New Releases for May and June

New Releases

Dontcha just love new releases? I know we sure do, here’s a tasty batch for May and June. Also, I hope you all know that many of these titles are available in multiple formats (CD, Cassette, MP3, etc.) just follow the links to the publisher websites to see who has what.

Leading the charge this time is Random House Audiobooks with… wait for it… wait for it…

Science Fiction Audiobook - A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. DickA Scanner Darkly
By Philip K. Dick; Read by Paul Giamatti
8 Compact Discs – 9 hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Random House Audio
Published: May 2006
ISBN: 073932392X
Our most requested title (by readers and reviewers alike) . I’m dying to hear how Paul Giamatti will perform it. Expect a review shortly.

Tell Tale Weekly has released a never before adapted audiobook of…

Valley Of The Spiders by H.G. WellsThe Valley Of The Spiders
By H. G. Wells; Read by Alexander Wilson
MP3 Download – 29 minutes, 11 seconds [UNABRIDGED]
Published: May 2006
A SF/Fantasy Pulp Adventure Story from 1903. “Three adventurers face danger, death, and giant spiders, all for the capture love of a woman, in this classic pulp adventure story.” Just $1.00! And be sure to read the nice intro Alex Wilson wrote for it on the TellTaleWeekly site too.

And of course there is no stopping the indefatigable, they’ve got a sweet batch of new podcast novels in the offing:

Podiobook - Immortals by Tracy HickmanThe Immortals
By Tracy Hickman; Read by Tracy and Laura Hickman
Started: May 2006
It’s 2020, and an attempted cure for AIDS has mutated into a deadlier disease, V-CIDS. The U.S., under martial law, has set up “quarantine centers” in the Southwest. Searching for his gay son, Jon, media mogul Michael Barris smuggles himself into one of centers only to discover that it and the other centers are actually extermination camps. With a strange assortment of allies, including the leader of the camp’s gay barracks, an army officer and a local cowboy, Barris precipitates an inmates’ rebellion that promises the unraveling of the death-camp system and the overthrow of the government that established it.

Discovered Country
By Nora Fleischer
Started: May 2006
Rosemary Halpern, a mild-mannered librarian from Boston, found herself trapped hundreds of years in the future. A future that faced a new Ice Age. A future where ghouls walked the Earth, ravenous for human flesh.

Sonic Fiction
Edited by Jeffrey Kafer; Read by Jeffrey Kafer
Started: May 2006
An eclectic mix of authors from a range of ages and backgrounds. Featuring works of Science fiction, gritty war tales, murder and intrigue, comedy and farce, this is a book for any fan of short fiction. Let us tell you a story…

Prophecy Of Swords
By M.H. Bonham
Started: May 2006
Nearly a thousand years ago a great warrior named Lachlan sought to unify his people, using the power of the Three Swords of Destiny. Before his victory, Lachlan was killed by his trusted friend, Allarun. Now, Allarun is still in power but haunted by dreams of Lachlan’s death curse: that Lachlan would return to avenge his death. Allarun’s decision is to destroy the very people Lachlan tried to unite.

Brilliance Audio has a lock on lengthy Fantasy titles this quarter – check these out…

Science Fiction Audiobook - A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. DickDragon’s Fire
By Todd McCaffrey and Anne McCaffrey; Read by Dick Hill
10 CDs – 12 hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: 2006
ISBN: 9781423314561

More lore from the planet called Pern!

Science Fiction Audiobook - A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. DickPhantom
By Terry Goodkind; Read by Sam Tsoutsouvas
2 MP3-CDs – 23 hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: 2006
ISBN: 9781593356873
I don’t know much about Goodkind, anybody heard one of his?

Science Fiction Audiobook - A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. DickDragons of the Dwarven Depths: The Lost Chronicles, Vol. I
by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman; Read by Sandra Burr
13 Compact Discs – 15 hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: 2006
ISBN: 9781423316107
Listen to an audio sample
A new Dragonlance book with the old beloved characters! I loved the classic first trilogy as a kid. I wonder if this one will be as good.

Also Blackstone Audiobooks has “returns” to re-releases, remakes and all look promising…

By Lois McMaster Bujold; Read by Grover Gardner
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
Published: May 2006
ISBN: 9780786175116
This was previously recorded by the now defunct The Readers Chair – Grover Gardner makes this a remake.

