New Releases – from Audible Frontiers

New Releases

Audible FrontiersSteve Feldberg, the man behind the awesome AUDIBLE FRONTIERS line over on Audible.com has detailed the new AF releases for December. Sez Feldberg:

“I’m especially excited by our multi-voice production on HYPERION, which utilizes five different narrators. If you’re familiar with the book’s structure – akin to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales – you’ll know that it lends itself to a number of distinct voices.”

I think that’s awesome too. Personally though I’m glad too that Book 4 in the Starship series is on this list!

Available now:

Audible Frontiers - Shadow Bridge by Gregory FrostShadowbridge
By Gregory Frost
Publisher: Audible Frontiers
Published: December 2008
Includes an exclusive introduction by the author.




Audible Frontiers - Lord Tophet by Gregory FrostLord Tophet (book 2 in the Shadow Bridge Series)
By Gregory Frost
Publisher: Audible Frontiers
Published: December 2008
Includes an exclusive introduction by the author.




Audible Frontiers - The Speed Of Dark by Elizabeth MoonThe Speed of Dark
By Elizabeth Moon
Publisher: Audible Frontiers
Published: December 2008
A Nebula Award Winning Novel!




Audible Frontiers - Fast Times At Fairmont High by Vernor VingeFast Times at Fairmont High
By Vernor Vinge
Publisher: Audible Frontiers
Published: December 2008
A Nebula Award Winning Novella!




Audible Frontiers - Forty Signs Of Rain by Kim Stanley RobinsonForty Signs of Rain (book 1 in the “Science in the Capital” trilogy
By Kim Stanley Robinson
Publisher: Audible Frontiers
Published: December 2008
Includes an exclusive introduction by the author!




Audible Frontiers - Fifty Degrees Below by Kim Stanley RobinsonFifty Degrees Below (book 2 in the “Science in the Capital” trilogy
By Kim Stanley Robinson
Publisher: Audible Frontiers
Published: December 2008
Includes an exclusive introduction by the author!




Audible Frontiers - Sixty Days And Counting by Kim Stanley RobinsonSixty Days And Counting (book 3 in the “Science in the Capital” trilogy
By Kim Stanley Robinson
Publisher: Audible Frontiers
Published: December 2008
Includes an exclusive introduction by the author!




COMING SOON:

Starship: Rebel
By Mike Resnick
Publisher: Audible Frontiers
Published: December 16th 2008
*A simultaneous release with the book; includes an exclusive introduction by the author!

Hyperion
By Dan Simmons
Publisher: Audible Frontiers
Published: December 23rd 2008
A Hugo Award Winning Novel!

The Fall Of Hyperion
By Dan Simmons
Publisher: Audible Frontiers
Published: December 23rd 2008
A Hugo and Nebula Nominated Novel!

Posted by Jesse Willis

S.A. Bodeen, an interview and an exerpt

SFFaudio Online Audio

An excerpt from S.A. Bodeen's The CompoundNaNoWriMo author S. A. Bodeen‘s first novel is available as an unabridged audiobook from Brilliance Audio. It’s also the featured excerpt of the latest Billiance Bits podcast. Have a listen |MP3| directly, or subscribe to the Brilliance Bits podcast via this feed:

http://www.brillianceaudio.com/podcasts/channel1/channel1.xml

And in related audio…

The SciFi Dimensions PodcastBodeen’s also the featured guest on the 6th episode of the new SciFi Dimensions Podcast Have a listen to that |MP3| interview or one of the other shows (featuring the likes of J.C. Hutchins, Kim Stanley Robinson, and Scott Sigler) subscribe to that feed:

http://www.scifidimensions.com/podcast/feed/

Posted by Jesse Willis

New Releases – Science Fiction from Recorded Books on Audible.com

SFFaudio News

Audible.comAudible.com has just added “a slew of Hugo/Nebula winning and otherwise classic sci-fi titles from Recorded Books.” None of these has been available previously in digital audio – and most have been difficult to find in physical CD (as Recorded Books has been a staunch supporter of the cassette format). Available now from Audible are..

The Terminal Experiment
By Robert J. Sawyer [READ OUR REVIEW]

To Say Nothing of the Dog
By Connie Willis [READ OUR REVIEW]

Blue Mars
By Kim Stanley Robinson

Green Mars
By Kim Stanley Robinson

Doomsday Book
By Connie Willis [READ OUR REVIEW]

Sundiver: The Uplift Saga, Book 1
By David Brin

Startide Rising: The Uplift Saga, Book 2
By David Brin [READ OUR REVIEW]

The Uplift War: The Uplift Saga, Book 3
By David Brin

The Forever War
By Joe Haldeman [READ OUR REVIEW]

Forever Peace
By Joe Haldeman

Timescape
By Gregory Benford [READ OUR REVIEW]

To Your Scattered Bodies Go: Riverworld Saga, Book 1
By Philip Jose Farmer

And, Audible also sez that Red Mars [READ OUR REVIEW] (notably absent from the list above) is “coming – soon, we hope….!”

