Commentary: SFFaudio needs more Audio Drama

SFFaudio Commentary

SFFaudio MetaPetri Salin of the Tricrepicephalus blog seems to think we’re doing good work – and I have to agree. There’s never been a better time to be an audio fan. But his comments aren’t all praise. For instance, he thinks we’re a little short in the audio drama department (he keeps mentioning it). And, I guess I have to give him credit for spotting that too. We do lean a little more towards audiobooks than AD. Part of that is because personally I tend to listen in high noise environments – while shopping, in the car with the roof out, while riding a lawnmower – places where the subtleties of the art might be injured. Audio drama just doesn’t work as well under those conditions. I also tend to listen to audio drama and radio drama when I’m at home, especially in the evening or at bedtime. I treat audio drama, especially the downloaded stuff, as a treat, something I need not make notes about. Hence the less reviewage of it here.

So, given those limitations, I’ll try to add a bit more AD to the mix over the coming months. For now I’ll drop a few names of productions and podcasts I’ve been listening to lately…

BBC Audio - Venus In Copper - based on the novel by Lindsey DavisFALCO, or more specifically, Falco – Poseidon’s Gold – BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour Drama (2009)
I’m about half way through this, the latest adaptation of Lindsey Davis’ series of novels centering on the life of “private informer” Marcus Didius Falco (private investigator) Circa 72 A.D.. It’s a terrific show, as are they all, with stunning production values, top notch acting and a real different narrative voice (lots of voice over giving us what Falco is thinking). I’m a big fan of anything to do with history, and this period of the Roman Empire is full of plenty of intrigue. Anton Lesser, the star of the production is someone I’d like to follow the career of. He’s that good.

Jake Sampson: Monster Hunter – Broken Sea Audio Productions (2007 – 2009)
I don’t think I’ve ever reviewed this show properly, and I doubt I ever will. That is a shame because I really do enjoy it. It’s exactly what you would think given the title. Basically it’s a bastardized cross between Indiana Jones and The Call Of Cthulhu role playing game. It won’t make you think any deep thoughts, but it certainly hits the sweet spot between adventurous fun and historical drama. They’ve done four complete serials so far. I wouldn’t cry too hard if they never do another, but I’d certainly be up for another just the same.

Vanishing Point CBC Radio (1980s)
I’ve been listening to a lot of these lately, many of them are absolutely not to my taste. They do however feature stellar production, and make use of many excellent actors. This means that when they do hit a solid story, it usually turns out pretty damn well. I’ll post a bigger story on this series at some point as I’ve made a ton of notes on most of the episodes I’ve listened to.

And, I also did do a big post, just the other day, on the BBC World Service adaptation of Pontypool.

One series that I plan to start listening to sometime soon is…

Cold Blood – BBC Radio 7 (January 2005)
This was done by Simon Bovey, the same guy who wrote Slipstream, which I thought was absolutely smashing. BBC Radio 7 describes Cold Blood as “[a] Chilling drama set in 2015 at an Antarctic research station” and apparently listeners have loved it too saying:

‘The writing and acting is marvellous….a sumptuous production!’

Sounds good hey?

My friend Julie Davis, of Forgotten Classics, recently suggested I try out a couple new mystery series…

The Teahouse Detective BBC Radio 4 (1998 – 2000)
Based on the stories of Baroness Orczy, dramatised by Michael Butt.

Colvil and Soames BBC Radio 4 (1996 – 1998)
Mysteries investigated by intelligence officers Henry Colvil and Alex Soames.

I’ve now gotten both of these via Radio Downloader. Now I just have to make time to listen to them.

Another BBC series that’s piqued my interest is Saturday Night Theatre. Someone over on RadioArchive.cc has been posting a few of these up as torrents and everything I’ve heard from it has been excellent. Bill Hollweg’s raves about The Tale Of The Knight, The Witch And The Dragon, for instance, prompted a post on it, and I know a lot of folks loved that one.

I also mentioned the BBC radio adaptation of Tiger Tiger, based on the novel Alfred Bester on a recent podcast. Similar-wise, I’ve recently got my mitts on Saturday Night Theatre’s version of Arthur C. Clarke’s 1961 novel A Fall Of Moondust (it’s available in a 2 CD set from BBC Audio) and I’m really looking forward to hearing that.

Blake's 7 - Point Of No Return and Eye Of The MachineOn the commercial front there’s been a couple reviews that I’ve done of the new Blake’s 7 series |HERE| and |HERE|. Those come with our highest recommendation, the “SFFaudio Essential” designation.

Similarily, I’ve got another highly recommended series for you:

Audible.com - Bradbury 13 - A Sound Of Thunder Audible.com is now offering the ever elusive and highly sought after so called “BRADBURY 13” produced in the early 1980s by Brigham Young University.

Who cares about Mormon Audio Drama?

Well my friends, even if you’re no latter day saint, you really should!

See the Mormon church loves AUDIO DRAMA. Just ask Orson Scott Card.

As a consequence of doing so much of it Mormons do it very well. And thus the BRADBURY 13 is arguably the best audio drama ever produced in the United States Of America.

