The SFFaudio Podcast #072 – READALONG: Assam And Darjeeling by T.M. Camp


The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #072 – Jesse and Scott talk with Julie Davis, of the Forgotten Classics podcast about Assam And Darjeeling by T.M. Camp |READ OUR REVIEW|.

Talked about on today’s show:
Assam & Darjeeling by T.M. Camp,, iTunes, serialized fiction, entertaining copyright notices, where do you do your podcast listening?, I’ve got my hands full of car, the volume on Assam And Darjeeling is way too low!, remastering Assam And Darjeeling for audiobook, listening to podcasts at double speed (only on iTouch and iPhone), the premise of Assam And Darjeeling, Hades, the underworld, Inferno by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle |READ OUR REVIEW|, Escape From Hell by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle , The Divine Comedy: The Inferno by Dante Alighieri, Virgil’s The Aeneid, Ovid, the Brothers Grimm, witches, Greek Mythology, Edgar, no one can be as cruel as a kid, Joss Whedon, in the hands of a skillful author, Matters Of Mortology by T.M. Camp, Kij Johnson‘s The Fox Woman, the Black Gate blog, foxes in mythology, Aesop’s Fable The Fox And The Grapes, Cernunnos, Herne the Hunter, making the switch from comedy to horror and horror to comedy, the Shaggy Man (in the Oz series), Tom Bombadil, he has psychic powers too?, page 18, masterly dialogue put into the mouths of young children, the PDF version of Assam And Darjeeling, What Dreams May Come by Richard Matheson, life after death, Inception, Edgar Alan Poe should go into the underworld to get his wife Virginia, The Memory Palace episode about Edgar Allan Poe’s death (Episode 20 strong>This Ungainly Fowl), This American Life is really bleak, WNYC’s Radiolab isn’t, general fiction is generally bleak, A Good Man Is Hard To Find by Flannery O’Connor, Science Fiction vs. general fiction, Social Science Fiction, Science Fiction has a second layer, it’s not all style, The Cold Equations by Tom Godwin, Staggerford by Jon Hassler, there are ways to tell powerful stories, A Man In Full by Tom Wolfe, Bangsian Fantasy, Fantasy, re-reading The Lord Of The Rings, the more I think about it the more I think I don’t like Fantasy,, derivative Fantasy, romance novels, Jane Austen, John Thorne, The Long Walk by Stephen King (Richard Bachman), The Stand, It, Salem’s Lot, The Shining, Under The Dome, Shirley Jackson, Ray Bradbury, long vs. short, The Cell by Stephen King, 28 Days Later, Desperation by Stephen King, The Rapture, if you were a character in this book who would you be?, the rule that makes any book better: talk about food, Lawrence Block, the economy of the afterworld, lampshading, I’m done with sequels, Mike Resnick’s Starship series, Jim Butcher’s Dresden series, The Fall Of Hyperion by Dan Simmons, Make Room, Make Room by Harry Harrison, Soylent Green, Adventures by Mike Resnick, mammoths vs. mastodons, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, The Star Beast by Robert A. Heinlein, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Assam and Darjeeling by T.M. Camp

SFFaudio Review

Assam and Darjeeling by T.M. CampSFFaudio EssentialAssam & Darjeeling
By T.M. Camp; Read by T.M. Camp
Podcast Download (iTunes and RSS Feeds can be found |Here| – Approx 23 hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: T.M. Camp
Published: 2008
Themes: / Fantasy / Religion / Legend / Children / Underworld /

A masterful and nuanced book, Assam & Darjeeling is the story of a quest straight into legendary, mythological landscape. Two children’s’ efforts to save their mother serves as a lens through which we see pure love, redemption, and sacrifice.

It all begins with a car accident on a snow-covered road; two kids and their mother end up in intensive care. The kids are banged up . . . but their mom is in a coma, hovering on the edge of death. Drifting in a pale, ghostly world of their own, the kids resolve to find her and bring her back.

So begins their journey into the Underworld, where the remnants of Dante, shreds of folklore, and echoes of mythology struggle to keep pace with the world above.

Demons with cell phones, ancient deities tooling around in vintage convertibles… Gods and goddesses whose pantheons have fallen out of favor, waiting tables in an all-night diner to make ends meet… A lonely queen wandering through her winter palace, waiting for spring… A little boy named Edgar who set off on his own after the Black Plague to wander other worlds above and below, looking for something he lost long ago… A congregation of souls fooled into believing they’ve reached the fields of Heaven, while the demon who ensnared them feeds on their faith and their fear…

This story will appeal to anyone who knows and loves classic Western mythology. Camp has tweaked the old legends just enough to make us puzzle about each new situation and character’s origin. When it falls into place we feel a sense of triumph for getting it right … or the need to dash to the reference books to see what unknown myth he is referring to.