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson

Science Fiction Audiobooks - Red Mars by Kim Stanley RobinsonRed Mars
By Kim Stanley Robinson, read by Richard Ferrone
17 cassettes / 24 hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Recorded Books
Published: 2000
ISBN: 0788740849
Themes: / Science Fiction / Hard SF / Future history / Mars / Space exploration / Space flight / Planetary colonization / Terraforming

If I were to play you the prolog from Red Mars, neither telling you the title nor showing you the case (with Olympus Mons shown actual size), you would know immediately that it came from a very large book. The mystical meditation on the red planet that opens this tome plumbs the depths of human history and the width of human culture, conjuring a sense of vast space for the story that follows.

And what follows is a massive dose of exhilarating hard science fiction, the first volume in an epic trilogy charting the future history of the colonization of Mars. It grabs us with an opening sequence of mid-novel action, then backs up to lead us more meticulously from the selection of the first one hundred explorer/settlers to their first attempts at independence from the faltering socioeconomic powers of Earth nearly twenty Martian years later. Told through the eyes of half a dozen of these “First Hundred”, the novel details the technical, political, and to some extent personal growth of the colonists through their training on Earth’s Antarctica, the long space voyage between the planets, the rise of the first settlements and buildings, the initial attempts at terraforming, the breakaway of some of the settlers to another colony, the arrival of the next, larger and more diverse waves of colonization, and on to a cataclysmic finale. The story covers a lot of ground with striking believability.

The strongest point of the novel is its marvelous set-pieces, such as the radiation storm scene on the voyage out, a nearly deadly encounter with a Martian dust storm in a dirigible, and a perilous escape down a canyon system that is being destroyed by a torrential flood. Some of the best would be slight plot spoilers to mention, so I won’t. But suffice it to say they are all lovingly crafted, filled with mental eye-popping detail, and yet integrated well into the plot. This is science fiction with its fundamental sense of wonder not only intact, but bursting from every page like an alien from the abdomen. As you might expect, some of this detail and the buildup to monumental scenes leaves a few slow parts in the narrative, but the payoffs are almost always phenomenal.

Also strong is the fundamental clash of old and new economic systems, which contrast idealized concepts of human worth with the dehumanizing iniquities of our international market economy pushed to its all-too-readily conceivable limits. I tend to cheer at any work that is not afraid to point out how the cancerous growth of international corporations in our modern world devours the planet’s resources yet returns nothing of value to the overall system. This book gave me a lot of alternative ideas to dream about, and some Darth Vader-sized economic evil to hiss at cathartically.

One thing I didn’t like was the huge number of fundamental breakthroughs that are made by the “First Hundred” in various fields of science after they leave the messiness of life on earth. That premise borrows a little too much from Frederick Pohl’s Jem, for one thing. For another, as someone who does science and engineering for a living, I don’t believe that if you separate a bunch of scientists and engineers from the mundane glop of real life, you suddenly end up with astounding technical breakthroughs. If it were that easy, you could get any amazing breakthrough you wanted just by throwing a bunch of scientists and engineers in a nice padded cell.

Also, as with most hard science fiction, you could quibble that the characters lack the depth of believable human beings, and that the necessities of the plot move the characters more than their individual natures and decisions determine the plot. But you shouldn’t be reading this book for the same reasons you’d read The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. Come on! Red Mars may do little to illuminate the unrequited yearnings of the human soul, but that’s not the point. It boils over with effervescent ideas, dynamic images, and inspiring speculation on what human minds and hands can achieve. The characters here may feel a little hollow, and their individual voices may be pretty much interchangeable, but they do their job: they lead us into an exciting, vibrant, thrilling future world.

I will admit that the weaknesses in characterization are not greatly aided by Richard Ferrone’s narration. Don’t get me wrong, I found his cigarette-charred, “In a world where…” voice (somewhat reminiscent of my grade school secretary Mrs. Byrd) to be reliably intriguing. And he can spit out the ten-dollar words and knotty concepts in the exposition with lucid authority. However, his voice characterizations are often indistinguishable. It is possible to find yourself confused about who is speaking when the dialog comes without tag lines. This is partly Robinson’s fault for failing to provide distinctive speech patterns for all the characters, but that’s exactly where the voice of the narrator is supposed to help most. For several characters, it does. But for many, it does not.

I consider the above detractions to be minor points, however. Overall, you will find so much to gasp at, delivered with such powerful enthusiasm by both the author and the narrator, that it would be a crime to miss it. I owe a significant fine just for pushing Red Mars down my reading list for so long. If you’re looking for a hard SF novel that will make you sit up and say “Wow!” out loud, then you should get your hands on this one immediately.

Posted by Kurt Dietz