The series is based on 13 unconnected short stories by Ray Bradbury. They are full 3-D sound productions, with quality acting, and ultra-rich soundscapes. 12 of the 13 had been made available in the 1990s on cassettes (email me if you want to buy these – I’ve still got some left) but now, finally, all 13 are available in a modern digital format. This, combined with the fact that Audible.com’s new “Audible Enhanced Audio” format is in STEREO! This means that many audio drama fans are going to be extremely happy.

There are a couple of other things I can recommend for fans of Audio Drama who still find us wanting.

1. Listen to our podcast. Scott and I listen to more than we review. A lot of that is audio drama – we talk about it, and many other things, on the podcast.

2. Make some recommendations yourself. I don’t mean just drop the names of these shows, I mean really tell us what you’re listening to and why you like it, or don’t like it. Post it up as a comment, write it up on your own blog, or send me an email.

So, that’s what on my audio drama plate. What audio dramas are you folks listening to?

Posted by Jesse Willis

BBC Audiobooks America: New stock in from the UK

SFFaudio News

BBC Audiobooks America has just brought in a bunch of previously U.K. only BBC audiobooks. For North American customers this means a big savings on that crazy overseas shipping price. Among the available titles is the first in the series of radio dramatizations of Lindsey Davis books (Shadows In Bronze)! This is the “FALCO” series that I’m always telling everyone to try. Here’s the big list:

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #031 – NEW RELEASES/AUDIOBOOK: Founding Fathers by Robert Bloch

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #031 – Jesse (that’s me) and Scott (my buddy) are again joined by Rick Jackson of Wonder Audio. We talk about audiobooks, new and newer, a little about radio drama, throw in some politics, some Canada bashing, and then add in two complete short stories. The first short story is read by me (it is only two sentences long) and the other runs about 40 minutes and is performed by a professional narrator. Enjoy it folks!

Talked about on today’s show:
Full Cast Audio, Graceling by Kristin Cashore, Hugo Nominees, Young Adult novels, Little Brother by Cory Doctorow |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins |READ OUR REVIEW|, On Basilisk Station by David Weber, Grover Gardner, Shards Of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold, Barayar, The Honor Of The Queen, Paul W. Campbell, Honor Of The Clan by John Ringo and Julie Cochrane, Cally’s War, Audible Frontiers, Brilliance Audio, Paperback Digital, Hyperion by Dan Simmons, The Canterbury Tales, The Kick-Ass Mystic Ninjas, Black Library Audio, Warhammer 40,000: Heart Of Rage by James Swallow, Warhammer 40,000: Slayer Of The Storm God by Nathan Long, Infinivox, The Year’s Top Ten Tales Of Science Fiction edited by Alan Kaster, Ted Chiang is awesome, Zombie Astronaut posts 5 adaptations of Knock by Frederic Brown, Earthmen Bearing Gifts, Expedition, Arena, Rocket Men: The Epic Story of the First Men On The Moon by Craig Nelson, Penguin Audio, 40th Anniversary of Apollo 11, Digital Apollo by David A. Mindell, MIT Press, Wernher von Braun, I Aim For The Stars (1960), Ascent by Jed Mercurio |READ OUR REVIEW|, Voyage by Stephen Baxter (and adapted by Dirk Maggs to radio drama), Four Sided Triangle by William F. Temple, Ray Bradbury, Damon Knight, William Coon, The Fabulous Clip-Joint by Frederic Brown, The Alcoholics by Jim Thompson, Audible.com/wonderaudio, Rule Golden by Damon Knight, Worlds Of The Imperium by Keith Laumer, Mark Douglas Nelson, This Crowded Earth and Other Stories by Robert Bloch, overpopulation, James Powell, The Vanishing Venusians by Leigh Brackett, noir, The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Lawrence Kasdan, Body Heat (1981), Wolfbane by Frederik Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth, Plague Of Pythons by Frederik Pohl, Passengers by Robert Silverberg, The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi, Old Man’s War, Zoe’s Tale, The Sagan Diaries, Lord Valentines Castle by Robert Silverberg |READ OUR REVIEW|, Stephan Rudnicki, Greg Margarite, LibriVox.org, Deathworld by Harry Harrison, Philip K. Dick, Andre Norton, William Coon, Amazon Kindle, ebooks, where the great lakes came from, Comics, The Iliad by Homer; Adapted by Roy Thomas, The Punisher: From First To Last by Garth Ennis, The Golden Slave by Poul Anderson, The Lies Of Loch Lamora by Scott Lynch = Lankhmar meets Oliver Twist, Harry Potter, Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert, messiahs, clairvoyance, the dangers of charismatic leaders, Dune, Harkonnen government was poor management, BBC versions of the Falco books by Lindsey Davis, Radio Downloader, the Brother Cadfael series by Ellis Peters, The Name Of The Rose (1986), Umberto Eco.

And last, but not least, a complete short story, courtesy of Wonder Audio, by Robert Bloch:

This Crowded Earth and Other Stories by Robert BlochFounding Fathers
By Robert Bloch; Read by William Coon
Approx. 40 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: The SFFaudio Podcast
Podcast: July 20th, 2009
A humorous time travel tale.
First published in Fantastic Universe July 1956.

Get more Robert Bloch read by Willam Coon HERE.

Posted by Jesse Willis