Recent Arrivals from Macmillan Audio

SFFaudio Recent Arrivals

Four exciting titles from Macmillan Audio!

Anathem by Neal StephensonAnathem
By Neal Stephenson; Read by William Dufris, Oliver Wyman, Tavia Gilbert, and Neal Stephenson
28 CDs – 34 hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Published: 2008
ISBN: 9781427205902

Fraa Erasmas is a young avout living in the Concent of Saunt Edhar, a sanctuary for mathematicians, scientists, and philosophers, protected from the corrupting influences of the outside “saecular” world by ancient stone and complex rituals. Over the centuries, cities and governments have risen and fallen beyond the concent¹s walls, yet the avout have always managed to adapt in the wake of catastrophe.

Now, in celebration of the week-long, once-in-a-decade rite of Apert, the fraas and suurs prepare to venture beyond the concent. During his first Apert as a fraa, Erasmas eagerly anticipates reconnecting with the landmarks and family he hasn’t seen since he was “collected.” But before the week is out, both the existence he abandoned and the one he embraced will stand on the brink of cataclysmic change.

Powerful unforeseen forces jeopardize the peaceful stability of mathic life and the established ennui of the Extramuros. Erasmas and his colleagues, teachers, and friends are summoned forth from the safety of the concent in hopes of warding off global disaster. Erasmas finds himself a major player in a drama that will determine the future of his world‹as he sets out on an extraordinary odyssey that will carry him to the most dangerous, inhospitable corners of the planet . . . and beyond.

A multi-cast recording, this program also features a cameo by the author and original music inspired by the story. Composer David Stutz says of the writing process, “I was excited by the creative possibilities opened up by Neal’s imagination. These ideas, realized, are the music that you hear on this audiobook.”
 
 
Ender in Exile by Orson Scott CardEnder in Exile
By Orson Scott Card; Read by David Birney, Cassandra Campbell, Emily Janice Card, Orson Scott Card, Gabrielle de Cuir, Kirby Heyborne, Don Leslie, Stefan Rudnicki, and Mirron Willis
12 CDs – 14 hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Published: 2008
ISBN: 9781427205124

At the close of Ender’s Game, Andrew Wiggin – called Ender by everyone – is told that he can no longer live on Earth, and he realizes that this is the truth. He has become far more than just a boy who won a game: he is the Savior of Earth, a hero, a military genius whose allegiance is sought by every nation of the newly shattered Earth Hegemony. He is offered the choice of living in isolation on Eros, at one of the Hegemony’s training facilities, but instead the twelve-year-old chooses to leave his home world and begin the long relativistic journey out to the colonies. With him went his sister Valentine, and the core of the artificial intelligence that would become Jane.

The story of those years has never been told… until now.
 
 
Heretics of Dune by Frank HerbertHeretics of Dune
By Frank Herbert; Read by Simon Vance, Scott Brick, and Katherine Kellgren
15 CDs – 18.5 hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Published: 2008
ISBN: 9781427203168

On Arrakis, now called Rakis, known to legend as Dune, ten times ten centuries have passed. The planet is becoming desert again. The Lost Ones are returning home from the far reaches of space. The great sandworms are dying, and the Bene Gesserit and the Bene Tleilax struggle to direct the future of Dune. The children of Dune’s children awaken as from a dream, wielding the new power of a heresy called love.
 
 
The Path of Daggers by Robert JordanThe Path of Daggers: Book 8 of The Wheel of Time
By Robert Jordan; Read by Kate Reading and Michael Kramer
19 CDs – 23.5 hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Published: 2008
ISBN: 9781427205087

The phenomenal tale that is mesmerizing a generation of readers now continues!

The Seanchan invasion force is in possession of Ebou Dar. Nynaeve, Elayne, and Aviendha head for Caemlyn and Elayne’s rightful throne, but on the way they discover an enemy much worse than the Seanchan.

In Illian, Rand vows to throw the Seanchan back as he did once before. But signs of madness are appearing among the Asha’man.

