheme to create a creature that can be used to harvest organs for human use. And rather than debate the issue …. extreme violence is our best option.
http://www.project-daemon.net/

Pirate Jack
By Allessandro Cima; Read by ??????
– STATUS: IN PROGRESS
A Young Adult novel about pirates with fantastic elements.
http://piratejack.blogspot.com/

The Master Of The World
By Jules Verne; Read by Eileen
[UNABRIDGED] – STATUS: IN PROGRESS
This famous public domain science fiction novel is being read by the good folks Eileen at The Public Domain Podcast. Good on ya e!
http://publicdomainpodcast.blogspot.com/

Forever Fifteen
By Kiberley Steele; Read by ??????
– STATUS: STARTED
The first and only teen vampire novel to be published so far. Think of it as Buffy the vampire. No slayer.
http://www.foreverfifteen.com/

Brace for Impact
By ?????????; Read by ????????
– STATUS: STARTED
“The mythology of Mick Aloha and Apocalypse Dowell, superhero / wrestling archenemies who must join forces for a common cause. If you’re looking for literature that will challenge your mind and improve your life…sorry.”
http://freepodcastnovel.com/

Tannis Island
By Gavin L. Lowe; Read by ????????
– STATUS: STARTED
“Two divers on holiday in the Middle East discover an artifact beneath the coral growth under the Red Sea.”
http://www.gavinsphoto.com/page2/page2.html

Angelikae: Take Flight
By Colin Coltera; Read by ????????
– STATUS: STARTED
Described as “Fantasy / Sci-fi.”
http://angelikae.blogspot.com/

Sermons on Little Known Gods
By Lauren Merritt; Read by ????????
– STATUS: STARTED
Described as “Humorous alternative fantasy.”
http://cedarhillservices.com/sermons/

and perhaps most exciting….

Burn
By James Patrick Kelly; Read by James Patrick Kelly?
– STATUS: BEGINS NOVEMBER
http://www.jimkelly.net/

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea by Jules Verne

SFFaudio Review

20,000 Leagues Under The Sea
Based on the novel by Jules Verne; Performed by a full cast
33 1/3 RPM LP – Approximately 45 minutes [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Wonderland Golden Records
Published: 1974 – Out Of Print
Themes: / Science Fiction / Submarines / War / Mad Scientist /

“…and when I am through I, Captain Nemo, shall rule the earth!”

“He’s mad, Baker! Mad, I tell you!”

Captain Nemo is the genius commander of a strange underwater ship “Nautilus”, which he invented to wage war against civilization. Captain Nemo’s base of operations for his fiendish scheme is the lost continent of Atlantis, which has sunk to the bottom of the sea centuries before.

Performed by something called “The Wonderland Imagination Theater” this is an old time radio style audio dramatization, complete with clichéd lines like “As you well know, my name is…”. What’s worse is that very little of Verne’s plotting is retained, whoever adapted this for audio seems to have decided he or she knew better how to plot a story than the inventor of modern science fiction! Production values are good, with appropriate and well-composed music, sound effects and background noise. Also on the plus side, the LP has a great campy comic book style cover, complete with word balloons. In fact if you think of the whole production as camp, its not all that bad. Unfortunately I don’t think this was what they were going for, admittedly the production is designed primarily for children. Perhaps it was sufficiently interesting for a young child back in 1974. For me it was a disappointment.

Posted by Jesse Willis