Superman Returns
By Marv Wolfman; Read by Scott Brick
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
Published: June 2006
ISBN: 0786175729
Looks like a Movie-Tie In.

Animal Farm & 1984
By George Orwell; Read by Richard Brown and Ralph Cosham
PUBLISHER: Blackstone Audiobooks
PUBLISHED: June 2006
ISBN: 0786177144
Released seperately many times and by with many readers before, you can now grab them together. Orwell at his best.

Not much new Spec Fic over at the venerable Recorded Books, but this one caught our eye…

VampiratesVampirates: Demons of the Ocean
By Justin Somper; Read by John Curless
Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC
Published: May 2006
ISBN: 1428110836

Here are the New Releases for September – a fine l…

Here are the New Releases for September – a fine looking bunch of audiobooks, I must say…

Anansi Boys
By Neil Gaiman; Read by Lenny Henry
Harper Audio, Unabridged
The sequel to American Gods – can’t wait!

By Anne McCaffrey; Read by Dick Hill
Brilliance Audio, Unabridged
This is a mass market re-release of this title, now available on CD and MP3-CD

The Road to Dune
By Frank Herbert, Brian Herbert, and Kevin J. Anderson
Read by Scott Brick
Audio Renaissance, Unabridged
Click here for the SFFAudio Review!

Speaker for the Dead
By Orson Scott Card; Read by Various
Audio Renaissance, Unabridged
Click here for the SFFAudio Review!

Star Wars: The Dark Nest II: The Unseen Queen
By Troy Denning; Read by Jonathan Davis
Random House Audio, Abridged

The Warrior’s Apprentice
By Lois McMaster Bujold; Read by Grover Gardner
Blackstone Audio, Unabridged
Available on cassette, CD, and MP3-CD
This is the second Vorkosigan novel released by Blackstone.

By Terry Pratchett; Read by Stephen Briggs
Harper Audio, Unabridged
The latest Discworld novel.

Review of The Vor Game by Lois McMaster Bujold

Science Fiction Audiobooks - The Vor Game by Lois McMaster BujoldThe Vor Game
By Lois McMaster Bujold; Read by Grover Gardner
9 CDs – Approx. 10 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: 2005
ISBN: 9780786178308
Themes: / Science Fiction / Space Opera / Military / Espionage /

I’ve listened to several space operas lately. Sometimes it works out that way when reviewing science fiction audio, no matter how eclectic I try to be in my listening. So, I approached this with a bit of a sigh, expecting more of the same. I should have known better, though, because Lois McMaster Bujold is one heck of a fine storyteller, and Grover Gardner is a fine reader, too. The Vor Game showed me how good space opera can be. It doesn’t take itself seriously, the characters are people you’d like to meet, the situations (and their resolutions) are plausible, and, only because you care enough about the characters, exciting.

The Vor Game is one of a series of books collectively called The Vorkosigan Saga. Technically, this Hugo Award-winning book is the fourth in the series, but each stands alone. It starts with Miles Vorkosigan, the son of the famous Count Vorkosigan and subject of most of the Vorkosigan novels, graduating from the Barrayaran military academy. He’s anticipating an assignment in all sorts of interesting places, but he lands a spot as a weatherman in a frozen northern training base. An infantry training base no less – something for which his short stature (from genetic damage suffered by his mother while pregnant with Miles) is simply not built. And it all goes downhill from there in a story that spans this frozen tundra to the depths of space, and includes ensigns and emperors. The characters are very witty, especially Miles.

Grover Gardner is an excellent reader. He is not a flamboyant dramatic reader, but a precise steady reader with a very pleasant voice. I enjoy his performances, like I did this one.

Blackstone Audio is going to publish more of the Vorkosigan titles – the next in line is The Warrior’s Apprentice. Looking forward to it!

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Fast Forward: Contemporary Science Fiction

SFFaudio Online Audio

I just stumbled across a very nice resource – Fast Forward: Contemporary Science Fiction is a television show based in Arlington, VA. They have interviewed a number of science fiction authors, and they have archives going back to 2003 so you can listen to (or watch – each interview is available in MP3 audio format or compressed video format) at your leisure.