In Ghealdan, Perrin faces the intrigues of Whitecloaks, Seanchan invaders, the scattered Shaido Aiel, and the Prophet himself. Perrin’s beloved wife, Faile, may pay with her life, and Perrin himself may have to destroy his soul to save her.

Meanwhile the rebel Aes Sedai under their young Amyrlin, Egwene al’Vere, face an army that intends to keep them away from the White Tower. But Egwene is determined to unseat the usurper Elaida and reunite the Aes Sedai. She does not yet understand the price that others–and she herself–will pay.

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

First review of The SFFaudio Podcast – in the blue spotlight

SFFaudio News

AzureScapeThe first external review of our SFFaudio Podcast is available for your education and exhaltation! Penned Seth Wilson, an SFF audio connoisseur of the blind kind, on a blog called AzureScape.net, it’s full of high praise for me (and tangentially for Scott too – though that’s got to be a highly secondary issue). He also rated me us at 5 stars on iTunes, natch.

Thanks Seth, you have great taste!

And, be sure to check out Seth’s review of the audiobook version of Neal Stephenson’s Anathem over on AzureScape too!

Posted by Jesse Willis

The SFFaudio Podcast #002

Podcast

The SFFaudio PodcastThe first one they made was so good they recorded a sequel! Indeed, The SFFaudio Podcast #002 is even more blockbustery (with 20% more bluster).

In show double-oh-two Scott D. Danielson and Jesse Willis talk about audiobooks, audio drama, and the correct pronunciation of the word “orgy.” We also talked about Recent Arrivals, New Releases, LibriVox, what we’ve been listening to, and where. It’s a big, big, show!

Topics under discussion include:

The Last Theorem, Carnival, Elizabeth Bear, L. Ron Hubbard, Galaxy Press, Zeppelins, airships, Michael Chabon, our new Publishers page, Grover Gardner, The Number 23, Scott Brick, Paul Of Dune, Brian Herbert, Kevin J. Anderson, The Little Book, Selden Edwards, Brad Meltzer, The Book Of Lies, Superman, Orhan Pamuk, the Entitled Opinions podcast, Turkey, Ottoman Empire, Michael Flynn, Blackstone Audio, The January Dancer, Eifelheim, Podiobooks.com, The Kiribati Test, Jim Thompson, The Grifters, Philip K. Dick, Macmillan Audio, Anathem, Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash, The Diamond Age, Cryptonomicon, Waldentapes, Star Trek, LibriVox, Space Viking, Mark Douglas Nelson, H. Beam Piper (and our new AUTHOR PAGE for him), The Green Odyssey, The Second SFFaudio Challenge, Brandon Sanderson, Orthopedic Horseshoes, Edo van Belkom (he’s the ex-school bus driver), The Accidental Time Machine, Joe Haldeman, The Forever War, “Our Last Words”, Damon Kaswell, time travel, Peter Watts, Blindsight, Recorded Books, the Chinese room argument, artificial intelligence, Spin, Axis, Robert Charles Wilson, Robert J. Sawyer, David Brin, Startide Rising, The Immortal, Roger Zelazny, Audiofile Magazine, George R.R. Martin, A Clash Of Kings, Temüjin, audio drama, Gate, The Sonic Society, Jack J. Ward, Wormwood, acting, Michael Caine, Irwin Allen, The Swarm, Star Wars, Liam Neeson, Thulsa Doom vs. Luke Skywalker, pronunciation, mis-pronunciation, The Savage Sword Of Conan, John Varley, Audible Frontiers.

Posted by Jesse Willis

Review of The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson

Science Fiction - The Diamond Age by Neal StephensonThe Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer
By Neal Stephenson; read by Jennifer Wiltsie
12 Cassettes; Approx. 18 hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Time Warner Audio
Published: 2001
ISBN: 1586211145 (Cassette)
Themes: / Science Fiction / Nanotechnology / Computer Programming / Victorian Culture / Cyberpunk /

Earlier, I reviewed Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash. It was one of the finest audiobooks I’d ever heard, and I feel that this one may be even better. Snow Crash was irreverent and whimsical, and The Diamond Age is that and more, with a plot that is both epic and personal.

