Maria Lectrix podcast: Pandemic by J.F. Bone

SFFaudio Online Audio

Maureen O’Brien of the Maria Lectrix podcast has recording a new/old short story. Pandemic by J.F. Bone was first published in Analog Science Fact and Science Fiction magazine’s February 1962 issue. It’s the tale of a young pathologist, and his indispensable nurse, working to stop a terrible new pandemic. Among its charms is a bit of Andromeda Strain style storytelling, some very politically incorrect science (facts are often politically incorrect) and even a bit of hospital romance. But don’t worry, this is still more of a House episode than a Grey’s Anatomy episode.

Science Fiction Short Story - Pandemic by J.F. BonePandemic
By J.F. Bone; Read by Maureen O’Brien
2 MP3s – Approx. 52 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: Maria Lectrix
Podcast: August 2008
Part 1 |MP3| Part 2 |MP3|

Personally the only thing I don’t like about Maureen’s reading are her inserted “coughs” which I’ll admit are story appropriate, but which are not strictly in the text itself – and therefore verboten. I know, I’m a stickler.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Five Free Favourites #3

SFFaudio Online Audio

Five Free Favourites
Five more faves, five more of my best bets. These are stories to make your mind say “yum yum” and your wallet say “nightie-night”…

Mech Muse - After A Lean Winter by David FarlandAfter A Lean Winter
By David Farland; Read by Rick Jelinek
1 |M4A| File – Approx. 1 Hour [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: MechMuse
Podcast: Spring 2006
I’m very pleased to see all the released MechMuse stories still available online. Of the dozen or so of stories released, I think this one is my favourite. It’s set six months or so after the events of H.G. Well’s The War Of The Worlds and features a protagonist named “Jack London,” who like the other residents of the Yukon, is still struggling against a Martian menace that still survives up there.

The Time Traveler Show - Beyond Lies The Wub by Philip K. DickBeyond Lies The Wub
By Philip K. Dick; Read by Mac Kelly
Podcaster: The Time Traveler Show
Podcast: December 2006
The best Xmas gift I received in 2006 was this podcast short story! This was Dick’s first ever published tale, it’s one of his best too. And, I find holds up to multiple listenings. I recommend it often. Knowledge of Homer’s Odyssey is recommended.

Librivox Audiobook - The Green Odyssey by Philip Jose FarmerThe Green Odyssey
By Philip Jose Farmer; Read by Mark Douglas Nelson
10 Zipped MP3s or Podcast – 6 Hours 6 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: December 2006
This FREE audiobook was created on a dare. As one of the titles from the first SFFaudio Challenge I asked budding narrators to make single-voiced audiobooks from a list of public domain titles. This was the very first to meet the challenge – it is also one of the best. Set on a grassy plain on an obscure alien planet – it’s fast, funny, and makes for quite a romp. A novel in the spirit of Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court

Subscribe using this feed:

Science Fiction Audiobook - Star Surgeon by Alan E. NourseStar Surgeon
By Alan E. Nourse; Read by Scott D. Farquhar
14 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – 5 Hours 25 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: October 2007
Dal Tigmar is an alien doctor with a sort of interstellar Médecins Sans Frontières. As a recent graduate of the Galaxy’s most prestigious medical school, on Earth, he’s been trained to treat every disease in the book. But racism isn’t a disease even he can treat. This is a real peppy 50 year old novel, that still crackles with energy. It plays out like a typical Heinleinian juvenile, minus the lectures. You’ll love it.

X Minus 1X-Minus One: The Lifeboat Mutiny
Based on the story by Robert Sheckley; Performed by a full cast
1 |MP3| – Approx. 28 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Broadcaster: NBC Radio
Broadcast: September 11, 1956
I find a lot of X-Minus One hit or miss, but this Robert Sheckley story works. In fact, I’ve used the script for it twice just this month! Kids love it, adults love it. It’s funny, and it’s FREE! My only nit-pick is that the actor playing the lifeboat is not emotional enough – he totally underplays the scripted dialogue. When I do this part, I always play it highly emotional.

I’m still soliciting podcasters and bloggers for their lists, if you’ve a batch of five free faves you think just can’t be ignored, either post em below, or send me an email.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of Star Sugeon by Alan E. Nourse

SFFaudio Review

Science Fiction Audiobook - Star Surgeon by Alan E. NourseStar Surgeon
By Alan E. Nourse; Read by Scott D. Farquhar
14 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – 5 Hours 25 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: /
Published: June 2007 / October 2007
Themes: / Science Fiction / Medicine / First Contact / Galactic Civilization / Symbiosis / Space Travel / Juvenile /

