Review of Suicide is Painless by Don Norum

SFFaudio Review

Back in SFFaudio’s first year, a moose bit my sister…

Science Fiction Audiobook - Suicide is PainlessSuicide is Painless
By Don Norum; Read by Paul Campbell
55 Minutes – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Cossmass Infinities
Published: 2010
Themes: / Science Fiction / Military SF / Battles / Aliens /

If you’ve got circuits installed all over your body, does that make you a cyborg? Or do you need to have metal limbs or something? Not sure, but in “Suicide is Painless”, Don Norum presents us with Lucia, a beautiful female plus circuits. Those circuits allow her to interface with her battle machine in a deep way – submerged in fluid to help with shock absorption, she connects with machine and fights with lots of firepower. I loved the descriptions of how she joined with the machine.

Who’s the enemy? Cockroach-like creatures that infest asteroids in the asteroid belt. They’ve been there for millions of years, but they didn’t originate from there. Bring ’em on!

Paul W. Campbell himself performs the narration of this, the third story in his Cossmass Infinities podcast. He’s paying the authors with donations, so be sure to throw a tip their way if you like the story. I enjoyed Paul’s narration here and in Episode One: “Fluff and Buttons on the Teddy Bear Range” by Matthew Sanborn Smith.

Find Cossmass Infinities |HERE|

And the podcast feed:

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

The SFFaudio Podcast #049


The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #049 – Jesse and Scott talk about recent arrivals, new releases, audiobooks, podcasts and plenty more!

Talked about on today’s show: is 7 years old, So I Married An Axe Murder, San Fransisco, California, Alcatraz, recent arrivals, Brilliance Audio, military SF, Fearless: The Lost Fleet Book 2 by Jack Campbell, space opera, Gene Roddenberry‘s Andromeda, Buck Rogers, Live Free or Die: book 1 in the Troy Rising series by John Ringo, Paperback Digital, Cally’s War by John Ringo and Julie Cochrane |READ OUR REVIEW|, John Ringo can give his books away and sell books too, Time’s Eye: A Time Odyssey Book 1 by Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter, it’s not a sequel it’s an “othrquel“, time is orthogonal to space (in relativity theory), Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke, benevolent aliens, malevolent aliens, H.P. Lovecraft, The Eternal Wall by Raymond Z. Gallun, LibriVox, Gregg Margarite, time travel, Blackstone Audio, Identity Theft by Robert J. Sawyer, Mars, consciousness uploading/downloading, Treason by Orson Scott Card, A Planet Called Treason by Orson Scott Card, Stefan Rudnicki, Spider Robinson, Melancholy Elephants by Spider Robinson |READ OUR REVIEW|, copyright, copyfight, the philosophy of art, The Graveyard Book |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling, Harry Potter, The Dark Is Rising, A Wizard Of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin, ripping off Heinlein is legit when you are Spider Robinson, Friday by Robert A. Heinlein, new releases, Wonder Audio, The Men Return & Worlds Of Origin by Jack Vance, Brilliance Audio, The Songs Of Dying Earth: Stories In Honor Of Jack Vance, Gene Wolfe, The Book Of The New Sun by Gene Wolfe, David D. Levine, Tk’Tk’Tk’ by David D. Levine, The Moon Moth by Jack Vance |READ OUR REVIEW|, Suldrun’s Garden, The Green Pearl, Madouc by Jack Vance, Swimming Kangaroo Books, Need For Magic by Joseph Swope, BBC Audiobooks America, Great Classic Science Fiction: Eight Unabridged Stories, Forgotten Classics podcast talks James Gunn’s The Road To Science Fiction series, paperback book bags, A Game Of Thrones coming to HBO, A Game Of Thrones by George R.R. Martin |READ OUR REVIEW|, Roy Dotrice, John Lee, Shogun (the TV miniseries), FlashForward, Stephen King’s Storm Of The Century, 1408, Scott’s Pick Of The Week: Steve, The First by Matt Watts |READ OUR REVIEW|, @ the CBC store, radio drama, post apocalypse, humor, Canadia: 2056 |READ OUR REVIEW|, The Hitch-hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, Jesse’s Pick Of The Week: The Chronicles Of Solomon Kane, Roy Thomas, Howard Chaykin, Robert E. Howard, The Iliad, Ralph Macchio, Red Shadows by Robert E. Howard, religion, Solomon Kane, The Punisher.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of A Hymn Before Battle by John Ringo