Nell is a little girl, 4 years old when we first meet her. Her brother, Harv, gives her a stolen copy of the Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer, an interactive (“ractive”) book that was designed by an engineer who wanted his own daughter to experience a bit more than the traditional education. Nell’s mother flits from abusive relationship to abusive relationship, with Nell and Harv protecting themselves as they can. Nell spends more and more time with the Primer, which teaches Nell through stories told by real interactive actors (“ractors”) via the Net.

The story is complex and mature. The main storyline follows Nell’s life, and along the way we see an amazing world. The world has become nearly tribal again with people gathering in Claves, each with their own rules and culture. Much time is spent in a neo-Victorian Clave, a place where Victorian culture is adopted because it is felt that one has to go back to the 19th century to find a viable model for society.

Stephenson explores two technologies in the novel as well, and they are both of equal influence on the story. The first is the Net and the entire idea of interactive entertainment, which makes the Primer possible. The second is nanotechnology, which is used in everything from planet building to the creation of stuffed animals in a Matter Compiler. There are also nano-mites which float in your bloodstream and can do anything from carry information to kill you with thousands of tiny explosions.

The drawback to this novel is its ending, which, though inadequate, would not keep me from recommending it. The rest of the book is so astonishingly strong, that to miss it would be missing one of the major works of modern science fiction.

The Diamond Age could not have been an easy novel to perform, but Jennifer Wiltsie did so admirably. This is the first I’ve heard her, and I hope to hear her voice often. She had just the right tone for this, and I had no trouble at all discerning the characters in this complex novel. An excellent job.

This title is also available on Audible.com.

And now, a short intermission… Due to some ot…

SFFaudio News

And now, a short intermission…

Due to some other obligations (i.e. my day job), I’ll be out of town the week of Sep. 7th. SFFaudio will be back on Sep. 15th with some new posts.

Some of the things we’re working on – a comprehensive list of audio editions of Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy award-winning fiction, reviews of Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead on unabridged audio, and Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age, also on unabridged audio.

Back soon!

Posted by Scott D. Danielson

Review of Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

Science Fiction Audiobooks - Snow Crash by Neal StephensonSnow Crash
by Neal Stephenson; Read by Jonathan Davis
12 Cassettes, 18 hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Time Warner Audio
Date Published: August 2001
ISBN: 158211137
Themes: / Science Fiction / Computers / Virtual Reality / Religion / Mythology / Cyberpunk /

Snow Crash is one of those rare novels; one of those that stand out, tall and unique, amongst all the novels I’ve read in my life. I know of nothing with which to compare it, but I can say that it ranks amongst my favourite novels. Neal Stephenson impressed me both with his fearless, irreverent tone and with the astonishing range of subjects touched by his characters.

Snow Crash reveals a picture of the not-too-distant future, where the only things the USA is good at are “music, movies, microcode (software), and high-speed pizza delivery.” It’s a world where people spend part of their lives in the Metaverse, a highly developed yet realistic virtual world where they use avatars of their own design to interact with each other. It’s a world divided into burbclaves, or city-states, each with its own identity, laws, and law-enforcement. In stark contrast to this future society, the main character finds himself entangled in a mystery that requires him to explore ancient Sumerian mythology and the roots of biblical religion.

All of this in an extremely fast-paced adventure story. Remarkable. This is an exciting, impressive novel.

For the audio version, Time-Warner selected a first rate reader in Jonathan Davis. I never tired of his effortless inflection changes as different characters spoke — very important in a quick moving story like this one. The production quality was excellent; I found the sounds used to mark breaks in the text to be particularly effective.

And with that, my current list of all-time favorites is complete! See the whole list here!