Review of Fleet Of Worlds by Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner

SFFaudio Review

Science Fiction Audiobook - Fleet Of Worlds by Larry Niven and Edward M. LernerFleet Of Worlds
By Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner; Read by Tom Weiner
8 CDs – Approx 9.5 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: 2008
ISBN: 1433229420
Themes: / Science Fiction / Hard SF / Aliens / Physics / Space Travel / Sociology /

Larry Niven teams up with fellow science-fiction writer Edward M. Lerner to take a closer look at the events leading up to Niven’s first Ringworld novel. Kirsten Quinn-Kovacs is among the best and brightest of her people. She gratefully serves the gentle race that rescued her ancestors from a dying starship and nurtures them still. But, if only the Citizens knew where Kirsten’s people came from! A chain reaction of supernovae at the galaxy’s core has unleashed a wave of lethal radiation that will sterilize the galaxy. The Citizens flee, taking with them their planets, the Fleet of Worlds. Someone must scout ahead, and Kirsten and her crew eagerly volunteer. But as they set out to explore for any possible dangers in the Fleet’s path, they uncover long-hidden truths that will shake the foundations of worlds.

Not knowing much about Edward M. Lerner or his style, it’s hard to know precisely what parts of this novel he wrote. On the whole it definitely feels like a Larry Niven book. And of course that’s a very good thing. Surprisingly nice, this “known space” novel doesn’t feel like it’s just embellishing the dark corners we’d little explored before. There is material to be mined, and mine it they do. We learn more about the General Products corporation, early Puppeteer influence on Terra, and the back story to Niven’s classic The Borderland Of Sol. The heart of the novel though is Nessus’ interaction with a crew of Humans. As well, Niven and Lerner, introduce an entirely new and compelling alien species, though we really don’t get to interact with them. Its hard to get into much more without giving out a lot of spoilers. Suffice it to say, this is a fine, though definitely lesser entry into the “known space” canon. When recommending a novel universe, I would always start with the strongest book in that universe, and expand out from there. If you haven’t read any Niven novels before this one, go listen to Protector and Ringworld first. Then, if you are as enchanted as I was with it, come back to Fleet Of Worlds for more.

Tom Weiner, who is one of Blackstone Audio’s new narrators, previously heard in A Galaxy Trilogy, brings authority to the narrative of Fleet Of Worlds. He has to work pretty hard to do both the puppeteer contralto that is supposed to sound like “Cleopatra, Helen of Troy, Marilyn Monroe, and Lorelei Huntz all rolled into one.” But both it and the human females Weiner performs come off well enough – giving more of an impression of a voice change than any actual transformation.

Update: Edward M. Lerner tells me that that the follow up to Fleet Of Worlds, titled Juggler Of Worlds, is also slated for a Blackstone Audio release!

Posted by Jesse Willis

Five Free Favourites #1

SFFaudio Online Audio

Inspired by the idea that most visitors don’t dip into our 5 years worth of archives, here’s a new feature:
Five Free Favourites
…in which we’ll post about five different audio favourites. I’d be willing to bet any of these 5 will make your ears happy. In fact, I’m so confident you’ll like them I’ve already started thinking about another five more. And, I’ll be soliciting contributors to put together similar lists of their own. Here’s my first batch…

1.
Hour 25Night On Mispec Moor
By Larry Niven; Read by Warren James
Intro |MP3| Part 1 |MP3|, Part 2 |MP3| – [UNABRIDGED]
Provider: Hour25Online.com
Created: October 31, 2001
Larry Niven isn’t just the master of Hard SF, he’s also the master of Hard Fantasy and Horror! This story is a story which includes all three. It’s about an “outworld mercenary” who finds himself a lone survivor of his routed army. After fleeing into a moor, his pursuers suddenly stop, they dare not follow him into “Mispec” at night. This is a creepy, clever and very memorable short story. The sound quality isn’t ideal, but you’ll certainly enjoy the content.

2.
Audiobook - Infidel by Roger GreggInfidel
By Roger Gregg; Performed by a Full Cast
4 MP3s – [RADIO DRAMA]
Podcaster: The Sonic Society
Podcast: April 2007
Sonic Society #62 (Infidel part 1 of 4) |MP3|
Sonic Society #63 (Infidel part 2 of 4) |MP3|
Sonic Society #64 (Infidel part 3 of 4) |MP3|
Sonic Society #65 (Infidel part 4 of 4) |MP3|
Though it’s probably easier classified as “historical” I’d call it a Horror from History. Crazy Dog Audio Theatre’s Infidel fictionalizes the very real events of the 5th Crusade (1217-1221 ad) in this transformative audio dramatization. Sir Hugh of Beauvais and his brother Sir Philip are knights. They’ve enlisted themselves in the fifth campaign to free the holy lands. This is modern audio drama at its finest. It’s also available in a CD set which you can get HERE.

3.
The Pyramid of Amirah
By James Patrick Kelly; Read By James Patrick Kelly
1 |MP3| – 18 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Jim Kelly’s Free Reads
Published: June 28th 2008
Surrounded by boxes of goody-goody bars, her only food, Amirah lives alone in what was once her parent’s house. Its her home now, and she’s honoured to become a pyramid girl. During the day she vacuums up the limestone dust that drifts down onto every flat surface, at night she leaves the lights on all the time, even when she sleeps. As the years pass the light bulbs start to burn out one-by-one and Amirah wonders if the meaning of her living entombment will ever come. This is a live recorded version, I’m highly moved by this enigmatic “Fantasy.” This is one is extremely powerful. I think about it often.