Dal Tigmar is an alien, he’s also a red braid, that’s a “Red Doctor” in the “Red Service of Surgery.” As a recent graduate of the Galaxy’s most prestigious medical school he’s the only non-human doctor to ever train on “Hospital Earth.” Earth became “Hospital Earth” shortly after humans discovered a faster than light technology. It seems that Earth’s doctors are the best in the entire galaxy, and that fact may soon gain humanity a permanent membership in the Galactic Federation. Earth is currently only a trial member – and some of medical brass of Hospital Earth think that Dal’s graduation may threaten permanent membership. So Dal’s been isolated by his alienness, and was pushed around during his training. But little more stands in his way, as his final test is about to begin. For it, Dal must join two other doctors in a series of planetary housecalls, providing service for Earth’s medical contracts, proving his skills to Hospital Earth. During the voyage Dal is accompanied by his symbiotic pet “fuzzy” a pink blob of protein that is more than it appears, his one pal from Medical School “Tiger” Martin, and a hostile young blue braid named Jack Alvarez, from the diagnostic services. Their ship is “The Lancet” a small patrol ship packed to the rafters with medical supplies. They’ll command the ship jointly.

Alan E. Nourse sure knew how to write! This is a peppy little novel, that though first published nearly 50 years ago, still crackles with energy. It plays out like a typical Heinleinian juvenile, minus the lectures. Especially interesting is the Pre-Star Trek galactic federation angle, with all those colour coded uniforms. Red Service of Surgery, Blue Service of Diagnosis, Green Service of Medicine. Black Service of Pathology, White Service of Radiology. It makes for a very visual audiobook. There aren’t that many characters, and curiously enough, not one female is even mentioned – someone forgot about the Pink Service of Gynecology I guess. And while were at it, what of the Brown Service of Proctology? But seriously, this is one of those rare novels that tells its story from the perspective of an alien. It deals with solid juvenile SF material, prejudices, core values and science, all to good effect. I’m pleased to be able to recommend it as a listen to just about anyone.

Scott Farquhar reads the novel with a clinical precision, he enunciates each word loud and clear. This is important as there is usual slathering of SF technospeak atop the real and futurized medical jargon. Amateur narrators looking for a role model, should look towards Farquhar!

You can subscribe to the LibriVox podcast feed via this URL:

Alternatively, there is a slightly enhanced version available now too. This version has the addition of musical cues at the start each chapter, there’s a brief biographical note about Dr. Alan Nourse in the final chapter as well as some outtakes from the recording. A portion of all proceeds donated through goes to AIDS Research or Safe Sex Education programs (two subjects important to Nourse).

Posted by Jesse Willis

SFFaudio Challenge title: Star Surgeon by Alan E. Nourse COMPLETED

SFFaudio Online Audio

Meta SFFaudio - SFFaudio Contest - Make audiobook win an audiobookScott D. Farquhar from Prometheus Radio Theatre has written in with some exciting news. He tells me that his unabridged reading of Alan E. Nourse’s novel Star Surgeon has been completed! This is one of the titles from in our SFFaudio Challenge! Scott took slightly longer than he’d expected to, but it was well worth the wait, the extra and attention Scott put into it has really paid off. The 1959 novel is now a 2007 audiobook!

This is one of those rare novels that tells its story from the point of view of an alien. One of those novels that make you dig deeper. It is the kind of Science Fiction that makes you think harder about human attitudes and prejudices, to really look beyond the surficial.

Star Surgeon is the story of Dal Timgar, a medical student, the first alien to attend a universally prestigious earth medical school. If Dal is to become the first fully-fledged star surgeon, he must fight the prejudices of his superiors, and then the rigors of an interstellar emergency.

This novel is widely respected by readers who’ve read it, and many think it represents Alan Nourse at his very best. In writing it, Nourse is expressing a subject dear to his heart as he himself was a doctor.

LibriVox Science Fiction Audiobook - Star Surgeon by Alan E. NourseStar Surgeon
By Alan E. Nourse; Read by Scott Farquhar
14 Zipped MP3 Files or Podcast – 5 Hours 25 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Published: June 2007
When Dal Timgar, of all in his medical class, was denied assignment to a general practice patrol ship going out from Hospital Earth to serve the medical needs of the Galactic Confederation, it seemed to him that his eight years of study in the great medical center of the galaxy had ended in failure. He had worked hard and stood at the head of his class, but Dal was different from his medical colleagues in one important way. Born on a planet of a distant star, he was the first son of an alien race to attempt to become a qualified physician of Hospital Earth. Dr. Thorvold Arnquist, a power in Earth’s medical council, is determined that Dal Timgar shall have an equal chance with his Earth-born classmates to prove his skill as a physician and to earn his rank as Star Surgeon. He succeeds in getting Dal assigned, under protest, to the patrol ship Lancet, where Dal is faced with the full responsibilities of a patrol physician as well as the hostility of some of his crewmates. As the Lancet responds to calls of all kinds on planets of distant and unknown star systems, Dal’s skill and judgment as a surgeon are tested to the utmost. But it is not until he is confronted with a dreadful decision, which he alone must make, that Dal faces the final test–a test that will determine once and for all whether he is ever to become a Star Surgeon.