SFFaudio Review

Science Fiction Audiobook - A Hymn Before Battle by John RingoA Hymn Before Battle
By John Ringo, Read by Marc Vietor
12 CDs – 15 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: 2009
ISBN: 9781423395089
Themes: / Science Fiction / Military SF / Battle / Aliens / Computers /

First published in 2000, John Ringo’s A Hymn Before Battle is the 1st book in his Posleen War series, also known as the Legacy of the Aldenata. It is 2001 and America is at peace. Former Lieutenant Mike O’Neal is now a website developer. Despite throwing in some web development jargon I was impressed that it didn’t sound dated, even after nine years. Mike is recalled to a top secret briefing where it is revealed that aliens have contacted the heads of the major governments. Their message warns that there is a rampaging alien horde, the Posleen, are coming this way through the galaxy and they need our help. Unfortunately for the alien’s Galactic Federation, they have no ability when it comes to war. One race go so far as to revert to a virtual non-sentient state whenever they attempt to take another’s life. Needless to say, they are losing the war against the sauroid aliens, the Posleen. They are nearly as afraid of the humans as they are the Posleen. But with their backs to the wall, they have decided to enlist mankind to fight their war for them. The fact that we would be over run by the Posleen in a few years is enough to rally all the nations to join the cause.

Mike O’Neal, together with many others, including a sly reference to an SF author of space combat novels refered to only as “David”, are tasked to develop the weapons, vehicles and systems that mold Galactic technology to human use. Mike’s own project is the development of the ACS, the Armoured Combat Suit.

The first battle is fought with several international forces attempting to defend one of the worlds of the pacifistic worker race, the Indowy. Perhaps something that might not have been included in books written more than a year later, is the tactical collapsing of inhabited alien megascrapers as weapons. The versatility and vastly changed tactics the Armoured Combat Suits bring to the combat scenes are well thought out, even to the point of a rather grisly flaw caused by the armour being too strong.

The action is well described as Ringo build up the range of abilities embodied by the ACS’s. Lots of characters are introduced and their personalities brought to life by the narrator, Marc Vietor.

It must be said, Marc Vietor dives into the alien words and names with gusto. Ringo surely didn’t have narration in mind when he named Ttckpt Province, or Tulo’stenaloor, First Order Battlemaster of the Sten Po’oslena’ar. For a couple of chapters I was even reading along from the Baen Free Library/WebScription edition. This impressed me as I could see how Vietor added lots of texture and emotion to the dialog and prose, that you might not otherwise have from reading the text alone.

The story doesn’t just follow Mike O’Neal. There are two other plot threads that clearly are building towards something much larger for later books in the series. A Hymn Before Battle sets the stage with, what I presume are it’s major players, for the following books in the series. I look forward to reading more in this series, and to more of John Ringo’s other works.

Posted by Paul [W] Campbell

The SFFaudio Podcast #041


The SFFaudio PodcastThe SFFaudio Podcast #041 – Jesse and Scott are joined by SF author Robert J. Sawyer to talk about his audiobooks, writing Science Fiction novels, and the TV show based on his novel FlashForward.

Talked about on today’s show:
FlashForward (the TV series), FlashForward by Robert J. Sawyer, Blackstone Audio, David S. Goyer, Marc Guggenheim, Jessika Borsiczky, Brannon Braga, Lost, Battlestar Galactica, does the TV show of FlashForward have a plan?, idea based SF, time travel, The Time Machine by H.G. Wells |READ OUR REVIEW|, differences between the television show and the novel versions of FlashForward, WWW: Wake by Robert J. Sawyer |READ OUR REVIEW|, Inconstant Moon by Larry Niven, philosophy in Science Fiction, Calculating God by Robert J. Sawyer |READ OUR REVIEW|, Jonathan Davis, Audible Frontiers, atheism and religion in SF, scientific institutions in Science Fiction, The Royal Ontario Museum, CERN, The Sudbury Neutrino Observatory, science, Robin Cook, Michael Crichton, Launchpad Astronomy Workshop, Edward M. Lerner, Joe Haldeman, science literacy amongst Science Fiction authors, Karl Schroeder, Charles Stross, post-singularity SF, Clarke’s Third Law, NASA Ames Research Center, TRIUMF, Human Genome Project, Neanderthal Genome Project, military SF, S.M. Stirling, Harry Turtledove, alternate history, consciousness, aliens, spaceship, time travel, the WWW trilogy,, Starplex by Robert J. Sawyer, Star Trek, alien aliens, Larry Niven, Niven’s aliens, Golden Fleece by Robert J. Sawyer, how did fantasy and Science Fiction get lumped together? Donald A. Wollheim, dinosaurs, artificial intelligence, genetics, time travel, the Internet, quantum physics, CBC Radio’s version of Rollback, Alessandro Juliani.