4.
Star Ship SofaThe Merchant And The Alchemists Gate
By Ted Chiang; Read by James Campanella
1 |MP3| – [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: StarShipSofa
Podcast: 2008
Time travel, Ted Chiang, and a terrific narrator. These three combine into an absolutely unmissable listen. A wonderful SF novelette it conjures a 1,001 Nights-like atmosphere with a By His Bootstraps story-logic.

5.
Tk’tk’tk
By David D. Levine; Read by Paul Tevis
1 |MP3| – [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: Escape Pod
Podcast: May 18th 2006
I’ve heard Episode 54 of Escape Pod maybe a half dozen times and I’m still very impressed with it. I’m convinced Levine’s tale will become an enduring SF classic. It takes a very Jack Vance like situation, some truly alien aliens, and throws a human everyman into their society – it demonstrates a couple of real world psychological phenomenons – and all the while it is highly entertaining. Can you really ask for more than that?

What Five Free Favourites would you recommend?

Posted by Jesse Willis

Commentary: What are we missing?

SFFaudio Commentary

SFFaudio MetaBy any measure of the times were living in, there is a new audio renaissance. More audiobooks are getting made now than ever before. And more SF, Fantasy and Horror audiobooks are being released than ever before. Here’s a list of the top 10 SFF novels from Sci-Fi lists:

1. Frank Herbert Dune
2. Orson Scott Card Ender’s Game
3. Isaac Asimov Foundation
4. Douglas Adams Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
5. George Orwell 1984
6. Robert A. Heinlein Stranger in a Strange Land
7. Ray Bradbury Fahrenheit 451
8. William Gibson Neuromancer
9. Isaac Asimov I, Robot
10. Arthur C. Clarke 2001: A Space Odyssey

All of these novels have had UNABRIDGED AUDIOBOOK releases at some point or another. Several have had more than one unabridged release! That’s wonderful. But I’m still not satisfied. What novels are we still missing? Or rather, what novels are you missing.

Personally I’m missing a few, here’s a list of just 10 titles I’ve picked from out of the air. I’d like to see any and all of these made into unabridged audiobooks:

1. Scott Lynch The Lies Of Loch Lamora
2. Dan Simmons Hyperion
3. Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle The Mote In God’s Eye
4. Clifford Simak Way Station
5. Alfred Bester The Stars My Destination
6. Steven Gould Jumper
7. Alastair Reynolds Revelation Space
8. Robert J. Sawyer Golden Fleece
9. John Brunner Stand On Zanzibar
10. Ken MacLeod The Star Fraction

What novels are missing from your audiobook shelf?

Posted by Jesse Willis

2008 Audie Award Finalists

SFFaudio News

Audie Awards LogoJust in are the Audie Award Finalists for 2008. In the Science Fiction category:

The Draco Tavern, by Larry Niven, narrated by Tom Weiner, published by Blackstone Audio Inc.
Dune, by Frank Herbert, narrated by Scott Brick, Simon Vance and a full cast, published by Macmillan Audio
The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, by Jack Finney, narrated by Kristoffer Tabori, published by Blackstone Audio Inc.
Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Ravens of Avalon, by Diana L. Paxson, narrated by Lorna Raver, published by Tantor Media, Inc.
Selections from Dreamsongs 1: Fan Fiction and Sci-Fi from Martin’s Early Years: Unabridged Selections, by George R.R. Martin, narrated by Claudia Black, Mark Bramhall, Scott Brick, Roy Dotrice, Kim Mai Guest, Kirby Heyborne and Adrian Paul, published by Random House Audio

That’s an excellent list. In other categories, Joe Hill is on there twice, once for 20th Century Ghosts (Short Stories/Collections category) and once for Heart-Shaped Box (Thriller/Suspense category).

That multi-voice production of Dune is also recognized in the Achievement in Production and Multi-Voiced Performance categories.

Neil Gaiman makes a strong showing as well, with a nomination for Neverwhere in the Narration by the Author or Authors category and two in the Children’s Titles – Ages 12+ category; InterWorld and M is for Magic.

Looks like 2007 was a very strong year for genre fiction audiobooks! Here’s a link to a PDF containing the full press release about this year’s Audies from the Audio Publishers Association.

Add – The Audie Awards, by the way, will be given on May 30, 2008 in Los Angeles, CA. –sd

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

KAMN, Ringworld. Nuff said.

OnlineAudio

The Kick Ass Mystic Ninjas podcast
Episode #34 |MP3| of the Kick Ass Mystic Ninjas podcast is all about Larry Niven’s RINGWORLD! David, Brian and Summer discuss the Hugo and Nebula Award winning 1970 novel. The talk also ranges out into the spinoff Man-Kzin Wars novels, and the newest novel set in Known Space, Fleet of Worlds. Subscribe to the podcast with this feed:

http://www.kickassmysticninjas.com/shows/feed/

Posted by Jesse Willis