The Sci Phi Show interviews Paul Levinson

The Sci Phi Show podcast, the show that investigates the connections between Science Fiction and Philosophy, will be posting a cool interview with Science Fiction author, university professor and philosophy enthusiast Paul Levinson. Sci Phi Show host Jason Rennie talks to Levinson about his latest novel The Plot To Save Socrates [which SFFaudio recently reviewed]. They also talk about the intersection between the media and Philosophy – apt this, because Levinson is a professor of Media studies at Fordham University. Also cool, Levinson tells of the inspiration for his acclaimed novelette The Chronology Protection Case, which itself has been dramatized for audio.

You can subscribe to the podcast feed via this link:

Look for it in your podcatcher Friday or Saturday!

Paul Levinson Podcast contest

SFFaudio News

Science Fiction author - Paul LevinsonPaul Levinson, will be giving away 25 MP3 copies of his radio dramatization of The Chronology Protection Case! In the next instalment of his podcast, Light On Light Through, Paul will play a brief clip from the audio drama and then say:

“I’m giving away MP3 copies of the complete Edgar-nominated radio play to the first 25 people who e-mail me at [email protected], voicemail me at 206-203-2615 (the Light On Light Through hotline), or send me a voicemail by clicking on the Odeo birdie on my web page.”

In order to win an MP3, the emailers and callers will have to identify a specific image that is on the web page – an image that does not necessarily have anything to do with time travel, Science Fiction, or him. He’ll be of course more specific in the podcast – the idea being that people will need to actually listen to the podcast to receive the specific clue.

Subscribe to the podcast via this feed:

Paul Levinson has a Podcast

SFFaudio News

Science Fiction author - Paul LevinsonScience Fiction author Paul Levinson has a podcast!

Levinson describes Light On Light Through as a “weekly, five-minute-or-so commentary on some technological, media, popular culture, science fiction issue that strikes [his] interest” Topics range from Wikipedia , cellphone technology to television’s “platinum age.”

You can subscribe to his podcast via this feed:

Paul was kind enough to send me a DRM-free copy of his Chronology Protection Case radio dramatization of his first novelette, the one I mentioned in an October 25th post. It also seems the file is available in a working format from, (and also therefore iTunes) where it is offered in the proprietory AAC format.

The Chronology Protection CaseThe Chronology Protection Case
Based on the novellette by Paul Levinson; Performed by Mark Shanahan
1 AAC File – 38 Minutes 37 Seconds [RADIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Listen & Live Audio /
Published: 2003

Interestingly the title of this story comes from an idea of Stephen Hawking’s. Hawking conjectured that even though time travel might be possible the universe would not let it happen.

New Podcast – Adventures in Scifi Publishing

Online Audio

Podcast - Adventures In SciFi PublishingAdventures in Scifi Publishing is a newish podcast with three show so far. Host Shaun Farrell covers SF publishing news and does some good interviews with authors, editors, and publishers. Shaun also writes and does interviews for the online magazine, Far Sector SFFH (science fiction/fantasy/horror), and is an aspiring SF writer.

Episode 1 Shaun interviews Ray Bradbury and Paul Levinson |MP3|

Episode 2 has interviews with R.A. Salvatore and Senior Editor Jaime Levine. |MP3|

Episode 3 has an interview with YA fantasy writer Sam Enthoven. |MP3|

To subscribe via podcast feed:

FREE Paul Levinson novellete In WMA format – But it doesn’t work!

Online Audio

Hey cool! Uncool! It seems that Listen & Live Audiobooks have tried to released a radio dramatization of Paul Levinson’s novellette The Chronology Protection Case for FREE as a promotion for their abridged version of his novel The Conciousness Plague (which we reviewed). has THE FILE available after you sign in (FREE) and make an account (FREE).

The Chronology Protection CaseThe Chronology Protection Case
Based on the novellette by Paul Levinson; Performed by Mark Shanahan
1 WMA File – 38 Minutes 37 Seconds [RADIO DRAMA]
Publisher: Listen & Live Audio
Published: 2003
ISBN: 1593160399

The Chronology Protection Case radio play, a science fiction murder mystery, features Shanahan in the role of Dr. Phil D’Amato, the forensic detective who appears in Levinson’s acclaimed novels, “The Silk Code,” “The Consciousness Plague” and “The Pixel Eye.” When D’Amato is approached by the distraught wife of a missing scientist whose work is embroiled in secrecy, he is plunged into an adventure with a terrifying and powerful force of nature at the heart of a series of mysterious deaths.

The “radio play” of The Chronology Protection Case was adapted by Mark Shanahan with Paul Levinson, based on the novelette by Paul Levinson which first appeared in the pages of Analog Magazine in September, 1995. The script of the radio adaptation was nominated for a prestigious Edgar Allan Poe Award as “Best Play of 2003” by the Mystery Writers of America. It was initially performed live before a studio audience at the Museum of TV & Radio in September of 2002. It was subsequently recorded at CDM Studios in New York City in 2003, featuring a cast of nine actors, with an original sound design and score.

