And most importantly who among you has read it and liked it and why?
By Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson; Read by Scott Brick
15 CDs – Approx. 19 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Published: March 15, 2011
ISBN: 97814272114221 The human interstellar government, the Constellation, consists of 20 allied “old guard” worlds, centered on the lush capital planet of Sonjeera. The society is wealthy with a feuding, decadent upper class, ruled by the dowager Diadem Michella Duchenet—a tyrant with a sweet face, charming public disposition, and a shriveled, blackened heart—who has been on the throne for decades. But as the population of the core worlds has grown and noble families divided their profitable holdings into smaller and smaller pieces, pressures increase for change, for new territory. After the failure of a devastating revolution, the Diadem Michella realizes she must open the wild frontier of unexplored planets.
The first book, of a planned trilogy, called the “Forerunner Saga.” The Halo wiki has a quote from Frank O’Connor (the Franchise Development Director for Halo) saying:
“It’s going to be a trilogy. A connected universe that will remain faithful to the scale and mysteries, while exploring the detail and challenges of a VERY powerful culture. This won’t be some skirt-raising exercise in Forerunner populist-ism. Folks know way more about Forerunners than you think, but we’re definitely going to respect that strange sense of wonder and awe that Bungie infused from day one. It will be BIG Greg Bear fiction in a faintly familiar place, but one that’s full of surprises. Think Eon.”
The audiobook also includes a three and a half minute introduction, written and read, by Greg Bear himself. In it he says that he drew inspiration for the trilogy from Olaf Stapledon, Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, E.E. Doc Smith, Larry Niven and Robert A. Heinlein. There’s also a sentence particularly about Ringworld.
Halo: Cryptum (Book One of the Forerunner Saga)
By Greg Bear; Read by Holter Graham
7 CDs – Approx. 8 Hours 40 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Published: March 29, 2011
ISBN: 9781427210081 One hundred thousand years ago, the galaxy was populated by a great variety of beings. But one species–eons beyond all others in both technology and knowledge–achieved dominance. They ruled in peace but met opposition with quick and brutal effectiveness. They were the Forerunners–the keepers of the Mantle, the next stage of life in the Universe’s Living Time. And then they vanished. This is their story. – Bornstellar Makes Eternal Lasting is a young rebellious Forerunner. He is a Manipular, untried–yet to become part of the adult Forerunner society, where vast knowledge and duty waits. He comes from a family of Builders, the Forerunners’ highest and most politically powerful rate. It is the Builders who create the grand technology that facilitates Forerunner dominance over the known universe. It is the Builders who believe they must shoulder the greatest burden of the Mantle–as shepherds and guardians of all life. Bornstellar is marked to become a great Builder just like his father. But this Manipular has other plans. He is obsessed with lost treasures of the past. His reckless passion to seek out the marvelous artifacts left behind by the Precursors–long-vanished superbeings of unknowable power and intent—forces his father’s hand. Bornstellar is sent to live among the Miners, where he must come to terms with where his duty truly lies. But powerful forces are at play. Forerunner society is at a major crux. Past threats are once again proving relentless. Dire solutions–machines and strategies never before contemplated–are being called up, and fissures in Forerunner power are leading to chaos. On a Lifeworker’s experimental planet, Bornstellar’s rebellious course crosses the paths of two humans, and the long lifeline of a great military leader, forever changing Bornstellar’s destiny …and the fate of the entire galaxy. This is a tale of life, death, intergalactic horror, exile, and maturity. It is a story of overwhelming change–and of human origins. For the Mantle may not lie upon the shoulders of Forerunners forever.
By Andrew Lane; Read by Dan Weyman
6 CDs – Approx. 7 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Published: February 2011
Themes: / Mystery / Sherlock Holmes / Bees / Evil Mastermind / YA /
It is the summer of 1868, and Sherlock Holmes is fourteen. On break from boarding school, he is staying with eccentric strangers—his uncle and aunt—in their vast house in Hampshire. When two local people die from symptoms that resemble the plague, Holmes begins to investigate what really killed them, helped by his new tutor, an American named Amyus Crowe. So begins Sherlock’s true education in detection, as he discovers the dastardly crimes of a brilliantly sinister villain of exquisitely malign intent.
I realize that I’m not the target audience for this book, but I went into it with hopes for some Sherlock Holmes-like detecting. What I found was a fairly typical YA story with lots of chases, a little bit of teenage romantic awkwardness, and the promise of a sequel.
The Sherlock Holmes-ness in the book can be found mainly in discussions between 14 year-old Sherlock and his tutor from America, Amyus Crowe. He tells Sherlock to remember even unimportant things, and to prize logic. Other allusions to his later life come near the end, when he reflects on how his life will never be the same now that he’s brushed with things he needs to put right. He thinks about Laudanum (he was knocked out with the drug earlier in the story). He’d heard of people getting hooked on the stuff, and he “had no desire to go down that route – none at all”. Also, bees play a very important role in the story, as they will late in Sherlock’s fictional life.
I’m no Sherlock Holmes expert. I haven’t read any significant Arthur Conan Doyle for probably 30 years. But this book just doesn’t feel like any Sherlock Holmes story I remember. It would be perfectly at home as a story of James Bond as a teen. Young James could encounter his first evil (and ridiculous) villain with a big evil (but ultimately ridiculous) plan and a long monologue meant to reveal the plan just before failing to kill the hero. I am pleased that some kids will pick this up and go on to pick up some of the famous Holmes stories, but I dunno. This isn’t an introduction to Sherlock Holmes.
Enough with reviewing the book I wanted. The book it is is an entertaining, light listen with some eye-rolling moments. Dan Weyman does a fantastic job with the narration. There are plenty of characters to perform, but standouts are Amyus Crowe and the evil villain, Baron Maupertuis, who is performed with enthusiasm.
The SFFaudio Podcast #102 – Scott, Jesse and Tamahome talk about new audiobook, book, and comic book releases.
Talked about on today’s show: The Infinite Worlds Of H.G. Wells, Sherlock Holmes, Memory by Donald E. Westlake, Hard Case Crime, A Good Story Is Hard To Find, nihilism, SFSignal’s 122 books that bring Scott to tears, All The Lives He Led by Frederik Pohl (a semi-nihilistic novel), Yellowstone, “half minus negative zero”, A Matter Of Time by Glen Cook, The Black Company, Abel One by Ben Bova, blood and flesh and shirtless, Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente, BoingBoing, Russian Ark, Enigmatic Plot vs. Enigmatic Pilot, Enclave (aka Razorland) by Ann Aguirre, The Maze Runner by James Dashner, The Scorch Trials, The Hunger Games, Hunt The Space Witch and Other Stories by Robert Silverberg, WWW: Wonder by Robert J. Sawyer, Starstruck, Blair Butler, “Geoff Boucher’s Los Angeles Times Hero Complex ‘Get Your Cape On’ pick of the week”, The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi, Macmillan Audio, Audible.com, Brilliance Audio, Warriors edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, Forever Bound by Joe Haldeman, Lawrence Block, O. Henry-ish, “I see no reason to buy through iTunes” (vs. Audible.com), Limitless (aka The Dark Fields) by Alan Glynn, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Flowers For Algernon, Understand by Ted Chiang, acquiring a whole bag of pills, “smart people are neat”, Tantor Media, History Is Wrong by Erich von Däniken, Jesse becomes momentarily depressed, The Guns Of August by Barbara W. Tuchman, John Lee, the John Cleaver series, have world events have sped because of modern technology?, Libya, Tripoli, “The Graveyard Of Empires”, “from the halls of Montezuma to the shores Tripoli”, NPR, A History Of The World In Six Glasses by Tom Standage, beer, wine, spirits, tea, coffee, cola, the Today In Canadian History podcast, the Canadian Navy, I Don’t Want To Kill You by Dan Wells, I Am Not A Serial Killer, “normally I don’t do this”, Dexter, the Writing Excuses podcast, Homeward Bound by Harry Turtledove, alternate history, We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, Grover Gardner, Eric S. Rabkin, George Orwell’s 1984, Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, William Dufris, binary fission, Tantor Media is very innovative in including ebooks with their audiobooks, we need a new demarcation to desperate urban fantasy romance from SF, “conspiracy and ignorance based books”, The Prefect by Alastair Reynolds, Tales From A Thousand Nights And The Night (aka 1,001 Nights!) translated by Richard Burton, The Thousand Nights And A Night is the first fix-up novel, Nostromo by Joseph Conrad, South America, Three Men In A Boat (To Say Nothing Of The Dog) by Jerome K. Jerome, To Say Nothing Of The Dog by Connie Willis, Have Spacesuit, Will Travel by Robert A. Heinlein, Atlantis And Other Places by Harry Turtledove, Slave To Sensation shouldn’t be a science fiction novel, Orson Scott’s Card Intergalactic Medicine Show, Rejiggering The Thingamajig by Eric James Stone on Escape Pod #277, body-swapping, I Will Fear No Evil by Robert A. Heinlein, gender-swapping, For Us The Living: A Comedy Of Customs by Robert A. Heinlein, Heinlein’s old theme: “naked people talking to each other”, Heinlein likes to examine social preconceptions and social prejudices, “not a Heinlein classic but still classic Heinlein”, Eifelheim, Luke Burrage, Idiot America by Charles P. Pierce, George Washington riding a dinosaur, The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson, contemporary with Tolkien (rather than derivative of Tolkien), Michael Moorcock, Eric Birghteyes by H. Rider Haggard, Bronson Pinchot, The Plague Dogs by Richard Adams, anthropomorphic fiction, quasi-Science Fiction, quasi-Fantasy, Coyotes In The House by Elmore Leonard |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Call Of The Wild by Jack London, We Three by Grant Morrison, Transmetropolitain, Warren Ellis, Tama’s pet peeve in comics is silent panels, Audible Frontiers, The Death Of Grass by John Christopher, The Tripods, The Sam Gunn Omnibus, The Steel Remains, Cliffs Notes are now available as audiobooks, Brave New World, The Spiral Path by Lisa Paitz Spindler, Eat Prey Love by Kerrelyn Sparks, William Coon’s Eloquent Voice titles, Andre Norton’s The Time Traders, Gilgamesh The King by Robert Silverberg |READ OUR REVIEW|, Philip K. Dick, Henry James, Anton Chekov, Paul of Cthulhu, Yog-Sothoth.comThe Whisperer In Wax, wax cylinder tech, Embedded by Dan Abnett, SFSignal.com.
In the last Macmillan Audio press release the biggest item is the relaunch of the long running “Wheel Of Time” series.Winter’s Heart is “book nine of the addicting Audie Award-winning series.” Also of note, but little more than a curiosity, is that a general fiction title (an abridged Jackie Collins novel) is being given the “full cast” treatment!
Most interesting, to me, are the smaller titles, books like the Keigo Higashino novel The Devotion Of Suspect X and Robert Charles Wilson’s Vortex. And of course there is also The Elephant To Hollywood, Michael Caine’s newly updated autobiography.
Here’s the full Macmillan Audio Winter 2011 Catalog |PDF|.
Here’s a list of the SFF and Aural Noir titles it includes:
Halo: Cryptum by Greg Bear; narrators TBA; 1/4/11 The Devotion Of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino; read by David Pittu ; 2/1/11 First Grave On The Right by Darynda Jones; read by Lorelei King; 2/1/11 Though Not Dead by Dana Stabenow; read by Marguerite Gavin; 2/1/11 A Heartbeat Away by Michael Palmer; read by Robert Petkoff; 2/15/11 Winter’s Heart by Robert Jordan; read by Michael Kramer and Kate Reading; 3/1/11 Hellhole by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson; read by Scott Brick; 3/15/11 The Trinity Sixby Charles Cumming; narrator TBA; 3/15/11 False Impression by Jeffrey Archer; read by Byron Jennings; 4/12/11 Vortex by Robert Charles Wilson; narrator TBA; 4/12/11 – DIGITAL DOWNLOAD ONLY
And while we’re at it, here’s the Macmillan Young Listener’s Winter 2011 catalogue |PDF|
In it Enclave (formerly “Razorland”) is probably the most interesting. It’s a title well positioned to capitalize on the vacuum in The Hunger Games market:
“Ann Aguirre’s highly anticipated YA debut, [introduces] listeners to 15 year-old Deuce and the apocalyptic New York City she lives in, set decades into the future. The city has been decimated by war and plague, and most of civilization has migrated to underground enclaves, where life expectancy is no more than the early 20’s. Part City Of Ember; part I Am legend; part Hunger Games; Aguirre’s compelling plot will capture those beyond the young adult audience and is certain to keep listeners glued to their earphones until the end.”
The rest of the big SFF titles are here:
Awakened by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast; read by Caitlin Davies; 1/4/11 Doctor De Soto by William Steig; read by Stanley Tucci; 1/4/11 (ONLY 32 PAGES LONG) Death Cloud: Young Sherlock Holmes by Andrew Lane RECEIVED Invincible by Sherrilyn Kenyon; read by Holter Graham; 3/22/11 Enclave by Ann Aguirre; read by Emily Bauer; 4/12/11 (formerly titled “RAZORLAND“)
The SFFaudio Podcast #096 – Scott and Jesse talk about recently arrived audiobooks as well as Y: The Last Man, James Tiptree Jr., Isaac Asimov, what author estates want and more!
Talked about on today’s show: Kage Baker, Subterranean Press, Blackstone Audio, In The Garden Of Iden by Kage Baker, Captive Market by Philip K. Dick, Janan Raouf, Time For The Stars by Robert A. Heinlein, Barret Whitener, telepathy, Starman’s Quest by Robert Silverberg, For Us The Living: A Comedy Of Customs by Robert A. Heinlein, Malcolm Hillgartner, Heinlein’s first and last novel, Spider Robinson, Variable Star by Robert A. Heinlein and Spider Robinson, Job: A Comedy Of Justice, Macmillan Audio, Death Cloud: Sherlock Holmes The Legend Begins by Andrew Lane, Dan Wyman, “endorsed by the Conan Doyle estate” = who cares, Poul Anderson on Sherlock Holmes, Laird of Muck, disabled protagonists, The Lighthouse Land by Adrian McKinty, The Lighthouse War, MG (middle grade) vs. YA, Gerard Doyle, Christopher Paolini, The Gods Of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs, William Dufris, viscous plant men, does Deja Thoris lay eggs?, Dynamite Entertainment‘s Warlord Of Mars, Valentine Pontifex by Robert Silverberg, Majipoor Chronicles, Lord Valentine’s Castle, Stonefather by Orson Scott Card |READ OUR REVIEW|, Emily Janice Card, The Geek’s Guide To The Galaxy, The Lost Gate, The Last Airbender, R.L. Stine, Timescape by, Darkside by Tom Becker |READ OUR REVIEW|, Bolinda Audio, London, Neil Gaiman-esque, The Graveyard Book, Venus by Ben Bova |READ OUR REVIEW|, Fantastic Audio, Jupiter, Nova Science Now, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Europa, Ganymede, A Stainless Steel Rat Is Born, Brilliance Audio, The Elvenbane by Andre Norton and Mercedes Lackey, dragons, elves, Odalisque by Neal Stephenson, Alan Moore loves allusions, The League Of Extraordinary Gentleman, Snow Crash, The Diamond Age, Honor Harrington, Honor Among Enemies by David Weber, manticore, pirates!, what’s up with all the mix-and-match creatures in the Middle East?, On Blazing Wings by L. Ron Hubbard, mercenaries, SFsite.com often reviews the L. Ron Hubbard Stories From The Golden Age, the paperbooks problem, The Unremembered by Peter Orullian, Anne Perry, The Desert Of Souls by Howard Andrew Jones, 8th century, Baghdad, The Desert Of Souls by Howard Andrew Jones, the Fantasy Book Critic blog review, unpronounceable character names, J.R.R. Tolkien, Philip K. Dick was inspired by the Odyssey, Beyond Lies The Wub, Strange Eden, Scott didn’t like Y: The Last Man, Brian K. Vaughan, Gulliver’s Travels, the problem of transitory pop-culture references, The Tyrrany Of Talented Readers, Scalped, Bertrand Russell, Pride Of Baghdad, anthropomorphic fiction, James Tiptree Jr., Her Smoke Rose Up Forever, Masters Of Horror: The Screwfly Solution, Dove Audio, Isaac Asimov, author estates, Escape Pod #100, Nightfall, Tantor Media, Robots Of Dawn, Audible.com has plenty of Arthur C. Clarke, Dream Park by Larry Niven and Steve Barnes, mystery, Science Fiction, On Stranger Tides, Brain Wave, PaperbackSwap, Del Rey art in the ’70s and ’80s was awesome, Scott’s Picasa gallery of book covers, Tom Weiner, Jesse has a terrible memory, our Oath Of Fealty readalong, the Pirates Of The Caribbean films.