Subscribe to the podcast feed via this URL:

Scott also sez:

“FYI… I’m doing another edit of the recording to submit to It will be mostly the same, but I’ve cleaned up some minor issues and I’m adding only a bit of effects in some places like filters for loudspeaker and radio dialogue and such. Nothing really fancy, but just a bit cleaner and slicker. If I get a little batch of donations through podiobooks I may just have to pick another one to read….!”

Way to go Scott! Your hear that everybody? As soon as Podiobooks gets a copy of the revised edition of Star Surgeon hit that donation button!

Review of The Harvest by Alec Sand

The Harvest by Daniel SandThe Harvest
By Alec Sand; Read by John Pruskin
1 MP3-CD – 4 hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Academic MP3 Audiobooks
Themes: / Science Fiction / Space Travel / Biology / Alien life / Medicine /

Click here for an Audio Trailer

The Harvest is a short novel of future history. No, it’s a bit more than just that. Alec Sand has created a detailed future in which his characters move. It is a future in which a substance called iridium has changed things significantly – it’s a substance from which power is derived and the finding and mining of iridium occupies much of mankind’s time. The Harvest is hard science fiction in which the ideas and concepts generously flow.

In this future, Gideon and his sister Dara reside. Dara has a disease that Gideon is somehow convinced has a cure somewhere “out there”, so he takes her with him on a mining expedition to a new planet. Dara finds much there.

There was some lecturing during the story, which I felt slowed things down a bit. The author could have found smoother ways to introduce information, but it was all interesting, and I found myself eager to know what happened next. I liked the story as a whole very much.

John Pruskin narrates, and overall was very good at keeping my interest. There were a few errors in the narration, but again – I was always eager to continue, and a listener can’t ask for much more than that. He maintained a good, consistent pace throughout and read with clarity.

A unique aspect of this audiobook is its soundtrack. There are several songs that play at various times throughout the audiobook, usually as bridges between chapters or sections. A band called Silk84 provides this music, and the songs are included in full in a different folder on the MP3-CD. I’m listening to some of this music as I write this… I like it! The music ranges from upbeat dance music to beautiful piano music, and though I didn’t always feel the music matched my mood while listening, what Academic did with music in this audiobook is unique and it worked! Yeah, Silk84… I like the sound of your guitar. (You can find Silk84 on iTunes.)

You can get a copy of The Harvest from Academic MP3’s website by clicking right here.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Review of The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton

Science Fiction Audiobooks - The Andromeda Strain by Michael CrichtonThe Andromeda Strain
By Michael Crichton; Read by Chris Noth
2 Cassettes – 3 Hours [ABRIDGED]
Publisher: Random House Audio
Published: 1993
Themes: / Science Fiction / Mystery / Disease / Disaster / Scientist / Medical /

A top secret research satellite falls to Earth near a small town in Arizona. Hours later a recovery team discovers that something  has killed off the town’s entire population except for an old man and a new-born baby, statistically the most likely age groups to succumb to any normal disease. In anticipation of such an event a team of microbiologists assembles in a top-secret, underground laboratory in the Nevada desert. This laboratory was designed to handle an accidental introduction of virulent organisms into Earth’s atmosphere and ecological systems. The team begins to study the survivors and the “toxic” satellite and discovers several black/green patches of deadly bacteria that they have code-named: The Andromeda Strain.

First Published in 1969, The Andromeda Strain is one of Crichton’s best science fiction tales and a terrific scientific mystery story! As the microbiology team races against the clock, trying to figure out the toxic effect of the alien infection, the US government contemplates a nuclear cauterization of the infected crash site. But when The Andromeda Strain mutates it begins to eat through plastic lab suits and rubber gaskets protecting the scientists and the population from escaping toxins. Its a real thriller of a story, and was successfully turned into a great feature film directed by Crichton himself.

This fine novel is only available as an abridgement, and this is unfortunate. The missing portions actually improve the novel to a very large degree because the novel is written in the style of a non-fiction report of events. The original text includes, images, citations, timelines and references, their absence is a disservice to the remaining story. Chris Noth, most famous for his role on the NBC television series Law And Order, reads with a rich and compelling voice. But Noth does merely a satisfactory reading, he makes good attempts with the scientific jargon replete throughout the novel, but they are often mispronounced. Added to this is his lack of range for the voices. Given more audiobook experience Noth will probably become a good reader, in this audiobook however, his performance is merely satisfactory. All in all well worth a listen, but I sincerely hope an unabridged edition is released.