Unfortunately the damn thing doesn’t work on my Windows XP OS using my Windows Media Player! If you are going to release something for free to generate a positive buzz you’ve got to make sure it actually will work. Stupid WMA format.

Jesse Willis

Review of The Plot to Save Socrates by Paul Levinson

Science Fiction Audiobook Review

The Plot to Save Socrates by Paul LevinsonThe Plot To Save Socrates
By Paul Levinson; Read by Mark Shanahan
7 CDs – 10 Hours [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Listen & Live Audio
Published: 2006
ISBN: 1593160747
Themes: / Science Fiction / Time Travel / Cloning / Philosophy / Ancient Greece / Ancient Rome / Ancient Egypt / 19th Century New York /

“Think not those faithful who praise all thy words and actions;
but those who kindly reprove thy faults.”
Socrates (c.470 BC – 399 BC) Greek philosopher

2042 AD. Sierra, a young classics scholar has discovered a lost Platonic scroll. Its contents will lead her to attempt to trounce the awful punishment that was imposed upon Socrates, the pre-eminent philosopher of the golden age of Greece. Joining her is her fiance Max, her thesis advisor Tom, Alcibides (a famous Greek orator and friend to Socrates), 19th century New York publisher W.H. Appleton, as well as the famously talented inventor, Heron of Alexandria.

Levinson opens the novel well with grad student Sierra Waters discovering a lost Socratic dialogue. It is a terrific opening, and I think this is what got my hopes so high. This isn’t a terrible novel, it just doesn’t grab me like I wanted it to. It is, rather, a workman-like time travel adventure. I was hoping it would be something deeper. In terms of pace, there is at least one too many characters. And none of them, including Socrates, engaged me as they should have. This is doubly troubling considering that the ideas weren’t sufficent for the novel length. Both the time travel itself and the mechanism of the time travel (a set of chairs created by a mysterious time traveler from the future) are sidelined and remain virtually unexplained. There are some interesting reveals sprinkled here and there and Levinson gives a decent twist-ending but it is only satisfying on one level and doesn’t and fufil the promise I thought it had. I never became enraptured by the story. There are unfilled gaps in the narrative. It feels as if the novel were abridged, though the packaging copy assures me that it wasn’t. The biggest single disapointment for me was the lack of more than a surficial philosophical content. Socrates reasons for allowing himself to be executed by an Athenian jury are only lightly touched upon. Levinson has an interest in philosophy, but Socrates and the Socratic method deserve a stupendous Science Fiction showcase and not this – a light adventure yarn. Had the spartan but solid contents of the plot been rendered to novellete or novella length the story would probably have worked far better. To his credit Levinson includes Socrates’ distrust of the written word. The written word is fixed, something that can’t be quibbled about as easily as can the thoughtful power of spoken word. Had Socrates known about audiobooks I think he’d have questioned the recorded word too.

Narrating duites on this one are by Mark Shanahan. Shannahan has a decent range, offering some distinction between the many characters. His job however was made more difficult than it should have been; Levinson’s characters aren’t fully dimensional. The narration is accompanied by sound effects and a situational background noise. I was disapointed with the inclusion of sound effects. If the text says “the doorbell rang.” you don’t need the sound effect of a doorbell ringing. If the narrator then reads the line “the doorbell rang.” not only don’t you need the sound of a doorbell ringing it interupts the flow of the story to include it. Less intrusive, but certainly no less unnecessary is the occasional inclusion of background noise designed to be appropriate to where a scene takes place. A pub, with a humm of clinking of glasses and the buzz of distant conversations, a seaside with the cry of seagulls and the slosh of waves. I get it, we’re in a pub or on a beach. But the absence from the rest of the narrative makes these scenes stand out in a way they shouldn’t and thus paradoxically distances the listener rather than drawing him or her in. The music is actually pretty good and definitely works better than the rest of the production details. The music fades in and out, bookending scenes. There are also one or two sentences that were missed in the final pass. Shannahan will read a line, and then read it again.

Upon reading other reviews scattered around the net I see that more people seem to have become caught up in the novel than I did. I envy them. I wanted to like this novel a lot more than I did. One reviewer pointed out that Levinson’s characterization and was like that of Isaac Asimov’s. I don’t disagree, I just think that was one of Asimov’s few weakness. Another reviewer pointed out how well constructed the chronology of the time travel was. Again, I don’t disagree, it was well woven. Maybe my problem is that most of my favorite time travel stories are of a much shorter length. If that is your problem too, bear that in mind joining in on The Plot To Save Socrates

Posted by Jesse Willis