One of the truest pleasures of Assam & Darjeeling is the relationship between the forceful younger sister, Darjeeling, and the thoughtful, sensitive older brother, Assam. The way that they work together to save their mother, yet often clash in the details of how they must proceed is what carries the story and makes us believe in their relationship. It rings true to anyone who has siblings whom they love but who also have the capacity to irritate beyond belief in daily life.

Camp reads his own story and his understated delivery adds to pull the listener into the story. His accents are flawless and add definition to each character. His playful side shows in the touches he adds to the very end of each podcast where his contact information changes frequently and always has a humorously mystic tone.

This is hands-down one of my favorite books of the year. I absolutely loved it and anxiously awaited each weekly upload until the entire book was finished. I only wish that it were available in printed form so that I could give it to people who don’t listen to audio books.

Posted by Julie D.

Review of American Gods by Neil Gaiman

SFFaudio Audiobook Review

Fantasy Audiobook - American Gods by Neil GaimanAmerican Gods
By Neil Gaiman, read by George Guidall
2 MP3-CD’s/20 hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Harper Audio
Published: 2001
ISBN: 060836253
Themes: / Fantasy / Modern fantasy / Mythology / Legend / Americana / Picaresque / Gods /

A storm is coming. From his prison cell, Shadow can feel it bearing down on him, but he has no idea how it shred his already tattered life and cast the pieces into realms both familiar and mythical.

Shadow’s journey across the real and imagined terrain of America is the gravitational mass around which the rest of the novel accretes. We follow him out of prison, to a portentous meeting with his eventual employer Mr. Wednesday, back to his home town, and beyond to a magical carousel in a bizarre roadside attraction, to a small Wisconsin town peopled by a hundred unique, quirky characters, down to little Egypt, across a barren Indian reservation, and even to the geometric center of the contiguous states. His discoveries of the languishing deities brought to this continent and abandoned by assimilating immigrants are our own, and the questions he faces about the nature of human faith and the fulfillment of ourselves in mystical sacrifices are questions we find ourselves struggling to answer.

But Shadow’s story is not the only one. The mercurial Mr. Wednesday also has a tale to tell, as do a half-dozen or so other deities, spirits, leprechauns, and phantasms. Their stories are tough, tender, tragic, uplifting, and ultimately doomed. But even they are not the full measure of this book. There are also newly-minted gods of television, computers, covert operations, and other creations of modern angst. They represent a malevolent opposition to the old gods, and the storm Shadow has foreseen is the clash between the old and new gods in a battle for the devotion of an attention-deficit populace.

American Gods is one of the great novels of modern fantasy, and lands just short of the fence as a great American novel. Much of its power is derived from its complexity: It is composed of religion, adventure, a small-town thriller, a road novel, history, con-games, Native American myth, early American legend, intimate portraits of immigrants finding their small way in a huge new country, and sprawling adventure across the entire face of America. Written by an imported Englishman, it offers both an outsider’s attention to quirky detail and a native’s casual acceptance of all that comprises this slow-simmered stew of a country. Gaiman’s prose is graceful, simple, and his pacing is slow enough to nurture our sympathy, yet brisk enough to remain consistently exciting.

George Guidall’s narration is also excellent. His portrayals are groaning, snippy, kvetching and distinct. He conjures a pantheon of note-perfect Eastern European accents for a group of little-known gods, a crisp con-man’s coarseness for Mr. Wednesday, a mischievous African charm for Anansi, and a quiet desperation for Shadow. The only misstep is Shadow’s wife Laura, whose voice seems too fawningly girlish for the part. The MP3 CD format is the best so far invented, and the sound quality is crisp. Maybe too crisp, as you can clearly hear the edges of many of the edits.

After the multi-threaded end of the story, there is an extended interview with Gaiman which provides a delightful look at the man and the origins of his story. While I found it fascinating to see how such a large collection of ideas coalesced into a single transcendent work, the interview also rubs off just a little of the luster. Overall, though, the entire production is a pleasure from the first ominous chapter to the last. It will make an enviable centerpiece to your audio fiction collection.

Posted by Kurt Dietz