Review of Nightmares on Congress Street, Part 5

SFFaudio Review

Nightmares on Congress Street 5Nightmares on Congress Street – Part 5
By Rocky Coast Radio Theatre; Performed by a Full Cast
2 CD’s – 2 hours [AUDIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Rocky Coast Radio Theatre
Published: 2005
Themes: / Horror / Science Fiction / Murder / Government / Spirits /

Here’s another top-notch title from Rocky Coast Radio Theatre out of Maine. It contains seven dramatized horror tales:

The Demon of the Gibbet by Fitz-James O’Brien
A horror poem, very nicely rendered.

The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allen Poe, adapted by Patrick Bradley
A modern adaptation of Poe’s classic story. Nightmares on Congress Street, Part IV contained Poe’s “A Cask of Amontillado” presented traditionally – this one is also excellent, but the script updates the story to a modern setting.

Retroactive Anti-Terror by Alex Irvine, adapted by William Dufris
This science fiction story portrays a different type of horror – a future where people are prosecuted for what they might do. Alex Irvine’s original story appeared in in 2004. The story makes a clear political statement which people from all viewpoints would benefit from hearing.

Much A-Zoo About Nothing written and performed by Michael Duffy
A humorous song in which a guy goes to a zoo and encounters “ten green men with super suits on”.

The Wind by Ray Bradbury, adapted by William Dufris
It starts when Alan calls Herb on the phone obviously very nervous. After a little prodding by Herb, Alan reveals that it’s the wind he’s so worried about, and the tense story takes off from there. Bradbury probably has more stories available as audio drama than any other author, and this wonderful adaptation has me hunting for more.

The Door Below by Hugh B. Cave, adapted by William Dufris
Another good horror story that takes place mostly in a lighthouse… ghosts, anyone?

The Statement of Randolph Carter by H.P. Lovecraft, adapted by William Dufris
This is my favorite of the collection. Dufris and crew perfectly capture the creepy horror of Lovecraft’s original story.

Nightmares on Congress Street V is the second title I’ve heard from Rocky Coast, and I’m convinced that they are one of the top current producers of audio drama. With first-rate acting, the careful placing of sound effects, very good music, and fantastic scripts, these stories capture and hold tight. I can’t recommend this title highly enough for fans of audio drama and horror.

You can get this title from Paperback Digital, Tantor Media, Amazon, and Audible.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Review of The Consciousness Plague by Paul Levinson

Science Fiction Audiobook - The Consciousness Plague by Paul LevinsonThe Consciousness Plague
by Paul Levinson, read by Mark Shanahan
7 CD’s – 9 hours [ABRIDGED]
Publisher: Listen & Live Audio
Published: 2003
ISBN: 1593160380
Themes: / Murder / Memory / Mystery / Cognitive Anthropology /

Detective Phil D’Amato has to solve a series of murders, but he and many others begin losing chunks of their memory. It turns out a functioning memory is quite helpful when trying to solve crimes, but D’Amato manages anyway. Levinson wrote it in first-person, so when D’Amato realizes there is important information he had forgotten, you don’t know it until he knows it. That really worked well for me, giving me that startled, disconcerted feeling one would actually have in that situation.

Early in the book Phil D’Amato declares himself a “lone wolf” and immediately begins butting heads with shortsighted superiors. But if the book promises at the beginning to be cliché, don’t believe it. Detective
D’Amato brings aboard a number of collaborators as he gets the bad guy.

There are a few unbelievable moments. For example, Dr. D’Amato decides to fly to Scotland to speak with a man face to face because he is warned that the man is “really monotone” when talking over the phone. Perhaps I lack the proper empathy, not having previously been subjected to such a monotone telephone conversation that I’d rather cross an ocean just to have a face-to-face conversation, but I found the few moments like this distracting.

On the other hand, what do I know? Levinson won the Mary Shelley Award for Outstanding Fictional Work in 2003 for this novel. The plot is really quite intriguing, and pulled in credible ideas from a number of fields such as Cognitive Anthropology. (I get the feeling he googled some other areas of expertise for enough information to throw them in the mix, but let a non-googler cast the first stone.)

Mark Shanahan does different voices for over a dozen characters. How well does he do? With that many voices it depends on whether you’re a glass-is-half-full or half-empty kind of person. He actually has the perfect voice for a New York forensic detective and even the silliest voice was attached to one of the more endearing characters, so it worked for me.

Posted by Mike