The following interviews are currently available: Orson Scott Card, Lois McMaster Bujold, Connie Willis, Neil Gaiman, Patricia Wrede, Elizabeth Massie, Laura Anne Gilman, Susanna Clarke, Jasper Fforde, China Miéville, Cortney Skinner, Kim Stanley Robinson, Bruce Sterling, William Gibson, Tamora Pierce, Nalo Hopkinson, Jack Williamson, Terry Pratchett, Karl Kofoed, Margaret Weis, Laurell K. Hamilton, Garth Nix, Roger MacBride Allen, Donna Andrews, Catherine Asaro, Robert Jordan, Will Ludwigsen, and Mindy Klasky.

Click here for their archives!

Review of Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold

Fantasy Audiobooks - Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster BujoldPaladin of Souls
By Lois McMaster Bujold; Read by Kate Reading
13 CDs – Approx. 15 hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Published: 2005
ISBN: 0786181397
Themes: / Fantasy / Religion / Magic / Demons /

Paladin of Souls is the second book in Bujold’s series involving the country of Chalion. A minor, troubled character in the first book, The Curse of Chalion, is the heroine, or the champion of souls, in this remarkable tale. Lady Ista is an intriguing forty-something lead character and is best described by her own words: “I have always been a drab sort of thing; the only thing that has improved is my wits.” She is intelligent and witty and uses these talents to deal with devastating events from her past.

The setting for this story is a medieval-style world with a polytheistic religion in which men and women choose one of five Gods, each with unique callings and characteristics, to worship. In addition to this, there are demons and demon magic creating opposition for the plot. The story centers around Ista and her relationship with the Gods. She is disillusioned with them as a result of her past involvement that had deadly and heartbreaking consequences, but is dragged kicking and screaming back into their service. She is given the tasks of rescuing souls being destroyed by demons and sorting out a deadly triangle of demon magic and deception.

As the story unfolds Ista not only finds a calling that gives her life meaning, she finds devoted friends, forgiveness, and love. Within the story are several very moving interactions between her and the Gods wherein she comes to have a deeper understanding of their plans and their love for the men and women who serve them. Bujold has composed a beautiful novel that is at once compelling, humorous, and touching. Her characters are not only heroic, but fantastically multidimensional. They are by turns noble, compassionate, selfish, stubborn… human.

The audio version of Paladin of Souls is a wonderful example of the perfect pairing of story and voice. Kate Reading sounds like royalty in every book she narrates. Some may recognize her performances with Michael Kramer in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. She also has been the primary voice of Dr. Kay Scarpetta in Patricia Cornwell’s murder mysteries. Ms. Reading’s ability to enunciate without sounding like she is working at it lends itself beautifully to Lady Ista, whom we can assume would behave and sound like a person of the ruling class. With all this said, Paladin of Souls is a step above the ordinary in fantasy literature and audiobooks. It is a delight to experience.

Review of Falling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold

Science Fiction Audiobooks - Falling Free by Lois McMaster BujoldFalling Free
By Lois McMaster Bujold; Read by Michael Hanson and Carol Cowan
7 Cassettes – 9 hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: The Reader’s Chair
Published: 1996
ISBN: 0962401099
Themes: / Science Fiction / Genetic Engineering / Space Travel / Space Stations / Slavery / Corporations /

When I heard about The Reader’s Chair going out of business, I couldn’t help but to revisit this book. I first started writing about audiobooks back in 2001, and one of the first columns I wrote for SFSite was about The Reader’s Chair. In that column, I said:

The audio versions are first-rate. Hanson and Cowan read the books with enthusiasm, providing different characters with different inflections. Great care was taken to make these novels a listening pleasure.

Upon listening to this Nebula-winning novel, and after hearing I have no clue how many audiobooks since, I can still say that the Reader’s Chair titles are amongst the finest out there. Michael Hanson has a deep sonorous voice that demands attention, and Carol Cowan is a warm yet feisty counterbalance.

Falling Free is a novel that fits into Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan series, but the events occur 200 years before the birth of the famous Miles Vorkosigan. The story involves a corporation that genetically engineers a new race of humans (called Quaddies) that are uniquely adapted for work in zero-gravity. Enter Leo Graf, an engineer hired to teach zero-g welding techniques to this new race of slave labor. When he sees how the Quaddies are treated, he becomes very uneasy. Think you know where this is heading? Bujold pulls it off brilliantly.

This one is now officially out of print, but well worth finding. The Reader’s Chair productions are top notch, from the high quality production value to the sturdy and fine-looking packaging. I’m very sorry to see them go.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson