BBC4 & Stephen Fry – In The Beginning Was The Nerd

SFFaudio Online Audio

BBC Radio 4RadioArchive.ccI’ve been enjoying quite a lot of Stephen Fry on television lately. He’s been following in the footsteps of Douglas Adams in the recent series Last Chance To See, doing an autobiographical examination of a fascinating disorder in Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive and criss-crossing the USA in Stephen Fry in America. But the programme that I’ll draw your attention to is a very nice hour long documentary that aired on BBC Radio 4 a couple weeks back. I picked it up through, and I recommend you do the same.

Fry brings quite a bit to the show, delving back into computer history, talking about Alan Turing (and how that connects to where the Apple company’s logo came from), sliding tangentially into Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Karel Čapek’s Rossum’s Universal Robots, E.M. Forster’s The Machine Stops and plenty more besides. The “Y2K disaster” seems more and more relevant these days, not because of the disaster itsel (which didn’t happen) but rather because the fixity of poorly informed media opinion is more and more likely despite our increasing ability to digitally record and rehash our poor predictions. We just don’t do it – except with programmes like this!

Stephen FryStephen Fry – In The Beginning Was The Nerd
By Stephen Fry
1 Broadcast – Approx. 56 Minutes [DOCUMENTARY]
Broadcaster: BBC Radio 4
Broadcast: October 5, 2009
The Western world, with a few notable exceptions, poured billions of dollars into electronic pesticides to defeat the Y2K bug. Only to find that for the most part it could have been defeated by turning the systems off then on again. So, why the silence when the bug didn’t bite? The answer’s in the programme. Politicians, experts and businessmen all profited in status or cash from the threat. In the media – to paraphrase the crime reporters – it bled so it led. In the USA, government brazenly claimed victory for its defeat. In reality, the enemy was almost totally imaginary. But it’s useless blaming the great and the good. It was inevitable. We’d been told repeatedly that this brilliant new technology would change the world. Then we were told it could all stop on the stroke of one spookily special midnight. We were the newly addicted, suddenly faced with the prospect that our supply was fatally endangered. There was only one thing we could do. Panic. Then spend millions fixing it. Sorry, that’s two things.

Here’s a 15 minute selection from the doc:

You can pick up the rest, via torrent, from

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

BBC Radio 7: Raymond Chandler, Mary Shelley, Simon Bovey, William Gibson

SFFaudio Online Audio

BBC Radio 7 - BBC7There’s a terrific mix of Science Fiction, Mystery and Crime stories, novels and dramatizations set to be broadcast this week. It looks like every single one is a repeat, but I can’t think of any set of repeats better sounding than these! So what are you waiting for? All of them should be available in your Radio Downloader browser right now!

BBC Radio Collection - The Big Sleep and The High WindowThe High Window
Based on the novel by Raymond Chandler; Performed by a full cast
1 Broadcast – Approx. 90 Minutes [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: BBC Radio 7
Broadcast: Saturday August 1, 2009 @ 1pm and 1am
When wise-cracking private eye Philip Marlowe is hired to track down a valuable missing coin, he quickly discovers that contact with it invariably has fatal consequences. Dramatised by Bill Morrison, John Tydeman’s production was first broadcast in 1977. Stars Ed Bishop.

The Mortal Immortal
By Mary Shelley; Read by Shaun Dooley
1 Broadcast – Approx. 30 Minutes [ABRIDGED?]
Broadcaster: BBC Radio 7
Broadcast: Sunday at 6.30pm and 12.30am
Driven to despair by disappointment in love, alchemist’s assistant Cornelius drinks a potion which he discovers to be the elixir of life. At first, Cornelius revels in what he sees as his good fortune – until the drawbacks of his action slowly start to become clear. This production by Gemma Jenkins was specially made for Radio 7 and first broadcast in 2005.

Slipstream by Simon BoveySlipstream
By Simon Bovey; Performed by a full cast
5 Broadcasts – Approx. 2.5 Hours [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: BBC Radio 7
Broadcast: Monday to Friday, August 3 – 7, 2009 @ 6pm and Midnight
When 150 aircraft are shot down in one raid, Colonel Barton fears the destruction was the work of Slipstream, a terrifying new weapon developed by the enemy. Barton determines to find the weapon before it can be used again. Simon Bovey’s World War Two drama was specially commissioned for Radio 7. Produced by Marc Beeby, it stars Rory Kinnear and Tim McMullan and was originally transmitted in 2008.

Pattern Recognition by William GibsonPattern Recognition
By William Gibson; Read by Lorelei King
5 Broadcasts – Approx. 2.5 Hours [ABRIDGED]
Broadcaster: BBC Radio 7
Broadcast: Monday to Friday, August 3 – 7, 2009 @ 6.30pm and 12.30am
Cayce Pollard has an unusual allergy which leaves her hyper-sensitive to brand names. Instinctively aware of what products will and will not succeed, she enjoys a lucrative career in advertising. On a business trip to London, however, she finds herself involved in tracking down the maker of a strangley addictive online film – a search that proves to be extremely dangerous. This Radio 7 commission was first broadcast in 2007.

Down Payment On Death
By Jim Eldridge; Performed by a full cast
5 Broadcasts – Approx. 2.5 Hours [RADIO DRAMA]
Broadcaster: BBC Radio 7
Broadcast: Monday to Friday, August 3 – 7, 2009 @ 1.30pm, 8.30pm and 1.30am
Professional assassin Art Gordo is blackmailed into doing one last job by Clarke from ‘The Department’. Adapted by Jim Eldridge’s 1972 novel. Stars Dinsdale Landon as Art and Glyn Owen as target Allweather. First broadcast in 1976 on the BBC’s World Service.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Recent Arrivals from Brick by Brick

SFFaudio Recent Arrivals

We’ve received some titles from Scott Brick Presents!, where Scott Brick himself is producing and publishing some of his favorite titles.

Sword of the Lamb by M.K. WrenSword of the Lamb
By M.K. Wren; Read by Scott Brick
Publisher: Scott Brick Presents
Published: 2008

Brick calls The Phoenix Legacy “the best series you’ve never heard of”. Sword of the Lamb is the first volume, and also ready for you are Shadow of the Swan and House of the Wolf. You can read (or listen to) Scott Brick’s blog entry about the series, or here’s a less eloquent description:

In the 33rd century, a dazzling empire is poised on the brink of annihilation… Born into the House of DeKoven Woolf, Lord Alexand is heir to a mighty industrial empire. But deep at the heart of the Concord brews dangerous unrest that threatens civilization with the specter of a third dark age.

The only hope for the future is the Society of the Phoenix—a powerful revolutionary group that has sworn to overthrow the Concord. By committing to the ultimate treason and joining forces with his own brother, martyred leader of the Phoenix, Alexand will forfeit more than just his birthright of power.
Lord Foul's Bane by Stephen R. DonaldsonLord Foul’s Bane
The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, BOOK ONE
By Stephen R. Donaldson; Read by Scott Brick
Publisher: Scott Brick Presents
Published: 2008

This is the first novel published by Scott Brick Presents, and Scott tells you why the series means much to him on his blog. Also for sale are Book 2 (The Illearth War) and Book 8 (Fatal Revenant), with Book 3 (The Power That Preserves) in the wings, awaiting its cue.
Frankenstein by Mary ShelleyFrankenstein
By Mary Shelley, Read by Scott Brick
Publisher: Scott Brick Presents
Published: 2009

Scott reads this version of Frankenstein, from the original 1818 text. Why? He talks about it in his blog.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

ABC RN’s Philosopher’s Zone on Frankenstein

SFFaudio Online Audio

ABC Radio National - The Philosopher’s ZoneABC Radio National has some of the best podcast radio shows. It rivals the Canadian Podcasting Corporation’s own terrific podcasts in many respects. One show I get to talk about here every once in a while is The Philosopher’s Zone. The latest show to makes me say: “Hey, check it out.” is…

|MP3| It’s alive! Frankenstein, science and philosophy in the Romantic period

The show talks about a new collection of essays about Mary Shelly’s novel and the science of her era.

I took a Women’s Studies course that talked a lot about the feminist interpretations of the novel. The arguments made, made a lot of sense, and still do. But, this show delivers other arguments.

Subscribe to the podcast feed:

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #007


The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #007 is so lucky! We’re super hoop-jumping, in this deadly to DRM show – we’re unspooling fences and digging ditches – working around the work-arounds – so, the long and the short:

Scott: Argument is an intellectual process. Contradiction is just the automatic gainsaying of any statement the other person makes.

Jesse: No it isn’t.

Topics discussed include:
Golden Age Comic Book Stories, Argosy magazine covers, Pellucidar, At The Earth’s Core, Edgar Rice Burroughs, LibriVox, A Princess Of Mars, multiple narrators, Ender’s Game, Stephen King, The Dark Tower, Frank Muller, George Guidall, Criminal Minds, Peter Coyote, Isaac Asimov, The Foundation Trilogy, more new LibriVox titles, The Castle of Otranto, Horace Walpole, The Last Man, Mary Shelley, The Wood Beyond the World, William Morris, Cori Samuel, On The Beach, Nevil Shute, The 2nd SFFaudio Challenge, Julie D., A House-Boat On The Styx, John Kendrick Bangs, Mur Lafferty, Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, public libraries,, Recorded Books, DRM,, Bill C-61, blank media and iPod levies, what makes DRM evil, Blackstone Audio‘s solution, MP3-CD players, the proper settings for blog RSS feeds, “people will never pay for something they can get for free”, donation models, the Liaden book model, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller.

Posted by Jesse Willis