Jessika Borsiczky on adapting the novel of FlashForward to television:

Trailer for Sawyer’s WWW trilogy:

Posted by Jesse Willis

Maria Lectrix: Medal Of Honor by Mack Reynolds

SFFaudio Online Audio

Maureen O’Brien, of the Maria Lectrix podcast, has just wrapped up a short story by one of the truly under-appreciated SF authors. Here’s what Maureen said of him:

“Mack Reynolds was an extremely prolific author who was very popular back in the fifties, sixties and early seventies. (He apparently was a member of the Socialist Labor Party, which surprises me. I always thought he was an early libertarian or something. Well, I’m no pundit.) Anyway, he always struck me as a very Western-ornery sort of writer, and he wrote a lot of military and political sf. It was fairly obvious that he loved throwing what-ifs into the speculation blender. Today he’s almost totally forgotten by younger sf readers, except for his 1968 Star Trek kids’ novel, which was recently reprinted at John Ordover’s behest. (A very nice behest.) I don’t think any of his books were precisely great, but they were all pretty good reads.”

Mack Reynolds also wrote some very readable utopian and dystopian novels that engaged the philosophy of Karl Marx in social Science Fiction thought experiments. No other SF author has engaged communism, socialism and economics like Mack Reynolds did. And that’s not only really strange, it’s really pretty shameful. Economics is a fascinating subject in SF – perhaps the problem is it’s harder to write about?

Here’s Maureen’s latest…

Maria Lectrix - Medal Of Honor by Mack ReynoldsMedal Of Honor
By Mack Reynolds; Read by Maureen O’Brien
4 MP3 Files – Approx. 87 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: Maria Lectrix
Podcast: September – October 2009
If you’d received the Galactic Medal of Honor, you could do no wrong, they said. But what if the wrong man received the award, and still found out that was true? Dallas McCord “Mack” Reynolds was a well-known and prolific writer of military SF and stories of political extrapolation during the nineteen-sixties and seventies. From Amazing Science Fiction Stories November 1960.

Part 1 |MP3| Part 2 |MP3| Part 3 |MP3| Part 4 |MP3|

Posted by Jesse Willis

Maria Lectrix: Morale by Murray Leinster

SFFaudio Online Audio

Maureen O’Brien has wrapped up her reading of Murray Leinster’s Morale, another Military Science Fiction story set in the same universe as Tanks (which Maureen read a few weeks ago). Sez Maureen:

We’re apparently still fighting the Japanese, too, though I still doubt that anybody Asian would be using the yellow imperial color for an ordinary flag. (Well, it’s not something most people would think about, and it worked as shorthand for his audience.) But really, the identity of the enemy doesn’t seem to have been all that important to either story, which is odd for the days of the “Yellow Peril” showing up tons in sf. (And really, that’s not fair. Japan was building up its military strength all during the early twentieth century, which was why military guys worried about it. It may have fed into racist fears, but Japanese militarism and expansionist imperialism was real.) As would become characteristic of Leinster, even when you meet the enemy face-to-face in “Tanks”, the enemy is made up of ordinary guys. Whatever causes the horrific nature of war, Leinster seems pretty clear that it’s not a matter of furriners being furrin. This makes his characters’ moral outrage at the events in Morale more effective, I think.

You’ll notice how much stronger this story is than Tanks. A year or two can make a big difference in a writer’s skills — or an editor’s, for that matter.

Another fascinating thing about old science fiction is the stark contrast between when people understood the uses of technology (and therefore thought its application was sure to be widespread in ten years), and when the technology actually became practical and widely adopted. Sometimes it just takes a while.

Astounding Stories December 1931Morale
By Murray Leinster; Read by Maureen O’Brien
6 MP3 Files – Approx. 82 Minutes [UNABRIDGED]
Podcaster: Maria Lectrix
Podcast: August – September 2009
While America fights a war on one coast, a new front is about to open — the homefront — as the enemy attacks civilian towns with a giant war-machine like no other. But the enemy war-machine is a target, too, and there are more ways to win than with guns… First published in the December 1931 issue of Astounding. This story is set ten years after the events of Tanks.
Part 1 |MP3| Part 2 |MP3| Part 3 |MP3| Part 4 |MP3| Part 5 |MP3| Part 6 & 7 |MP3|

Posted by Jesse Willis